Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Jul 13, 2007 to Sep 28, 2007
Premiered: Summer 2007
Duration: 22 min. per ep.
Rating: R - 17+ (violence & profanity)L represents licensing company
Score: 8.521 (scored by 22,839 users)
1 indicates a weighted score. Please note that 'Not yet aired' titles are excluded.
2 based on the top anime page. Please note that 'Not yet aired' and 'R18+' titles are excluded.
So if you are too lazy to read the whole thing, here is a shorter version: if anime means anything to you more than just pure entertainment or an activity to kill time – do check out Mononoke. You WON’T regret it.
I've been watching and loved anime since junior high. I know some people who share this interest and lots who don’t. But this is the type of anime that I’m not afraid to show it to anyone, say my 32-year-old brother who has absolutely zero interest in Japanese animation. This is the type of series that actually makes you use your head to watch. It doesn’t give you answers, it provides you with opinions. In my most humble language, Mononoke is Japanese animation at its peak. A truly captivating and memorable series.
Now, if you are reading past that debrief review, I’m assuming that you’re interested in knowing more.
What I’m also seeing from you is that of a selective and clever viewer who is willing to experiment some unusual animation, and who will go beyond the typical everyday anime to enjoy a once-in-life-time experience.
Onto this series’ rating ... I rarely give out 10, because by its definition, the series has to be a "masterpiece." In the case of Mononoke though, I will question anyone who has finished watching this show, having considered all of its aspects and seriously giving it a score of ANYTHING less than 8, which, according to MAL’s interpretation is “very good.”
The problem isn’t whether it’s a difference of *personal* opinion, but rather whether you were actually watching and understanding what the show was about. The people who dislike Mononoke, in my opinion, fall into 2 categories:
1. Those who were put off by its execution/style/animation. To this group, all I have to say is – well, I don’t understand how you can-not-not-like this breathtaking visual. I feel sorry for you. You are missing out some of the finest production.
2. Those who started watching Mononoke thinking they were in for some fantasy, supernatural theme with fast-paced packed action. And to this group, I say – I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this series, it’s an excellent show but for serious audience who looks for a thought-provoking story. Do come back again when you’re older.
Now, I understand that *some* people are slightly bothered by the pace or animation style. I would beg to differ if you label this “boring” though. And despite all of that, the story alone would still be more than enough put Mononoke in the 8-range.
In fact, I will also argue that the visual and the pacing is what really defines Mononoke. It suits the flow of the story, enhances the plot, and provokes emotions from viewers.
Surely there are many awesome series out there with exceptional plot and cast, but what makes this series so damn special that I should watch it?
Well, to start off, the main character is someone who - throughout the whole series - doesn’t have a name; more like, his name wasn’t revealed. He is simply known as “the medicine seller.” But watching the show, you will realize that the name is indeed not needed. In fact, the aspect of the nameless protagonist adds to the mysterious identity of his, and to the ghostly atmosphere of the stories presented. Some people say that the character doesn’t have any development. I would argue, however, there is very subtle character development, shown neither through words nor actions. It’s simply just there, you will have to watch to see it. BUT, I would also say that the medicine seller is a very unique character that even if there is no significant development, he’s a strong plus to the series, and the type of character you would easily remember. And if I forget to mention, Takahiro Sakurai did a splendid job voicing this awesome main character.
Next comes the core concept of the series – Mononoke. For once this isn't a new "term", but it’d be a far cry from the truth if you simply think of it as “youkai” or “ghosts” or “monsters.” And even though the “mononoke” theme isn’t new, the way it unfolds through individual enchanting tales is what engrosses viewers – purposefully engaging them in the twisted emotions of the human nature presented in the series. And here is where the art and sound blend in.
In Mononoke, you are introduced to 5 different stories which share but one thing in common - dark and somewhat disturbing themes. Now, consider some of the very ghostly stories presented in this series, and next - consider how they were illustrated through unbelievably bright colors with “static” frames like a moving painting? Sounds fair?
What if I continue to tell you that the show gets even “weirder” when some of its scenes have absolutely no sounds or noises. It’s just pure silent with stilled frames. You think I’d be bored - but no, it makes me hold my breath, feel slightly uneasy, and wonder what’s coming next. Still not interested?
Unfortunately then,…. I have nothing more to offer. I know this sound cliché, but what this show does to you is it makes you think and feel. And everybody does it differently. But Mononoke delivers its message so well that it definitely deserves the title namely masterpiece.
Yes, I am (slightly) biased in this review but who doesn’t, especially when they are talking about the things they are in love with?
So to make this review less biased, I will end it with a *flaw* that is absolutely “fatal” – it wasn’t long enough. I sure as hell wished there were more to it. Yup, that’s the flaw, you’re happy?
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
To expand on that last point, Mononoke is not what you would you call a terrifying show to watch. It would be more accurate to describe it as “startling.” It doesn’t try to disturb you with its overly-bombastic imagery, it instead wants you to seek out the subtle artistic prowess that it has to show before it then starts to suck you in to the horror by surprise. The execution of all of it feels very right and nicely paced out so that they feel less tedious and uneventful to go through. Many horror anime, and especially horror movies today, think that if it throws in any kind of ominous or thunderous music, blood splattering gore, or your every day horror cliche left and right that they can call their show a true horror show. In reality, they make it the opposite of their intention because you’re already used to it after the twentieth time it has happened half way through.
Mononoke proves that you don’t have to use any of those aspects in a horror to define yourself as one. The one thing that almost everyone can agree with is that the true source of horror is the “unknown.” The fact that you can’t see something, yet you feel a presence within your surroundings can be one of the most truly terrifying things to experience in real life or in film. Things of this nature was put into full effect when H.P. Lovecraft first based his stories around this concept. You can see, quite clearly, that Mononoke does the same inflections of some of the stories Lovecraft put into his short stories, and does them to brilliant effect. The only obvious difference is that Mononoke actually shows the supernatural entities whereas Lovecraft never did.
