Onmyoji Review 2023 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online
Onmyoji is an anime adaptation of a series of historical fantasy short stories and novels written by Baku Yumemakura and published by Bungeishunju. It is directed by Soubi Yamamoto and produced by Marvy Jack. Natsu Hashimoto and Yuiko Kato wrote the scripts.
November has been an interesting month for Netflix, and I’m not just referring to the movies it released. It’s also about the several anime-influenced shows that the streaming service released to maintain the medium’s fans’ attention. This week, we see the anime-obsessed month drawing to a close. Of course, what better way to conclude Netflix’s “Anime November” than with another series loosely based on Japanese history involving…you guessed it, demons? As if we don’t have enough of those lately.
Consisting of 13 episodes, Onmyoji follows the historical misadventures of Minamoto no Hiromasa (Greg Chun), a warrior who’s also a gifted musician, and Abe no Seimei, a stubborn yet analytical cosmologist specializing in exorcising demons. Despite their differences and lack of trust, Seimei and Hiromisa form an unlikely partnership to solve numerous demon-related mysteries surrounding Japan. During the process, they learn more about Seimei’s tragic past that led to his loneliness while confronting a dangerous demon cursed by jealousy.
Think of it as a combination of Sherlock Holmes and Demon Slayer, minus the thrilling action of the latter. That’s pretty much the only way I can describe the series other than it’s another supernatural-related anime about exorcising demons. If you’ve seen the other shows involving demons like Onimusha, you’ve practically seen Onmyoji. I guess that’s what happens when I watch three demon-related anime in a row this month. Regardless of the derivative concept, I’m usually open to seeing if the execution is good enough to make it work. While it isn’t without its moments, the series somewhat pales in comparison to other shows involving demon hunting regarding its narrative and characters.
Throughout the first few episodes, it’s easy to tell that Onmyoji has an episodic structure involving a monster-of-the-week scenario, or in this case, demon-of-the-week. A cursed demon shows up, and Seimei is hired to dispose of the monster and its curse while offering tiny hints of plot development. This structure lasted for the first seven episodes until its eighth episode, “The Fox’s Child”, where Seimei’s past is explored while being cursed by a demon’s Sekisonko. While it was fine at first, it became repetitive and a bit boring by the sixth episode, “The Lady Who Loved Insects.” Not even the chemistry between the protagonists isn’t enough to exorcise the show’s repetition. Despite the decent voice work from Howard Wang and Greg Chun, Seimei and Horimasa follow the usual formula from other movies and shows involving “mismatched buddies solving mysteries” but lack the humor and charm of those that inspired Onmyoji. It comes off as bland and uninteresting until the tail end of the season.
It’s quite a shame since the final six episodes happened to be an improvement over the other ones. Starting with “The Fox’s Child,” the series explores more of Seimei’s past, as he was bullied by his peers due to his pedigree and hair color, hence his nickname “The Fox Child.” He was ridiculed by other people because of his history, resulting in Seimei exiling himself in his mansion with his shikis. Additionally, the characters confront the Nonomoly Demon, a vicious spirit cursed by jealousy and envy who consumes Hiromasa’s friend, Imperial Prince Atsumi (Armen Taylor). The second half switches up its narrative to provide more interest in its seasonal plot and characters, mainly the friendship between Atsumi and Hiromasa being corrupted by jealousy. The result may not be perfect, but it’s admirable enough for its heart and message to save the series from being an underwhelming mess. If the first half were as enjoyable as the final episodes, I would’ve been more forgiving toward it.
Overall, the anime adaptation of Onmyoji may satisfy fans of the fantasy mystery franchise but may prove to be repetitive and derivative for newcomers, including me. It has a few good spells that periodically overcome its dreaded curses, such as the voice cast and the show’s second half. There’s also the animation produced by Marvy Jack, which looked solid for its demon designs and settings. Although, it didn’t do much to make its action scenes memorable. Unfortunately, its repetitive structures and by-the-numbers characters make its soul less pure than the previous demon-related shows I’ve seen on Netflix. I think it’s time for me to move on from hunting demons and focus on spreading holiday cheer for the remaining year.