The Morose Mononokean (不機嫌なモノノケ庵 Fukigen na Mononokean)
Manga Created By: Kiri Wazawa
I was curious about this anime just from the title and the promotional poster for it on Crunchyroll.
Hanae Ashiya is a first-year high school student whose ideal high school life is shattered when a mysterious fuzzy creature latches onto him and starts to drain Ashiya’s life energy. In order to get rid of this creature, he asks Haruitsuki Abeno, the master of the Mononokean, to exorcise the yokai. Yet once Abeno has done so, Ashiya is forced to become his employee because Ashiya couldn’t afford the payment fee for the exorcism.
In the beginning, Ashiya had no interest in learning about yokai and the underworld, but after going on a couple of missions with Abeno, Ashiya begins to grow fond of them.
The first comment I would like to make is the art, particularly when Abeno and Ashiya travel to the demon world. The setting is illustrated like a Japanese art scroll painting. The use of watercolors on the town and landscapes and the yellowish undertones have this antiqueness to it.
Another factor that I found interesting in this anime is the functionality of the Mononokean and the different spaces used for this story. The Mononokean is the tea room that Abeno inhabits, which is also a yokai. The Mononokean speaks through the wall scroll and possesses its own thoughts and feelings. The story takes place in the “mundane human world” and the yokai world. Yet the Mononokean is the middle ground of these two worlds and it allows one to travel to and from both worlds. Abeno is the “master of the Mononokean.” Abeno and his employees are the only ones that can control the Mononokean’s power. Abeno serves to guide yokai to their rightful home, the demon world, as oppose to roaming around the human realm.
Lastly, the central theme I got from The Morose Mononokean is the importance of lending a helping hand. In every episode, Ashiya was willing to help any yokai that is in need of their assistance even if that yokai is the deadliest or scariest. Ashiya puts the yokai first before his own well-being, which causes great trouble for Abeno at times. However, it is Ashiya’s selflessness and kindness that brings forth valuable friendships towards him and Abeno, and when these two are in need, their yokai friends come to help.
The Morose Mononokean is a fun supernatural/fantasy anime to watch when you are bored. It’s an underrated anime that I think should be given some attention.