Thursday, July 23, 2009
I was first acquainted with Kusuriuri when I saw him in Bakeneko arc (eps. 9-11) in Ayakashi ~ Japanese Classic Horror. When I learned that it will get it own series as a sequel, I made sure that I get hold of it.
You cannot talk about Mononoke if you do not talk about the art. Just like its predecessor, the animators, Toei Animation do not afraid to experiment with the art. It has its own distinct style of animation. It was part of the reason that got me hooked right away. It is very different, in a very good bold and imaginative kinda way. Seriously, it was tantalizing and gorgeously unique! They compensate the two dimensional, almost paper-cut appearance with vibrant and captivating colorful backgrounds, textures and designs. In a sense, it makes you feel like you are part of a very beautiful painting. They definitely used the art to its full potential to present and distinguished the stories. It also used a lot of camera movements to add suspense and with a well control pace it has successfully exact the desired tension.
Mononoke is composed of 5 different stories which are only related to Kusuriuri, the medicine seller, our mysterious protagonist. Each story takes 2-3 episodes which features a different supernatural, more often than not, evil spirit or most commonly known as mononoke. It was up to Kusuriuri (who is a total bishie by the way) to vanquish or exorcise the mononoke. In order to do so, he needs to uncover the Katachi (shape/form), Makoto (truth), and Kotowari (reason) of the spirit. However it isn't always about the dead. Each story delved deep to the heart of everything and it is not surprising when everything that occurred is related to the living.
Kusuriuri is the only constant character in the series. His attraction is definitely lies in his demeanour, which is very unique whichever way you look at it, not to mention mysterious. Very mysterious. Some of his deadpan sarcastic comments will certainly makes you laugh at the oddest of time. He is a character that you could not help but like. In my case, fell in love with. He is one of the unforgettable characters out there.
The other characters vary with each stories but still get a decent development due to the nature of the story despite being 2-3 episodes in length. These characters are not the typical type characters (as in do not expect good looking characters). They were designed with the story in mind and the ingenuity of it in my opinion, worked wonders.
The appropriate sound effects (or lack of it) enhance the whole eerie atmosphere. The silence in most scenes does most of the work to creep you out. The voice actors did a job well done too, especially with those screeches and screams of horror. As for the OP and ED, I don't find it interesting but I guess it fits right in with the weird tune of the whole show.
This is one of the anime that I won't get tired of watching again and again. I give it a 10 for enjoyment.
The enticing, attention-grabbing, well written stories and the excellent directing and editing makes Mononoke a masterpiece. A must watch to all anime lovers/appreciators. If that is not good enough reason for you to pick up this series, maybe a threat to shove a foot up your ass can convince you otherwise?