The Morose Mononokean (不機嫌なモノノケ庵)
by Kiri Wazawa
Ashiya find himself with an unintended supernatural companion after he helps a yokai one night. While in the high school infirmary, he spies a strange help wanted flier for an exorcist and decides to call. While on the call, Ashiya is asked for his location and then told to simply open the nurse’s office door. Instead of walking in to the hall, he ends up in a tea room with the aloof Mononokean Master Abeno.
After coming to understand his mistake with the first yokai he encountered, Ashiya becomes more sensitive to their requests. By the end of the first volume, Ashiya has become an apprentice to Abeno as he deals with yokai in the area and takes on requests from clients.
The stories of the yokai are tender portraits which tend toward melancholy as we come to understand them and their past connections. Ashiya’s naive helpfulness and Abeno’s matter-of-fact attitude lighten things up from time to time. And it is clear that mysterious Abeno has many secrets to share as the series goes on.
Wazawa’s yokai designs are well-crafted and have a tendency towards dramatic immensity. I’m looking forward to what the next will look like.
Following in the tradition of many great series about yokai, The Morose Mononokean adds a touch of humor and two more excellent personalities to the genre.