The “Medicine Seller” is a deadly and mysterious master of the occult who travels across feudal Japan in search of malevolent spirits called “mononoke” to slay. When he locates one of these spirits, he cannot simply kill it; he must first learn its Form, its Truth, and its Reason in order to wield the mighty Exorcism Sword and fight against it. He must begin his strange exorcisms with intense psychological analysis and careful investigative work—an extremely dangerous step, as he must first confront and learn about the mononoke before he even has the means to defeat it.
For years, I’ve been used to a certain style of animation, that is , where the characters are actually animated. Mononoke with its exuberant art style, and little to no animation threw me off the first time, and sadly I couldn’t even finish the first episode.
Recently, I tried watching it again, and yes, the animation is still clunky at the beginning, but the art style- God, it is beautiful. So, beautiful.A twelve, episode series, Mononoke is broken into five arcs. The art style for each arc is slightly different, while the animation continues to improve throughout the series.
Despite its horror tag, I found it impossible to be terrified of a series where everything was so pretty. However, Mononoke touches on some very dark concept and in those concepts, those visual imagery’s, combined with appropriate background sound and the terrible aspect of human nature, the horror really shines through.
Mononoke makes use of a lot of visual storytelling, and sometimes leaves it to the audience to figure out the order of things.
Since Mononoke delves into the hideous part of human nature, I would say it does a good job of assembling all sorts of character, their dreams and wishes and actions. The only reoccurring character being the “Medicine seller” or “Kusuriuri”, he is an enigmatic and sarcastic one, which is quite appropriate for this type of setting. A cool as a cucumber person, while it is his duty to hunt down Mononoke, it’s obvious he enjoys his work too.
All in all, once you get used to the art style, Mononoke is certainly one of the most enjoyable anime out there.