Posted 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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  • Juno
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 03:40 PM)
    Literally, the tune started playing and I was like, “…I know this song… Where have I heard it before…?”
    And just as the vocals started, I was already singing it. XD
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 10:47 AM)
    Now this is very very good news to me, dark horse is releasing more of Satoshi Kon’s manga in the west, seraphim and opus, I’ll grab anything this guy has worked on. Definitely excited for this.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 10:46 AM)
    Not bad at all not bad songs for the new jojo at all =3
  • gedata
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 10:14 AM)
    @Juno, you aren’t alone.
  • Juno
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 05:37 AM)
    Because as of this moment, my childhood could NOT be happier…
  • Juno
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 05:37 AM)
    I can’t be the only one FREAKING OUT OVER THE NEW JOJO ENDING THEME, right?
  • K-Off
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 05:32 AM)
    And although everyone said already, the launch scene is gorgeous.
  • K-Off
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 05:30 AM)
    @Friend Man, you are something else. The chapter reeled me into the story. I didnt see any faults with it, except for one typo. The scenes are well composited, and like nyan said, the only “faults” are nitpicky things :)
  • Jalapeno Bagel
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 04:21 AM)
    Yeah, I think this falls more into the category of typesetting than anything else and there’s plenty of different ways that can go depending on preference. If the readers don’t have an issue, then it’s fine.
  • Friend
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 04:11 AM)
    A problem ve faced with american comics is that they usually dont contrast the speech bubble with the surroundings too well. That might be a factor, as large bubbles mean more visibility of the text itself.

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