Nov 24, 2016
chelime (All reviews)
I'll be honest: I mostly started watching this because I'm a complete sucker for BL subtext. And it has that, absolutely. But I really enjoyed this anime for more than that, more than I thought I would.

So, okay, I'll admit that I'm typically the kind of person who, if the show has great characters with great interactions, then I don't even care if the plot is weak: I'm satisfied. And Fukigen na Mononokean definitely has great characters. Ashiya is the incredibly kindhearted type--with a healthy dose of the airheaded type--passionate about helping others even when he might be scared or might not really know how to help them, and he's intensely loyal to those he befriends. Abeno initially seems rather cold and businesslike, but his interactions with yokai show how considerate and gentle he can be. Their interactions range from hilarious to sweet to quietly emotional and I loved every minute of it. It's always a treat to me to watch two characters learn to trust each other and forge a deeper connection; one of my favorite things is a character being able to predict how the other character will react to things and knowing when that character is feeling off because of how he's acting, and there's definitely a lot of that here. Whether you view their relationship as strictly platonic or heading towards romance, it's a fascinating relationship.

There's a healthy dose of interesting side characters too, though unfortunately we never spend much time with them. I feel like Zenko--a girl who initially meets Ashiya and Abeno because they come to help her father, but after getting bitten by a yokai and being able to see other yokai, she sort of informally becomes part of their circle--is going to eventually play a bigger role and I hope that's the case!

I will admit that the plot is a little weak. It's a rather episodic structure of Ashiya and Abeno meeting a new yokai in almost every episode and assisting that yokai with a problem. There are hints of deeper stories--how the human Abeno came to be the Master of the Mononokean (a yokai in the form of a tea room that allows him to easily travel between places and gives him the power to move between the mundane world and the Underworld), some secret power Ashiya seems to have, what the heck is up with the three heads of the Underworld (we only meet the Legislator, but there's also the Justice and the Executive). Unfortunately, they are only briefly introduced and we get nothing near resolution on any of these things. But I still really enjoyed the anime, and ultimately I understand that the manga it's based off of is still ongoing and certain things haven't been revealed yet--I just hope this means there will be a season two to keep the story going! (I haven't read the manga yet so I suppose I have that to turn to if a season two never comes, but I really do hope this anime continues. I mean, listening to Kaji Yuki and Maeno Tomoaki is always bliss.)

The art was nice--nothing extraordinary, but I thought it was pleasing and fitting. (I'm no artist though.) I loved the unique take on the Underworld as a setting; I won't "spoil" it, but it's definitely not the kind of Underworld people generally imagine. I wish I could comment coherently on the music because the snatches I caught seemed quite lovely, but unfortunately I don't tend to focus on the music too much while people are speaking. But I do want to download the OST because it certainly seemed promising. I enjoyed the OP, and especially liked the ED featuring Kaji Yuki and Maeno Tomoaki.

It's a little tortuous because this anime teased at deeper plots without delving into any of them, but it certainly managed to get me hooked! I can only hope we'll see more of Ashiya and Abeno and their hodgepodge of yokai friends in a second season that will start revealing more about this story and these boys.