Why You Should Watch Mononoke
Mononoke (not beloved Studio Ghibli film Princess Mononoke), is a personal favourite of mine and something I’ll recommend to anyone. As such, I’m going to take the podium for a bit here to make a case to you all, my followers, and to anyone following you should you reblog this post, that this is an anime to watch. Let’s go.
Mononoke is a 12 episode spin-off of the Bake-Neko arc from Akayashi: Samurai Horror Tales, both works produced by Toei Animation. Ayakashi was composed of three arcs, the first two adaptations of existing stories with the third, Bake-Neko, being an original creation. From the Bake-Neko arc, the following series Mononoke was derived.
The Bake-Neko arc does have a clear relationship to events within Mononoke as well, and thus I would STRONGLY recommend watching it before watching Mononoke. As such, I would actually describe Mononoke as being a 15 episode series, consisting of the Bake-Neko arc and then the 12 episodes of Mononoke proper.
The episodes of Ayakashi to watch are 9, 10 and 11, and they bear no relationship to previous episodes, meaning there’s no requirement to watch any before them. Ayakashi: Samurai Horror Tales episode 9 is thus the true starting point of Mononoke.
If the two images posted so far have caught your interest, I would strongly recommend seeking out episode 9 of Ayakashi and giving it a try. Unfortunately while Mononoke is, Ayakashi is not available on Crunchyroll, meaning I can’t in good faith provide a link to a place to watch it. If you look you will find it. Trust me on that.
For those of you about to leave, allow me to provide a content warning now: as mononoke are demons made of the actions of people, there’s a lot of brutal stuff within this show, and while it is highly stylised, blood flows, violence is common, and abuse shown. While I will recommend this show to anyone, it will be with the caveat that you yourself must be comfortable with watching it. That’s the best I can say.
Mononoke follows the Kusuriuri (Medicine Seller), a nameless wanderer of the world who carries the Sword of Exorcism, used in the slaying of demons. However in order to draw the sword he must first determine the Form, Truth and Reason of a mononoke - that being: what it is; why it is; and what it wants. As such, each individual arc within the series acts as a form of mystery, wherein the Medicine Seller must hold out against the mononoke’s actions while investigating his surroundings to gauge those three properties and draw the sword.
Each individual arc within Mononoke, totaling up to six when counting the Bake-Neko arc from Ayakashi, is (mostly) self-contained, although the world is the same for all of them leading to some on-going effects between stories.
Hey by the way? This show is gorgeous. The visuals and audio are fantastic, the scenery is beautiful, the twisted designs and mind-bending shots entrance and, throughout it all, the calm and steady tone of the Medicine Seller (Takahiro Sakurai) do a fantastic job of showing his steadfast approach to it all.
I am, without question, boundlessly bias towards this show, as I do think so highly of it, but honestly I can’t recommend it enough. It’s an experience worth having.
So if you enjoy crazy colour visuals, psychological twists, and the pursuit of truth, then this show is one you will very much enjoy.
Not yet convinced? Check out this fantastic fan-made trailer!
Mononoke itself is available here on Crunchyroll, although as I have specified before, I STRONGLY recommend watching the Bake-Neko arc (episodes 9 to 11) of Ayakashi beforehand.
As a reminder, this show does depict instances of abuse, as well as significant blood and injuries, so be aware of that should you choose to go in.
Finally, if you do, let me know! I’d love to hear if you enjoyed this! Feel free to reblog, spread this to others, and let’s share this to many people. It’s a grand experience, I promise.