New art! One of my favourite characters from one of my favourite animu. Witches and fire and badass female protagonists are teh shit! Also, I learned few tricks recently to make the picture look more print-y and vintage-y or something like that. (That awkward moment when you’re trying to make your digital art look less digital …)
What I adore about this series is how unique it is. I’ve heard people say it’s boring and drags but it’s one season long, has a very good open ended ending and deals with subject matter that I don’t see a lot of series take on. I go to it whenever I don’t know what to watch because I think it’s reliable. It has so many different aspects to it. There are the beginning episodes which are very stand alone, character development type episodes and the farther in you get the deeper into the plot you are. The characters are all very human so there are some that people love and some people hate depending on who you are. I wish it was more appreciated. :S
And now, to be a witch from the 1600s?? This was my look for this year’s Nottingham Festival! After wearing this somewhat puritanical look on a cool overcast day, I went home and start re-re-watching Witch Hunter Robin. It’s time.
“Witch Hunter Robin” (ウィッチハンターロビン Wicchi Hantā Robin) is a Japanese anime series created by Sunrise. It follows the STN-J, the Japanese branch of a secret global organization called “SOLOMON” or the “Solomon Toukatsu Nin'idantai” (roughly “Solomon Executive Organization”), abbreviated as “STN”.
The series originally aired across Japan between July 2, 2002 and December 24, 2002 on TV Tokyo and Animax with 26 episodes.
Spiritual/Yokai anime you may never have known about
I totally did not keep up with my plans to do a series of movie/anime recommendations. So sorry. Medical issues distracted me. But I have a lull day today, so here is a list of little known anime dealing with the spiritual or ‘demonic’ that you may not have heard about.
Rules of selection:
- An animation style that is compatible with the sometimes disturbing or spooky narrative.
- I’m sticking with the creep factor for the most part, so there wont be much comic relief. And if the show isn’t out-and-out ‘creepy’, it will at least be contemplative and serious about it’s own story.
- ‘Spiritual’ is a deliberate and broad genre title, because even though I aimed for stories that dealt with yokai and traditional Shinto lore, there isn’t much of a selection. So I did my best with some good ol’ mysteries that have the air of the supernatural.
Alright, here we go.
Red Data Girl
Red Data Girl is a beautifully animated show that follows the troubles of Izumiko Suzuhara, a girl fated to be the final, heavily protected vessel of the entity known as the Himegami. The show mostly follows the burgeoning friendship (and maybe romance) between Izumiko and her reluctant bodyguard Miyuki, along with the shadowed idea of a hierarchy of exorcists that go to this one upscale school and vie for political power. The supernatural themes showcased in this anime are relatively unique, to the point of being a little hard to follow if you look away for a moment, so don’t do that. But all of the characters are relatable, and the annoying ones get a back bone pretty quick.
Red Data Girl is an adaptation of a novel series by Noriko Ogiwara. It has been adapted into a manga as well. If you like this, I would urge you to seek out the English translation of Noriko’s other novel Dragon Sword and Wind Child(and it’s sequel). It is exquisite. Red Data Girl is comparably low-key, as Red Data Girl focuses on what happens to a 21st century school girl, and DSandWC is a high fantasy based on Japanese mythology.
Total of 12 episodes
Based on a light novel (series)
Overall rating: A
English Dub: excellent
Manga adaptation: yes
Psychic Detective Yakumo
It seems to me that despite being an excellent supernatural show with enjoyable characters and fascinating plot-twists, Psychic Detective Yakumo was somehow eclipsed in the west where shows like Ghost Hunt and Ergo Proxy andwhat not managed to get more publicity (those are good shows too, if you are interested).
Reserved college student Yakumo Saitou was born with a red left eye that allows him to see ghosts and spirits. He uses it with the belief that if he can communicate with them and resolve any issue they may have, then the ghost or spirit can move on to the afterlife. A fellow college student named Haruka Ozawa appears one day, asking him for help to save her friend, who she believes is being possessed by a spirit. He reluctantly accepts and afterwards gets involved in other supernatural related mysteries with her helping him.
