This is an interesting blend of various genres and I can even say it is even unorthodox. Although at first it looks like a fighting shounen / fantasy adventure ala Inuyasha, it quickly becomes a weird blend of various other genres. It is both shounen and shoujo, and even has josei elements to it. This definitely makes it feel a lot more mature and serious than your average no-brainer action show out there, but it sure doesn’t make it exciting enough to keep watching for long without getting fed up with its pacing sooner or later.
To put it simply, it is very straightforward and plain when it comes to the plot. The hero is the son of a famous Onmyoujii (something like a priest in ancient Japan) and he wants to be like him by beating up bad demons that roam the land. As his companion he has a furry little animal that turns to an awesome humanoid fighter when the need call for it. This is the cheesy fighting shounen aspect of the show and nothing we haven’t seen a billion times already. It later on adds a bit of mystery behind the monsters’ goals. And that s pretty much all there is to it, further watered down with silly comedy and monster of the week battles. I am warning you; even the most thrilling moments for the characters in this series will feel normal to you. Even the finale which is supposed to feel epic will pass mostly as a soft ending. And a rather open one too, since not all the original material was covered.
At this point you may be wondering how this is any different than Inuyasha or any other heave action show. Simple, the action part is generally dull and the main characters are very few in numbers to web an interesting chart of relations. Also, the hero is just a wimp who takes on monsters ten times his power and always wins because his hairy companion goes all GAR and wastes armies with his awesome powers. What a lame hero he is! That gets tiresome fast. Even if you try to imagine that the critter companion is the real protagonist, it again feels silly since when it’s not fighting, it is nothing more than an irritating little animal, voiced by a girl. How lame! As for the battles themselves, they lack choreography to be interesting to look forward to for more than a few times. They are mostly standing still and throwing energy beams at mook monsters. Or chant. Do you know how lame it looks when they recite silly poems and then just stand still as monsters around them go poof?
To be honest, this series is better suited for girls and women than boys, since the shoujo part overshadows the shounen. That becomes apparent when you realize most of the secondary characters are girls who are NOT in love with the protagonist, and the main focus is dialogues and not fighting. I wouldn’t say it suits men as well since the hero is a wimp boy (men prefer adults). As interesting as this blend is, I personally didn’t like the final result, since as I said the plot is basic and the action is dull.
And now some info about the production values. The artwork is nice to look at, since there is a generally good amount of details and a variety of colours given to clothes and sceneries. Most monster designs looked more silly than scary, and those huge Heian era hats always looked ridiculous to me. I didn’t like the animation since there is very little of it during action. Visual effects are taking up half the show, since most of everything ends up with summoning lightings or throwing fireballs. And they have funky glowing pentagrams as means of symbolic power and protection. The music score left me completely indifferent, as it was just soft lullabies sang by a woman (and I prefer rock and metal by men). The voice acting and the dialogues were generally appealing, and the only negative thing I found in them is THEY ARE TOO MANY. Seriously, it’s like most of the show is talking. INCLUDING THE BATTLES, since they chant their spells. I understand that since the story is based on a novel, yet I felt they abused the element to save as much as animation budget as possible. Nice to read but bad to watch in a series format.
Oh, and as usual I won’t forget to mention how it’s made by studion DEEN, so it’s bad by default. Keep failing you fools!
Onmyouji was interesting as a blend but it sure feels unexciting, while its cast and story are too simple to bother remembering after awhile. I recommend this anime only to girls and women who like fantasy and some action. I otherwise prefer Inuyasha over this one (but only the first 30 and the last 20 episodes, as all the rest was pointless filler).