Posted by Lenlo on 19 October 2019 with categories: Mononoke, Throwback Thursday

Welcome one and all to the penultimate week of Mononoke! Apologies for the lateness of this, life is busy busy right now, much like Mononoke itself. As this week we dive into the mystery at hand, our suspects start to talk and the series gets… weird. Let’s dive in!

Starting off, what do I mean by weird? Well personally, I wasn’t a fan of the direction and such this week, a first for the series. It actually went so hard on some scenes, that it started to feel obnoxious. What with both the audio and the visuals just hammering away at the senses, some scenes were unpleasant to watch. Don’t get me wrong, some were fantastic. Mononoke tried really hard to sell the horror aspect of the series. And it succeeded a number of times, more so than many other arcs. However in its effort to really finish, it comes off to strong. My big example of this for me were the “Don’t see, don’t hear, don’t speak” murals near the end, which while interesting just kinda slammed into you. Harsh cuts and sounds accompanying them and everything. I just think Mononoke needed to tone this down a bit.

Moving on to the actual story content, I’m gonna say I was right. Everyone in the train was involved in, or has some information on, the murder. With varying degrees of culpability. I actually thought how each of them was involved was rather clever, as were the hints. For instance the Widow’s ears, because of what she heard, the child’s eyes for what he saw, etc etc. Combine that wil the colors involved and I thought it a great idea for how to visually depict their deteriorating mental states. Combine that with the actual details and how they piece together, I think Mononoke is pulling off a pretty good murder mystery here. Especially with the Bake Neko’s complete lack for mercy for each of them. Such as the young child who didn’t know what he saw, to the journalist actively trying to prove her murder.

To go into detail abit, let’s talk about each of the cast in turn, starting of course with the Detective. Of the ones remaining at the start of this episode, he seems clearly the most guilty. Seemingly going out of his way to cover up her murder for the sake of the Mayor. Asking leading questions, ignoring evidence and generally trying to prove a pre decided result. Throughout the episode, I think Mononoke did a good job of not just explaining, but having him show this caginess. What with how he questions and fights with the other people in the train. Calling into doubt each and every one of their stories, deflecting blame onto them, etc. It even killed him in an appropriate way, similar to the Mayor, by preying on his desire to escape the situation. Whereas for the others, the Bake Neko had to come for them directly.

After this we have the child, the first seemingly innocent victim of the episode. Whose only fault was seeing something but not reporting it. His was the one that really showed the Bake Neko was more malicious than vengeful for me. The same goes for the Journalist, who lives with his mistake to this day. Seeking to right it and take down the Mayor who seemingly committed the murder. Actually on that note, I want to pivot for a moment to how Mononoke handled each of them. Picking each character off one by one as they revealed their truth, their actions, to the Medicine Seller. This actually really surprised me, not that they were picked off, but that none will apparently survive. I fully expected the child or the Cafe girl to live through this arc, yet there they were at the end, corpses all.

The ending actually makes me wonder was well, where does the episode go from here? Are they all zombies now, and we are transitioning to a different kind of horror flick? Or are they not dead at all, just trapped somewhere? Maybe the train will move to run them over and the Medicine Seller has to solve the Mononoke’s mystery before that happens? Regardless, Mononoke has a lot setup for this final episode, and I am interested in it all. I just hope it tones down some aspects of the production abit so as to now flood the viewer with a bunch of harsh cuts and heavy sounds. Because I really enjoy what this episode did with things like the Widow hearing voices, the child seeing the woman, etc etc.

So, all in all, how was Mononoke this week? Sadly, it was probably my least favorite of the series, though that is entirely due to the presentation. The actual story is still just as engaging and interesting as any of the other arcs. However it’s presented in a very harsh and heavy handed manner this week. Just sort of slamming it into the audience in a “DONT MISS THIS” sort of way. Mononoke usually only takes this sort of heavy handed approach when it comes to the finale’s of its arcs. When he transforms and purges the Mononoke in an instant of action. And that’s fine, it’s the culmination of the arc. But when it occurs mid arc, for an entire episode, its very wearing on the viewer and really tired the eyes/ears. If Mononoke can dodge that next week, the series should finish strong.

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