Based on a novel (series)
Manga adaptation: yes
Mōryō no Hako
If you start this show and are put off by the bizarre story telling that surrounds the two high school girls at the center of this murder mystery, try not to be. After the first two episodes, once the story really picks up steam, it isn’t quite such an uncomfortable or bizarre watch.
The story brings together a war traumatized cop, a strange novelist, an eccentric detective and a brilliant bookstore owner/Onmyōji (esoteric priest) who are involved to various degrees with a prolific and incomprehensible dismemberment case.
Based on a novel (series)
Manga adaptation: yes
The Twelve Kingdoms
The Twelve Kingdoms is a great coming of age adventure story that takes place in a world of Asian myth and heroic empires. The lead female protagonist Yoko has probably the best character arc I’ve ever seen in an anime. This show also has some of the greatest quotes for anybody ever that’s looking for some inspiration.
Give it a watch if you like swords and sorcery, because this is a beautified Japanese version of that classic trope. It’s more fantasy than it is supernatural since all the mythical creatures exist physically, but I’ll break some of my original parameters with this list just so I can spread the word about this under-loved anime.
Based on a light novel (series)
Good dub, but original is better
Manga adaptation: no
Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit
Moribito, like The Twelve Kingdoms, is a fantasy adventure, but unlike the aforementioned tale, the supernatural goings-on in this story are strictly limited to their own world and rules.
Balsa, spear wielder and bodyguard, is a wandering warrior who has vowed to atone for eight deaths in her past by saving an equivalent number of lives. On her journey, she saves Prince Chagum, and is tasked with becoming his bodyguard. His own father, the emperor, has ordered his assassination. The two begin a perilous journey to ensure the survival of the prince. Balsa’s complicated past begins to come to light and they uncover Chagum’s mysterious connection to a legendary water spirit with the power to destroy the kingdom.
Great characters and a fascinating mythos. Also, it is one of those rare anime that showcase middle aged persons as the main characters.
Based on novel (duology)
Manga adaptation: yes
Mokke is a beautiful slice of life series in a similar vein as Natsume Yuujinchou and Mushishi. It follows the sisters Shizuru and Mizuki, the older of which possesses supernatural sight and the younger of which is easily possessed by all manner of strange and mysterious yokai.
The sisters are very cute and enduring and their encounters are often very touching and deep. It is a manga original, and I would recommend the manga over the anime because I think it does a better job of showing the growth and seriousness of it’s characters.
A+ (for the manga)
24 episodes and 2 OVAs
Karakuri Zoushi Ayatsuri Sakon
I’m willing to bet most of you have never even heard of this one. It’s from the late 1990′s and centers on a sweet and usually quiet young man who solves murders with his trusty Bunraku puppet, Ukon. It’s actually very enthralling and unique. Though it is more horror than supernatural, the ambiguous nature of Ukon provides this anime with a safe position on the list.
Really it is very good. I’d recommend it to anyone who thought they’d exhausted all of the good mystery anime out there.
Manga original with a light novel adaptation. As per usual I prefer the manga.
Witch Hunter Robin
Witch Hunter Robin is a little remembered gem from the early 2000′s. It follows a young witch named Robin who is tasked with hunting down her fellow witches, being led to believe that many of them have gone mad due to their power. The relationships between characters are subtle, but meaningful. Most, if not all characters are likeable. It has a steampunk/gothic flavor to it, and the cases Robin and the gang solve are unique unto themselves and generally sorrowful. It is sort of episodic, but the individual cases eventually help to weave a clear picture of the linear plot line.
Unlike the aforementioned shows, Witch Hunter Robin is an anime exclusive series with no novelised origin or manga adaptation. It’s a great one for all of us that love a little paganism in our animation. It’s one of those Japanese originals that did it’s non-Japanese myth material justice.
There is a total of 26 episodes.
