This is much like Osamu Tezuka’s Phoenix in that there are different stories in this but unlike the Phoenix, there is not one little thing that keeps the stories connected. They are just simple ghost stories although I don’t know if you would sit around a camp fire and talk about. They are not so much horror stories, as more stories of caution against different things. They seem to have a story that has a lesson at the end.
The first story is a sweet story about forbidden love and fallen gods. I’m not so sure why they have the stupid little spirits that keep laughing. It just seems like a waste to have characters there that are only for comedic affect The story doesn’t need it and they have no purpose in the story that I can see. The story without them is rather beautiful, and the language they use is so high class old Japanese that it has a ring of sophistication in it. The art style is rather nicely done, looking mostly like it was done in this year then 2006. It has gentle lines and the only time it really lacks is when the characters are far away making them look so less detailed. Sometimes they even become blobs of color alone. Music is rather nice, a hunting tone that sets the mood. English voices are pretty well done. Again, not so interested in the crazy spirits that they bring in for comedy. Tomi’s voice is rather nice and pretty much perfect for the character.
The second starts interesting with a narrator, supposedly Nanboku telling the play he wrote, calling it the most chilling he had ever written. I’m not sure exactly if it’s chilling or not because the anime version seems a little lacking in the horror. The only thing that makes it any chilling is the fact that he says he was compelled to write it. Ya, real frightening. Unfortunately, the narration breaks whatever tension the story did have and so kills the mood it needed. The artwork is rather odd, showing the characters eyes rather squinted and turned up. It is almost super realistic in a way but then also turned to be cartoonish. It’s not a style I admittedly would like. Sometimes, the characters are also twisted into strange poses and the necks look almost broken. It’s a little two odd for me and I guess it did give me chills on that account. Music is pretty much same as the first one.
The third story feels more like a group of opening episodes for a new series called Mononoke. The story follows a medicine peddler who destroys evil spirits but we never get any information about his background or anything about him for any of it. For all we know, he is a spirit himself. The artwork is somewhat interesting, almost a wallpaper or drawn on a piece of parchment like charactering. The faces are well detailed and almost surreal in a way. The characters voices are really nice and though the English voice of the medicine peddler is different then the Japanese, it gives him a little bit more of a sexy voice. I don’t really know if it’s a good thing exactly because it did not have enough time to rub on me although it did not bother me ether. They also make him talk a little more then the Japanese version. Andrew Francis actually made me think he was Crispin Freeman when I first heard him. It was rather good and I would love to hear him more often then the small parts he seems to be getting. Music is like the others, although it brings in some from the Mononoke series to give it a flavor of its own.
The opening of each is really nice, giving the spirit of how old the show is, though gave it also a rap feeling that felt more like it would fit in this timeframe instead of the Endo period. The artwork is rather interesting, changing depending on the show and it always seemed to be the concept art for the characters. The finished pieces with some moving across the frame. It made it feel like the show was really coming from the pages of a book and becoming life.