Posted on 2 October 2007 with categories: Mononoke


Apologies for the delay. One thing I realized after I started to watch raws is how easy you can plan to watch them, compared to the subs, which get released at an unknown time.

Anyway, about the episode: I liked this one a lot, and the subs make this series definitely more enjoyable. It seems that the three guys who came to propose were actually already dead, and Ruri never existed in the first place. It seems that she was a form of the Mononoke Nue, who kept luring in men in order for them to acknowledge it as something more than the piece of wood it actually was.

There were a few questions left open, though. The samurai killed the fourth guy in the end, but did he really kill him or were they already dead at that point? The guy with the nose-cone seems to confirm that they were indeed really dead, as he seems to have killed Ruri, while being dead. The fact that the blood they were covered in just disappears after the killing seems to symbolize this as well: even though the two of them killed, they weren’t aware what they did back there.

Then there’s the third one. While he never killed anyone, he actually went on with a game where five scents had to be smelled, among which one of them is poisonous. Would a normal person really say the same?

Then there’s the strange dog. I originally thought that that was the Mononoke, though it was just a random bystander. It also seems that the Mononoke’s existence caused the colours in the house to dull out.

Posted on 23 September 2007 with categories: Mononoke


Ah, finally Mononoke is back. I’m glad that I returned to the subs, as it’s much easier to concentrate on the mystery here. I’ve stopped to believe that Mononoke can produce a story that’s better than Bake Neko, because let’s face it: the thing that made Ayakashi ~Japanese Classic Horror~ so great was its shock-value. Bake Neko also was much more aimed at horror, while Mononoke goes more into the intelligent direction with unique and original character-studies. While that’s awesome in its own way, it’s not going to be as tense as Bake Neko.

The main theme of this episode: scents. There are three major characters in this one so far, which is more like the second arc. The female heir of a famous school in the arts of scents has to marry, and there are four guys after her hand. The lucky person will be determined by a game, where everyone needs to smell different scents and try to discern which are the same. The game is called Genjikou.

Basically, the fourth guy didn’t show up, the medicine seller takes his place, and later he ends up killed, along with the heir herself. It then seems that the heir possessed something that the three guys wanted even more than the woman herself: the Toudaiji. The clues we have is a strange dog which walks around, a strange girl, a strange stone carrying a kimono and the fourth guy brutally killing himself in the beginning of the episode.

The scent-game is quite interesting. It’s just like in the second arc, with the fish: a great and original way to develop the characters. Two of the guys are scent experts, and yet they turn out quite differently. Then there’s a samurai who doesn’t know anything about scents, and the best he can make out is the scent of horse dung. He ends up with the conclusion that all scents are the same.

Then there’s the game itself: every possible combination of scents, which refer to a story called the tale of Genji. One chapter tells about a woman with four lovers, though surprisingly the heir decided that all five scents used were the same. Why did she do such a thing? And why did she decide to use the Genjiko to begin with? Also, why did the fourth guy of all people die? Was he special? Did he actually love the heir?

What also should be taken into consideration is the art style: every single colour is washed out, except for when someone smells something and the medicine seller. But not only that: it only happens with scents that move them, and quite possibly make them forget about the Toudaiji. This can be helpful for the next episode: the bright colours simply symbolize something like genuineness or something similar. What should also be noted is that the old servant is also washed-out, just as the heir. The dog however, appears bright.

Posted on 24 August 2007 with categories: Mononoke


After this episode, I’m going to take a small break to wait for the subs to catch up. It was a nice idea to try and watch this raw, but this is just one of these series that I want to fully understand. Unlike series as Toward the Terra or Seirei no Moribito, who have a continuous storyline, Mononoke deals with stories of 2 to 3 episodes, so every detail counts. I managed to understand this episode in the end, but I was too busy figuring out what happened to really enjoy the episode. ^^;

Still, this episode was really good. It seems that the woman didn’t really understand that she killed her entire family. The family she was married to kept abusing her, and her only glimpse outside was through a barred window. She was caught between her love for her mother, who was the one who married her to her new family, and her desire to be free and play. Her mother may have thought that she did a good thing for her child, by educating her well and taking good care of her, but she never let her do what she wanted. That indirectly caused Ochou to go berserk.

Hence the masks. She put up so many different faces in front of everybody, but she never really had the chance to show her actual face. Until, of course, she started killing. The man with the fox-mask is another one of these faces of hers. If I had to guess, then I’d say it’s the form of her ideal husband.

