Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Shonen Onmyouji vol. 1 Impression

Meet Abe no Masahiro, the grandson of Abe no Seimei, a renowned Onmyouji. An Onmyouji is civil servant in Japan, one who performs tasks that include magic and divination, in a sense a court priest. They were responsible for warding away, and sometimes fighting, evil spirits at times with the assistance of a shikigami, spiritual servant or partner. This definition is true in both the real work and also Geneon’s Shonen Onmyouji. Masahiro, much like his grandfather before him, has great potential, great power that was sealed away at an early age. See Masahiro could see spirits from a very early age so his grandfather sealed his second sight until he was older, to help him develop and also to remove the burden of seeing those a child should not. As his second sight returns Masahiro gains a partner, a shikigami named Mokkun. Mokkun is a little furry looking cat type of shikigami that trails Masahiro and watchers over him. See Mokkun can transform into Guren, a flame wielding spirit who fights at Masahiro’s side. The stage is now set, Masahiro has his sixth sense, his second eye back and it’s time to perform the duties of an Onmyouji and fulfill the promise that being Seimei’s grandson carries.

When I first started watching Shonen Onmyouji I was not sold, mainly because of Mokkun. Talking little furry side-kicks, they either work or don’t and at first Mokkun did not work for me, until the series hit episode 2. Now for the sake of ruining the series the transformation Mokkun undertakes made me pay a bit more attention to the series, and it’s a series to be enjoyed, don’t mistake that. The animation, as I’ve said before, is standard fare, easy on the eye but most definitely not groundbreaking. The character designs border on Shojo for me, but are not too bad. They are distinct without standing out in unbelievable ways. The designs portray personalities that are unique and believable, even the sprits do so. The story is also an enigma to me. On one hand you have Masahiro, just coming into his power, and the family business of being an Onmyouiji as well as dealing with his … interesting grandfather whose shadow he finds himself. On the other hand are foreign spirits come to take the potential from Masahiro. Young pupil coming into his power, strange foreign power trying to take said power. Good stuff, but why should you care, why should any anime fan want to get into Shonen Onmyouiji?

InuYasha is why. Of all the anime series I’ve truly enjoyed InuYasha is right at the top, and the adventures of Masahiro most remind me of InuYasha. Besides being set in a similar time period it’s the demons and the priestly actions of Masahiro that remind me most of InuYasha. For some reason I have a place in my heart for legend, for the mythology of a land and Shonen Onmyouiji gives me such joy. Now I cannot sit here and tell everyone to go out and buy this series, but I will tell any fan of InuYasha, or anyone who’s watched the series and wanted something a little more realistic (as realistic as you can get with demons at least), go pick up volume 1 of Shonen Onmyouiji. I truly feel you’ll enjoy this series, and if not, it’s only one DVD.

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