OP Sequence:

OP: “Lost in Blue” by Nightmare (ナイトメア)
Watch the OP!: Mirror 1, Mirror 2, Show Streaming ▼

ED Sequence:

ED: “NAKED LOVE” by Nightmare (ナイトメア)
Watch the ED!: Mirror 1, Mirror 2, Show Streaming ▼

「天人五衰の事」 (Tennin Gosui no Koto)
“Five Death Omens of an Angel”

First Glance:
Adapted from the novels by Natsuhiko Kyougoku, Mouryou no Hako (Box of Evil Spirits) involves a series of gruesome, dismemberment murders, in a myterious, riddle-filled story that begins with two girls. After watching the first eposide, I was confused as to where the story was going, but soon realized that it was because of all incomplete information out there failing to give a proper representation of what this series is about. Seeing how this is also the case in the English-speaking anime sphere, I decided to look into the story more, which I found has the makings of a really good horror/detective mystery.

Similar to Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro yet devoid of silly comedy, Mouryou no Hako thus far comes off much creepier with only its seemingly tranquil, but completely ominous presentation. With living human heads stuffed into boxes, human souls entrapped in dolls, haunting memories about deceased soldiers, and a binding of existences that traverses death itself, I’m “quietly” disturbed by what I’ve seen. The dialogue is key here to experience this effect in full, so watching it with a semi-competent understanding is not recommended. Visual-wise, MADHOUSE does an excellent job here as they typically do, which critics harsher than myself should appreicate. Being one of the six series that they’re working on this season, Muryou no Hako doesn’t seem to suffer from any shortcomings, and also features characters designs by the female mangaka group CLAMP, who worked on the insanely popular CODE GEASS. Backdrops are lush when they need to be, and eerily dark when they don’t, giving off that surreal yet frightening contrast. So what exactly is this series about?

Beginning with a girl who has no friends and issues with her mother, the story shows how Kusumoto Yoriko (Takahashi Mikako) befriends the beautiful, prodigy student, Yuzuki Kanako (Tomatsu Haruka), who soon starts claiming they’re an existence that’s one in the same. Despite being confused by her words about Tennin Gosui (Five Death Omens of an Angel), Yoriko continues to spend a lot of time with Kanako and decides to go to a lake with her one evening, catching the last train back. On their return trip however, Kanako inexplicablely goes onto the tracks and gets run over, much to Yoriko’s shock, especially when she notices Kanako’s smile as she’s taken off in a stretcher. Riding onboard that last train was Inspector Kiba Shuutarou, who happened to experience a frightening World War-like nightmare just prior to the incident.

While the first episode concludes there, this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Kanako, whose presence in the overall story is probably the most mysterious aspect of it. At the hospital later, Yoriko runs into Kanako’s older sister, Youko, who’s been living together with her younger sister because their parents supposedly didn’t want Kanako. Yoriko however is immediately suspicious of Youko, an actress who Shuutarou seems to have a thing for. Being the daughter of a family with a high social status, Kanako is taken off to some mysterious extensive-care facility and disappears from everyone’s sight at that point. After that happens though, successive murders involving dismembered victims start occuring, which a girl named Chuuzenji Atsuko (Kuwashima Houko) starts investigating, leading to her working with various detectives in an attempt to unravel the mystery behind them.

Music-wise, the opening and ending themes are both performed by the visual kei band Nightmare, whose songs were also featured in Claymore, Death Note, and the aforementioned Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro. Given their type of music and track record of series it’s been used in, it comes as no surprise that their songs are here. While I’ve never been a big fan of their appearance, I actually find their music pretty good, which “Lost in Blue” and “NAKED LOVE” are good examples of. Cast-wise, we have a plethora of big and experienced names, which I’ll defer to the notable cast list below. I will point out that Tomatsu Haruka put on an awesome performance as Kanako though, which actually had me thinking it was Inoue Marina at first. She once again continues to display the range she has, making me confident that Haruka (who’s only 18 years old right now) will become a much more prominant seiyuu in the future.

Horror mystery in a MADHOUSE production with a long list of veteran seiyuus, Mouryou no Hako comes your way Tuesdays.

 

Notable Cast:
– Chuuzenji Akihiko (中禅寺 秋彦) : Hirata Hiroaki (平田 広明)
– Sekiguchi Tatsumi (関口 巽) : Kiuchi Hidenobu (木内 秀信)
– Enokidzu Reijirou (榎木津 礼二郎) : Morikawa Toshiyuki (森川 智之)
– Kiba Shuutarou (木場 修太郎) : Seki Takaaki (関 貴昭)
– Toriguchi Morihiko (鳥口 守彦) : Namikawa Daisuke (浪川 大輔)
– Aoki Bunzou (青木 文蔵) : Suwabe Junichi (諏訪部 順一)
– Kusumoto Yoriko (楠本 頼子) : Takahashi Mikako (高橋 美佳子)
– Kusumoto Kimie (楠本 君枝) : Tsuda Shouko (津田 匠子)
– Yuzuki Kanako (柚木 加奈子) : Tomatsu Haruka (戸松 遥)
– Yuzuki Youko (柚木 陽子) : Hisakawa Aya (久川 綾)
– Chuuzenji Atsuko (中禅寺 敦子) : Kuwashima Houko (桑島 法子)
– Sekiguchi Yukie (関口 雪絵) : Honda Takako (本田 貴子)
– Mysterious Man (謎の男) : Furuya Tooru (古谷 徹)
– Amemiya Noritada (雨宮 典匡) : Hiyama Nobuyuki (檜山 修之)
– Masuoka Noriyuki (増岡 則之) : Miki Shinichirou (三木 眞一郎)
– Policeman Fukumoto (福本巡査) : Ueda Yuuji (うえだ ゆうじ)
– Sasagawa (笹川) : Koyama Rikiya (小山 力也)
– Inspector Ishii (石井警部) : Ugaki Hidenari (宇垣 秀成)