I’m not sure how many of you remember, but Tenpou Ibun Ayakashi Ayashi also featured an arc about masks. In there, the girl (I forgot her name, sorry) went berserk because she thought her evil masks showed her true face. Interestingly enough, the conclusion of that arc was that every mask was a part of her, and that there is not one true mask. This arc in Mononoke builds further upon that, and they show how things can go wrong, as Ochou didn’t even realize that she’s been putting up different faces.

Posted on 17 August 2007 with categories: Mononoke


Taking screenshots was quite hard for this episode, considering the raw file I obtained. It seems that Japan was hit by quite a big tsunami, which covered the entire east-coast of the country, and most of the second half of the episode had some warnings and information pasted on top of it. Let’s hope the damages were minor.

Anyway, this episode introduces the third story: Nopperabou. A woman has killed a number of relatives, and now she’s sentenced to death. The Medicine seller doubts this story, and suspects that a Mononoke is behind the killings, though the woman keeps insisting that she was the murderer. The Mononoke then arrives, in the form of a man, wearing a fox mask. The mask prevents MS from finding out the katachi, and the Mononoke uses this to erase the guy’s face.

The Mononoke flees with the woman, after which he proposes to her. She agrees. Later, we see that MS got his face back with the help of a Japanese ritual. He then tries to see the real face behind the Mononoke’s mask, and the episode ends. Luckily, the episode was fairly understandable again, but I must wait till the next episode to be for sure. If it’s again incomprehensible, I’ll wait for the subs for the last two arcs, unfortunately.

Anyway, I think that this Mononoke was the one who committed the murder, without the woman knowing it. The question is: where does he come from? It’s in any case clear that he’d do anything for her.

I’m a bit afraid, though. In this episode, I noticed some flawed animation for the first time. There were a lot of shots of people in the background, and a few shots of the medicine seller were just off.

Posted on 10 August 2007 with categories: Mononoke


Whoa, this quite possibly was the best episode of this series yet, but it’s also by far the hardest to understand. I haven’t been so confused in an episode since the episode in Seirei no Moribito where Barsa gets her spear fixed. If this series pulls such a stunt again, I may consider switching to the subs.

Thankfully wabi sabi is following this series as well, and he managed to explain the events of this episode. Basically, the Priest’s sister entered that cabin in place of the monk, in order to fend off an ayakashi that was plaguing that sea. She did this out of love for him, while he didn’t feel anything for him. When he found out her motives, though, it continued to haunt him. Hence, the priest is the Makoto. This also probably explains why he sexually abused the monk.

The atmosphere in this episode was awesome, though. Even though I couldn’t follow this episode, I loved it.

Posted on 3 August 2007 with categories: Mononoke


About the only thing that I was afraid of for this series was that there wouldn’t be enough ideas for a fully fledged series. With this episode, these fears also got shattered. Umibouzu is one of the arcs that take up three episodes, and this episode spends most of its time fleshing out the different involved characters. How? By showing for each of them their biggest fear, with the help of illusions. I must say, it’s a brilliant idea, and with this show, it works extremely well.

The owner of the ship is up first, and his biggest fear is seeing his beloved goldfish die. Quite the interesting fellow. He himself thinks that it’s losing all his money that’s his biggest fear.

Next up, the samurai. According to himself, he has no fears, though Umibouzu shows him that he’s being haunted by the countless numbers of people whom he slaughtered.

At this point, people are really starting to take Umibouzu (who appeared in the form of a strange fish with a Shamisen and the voice of Norio Wakamoto) seriously, since the owner went into OTL-position, and the samurai fainted. Our lovely servant from Bake Neko, however, is up next, though she can’t really describe her biggest fears. She originally thinks that she fears not being able to get into a great relationship the most, but Umibouzu shows her that she fears being unable to give proper birth. The medicine seller manages to bring her back to her senses by convincing her that everything is an illusion, and nothing has changed in reality.

The bard has quite a strange fear. Manju. Apparently, they make him vomit. ^^;

The medicine seller knows quite well what his fears are: a world without a Katachi, Makoto and Kotowari. In other words, void. It’s quite logical as his biggest weapon wouldn’t work, and the beginning of the episode already hinted that his life is linked to his sword somehow.