How the show is set up is by the obvious inclination that this is a separate story based off of the character, “Medicine Man,” from one of the short stories from Ayakashi – Samurai Horror Tales. Before I discuss how the show structures its plot in each of the arcs, the one important notion to mention that really makes Mononoke a truly unique experience is how much creative detail it gives to the setting of historical Japan. Along with House of Five Leaves, this is definitely one of the closest that anime has gotten, in recent memory, that truly captures the pure essence and atmosphere of what Japan was like during its later modern period. Obviously, without all of the supernatural elements to it, the artwork that is put on display feels like an ancient painting done by past painters from Japan that really strengthens the atmosphere and its impact on the creativity put into the horror. Not only the artwork, but also the little tidbits they put into the show that include various Japanese folklore that they tell us at the end are very inspiring and fascinating to experience.
Onto the plot arcs themselves, they are, unfortunately, not the very highest point in terms of interesting storytelling. With about five different stories put into one show, only two of them stick in my mind as completely memorable or thought-provoking. The one that can be considered great is the first one because of how it introduces us to Mononoke’s world and its concepts of the Mononoke, and is definitely a great introduction into the show. The second arc consists of a very gripping story about each individual’s goals of getting out of the mess that they have been brought to and each of them have this really detailed back story makes them not just this throwaway character that our main protagonist steals the show from. Unfortunately, the rest suffer through, what I would call, overused tropes from the previous two episodes. Of the three last arcs, two of them both involve a group of people that Kusuriuri, our main protagonist, tries to investigate concerning the disturbance of Mononoke. It is almost as if the writer could not think of a new kind of formula he could put into his stories so he decides to reuse similar tropes to his previous stories and put in a completely different spin on that original idea. It doesn’t matter if the plot is completely different from the previous one, it still follows the same formula and it feels repetitive and almost predictable.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say they are “terrible” to go by, not at all; it just feels mediocre compared to the previous ones. With that said, what really makes the plot worthwhile to experience, for better or for worse, is Kusuriuri, or the “Medicine Man” as he’s typically called. Similar to how great Ginko is in Mushishi, Kusuriuri has this aura around him that makes him very attention grabbing. The only difference is that you don’t really know much about Kusuriuri’s personal life, but only what he does in his job. His smart, fast-moving mind makes him a competent protagonist to root for only by how calculated he lays out his plans in getting the Mononoke and helping the people that need his help the most. It is one of the rare instances where the lack of personal development of one character doesn’t hold back the quality of the character and just from how much he views the world from his own eyes and gives us his take on the mysteries involved in the plot. The unknown archetype adds to his depth and characterization so much more than almost any of the characters in Mononoke, who also have well-developed characterization.
Whether you want to call the animation, provided by the most lauded Toei Animation, “experimental” or “classic art,” it nevertheless feels very dynamic. Toei has always wanted to stick to original roots when concentrating on their animation skills in most of their productions and this is by far one of their best. The fluid motions of how the characters move, react, and illuminate feel very human-like and provide a significant degree of hard-work put into each frame of animation. What is even more fascinating is how the animators put a lot of creativity into the actual Mononoke, which is evidently influenced by Japanese folklore. Even though you don’t see them for more than, say, five seconds, those five seconds will be burnt into your memory for years to come.
Mononoke is a different breed of horror that many anime have not attempted to replicate even in the past. There hasn’t really been a horror film or show that never makes you scream out in terror, yet in your mind, you feel almost as if you had gone through a night terror that you don’t remember screaming, in sheer anguish and fear. While the show never really compiles to a significant detail of groundbreaking story, it surely is a sight to behold in grasping what can be done with an absolutely gorgeous setting with beautiful sets of animation to go with it. Let it be said; when it comes to creating great horror, there should never be boundaries that restricts what it wants to show in terms of true fear. Otherwise, it would not be horror, one way or the other.
Formed around four separate stories with two acts, Mononoke set up an epic an twisted tale in each of them. Each them very different in their own way, but very much the same, holding a similar type of theme: secrets. We all have them. Some secrets are small. Some are massive and can hold us hostage in our minds, whether the case this anime makes us bring out those dark secrets and makes a nightmare a reality. Illusions. It's all in the head. This is true horror and it absolutely terrified me. I loved the cinematography and the way the camera captured the mood of the anime. It gave the every single scene strong emotion. Everyone things that horror is a scary serial killer coming after them with a mask or a dead girl dressed in white with blood all over her face haunting a house, but no. This is true horror. It's more historic too with using Mononoke (monsters) as the antagonist. There are so many legends, myths, and stories about these monsters. Many going back hundreds and hundreds of years! Goes to show that Japan can be one scary place.
Look at all the pretty colours! Terrifying, but pretty! I loved how they did a rendition of Japanese historic artwork. The style was just breathtakingly beautiful! And man did it ever tie in well with the horrific and suspenseful mood of the stories. The art...it was what gave the anime the genre we call Horro. I'm going to let you all know this is probably the most beautiful Japanese animation I've ever seen. The camera angles they used were unique and mind messing. And not only that, the style of these characters designs are just so unique and fancy! It's creepy yet inspiring. This animation almost made me feel like I was high. lol
As someone who doesn't do subbed, I really loved the VA that were used. The one who voiced Kururiuri held a strong tone who brought the character to life. The beginning and opening songs held a great beat that made the episodes even more exciting! And the music in the episodes really made the scene more eye catching, more eerie.
Kururiuri, the medicine vendor, plays with people's mind on making them confess to their deepest darkest secrets while hunting and slaying monsters around the country side. He's like a drug dealer. He puts thoughts into peoples heads, messes with them to hunt down the Mononoke hidden either inside of them or around him. He's a perfect character who can show he is not to be messed with.
