Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Jul 13, 2007 to Sep 28, 2007
22 min. per episode
R - 17+ (violence & profanity)
L represents licensing company
Score: 8.581 (scored by 16610 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
drama horror mystery supernatural
SynopsisMononoke is a spin-off of the Bakeneko story arc of Ayakashi: Japanese Classic Horror. It follows the Medicine Seller as he deals with various spirits or "Mononoke" in feudal Japan. Just like in the Bakeneko story, he combats with a series of tools and his vast knowledge of the supernatural on his side, but can only slay the Mononoke when he uncovers its form (Katachi), the truth behind its appearance (Makoto) and the reason for its unusual behavior (Kotowari).
Related AnimeAdaptation: Mononoke
Character: Ayakashi: Japanese Classic Horror
Characters & Voice Actors
When someone talks about the genre of horror, immediately a few things come to mind: blood, violent motion, bone and flesh torn asunder, gore essentially approaching abundant forms of shock value. These are what characterize the images that litter the horror genre today. However, one cannot discount the impact of simpler techniques. Muffled voices, the bloodcurdling scream, the manic dip toward insanity; these are all subtler methods which give rise to the imagination and thus leave a more impressionable impact. Mononoke adopts such techniques in each of its standalone stories, and it may not be surprising that these implementations are often left unappreciated. Yet, by adapting these horror tools along with an artistic presentation, rhythmic score, and strongly representative story, it is no wonder then that Mononoke is an excellently produced work.
Before we embark on Mononoke's journey one may first need to understand the very concept of Mononoke. One of the basic types of Ayakashi (tl. "unnatural spirit") is formed from the soul of a living or non-living material. Oftentimes, regret causes this, and when an Ayakashi is merged with strong human emotions such as vengeance, sadness, or fear, it develops into a Mononoke (tl. "hostile spirit"). This is the foundation for conflicts in each story and what typically stems from each Ayakashi's backstory.
The story itself follows a Kusuriuri (tl. "medicine seller") who travels from one place to another exorcising each Mononoke he comes across. The anime presents five standalone arcs. Each one consists of 2 or 3 episodes, which may sound as if there is not enough time allocated to serve each story properly. Fortunately, this uncertainty is untrue. Each arc is thoroughly interesting, bizarre, and complex; viewers will be astonished by the profound impact each short story relays.
Every arc meticulously refines its pace in order to provide characters enough time to adapt to their roles. Once the primary conflict is staged and the Mononoke is revealed, Kusuriuri puts himself to the task of unraveling its Katachi, Makoto, and Kotowari (tl. "Form", "Truth", and "Regret") — the three requirements for him to release his "Sword of Exorcism". What makes Mononoke a highly commendable work is its highly structured format, as well as its exploration of every character's motives. Kusuriuri simply can't draw his sword and exorcise the Mononoke until a predetermined set of conditions is followed. Moreover, whilst watching Kusuriuri reveal a Mononoke's Form, Truth, and Regret, we come across a saddening tale of how it came into existence. Mononoke does an excellent job in attracting viewers with its harrowing tales, and its precisely carved narrative makes it an unforgettable experience.
Aesthetically, Mononoke is one of the most finely detailed pieces in existence. From vibrant and colorful backgrounds to highly detailed characters and costume designs, Mononoke has crossed every barrier in this field in order to achieve excellence. The pasty color palette may seem an odd choice for a horror anime, but make no haste; it merges perfectly with the setting and culture of this work. The backgrounds are perforated with different textures all of which that complement each standalone narrative.
Generally, Mononoke can exist in any form and in this anime they are designed explicitly (and sometimes intentionally vaguely) in order to vary with respect to their arcs. Toei Animation has done a wonderful job in designing every character intelligently and distinctively in correspondence to their personality. Kusuriuri's design in particular manages to stand out on every frame. Moreover, his climactic transformation remains one of the most excellent aesthetic achievements in anime: it produces such a profound form and with fantastically surreal animation.
Matching the astounding art, what makes the characters so memorable is how they are portrayed. Not only are they emotionally distraught and relatable, groups of them often form a well-represented allegory. Mononoke is also an eclectic social commentary, ranging from remarks on corruption within governmental policies to more localized analyses of vengeance and despair.
One role which continues to outshine all others is the recurring character Kusuriuri. Unnamed, unrevealed, and from beginning to end an unknown, this enigmatic figure is the lone consistent tool from story to story. He breathes ambiguity, and his role always wedges into the plot should it ever begin to stale. He also does not share any form of development, and yet his indecipherable status always mystifies viewers in order to keep Mononoke's harrowing atmosphere at its greatest.
The Opening and Ending themes may seem peculiar, but they are certainly stylish, and as unhinged periodic pieces, they imperceptibly suit the series' direction. However, what marks Mononoke is not the music but the sound effects. Each opportuned implementation pervades the room with mystery and sheer awe. Mononoke also takes inspiration from kabuki plays, which is an interesting spin as much of its presentation follows panelwork very typical of this theatre current.