22 Comments

  1. Hmmm… When I read part of the first chapter of the manga, the main female character – Kusumoto Yoriko – makes a big deal about going to meet her friend by the train station and how her “perfect” friend has a pimple… then the scene changes to the detective and everyone is all shocked about the girl’s death via train, which gave me the impression that Yoriko was a bit off her rocker and pushed the other girl just because of the pimple. >_> But that was just what I got from the manga. I guess it isn’t like that in the anime, then?

    Magical Poof
  2. Magical Poof:
    The scene with the pimple is here. I just opted not to include a screenshot of it. They didn’t show if Yoriko pushed Kanako, but there’s reason to believe that might be the case, and that Kanako’s spirit now resides within Yoriko.

  3. Great blogging Divine!
    I appreciate the many series introductions you’ve written.
    It gives a good overview for the premiering shows for this season together with Omnis preview.

    Keep up the good work you guys!

    Sot
  4. jaaa:
    It’s wrong. I just didn’t bother submitting an error report (or any cast for that matter this season) to ANN. The correct information is posted on the Japanese wiki page, plus I confirmed it in the credits for this episode. Besides, Kaji Yuuki is a guy. >_>

    Sot:
    You’re welcome. This is pretty much everything in the first week that’s interested either Omni or myself (albeit a lot of them me more than him). The only shows remaining are CHAOS;HEAD, Nodame Cantabile Paris Chapter, and TYTANIA tomorrow, then Michiko to Hatchin next Wednesday.

  5. Aaaaaw, man, you spoilt the next episode for those of us not reading the manga/novels 🙁

    It’s not adapted from the manga, incidentally. Mouryou no Hako is the second in a series of very popular novels by the guy who wrote what’s known in R1 as Requiem From The Darkness. There was a live-action film made of this last year at the same time the manga started and now we’re getting an animated version.

  6. I wasn’t considering this series but due to Divine’s wonderful thorough first impression,how can I not?
    Nightmare OP/ED?Great animation/colors?CLAMP character designs?
    Similiar to Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro in terms of genre?I’m sold. 8D

    Azumi
  7. yea i like mystery stuff like Majion Tantei Nougami Neuro, which wasn’t taht horrorful, but for some reason horror in anime doesn’t scare me so i don’t mind it unlike live action horror films lol. yea ill watch this. and koo it had some yuri to0 lol

    Chimasternmay
  8. @cyro:
    Maybe divine was describing Nightmare for individuals who are not familiar with what “visual kei” is, hence he used gothic as an umbrella term. I always thought v-kei is more of an aesthetic and not a particular musical style anyway (since it seems to me, to just about cover anything from electronica to pop)…but since I honestly do not care for that genre I have nothing more to say.

    I love the idea that the show is pure creep without any comedy thrown in…thanks for the summary divine! I’ll definitely give this a try.

    tau-tau
  9. BluWacky:
    I figured I needed to explain what’s coming up, otherwise people might not even give this series a chance. I adapted the information from a Japanese synopsis, so I figured it would be alright to use it as introductory material. Personally, hearing a little bit more of where the series is headed interested me more, so I don’t really consider it a “spoiler”.

    cyro:
    Hmm, I said “gothic-like”, but have changed it to visual kei with a link.

  10. i nearly freaked out when i saw the head in the box, even though i should’ve been prepared for it. thank goodness i was watching it in the morning. but it does seemed very CLAMP-styled. and i’m still debating whether i should follow this.

    FOR: it’s by CLAMP.
    AGAINST: it’s creepy!

    what should i do????!

    naixil
  11. The original of this anime is not a manga but a novel.
    Natsuhiko Kyogoku = wikipedia(ttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natsuhiko_Kyogoku)
    He is a yōkai-horror-mystery writer who has cult popularity in Japan.
    The evaluation was roughly high in the original fan of Japan.

    Tarou
  12. Wow. I was going to wait for the english subs for this, but ended up being impatient and watching it with Chinese…meaning that I wasn’t certain if I’d lost something reading the subs, or if it was just the show itself.

    But thank you for this snapshot! It clears a lot up for me (Was the last section of the hospital in this episode too?)

    Aeris

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