Masahiro is the grandson of the great onmyouji, Abe no Seimei. However, he lost his sixth sense that enables him to see supernatural beings, which is very important for an onmyouji. Thus, he is left with no choice but to try and pick a different career. But one day, a strange mononoke appears, which he names Mokkun, who shows him his true potential powers after fighting a demon. With the assistance of Mokkun, his quest to become the greatest onmyouji begins.
My love for ancient Japan and Japanese mythology got me into yet another great anime. Onmyouji is even in the title; obviously, I couldn't go past it.
"If that is your wish, then I will break my heart for the sake of that wish, and I will lend you my strength. This is why I am by your side."
The story is set in Heian period of ancient Japan. It follows Abe no Masahiro (Abe no Seimei's grandson), a young onmyouji in training. Accompanied by his guardian and partner Guren, a powerful shikigami, Masahiro faces off against different mononoke that disturb the peace of the city.
The anime is divided into two main stories, which are the adaptation of the first two arcs of the original light novel. The transition between the arcs, however, is done very smoothly, and there is no obvious 'break' point -- the story flows naturally throughout the entire twenty six episodes.
Though some may see it as a comedy at first glance, Shounen Onmyouji gradually develops into a serious drama with gentle romantic subplot that touches upon some of the very important points -- like understanding and acceptance of others, forgiveness, and the search for one's true place in the world. There is also enough comic relief, provided very cleverly and only at appropriate times, to give the partially light-hearted atmosphere and to help the story stay serious without crossing the line and becoming depressing.
While the anime only covers the first two arcs of the novel and obviously doesn't show the entire story, it definitely does not look cut off or unfinished. There is room for discussion after the final episode, but an overall feeling of completeness is present.
Shounen Onmyouji has a very diverse line-up of unique characters. Each of them has individuality and different ideals, and neither of them are stereotypical or boring. Their interactions with each other, as well as their inner struggles, are interesting to observe. They are all portrayed very realistically in their behavior; it's easy to relate to them and to see that all beings feel sorrow and happiness equally, be they human, youkai, or shikigami.
Most of the story is focused around Masahiro and Guren, as well as their bond with each other. Masahiro is constantly troubled with being compared to his grandfather, and strives to work his hardest to become a better or at least an equal onmyouji, so that people would see him as an individual named Masahiro and not just "Seimei's grandson". I was very impressed with Masahiro and his determination, and how far he was willing to push himself in order to achieve that place where he can belong while being himself.
The second main character is Guren, Masahiro's guardian who accompanies him everywhere. Although he will not easily admit it, Guren is very attached to Masahiro and is grateful for the 'light' that he brought to his heart. While appearing to be carefree in nature and acting rather silly most of the time (even taking on a form of a small white mononoke when his true powers are not needed), Guren is in a constant battle with himself and his tragic past. He is very strict with himself and takes a lot of responsibility for his actions, which makes it difficult for him to forgive himself and move on.
The two of them depend greatly on each other's support and their bond gets deeper as the series progresses. Masahiro helps to set Guren free from the burden of his past, while Guren always supports Masahiro on his way to becoming a successful onmyouji. Their story, their friendship is very heartwarming and touching.
The reason I had to take a point off is that even though there are many interesting characters, some of them remain in the shadows or only show up for a couple minutes in the entire series. I am talking specifically about the twelve shikigami. Some of them were explored in greater detail, but most of them were just 'there' and left me wondering about many things, especially their reasons for serving Seimei and staying loyal to him for so long. I understand that the anime only shows the first bit of the full story, but as a full-fledged complete TV series with no sequel in sight, they should have either given brief background information on each of the shikigami, or not have shown some of them at all. I was especially upset about the two shikigami (I can only logically guess that they were shikigami) appearing in the final episode, whose names were not even mentioned.
The art style is very different from the original novel illustrations, but that does not make it any less beautiful. I loved all the character designs, of both human and non-human characters. The contrast between Guren's mononoke and shikigami form was very distinct: Mokkun is small, cute, and childish, while Touda looks strong and mature, with a god-like aura around him; this portrayed his personality well. I especially liked the clothes designs for the twelve shikigami; it made them stand out among all the other characters. The little youkai that Masahiro kept interacting with were adorable and very expressive.
The opening animation was exceptionally well done, especially the scenes of shikigami introductions, as well as the scene where Masahiro and Guren reach out to take each other's hand during the line "I will not let go of that hand again" -- it was coordinated perfectly with the song. I also liked the idea of using colored illustrations from the novels as the insert images during the half-episode break points. Overall, the art and animation section gets full marks from me, for memorable designs and originality.
The music accompaniment was perfect for this anime. The sad scenes, the happy scenes, the scenes of relief, the feeling and the overall effect were enhanced with background sound. I especially loved the opening song; it went very well with the animation, and the lyrics were suitable for the story. Using Masahiro's character song as the final ending was a nice choice as well.