Perhaps above all, Mononoke is an experiment on convention. Its presentation offers a instantaneous, visceral reaction, and its story takes great efforts to rely on its atmosphere to tell the tale. However, it allow follows a highly structured narrative, which roots its foundation in order to prevent stories from becoming too insane. As a waltz through the Ayakashi mythos, Mononoke is one series never to forget.
This review is the final product of a team composed of members from the "Critics and Connoisseurs" club. The writers were:
Editing was done by:
nil- read more
Wow, what a series. Mononoke is the spinoff/sequel of the Bakeneko arc (eps. 9-11) in Ayakashi ~ Japanese Classic Horror. This is not to be confused with the final arc in Mononoke, which ironically, is also called Bakeneko. Although the original Bakeneko tale was brilliant, Mononoke is just as enticing, beautiful and well written as its predecessor. This series lets its art tell the tales. It is not afraid to experiment and has its own distinct style. This is a truly wonderful series especially visually and thematically.
Story: This anime is broken into five different stories lasting about 2 to 3 episodes each. Every one of these stories features a different supernatural spirit; many of them rooted from Japanese folklore. It is up to the Medicine Seller to uncover the Katachi (shape/form), Makoto (truth), and Kotowari (reason) of the spirit. Now, this sounds like your average, spirit-of-the-week sort of deal, doesn't it? But it isn’t. That's one aspect that makes this series so great. All the stories are unique and do not feel like a rehash of the same story as the previous. Even by the final arc, I was still shocked and entralled by its revelations. So yes, there are unexpected twists in every arc. Each tale also holds very thoughtful themes. You would expect a series about supernatural ghosts to be about the, well, dead spirits, but that's also not the case. Most of the stories are quite deep and to some degree disturbing. In fact, Mononoke is very thematically based on human nature, since it's the humans and their actions that transform the spirits into these vengeful mononoke.
Art: I’ll say it now. The art style may put off some people, especially based on first impressions. I thought the art was absolutely gorgeous, fitting, and unique. Mononoke uses an art style that resembles the Japanese "ukiyo-e", filled with vibrant and colorful backgrounds, textures and designs. Because of this two-dimensional, almost paper cut-out appearance, the anime uses a lot of camera movements and symbolism. This is why a few of the stories may need multiple viewings to get the full meaning of everything. In this way, I feel Mononoke uses its art to its full potential to present the story. I also loved how the style in each arc deviates just a bit so that each story distinguishes itself from the others.
Sound: Sound plays a very important role in this series. Because the art style somewhat limits what it can show on screen, sounds are used to reinforce that. It sets up the tense atmosphere, adding suspense and leaving you anticipating for more. The voice acting is very well done, especially hearing those screams of terror and shock. Other than that, I didn't really like the opening and ending songs. I actually liked the Ayakashi OP and ED better.
Character: There is only one reoccurring character in all the stories and that is the ever-so-awesome Medicine Seller! Yes, he is nameless and simply known as “Kururi-uri-san/sama/insert other honorific” or medicine seller. Although not much is known about him, I think it's very fitting since it adds to his mysterious nature. He does, though very subtly, develop. In all honesty though, I found it incredibly enjoyable watching him make deadpan comments while the other characters are freaking out over the weird happenings/hauntings. Lastly, the story-only-characters get a good deal of development despite each story being 2 to 3 episodes in length.
Enjoyment/Final notes: I finished the series in 2 days, meaning I watched about 6 episodes per day. So yeah… I enjoyed it a lot. And as mentioned earlier, some arcs may take a second or even third viewing to get everything. I know I will watch it again. It's such an excellent anime and was so worth the watch.
9.6/10 easily rounded to a 10/10 for my list. read more
The story lines are pretty similar. They both feature a male lead that travels in search of supernatural events and spirits, etc. And both are episodic type animes.
Mononoke is basically Mushishi done in a more artistic and colorful way. The Medicine Seller goes around banishing Mononoke. Ginko goes around curing mushi. So in a way, Id say its the plot and flow of Mushishi done in the style of Gankutsuou. Also, its a little be more to the horror genre then Mushishi.
Both stories involed a man wandering around japan carrying around a wooden box and deals with supernatural entities and helps people along the way. Mononoke is a lot darker and a bit more cynical then Mushishi is, and the Medicine Seller is more of an anti hero, but that doesn't keep him from being an enjoyable, interesting character. The stories in both series are interesting, each being self contained, though Monoke tells it's stories in a series of 5 arcs. Also, Mononoke's stories are always more on the horror side of things, whereas Mushishi's are usually more emotional.
Both look amazing, while Mononokes art is more abstract is still manages to immerse the viewer.
Both have a medicine seller who traverses from place to place attempting to solve paranormal situations.
