Posted by psgels on 12 October 2007 with categories: Mononoke


This is going to be a difficult review, simply because I want to praise this series, but at the same time it suffers from being a continuation of the third story of the anime Ayakashi ~ Japanese Classic Horror: Bake Neko. In there, a Medicine Seller exorcises the ghost of a cat that haunts a local family in feudal Japan, and it was one of the best short stories I’ve ever seen in anime. Mononoke sees the same premise, where we see five stories in which the Medicine Seller track down Mononoke (spirits) that are summoned to earth due to some grudge or regret. Obviously, it had a lot to live up to.

If you were expecting the same as Bake Neko, you’ll be disappointed. The thing that made Ayakashi ~ Japanese Classic Horror so great was its element of surprise: you never knew what was going to happen. With Mononoke, you do: Medicine Seller is going to exorcise a spirit. The amount of horror has also been toned down. Sure, it’s still there, but it’s no longer a central theme, like it was in Bake Neko. Instead, Mononoke decided to put more attention to the thought-provoking elements of its stories.

And yes, it does deliver there. All five stories are more than just ordinary ones, and a lot of attention has been put into them. The lines of good and bad are blurred in an effective way. The episodes also don’t answer every question, but assume that the viewer fills in the rest with his own common sense, and it works quite well. Especially the third and fourth story shine in this.

Another major plus in this series is that the characters are realistic, and don’t care to be moe or GAR or anything similar. Sure, there are a bunch of young girls, but by far most of the characters are all sorts of adults; quite refreshing amongst other anime, which rarely seem to have important characters above the age of 25. The dialogue is also nice and creative, and you can hear that a lot of effort has been put into it as well.

So the creators failed to trump Bake Neko. That doesn’t mean that Mononoke isn’t worth giving a look, and it’s great to see that people are still willing to go beyond the mainstream and experiment with original and different styles. Mononoke is an excellent recommendation for anyone who likes the Japanese-styled horror or similar forms of storytelling.

3 Responses

  1. ark says:

    The show is worth watching simply because it unlike any other anime. The art style is really special, wish more anime would experiment like this.

  2. Lis says:

    I love this show and the bake neko story it is easily on my top ten favorite anime of all time because for the first time ever it made me think and analysis the certain themes that this series presented. I always get something new out of this series. Since the c trailer is out now I definitely have something to be excited for this season ^_^ so happy.

  3. Stars says:

    This was really creepy I was surprised to discover. Mononoke can create some amazing moods with its art. Scenes which are vivid and full of colours seem desolate, yet somehow inhabited, then you realise this soundtrack has been playing subtly in the background and it gets really eerie. Nothing is there, yet there is always something there.
    I really got the horror effect, especially in the Bakeneko arc. There is some great camera work contributing to this.
    There’s so much energy in this anime, it’s hectic, it’s chaotic and it really feels alive.

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  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 07:02 AM)
    Oh for fucks sake sword art? You put HIV drama into your show?
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:57 AM)
    Pretty much looking forward to the next two episodes and hope it gets more seasons too.
    I also liked how bleak it was.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:55 AM)
    *how twisty
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:54 AM)
    . I was told to stay away from story six. Story seven was the most developed and ambitious of the selection but I feel mixed on it and didn’t really get into it until midway or so.
    Still I do love weird tales anthology stuff and this all fit the bill for me.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:54 AM)
    The first story even I have to admit was genuinely horrifying, uncomfortable and got under my skin and of the selection it still stands out as having the greatest impact. The second one was good social commentary but doesn’t really give me much I didn’t already know. Stories three and were the most emotionally investing for me. I thoroughly enjoyed who twisty, twisted, truly nasty and cruel story five was and it is my second favourite of the lot.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:54 AM)
    I did however feel that some of the dialogue and acting could have done with some very very slight tweaking in parts/some segments.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:53 AM)
    Okay even though I don’t watch western tv shows all that much I finally properly spent whole day going through black mirror. For the larger part this is creative, unpredictable, well thought out/written, varied, I like the technological end of it, the stories manage to fit into the short film runtime without ever feeling like they needed more time and its clear that Charlie Brooker has a lot to say with this and is very intelligent man, some of it does ring fairly true.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 03:17 AM)
    @Aidan: …Jesus I read that wrong at first and read it as Liam Neeson…
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 02:09 AM)
    @swa, and hearing those lines voiced by Liam O’Brien would be a godsend.
  • swa
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 01:24 AM)
    Even in slow paced intermezzo episodes and with just a couple of lines, still so GARcher.

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