Here we are again, one last time. At least one last time for the foreseeable future. Even as I write this, I’m already missing The Morose Mononokean a little. I have no way of properly explaining it, but this season just grew on me like wildflowers. I thought it amusing, and familiar then interesting and even comfortin. Before I realized it, I was looking forward to the new episode and our chat afterwards, much more than I would have imagined at the start of the season.
I can understand this show not being for everyone, but I can’t help to feel that some people missed out.
I know. As the end credits started rolling I waited impatiently, even though that ending song kind of grew on me as well, hoping for a season three announcement. Tragically it didn’t come, but I didn’t really expect a season 2, so hopefully a season 3 will eventually appear. This has been pure fun to watch and each week I’ve looked forward to the show, and our chat, even more.
For those of you who don’t remember, we left episode 12 with the adorable piglet yokai possessed by the evil spider yokai and an unaware Hanae rushing to the scene. This went as well as you could imagine, after speed dialing Abeno, Hanae got himself promptly possessed and the few Hunter x Hunter fans in the audience were left with the amusing image of Hanae as a member of the Phantom troupe.
You have to admit, for all that Hanae gets himself into trouble a lot, he isn’t continuously getting possessed. Actual possession is a new one.
Setting the bar pretty low there, K!
What I found really interesting, was the spider possessing Hanae was a lot less trouble than the ghost of his father who kind of got rid of the spider possessing him as easily as wiping a way a bug.
Once Abeno gets there, it become quickly apparent that Hanae is actually haunted by Sakae spirit who proves to be much more troublesome than Sasa. We get our first real look a Sakae and he reminded me just a bit of the Justice. It’s the droopy eyes and long bob I think. Am I crazy?
Not crazy, but I think this show only really has one facial expression to show villains at this point.
Also, Oh no Fuzzy!!!
Tell me about it. Poor Fuzzy in this episode. And yet, he ended up being the real hero after the fact given Abeno wouldn’t have succeeded at exorcising the spider at all without Fuzzy there to vouch for him.
When you get right down it there wasn’t that much to the episode. Abeno must confront a possessed Hanae to protect Sasa before exorcising all the Yokai back to the Underworld. But we got just a bit more information in the process.
For one, Sakae really did dislike Yokai, but why? He seems very different form Hanae personality wise.Abeno mentions that Hanae use to be scared of Yokai but it was never comparable to Sakae’s rage.
I wonder how his mother could have fallen for a boy like that.
It really makes you want the full back-story, doesn’t it?
We also found out that Sakae wasn’t above turning on humans to get to his end. He’s being painted as quite the bad guy yet it seems Itsuki still has some compassion for him.
Best moment of the episode was watching the face off between Abeno and Sakae. Ever since Hanae managed to control his power I’ve been wondering what would happen if he Abeno and he ever seriously disagreed. While this scene doesn’t answer the question, watching Sakae in Hanae’s body fighting with Abeno was pretty cool and promises some interesting possibilities further down the line.
And boy, Abeno sure s gentle. We’ve known that for some time but it seems he just may be kind to a fault.
Oh yes. Abeno’s gruff exterior is entirely exposed as a bluff at this point. He’s a softy through and through. I think Sakae is definitely going to take advantage of that at some point.
After the battle, we got a little Fuzzy flashback to his first meeting with Hanae. I thought it was a sweet little bookend, bringing back scenes from the first episode of the first season in the last episode of the second.
Well, Fuzzy moments are adorable in general. But you are right. It was a nice way to round out the two series so far by giving us that throw back to the very first episode.
Did you notice the music this episode? At some point there was what sounded like a music box rendition of the OP music. I really liked it and it’s the first time I’ve paid any attention to sound design in this show.
Honestly, I didn’t really notice the music mostly because I was too caught up in the episode. Everything just kind of came together for the season here and it was really satisfying to watch even as it made me want more.
You know, this entire season we’ve been chasing after the ghost of Sakae. Fitting for a show about Yokai. We’ve been patiently trying to put the pieces together. In the last act Abeno decides to discuss the matter openly with Hanae in uncharacteristic honesty.
We get apparent confirmation that Hanae has never seen Sakae (his dad?) and the man he did think of as his father for a very brief moment in their childhood was probably Aoi. We also know that some form of Sakae seems to still exist and isn’t overly concerned with the family he left behind. Although Abeno decided not to share this last part. Do you think he should have?
I don’t know that it would make a huge difference at this point whether he revealed it or not. I think he told Hanae enough and I think they both need time to process what they know.
That said, I’m thinking Abeno is going to have to figure out a way to tell Hanae that his father is possessing him and tried using him to kill a yokai at some point because that kind of thing seems fairly important. What is Abeno going to do is Sakae tries that when he isn’t around?
Once again, we see that Abeno is a man without a kingdom. He can’t relate to most humans at all but now that he finally has one friend, Abeno must keep secrets from the yokai to protect him. He’s constantly being pulled one way or another.
He’s definitely walking a very fine line but I agree with him about not letting the yokai know about Sakae because even if the Legislator doesn’t do anything, the Executive is definitely going to try to kill Hanae again if he knew.
But to me, more than anything, this episode made me realize that I was missing the forest for the threes. Trying to solve the mystery of Sakae’s existence, I failed to notice that he’s simply a clue to the much more important and impactful character of Aoi.
We’ve heard of Aoi so much. They were Abeno’s master, yet what we know is a dissonant mishmash of information. Abeno refers to Aoi as “they”. He speaks of them in an almost neutral tone. Respectful but with very little emotional implication. Did they like each other? Did they get along at all? Apparently Aoi was a rather powerful Yokai and as the Master of the Mononokean enjoyed all the privileges of their role. So what happened to them? Where are they? Why would they care about a seemingly cruel employee so much as to make sure their memory survived with their family.
This seems like a very important question that no one is asking.
Aoi has remained very much the enigma but we’ve been getting small clues this season, as other plot threads have slowly come together. At this point, I’m much more inclined to think this story plans to address these ideas then I was after season one. Season one really didn’t seem like it was big on developing the over-arching ideas and was more just fixing the yokai of the week problem. Season two still has that aspect but has firmly moved to dealing with the larger issues for the characters and really it has been far, far better for it.
Bring on a third season so we can learn more about this. Either that or should I ever get to the end of Natsume I’m just going to have to pick up another series to read.
All in all, this last episode had an edge of bitterness and sadness to it, even though it also showed everyone at their most vulnerable. It also made it clear that the story is nowhere near finished but left us at a satisfying spot.
What did you think of this finale?
I absolutely loved this episode and this ending. Like The Promised Neverland it leaves things needing another season, but also gives us enough closure on some points to feel satisfied with what we were given. This has been a great season and more people definitely need to check it out because it has been great fun.
Thanks so much for covering it with me. Hopefully if we ever get another season we can come together again.
Well now I have two great reasons to hope for another season!
Of course I got more screencaps for you!!!