Shounen Onmyouji is apparently one of those stories that somehow adapt from a shoujo novel/manga into a shounen anime, at least according to some informational sites. I am not familiar with the light novel, but this anime is very difficult to categorize because it has a lot of elements from both shoujo and shounen.
Shounen Onmyouji is a 26-episode series from Studio DEEN, the noted creators of many great anime features. However, Shounen Onmyouji proves to be the exception to the norm, and if you read this review, you'll know why.
First off, the story. The anime is set in the Heian period (794-1185) of ancient Japan. The Abe clan, long known as the most powerful spirit masters in the land, now have a new successor: Abe no Masahiro, a young boy who's destined to follow in the footsteps of his legendary grandfather, Abe no Seimei. But Masahiro wants to be more than just Seimei's grandson; he wants to make
a name for himself. Aided by the ayakashi (meaning 'beast' or 'creature') Mokkun, who is in actuality the Summoned Spirit Toda/Guren, Masahiro fights monsters and demons by night, gaining experience and saving people.
The character design of the anime is very good. Obviously, the character designers have done extensive research. The costumes worn by the characters are true to the spirit of the Heian, a period second only to the modern in terms of experimentation in fashion. The male characters'layered outfits, the female characters' lined layers of robes-all of these have clearly been painstakingly reproduced. Even the hair of the women has been created true to reality: in ancient times, long tresses were considered a sign of beauty. Fans of blue or pink hair will be disappointed completely.
That said, the rest of the anime fails miserably in its task. The conceptualisation is weak, the storyline is flaccid and hasty, and the whole series smacks of inattention.
The first few episodes excite. One expects great things from the young Masahiro as he shows obvious traits common to all great anime heroes. Like Ichigo, he has a moralistic streak that leaves him incapable of ruthlessness. Like Naruto, he has an irrepressible urge to prove himself. But as the series progresses, one finds his character softening, dissolving into something like a shoujo idol. The reasons for this softening are principally the addition of another (and completely useless) character, that of Princess Akiko.
Akiko's fault doesn't just lie there; she comes across as a complete damsel in distress-that, too, in the Western style. She doesn't contribute a single thing to the whole story (except perhaps as the hero's girl), yet the directors have given their love relationship a prime place. Six episodes are spent just preparing for this relationship. The whole scene then smacks of a bad B-grade romance, and whatever interest remains in the series slowly drains away.
The only thing one finds passably watchable in this series are the various gods or Summoned Spirits who are also main characters. They have blue and green hair in multitudes and wear clothes that would've been banned in Heian Japan, but that's what we like about them. Their interaction with the members of the Abe household, whom they are indentured to, as well as their all-too-human concern about the succession, make them likable characters. Even Toda, though some may find him mushy, comes across as a fine character, a model even for future characters.
The music is good, nicely enough crafted to hold attention and maybe-just maybe-to hit that download button under the link on that music download site. The opening track, Kaori Hikita's 'Egao no Wake' comes across as a nice song with nice, energetic beats and fluid vocals. Of the ending tracks, one likes Saori Kiuji's 'Yakusoku'. Though sung in a highly nasal tone of voice, the song's arrangement fits perfectly with an old tale or an ancient hero-chronicle.
Thus, overall, Shounen Onmyouji is not something I'd recommend everyone to watch. If you're starved for anime, or haven't seen it in a long while, then you can try it out. If you're a history buff, or need an idea of how people lived in the past, then this series is a definite must-watch. But to the general anime fan, I'd recommend something other than this.
The story is entertaining, with the drama elements and some attempts at humour. There's the typical ayakashi hunting episodes, and cute relationships that develop between the characters. The series has the potential to be better, but in the end tends to disappoint on that end, and just screams for a second season.
The character developments are alright, but I'd say the most developed was Mokkun (my fave) which was the principal point of interest to the whole series.
The songs weren't all that great, but somewhat tolerable in
Overall, it's a fairly good episode to enjoy on a rainy day, so to speak.
There's a pretty simple formula for knowing whether you will like this show or not. If you like shows like Inuyahsa or Tactics, then you will like Shounen Onmyouji. If you don't, well.....follow the train of though, here. So for me this show was 50/50 because I loved Tactics but I wasn't that crazy about Inuyasha. This show may not have Shikon Shards or a magical well to jump through but it basically takes place in the same era as Inuyahsa and there is a lot of talk about demons and demonic auras, miasma and also all the other aspects of Japanese mysticism and
there are a lot of great characters, all of which I loved! However, the downside [at least for me] is that it possesses the same kind of story flow like Inuyahsa which is too slow and too broad to fully capture without dedicating a lot of time and a lot of episodes to a near-infinite, ongoing manga.
I love the art style of this show. It may look standard but that's what I like about it. The characters and objects have a simple yet handsome look to them and are well-balanced and proportionate [you know what I mean, some anime makes their characters and objects too long or too thick?] The lines aren't too bold or heavy and the shading is regular if not, understated. It the whole aesthetic is neither too childish nor overly sophisticated but rather just clean look which is pleasing to the eye. sometimes the color range seems pretty limited and you can notice their repetition throughout several scenes...but I'm willing to overlook that.
