It’s been a month since my last post… oops! I’ve been busy working on stuff for a few conventions but I’ve also returned with a fabulous anime recommendation so I hope that makes up for it!
There are a few anime I’ve come across that after watching it, I’ve wondered why the hell there hasn’t been more of a buzz about it! Now, I’m definitely not counting Japan in this one as they seem to have superior taste and actually give my list of underrated anime the credit they deserve. Over here in the European and North American circles though (the English-speaking ones anyway), they seem to be largely overlooked. One such anime is Mononoke.
Mononoke is probably the most beautiful, vibrant horror you’re ever going to find! It’s painfully short at just 12 episodes but those episodes make up 5 wonderful individual stories. All these stories follow the character simply known as “Kusuriuri” or “Medicine Seller” as he encounters and deals with supernatural creatures known as “Mononoke”.
As you come to expect from Japanese horror; the story lines can get a little weird! They’re presented as mysteries you are solving alongside Kusuriuri and of course things are never as they appear. In addition to the wonderfully creepy, unique stories, the way the stories are presented complete the whole experience and mark this series as a brilliant, underrated anime for me.
The series carries a theatrical (almost Kabuki like) tone with an extreme fantasy based traditional Japanese aesthetic. The visuals are stunning and change from gorgeous, vibrant, mesmerizing details to subtle, beautiful scenes that resemble old Japanese paintings. The character design of Kusuriuri is undeniably striking but thankfully the supporting characters have their own uniquely individual designs. Every visual element to this series is just beautiful.
Most of the series is actually formed from very little animation, it opting instead to offer drama through jumping from frame to frame. When the situation calls for a high degree of energy and movement though, the animation is there and is smooth and pleasant to watch. Outside of these situations however the animation is simple and almost jittery which, once you adjust to it, feels a natural fit and adds to the strange creepy tone of Mononoke.
The Japanese instrumental soundtrack throughout matches the visuals perfectly and adds to the theatrical Kabuki tone. Though I do have to admit that there is one thing I just don’t like no matter how much I try to: the opening song! It’s this weird mix of French sounding music in a Japanese song and I just feel they could have used something much more beautifully strange and interesting to match the series itself.
Despite this small, honestly insignificant issue I find this anime so enjoyable to watch. If you’re a lover of traditional Japanese settings and folklore this will be an interesting watch for you. The series as a whole is very distinct, and I feel, unique. I haven’t come across anything else quite like it; Mononoke is definitely a hidden gem that I’m glad I found!
Do you guys have any anime you feel is under appreciated? I know I have a few so I think I’m going to have to make further posts!