Posted by Lenlo on 23 August 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Mononoke, Throwback Thursday

Ah, another week, another terrifying horror arc from Mononoke. This week we meet a character who is both new and old, get to take a ride on a ship, and see some of the Medicine Seller’s hidden personality. Let’s jump in!

Starting off, lets go over the setup and premise for this arc. Instead of a brothel, it looks like Mononoke is going for more of a naval story this time. Though not without its own continued flare. Turning the entire ship into a sort of mobile aquarium, covering it with flags and such. There are no attempts to stick to reality here, because the whole thing is presented as a stage play still. The dramatization allowing it to sell everything while still keeping the horror I feel. Mononoke also setup the mystery this week rather quickly. Immediately going to the compass and the magnetic bar. No questions as to what happened, just who. What I liked about this though is that Mononoke took the time to give each character motivations. Reasons for doing so, even our lead. It’s the sort of thing a mystery thrives on.

So to start off, let’s take a look at those motivations, and first up is Genyousai the Aesthetic. In the beginning, was expecting Genyousai to be a fake, a fraud. Someone who would be humiliated as the episodes went on and probably act as our comedic relief. However that appears to not be the case. As Mononoke has instead shown him to be a knowledgeable, though maybe slightly incompetent, legitimate source. His idea of firewood ashes being valid, but foiled by the ship owner. The Medicine Seller asking if he knew the prayer he needed. It is this competence, showing him to not be all talk, that makes me doubt he set the magnet. He is already esteemed, seemingly by the ship owner, and apparently knows how dangerous these creatures are. So while he does apparently seek fame, I think he is to competent to actually want to cause this.

Speaking of the ship owner, let’s talk about Mikuniya. Mononoke showed him to be an eccentric merchant. Traveling to sell wares from foreign countries. Now as Kayo, a girl from the Ayakashi: Samurai Horror Tales arc, points out he could desire something to show off. However there are a number of reasons to believe he is not the culprit. For one, clearly he is a successful merchant, what with the extravagance of his ship and its size. It is no mere sailing vessel. He has sailed this route multiple times, could have done it any time before, and doesn’t really need anything more. He seemed content with the stories from the Aesthetic. So the idea that he would sabotage his own ship and trip so thoroughly seems ridiculous. He also seemed very caught off guard and terrified of the events at hand. Leading me to think he isn’t responsible.

Next up, let’s talk about Hyoue, Mononoke’s terrifying swordsman introduced this week. It is here that I believe we are starting to get into the possible culprits. Hyoue was introduced brooding and silent, only speaking up when he learned our Medicine Seller owned a special sword. As Kayo said, it is entirely possible that he desired to see the sword in action, perhaps to even take it for his own. So leading the ship into this Triangle would be a perfectly good idea. However, the conflict I have with this isn’t motivation, but means. I don’t see how he could have done it. As that would require knowing about the compass and carrying the magnet ahead of time with him. The magnet specifically makes this seem like an act of premeditation, and Hyoue couldn’t plan to meet the Medicine Seller. However, there are individuals who could have planned this present.

It is here that we start getting into my two main suspects for this arc. The first, and less likely but only barely, being Sougen the Apprentice. From what we can see, he has the means, in that he is the apprentice to a great Priest. A magnet wouldn’t be difficult. He has the planning, in that he knew he would be taking this trip with his master. And most of all, he has the reasons, as unless I have misread their relationship there seems to be some… sexual undertones going on. Everything from his design to the scenes we saw him in throughout this episode pushed that theme. It makes me believe that Sougen could possibly be being sexually taken advantage of and resents his master for that. Maybe planning to sabotage this trip to escape/get rid of him. However, Sougen is not my first suspect.

No, my biggest suspect of course has to be the Priest, or the ‘Sea Bishop’. Is it metagaming to use Mononoke’s arc title? Yes, yes it is. However it is also possible that this will mislead me. As the arc title last time was that of the Ayakashi in question. The Zashikiwarashi that got banished. That said, the Priest is easily the most enigmatic character of the arc so far. He has yet to say a word beyond some prayers. Mostly staring off into the sea, almost as if waiting for something. Because he has done so little so far, we have no idea as to his motivations. Effectively, he has no defense but also nothing against him except for the arc title. However if I had to make a bet on who was responsible, who would have access to a magnet most easily, it would be him.

So all in all, how was this weeks Mononoke? I think it was a very strong start to another arc. The visuals are still a treat, really playing with the environment and making full use of wherever the setting is. The art is bright and colorful, yet it doesn’t take away from the psychological horror of the series at all. For the story it self, while the arc name may have spoiled it a bit, the setup is well done. Giving each of the characters involved their own reasons and means to do it. All while presenting the terrifying threat of the Ayakashi in question. Slowly dragging ships up into itself. For me, Mononoke is so far the most fun Throwback Thursday I have had. If only because it is so totally unique. I can’t wait to see what happens next week.

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