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Anime Profile: Mononoke

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USA Info
Japanese Info
Image
Title
Mononoke Mononoke(γƒ’γƒŽγƒŽζ€ͺ) Mononoke
Released
  12 TV episodes
Dates
   
Company
   
Creator
   
Director
   
Genre
Horror, Paranormal Horror, Paranormal
Related
Bakeneko Bakeneko
Characters
Medicine Seller  

Last I checked, this anime seemed to be unavailable, but you could check again at the online stores to be sure.

Anime Description: Mononoke

Mononoke (not to be confused with Princess Mononoke) is NOTHING like a conventional anime. But let me start at the basics before we go into details. Mononoke is a sequel to Bakeneko (εŒ–ηŒ«), which is the final story arc in Ayakashi: Japanese Classic Horror. For those who don't know, Ayakashi is an anime series divided into three story arcs that are COMPLETELY unrelated. The 12 episodes in Mononoke are also divided into several story arcs, which take up 2 to 3 episodes each.

The story begins where Bakeneko left off, as the medicine seller (the main character in Bakeneko) continues to solve more paranormal cases. He explains that all paranormal happenings stem from vengeful spirits, which exist when Ayakashi (monsters) come in contact with human binds. Only when the source of the Mononoke (vengeful spirit)'s existence (known as makoto-truth), its identity (katachi, or form) and the occurrences that led to the the Mononoke's birth (towari; logic) become clear can his sword be unleashed to slay the Mononoke.

Now, I have said that this ISN'T ANY ORDINARY ANIME, because...

1. Through out the entire series, the medicine seller is the ONLY character which appears consistently in the anime. There are no other characters that stay on after each paranormal case is solved.

Spoiler: The strange thing is, there is one girl who appeared twice -- in the 2nd and final story arc. It's the same face but she takes on a different name, background and personality. And she doesn't recognise the medicine seller.

2. The medicine seller may be the central character, but he remains a COMPLETE mystery to the end. No character development, no revealing his past, no supporting characters with any relation to him. Each time, he appears as a stranger who just happens to be around when the supernatural occurs. Even his name is never divulged; he always introduces himself as "one who sells medicine" to others. I'm not even sure he's human. He can smile, he seems human at times, but mostly, his emotions and thoughts are a total quandary. Don't be sure that he kills MononoKe (Vengeful Spirits) to save people, because there are times when he does them in himself. And he doesn't seem to care if someone dies from the ghastly occurrences.

Spoiler: This guy seems to be immortal, though, because the time settings keep evolving. In the beginning, people wear kimonos and their modes of transport are junks (wooden ships), carts, and so on. By the final story arc, the Japanese already have trains, telephones and wear Western clothing. Watch how he has to explain his attire to the gawking train passengers.

3. The art is truly unique. It looks a bit like traditional Japanese art, with certain surfaces looking like canvas paintings (funnily, the art reminds me of Samurai Champloo's). In some places, scenes are used to drive and explain the plot instead of dialogue or flashbacks.

4. The story makes up for having no character development; each tale is riveting on its own. They tell of hope and redemption, the darkness in human hearts more terrible than any vengeful spirit. The bad news: These story arcs can be horribly complex- best not hope that the explanation will be handed to you on a plate. Get ready for a headache if you must watch it all in one go. The good news: Every single moment grabs your attention, so you won't have time to complain. This is definitely not a relaxing anime.

Confused yet? I was. The best way to understand this anime is to watch it (but even then I can't promise you full comprehension). Mononoke has to be watched again and again, so it's a real gem worth keeping, in the league with To Terra and Wolf's Rain.

p.s. Once I got used to his weirdness, I found the medicine seller actually quite the looker....for an unconventional bishie.

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