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Shonen Onmyouji: The Complete Series (A J!-Ent Anime DVD Review)

January 18, 2010 by  



“Shonen Onmyouji” is an action-packed series that combines the supernatural and Japanese history along with gorgeous art and intriguing characters. A must see!

DVD TITLE: Shonen Onmyouji: The Complete Series

DURATION: 625 Minutes (26 episodes)

DVD INFORMATION: 16:9 WIDESCREEN, ENGLISH & JAPANESE DOLBY DIGITAL 2.0

COMPANY: Studio Deen/GENEON/FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: 13+

Release Date: October 27, 2009

Based on the Original Novel by Mitsuru Yuki

Original Character Designs by Sakura Asagi

Directed by Kunihiro Mori

Music by Koh Nakagawa

Character Design by Shinobu Tagashira

Anime Production by Studio Deen

 

Featuring the following voice talent:

Yuki Kaida/ Chio Su Ping as Abe no Masahiro

Junko Noda/ Chio Su Ping as Mokkun

Mugihito/ William Gary Ladick as Abe no Seimei

Katsuyuki Konshi/ Chris Carroll as Guren

Tarusuke Shingaki/ William Gary Ladick as Abe no Yoshimasa

Sanae Kobayashi/ Meriem Bekka as Fujiwara no Akiko

Tomomichi Nishimura/ Paul John Pistore as Fujiwara no Michinaga

Toshihiko Seki/ Jerry Szombathy as Fujiwara no Yukinari

Akira Ishida/ Richard Cansino as Young Seimei

Norio Wakamoto/ Jerry Szombathy as Kyuuki

Hiroki Takahashi/ Jerry Szombathy as Rikugou

Jun Fukuyama/ Richard Edward Maclvor Jr. as Fujiwara no Toshitsugu

Toshiyuki Morikawa/ Mardjuki Curran Shane as Seiryuu

Hiromi Konno/ Chelsea Curto as Taiin

Junko Minagawa/ George N. Cahill IV as Genbu

Rie Tanaka/ Denise Tan Shu Fen as Tenitsu

Kenichi Suzumura/ Ron Studd as Suzaku

Risa Hayami/ Carina Hales as Kouchin

Kazuhiro Nakata/ George N. Cahill III as Byakko

Hiroshi Arakawa/ George N. Cahill III as Tenkuu

Natsuko Kuwatani/ Coral Tong as Tenkou

Masaya Matsukaze/ Richard Edward Maclvor Jr. as Taijou

Atsuko Tanaka/ Chio Su Ping as Takaokami no Kami

Fumiko Orikasa/ Candice De Rozario as Kazane

Junichi Suwabe/ James Shubert as Ryusai

Abe no Masahiro is the grandson of the great sorcerer Abe no Seimei. Unfortunately for him, his grandfather did such a great job in the past, he really hasn’t had a need to perform any magical duties and as a result, Masahiro lost his sixth sense and the ability to see spirits. One day, a demon drops from the sky and proclaims that Masahiro must continue his grandfather’s work and learn to be an Onmyouji regardless of the dangers that await him!

“Shonen Onmyouji” was originally a light novel series by Mitsuru Yuuki with illustrations done by Sakura Asagi. The story centers on Abe no Masahiro, a young man whose grandfather is the great onmyouji, Abe no Seimei. However, unlike his grandfather, Masahiro at first doesn’t have a sixth sense so he is not able to see demons or anything else supernatural. However, because he comes from that household, he is consistently compared to his grandfather and he despises that fact. One day, a small demon falls onto Masahiro’s head and to his surprise, he can see and hear him. Masahiro regains his sixth sense and with the help of the small demon, Mokkun, starts to fight off demons.

From that moment on, Masahiro’s future as a onmyouji is determined and he decides to become an even more powerful onmyouji than his grandfather one day and to get out of his shadow. He then meets Princess Akiko, who seems to share his ability of seeing the supernatural. They quickly become close and Masahiro decides to do whatever he can to protect her. Masahiro faces a number of challenges: demons from foreign lands, angry ghosts, and he even has to prove to his grandfather’s servants: the shikigami that he’s worthy to be Seimei’s heir, but with the help of Guren, he may be able to do it.

“Shonen Onmyouji” the anime concentrates on two story arcs: The Kyuuki arc and the Kazane arc.

