Posted on 28 October 2019 with categories: Anime Reviews, Finished Series: Horror, Mononoke, Reviews by Lenlo, Throwback Thursday

I have reviewed a lot of odd shows recently. From Paranoia Agent to Serial Experiments Lain, they each had their own… je ne sais quoi, their own unique flavor. Keeping with that trend is Mononoke, a sort of Horror Anthology reminiscent of Tales From the Crypt or a Stephen King short stories collection. Though where those went for a more classic sort of horror, Mononoke aims more for a permeated dread. Working to bring horror from the actions of man, but basing it on traditional Japanese monsters. Like a sort of mix between Stephen King and Mushishi. Little jump-scare horror, with more slow built environmental and naturalist horror. How’s that for a sentence you thought you would never read, eh? Made by Toei, directed by Kenji Nakamura and spun-off from the final arc of Ayakashi: Japanese Classic Horror, I believe Mononoke succeeds at just that.

So without further ado, let’s dive in. And make sure to stick around until the end to find out what series will next be featured on Throwback Thursday!

(Disclaimer: This review contains spoilers. Also, I am working to make 50 the new “average”. 70 is not an average score people. 70 is above average. Carry on.)

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Posted on 25 October 2019 with categories: Mononoke, Throwback Thursday

Welcome one and all to the finale of Mononoke, and the close of another season of Throwback Thursday. This week Mononoke pulls a strong finish, I ask you some questions, and we start a poll for the next run. Let’s get into it!

First up, the poll I mentioned for the next Throwback Thursday will be at the bottom of the post. Please check it out! If you want to suggest a series to go on the poll, just leave a comment and it will get added next time. Now, onto the episode. For me this really worked as a finale. Both narratively and visually. Narratively, Mononoke left a lot of the ending open ended. Normally this would be a sequel signal, but we all know Mononoke isn’t getting that. Here though it implies that there is more story, both before and after, the series. Which ties in well to its episodic nature. Visually as well, this week was just less cluttered than the last. The whole thing was more grounded in the murder mystery, and it paid off I think.

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Posted 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.

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Posted on 12 October 2019 with categories: Mononoke, Throwback Thursday

Hello all, apologies for the delay, and welcome to the final arc of Mononoke! This is perhaps the most unique one yet. As we skip forward to a modern era, set the entire thing in a single location, and have ourselves a murder mystery. So, lets dive in!

Right off the bat, as always, I loved Mononoke’s strong sense of direction. Yeah the episode was kind of slow, which considering its the start of a 3 episode arc makes sense. However in spite of the pacing, or perhaps because of, we got a lot of really interesting scenes and decisions out of it. For instance, I found the usage of mannequins for the crowds fantastic. As this is the greatest amount of people in any scene Mononoke has had to deal with. So the decision both makes it easy to put them on screen, justifies their lack of animation, and denotes how unimportant they are. It also lead to some, not quite funny but memorable, scenes involving the train. Such as when it grinds to a halt, all of the mannequins are thrown to the ground, etc etc. It was all really quite clever I think.

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Posted on 5 October 2019 with categories: Mononoke, Throwback Thursday

And so ends another arc of Mononoke, in a way I never would have expected. As this week we solve a murder mystery, once again question our perceptions of the world, and get another new “favorite arc”. Apologies for the wait, sickness waits for no man, but let’s dive in.

Starting off, as always, the production of the episode. Mononoke has always had a strong visual direction, but this week was a treat. Both in terms of, mostly limited, animation and in direction. What with the usage of the bell to cut between scenes, or cutting angles in a scene to change the characters in it. There was a lot of very gripping imagery used throughout the episode that I thought connected well both in tone in content. My favorite part of the aesthetic though was the emphasis on color, and what it represented. Seemingly with each of the characters only gaining color as they felt strong emotions. Whether that be because of the scenes, or the events taking place. Based on how the episode finished up, I would suppose we could surmise that the color was linked to how “alive” or “real” they felt. Regardless though, it looked good.

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Posted on 27 September 2019 with categories: Mononoke, Throwback Thursday

As one arc ends, another begins with Mononoke. As this week we pick up on what may be the best start to an arc yet.  A perfect mix of sudden horror, mystery and art. As our Medicine Seller this week takes part on an odd incense game, uncovers a murder and hunts down a spirit. Lets dive in!

