What are you looking in anime when you decide to watch one? I personally look for an easy-going show that includes humor and is light hearted. For me it is a huge plus if the said anime has some traditional aspects, and even better if it revolves around Japanese myths and legends (i.g. Natsume Yuujinchou, Kamisama Hajimemashita). This is one of the reasons that Fukigen na Mononokean caught my attention from the very first moment I saw the announcement about its release.
Another, maybe less important factor, that tickled my interest was the acting cast, especially Yuki Kaji and Tomoaki Maeno. Both are well established voice actors, and usually get cast for shows that end up being hits in the season.
Now, without meddling too much into small details let`s get right down to business.
The show starts with a light-hearted mood and we get introduced to the main hero, Ashiya Hanae (`Hana` in Japanese means flower, and ironically Hanae`s family has a flower business. Oh and by the way Hanae would normally be a girl`s name.), who is dreaming of his high school life which is starting the following day (quite typical for school life anime, right?). After watching the first episode the audience doesn`t know too much about the main character, only that he lives with his mother (at this point we still haven`t been introduced to any other family members) and that their family business is a flower shop. Finally, we know that he is a kind young boy. Why, you may ask,
because he steps on a `plushie` which somebody threw in the streets, and he bothers to take it up, hang it in a visible place, so that nobody else steps on it and the one who lost the plushie manages to find it faster and easier. How kind of him, no? But, wait! The plushie isn`t quite what it looks like it is from the first glance. Instead of a cute cuddly plushie we have a lost youkai (lit: ghost, phantom) who decides to stick to his savior and suck on his energy! That is pretty unthankful, isn`t it?
Thus, our poor main hero`s dream high school life gets ruined. The plushie-like youkai keeps sucking on his energy and Hanae is physically not capable to make it to school for several days in a row, hence is unable to make his so-called High School Debut.
Long story short, our hero seeks for some help and we get introduced to another major character, Abeno Haruitsuki. He is a handsome, yet somehow strange and mysterious guy. With time we find out that he guides mononoke (spirits who actively haunt or pursue a person or a place) to pass on to the next world in peace. To me Abeno is much more of an interesting and intriguing character than Hanae. By comparing the two, I can distinguish Hanae as your typical high school life anime boy, while Abeno gives these strong vibes that there is much more to learn about him in the future. Maybe some childhood trauma, maybe some unusual experience that changed all of his following life and made him become a person who prefers helping the Youkai rather than humans.
Anyway, Hanae manages to get rid of his plushie-spirit, and gets to experience a completely new feeling. The idea of a creature that`s not a human, and even more, a spirit which is supposed to be in the next world can have such emotions as happiness, sadness, loneliness, which are typical for humans clicks something inside Hanae. That should affect his character`s future development, I am sure of it!
To cut the small talk, I`ll just add that the episode ends with somewhat of a cliffhanger. Abeno, who at first glance seems to be much older than Hanae, happens to be in the same class as Hanae! Such a surprise! The two had separated on a bit of a rough note, so I`m really wondering how their daily school life will be proceeding from this point onwards.
You should definitely watch this show if you are looking for something to help you relax from your daily chores and have a good laugh. Of course it would be a plus if you knew a bit about Japanese youkai culture, since there were a couple of `inside` jokes, but even if you don`t, fret not! You can still crack up at Hanae`s mother expressing her feelings with flowers and bouquets, as well as chuckle at the conversations Hanae and Abeno have.
Well folks, that`s about it for the first episode. See you next week!