Through the many other characters throughout the four mini stories, each one brought on a creepy aspect of the story. They might've not been the ones who gave the anime a horror theme, but they did give out dark and anticipating parts of their stories that were absolutely addicting to witness.
I could not stop watching this. I actually ended up jumping a few time! Blood is the colour of orange. Up is down. Right is left. It's a huge mind fuck that will leave you wanting more. I think the only reason why it isn't one of my favourites was because the lack of plot. This could've gone so much farther with just ONE mini story they used. At least twenty episodes per mini story. But never the less, this anime is totally worth the watch. Just don't watch it high. Or if you do...let me know what it's like. I'm curious.
I give this anime 90% on the Monster level. read more
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 artistic styling of Mononoke is truly one of a kind, the colours are amazing and with HD encodes it truly shines. Each new environment is unique, colourful, and captivating. The colours and use of quick camera movements add to the suspense. The animations themselves are intentionally very stiff at times but as the action speeds up they become very fluid and top notch. The backgrounds are rarely stationary, but appear as though you are observing a painting at the same time. Often times the animations of common things such as snow or water are displayed in a very unique way that makes you simply want to get lost in it.
The sounds of Mononoke are fantastic. There is often times complete silence, but that only adds to the suspense. The OP and ED are very nice, nothing exceptional, but nice. The use of sounds, such as screams, thumps and other such frightening sounds are extremely realistic. I hate to admit it but I was genuinely frightened at certain points.
Apart from the Medicine Seller, each arc sees the introduction of new characters. Each character usually represents a different Japanese stereotype. Samurai, priests, monks, government types, children, and many others. Kusuriuri's alternate self, I won't give anything away, is almost worth watching the story for on its own. The Medicine Seller is a very sarcastic person and often times at a very serious moment he'll crack a joke that is totally absurd and you can't help but laugh.
At only twelve episodes Mononoke is well worth the time and although it is very, very Japanese in respects to content, it doesn't take away from the enjoyment in the least. As I mentioned before, Mononoke is excellent at generating fear out of the simplest of situations with very little audio. The characters are all very genuine and are often times in tears and losing their minds in a very believable manner.
I've wasted enough of your time, now go watch this show. You definitely won't regret it. read more
Mononoke does not have this arrogance.
The show follows an enigma known as the Medicine Seller as he wanders feudal Japan and exorcises evil spirits known as mononoke. To do so, he must uncover the mononoke’s Shape, Truth, and Reason. Despite its mystical trappings, every mystery in Mononoke feels realistic. That is, they’re more about the people plagued by them than the mononoke themselves. Every spirit slain is prefaced by at least one other person whose secrets are revealed.
It’s this detective work on each ‘client’ that the Medicine Seller shows a penchant for exposing skeletons in the closet. His knowledge on the occult is matched by his intuition on other people, and perhaps eclipsed by his perpetual calm and facetious tone. In other words, the guy is hot shit and he knows it. How he became this way is never explained, but knowing the story behind that disinterested wit is secondary to the lives of the people he encounters.
From the inability to admit one’s fears to the paranoia of inadvertent sin, the show’s greatest strength is when it revels in its characters’ crippling weaknesses. Their every motive, every action, and every fault is mercilessly uncovered, and by the end of each mystery we know them better than we know the Medicine Seller. And yet, they’re not sympathetic but uncomfortably familiar. They’re reminiscent of the monsters we can easily be.
This is horror.
Horror is not about a bloodbath soaked with jump scares. Horror is the examination of the human condition as its furtive faults grant an uncanny power to do the unthinkable. It unleashes a despicable flurry whether we’re willingly heinous or acting out of desperation. This is something many horror films today fail to comprehend, but a truth that Mononoke lives by.
The show reinforces this truth through its visual direction. It rarely hides its horrors in the cover of darkness, forcing us to confront them where we think we’re safe. From unnaturally round eyes to a toothed mask, the show has no qualms about being too obvious in its frights. But rather than illicit groans of ‘get on with it!,’ it dredges a powerless feeling as if saying ‘we’re ruining your life and there’s nothing you can do about it.’
Adding to the visceral visuals is an atmospheric sound design. Empty hallways are lined with children’s laughter to unnerving effect. Chatter and banter play from a still picture to reflect a woman’s detachment from her own life. The rumbling of a train’s track traversing rises and falls with the tension of who the story focuses on. The show doesn’t lack music, but prefers mood. It ‘speaks’ with minimal effort for maximum effect.
If I had to point out one thing I didn’t like, it’s how each mystery varies in quality from one to the other, especially ‘Faceless Monster’ and ‘Japanese Chimera.’ The former treads ground the first two mysteries already covered, making it very formulaic. The latter either has no examination of the human condition, or one so understated that it’s out of place entirely. But the quality difference between each mystery is a pittance when the show is still good even at its worst. I might as well say ‘I didn’t enjoy this luxurious train ride as much as I enjoyed this luxurious cruise ship.’
This is what I mean by Mononoke not being arrogant. It knows it needs more than a unique look if it wants to be fondly remembered. There’s a conscious effort to want to make a good story as well as make the aesthetics its own. It knows it wants to be horror, and it knows what horror truly is. Through it all, more than anything else, Mononoke is simply an emotionally resonant piece.
Who knew a story about spirits could feel so human? read more
An apparent fusion between Zen writing and Kabuki theater make for unique art style and brilliant writing prose. Only the first two story arcs seem to carry this ideal however, far outshining the proceeding story arcs. Never the less the first two arcs stand as a must see.
An exceptional anime it is perfect if you've already seen all the “good” animes out there and are looking for another good one. Just make sure to stick with it for the first 10 minutes.
If the anime were to stand as just the beginning episodes constituting the first two story arcs I believe it is a 10/10 and this portion remains a must see. Very well written – love the succinct writing prose and deep understanding.
