It’ll take 20 seconds to realize you’ve never seen an anime like Mononoke.
No. Seriously. Here’s the link to episode 1. I’ll wait.
For those of you who didn’t click that link, Mononoke does its damnedest to answer the question, “What would happen if you tried to animate a stained glass window?” The animation style is so unique that it’s near hypnotizing. It’s the first time I’ve ever watched an anime and felt every pixel of every frame demanded my attention.
Mononoke is also the first textured anime I’ve ever seen. It’s a 2D anime, but it doesn’t look flat. I don’t know how else to describe it. Here.
Doesn’t it look like you could feel that? This single frame encapsulates what makes Mononoke the most visually captivating anime I’ve ever seen.
Having a pretty anime is all well and good. But what about the story and main character?
In Mononoke, we follow the “Medicine Seller” through five story arcs as he travels across feudal Japan, exorcising vengeful spirits called mononoke along the way. The mononoke themselves are pulled straight from classical Japanese literature and folk religion. Before the Medicine Seller can exorcise each spirit, he must find “The Form, The Truth, and The Reason” behind the each one.
The Medicine Seller is a quiet, yet imposing figure. His voice and design combine to make an impressively intimidating character. And his transformation scenes are nothing short of gorgeous.
The tone of Mononoke is chilling. It’ll downright disturb you at times. But Mononoke doesn’t rely on gore to achieve its desired affect—its jarring visuals and score accomplish that all on its own. The show does contain blood, but it tends to be more on the side of “Kill Bill” than “Saw”.
In the interest of full disclosure, the first story arc (the first two episodes) deals with abortion. But I swear the whole show does center around controversial issues, and there’s a happy ending to that arc.
From its enrapturing art style to its chilling tales, I can guarantee Mononoke is not an anime you’ll soon forget, nor one you should pass on seeing. And at only 13 episodes long, it goes by fast.
You can find Mononoke conveniently streaming here on Viewster.