53. Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, Vol. 1

Becoming the Lord of Pandemonium by Hiroshi Shiibasshi (Canada) - (US)
Nura, Rise of the Yokai Clan, Vol. 1

Pages: 200
Ages: 13+
Finished: Mar. 1, 2011
First Published: Feb. 1, 2011
Publisher: Viz Media
Genre: YA, manga, fantasy, paranormal
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

In a village on the Kanto Plain...
called Ukiyoe Town...
There is said to be...
a yokai clan feared by locals, even today.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

Reason for Reading: I love yokai! These are a class of spirits, demons, or monsters from Japanese folklore which range from evil to mischievous. Some are vile and wicked, others can be cute and fun. They can be anything from a massive ogre to an animated umbrella.

An exciting beginning to a new manga series! Riku is 3/4 human and grew up in a house full of yokai, his grandfather is the supreme commander of the Nura clan. Growing up Riku has heard all the tales and thinks that the yokai are cool, special and the good guys but once he starts school he learns differently. He speaks up against someone who has done a report on the demons and tells the truth about his household, everyone laughs at him and doesn't believe him. He learns the truth at home. Five years pass and Riku is a young bespectacled teenager, who is supposed to take over as the leader of the Nura Yokai clan but he refuses to have anything to do with them. Being 3/4s human, this is easy for him to do but somehow that 1/4 yokai blood comes out every once in a while and that 1/4 of Riku is very different and *he* wants to be the leader he is meant to be.

For a first volume this is packed with story and background. Much happens and I was drawn into the world right away. Riku's city has a high amount of yokai activity so we see them popping up frequently and a rival clan comes to town to challenge Riku's leadership causing an instant conflict. Riku is a complex character wanting no part of the evilness of yokai, yet protecting his clan from being found out by school mates. He battles emotionally with the repugnance of the evil that some yokai do and the petty thievery of others, while at the same time obviously loving and caring for the yokai he has grown up with. On top of that, there is plenty of humour from many sides. The story is light but can get intense, though not dark, at this point anyway. I had a real fun time with this one and see that there is a steady publication release for future volumes throughout the year. I can't wait for volume two!


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