As I suspected however, and later confirmed the anime was indeed written by multiple (four) authors. As such while the others story arcs are ok they do not match, imo, the skill of whom-ever wrote the first two arcs. read more
*DISCLAIMER: TRIGGER WARNINGS: GORE, INCEST, ABORTION* also if you are epileptic, there are a lot of flashing and bright colors watch at your own risk!!!!!!!!
Mononoke is a dynamic, dramatic and suspenseful anime about a mysterious wanderer who is only known as "the medicine seller" who travels from place to place in search of the Mononoke (harmful spirits who are not at rest which can cause death, disease or injury). he has a special sword to kill the Mononoke which needs Form, Truth and Reason (in some subs its regret).
STORY 10: the basic story is really interesting. i dont think ive ever come across any sort of anime like this before. in the anime there are 12 episodes which are broken down into 4 arcs (obviously each arc lasting 3 episodes). the three episodes are basically allocated to finding one of the three things needed to summon the sword to kill the Mononoke (one episode to find truth, the next to find form, the last to find reason then a new arc starts). I thought that was really interesting because if they were to try and fit all of that into one episode it would almost be undigest-able and the series would have gotten boring. the arcs were exciting and fresh. they were also VERY creepy and VERY gorey. if you have a faint heart or a weak constitution please dont watch!
ART 10: the art was absolutely beautiful! the colors, the drawing style, the animation, were all fantastic. first impressions are the most important and when i saw the first episode my mind was blown. it was fantastic!! the animation was very choppy at points for dramatic effect and such but as the series went on all of the jump cuts and such really didnt happen that much almost as if animation itself was going through time (because there is a time skip im going to assume the series takes place over a long period of time)
SOUND 10: sound is really important in animes like this because its a horror series so the ambient noises and music really have to be on point and in my opinion they were!! every creepy moment had eerie ambient noises in the background to fix perfectly. i was always on the edge of my seat watching this!! even the softer moments had the perfect soundtrack to it.
CHARACTERS 10: the medicine seller was displayed perfectly. the viewer really doesnt know much about him other than he is a humanoid with supernatural powers that doesnt seem to age that has the power to put mononoke to rest. we really dont know his back story and i think that fits the mysterious vibe of the anime. it really isnt even about him personally but him getting the mononoke. the supporting characters in each arc were great too! they all had their own personal stories to share and their own emotional burdens to work through. it was honestly amazing how the animators and producers packed so much into something so short
ENJOYMENT 10: i loved it. i loved the topics. i loved feeling uneasy. i loved the jump scares. i loved the characters. i loved the music. i loved the animation. i loved the color scheme. i loved the concept. i loved what time it took place. i loved the historical significance of the mononoke. i loved he idea of the arcs. i loved it all. i finished the series in like 3 hours because i was watching the episodes back to back. i never got bored or tired or anxious for something exciting to happen.
OVERALL 10: i loved it. i want everyone on earth to at least see the first episode. it was so captivating you have no idea!!! I LOVED IT!! read more
― Edgar Allan Poe
The story of Mononoke revolves around a nameless medicine peddler who wanders around feudal Japan in order to exorcise evil spirits formed from the souls of the living or nonliving, called mononoke. The 12 episode series is separated into short 2-3 episode arcs, each focusing on one of the medicine peddler’s encounter with a Mononoke. In order to exorcise a mononoke the medicine peddler must draw the sword of exoticism but in order to do so the peddler must first find the spirit’s form, truth and regret. Through this formula we get to see the story behind each individual mononoke as well as the people that it haunts.
What I found most unique about the stories are the way they are told, the pace is consistently slow allowing viewers to get engaged in the anime’s ambiance. The anime also utilizes some horror elements to complement its tone, and by horror I don’t mean gore or jump scares but rather the more traditional type of horror in which tension, the fear of the unknown, and the uncanny are used to give one goosebumps.These horror elements flow well with the overall feel of the show and serve to complement it as a whole.
Mononoke’s story can be vary ambiguous at times as we never learn the history behind the medicine peddler or his sword of exorcism. I strongly feel its better this way as knowing the background of the peddler and his sword would ruin some of the mysterious charm this title has. The ambiguous aspects of this title feel planned out and intended rather than the result of lazy writing or time restraints.
Each arc typically ends with some sort of ingenious twist that gives off a strong impact and makes way for some rather cathartic moments. The anime never chooses to take the lazy route in terms of story and always leaves the viewer with some peace of mind.
The characters in Mononoke are particularly well done, the medicine peddler is as I previously mentioned is shrouded in mystery. The peddler shows very little emotions throughout the series and during a lot of the segments sinks into the background as the story tells itself. Despite being passive at times the peddler does take action when necessary, acting as a catalyst and arbitrator for the events of every individual arc. Whenever the peddler does act or speak his words and actions have a lot of weight behind them, this is due to his otherwise passive personality as well as the spectacular voice acting done by Takahiro Sakurai who slowly and carefully utters each line. In spite of his otherwise emotionless nature the peddler does exhibit a lot of personality as he constantly makes somewhat snarky deadpan remarks at the other characters. All around the medicine peddler fills his role very well.
The supporting cast in this anime changes each arc, the only recurring character being the medicine peddler, in other words every 2-3 episodes the entire cast is overhauled meaning there is very little time to flesh out or characterize everyone, luckily Mononoke manages to characterize its entire cast without relying on tropes and cliches or just leaving characters complete up to the viewer’s interpretation.
Most of the characterization in Mononoke is fairly subtle and is done through facial expressions as well as very short interactions, these help foreshadow character motivations and give the cast a bit of personality. Mononoke’s cast behave in a very raw and emotional way due to the influence of the spirits haunting them, causing them to express character traits that they may have kept hidden otherwise due to a state of panic and paranoia.
