I reviewed the first collection of Nabari a few months back and though the story was ridiculed for being overly complex and flat emotionally, I found quite a few redeeming aspects to the tale and secretly looked forward to the second (and final) FUNimation release of the series. I completed it last night and have concluded that love or hate the first release, it may be in your best interest to consider completing the journey.
Nabari The Complete Series Part Two comes in at a runtime of 325 minutes and contains 13 episodes (14-26) spanning two discs. The discs come packaged in a pair of thin packs within a cardboard outer slipcase.
The show wears an appropriate TV 14 rating due to some slightly adult slanted themes of violence, war, and conflict. There is no nudity, swearing, or gore to report.
Language options are typical sub and dub, which means the viewer has the choice of running either the original Japanese dialog track (stereo) or an English dub (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround) and the option of displaying English subtitles beneath either dialog choice.
Extras include textless songs, a commentary track from some of the English voice talent over Episode 25, and a host of upcoming Funimation anime previews.
As you would probably expect, the tale picks up right where the first collection ended and jumps right back into rhythm with very little re-establishing. If your memory of the first set is hazy, reviewing is probably a requisite.
Miharu Rokujou's slow and mysterious rise into the ranks of a secret society is fully cemented this time around with his inability to ever return to a life of normalcy. Becoming the Ruler of Nabari is no longer an option but rather his only chance for survival.
To be completely honest, the second half of the tale is actually much darker than the first. Some of those midday high school moments that opened the entire saga seem like ages ago! The plot really becomes no easier to follow this time around but does tend to focus a bit more heavily on the emotional relationships between the characters. Upon completion of the first 13 episodes, I basically concluded that the tale could take one of two paths to fruition: A dependence upon Ninjitsu combat/ action sequences or a deeper look at the emotions motivating the players involved. As it turns out, the latter is the path taken and for the most part, it's pretty rewarding.
Those who felt the first installation came up feeling flat emotionally may be interested in this collection for its insistence upon revealing each and every character's innermost motivations. The acting is subdue, just like before, and sometimes so nonchalant that it almost feels "emotionless" but the story sets up their personas so thoroughly that the responsibility didn't fall squarely into the laps of the actors themselves.
Surprisingly a homosexual angle is solidified by the show's conclusion that may put off some viewers, but the cast commentary over episode 25 does a nice job of offering an explanation into the acting mind set that warrants another viewing.
The music, which has been one of the show's greatest strengths, is maintained here with whimsical melodies (especially during each episode's title card) and intense, sweeping scores when the onscreen tension demands it.
Visually the show continues to charm with moody atmospheres, dark underground lairs, and well-animated character models. I've always been partial to the raining Japanese characters as a tool to indicate the use of power- it's reminiscent to the green coding used in The Matrix with a welcomed organic touch.
Funimation's English dub is very, very well done although I have to give the edge to the original Japanese vocal work on this one. In truth your probably best off to view the show in both languages as the experience is quite unique in either incarnation. The complexity of the plot (and the names involved) may deter some from wanting to go all the way through reading subtitles.
In all Nabari is quite a unique property. Fans expecting an action-filled, Ninja-based hack and slash fest were probably a bit let down with the first collection due to its drab characters and focus on relationships. In that regard, the second installment carries on this tradition pretty heavily. However, by the conclusion of the 26 episodes, it's difficult to come away without a greater understanding/ respect for the cast of characters and the unique struggles they've gone through. And in the end, that is perhaps the greatest mark of a solid piece of anime.
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