Same guy-dealing-with-Japanese-spirits type of anime here .. Mushi-shi does it in more of an earthy, non-ghost-story/horror way. Very pretty, feel-good anime that deals with more of the historical, spiritual Japanese folklore. No real plot, each story is pretty self-contained much like Mononoke, but even the lack of plot doesn't keep this from being good stuff! ^o^ Aaand if you're reading this on the Mushi-shi side, watch Mononoke for reverse reasons! Might want to pony up to it with watching Ayakashi first though ..
Both deal with the supernatural and both have charismatic lead characters. The drawings in Mononoke will take a little getting used to. Just a little warning, some parts of Mononoke can be quite scary compared to Mushishi.
Anime with Unique art? Relating to a search of mystic beings of some sorts?
You got it in these both. Although both do have their differences, if you loved one, you'll love the other. As a bonus, both protagonists are lovable (in a hot, respectable way).
Both series concern a main character who travels around solving supernatural problems. The Medicine Seller has his mononoke, and Ginko has his mushi.
Both series have a travelling protagonist who helps different people in each episode or story arc with supernatural creatures they don't understand -- traditional Japanese spirits in Mononoke, and unusual nature spirits in Mushishi.
If you liked the story about a man wandering around from place to place, "saving" people from supernatural creatures, then Mononoke is for you. But Mononoke has bizarre scenes, really artistic detalis, and also...it's a dark version of Mushishi.
Episodic and is similar in the fact that the protagonist is a traveller and medicine seller eliminating supernatural creatures. In Mushishi it was Mushis and in Mononke it is the poor mononokes being terminated. Both are amazing shows.
Both series features a traveling mysterious main character that deals with supernatural phenomena around. While melancholy and drama are foremost for Mushishi and mystery for Mononoke they still have a similar mood. Their artwork have different stylings, but the approach of evershifting reality and simplicity is close.
Both have a main character dealing with weird supernatural happenings.
Both series have a travelling main character who specialises in dealing with paranormal beings, they also both have amazing art, though mononoke is more abstract.
Both series deal with the supernatural and follow the journeys of a fascinating lead character. There is no over-arching plotline, but a succession of situations involving strange creatures and humans. Each has an original and distinct atmosphere with great art, animation and soundtrack.
Mononoke is simply the dark version of Mushishi. Mushishi is very relaxing while Mononoke is incredibly freaky and horrific with its creepy noises all over the place, both are mature, slow-paced, poetic, and psychological on the other hand.
Both Mushishi and Mononoke are about traveling "magicians" who help solve peoples' problems. Both stories take place during an Edo-like period and have beautiful character designs. Mononoke has longer story arcs while Mushishi has a one-shot episode format. Ginko (Mushishi) is more personable while Kusuriuri (Mononoke) is more ethereal.
The similarity is that both Ginkgo and Kusuriuri use their knowledge to help when it comes to the spiritual world and the problems that may occur whit contact between the human and mysterious. Besides that, inner fulfillment exists when watching both anime.
Mononoke is kinda like a much more sinister version of Mushishi. Both feature an enigmatic medicine seller (although Ginko is more developed) roaming the land "exorcising" mysterious spirits. Mononoke is more of an atmospheric pseudo-horror anime though, and the art is much more stylized (and absolutely jaw-dropping it is).
It can't be said enough, but anyone who liked one show will like the others. Ginko and the Medicine Peddler may have starkly different methods, outlooks on life, and motivations, there is something that ties the two shows together.
Series of short story arcs centred upon supernatural entities (Aberrations in Bakemonogatari and Mononoke in Mononoke) taking form and haunting characters. While Mononoke focuses more on the stories and Bakemonogatari on the characters, they structure their short arcs very similarly, both narrative-wise and progression. Both series share this style of storytelling presented with a unique style of animation: Bakemonogatari is more Shaft than the average Shaft, and Mononoke takes upon itself a very "Japanese" style to fit their respective settings.
Both series centre around sequential arcs in which the protagonist tackles a supernatural entity plaguing humans by unravelling the circumstances surrounding it. Bakemonogatari has a modern setting while Mononoke is a period piece, so they complement each other with the contrast.
Both are arc-based stories dealing with one specific supernatural entity in each arc. The true nature of the situation is not always readily apparent at the beginning of the arc but is revealed by the end. They also both have a very distinctive visual style, though not necessarily in the same way.
Both animes are stories about supernatural beings. Bakemonogatari is about oddities and Mononoke is about demons. Both are also made in an unothordox way regarding the animation style and art.
both series feature the same sort of paranormal mystery aspect, though the two go about it in a different timeframe and fashion. Both feature a unique sort of artwork seen in anime, though the two aren't all too similar in that respect.
These two anime are alike for the structure and the very basis of the show. They are both anime about the supernatural separated into arcs. While Mononoke has a better focus on the execution and the art. Bakemonogatari is more character and dialogue based.
Opening Theme"Kagen no Tsuki" by Ryouta Komatsu and Charlie Kosei
Ending Theme"Natsu no Hana" by JUJU
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