The start of Hanae Ashiya's high school career has not been easy—he has spent all of the first week in the infirmary, and his inexplicable condition is only getting worse. The cause of his torment is the mysterious fuzzy creature that has attached itself to him ever since he stumbled upon it the day before school began.
As his health continues to decline and the creature grows in size, Hanae comes across a flyer advertising an exorcist who expels youkai. Desperate and with nothing left to lose, he calls the number and is led to the Mononokean, a tea room which suddenly appears next to the infirmary. A morose-sounding man, Haruitsuki Abeno, reluctantly helps Hanae but demands payment afterward. Much to Hanae's dismay, he cannot afford the fee and must become an employee at the Mononokean to work off his debt. And to make things worse, his new boss is actually one of his classmates. If Hanae ever hopes to settle his debt, he must work together with Abeno to guide a variety of dangerous, strange, and interesting youkai back to the Underworld.
The Morose Mononokean is certainly a hidden gem from this Summer 2016 season as I unfortunately made the mistake of overlooking it. If you’re a comedy fan, then this show would be a treat for you with its crude humour and running gags that are recurring throughout. Although, it did turn less comedic in the later half when things take a more serious turn to them.
Youkai, youkai, and even more youkai. These supernatural creatures are often viewed in a negative light in the anime medium, when numerous shows are based on the fact of exterminating them before they cause harm to us humans. Ashiya Hanae,
the main character gets possessed by a fuzzy and white youkai on his way to his high school’s opening ceremony. This youkai is persistent on not leaving his side as its clings for dear life on his body, which in turn affects his mental state causing him to have severe depression as a result. This illness of sorts has left him recuperating in the nurse’s office, hence fellow students giving him the nickname of ‘Ashiya of the Nurse’s office’. He later seeks help through a notice board which leads him to his first meeting with Abeno Haruitsuki, who is more commonly known as the Master of the Mononokean.
The Mononokean is strangely a very large youkai in the form of a traditional Japanese tea ceremony room. The interior is fitted with all the tatami mats and other furniture making it look genuinely authentic. The best part for me personally is how the Mononokean communicates to its master and other guests, through the use of a wall scroll that hangs vertically on the wall. The Mononokean isn’t just some regular youkai guaranteed to give an answer every time but rather offers guidance to the inexperienced Hanae, who isn’t well versed with the world of youkais when he gets hired. The youkais mainly reside in the ‘Underworld’ which does not resemble anything like Hell or Purgatory for that matter. Although some youkai are prevented from returning to their homeland, as they have lingering regrets from their time in the ‘Mundane World’. The process of youkai being transferred to the Underworld is called exorcism which makes sense as they are getting rid of them from the Mundane world.
The series for the majority does follow an episodic structure as each episode involves dealing with a youkai (in the Mundane) with its unique set of problems. The show is paced very nicely to give us a brief but sufficient background on each client that arrives in the Mononokean. However, I am more intrigued in the events of the Underworld when part-timer Hanae makes his first visit alongside Haruitsuki to get some medicine. The Underworld is a place that is run by three powerful individuals called the Legislator, Justice and the Executive. The Legislator is the only person who makes an appearance, as he is technically the superior for Haruitsuki who was granted his title by that authoritative figure. The Legislator is very much interested in small talk and is keen to be informed on all matters regarding the Mononokean. The series being one-cour means there isn’t enough time for extra details to be explored, which is a disappointment as I’ll have to read the manga afterwards.
The series benefits from having a small cast of main characters and supporting cast. Hanae as an individual will not let supernatural entities ruin his day by being determined to make his way to school, despite all the difficulties imposed on him. He is also coerced into helping Haruitsuki as his understudy due to the fact that he was saved by him in the first place. The outstanding bill is used as a threat against Hanae but he does not let that dissuade him from doing youkai work. Hanae is a very unselfish individual who prioritises the needs of others over himself, evident in the fact that he cures people out of thin air… the man is Jesus I tell you!
Haruitsuki is more of a stern individual who is not forgiving of blunders and other mistakes by Hanae, the man is a secret perfectionist I tell you. The title of being Master of the Mononokean has its own responsibilities and duties which are compulsory for him. The title makes him a revered and feared individual in the Underworld making him a celebrity of sorts, I wouldn’t mess with him at all costs. Haruitsuki in the Mundane world is an uneventful individual because the majority of time he is seen sleeping in class right behind Hanae. This is not the case across the barriers where he has plenty of associates and acquaintances who you could perhaps call friends. At the end of the day he is solely focused on his job to the best of his abilities.
The show does lack interesting characters as all you’ve got left afterwards are Zenko, fuzzball and Yahiko the mischievous fox. Zenko makes her appearance in her plea for help regarding her father’s condition laughing condition, who then makes frequent cameos alongside the main duo. Fuzzball is the youkai possessing Hanae from the start and is known to be quite the loyal friend, making him resemble a strong dog as the creature is reliable. Yahiko is known to be a childhood friend of Haruitsuki’s which is reflected in his behaviour of constantly wanting to be play all the time, as a result of nostalgia I guess. There are other characters as well but mostly everyone barring clients is there for comedic purposes.
The art style is very generic to begin with as it is a carbon copy of the manga’s character designs. The backgrounds used in the anime are very plain but is not the main focal point of the show. The lack of detail for both aspects may be down to budget as its barely average when compared to other series. However, the colour palette is wonderful to say the least, as it can be bright and vivid during cheerful times but dark and sombre during more downbeat scenes. The animation truth be told is not spectacular and once again is making the cut-off to what is acceptable. CGI animation is used to depict some of the youkai which can be very jarring to look at and looks misplaced at times which can be unsettling. This is probably the worst aspect of this show personally as even fuzzball is given the treatment despite being a miniscule thing in size.