Mononoke was animated by studio Toei Animation and they did a spectacular job! The entirety of the anime looks as though it is on an old piece of parchment and uses a classic eastern style which fits heavily with tone and feudal Japanese setting. The design choice works wonders and helps immerse the viewer in the world of Mononoke. The anime also features very colorful and vibrant backgrounds which complement its abstract nature, these backgrounds are plentiful and beautifully crafted, and Mononoke also utilizes a variety of different camera shots and angels in order to better portray the emotions of the characters, creating a strong sense of tension. The transitions between scenes is perfectly handled using an amalgamation of different methods rather than just cutting from one shot to another. Lastly the animation itself is extremely fluent and consistent, especially during actions scenes where Toei Animation show off their true potential via some of the most vivid and sharp animation I have ever witnessed in a 12 episode TV anime.
Mononoke's soundtrack fits perfectly with the anime's tone, alternating between heavy tense tracks and more somber ambiance pieces in order to flow with the events of the anime, the music in this title really pulls you into the bizarre and abstract events caused by the mononoke, no song on the OST ever feels out of place, making Mononoke's soundtrack one that works to enhance the all around experience of the anime.
All around Mononoke offers a unique and fulfilling experience through its skillful storytelling and brilliant animation, I highly recommend this anime to anyone who enjoys gorgeous animation and brilliant direction. read more
This anime is truly something on an entirely different level. No silly, it’s not Princess Mononoke from Studio Ghibli, it’s on a different spectrum of anime! Mononoke is harrowing, scary, intense and one of the best visual experiences I’ve ever seen. I’m going to have trouble explaining it, because honestly, even after a week has passed since I’ve seen it, I still can’t make out what the heck I just watched.
Before I even begin, Mononoke follows the tales of someone called the Medicine Seller and yes, that’s the only name we’re ever given throughout the 12 episodes, he sells medicine, buuuut not at all. The format of Mononoke mimics that of Mushishi and even the Medicine Seller reminds me of Ginko. It’s not episodic, it’s more like…. Arc-based, some arcs last two episodes, others last three, so I can’t call this format of anime episodic at all. Medicine Seller travels to places where he believes Mononoke reside in, similar to how Ginko travels the world and helps out people with Mushishi problems; though the stark difference is that with Ginko, we sort of have an idea about the resounding world, in Mononoke however, Medicine Seller just appears at these places (As in, the episode already starts with events in motion).
So Medicine Seller is a Ginko type of person and the world isn’t really explained. On top of all this the Medicine Seller himself is rather strange, he chooses his words extremely carefully, to the point of only saying a few phrases, at most a couple paragraphs an episode, honestly, the guy just doesn’t talk much. He’s also unfazed by the events that occur around him and it’s… so bad ass. The way he reacts to things is just astounding. So he’s not really a Medicine Seller, in-fact he seems hell-bent on destroying Mononoke (I’ll get to it in a moment, I promise!!), but for good reason. Mononoke, from what I was able to comprehend, are Ayakashi that have latched onto a human emotion…. or rather, a specific emotion that is incredibly strong, like deep hatred, regret and things like that (all dark emotions). Now the Ayakashi, from what I was able to understand, are like demons, they’re powerful, similar to gods, but not quite. Mononoke on the other hand are like Ayakashi, since they emerge from them, but they are considered god-like and could be considered above gods in power. Now not all Ayakashi are evil creatures, in-fact we meet one in the 2nd arc that starts on Episode 3, but…. Well I’ll let you experience that harrowing event.
What’s even more interesting about this Medicine Seller is what he carries around with him, it’s like a huge Medicine cabinet, but one of its’ contents is a sword; more specifically the Sword of Exorcism; now this sword is super crazy, it requires three things about the Mononoke, its’ true form, its’ regret and its’ truth, once all these things are known, the sword will unleash itself from its’ own sheath and honestly…. what happens when all those things are known, the way the sword looks, I’ll just leave that for all you to witness and experience because it’s craaaaazy. I was going to screen cap what happens to the Medicine Seller when these events occur, but that’s a spoiler and should totally be experienced naturally without spoilers. It’s not even explained what happens, the sword and the Medicine Seller; don’t expect to know what the heck is going on, which is quite a shame because it would probably be mind shattering material.
Now the stories within Mononoke are……uhm…… I can’t even describe them. At first I thought they were Japanese legends or Japanese mythology or something, but doing some quick Google-fu, not much comes up. Like… I mean I was blown away at the contents that I witnessed. The first arc throws you into the world fast, the 2nd arc does some more exposition, but not enough at all and the consequent arcs just go crazier and crazier, I would honestly expect no one to really know what’s going on. It looks like there are manga for this anime too, but I’m unsure if things are better explained there too. It’s not just the crazy stories, it’s how they’re solved/handled, now of course the Medicine Seller kills the Mononoke and he is 100% unfazed by the events; but he’s not that important, it’s the supports. These people have no idea what’s going on and the way they’re shown to us, eyes moving sporadically, shivering, gasping for air because of shock, sweat pouring down their faces, shivering in place, crying uncontrollably, it’s harrowing, it’s so ridiculous and I had full-body goose bumps throughout the entire anime, it gets even crazier and then my eyes tear up, like…. What did I just watch? I had my brother watch the first arc……… he came back with the biggest what the heck face in the world and that seems to be the norm.
Now one of the best things about Mononoke is the absolutely insane art style it uses; it’s drawn on what appears to be Rice Paper (not my words, my brother thinks this is the case). It’s super unique because you can actually see the grains on the paper, like it looks hand-made and things. The colors are wild and the animation to go along with it is just as insane. Things like the snow and wind and rain are animated differently than you would expect. They’re not realistically depicted in Mononoke, instead they’re visualized in a way that you wouldn’t ever expect; rain doesn’t fall down straight, it goes down, wind blows a droplet so it takes a 90 degree turn to a new position and then continues to fall towards the ground, snow looks bizarre, the wind is visualized as air streaks accompanied by flowers; it’s beautiful, but it has this Mononoke darkness looming over it. I normally don’t do this, but I feel like I should when I talk about art styles, I’ll have a few samples from Episode 3 below, to show off what I mean about this insane style for art, it’s jaw dropping-ly good and 100% the most unique type of art I have ever seen, like… ever.