“Shonen Onmyouji” focuses on the following main characters:

 

Abe no Masahiro – Abe no Masahiro is the main character of the story and is the grandson of the great and powerful onmyouji, Abe no Seimei. At the beginning of the series, Abe no Masahiro has no powers of an onmyouji and can’t even see the demons around him. He hates being referred to as Abe no Seimei’s grandson and hates living in the shadow of his grandfather. One day, he encounters a small demon looking creature that he can actually see and hear and eventually names him Mokkun. After their meeting, Masahiro decides to train to become a powerful onmyouji after all and surpass his grandfather. Masahiro is usually calm, however whenever someone refers to him as Seimei’s grandson he gets mad. His grandfather also likes to pick on him and when that happens, instead of confronting his grandfather face to face, he likes to go into his room and trash it. He cares deeply for Princess Akiko and does everything he can to protect her.

Mokkun/Guren – Also known as Touda. He is the strongest of Seimei’s shikigami and controls fire. He made it his life duty to protect Masahiro. He has the ability to turn into a small white bunny looking creature(which Masahiro names Mokkun) and that is how he presents himself at the beginning of the series to Masahiro and he is the first supernatural thing that Masahiro is able to see. He is extremely loyal to Masahiro and does anything to protect him. It appears that he sinned in the past and with that event, some of the shikigami still hold a grudge against him. He helps Masahiro train and become stronger as an onmyouji. He hates babies… or rather he hates the fact that he could possibly scare him because of the way he looks.

Princess Akiko – She is the daughter of the Minister, Fujiwara no Michinaga and unlike most people, she can see supernatural beings such as demons and ghosts. Because of this, she has demons go after her constantly so she is protected by Abe no Seimei. One day she meets Masahiro and they become friends. She looks up to him and cares for him deeply. Despite being a princess, she is grounded and kind.

Abe no Seimei – Abe no Seimei is the most powerful onmyouji of all time and the grandfather of Masahiro. He commands the tweleve shikigami and also has the power to turn into his younger self when he needs to go into battle. He cares a lot for his grandson and believes that he is the only possible heir to him, but he also loves to tease him as much as possible.

Abe no Yoshimasa – Abe no Seimei’s son and the father of Masahiro; he is also an onmyouji.

Fujiwara no Michinaga – Fujiwara no Michinaga is the Minister of the Left and Akiko’s father. He is one of the officials that Seimei and the other onmyouji serve.

Fujiwara no Yukinari – Yukinari is the Minister of the Right and is a noble that has taken a liking to Masahiro and he offered to become Masahiro’s guardian at his coming of age ceremony.

Fujiawara no Toshitsugu – Masahiro’s fellow student onmyouji, who likes to ridicule Masahiro. He likes to talk big, but his powers as an onmyouji aren’t as impressive as he puts on.

Takao no Kami – She is the dragon goddess that reigns over Kifune mountain. She is all powerful and usually does whatever she wants, but she decides to lend Masahiro a hand once in a while because he entertains her.

The Remaining of the 12 Shikigami:

Rikugou – One of Seimei’s most trusted shikigami who personally guards Seimei. He is very calm and quiet. He goes to aide Masahiro after being requested to do so by Abe no Seimei.

Tenitsu – She is in the form of a beautiful young woman. She is not a very strong fighter, but has great powers in defense and in healing.

Seiryuu – One of the strongest fighters out of the shikigami. He holds a grudge against Guren and doesn’t want to regard Masahiro as Seimei’s heir.

Genbu – He is small in size, but quite powerful. He appears frequently with Taiin.

Suzaku – He takes on the form of a young man and has fire powers like Guren, but they are used for more purifying spirits. He deeply cares for Tenitsu.

Byakko – He takes on the form of a very muscular man. He uses wind just like Taiin but his wind is much calmer.

Taiin – She is in the form of a small girl. Despite her small size, she is a pretty strong fighter and uses strong, violent gusts of wind. She doesn’t like slimy things.

Kouchin – She takes on the form of a young woman with short black hair. Despite being a woman, her fighting abilities is second to Guren. She is very close to Guren and is one of the few that don’t hold a grudge towards him despite what happened in the past.

Taijou – He takes on the form of a young man with long green hair.

Tenkou – She takes on the form of a young woman with long silver hair.

Tenkuu – He takes on the form of an old man with a long beard. He is the governor of the 12 shikigami.

