nabari no ou (king of nabari) is a manga and anime series and it really means a lot to me! i watched the anime first on funimation and started reading the manga a year after it ended in the states. since then i have started a mini collection of nabari related media! mostly the books i am able to get my hands on from japanese ebay sellers as nothing much really came to the states aside from the english manga and the DVDs of the anime. from ebay i have gotten the artbook, guide book, and a book full of sketches of characters, locations and things from the anime! the anime adaptation is not my favorite anime, though. it has a looooot of problems and even for 2008 the animation is kind of stilted and really bad. and since the nabari manga didn't end in japan until 2010 the anime was running before the manga had finished! there are a lot of very big and small differences between the anime and the manga and i like how the manga ended more than the anime. the manga felt like it actually ended where the anime ending felt kind of rushed and while it made sense in terms of the anime it was just...not good!
this is a gif from the opening of the anime! from left to right the characters are raimei, tobari, miharu and kouichi
even from the first few episodes of the anime there are some differences that if you know the manga are kind of weird...
- in the third chapter, which is the second episode in the anime, miharu is seen practicing a ninjitsu technique and being praised by kouichi. this doesn't happen in the anime even though the scene it's a part of is! i feel like leaving this along with a few other things out kind of hurts miharu's character. in the anime he is apathetic to a fault and seems to actually care about nothing at all. in the manga this is just a front he puts up so he can keep people at a distance because he is afraid of getting close to anyone. this eventually goes away as he learns that it's okay to let people in and that people really do care about him. he does care about things but he just doesnt show it, and this scene also shows that miharu has actually been paying attention to tobari and kouichi when they talk about ninjitsu even though he pretends to not care at all!
- in the fifth chapter, which is episode 4 (i believe), miharu actually uses a ninjitsu that saves kouichi even though he almost hits him and raimei but it does work! this scene actually is in the anime but instead of miharu using the technique to save kouichi, kouichi uses it to kill a grey wolves ninja and not really save anyone, kouichi just kills the guy and he, raimei and miharu run away. and they even kind of gave miharu's line to kouichi as well!! in the manga, miharu says something like "you thought i was one of those sickly, frail kind of people? you underestimated me." my memory is not the best but i believe they give that line to kouichi in the anime, kouichi may be skinny but he is in no way sickly or frail and he's already been shown to be a talented ninja!
even though those differences are kind of weird and make no sense the anime and manga stay the same story-wise...for the most part. none of the characters are given nearly as much development as they could have had (even minus the development they got in the manga. the anime made up its second half so why couldn't it just make up some developing moments for its characters?) and some important scenes were cut out of the anime but that can be understood because the manga hadn't got to those parts yet when the anime started, and it ended before the manga ended.
here are some examples of things the manga did but the anime didn't do!
- something the anime does that the manga doesn't do is kill the character raikou a few episodes before the last one. he doesn't die in the manga, although from where the manga was when that episode aired it did seem like he would be killed by one of the antagonists. in the manga he survives till the end and helps banten create zekku, a technique that takes away the shinrabansho without killing its host. he is even present in the final confrontation and in the last few pages! i understand why the anime did this, i just don't like it.
- in the tenth volume of nabari no ou, during a fight, yukimi (yoite's guardian) loses an arm. this exact scene is in the anime! except its not... in anime version yukimi manages to get away with almost no harm and so do miharu and yoite. in the manga this is literally the scene where yoite dies, and yukimi loses an arm to protect him and miharu. and none of this is ever fixed in the manga, either. yukimi has to live with no arm and miharu has to live with the fact he changed the entire world forever to erase his friend from existance and has to accept this is what yoite wanted, no matter how much it hurt miharu.
- i just listed this but the circumstances leading up to yoite's death are wildly different between the manga and the anime. i already explained how he dies in the manga so i'll explain how he dies in the anime. in the last episode, yoite finally gets some closure. he comes to terms with what happened to him and he even visits his parents house (either somebody new is living there or his father literally doesnt recognize him/is pretending he doesn't exist) and says something about taking care of the garden. the next scene he's in he is knitting a scarf identical to the one hana made him, saying that if he hurries up he'll get it done by winter. the last scene of the episode is him sitting on a rocking chair while miharu gets them drinks, and he just dissappears. *poof* and he's gone in some sparkly dust. it's kind of anticlimactic and thats literally the end of the series, miharu notices, holds yoite's sweater to his face and says "i'll never forget you, yoite"