English dub: Excellent
Dantalian no Shoka
Dantalian no Shoka is an episodic anime. There really isn’t an over arching plot, aside from the rules of the story which are as follows: At some point in the past (as in thousands of years ago) a few young girls were somehow turned into mystical vessels that, when ‘unlocked’ by their keykeeper, can be used to retrieve phantom tomes (huge ass alchemical texts) in order to counteract the supernatural crimes that seem to abound in this post-WWI English setting. So aside from the weird sprinkle of near loli-ness that is the ‘opening of the vessel’ (young girl) and retrieval of the books, this story is pretty enjoyable. Huey is Dalian’s Keykeeper. Dalian is the ‘Dark Reading Princess’/gateway to the mystic library of Dantalian. They have a pleasant relationship, the poetry that is read in nearly every episode is great, the animation is good and the crimes that we see them solve are very fairy tale-esque. That is important, guys. You might be put off by the non-sense that is half the show, unless you accept before hand that you are watching a straight up fairy tale. But for me, I love that shit. And the characters are all really sweet. The crimes we see can be a bit disturbing at times, but the soft animation sort of takes away the true brutality of it.
This too, is based on a light novel series, and there is a manga as well. So if you want more once you finish the anime, you might step on over to a scanlated version of the manga and check out what other troubles our lovely leads find themselves in.
Romance is questionable in this one, but there is genuine love of some sort and since you can find any anime that gives you lolicons, I’m glad this one leaves that alone in favor of the show’s more unique aspects.
One 12 episode season + one OVA
Bonus: This one has my favourite opening song in any anime ever :)
It’s hard to say how Wolf’s Rain really fits into this list. There aren’t any yokai, unless you consider the wolves themselves to be that, and the setting is about as un-Japanese as one can take it. But Wolf’s Rain is a fantastic anime, rich in myth-like lore and vibrating with desolation and the strong bonds that can be forged in the hopelessness that accompanies it.
Every character in Wolf’s Rain is likable and interesting and the story has a satisfactory conclusion despite the sadness in getting there. Watch it for the beauty, the intelligence and for the music. And skip episodes 15-18 as they are completely useless recaps.
30 episodes, the last 4 of which are considered to be OVAs
Though this is an anime original it has a questionable manga adaptation which I do not like.
This little gem is a work of horror by the very same author as Inuyasha and Ranma ½. Though there isn’t much ‘spiritual’ about this show, the themes and atmosphere create the same appeal.
Yuta and Mana are travelling companions, forever searching for a cure to their immortal condition which was brought on by the consumption of mermaid’s flesh. Along the way the two meet many tragic characters whose pursuit for or misuse of mermaid’s flesh has turned them into monsters. We also get several flashbacks to the time before Yuta met Mana and was travelling alone.
I prefer the manga original called Mermaid Saga, but the anime is good and the English dub is well done. There were a couple older OVAs before the creation of the 13 episode Mermaid Forest anime, but I think the latter is the most well done.
Hoozuki no Reitetsu
Okay, I know I said the shows would be creepy, and this totally is! It is hilarious but if you really think about all that goes on in this series it is black humor to the max.
Hoozuki no Reitetsu follows the daily exploits of Hoozuki, King Enma’s second in command, as he troubleshoots the many issues that occur in Japanese hell. (So, yeah, plenty of yokai and ogres and what-have-you)…
Oh, god, is it funny. The show is set up episodically with two distinct stories about ten minutes apiece in each 24 minute long episode. There are 13 episodes and four OVAs and no dub. (And a second season on the way! AH!)
You may need to have a greater understanding of Japanese custom and lore to totally appreciate and pick up on the hilarity that lurks in every second of this show, but even without that knowledge, i’m sure it is worth trying out.
The original manga and the anime adaptation are exactly the same, so I’d recommend the show since it’s fun to watch comedy in action.
Nearly all of these can be found at and watched in high definition on either kissanime.ru or watchcartoononline.io