Nabari No Ou 2 by Yuhki Kamatani: C+

nabari_2Middle-schooler Miharu Rokujou is the unwilling host of a great ninja power known as Shinra Banshou. He’s got allies who want to extract the power and destroy it, and enemies who want to claim the power for themselves. In this volume, his allies decide to adopt the same plan as their enemies and collect the scrolls of each clan’s forbidden arts, believing that the way to extract Shinra Banshou can be found by combining elements from the various methods. Meanwhile, Miharu is approached by a couple of people who want him to use Shinra Banshou to grant their wishes, one of whom threatens death for Miharu’s friends if he does not comply.

I really want to like Nabari No Ou. The art, relying heavily on contrasts between black and white, is nice to look at and there are some compelling characters. My favorite is Kouichi, Miharu’s studious-looking classmate who turns out to be a capable and surprisingly ruthless ninja. Everyone’s got their own agenda, but bonds are beginning to grow between Miharu and his three protectors, resulting in some nice moments that are the highlights of the series.

In between, though, it’s just so damned boring! There’s a lot of talk about forbidden arts and secret arts and “wisdom” and none of it is explained well enough to have any real impact on the reader. I quite literally fell asleep twice while trying to get through this volume. I had hoped that this second volume would somehow click with me in a way that the first did not, but I’m even more disappointed than before.

Review copy provided by the publisher. Review originally published at Manga Recon.

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