Attention: Spoilers ahead. My review is more or less a comparison of the anime and manga and describes why I'm not happy with what they did with this adaptation.
I'm not sure how to rate this season. I'm stuck somewhere between 6 (fair) and 8 (very good) because I guess that without the manga comparison, it might be better. I'm also reading the manga and I felt a bit shortchanged at some points throughout the season.
They left out some manga chapters entirely, took away from scenes that were very emotional in the manga but were only so-so/had less impact in the anime. I guess that was
meant to help keep the episode length but I feel like they should have rather lengthened those 1-2 scenes and shortened other scenes that showed scenery etc.
Example: [spoiler]When Ashiya had been attacked by the Executive and then remained alone in the room while waiting for Abeno to return, Fuzzy runs to him and tries to cuddle.. In the manga Ahiya is still very traumatized and is shaking..He reaches out to Fuzzy but at the last second hesitates and drops his hand again,fearful to touch the yokai. While the scene did exist in the anime, it felt rushed. 1-2 seconds more showing Ashiya's anguish and fear would have been welcome here. The same goes for the scene at the riverbank where he has a breakdown. They left out the whole kappa part -which would have been okay if they needed to shorten the episodes- but again... the breakdown was very emotional in the manga. He's never really cried earnestly in the manga before, so that scene was very important for his character development in my opinion.In the manga he starts crying without even really noticing at first and then breaks down entirely apparently (actual crying spree not shown in the manga either, but the beginning and end was shown so that you knew what happened). In the anime, you can barely guess he's been crying, so it feels pretty flat. Therefore the scene did not develop the same "soul cleansing" effect for Hanae that it had in the manga.[/spoiler]
But now to the thing that had me confused/angry/disappointed: The complete deviation from the plot at the end of this season when compared to the manga. I'm still not really sure about how to feel about this:
[spoiler]They changed the entire Sasa incident. In the manga, Sasa does posess Ashiya and orders him to kill Abeno. Ashiya tries to follow suit but regains consciousness for a moment where he realizes that he's strangeling Abeno and stops. He withdraws within the deepest part of his soul thinking that he's killed Abeno. He's really desperate there and you're hurting with him. In that moment Sakae makes his appearance and takes over Hanae's body and consciousness to protect him from self-destructing inside and being killed by Sasa. Sakae then releases and kills Sasa (who is not in the least repenting and who would have killed Abeno and Ahiya and whoever else he got his hands on). Abeno cannot stop Sakae but witnesses a memory of Sakae sealing that demon years before. He thanks Sakae for protecting Hanae before Sakae's consciousness disappears and Ashiya faints again. In the anime Sakae is way more hateful. He takes over when Hanae is possessed but before the whole strangeling incident. It doesn't feel like he's taking over to protect Hanae - more like he's doing it out of a selfish desire to act upon his hatred for yokai and kill one. While he starts trying to kill Sasa, Abeno interferes, so Sakae *then* ends up strangling Abeno because he's interfering. In the end, Sakae's consciousness vanishes because he's passed the time-limit apparently. Sasa's still very much alive and suddenly a good yokai who's overcoming his hatred for humans because Fuzzy tells him (or rather her in the anime) how Hanae was so nice him etc. Bonta and Sasa are sent to the Underworld together.
I guess for someone who hadn't read the manga, this might all be nice and dandy but for me... I feel let down.
To me, Sakae has always seemed like he did indeed hate yokai before but probably learned to be less aggressive and accept most of them through Aoi. He also seemed very introverted but still loving in his own way in the manga. As if he was really concerned about Hanae and loved him. He didn't seem like a truly evil/bad person. Just really complex. The way Hanae's mother is reminiscing about him, also suggests that he's actually kind. The strange thing here is that they didn't change *that* in the anime. So it's even more confusing.
Also, by not having Sakae kill Sasa while acting in Hanae's stead, they're taking away other important facts that shape Hanae's character in the manga (as he comes to learn of "his" deed later on and is trying to make up for it with other actions that will become important in the subsequent manga chapters).[/spoiler]
They pretty much destroyed the chances for a season 3 pick-up if they don't plan to go 70% original story-line with that one... which I just don't think they will do. They more or less pulled a Blue Exorcist S1 2nd half on this... Since I really love the series, this breaks my heart a little.
