This week I’ve decided to look at one half of the duo that make up the centre of The Morose Mononokean, Haruitsuki Abeno who is the human master of the Mononokean. I’m assuming at some point we’ll find out how Abeno came to meet Aoi and why a human was raised by a yokai and has been given such a position of power but until then, let’s look at what we do know from the two seasons of the anime.
Abeno isn’t exactly the sharing kind however, so particularly during the first season a large amount of his character and story were pretty ambiguous. He came across as cold and detached toward Hanae and while there were moments when his cold exterior softened, he very much held himself aloof. However, that was also more true of his interactions with human characters. A lot of the time Abeno wears a robe that makes him essentially invisible to normal humans anyway and he seems far more at ease when hidden and only visible to the yokai.
Meanwhile the yokai have a mix of views about him. Some revere him as the Master of the Mononokean, others share rumours of what happened to the previous master, and still others fear him. Regardless, Abeno carries out his duties as the master, returning yokai to the underworld and taking care of other problems concerning the yokai.
His relationship with the Legislator was an interesting tease during season one, but season two saw that fleshed out enormously. The Legislator is definitely fond of teasing him and prodding him into action, though his goals remain entirely concealed.
Which might be where Abeno shares more in common with the Legislator than he’d like to admit. As much as Abeno continues to speak harshly to Hanae and pick fights over petty things, at the end of the day Abeno has his employee’s back. Even at great expense to himself, Abeno will protect Hanae and he’s gone to great lengths to find more information out about the mysteries of Hanae’s family and past.
Ultimately though, season two made it very clear to the audience that any gruff and stern front Abeno has been putting on is crumbling rapidly. Between his protection of Hanae against the yokai, his consideration for Hanae when he was scared, helping Hanae train his power, and his response to the yokai bird who couldn’t fly, his cool facade is all but gone and what we are seeing instead is the very human Abeno who is operating in a role that has some fairly big implications and has to make decisions between completing his duty and doing what he believes is right.
I really hope we get another season of the Morose Mononokean because I’d love to know what is next for Haruitsuki Abeno in his journey. He’s great fun to watch and as we’ve slowly seen his shell cracking over two seasons it would be great to see what is next for his character journey.
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