Episode 4 of Mononokean introduces some stunning visuals. Hanae and Abeno travel to the Underworld, and its beautiful.
The purpose of the trip is to retrieve some medicine. The medicine in question is the one used in prior episodes, with Big Daddy Scree most likely. Upon arriving the two find out that Big Daddy Scree had come for the same medicine, but I don’t think that a medicine that caused excruciating pain would be a sought after item. The pill that caused excruciating pain was what the Big Daddy Scree received from Abeno in order to free him from the parasite roots.
One possible medication could be the medication that the Mononokean mentioned to Hanae a few episodes ago as well. The medication being why Abeno is the Master of the Mononokean. This could be a medication to sustain Abenos body, or heal him from a chronic yokai illness. What would an old yokai have to do with a young human? Not much on the surface. I still believe Abeno is not 100% human anymore because of his position as Master.
While it doesn’t go too far into the purpose of the medication, we do see a lot of the underworld and it is beautiful. It reminds me of Hoozuki no Reitatsu in the art style. There is a nice gradient of color in the background and sky, with olden looking buildings being the homes. It is very much like an olden Japan setting, except with yokai.
There doesn’t seem to be any humans, in fact Abeno and the Mononokean explicitly advise Hanae from revealing he is human, unless he wants to die. Which obviously means he’s going to end up revealing himself doesn’t it.
Well what ends up happening is an extremely drawn out, repetitive and monotonously boring exchange between Hanae and a yokai shop keep.
Fuzzy, the yokai originally attached to Hanae was seen running past the medicine shop bleeding, so obviously being the bleeding heart he is, Hanae runs after the yokai. Well its not blood, and its not Fluffy, It’s the same species as Fluffy but it isn’t Hanes fluffy. The blood is a stolen fruit.
Now the shop keep catches up and assumes Hanae is the transformed version of the Fluffy, which could mean Fluffy can transform, oh here comes the fan art of HanaexFluffy. Hanae cant, and doesn’t reveal that he’s human, juuust yet. Give him time. But instead it becomes a back and forth of whether or not this yokai is going to kill Hanae for stealing. When he sees the Mononokean seal on Hanae he pauses, and decides to not kill him. When other yokai say that Mononokean has no part timers, Hanaes life is in anger once more. What is this, Undertales Greater Dog? Make up your mind!
Well we get left on a cliffhanger, when the real Fluffy shows up and jumps on the shop keeps face.
So there are a couple reasons why this is my least favorite episode so far. The repetitive exchange and cliffhanger are one, but the skipping over of the type of medicine they are retrieving is the most maddening part. You are left to believe that this medicine is a restocking job, but if that is the case, why is Abeno asking for a rush job, and is willing to pay extra for the product? If it was a restock then wouldn’t he be able to just come back? Its not a long trip for him. So this medicine is probably important, and personal.
A quick note, Abeno sounds eerily similar to Abe no Seimei, a pretty popular Exorcist of Legend. Whether or not this has a relation to Abeno himself is unconfirmed, but Hanae at one point says ‘Abe no Seimei, but nothing in the subtitles included that name. Whether there was a line in the script used to resemble the name but mean something innocent, I don’t know. But Abe no Seimei is an antagonist in Nurarihyon, but a regaled hero in other exorcist series. How this character influences or enters will be something to watch.