Then the episode starts focusing at the real story of the arc when it’s the monk’s turn. His biggest fear is the priest. He may be his devoted master, but he’s been acting strange ever since they went on board of the ship. It also seems that the priest was the one who changed the course of the ship, and not Umibouzu, like I first thought.

The priest seems to be the centre of this mystery, and he involved everyone in his problems. 50 years ago, something strange happened on that very sea. Umibouzu then uses strange ropes of fish to pull up a huge round chamber from within the tank of the ship. Inside seems to be a human, who’s rumoured to have been in there for fifty years!

I’m sure as hell anticipating the next episode, as something tells me that something really disturbing happened fifty years ago.

Posted on 27 July 2007 with categories: Mononoke


The name “Umibouzu” was rather confusing, especially with my lack of Japanese. After all, the “umi”-part could mean either sea or giving birth, and I could have sworn that “bouzu” meant little kid. Still, I was wrong. After looking up the kanji, it seems that we’re dealing with a seamonk here. Naturally, the episode again was pure awesomeness, and it has a very good chance of beating the first arc.

At sea, we find ourselves a boat, carrying a strange companionship: The girl from Bake Neko, the owner of the ship, a bard, a monk, a priest, a swordsman and a medicine-seller. It’s there where Umibouzu releases its wrath on the poor ship.

Here is what I believe what happened. It first makes the ship stray away from its course by placing a magnet near its compass. Then it calls its comrades, or a collection of fish ghosts to attack the ship. (I know they’re comrades, because otherwise the medicine seller would have figured out the Katachi by now).The medicine seller manages to repel them, but the fact remains that someone on the ship is hiding something. I’m putting my money on the monk.

I wonder, though, do the goldfish on board have anything to do with the story? And what are the roles of the other characters? I’m looking forward to next week to find out. :)

Posted on 20 July 2007 with categories: Mononoke


Seriously, Mononoke is pure awesomeness. It’s such a huge shame that there are so few people who gave this series a chance. Heck, the only blog-entry I saw on Animeblogger and Animenano came from a guy who didn’t like the style. Still, that doesn’t mean that I don’t love this series, and it’s going to be fun to blog. I’ve considered following this series subbed, but thankfully the dialogue turned out to be quite easy, with my biggest obstacle being some words I don’t know, instead of the usual incredibly long sentences. It’ll also probably take ages for this thing to get fully subbed, and I’m too impatient to wait for them.

Well then, for those of you who haven’t seen Bake Neko: basically all you have to know is that the medicine seller needs three things before he’s able to slay a demon: the Katachi, Makoto and Kotowari, or the name of the demon, what really is going on and the events that made the demon act the way it did. He usually has no trouble finding the Katachi due to his knowledge (in this case it’s Zasshiki Warashi), but in order to get the Makoto and Kotowari, he needs the involved persons to open up.

The central person for this story is a pregnant woman, who hired a room in an inn, owned by an old woman and her servant. The previous episode showed us strange cradles, a strange kid-like creature, the sound of playing children and the death of a guy who was supposed to be after her.

So, the current episode basically explained the Makoto as follows: at one point, the inn used to be a brothel. And whenever a woman turned pregnant, the owner would kill her, since there wasn’t any chance for her anymore after that. I’m not sure whether the woman mentioned above worked at the same brothel, since the timelines don’t seem to match if she did, but the fact remains that she once was a prostitute as well, who fell in love with an important person. He offered to marry her, until he found out that she already was pregnant of him. She then managed to escape, but her former near-husband sent the guy after her that we saw getting killed at the previous episode. Please correct me if I’m wrong about this one. The Japanese may be easier than usual, it’s still vital to understand as much as possible.

According to this, the Kotowari should be the following: the real form of Zasshiki Warashi is these rather strange children. They are, in fact, the unborn children who were killed by the owner of the brothel, and I believe that they were just searching for another mother. They’ve waited a long time until another pregnant woman showed up, which turned out to be our blonde woman. It now makes sense why they killed the guy in the previous episode: he was threatening their “mother”.

Overall, this arc gave an awesome start to Bake Neko, but I still have to say that Bake Neko was better. But then again, Bake Neko had three episodes, compared to the two episodes of this episode. I’ve read somewhere that this series will feature 13 episodes, divided into five arcs. If this is true, and I had to guess, then the next arc will be another two-episoded one, after which the final three arcs will consist of three episodes. Ayakashi ~ Japanese Classic Horror already showed that the creators like to save the best for last, so I’m really excited to see the rest of this series.

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