I honestly never never give such a low rating for anything, but, now... as a fan of the manga, I brought all of their volumes, following through the series and I really loved them, every characters and the plot development... So I will just say, it was a letdown.
When most people enjoyed this anime, from the first season and the second season, I couldn't find myself 'enjoying' through the adaptation, even though I really enjoyed reading the manga.
I don't know if it because of the animation or the pace, it just didn't feel that appealing to me. I tried so hard to bringing myself to
watch this because this is my favorite manga. So here I am, watching through the finale. Honestly, I don't mind a slight changes, I won't even mind if they skipped a things or two, but changing their characteristics? Changing such a crucial plot? I was just cannot with this, I had to write review out of it. Yup, that's why I'm here.
So yeah, the last episode was a huge letdown, a huge disappointment, and that was the last line I had and that was it.
From now on I'm just going to stay with the manga, even they made the third season out of it, I'm sure I won't touch it.
(Assuming the readers had already watched prequel and had acquired the basic knowledge of all the elements in this anime series (plot, character, etc.), this review will only talk about this sequel and this particular sequel only. That being said, here are the scores for prequel which review I haven’t written yet and will probably not be too far with the score for this sequel: Plot = |7.25|; Character = |7.25|; Art = |6.75|; Sound = |7|; Enjoyment = |7.25|; Overall = |7.1|. Go to SUMMARY to see my scores if you don’t want to read my long arse review.)
Mystery is an essential element in
any genre of fiction. It gives the viewers a tad sense of excitement which, at the end of the line, brings a feeling of satisfaction of its own accord when following the story. Revelation of the mystery would feel quite different for each viewer. Done properly, the journey to revelation written on paper is a very adventurous one. Done properly.
Oftentimes, the journey could be ended after taking a grim turn. Which exactly what happened, quite abruptly but not badly, in this sequel of a series called Fukigen na Mononokean: Tsuzuki (不機嫌なモノノケ庵 續 roughly translated in English as “The Morose Mononokean: Continuation”). And you’re right, because I’m not talking about the mysterious supernatural yokai underworld business that both the Mononokean, Abeno Haruaki, and his employee are taking care of. I’m talking, instead, about the background story of our main character who not quite a long time ago recently (roughly about two and a half years counting from 2016, the year the prequel was manga-adaptedly animated and broadcasted, a very short time) has become an employee of a morose master of aboveworld-underworld-related business: The mytery of Mononokean employee, Ashiya Hanae.
From the prequel, Ashiya Hanae is only viewed as a high schooler who can see yokai, the supernatural creatures only special “indigo people” can see. Nevertheless, not many things revealed about his own background: where he’s from, why he could see yokai, where his dad is, why he left him and, possibly, what happened to him before he left. Now in this sequel, almost everything is revealed and, in the last episode, showed us a hint for the next sequel where things probably won’t go the way the characters want it to be.
Before, I just mentioned about how “abruptly” this sequel is ended, which creates what is usually called a ‘cliffhanger’. In my opinion, it’s partly because the production had to risk the 13-episodes ended in a cliffhanger which will probably make us wait for another 2 years in the future for season 3 if the original material for an adaptaion is not enough (even worse, no sequel at all; and I’m talking about you, damn Mahou Sensou), but mainly because the last episode left a very bad note for both Ashiya and Abeno in the future, especially Ashiya. Sure thing, all the rest of the episodes are quite nice. There are some fun moments to watch when the two main characters are interacting with the yokai. But those are just the laid-back moments for us viewers to see. What’s more interesting to see in this particular sequel eventually is how things go to reveal the mystery of Ashiya Hanae and how to resolve the conflicts revolving around it.
Which is exactly why I give a score of solid |8| in this sequel’s plot.
You see, if this is just another sequel where Ashiya is having fun with all yokai in each and every single episode, I’d probably give the score for its plot the same old one with the prequel’s, which is a |7.25|. But it’s not quite as simple as that in this one. The balance – between the interesting topic about Ashiya and his original situation, and his daily life with various yokai – is beautifully made. I wouldn’t call it perfect as a sequel, as there are many aspects of it direly needed to be paid attention to. Yet you have to admit that this sequel is going so well, so much so that it definitely deserves a season 3. There are conflicts need to be resolved, characters can be developed in the next sequel more than the last, and the story is ready to take a whole completely different turn.
