Mokke – 01
Energetic and cheerful, Mizuki (voiced by Mizuki Nana) wanders around the vast countryside fields in search for nadesico(as in carnations, not the battleship!). She stops by a gathering of bright, pink wildflowers, thinking they are carnations until she checks her trusty field guide, which states otherwise. Rats. Right behind her back, a group of dark figures form and merge menacingly, but quickly disappear as Mizuki turns around.
“I thought I felt something near me.”
She shrugs of the thought and scurries off deeper into the fields in search of the elusive flower. Away from the wildlife, we are introduced to Mizuki’s onee-san, Shizuru (voiced by Kawasumi Ayako) who is busy doing chores. Shizuru is a girl with the ability to see spirits/youkai (the anime AND the manga names this ability 見鬼/kenki); she also explains that her younger sister is easily haunted by these same youkai as well (referred to as having 憑坐/yorimashi). Shizuru briefly mentions her grandfather as well, a person knowledgeable with folklore who serves as their guardian.
Shizuru and her grandparents are about to have supper but with Mizuki still wandering off in the wilderness, she decides to go look for her. She finally finds Mizuki amidst a flowerbed of carnations and brings her home, the dark blob-like spirit still roaming around in the vicinity.
With six flowers collected, Mizuki is keen on gathering the last flower for nanakusa, the rich yellow 女郎花 (ominaeshi – Patrinia scabiosifolia). Wanting to help, Shizuru follows along and the two search for the ominaeshi in different areas of the plain – that is, until Shizuru’s sixth sense-of-sorts kicks in. Worried that something may have happened to Mizuki she runs to her side, only to find Mizuki knocked unconscious from staring into the spirit that kept following the young imouto for so many days.
Mizuki, thankfully, suffered no permanent damage but Shizuru is upset with what happened. Their grandfather talks about the girls encountering a youkai called a mikoshi (みこし）, which is capable of “draining” the life out of people who continually stare at it, and he forces Mizuki to skip a day of school and remain at home. Like with so many young children (especially with the imouto, as many series seem to show these days) however, Mizuki chooses to disobey her ojii-chan and sneaks out of the house, more determined than ever to gather the ominaeshi before nanakusa takes place. With very little concern for her own safety, she runs off into the more perilous mountainous areas of the countryside (her sister fortunately sees her running off and desperately chases after her).
The youkai mikoshi appears yet again before Mizuki in the mountainside, and she faints as she is transfixed at the sight of the spirit…
Shizuru panics and as she approaches the knocked-out Mizuki, she remembers her grandfather’s advice on how to remain unharmed by the mikoshi‘s presence. Instead of looking at the spirit from below, as one would to something superior, she glares down at the spirit as if it is subservient to her. This action proves effective, and the mikoshi shrinks in size and scatters away.
Mizuki escapes a second possible engagement with death, and the two girls spot the ominaeshi they were looking for – later that night, the girls and their grandparents had a memorable nanakusa under the shimmering light of the full moon. :)
The OP and the ED are both decent pieces, although if I would have to pick one, I would say I prefer the OP by Hashimoto Mai just a bit more.
The first episode of Mokke started out a tad slow, but the threat posed by the youkai mikoshi did help things move forward – overall, a solid episode to start the series off. The animation quality is definitely not eye-poppingly brilliant like some anime in recent times, although the background fits with the overall mood of this episode. Madhouse also placed a great deal of emphasis on wildlife, particularly flowers, as one can tell with the screenies; the character designs, however, is definitely *different* and the palette for the characters occasionally looked rather bland. Here is me hoping that Mokke will not be facing severe budget issues and constraints… While it may not have the mass appeal that past shows like CG and GL may have had, select individuals with a taste for myth and nature can appreciate what Mokke brings to the table, so don’t forget to stick around for an episode or two. ^^
Next Time: A sketch of a cute, furry creature pops up, Mizuki gets trapped in a whirlwind of autumn leaves, and the presence of a *friendly* youkai temporarily brings the show towards the direction of My Neighbor Totoro. Mmm.
Well, that concludes my first blog entry on RC, instead of on the usual comment box. lol. Time for a short introduction, I believe. Hi there~ I’m mewmew, and I have been floating around on RC for a while, although my more meaningful contributions began quite recently with Lucky Star, where I helped Jaalin navigate through some of the more difficult conversations and confusing cultural references it was filled to the brim with. I’ll be around to help blog some additional shows, including Ghost Hound (which I *think* interested quite a few of you out there) and hopefully I can continue blogging on RC for some time. Aside from that, I’ll probably be drifting about in the Asian mmorpg scene or on niconico douga, if my college classes will spare me the time (not very likely). x,x I just so happen to be part Japanese and lived in Tokyo for 12 years too, so cultural questions are always welcomed! :D In any case, yoroshiku!