The music in Mononoke is…. well it’s what you’d expect from an anime that has an arc about …. Ahhh I wish I could tell you. It’s spine tingly good, it’s somber and dark, but somewhat soothing and smooth. The instruments, the overall choreography of the music and the animation/scenes that we witness, it aligns so freaking well. I have no words, expect the sound design in Mononoke to send chills up your spine, I’m almost positive it will happen. The OP is good, but it’s the ED I really like; I’ll just leave a link of the ED here for you all to listen =).
I was told about Mononoke a long while ago about an anime that was different from anything else, so off base from what you’d ever watch and honestly, it is just crazy. From what I can tell, (thank you Wikipedia), Mononoke is a spin off series from a horror series titled Ayakashi: Samurai Horror Tales, and after watching Mononoke, I’m pretty sure I need to watch this one too. I will tell you right now, your head will spin trying to understand what’s going on with the story, but watching some of the earlier episodes again, Mononoke has so much detail in the words and backgrounds and actions of the characters that if you really pay attention, you might be able to figure out the plots really early on, but honestly, you’ll be caught off-guard and stay off-guard. It’s beautiful, it’s ridiculous and it is by far a most definite must watch for people looking for something not moe, not cute, no lolis and something rather serious. (Just watch something happy and cute after this)
NOTE: Holy crap, I didn’t research the word Ayakashi until just now….. it is based on Japanese Mythology and…. yeah supernatural monsters and things, so holy crap at that.
Ok, so it’s not like Die Hard at all then. Well, actually...
They both involve antagonists, usually out to terrorize or for revenge, who force the hero to hole themselves up in an interior location with troublesome civilians, while using their wits and skills to battle to an explosive and emotional resolution. See?
Here's where Mononoke carves itself an identity to make itself stand out from John McClane’s frolics with Euro-trash in cramped quarters: (we're all ignoring the 4th instalment, right?)
Mononoke is a visual splatter of psychedelic imagery that's like the creation of a prodigious savant child born from Stanley Kubrick, or Darren Aronofsky, take your pick. The colours just jump out at you no matter where the scene is or what's occurring, they're alive and part of the narrative.
A narrative that’s kept lively through snappy editing. Scene and shot transitions flow, snake, and leap all over the place, using every cinematic method available. There's even flip-book mimickery; character reactions told through pages turning one after another furiously, for no reason other than to jar the viewer and emphasise the stark dialogue being delivered.
Our hero, the medicine seller with ears from Middle-earth, surely has stark delivery. Only willing to speak when he has a reason to, if only more anime characters were like this. There's no filler to be seen in this show, whether it's absent from the dialogue or story.
But for a show so dependant on scaring the viewer witless through bizarre imagery, narrative coherency isn’t so important, mood is. The use of colour is actually a really smart way to affect our mood, because scenes that are so bright and vivid actually work in a way that you wouldn’t expect.
"Why am I getting freaked out by this empty room, even though it’s decorated so colourfully? Oh wait, because Yasaharu Takanashi's score is making creepy noises and I thought I just saw an Oompa Loompa in that corner for a moment but it must have been my imagination..."
The set-up to each story arc is eerie, the climax visceral, and the resolution always emotional. Mononoke is a brilliantly written, edited, and directed Edo-period-and-beyond horror that is inspiring in its design and delivery.
12 episodes. One medicine seller. The odds are against Kusuriuri. That’s just the way he likes it. read more
The team at Toei Animation accomplished something quite unique - they brought a painting to life. The stationary, ever-present texture of marbled paper, reinforces the illusion of a canvas across which the characters move, in all their watercolour glory, somewhat reminiscent of Ukiyo-e prints. The art is highly stylised with its unique character design and rich, breathtaking backgrounds. This visual feast should be savoured and experienced again - it's hard to soak in every detail, particularly if you have to read the subtitles at the same time.
Perhaps having a peculiar taste for darker stories, where the horror is implied rather than shown, here paired together with exceptional style of the animation enabled me to tremendously enjoy this series. And, hence the high scores I gave. read more
Let's look at it in another light. I myself am quite neutral to such things, but I can understand when the constant barrage of mediocre sameness can get... Tiring..... Mononoke is simply wonderful, for how it manages to be scary, calming, thoughtful, disturbing and artistic without ever seeming forced.
The series is composed into several short tales. The takes consist of the curious Medicine Seller, an intriguing man who for the most part, lies in much mystery, and who carries a sword, something only Samurais do during the time period he is in. If you are expecting to have in depth back story for this character, then you will be sad to find that there really isn't any. To the characters credit, however, they are themselves quite fascinating, and that air of mystery surrounding the character does work more for them then against, as much as I would have liked to know more about such a person.
The main characters in each tale, however, will have enough back story covered for them to give then a motive and a reason for what they have done and are doing. The stories have a theme going through them, in a sense that the Medicine Seller has to get rid of demons, essentially, in a certain way. He cannot go in and kill them straight out with his sword. He must find answers to certain driving forces before he has the ability to use his weapon. This mechanic is essentially the driving narrative of the show, helping us explore the characters and what is happening around them.