I love the way Gyosei (行政, or in this review, The Executive, for all of you) is introduced very much right in the middle of the whole ongoing story. It's a very cool one and, I'd say, a step-up from Pierrot Plus for that introduction alone. The reason is because I think it gave me a slight hint that he’s definitely going to be a part of something grand in the next sequel, highly likely as an enemy. Not only because his first appearance and behavior against main characters showed the viewers about their actual situation in the midway, it looks as if he'll definitely involve himself in the major future conflict bound to happen. He's the first with a big role in giving that revelation. Honestly, for that reason alone, I’m willing to raise the score for Character’s aspect a 7.5. Needless to say, however, because we’ve learned a little bit about Abeno and Ashiya alongway, and a few other characters respectively, I supposed I’m going to have to give it a |7.75|.
Yes, it would seem that I have completely disregarded the Art and Sound aspect of it; seeing that there are little changes to them, if not none; and decided to give the score for each of them a little raise: from |6.75| and |7| to |7| and |7.25|. But, let me put it this way: if I’d be so pedantic and dismissive; in fact, disregard all of the elements in this anime as a whole, including the personal interest and taste of each viewer watching this anime as well, I’d say “this anime is so weak-minded, this is the proof that the era of good anime is over, it deserves nothing from me, I don’t care what you said, I’m gonna give it a 5/10, bla bla bla bla bla”. All that positive-discriminative horseshite. Instead of that, I decided to give a little bit of change in my opinion by comparing this sequel with the prequel. Also, because I enjoyed it.
I absolutely enjoyed it much more than the prequel and honestly that’s more than enough for me. I couldn’t think of a much better sequel to be made, except for the fact that I probably could. Because, even for a sequel, as you can see, an anime with a score of 7.5 in average is not perfect.. Then again, we could probably compare Fukigen na Mononokean with other supernatural anime as long as we live, like Nurarihyon no Mago, or the king of slice-o-life Natsume Yuujinchou. However, we couldn’t. Simply because Fukigen na Mononokean is not one of those and vice versa. The fact remains that despite the animation and the sound aspects are sometimes a bit off somewhere in a certain episode, you can still enjoy this sequel and finally, the show as a whole. Ow, you’re asking for the actual score in Enjoyment? Hell, I’ll give it an 8. That’s right, that’s how much I really, really enjoyed it.
In summary, here’s the actual score for this: Plot = |8|; Character = |7.75|; Art = |7|; Sound = |7.25|; Enjoyment = |8| ; Overall = |7.6|.
Thank you very much for reading.
P.S. (Premeditated Self-defense): I was thinking about writing my own premeditated self-defense in case of how unprofessionally this review appeared to be written, but I’m afraid MAL won’t allow me and remove my review instead because of ‘how unprofessional it is’ or some of that pile of dung.
Up to the sorta half way point and I'll continue watching it why? cause I enjoy it.
Edit: I finished it. Still overall the same thoughts.
I won't get into too much since its season 2 and most the details are similar to season 1.
Story: Things have certainly gotten better, we finally getting some more variety in the story. The darker tone along with mysteries popping up or resurfacing mysteries gives more reason to keep your interests into the anime without you getting bored with just yokai stories every episode.
Show is doing a great job at wanting me to think and theorize before the next episode.
art-style is different, it seems more crisper while season 1 had more brighter shades and looking soft.
Sound: Some the tracks sound really good as expected. Looking forward to see new tracks hopefully. They did a good job with characters voices to fit the scenes.
Characters: Not much to write about here, basically like season 1; good characters for the same reason I written in my season 1 review.
Enjoyment: Not sure if its more enjoyable because of the mix between the fun jokes and dark moments or the jokes just gotten better. I found myself really enjoying the change of pace and the new tones.
Overall: I feel Tsuzuki is on the right path, Season 1 mistake in my opinion was they never touched on the powers Abeno and Ashiya used which left me and watchers hanging and I feel Tsuzuki is starting to finally get close to explaining things. The change from just comedy to focusing more on the drama with darker tones was a refreshing feeling to the palate.
I have high hopes for this season. Don't let me down.