it's entirely possibly that Ni No Kuni is dull and boring
Twenty-five hours in just now, and so far I'd say it's not. It's not the best game I've ever played, but it does a lot of things right and very few things wrong, and it definitely has some substance to match its shiny exterior.
That being said, your point does stand because it's not completely traditional either. While the plot, characters and setting are so classic SNES RPG that it basically just feels like a classic Dragon Quest game with Ghibli-styled characters and aesthetics, the battle system is mostly real-time, and often feels more like Kingdom Hearts with cutaway battle scenes than Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy. Also, while your characters do feature in the battles themselves, more often than not you wind up fighting with your monsters. And while I hate the idea that anything with monster breeding must invariably be compared to Pokemon, there's also quite a heavy emphasis on training / evolving / catching said monsters, so... :'D Yeah, there is a bit of Pokemon mixed in there. Basically it's not really the throwback to the turn-based JRPGs of old that people want it to be in anything but plot.
Oh, and somebody mentioned The Last Story as a high quality title. Do exercise caution there - it starts strong, but I bought it at full price and ended up really, really
regretting it. :/ I won't say it's out and out bad, as it does have some interesting ideas, but... well... were it not quite pretty, by the creator of Final Fantasy and given a big push by Nintendo, it's the sort of game that would be pretty quickly forgotten. Put it that way.