Now, onto the driving visuals for the show, as it were...It just looks.... So.... Stunning! Have you ever seen chiyogami paper? Those incredibly colorful sheets full of intricate patterns, high detail, and have a variety of designs to show? Do a google search, I insist. The show doesn't hold back at all in coloring its peculiar eastern folklore inspired world with as much style as it can do. This even extends to the characters, as most everyone besides the Medicine Seller himself looks rather...Off. The protagonist himself is quite handsome in a way, especially when compared to everyone else. Whether this is a way to drive home the point that he is quite unusual, or that everyone else is rather odd is up to interpretation. He contrasts so much with everyone that he almost seems like he doesn't fit into the show, which helps contribute to the bizarre feel of the series.
The music fits the atmosphere perfectly to what is happening at a given moment. It is gentle when needs to be, and thunderous when required. The opening is both fitting to the feel of the show and somehow feels not quite right. Give it a few listens and decide yourself.
The animation itself is quite good. While you won't be seeing the most amazing action sequences and such, it can boost it up when it really needs to, and the amazing style really helps in this department. You'll be going back to some scenes again because you had missed something previously.
The biggest complaint I really have for the show is that...It isn't long enough! Honestly, it is a shame that such a wonderful anime only gets a mere 12 episodes. This would seem more fitting for a 20-ish series, and even an average of a 50 ish episode anime wouldn't be a bad choice, considering that the show can do so much with the creativity it has available to it. I will admit that this show would not be to everyones tastes, however, so as usual, the most profitable audience is the every person audience, something that this show isn't likely to garner to. A minor complaint is never finding out much about our intelligent...Protagonist. The Medecine Seller is a good blend of calm, humorous and observing. The things he can do is also worth a look into, and to what exactly he is. Due to the short nature of the show, it doesn't feel like we got...Burned, as it were. The mystery of him does add to the intrigue, after all.
This series receives a marvelous score of 9. Watch it when you can, and buy it if possible. If more people discover this secretive jewel of the anime world, perhaps more people would open up to the possibilities of anime being an excellent storytelling medium.
The first thing that'll stand out when you look at Mononoke is the art. I'm not going to mince words: Mononoke is the best-looking animated show I have ever seen. The art is styled after traditional Japanese art, which means it's brightly colored, detailed, and everything feels kind of flat. I can't say enough about how amazingly gorgeous the art and color is in this series. It's used to maximum effect too, because the series is filled with all kinds of surreal visuals to let the art really stretch out.
Conceptually, Mononoke could be thought of as a really sinister version of Mushishi: The Medicine Seller shows up at a place and deals with some sort of haunting by a spirit, a Mononoke. Whereas Mushishi trades in a sense of tranquility though, Mononoke is effectively a horror mystery series. In order to exorcise a Mononoke, the Medicine Seller needs to figure out the spirit's Form (what it is), Truth (why it's here), and Regret (what it wants). Of course these are always tied into the secrets of the people the Mononoke is haunting, so each episode is an attempt to figure out what bad thing the characters did that caused the Mononoke to show up in the first place. Sounds formulaic, but each arc (which consist of 2-3 episodes) puts a new spin on the search for truth, and the show never repeats itself.
The only persistent character in Mononoke is the mysterious Medicine Seller. A strange fellow who looks like a Final Fantasy character in the middle of feudal Japan, he's... uh... enigmatic. He's also kind of an asshole. Unlike Ginko in Mushishi, The Medicine Seller isn't really made out to be a truly sympathetic or relatable character. He's mysterious and sinister, and it frequently seems like he cares more about vanquishing the Mononoke than the safety of anyone involved. Not to mention everything about him is left up to interpretation, there's no expanding on his character or history at all, although his personality does get some subtle development (such as in the Incense arc when he reveals a bit of a sense of humor). This isn't really a criticism though, he just plays a different role in the story than you might expect.
All of the other characters only show up for an arc, but they tend to be well-developed. After all, the stories pretty much all concern the character's histories and actions, so it's natural they'd be pretty well developed. They also tend to be the more relatable characters for the audience. They're the ones who are confused and freaked out by all the scary stuff going down, while the Medicine Seller remains constantly cool and mysterious.
The music is pretty nice, although there's not that much in the show itself. The opening is a nice piece that's less ominous than you might expect, and the ending is a fairly typical ending ballad sort of thing. What really does stand out though is that the sound itself is absolutely fantastic. Visually, Mononoke isn't actually that creepy. Oh sure it has it's moments, but an enormous amount of the tension comes from the sound design. When the creepy ambient noises pipe up you know something creepy's gonna happen. Or maybe not? When's it gonna happen? Tension!