Starting off as always, this week Mononoke did some interesting things with its visuals. From the opening shot, there is a strong emphasis on color, or a lack thereof. With everything being bleached, diluted until it’s almost grayscaled. The only exception to this seeming to be when someone is feeling a strong emotion. We saw this from the opening scene, as the backgrounds are dark, but the blood is a bright orange. Tangent for a moment, that opening transition with the blood was fantastic by the way. Setting up what the shapes mean by having the man slam against the walls. Then progressively swapping between them faster and faster, then fading out the background. Leaving just a man’s silhouette running in place. This is possibly the strongest Mononoke has been yet, visually. Running right out the gate with this style.

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Posted on 20 September 2019 with categories: Mononoke, Throwback Thursday

And so ends another arc of Mononoke. This was an interesting one as I was simultaneously proven right, yet also wrong, based on last weeks predictions. So without further ado, lets dive right into the finale of our latest horrifying arc.

Starting off, Mononoke this week sort of pulled a fast one on me. It took one of my usual pet peeves with anime, that being reused sets/episode long scenes, and turned it on their head. By incorporating the nature of that scene into the story itself. Suffice to say I thought it rather clever. Parts of it were constrained by Mononoke’s almost slideshow nature of course. The distinct lack of animation throughout the series could be off putting for some. I find the odd flash-fade/zoom in during some scenes this week to be rather dull myself. Most of the time though, the individual scenes have enough to at least keep you looking around until the scene is over. The bright colors and often complex designs sort of act as a bandaid for this I feel. Not perfect by any means, but it serves Mononoke’s story well I feel.

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Posted on 13 September 2019 with categories: Mononoke, Throwback Thursday

And so begins another arc of Mononoke, though this one is shaping up to be my favorite so far. This week we get the introduction of a new spirit and a commentary of personal perception, wrapped in a fast paced episode. There is plenty to talk about, so let’s just dive in.

Starting off, the production. Visual wise, this week wasn’t particularly different from any other. There aren’t really any big set pieces in a series like Mononoke. We won’t be having someone like Nakamura coming in for a cut or two. What Mononoke did have this week though, was some fantastic pacing and direction. Really setting this arc apart from the others, simply in how fast it is. Zashikiwarashi was short, and slowly paced until the 2nd episode. Sea Bishop was long and slowly paced throughout the whole thing. Faceless Monster however is quickly paced, right out the gate. Throwing us right into the middle of the mystery, making the setup just as important as the final reveal. After the slow pace of the last arc, it’s very refreshing, and really drags you into the series immediately. As for the content itself, I enjoyed that to.

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Posted on 6 September 2019 with categories: Mononoke, Throwback Thursday

Fair readers, if the first arc of Mononoke was a Horror, this one is without a doubt a tragedy. As the Sea Bishop closes with unexpected twists, deep seated guilt and somber tune. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

This week, Mononoke closed out its second arc, the Sea Bishop. Compared to the first, it could hardly be called horror, though elements of that were there. A kind of internal horror, one of character and internal strife. Similar in ways to Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde. Though much more subdued I feel, since that secondary nature really only came out near the very end of the arc. For me it felt more like a character study, or perhaps a tragedy of some kind. Without a doubt at least the Bishop’s character is a tragic one I feel, though we will get into that later. Suffice to say though, before getting into spoiler territory, that I quite enjoyed this finale. I think Mononoke did a great job with presentation, with plenty of tiny details to pick up on throughout. But enough of that, onto the meat.

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Posted on 30 August 2019 with categories: Mononoke, Throwback Thursday

Hello all and welcome to another Throwback Thursday that actually gets posted on a Friday, because my schedule is terrible! This week Mononoke continues it’s terrifying sea story, everyone faces their worst fears, and I get to enjoy being right for once. Let’s dive in!

Starting off I will once again gush about Mononoke’s art. Every week it shows off something a bit different. Trying something just a little new, while keeping the almost papery look. This week however, as much as I enjoyed it visually, I don’t think the horror aspect really worked. Perhaps it’s a consequence of this week being much more upfront with everything. Or maybe the more… not really actiony, but dynamic nature of it? Regardless, Unlike the first 3 episodes, this one seemed far more geared toward answer questions than creating them. Towards establishing things than scaring the viewer. This doesn’t mean there weren’t some scares of course, they were just different. If the first few episodes were jump scares, these were closer to psychological scares. Almost existential ones, taking shots at each characters core. In general though, I think the previous episodes in general worked better than this one.

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