The Morose Mononokean is a 2016 anime series based on the manga of the same name. The story follows high school student Hanae Ashiya, who finds himself being followed by a fuzzy creature after stumbling upon it at the start of the school year. His health quickly begins to deteriorate, and in desperation he calls an exorcist advertised in a flyer. This leads him to the Mononokean, a tea room run by his classmate Haruitsuki Abeno.
Abeno reluctantly agrees to help Hanae, but only if he works for him to pay off his debt. Hanae soon discovers that his new boss is actually quite knowledgeable about youkai, and together they begin guiding these strange creatures back to the Underworld.
First and foremost, I appreciate that this anime goes beyond the ancient concept of good and evil in mythical creatures, but almost every anime does these days.
The characters, particularly the two main protagonists, are basic. The story is simple and mysterious, making it difficult to predict what will happen next. There are some lighthearted moments intermixed among the more serious plot elements, which adds some much-needed levity.
The show lacks memorable characters, as all that remains are Zenko, Fuzzball, and Yahiko the mischievous fox. Zenko first appears in her request for help concerning her father’s laughing condition, and she then appears frequently alongside the main duo.
Fuzzball is the youkai who has been possessing Hanae from the beginning and is known to be a very loyal friend, resembling a good dog because the creature is genuine.
Yahiko is known to be Haruitsuki’s childhood friend, which is reflected in his behaviour of constantly wanting to play, probably out of nostalgia. There are other characters, but everyone except the clients is there for comic relief.
To conclude, this is a well-balanced show with a prominent side duo, great comedy, and mythical creatures. People who like Mushishi or Natsume will probably enjoy this one as well. Certainly not as much, but the approach is similar. So, that’s a nice anime to watch, easy to follow, and easy on the mind.