The Morose Mononokean Chapters 28-32 Review Discussion
The Morose Mononokean:
Reviewed by: Linny
Synopsis: Hanae Ashiya has been suffering from bad health ever since a fluffy demon decided to attach to him. At the end of his rope, he stumbles upon an ad for exorcists placed by Haruitsuki Abeno, the owner of a tea shop named the “Mononokean”. Though Abeno does turn out to the solution to his problem, he then demands that Ashiya pay him a fee of a million en (en being the official currency of the spirit world) for his services. Being a broke school student, Ashiya is forced to work for Abeno and in doing so,explore the curious world of demons and exorcisms.
Chapters Synopsis: To celebrate Ashiya’s successful task completion and to calm down the fighting duo of Ashiya and Abeno, the Legislator forcefully invites them to a drinking party that ends on a bad note for Ashiya but reveals that Abeno’s nature may be changing. Back at school, Abeno plays the role of host to a demon who wishes to tour the school on an information gathering mission so he can start a school in the underworld. However, that may not be his only goal. Lastly, Ashiya and Abeno find themselves needing to exorcise a demon which proves to be a difficult task for everyone involved.
Review (Warning: Spoilers to Follow):
Despite all of Abeno’s fussing and warnings, Ashiya returns shaken but safe to the Legislator’s office after having successfully completed his task thanks to the help of a mysterious demon. It was definitely amusing to see Abeno acting like the typical nagging but concerned mother as he berated Ashiya for nonchalantly riding atop an unknown demon while Abeno was his usual innocent and trusting self as he passionately defended a being that he himself had been afraid of enough to refuse a ride back home from. Thankfully, we had the Legislator to play the role of mediator and distraction as he pretty much coerces them into joining his after party and ending the chapter on an ominous note as once more, we get a hint of something dark that could possibly happen to Abeno in the future. The lack of information acts as a tease for the readers but seeing as how this story is one constant tease with very silly or happy pay offs, just how dark could this reveal be?
The next chapter focuses on a new client, a demon who has come to observe a human school with plans to open a school for demons in the spirit world. Abeno and Ashiya play the role of host and while Abeno seems to take it all in stride as usual, Ashiya struggles to handle having a demon client present during his class hours. We watch Ashiya really get into the role of guide and host once he interprets Abeno’s stoic manner as displeasure towards him and hopes to win him over with his extra work efforts. Something tells me these two need couples counselling, or at the very least, they really need to have more open and honest conversations with each other. Of course, nothing Ashiya does seems to work on Abeno but he atleast seems to have left a mark on the demon who comes to realize the importance of having P.E classes in schools thanks to him. At first glance, this chapter seemed to be playing out as just another light chapter that focuses on Ashiya’s adorably high strung nature and innocence, and even Abeno’s surliness could be easily brushed aside as Abeno being his usual cold self. However, as we reach the end of the chapter, we get a very surprising scene and an unexpected question. Yes, ithere are hints in the chapter itself leading up to it and there’s a high chance that a lot, if not most of the readers will have guessed it out as well. Nonetheless, to have such an important reveal made and addressed directly is a welcome change from all the previous chapters and their subtle and vague hints that led to no actual reveals or buildup.
While I have previously complained about how The Mononokean seems to introduce and resolve issues too quickly, it’s a good trait when applied to the situation from Chapter 29 which is immediately continued and explored in the next chapter, rather than cutting the readers off from that conversation and keeping it from them until a much later chapter. Unfortunately, if you were expecting a completely resolved and explained plot line, you are out of luck this time. This too turns into a semi explained plot as we never get to learn exactly who is investigating the Mononokean and Ashiya, or why. But we do get to be teased by the fact that Ashiya figures out exactly who it is..but heaven only knows when we will be privy to that information which leads to this chapter starting out with the promise of being informative, but ending up as yet another chapter of buildup and more mysteries. We also get a cute conversation between Abeno and Ashiya as Ashiya confronts Abeno regarding his cold behaviour and even gets away with calling him stupid and locks Ashiya out on the terrace while he runs away all flustered. I’d consider this a form of fan service as Ashiya’s passionate rant and subsequent shyness just screams of moe and shipping inspiration for readers fond of such elements. Just as Abeno is shown startled by a bird that he mistook for a demon, we cut away to a real demon and an old acquaintance we hadn’t seen in a while, Yahiko as he is being ridden by Okina and exploring the deep forest mountain.
The latest two chapters that follow focus mostly on Yahiko and his new friend who needs to be exorcised but refuses to be unless Yahiko agrees to accompany him. This change of spotlight made for a nice break from the Mononokean staff centric stories and seeing as we have had so many new characters and omnious plots, it’s nice to return to the familiar. The main issue in the story is Yahiko and his reluctance to pass over to the spirit world this time even when he is being begged to by someone he really cares for. We have dealt with this issue before in the very story where Yahiko was introduced before and given how lax the series has been since then about the importance of Yahiko passing over, it’s not surprising that they had to introduce a new character to bring up the need for him to do so. At this point thanks to how the story seemed to have completely abandoned the urgency and importance of his return, it feels a little random to make it the central point of the story again. The series also makes an attempt to tug at the reader’s heart strings through its cute new character, Kinako and the cute sibling like relationship between her and Yahiko, and the ensuing drama that arises from her fears of being separated from him. How well it works really depends on how attached you are to those two characters which could prove a bit of a challenge as we have spent almost no time getting to know Kinako personally, and Yahiko has always been portrayed as a playful nuisance who’s clearly meant to be no more than a side character. That said, it’s not a far stretch either especially as they’re both always drawn cute and this series does seem to be aimed at readers who love all things cute. At the very least, these chapters do a good job of building up the tension as we watch Yahiko sincerely struggle about whether to accompany Kinako or not as she herself struggles to survive in the human realm.
Unfortunately, this series does have a tendency to keep returning to the usual status quo so things always seem to return to the same old state no matter what kind of dilemma it encounters. Having read this series all the way to its latest available chapter for now, I can say without a doubt that it is meant for readers who prefer character humour and drama over actual suspense and surprising events with long lasting repercussions. What you see in the first few chapters is what you’re going to get over and over, which will work out great if you love it but if you need a story to constantly evolve and change, you might get bored by The Mononokean. After a while, you should be able to accurately predict the end result of almost every story line but in its defense, atleast the series does a good job of making its cast look and act cute, appealing to the readers with so inclined aesthetics. If you haven’t been won over by the end of the first volume, you can safely put this series down without worrying about missing any major developments or changes. But if you are a lover of moe male characters and supernatural stories that focus on the emotions rather than horror, you should definitely try this series. That said, if you are less of a reader and more of a watcher, then make sure to check out the coming anime adaptation. And for those who have been faithfully following the manga, in case you didn’t already know, Chapter 33 is currently already being teased for release on the Crunchyroll manga app so keep your eyes peeled.
The Morose Mononokean is available digitally via Crunchyroll.com.