The “Medicine Seller” is a deadly and mysterious master of the occult who travels across feudal Japan in search of malevolent spirits called “mononoke” to slay. When he locates one of these spirits, he cannot simply kill it; he must first learn its Form, its Truth, and its Reason in order to wield the mighty Exorcism Sword and fight against it. He must begin his strange exorcisms with intense psychological analysis and careful investigative work—an extremely dangerous step, as he must first confront and learn about the mononoke before he even has the means to defeat it. The Medicine Seller’s journey leads him to an old-fashioned inn where Shino, a pregnant woman, has finally found a place to rest. The owner has reluctantly placed her in the last vacant room; however, as she settles in, it quickly becomes clear that the room is infested by a lethal band of mononoke, the Zashiki Warashi. With his hunter’s intuition, the Medicine Seller begins his investigation to discover the Form, the Truth, and the Reason before the Zashiki Warashi can kill again. – My Anime List
Based on 15 review scores:
Overall, Mononoke is one of my favorite animes, for how it takes such a unique approach with its art and storytelling. The Medicine Seller is also one of my favorite characters in anime. And I, being somewhat nihilistic myself, love all the critiques of human nature. I wish that more animation studios would take risks like this, instead of standardized stuff that we see today. Maybe then we’d have more classics.
In 20 years I have seen nothing quite like Mononoke. The colours are breathtaking, The stories are unnerving. Each episode is like surreal paper collage dream. Choosing not to rely on gore and shock value, these ghost stories unfold like melancholy poetry.
The Forgotten Lair
Games And Anime
Mononoke is a one of a kind show that deserves to be seen. Although some of the arcs are better than others, each one is entertaining, cerebral, and has something meaningful to say. The show asks the viewer to pay attention and turn on his or her brain, and in return, it provides a wholly unique experience that can’t be found anywhere else.
Anime News Network
So the creators failed to trump Bake Neko. That doesn’t mean that Mononoke isn’t worth giving a look, and it’s great to see that people are still willing to go beyond the mainstream and experiment with original and different styles. Mononoke is an excellent recommendation for anyone who likes the Japanese-styled horror or similar forms of storytelling.
Stunning art, captivating music score, and complex story. A wonderful combination if I ever did see one. Only flaws: The perfect but slightly nauseating camera and extremely complex plot movement. I highly recommend this anime for those who are looking for something a little different from the usual anime fare.
My Anime List
I finished the series in 2 days, meaning I watched about 6 episodes per day. So yeah… I enjoyed it a lot. And as mentioned earlier, some arcs may take a second or even third viewing to get everything. I know I will watch it again. It’s such an excellent anime and was so worth the watch.
Anyone thinking this show is merely for the arty types because of its experimental animation, think again. Mononoke is blood-curdlingly scary in a way anyone can enjoy; where other shows fail to even prick a fan’s imagination, Mononoke sends shivers streaming down their backs. Who can resist shaking like a leaf during the disturbing sea voyage with the hollowed-out tree? Who will walk away from the final ‘Ghost Cat’ episodes mentally unscathed? Indeed, Mononoke comes shockingly close to reinventing the horror wheel thanks to its invigorating style and powerful narratives.
This is not your average anime, it has an art concept based and the ancient paints that Japan is famous for.
Beautiful, undeniably interesting to watch and refreshing all at the same time. It is let down by inconsistency and too often being overly detached from its viewer and never really allowing a full investment whether emotionally or intellectually. One of these problems might have been easily overlooked but both stop it from qualifying at full five star status. Add one star if symbolism and stunning aesthetics are all the investment you need.
The Nihon Review
Despite all the inroads this show makes and the all the originality it exudes, Mononoke is not without its drawbacks. The greatest flaw of this anime is that there is simply not enough of it. I wouldn’t mind if the show went on for another fifty episodes so long as it maintains its ability to engross, fascinate and shock. Regardless of length, this is one show that is almost solely about the experience, so free your mind, and let Mononoke sweep you along its surreal wings.
While I love that Mononoke tried to do something new, it just didn’t work for me. It was all pretty packaging hiding an empty box. I hate being negative about it, because I want to see more variation and experimentation in the genre, but, as the Mythbusters say, failure is always an option. I would say this is worth renting or streaming, but not buying.
The historical feel that Mononoke offers really makes it something special. It features an incredibly fantastic art style that looks gorgeous no matter what story is unfolding. While the plot is not always straightforward and literal, it is rewarding for those who stay with it. So if you’re looking for an anime series that is quite unlike any other, Mononoke is definitely for you.