The Morose Mononokean Volume 2 Review Discussion
The Morose Mononokean:
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 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.
Review (Warning: Spoilers to Follow):
Volume 2 kicks off with Ashiya out on his first solo job, which immediately runs into several major hurdles ranging from mistaken intentions to an over protective father. The whole tone of the fifth chapter seems playful as Ashiya tries his best to convince everyone involved of his genuine intentions while miserably failing at his task in hand. Though there is a hint of darkness in the chapter, the Morose Mononokean is determined to entertain its readers with humour for now. It’s a respectable effort and even though it might not have you rolling over with laughter, the flustered protagonist dealing with cheeky and hot tempered characters is a well established manga trope and Mononokean’s take on it reads like something that most fans of such would enjoy.
Ashiya’s first attempt at an exorcism seems to be a complete failure, and while that isn’t surprising, Mononokean manages to twist it into a sweet story about the bond and expectations between parents and children. It doesn’t get ridiculously sappy, thankfully, but those who dislike emotional ‘solutions’ to problems will likely be irked by how almost every exorcism in this story so far has turned into an attempt at being a tear-jerker.
The constantly emotional exorcisms are definitely balanced out by all the little gags and snippy conversations though so if you haven’t picked up this manga yet for fear of over emotional content, I wouldn’t dismiss it without giving it a quick try. If you’re a fan of comedy like me, there’s a high chance you’ll enjoy the quick but constant humour..although it is a bit predictable and starts to feel a little generic as you keep reading on. Some of the jokes seem rather lazy, such as Ashiya being forced to wear a woman’s cloak but as someone unfamiliar with the cultural costumes, all I saw was a guy wearing a short cape. But putting aside my ignorance, it still just felt like a quick joke that seemed rather inconsequential and easily dismissed by the cast themselves despite Ashiya making a huge deal of it in the moment. There’s also a never ending dearth of new characters marching in and out of the story, but for now, the main story seems solely focused on Ashiya settling into his new job so there’s no fear of being overwhelmed by trying to remember and keep track of a million and one characters. Then there’s the constant hinting of Ashiya having a dark side that he himself seems unaware of but for now, there’s no sign of anything close to a reveal about that.
Moving on to some of the best parts, the sentient room in the series is one of its more wacky and adorable features, and one that I hope others enjoy as much as I did. And for those who were tiring of the light hearted banter and jokes, once the duo enter into the supernatural city, things slowly become more dark and serious with the final chapter of this volume being pretty violent and Ashiya finding himself in mortal danger of losing a limb or worse, with absolutely no sign of Abeno, nor the slightest hope for help. The fact that Abeno seems to be completely unaware of Ashiya’s condition, let alone come to his rescue really helped add to the tension and made for a gripping read. For the sake of avoiding spoilers, I won’t discuss this whole encounter too much but for those who have read or will read the series, I would love to hear your thoughts on it. Ashiya is also one of the most adorable male moe characters I’ve come across in a while thanks to the combination of his innocent determination with his complete lack of skill.
Having finished two volumes, my initial impression of The Morose Mononokean remains unfazed. It still strongly reminds me of XXXholic with its supernatural elements, its bumbling protagonist paired with a rather cold and supernatural boss, and so on. Every encounter with a supernatural being or device has led to an emotional or sentimental reveal, although the lead up to it is always filled with jokes. For me personally, it isn’t a bad thing as I loved the XXXholic series, and The Morose Mononokean has just enough of little differences to make itself feel fresh and not a lazy copy of a classic. The characters themselves have enough differences in their personalities to stand out on their own and add their own flavour to a story that might sound familiar. It’s a strong choice for anyone who would like a supernatural story with moe male leads and plenty of self depreciating humour and a dash of emotions. To wrap things up, I am not only excited to read and review the next volume but also the upcoming anime that is set to debut this summer. Here’s to hoping that the anime will not only impress old fans but help this cute little series win even more new ones.
The Morose Mononokean is available digitally via Crunchyroll.com.