CGI is used very well in this series for all the right scenes and special f/x making all the fight scenes very exciting and the use of their super-powers seem vivid and brilliant.
OK this time the English voice actors did not impress me. First off, Masahiro [the main guy, shounen onmyouji] is voiced by a woman [I'm pretty sure, they probably just tweaked it a little bit with some special sound F/X] she does an OK job as a teen-aged boy but no offense to her, but I would have preferred for it to have been a real boy, maybe like the guy who did DNAngel [Kevin Corn, who can do no wrong in my eyes]. Sometimes when Masahiro gets awkward the voice is too tough to listen to. It sounds like Pat, that character from SNL back in the day.
The person who plays Masahiro's love interest, Princess Akiko, her voice kinda grates on my nerves too, she kind of sounds like a total airhead from the valley sometimes [think: Hilary Banks from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air] and it just lacks that level of delicacy and refinement to play a Japanese princess.
And I totally dislike the fact that Mokkun's voice is female! The fact that Gurren is very much male and has such a masculine voice makes me irritated even more when he transforms in to that ferret/rabbit demon Mokkun with a female's voice. To me, it's like they are two very separate characters. They should have left Gurren's voice intact so that at least there exists a unifying element to remind us that they the same character. And since these 3 characters are main characters, they get a lot of airtime....and that's annoying!
As far as the music is concerned, both the OP and ED are forgettable. I mean they were nice to listen to for a while, like the first 3 episodes, but then I just skipped past that. It's nothing you would find yourself singing along with or wanting to buy the soundtrack.
The story...well, I wouldn't call it weak, but the plot momentum is pretty slow and it's very straightforward. The story is about a young exorcist monk named Masahiro who has an above average knack for seeing paranormal entities and therefore is able to combat and expel demons. He wants to be better than his grandfather who is supposedly "all that and a bag of chips" at least according to all the townspeople. Why I find the show similar to Tactics is probably because a large portion of the series is delivered in episodic fashion. Masahiro [Like Kentarou from Tactics] is an onmyouji and along with his little ferret-mononoke sidekick, Mokkun, they basically goes around town vanquishing demons and such for the better part of 15 or so episodes all the while. Also like in Tactics, the protagonist's companion in this case, Mokkun/Gurren is harboring some burdensome and tragic secret from his past.
However this anime's biggest flaw is the same flaw that hit Inuyasha. The manga is bigger and much more developed than the anime could ever hope to accomplish. The characters took too long to develop within the limited 26 episodes, I don't even think all 12 Shikigami even made an appearance and of those that did, a lot of them had ill-defined personalities. Oh, and the budding romance between the two principal characters? Forgeddaboutit! The same thing happened with Inuyahsa and Kagome, it fizzled.
This is one of those shows where you do not even have to read the manga, much less know of it's existence, to see that the pace isn't right for a 26 episode series. Well I guess for the two arcs that they were able to show the story was alright. It's pretty cut and dry though and they do try to add a little spice by throwing in a couple of “plot twists” and “tragic revelations” but for the most part, even those were pretty predictable and added little depth to the story. That said, it's still a pretty good story and a fun anime to watch, there are bits of comedy throughout and since it does not run on pointlessly forever like Inuyahsa did, this show is a lot more tolerable.
I'm not going to even lie about the fact that it's the “bishounen factor” that led me to select this title....same reason I watched Tactics, I mean who doesn't like demon-hunting, spirit-vanquishing bishounen! And there are loads of them, large enough for any number of fun, slashable pairing configurations! Most of them are Spirit Warriors – Shikigami – that assist Masahiro, eventho technically their allegiance is to his grandfather.
My favorite by far is Gurren, who is the alter-ego to that mongoose-looking mononoke, Mokkun. Gurren is a rather tall and striking looking character with a very deep tan, fire-red shaggy hair and goldish colored eyes. Most of the bishounen have the same kind of facial shape and structure and so they are all very good-looking but Gurren stands out to be probably due to his coloring. Many people may also like him because he is the Shikigami that controls fire which has a lot of cool F/X!
Another character I really liked was Rikugou because he is one of those characters that say very little and is not very emotional [I love those types of characters]. He is very trusting and very faithful he just silently follows Masahiro or his grandfather [Seimei] around with little questioning or complaints. He also has a very nice design, he is very tall and narrow-waisted with long brown hair going to the backs of his knees. He frequently wears a cloak and carries a lance or trident which I think is cool.
But like I said there are a lot of characters and each one of them have a unique look to them and is very attractive...even the Seimei in his young form and mountain goddess [Takao] are pretty hot looking.
It's an OK anime to watch for what it is, the characters are gorgeous but the story [at least as far as the anime is concerned] is a bit anti-climactic. The only point to watching this anime is to serve as a prelude to reading the manga...which I won't.