The sound what can I say, has some exceptional voice actors for its main roles. We have the great Yuki Kaji voicing Hanae which to me is a treat every time, using his experience to play his character adequately. We also have Tomoaki Maeno giving us an exemplary job for voicing Haruitsuki which to me is a perfect match as it complements his demeanour. The best thing about this seiyuu duo is the fact they pulled off the ending for this show called Tobira no Mukou, which is another highlight. The background sound composition and OST by Morishita Hiroto wasn’t extraordinary but did not really have any memorable tracks that are worth mentioning.
To summarise, this is a nicely balanced show with a strong main duo combined with great comedy and the supernatural. You won’t be let down, I assure you.
This anime left a good impression on me. It was funny, adorable and even had a couple of feels here and there. While there were many ups about this show, there was a reason for me to only give it a 7 overall, which was mainly the story.
[MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS]
The story was not bad, but it definitely wasn't the best it could have been in my opinion. There wasn't a lot of plot, and it mainly only focused on the exorcism of Yokai, and Ashiya trying to regain his vision. However through story, lovely friendships were made and most of the Yokai were interesting and
I loved the art style in this one, especially when the main characters travel to the underworld. The colours were bright and appealing to the eye, it was a big plus for this show.
The soundtrack was lovely to listen to, consisting of harps and traditional Japanese music here and there. The OP and ED were catchy, and matched well with the show, and had me singing along with them.
I loved each character, both human and Yokai, they gave me a lot of joy while I watched this show.
This anime was very heartwarming, and left me happy after each episode. I would recommend it if you're looking for a show that makes you feel warm and fuzzy.... Speaking of Fuzzy, I want one now!
Hey folks, this will be a review for Fukigen na Mononokean. This show was like a poor love child of Noragami and Hoozuki no Reitetsu. I don't much recommend this show, unless you seen the other two and have an itch for a bit more.
The story revolves around a highschool boy, who on just before his first day of high school manages to get possessed by a youkai(more like infected by one). The youkai causes him distress and he tries to get it exercised. While this happens he learns of the youkai and about this world that he was before, unable to see. This exorcism
though costs a small fortune and he is forced to take on work with the exorcist to pay off his debt.
Much of the rest of the show follows the "walled off heart and uninhibited new person who through their actions heals the walled off heart character" trope. Most of the show is episodic. Situations arise, new guy does stupid new guy thing that we all learn lessons from, rinse and repeat. Aside from this there seemed to be an underlying plot of Abeno, Haruitsuki's (walled off heart guy), oddly enough there is no closure on this subject. Instead we get some silly drama surrounding Ashiya, Hanae(new person).
The art was nice, bright and colorful.
The characters were annoying. Well, the two main characters were. Ashiya, Hanae is overly emotional and quick to words that he cant really back up. Often early on relying on blind luck that Abeno is capable of doing some version of what he promises the youkai. Abeno is the opposite, he has little emotion and shows no interest in anyone but the youkai. They had to make these two characters so polarizing to make the underlying story work, but its crap and cheap. Instead of real character development we have to see two sides of an annoying coin bicker until Ashiya just does whatever the hell he wants.
The other characters were alright. Mostly they stayed in the background. Fujiwara, Zenko had a cool personality and I would have liked to see more of her but not much can be said about anyone else.
I didn't really enjoy the show that much. I absolutely loathed the show until about episode 5. A handful of episodes after that were decent but again its just a poorer version of two decent shows. Also this is not funny, shouldn't be labeled as a comedy. If your interested in the life of yaoki and want some comedy, you should check out Hoozuki no Reitetsu. If your interested in some semi dramatic and life changing relationship dynamics with some gods and demons and such then check out Noragami. All in all I would pass this one up. Its not unbearable, its just mediocre with enough missed potential and annoying characters its not worth the time.
That's a first : an anime that lacks so much confidence in its setting that it tries to lure you with yaoi bait. Which was absolutely meaningless (and useless, considering I'm pretty sure most people interested were more attracted by the youkai in the first place).
The thing is, this anime is quite enjoyable without it, so I can't get my head around the reasons (I mean reasons other than to satisfy excitable teenagers) that push the author to use yaoi as an audience trap.
Still, maybe that's all it was, and it's not preventing this anime to be an easy recommandation to anyone that just
don't care, because this anime will found its public from people who wants to learn more about the curious nature of yokai, humans and friendship, all in a soft pace.
Story 7/10 : Clearly not the strongest point, unless we get a 2nd season. For now, the story looks like a work in progress, a stage setting for the events to come. It's a pity because there is a lot of potential, but as it is, unexploited.
Art 7/10 : easy on the eye. And that's it. No originality there (not that it was necessary in the first place).
Sound 8/10 : there is some unexpected good work there. It's not really absolutely memorable, but somewhat "carefully craft", attentive to the details of the scene you're watching. Never off rhythm, never useless.
Character 6/10 : Here's the weakest point. Again, a work in progress issue : the anime was just not given enough time to grant the characters anything more than typical and boring traits.
Enjoyment 8/10 : I think people who usually love anime like Mushishi or Natsume will enjoy this one too. Certainly not as much, but still, the approach feels the same.
So, that's a nice anime to watch, easy to follow, easy on the mind, but here's something strange about it : if this anime get stuck here and don't get a sequel, then it's almost useless to know it exists. I don't think you're gonna lose something watching it, but if it stays as it is, you will not getting much from it either...