The Antagonists

Kyuuki – Kyuuki is a foreign demon who showed up to Japan from the West in search for energy and power. He targets Akiko and sends many of his minions to go after her and later Masahiro as well when he finds out they both have a great deal of spiritual power.

Kazane – She is a powerful young woman that seems to hold a strong grudge against Abe no Seimei and is out to get him as well as Masahiro and Guren in revenge.

Ryusai – Seimei’s best friend who met a tragic end very long ago.

“Shonen Onmyouji” features a total of 26 episodes on six DVDs. Here is a spoiler-less summary of each episode:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 1- This Youth Seimei’s Successor – Abe no Masahiro is the grandson of the great onmyouji, Abe no Seimei, but he seems to be lacking the power to see demons himself until one day he comes across a little creature he names Mokkun.
  • EPISODE 2- The Palace Burns at Twilight – Masahiro meets Princess Akiko.
  • EPISODE 3- Listen to the Frightened Voice in the Dark – Masahiro tries to find the source of the fire that had just occurred.
  • EPISODE 4- Search for the Foreign Shadow – Masahiro starts having dreams of demons.
  • EPISODE 5- Repel the Raging Demons – Masahiro comes face to face with a very powerful onmyouji but it’s someone closer to him than he realizes.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 6- Grab the Sign Emerging from the Darkness – An evil shadow plots to take the Princess.
  • EPISODE 7- A Woman’s Desires Roped in from Beyond – Princess Akiko is visited by Princess Keiko but something is not right.
  • EPISODE 8- Stop the Resentment that Echoes Through Kifune – Masahiro goes to save Princess Akiko.
  • EPISODE 9- Crush the Curse of Darkness – When Masahiro is faced with a great danger, Guren shows his true powers.
  • EPISODE 10- A Voice in Response to a Faint Wish – Kyuuki goes after Princess Akiko again.

DISC 3:

  • EPISODE 11- Hold the Symbol of the Vow Close to the Heart – The search for Kyuuki continues.
  • EPISODE 12- Penetrate the Mirror Cage – The final battle with Kyuuki takes lace and the other shikigami start to accept Masahiro as Seimei’s successor.
  • EPISODE 13- The Evil Song Brought by the Whirlwind – An onryou(angry spirit) appears and wreaks havoc on the people.
  • EPISODE 14- It is Like the Full Moon to Wane – A powerful curse gets placed on Yukinari by the onryou.

DISC 4:

  • EPISODE 15- Release the Catastrophic Chains – The one who brought the onryou back to life reveals herself to Seimei.
  • EPISODE 16- The Old Shadow Wanders in the Night – Kazane tries to take Masahiro’s life.
  • EPISODE 17- Sleep in the Caress of the Six Petals – Masahiro helps to put another wandering soul to rest.
  • EPISODE 18- Nobody Knows that Reason – Masahiro goes to help one of his older brothers protect his baby from demons.

DISC 5:

  • EPISODE 19- The Time of Shadows over North Star – Masahiro sees an ominous dream.
  • EPISODE 20- Chasing the Winds of Invitation, onto Underworld – We learned what happened in the past between Seimei and Ryusai.
  • EPISODE 21- Severed Bond in the Flames of Sin – Masahiro along with Guren, Rikugou, Taiin and Genbu get trapped in the underworld.
  • EPISODE 22- All for the Sake of the Honored Miko – Guren is taken and the seals to the underworld are about to be broken.

DISC 6:

  • EPISODE 23- Firegod Kagutsuchi’s Flames are Awe-inspired – Masahiro is faced with a very difficult decision.
  • EPISODE 24- The Wind of Dusk, the Eye of Dawn – Kazane learns the truth about her past.
  • EPISODE 25- Dancing Junipers in the Whirl of Miasma – The final battle begins.
  • EPISODE 26- Sharpen and Polish the Blade of Fire – Conclusion. Will Masahiro be able to save Guren or lose him forever?

VIDEO & AUDIO

“Shonen Onmyouji” is presented in 16:9. The animation is very high quality and gorgeous to look at. The animation quality is consistent throughout the series and doesn’t falter. The backgrounds are very detailed and add to the mood of the particular scenes. If the scene and mood is dark, the background (the environment, colors, etc) is dark. If the scene is a little more light and comedic, the background is rather bright and colorful. Because there is a lot of magic, spells, and other supernatural elements involved in this series, there are a lot of special effects and all of it was done quite well.

