The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Series Review

The boys, and Fuzzy, are back for a more dramatic season of supernatural events.

I had the distinct pleasure of getting to review The Morose Mononkean Season Two with the lovely Irina and I will admit, I went in with fairly low expectations. Season one of the Morose Mononkean was okay but that was all. I love yokai stories and so I’d enjoyed it but that was no real drama, no real forward driving story, and the characters all seemed to lack development. They just kind of drifted about happy to deal with the immediate issue but not to address any of the larger world questions that seemed to keep coming up.

Fortunately, season two of The Morose Mononokean is one of those exceptions to my usual rule that sequels offer diminishing returns. Season two of The Morose Mononokean took everything that was nice and lovely from season one (the colour scheme, the relationship established between Abeno and Hanae, the yokai designs) and then added in everything I felt was missing. The end result was a season that was superior in every way and getting to discuss it each week with Irina just added to the fun as we speculated about characters and plot developments.

For those who are unfamiliar with the premise, Hanae can see yokai and in the beginning of the first season is actually possessed by one (the one that comes to be the cute mascot character of the show, Fuzzy). Hanae is saved by Abeno who while being human, and Hanae’s classmate, is also the master of the Mononokean, which means he can open the door between the human realm and the underworld and he exorcises yokai (essentially sends them home).

In season two we see a Hanae that initially starts off more comfortably in his role as Abeno’s assistance but a trip to the underworld and an encounter with one of the three powers there, the Executive tries to kill him because he is human.

This is by far the most danger he’d faced since realising yokai were real and beginning his work and for The Morose Mononokean as a narrative it really upped the stakes and tension in general. It also opened the way for more exploration of the political situation within the underworld which helped to really flesh out the world that had felt kind of shallow in season one.

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By itself, this would have been enough to make me enjoy season two far more than season one, but they also began to fill in Hanae’s backstory including his family situation. While there are still a lot of questions hanging over this at the end of season two, it really helped push character development for both Abeno and Hanae. It also helped their relationship, which had always been interesting, progress further as we got to see Abeno really take on a caring role as he tried to protect and help Hanae.

The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 10

Hanae’s development of powers he could use against yokai was also a really interesting progression because it opens up all kinds of possibilities, some of which unpleasant, for where the story might go. Plus, if you ever wanted to see Abeno and Hanae go head to head, you won’t be disappointed here.

The Morose Mononokean Episode 6 Ashiya and Yahiko

But it isn’t just the central duo getting a lot more development. The Legislator, Abeno’s boss essentially, was an enigmatic but interesting character in season one. While there is still a lot about him that we don’t know, he was given substantially more screen time and his meddling was far more overt in season two. The Executive and The Justice, the other two parts of the triad of power, were new additions to the cast but provided some really great moments even if they were very limited in their screen time.

There are also a host of yokai characters who come and go from the story as normal and these were all interesting and worked in their own way. Some of these have ties to the past or two the various political factions and others are just yokai of the week characters, but all leave a lasting impression on the main characters and the audience.

The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 4 Kinako

In addition to the improvements in the narrative and the character development, it seems like season two of The Morose Mononkean had a real lift in its visuals. While the rich colour palette used in season one for the underworld remained, all of the visuals just seemed crisper and characters less prone to going off model in this second season.

The Morose Mononokean - Beast in human form

If you decided to pass on this second season but didn’t mind the first, I’d strongly suggest giving it a go. If you’ve never tried the anime but you like yokai stories, definitely give the first season a go and while I know this is said all the time it really is true here, this story gets better as it goes. The only thing missing now is the knowledge that we’ll eventually get a third season to get some more closure on some of the loose ends.

Now to finish off with a gallery of Fuzzy.

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Karandi James
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The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 13 With Irina and Karandi

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Here we are at the end of the season and it is time for one last chat with Irina about The Morose Mononokean (at least this season and fingers crossed that we eventually get a third). We’re over on Irina’s site today so to check out our full discussion about The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 13 hop on over and be sure to leave us a comment.

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Karandi James
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The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 12 With Irina and Karandi

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Welcome back. This week Irina and I are covering episode 12 of The Morose Mononokean Season 2. Irina is bold and in blue, and I’m in red.

I don’t even know where to start this week. This episode was just really great to watch. It felt like so much happened and yet I was genuinely surprised when the end credits started rolling because it felt like no time had passed. Did you like it?

I immediately jumped on my computer to make sure it wasn’t the last episode. This episode more than ever, I had the sinking feeling I would have to start a new manga collection. And I’m the type of cray I can’t just read them online because…crazy?

Ok short answer (too late): Yes, I liked it!

Once again, I am left wondering just how much the Legislator is manipulating the situation. Kuruo’s sudden visit to White Sand Prison and her wink as she asked Abeno to accompany her just seemed to suspect to really just assume it was a coincidence. And yet, what does she have to gain in this situation? It would really be nice to know if the Legislator is pulling the strings and if he is, what he is trying to get from it all.

Right from the first instants, where Ripou mentions that the prison is “not well guarded on the inside” I had my suspicions.

On a technical note, I was reminded how great Ripou’s voice is. He has this way of playing with inflection that makes everything sound just a little fishy. Something is definitely up.

I found Abeno’s sneaking around the prison to find the library unintentionally hilarious. For someone who is usually so straightforward and upfront, sneaking just doesn’t suit him and he’s not very good at it. I did like that he kind of panicked and took the book accidentally. It seemed like a fairly natural reaction of someone who is not used to being underhanded. Also, his freak out when it poked out of his clothes was also pretty priceless.

I was actually sort of freaked out at Kuruo mentioning that the medicine was used for torture. This season is slowly shifting the tone of The Morose Mononokean into something much more threatening.

I do agree that seeing Abeno flustered is a bit of a treat. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of that, if I wasn’t worried about him. I’ve been worrying about Abeno for no particular reason since season 1 and now everything’s converging on him.

It was really great to see those gorgeous Underworld vistas again!

There were however two things with this early part of the episode that bothered me. The first was that somehow Abeno had apparently had time to read the whole account, or at least a large part of it, which makes you wonder how long it takes to deliver medicine. But the second was just how easily he found exactly what he was looking for. Admittedly, the library was neatly ordered, but it still seemed far too easy that the first book he took off the shelf had the account he was looking for and he managed to find that account in the book with very little difficulty. It is a minor complaint but it just seemed too simple.

I agree with the second part but I’m not sure about the first. I thought he had flipped to a random page and that was all that he read. I may just be charitable.

That the Legislator ends up with the book just brings me back to wondering what he’s up to and how much he’s actually involved in everything.

I think it’s a power play. He wants to take some authority away from the other two. The Executive and the Justice also seem a lot closer to each other than to the Legislator, there may be something to that. But let’s go back to the mundane world, because they are slowly weaving the two together.

We do see these two together a lot.

I really enjoyed Hanae’s attempt at bribing Yahiko to show him what Sakae looked like. It was such a typical interaction between them with Yahiko just crushing Hanae and stringing him along. It is nice to know that despite Hanae’s awakening power some things haven’t changed.

I like Yahiko quite a bit. I shouldn’t, but I do. Seeing those two together was a fun little romp and a break in the tension.

But, then we get into the final part of the episode where Hanae and Abeno are asked to go check out a shrine by Zenko. I really want to just swat Zenko’s father. He sent them there, through Zenko, without giving them all the information he had and that just seems really reckless.

OK, three things I noticed in the last prt. First, the mundane world was awash in yellow. The palette was warm and pale. Yellow is happy, obviously sunny but it’s also associated with lies. There’s something we don’t know going on.

Second, they really insisted on the spiderweb imagery, especially in connection with Abeno. He’s being ensnared. The web was also tinted yellow, just like Abeno’s hair…

Finally, the web and spider motifs were superimposed over an adorable little pig yokai, which to me instantly brought up the idea of Charlotte’s Web.

Wow, that is really Charlotte’s Web. I hadn’t thought of that.

Then of course the whole thing ends on a cliffhanger as we go into the final episode of the season. I will admit, this season has been a lot more exciting and interesting than season one so I am definitely anticipating that final episode.

Hence me looking up if it’s the final episode and finding out the MAL thumbnail has a picture of Sakae’s face right on there which is a bit of a spoiler…

There are two other things I enjoyed this episode. The first was Hanae’s sister and her phone call. While it is mostly disconnected from a lot of the rest of the story, I kind of like this deeper look at his family given that was missing entirely from season one. Also, with the current drama all revolving around the man who may have been his father, it is nice to see the other family members getting a bit of screen time.

The other thing I really enjoyed was the visual contrast between the underworld and the mundane world. I’ve appreciated this even in season one, but this episode did an excellent job of showcasing the vastly different colour palettes used for the two settings and honestly it just made the episode a visual feast for the eyes.

The episode had some truly beautiful scenery in both worlds. It was great to watch.

I am also going to give this episode bonus points for using Fuzzy as a projectile weapon.

I knew you would pick up on the Fuzzy attack. It was very pokemonish. I want to see Natsume just flinging Nyanko at things. I know we’re not comparing the two shows but it would be hilarious. Besides, we are then shown that a powerful yokai seems to have been sealed in a little offering shrine. What am I supposed to think about?

Nyanko Attack!

Oh, now I want to see that. And Nyanko’s reaction afterward because I’m better he would definitely pay Natsume back for doing that to him.

Anyway, one episode to go and I can’t wait.

Me neither!

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Karandi James
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The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 11 With Irina and Karandi

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This week we are back on Irina’s blog so be sure to go check out our thoughts on this adorable little episode featuring the cutest yokai birds with ear wings. Granted, there isn’t a lot of competition for birds with ear wings but seriously this was adorable. Also some good plot development stuff and some great character moments.

Seriously though, for Irina and my complete thoughts on The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 11 head over to Irina’s. If you’ve missed our previous posts they are linked to below and be sure next week to catch our review of episode 12 right here.

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The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 10 With Irina and Karandi

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Hi Irina, welcome to another week. I’m really continuing to enjoy The Morose Mononokean this season and this episode was a great mix of fun, a few reveals, and just being calm and relaxing to watch. Though my favourite part was definitely seeing Abeno as a little kid because that was so cute. What was your favourite part?

I’m not sure. Little Abeno is adorable but I also liked exhausted Yahiko in kitsune form AND they gave us a halloween episode in February which made me really happy. I just enjoyed this episode overall.

The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 10

As an aside, I let the intro play again and the OP is really growing on me. Mind you, I liked it to begin with! It’s a good OP. Quietly this season is turning out to be really enjoyable.

I think I prefer the ED though the OP is definitely growing on me.

Perhaps I should actually put my thoughts into some kind of order. The start of this episode was great because it showed that Abeno does plan to look into Hanae’s dad even though Hanae didn’t really want to pursue it. Also, the Legislator clearly knows what he is up to but isn’t stopping him (nor does it seem like he plans to help). I’m really curious now as to how this is all going to come together.

The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 10

You know, I sometimes wonder whether Rippou actually cares about Abeno. I mean beyond just the fact that he’s an employee and entertaining. The Legislator is likely to “like” people because they are useful to him. I don’t think Rippou has any attachment to Hanae beyond the fact that he’s a novelty but when it comes to Abeno, sometimes there seems to be something almost tender in their relationship.

Completely one sided of course.

However, after that, Abeno goes to school and we have what should be a standard school festival kind of event. Still, The Morose Mononokean manages to make that quite fun. Watching Hanae and Abeno go around dressed as a witch and a grim reaper was pretty funny by itself but Abeno’s commentary on Hanae’s sale’s pitch was hilarious. What did you think of their antics?

The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 10
Not sure he was worried about the lack of costume.

They made a great odd couple and it’s nice to see the tension go out of their relationship.

Actually really liked Zenko in these scenes. I think she was a perfect straight man to their respective types of eccentricnesses that brought everything together. This is why I like school festival episodes. They’re just mindless fun and it makes me feel comfortable.

The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 10

And if you throw in Yokai….

Of course we need some sort of yokai story going on and we get that when Zenko reveals she let Yahiko come to the school festival. I kind of can’t believe she gave in knowing Yahiko the way she does, but I must admit he was making it hard to say ‘no’. Anyway, it gave Abeno a good excuse to ditch the festival, and the reaper costume, and go play.

The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 10

But before they do, great little haunted house scene. I really wanted to know what that “happy ending” was. It seemed like something to behold!

What did you think of Yahiko and Abeno’s play date?

What I really liked was they didn’t waste this. It wasn’t just Abeno goofing off with Yahiko. Abeno used the opportunity to find out what Yahiko knew about Hanae’s father and Yahiko actually transformed into someone he met with Aoi (the old master of the Mononokean). However, that raises more questions than it answers given they clearly don’t match the image we’ve been seeing in Hanae’s memory and it is revealed that Hanae’s father might have died the year he was born so I’m left wondering who he met. So much intrigue. And I really want to know more. What about you?

Before the transformation scene, we did see the little Hanae flashback to meeting his dad in the snow and well, we do see his hair in those scenes and it isn’t blonde. I thought it was odd but chalked it off to the shadow of the hood or something.

But then when I saw Yahiko transform, I realized it may be more than that. I mean the only person to ever call hm blond with gold eyes is Hanae’s mother. Her memories may have been played with.

It’s a nice little mystery they’re setting up, that’s for sure. Although I remain more curious about Abeno’s past. Of course there’s still time.

The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 10

And still there is more to the episode with Hanae and Abeno traveling to a cliff to do a job for a yokai and it turns out it is a yokai that Abeno met when he was still just an employee of the Mononokean. All of that leads to the most adorable flashback ever with little Abeno.

Is this the first time we see Aoi? I may have just forgotten but I was really surprised she was a cat. I guess it’s her form in the mundane world. But still, that was a very young Abeno up on a high hill with and unpredictable yokai and a cat to defend him.

Child services?

The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 10
This is definitely not adequate supervision for a child while on a ledge.

Yeah, there’s the question of where is Abeno’s family and why are they letting a child that young traipse around with a cat. There’s definitely a lot more to this story.

Okay, this wasn’t the most focused of episodes but I absolutely loved it. So many good things happening and so many interesting things to speculate about.

I agree. In fact when the ending credits started I was stunned. Like 10 minutes had barely gone by. I’m looking forward to more. I’m starting to worry a bit that I’ll be sad if it doesn’t get another season…

Of course, I’ll have to leave you with my Fuzzy screencap of the episode and I’m so giving it to this adorable shot of Fuzzy trying to climb back up a cliff to get into the Mononokean. Too adorable.

The Morose Mononokean Episode 10

This was a good screencap episode. I’m a little jealous!

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The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 9 With Irina and Karandi

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We’re back over on Irina’s blog this week as we review episode 9. Taking a break from underworld politics this week there’s a firm family focus and a bit of back story on Ashiya that we’ve been missing so far. Very enjoyable episode so be sure to head over to Irina’s blog and check out our thoughts on it.

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The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 8 Review With Irina and Karandi

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Do you know what the perfect show to watch this season is when you are not in such a great head space? Definitely The Morose Mononokean. While My Roommate is a Cat would run it a close second, I could feel my shoulders releasing a great deal of tension while watching this week’s episode of The Morose Mononokean and it wasn’t just because I got to see Fuzzy eating Fairy Floss (I guess I should also go American and I think that should be Cotton Candy?).

Anyway, Irina and I are back covering episode 8 of The Morose Mononokean. How are you this week Irina?

Exhausted. Work has been kicking my behind laely but it’s nice to feel like you’ve really earned your weekend, you know?

And I definitely agree that Mononokean is one of those weightless relaxing show that helps you drift away with the pretty colours.

The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 8

While I honestly loved how relaxing it was watching the episode this week, compared to some of the episodes this season, episode 8 is a little bit underwhelming. It does the job and it definitely hits the sweet relaxing tone it is aiming for as Zenko, Abeno and Hanae accompany Keshi to the festival, some great screen caps to be found in that sequence, but realistically we don’t get into the real meat of the episode until later on when Hanae actually calls Abeno on hiding jobs from him.

For awhile I was tempted to call this a filler episode but we actually got a few clues regarding what’s happening in the bigger story AND some very nice character growth.

I have to say, the fillerish first half did have me reflecting on the summer festival trope in anime and I’ve decided I quite like it. I’m not sure why but these very predictable and similar episodes always make me smile. This one was no exception. It was just sweet to see that little doll get her simple wish. And kitsune masks are the best accessory.

The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 8

Do I just point out that this is probably Hanae at his finest this week. Sometimes he gets a little silly and he regularly is the one who has the big reaction to unusual things or the emotional response while Abeno remains stoic. However, this week, while he certainly still has his emotional moments, we see a more mature side of Hanae as he doesn’t whinge at Abeno for keeping him out of the loop but rather calmly points out that he is an employee and he’ll help out with any job.

Definitely. The interplay between Hanae and Abeno this week was a big step forward in their relationship.

THe Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 8

The problem is that Hanae and to a lesser extent Abeno, are rather underdeveloped characters all things considered. So although we can easily infer that Hanae’s recent experiences with the executor, his banishment rendering him unable to help and Abeno’s sacrifices have all served to force him to grow up and mature. It’s also difficult to truly appreciate this growth as he was sort of hollow to begin with.

This said, I’m a sucker for friendship storylines, this spoke to me.

I definitely have to agree about them both being underdeveloped characters. That comes back to last week where we were discussing how the yokai wanting to be human plot kind of felt like a Natsume episode but this show really isn’t comparable. I think it is the lack of development with the characters that really makes this one a far less compelling watching experience when compared. Every character in Natsume just makes me fall in love with them, whereas with this one I’m really fairly indifferent to the majority of the characters.

The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 8

Moving away from comparisons though, there are great moments to be found in this episode, however I didn’t really feel that the episode flowed particularly well. Much like last week, I felt the transition between sections was a bit abrupt. I do get the connection with Abeno collapsing after sending Keshi back being the catalyst for Hanae to really put together the fact that he’s being left out of jobs, but still it was quite jarring to jump straight from that to the watermelon splitting (and the really are hitting all the Summer tropes with school camp, festival, and watermelon splitting even if we didn’t get to the beach to do it).

I don’t know. The transition didn’t really bother me. There was a connective thread and the tone remained constant.

The mid episode story change seems to be over this week in any case. Both threads wrapped up rather nicely. I’m willing to bet we are going to have another underworld politics episode next week.

But what did you think of this week’s Karandi?

The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 8

Despite some of my minor issues with the episode, I do have to admit it is continuing to keep me intrigued about the political situation in the underworld as well as wanting to know what the Executive is actually up to. Hopefully we’ll get some resolution on that by the end of the season otherwise it will be very frustrating as we wonder if a season three will ever come out.

There is enough time to reach some type of conclusion with the Executor I think but Abeno’s greater backstory will probably stay a mystery for a while. With my predicting capacities, they’ll tell us all about it next episode. That would be pretty cool actually.

Catch you next week for episode 9, and of course, I’ll leave you all with a cute picture of Fuzzy.


The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 8 Fuzzy

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