Nurarihyon no Mago – 2

I have a confession to make – I’m in love with Horie Yui.

I guess I have been, ever since she gave one of my top-5 all-time seiyuu performances in “Kanon” (Uguu!). She certainly isn’t all that I’m enjoying about Nurarihiyon no Mago, but her Yuki-onna (“call me Tsurara”)is a delight to watch.

I’m liking the series itself, too. As I expected the focus of the series turned onto demon politics in the second episode. A couple of major new characters were introduced, the most important being Lord Zen. A childhood playmate of Rikuo’s and head of a clan that serves the Nura. Robust-looking but frail, Zen – as are most of Rikuo’s circle – is puzzled and frustrated over the boy’s seeming disinterest in his demon heritage, yet remains fond of him nonetheless.

Upon leaving the mansion, Zen’s snake-headed servant Hebidayu urges Zen to secede. When he refuses, Hebidayu reveals himself as an agent of the anti-Rikuo wing, and betrays him. Rikuo, chasing after Zen to apologize for his earlier behavior, arrives just in the nick of time, and we get our first extended introduction to Rikuo’s “Night” persona. With hair resembling Madeline Khan in “Young Frankenstein” and a bishie appearance that looks much older than “Day” Rikuo, this version is clearly a badass – and he promptly guts Hebidayu in one stroke. Afterwards, he and Zen share sake in a manly yet sensitive declaration of brotherhood. Rikuo wakes the next morning with no recollection of prior events, and goes off to school – only to discover that Yuki-onna has come to school to protect him (and disrupt his flirting with Kana). Finally, another new character is introduced – the raven-haired schoolgirl Keikan Yura. She has a thing for origami and we know she’s important, ’cause she’s in the ED…

That was really good stuff – better than the first episode. The pacing of the first two eps has been excellent – never boring, but taking its time revealing chunks of the premise and new characters in measured doses. This appears to be the good DEEN in terms of animation – it’s not I.G. quality, but DEEN’s lovely backgrounds are in evidence. I’m not crazy for Fukuyama Jun’s work as the “Day” Rikuo, but the rest of the cast is stellar. This looks to be solidly in the top half of this summer’s releases.

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