For audio you have the option of either Japanese or English. The opening and ending songs fit well with the series. The opening is a fast-paced song that Yuki Kajiura composed and they fit the opening animation with the song quite well. You get a glimpse of all the main characters, including all the shikigami, and the audience’s attention is caught. The ending song is lighter and slower, and the animation is slower and there are a few cute moments in the animation making it enjoyable to watch. The music throughout the series is also very well composed and they fit each piece of music well with the particular tone of the scene. There are only English subtitles available.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

The special features on the discs are textless opening and ending and Geneon previews.

Shonen Onmyouji is another great series that does a great job of combining action and comedy. I love that this series concentrates on Japanese mythology, legends and demons as well. The art style, especially the original character designs, are geared more for the female demographic, but nonetheless it’s gorgeous and definitely doesn’t take away from anything.

Abe no Masahiro isn’t the most manly character, however he is able to hold his own and shows that he is powerful. He is not another helpless and whiny main character(however, he does throw tantrums now and then) which is reassuring. His relationship with Mokkun/Guren is both comical and admirable. The amount of characters in this series isn’t too overwhelming, despite there being twelve shikigami that Abe no Seimei uses. Throughout most of the series, only a few of them come out at a time and most of them only serve as secondary characters rather than main characters. Other than Mokkun/Guren, Rikugou is the only one to play a pretty major role through the series.

I like series that deal with the supernatural, history, and mythology so this was a great series for me. Abe no Seimei is a very famous historical figure in Japan and shows up in various movies, dramas, anime, manga and other medias. This is another great interpretation of him and his tales. The viewers can get some knowledge of Japanese mythology and some history as well through this series as they talk about onmyouji, shikigami, ayakashi, onryou, the land of Izumo, and etc. Even though it was a very tiny glimpse, you learn a little about how Japanese politics worked around the Heian period too. Despite having to do with history and a tiny bit with politics, there’s nothing too heavy or serious that would make the series tedious to watch.

I believe that this series has something to offer any audience. There is plenty of action, supernatural elements, and comedy that many audiences will enjoy and then there are plenty of pretty male characters that I believe that many girls will enjoy. However, the presence of pretty male characters (not to mention one of them happens to turn into a small bunny looking character) doesn’t overshadow the main story so I think that the male audience can enjoy it thoroughly as well. The story moves at a steady pace from the first storyline to the next(no filler episodes really) and doesn’t drag and the story keeps you wanting to find out what happens next.

The Japanese cast in this series is once again very strong and features some professionals including Katsuyuki Konishi, Toshihiko Seki, Akira Ishida, Toshiyuki Morikawa and Junko Noda just to name a few. Each character’s voice seemed to match what one would imagine they would sound like and the acting was very well done. As for the English dub… I hate to report that it’s not the worst I’ve heard, but it’s definitely not one of the best I’ve heard either. Even though I usually end up watching anime in Japanese, I do watch English dubbed anime at times. I’ve seen some amazing dubbing jobs where I actually didn’t care what language I watched it in, but this one was a little too painful for me personally. The voices themselves weren’t too bad, even though Akiko sounded a bit too awkward to me and young Seimei sounded… old. The pronunciations of the Japanese terms and names such as “onmyouji” (often pronounced “an-myouji”), “Masahiro”, “Guren” (which all come up quite often…) were a bit off and painful for me to listen to because I speak the language… Once again, not the worst… but for me I would definitely have to go for the Japanese version.

There is also a slight romantic element in this series between Masahiro and Akiko, but it is pretty subtle and innocent. Their relationship is used more to show how dedicated he is to protecting her and how much she cares for him. I believe that is actually one of the best parts of the story and I admire their relationship. I also respect the relationship between Masahiro and Mokkun/Guren because of how dedicated they are to each other.

I highly recommend this series for those who are interested in the supernatural and Japanese history and or mythology. For those who enjoyed series like “Yu Yu Hakusho”, “The Hakkenden”, “RG Veda”, the “Saiyuki” series, or “Inuyasha”, I highly recommend this series as well. “Shonen Onmyouji” has a great story and because the anime only covers part of the story in the novels, hopefully we’ll be able to see more in anime form in the future.






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