In the anime, Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, which was first released in Japan in 2010 but which is new to DVD, Rikuo Nura is an ordinary Japanese schoolboy by day, but a yokai (supernatural Japanese creature, or demon) by night. And he’s not just an ordinary yokai, either. He is the grandson of Nurarihyon, the Supreme Commander of the Nura clan. He is meant to be the heir, and his grandfather is more than ready for Rikuo to accept his destiny and take over leadership.
But at 12 years old, Rikuo just wants to be a normal human boy. Sure, he turns into an incredibly powerful yokai warrior at night when situations call for it, but in the day he has no memory of those deeds. He just wants to go to school, have friends, and forget his alter ego. Of course, that is not easy when his house is full of yokai, and two of them assume human form and follow him to school each day. When his friends form a yokai-hunting club, things get really weird for Rikuo, who finds himself having to save them without revealing his demon side.
In addition, an intra-clan conflict is brewing. A strong leader is desperately needed to save the clan, and Nura must make a choice.
The anime is amusing enough. The art is very good and Nura is likeable, not dumb or arrogant as many protagonists in shonen anime (which is primarily aimed at boys.) The human friends are nothing extraordinary, but the girls are less silly than in many shonen stories and their clothing tends to stay discreet.
The best part of the early episodes here are the other yokai who surround Nura. While yokai are referred to as demons, within their own realm they are loyal and often amusing. In appearance, they vary greatly from nearly human to grotesque. Many of them remind me greatly of the monsters in Maurice Sendak’s “Where The Wild Things Are.”
Overall, Nura is off to a good start, with plenty of room to grow. It reminds me of Hikaru no Go, probably because of the likeable young hero.
The dubbed voices are also pretty good, although after a few episodes we chose to turn them off and watch the subtitled version. That, of course, is a matter of choice. Some people like to hear what the actors originally sound like and some hate subtitles. Either way, if you enjoy anime. you will probably have a pleasant time with Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan.