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 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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Karandi James
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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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Karandi James
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The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 7 With Irina and Karandi

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We’re over on Irina’ blog today reviewing the most recent episode of The Morose Mononokean. So hop on over and check out our thoughts on this one. It’s a bit of a mixed bag episode but still plenty to enjoy.

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The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 6 With Irina and Karandi

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Hi Irina, we’re back again for another week of the Morose Mononokean. I am so glad we decided to cover this one together because it has so far been a lot of fun.

Surprisingly, ths season has managed to recapture the easygoing if somewhat shallow charm of the first and add in some actual substance. I’m quite impressed.

The Morose Mononokean Episode 6 - Abeno and Ashiya sending yokai home.

I was starting to get a little jealous of Irina given episode 4, which was the last write up on my site, was a little bit ordinary and then episode 5, on Irina’s, was amazing. However, episode 6 kind of made me get over that because wow that was an intense episode considering we spent most of it playing hide and seek.

I preferred it to last week, myself.

There was a really nice balance this week of humorous moments to the more serious. It was like this anime decided to showcase he best it could be all in one episode.

The Morose Mononokean Episode 6 Abeno and Ashiya

This week, Abeno’s character was really interesting. There were moments where his concern for Hanae were really clear. I loved at the start how he tried to convince Hanae to have some time off and when that didn’t really work he decided to train him to use his detection abilities. I love that this is pushing the plot as well as continuing to develop the relationship between these two characters, plus it is kind of cool that Hanae can now detect yokai and not just find metal things (though I wonder if the two skills are connected).

There was a line towards the end of the episode where Abeno mentions that if ever Hanae is in trouble he should not hesitate to use his power and how he would need to protect himself once they were no longer together. This line stuck with me. Foreshadowing?

The Morose Mononokean Episode 6 Abeno reminds Ashiya to work on his detection skills.

Yeah, that worried me as well. Does Abeno know something we don’t? Is there some fallout from last week they are keeping us in the dark about?

I did worry a bit about this episode when they went on the photography trip and Yahiko came along to play hide and seek. I felt that this was a sure sign that we were about to diffuse the tension that had been building up after last week but then The Morose Mononokean just went for it. That scene in the inn between Hanae and Yahiko sent shivers down my spine and it kind of makes that situation in the underworld in season one make sense now. I particularly liked that even the next day, Yahiko seems to finally see Hanae as someone to take seriously and not just mock anymore.

This was a fantastic scene. It completely reframed both characters. Yahiko is occasionally a bit annoying but he is a very powerful Yokai that seems to have had a bit of a difficult past. The scene brought his hurt and vulnerability to the forefront, making his usual over excited mischievous nature much more endearing. It was also a great animation of fear. I really loved Yahiko’s stunned and hesitant mouvements. It really brought the point home.

The Morose Mononokean Episode 6 Ashiya and Yahiko

On the flipside it also somehow manage to make Hanae believably menacing. I would not have thought that was possible.

Totally agree. Hanae’s growth as a character this episode was brilliant as well.  The obvious learning to use his detection power was cool, but so was his understanding of Abeno’s position and starting to realise that he wasn’t the only one affected by the events of last week. I’m hoping we keep heading in this direction and learning more about this power the boys have and maybe even why they have it at some point. I did feel really bad for Hanae when Fuzzy was hiding in the corner and seemed to be scared of him but it was kind of scary given Hanae wasn’t really in control of what he was doing for a moment.

Hanae is a bit of a ditz and as the point of view character, we never really got to properly explore what all the responsibilities and abilities Abeno has are costing him. He’s obviously isolated from both human and yokai in a way Hanae never was but this time, as Hanae’s own powers and experiences with the underground start to grow, he’s finally realizing that his friend may not have had it easy all this time.

The Morose Mononokean Episode 6 Ashiya asking Yahiko not to scare him.

As much as I loved the ongoing motherly plot thread of Abeno taking care of Hanae, I was pretty touched by Hanae thinking of Abeno for once.

Of course, I’m now paranoid every single time I see a crow in this anime that it is the executive spying on them. The fact that it is most likely true doesn’t help. I’m sure there are some perfectly innocent crows somewhere but the ones that look pointedly at Abeno and Hanae probably are there to watch them.

The Morose Mononokean Episode 6 Yahiko transforms into a giant crow.

I do find it weird that Hanae still has human friends given how often he blows them off. Even in this episode he agrees to go on the trip with them and then literally spends no time with them. He doesn’t sit with them on the bus, he runs straight past them when they are out taking photos. You have to wonder why they keep making an effort. Certainly some of the time it is his job interfering but on this trip he didn’t have that excuse so you have to wonder why they don’t call him on it.

I honestly had a flashback to Sanrio Boys and how horrible Kota was to his friends.

Anyways in my head, Hanae walks to and from school with them every day and they joke around and have a great time. Also they might be thinking he has a little thing going on with Abeno and are leaving them their space because they’re good friends and hopeless romantics.

The Morose Mononokean Epsidoe 6 Fuzzy

However, the best thing about this episode – more Fuzzy.

Did you notice him randomly blushing to the beginning of the episode?

This season is starting to show a very intriguing overarching plot thread. More than once they’ve had seemingly fluffy filler episodes get interrupted by rather serious consequences. I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes.

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Karandi James
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