Mononoke is an absolutely outstanding series, and definitely a new favorite of mine. The stories are great and the art is dazzling. It's not for everyone, some might be put off by the slow pace, but it really is a great show. read more
The strength of this show is the stories so I'll start with that. As much as I like an over-arching storyline all five of the stories in this show were memorable and strong stories on their own part. Each story is given enough to flesh out character motives and back story while also giving us quite a great deal of action when in reality they are only ever move into a few rooms. For a Japanese-style ghost story collection it requires not a lot of knowledge of Japanese culture, which makes it more accessible. (Just maybe wiki Genji Monogatari before watching the Nue episodes.) All the stories are well-paced and have satisfying conclusions. The only one I can think of which perhaps I did not enjoy as much as the rest would have to be the Sea Monster one. But even then I was fascinated by the concept of the hollow boats and the fact that one of the supposedly one-shot characters actually questioned the Medicine Seller's motives. This is probably just me being hard on it because I loved the rest so much (particularly the first and the last one.) (9)
The sound design of this show is very well done. In short, it replaces any type of body horror they could show, and somehow that is more creepy than actually showing it. For example, in episode two at an especially creepy moment, not to get too far into spoilers, they show cracked daruma dolls and strips of cloth. That image itself is not scary, symbolic, but no enough to get goosebumps over. However, with the sounds that go on during that sequence you actually feel violated in a way because even if it is just symbolic representation on screen the noise is enough to make you not want to look. (9)
It's a shame though, if you close your eyes. The art style for this show is very unique and the sheer amount of detail they put into their backgrounds is lovely. This show is probably one of the most screencap-able ones as it is fashioned to look like a painting in every frame. Also, symbolic representation is something you don't see very much in anime nowadays. My only complaint is that sometimes the characters look a little, shall we say .. off? Sometimes facial features aren't consistent and there are these odd rare cases where the characters move a little unnaturally especially in the mouth without any reason in the story to do so. It can be a little jarring, but it doesn't happen often. But, when this anime does movement well, they do it very well. I remember being really taken with is one shot of the Medicine Seller's feet while he's running through a train car on geta. (8)
As mentioned before, the real strength of this show lies in it's strong writing and atmosphere. When you are not being simultaneously dazzled and confused by the imagery, the sound is genuinely creepy (and well timed with the animation, I might add) but there is also our main character who is, in his own respects, unsettling as well, right down to the way he delivers each line. He has this genuinely odd habit of making long unnatural pauses in the middle of each sentence. His features are quite demonic even compared with the most unattractive members of the cast and his clothes aren't like what the rest of the cast wears. (Given, he does make a comment about this in one of the episodes but that was mainly to explain why he was dressed like that in that time period.) The only problem in the character department is that, given the format of the show, it can only develop a character other than the protagonist for a certain period of time. But they do do a good job with the time they have with these characters as finding out what their motivations are is essential to each of the plots. But, because the show needs to keep the protagonist enigmatic, they cannot have just one big episode where they explain his back story like so many other animes feel they need to do. While we don't have to sit through a long back story session, I do feel a little disappointed that we don't learn more about the Medicine Seller because he is, in fact, that mysterious. (7)
My enjoyment (10)
Objective score overall (8.5/10)
I'd recommend this show to, well, anyone actually. Even those who are not considered 'anime fans'. Mononoke is Japanese horror storytelling at it's finest. With impressive art and sound direction and the strength of the writing to tell very Japanese tales without having to have a PhD in Asian studies. Whether it's for unique eye-candy or for the simple pursuit of a summer ghost story, it's a good watch. read more
The art is, by far, the most impressive part of this series. An explosion of colour that reminds us of the artistical epitome of ancient Japan, intelligent use of mixed media and a careful design for each theme make of Mononoke a treat for our eyes. Each detail is worth of admiration, like a painting in motion. The animation is simply superb, constantly adapting to the new styles and themes that are used for each story.
The characters end up being a part of their background, in an almost absolute bidemensional existance. However, they are still highly detailed, especially considering all the intricate patterns of clothing and body styling that decorate their personality.
In continuation, the characters may be well designed in visual terms, but what makes this all unique is the way they were made emotionally. Each character has a distinct existance, even though some of them appear in later occasions. The characters of each art are truly dependable on the story they belong to, but would still make sense as indivituals outside of it. However, the astounding element from this crowd is the main and recurring character, Kusuriuri. Unnamed, unrevealed and, from the beggining to the end, an unknown creature. This mysterious man is the tool that makes the anime go further, within the same stories and from story to story. He does not have any kind of characterization however he appears to the viewer as the most palpable of characters. For some reason, he steps from an (eventual) imaginary or mistic being to someone that exists.
Kusuriuri, the mysterious medicine seller, moves from arc to arc solving strange occurances that assault the other characters. The only thing common between all of this is that every problem is provoked by a monster, a phantom or a spirit, something created to specifically haunt that group of people. As he discovers more about the occurances, the events behind the appearance of the haunting unveil themselves. And the result is, most of the times, something of extreme beauty. The narration is very basic in the sense that characters reveal their actions and the chronology of the story, but each story is treated with so much care that even the most simple event is turned into poetry.
The Opening theme and the Ending theme are less than memorable. However what marks Mononoke is not the music, but the sound. The use of the correct effects at the right moments give an effect of mistery and fear. In a sense, it may be inspired in kabuki plays*. It is original in this sense but, otherwise, rather average.
A series of amazing tales that touch every theme of the Japanese folklore, leaded by one of the greatest characters ever created and crowned by a truly original art. A masterpiece in artistic terms. Watching Mononoke is like reading a poem from the Heian time: small, sometimes even simple, but so rich in detail that we can't help to "let the dew wet our sleeves"
The artwork is traditionally exotic and breath taking. The story is very analytical and psychological. The music is excellent too. However if more info about the protagonist should be revealed.
Must watch for horror fans.
Let's start from the beginning, the story. Being composed of five arcs, the anime doesn't really connect any of them, the main character appart, which is quite unique. The style changes from arc to arc, some of them are more disturbing, others are more laughable. The last one, however, has kind of an "end". And this is what made me give not a 10, but a 9 to the story.
If everything was so perfect and unconnected, why put an "end" to it? Let we tell ourselvesl the story continues forever! >_<
Now the art... Well, this anime's art is what I can really call Art! It isn't common, not at all, so if you like the traditional anime art, you won't like this. If you have a taste for something more artistic and unique, you'll probably love it as much as I did.
For the sound. It's perectly synched and everything. The sound AND the very lack of sound put you really in the mood of the anime. The voice acting is great, featuring some well-known guys, but what caught my attention was the fact that every voice in the anime fits it's character. Every single one. The voice of the main character is EPIC, it makes him too smexy. I'm saying this and I'm a guy, this character was really something.
Well, for the characters, I already said much about Mr. Medicine Seller, the mc of the show. He is misterious, sexy, has a sexy voice, and is very sarcastic. The other characters are perfect for their purpose: make the viewer feel sick of humanity. Almost every human in the series is particularly disgusting, what leads the viewer to feel pity for the Mononoke's fate, generally.
Enjoyment? I watched the whole series in a row, in one night, and wasn't bored for a second. I even wanted more, in fact, I need more right now, so I'll end this review and search for some similar stuff.
PrinceArthas read more