Review by: Edward Zacharias
Publisher: Geneon (FUNimation)
Running Time: 100 minutes
Rating: 13 & Up
Release Date: November 25, 2008
Spirit possessions, confrontations and revelations … just another day in the life a Spirit Master.
If you’re not already familiar with the world and characters of Shonen Onmyouji then you are missing out on a great anime series about spirits, spiritualists and the Shikigami Gods that have gathered together to protect a young man whose powers are becoming even more powerful. After three volumes, it’s Volume 4 of Shonen Onmyouji that proves that this series just keeps getting better and better with each episode.
Continuing the Kazane story arc, the first gate of the Underworld is opened by none other than the powerful spiritual warrior Kazane herself who – under the direction of her dark master – is still intent on exacting her revenge on Guren (who is known as Mokkun by our main protagonist named Masahiro). To make matters even more complicated, the resurrected body of Hozumi no Moronao has come for Fujiwara no Yukinari in a confrontation that raises some new questions. Masahiro, along with the help of The Twelve Shinsho, come together to stop Moronao from coming close to Yukinari as they also clash with demons that have been released. This is truly one of the more interesting moments in the series.
Meanwhile, Kazane launches an attack against Abe no Seimei in order to slay him once and for all only to find that he’s more powerful than she had anticipated. In her defeat, she calls to her master … only little does Kazane know that Rikugou is listening in on their conversation. It becomes clear to Rikogou that the mystery woman’s master is a foe they thought was long defeated. I won’t spoil the surprise but believe me when I say that it’s a revelation that will certainly play a big role in future events.
After the attack by Moronao and Kazane are thwarted and the gate closed, Masahiro decides to take up patrolling when he and Mokkun spot what looks like the wandering spirit of a border guard. In an attempt to put the spirit to rest, the pompous Toshitsugu shows up and gets in the way of Masahiro’s duties and winds up slamming him into the wandering spirit with one of his spells. When Masahiro comes to after the attack, he comes to realize that he’s be somehow fused with the spirit that was about to be devoured by a spiritual entity that swallows other spirits.
Kazane also encounters the entity and realizes that she was the one responsible for its existence after having opened the first game to the Underworld. Her attempt to stop the growing mass fails during a battle with it and is swallowed whole. It isn’t until Masahiro, Gurren, Tai’in, Genbu and Rikogou help free her from the entity. In the meantime, Masahiro’s dreams are that of a beautiful pregnant woman telling him that she will gladly wait for his return with their child. These dreams are the memories of the spirit of the border guard fused within his own spirit and he’s saddened by it to the point that Masahiro uses the dream to help bring the spirit to peace.
In the last of the four episodes, Masahiro’s father senses an unusual amount of spiritual energy and that something bad might happen to Masahiro’s older brother and his family. It doesn’t take too long for a Monkey Demon to show its ugly face and during a brief battle it comes to Masahiro’s attention that Mokkun doesn’t want to be anywhere near the family residence. The reason behind Mokkun’s hesitation is actually quite funny. I won’t reveal it here because it’s one episode you definitely have to see for yourself.
Shonen Onmyouji, Volume 4, propels the series forward in the best way possible and now that the cards are on the table it’s anyone’s game. Foes that were once thought dead have resurfaced and new enemies with their own agenda show up in the process. Shonen Onmyouji is just one of those series that does a great job of setting up some interesting events and we’re just happy to be along for the ride.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Interesting revelations are made in this volume and Masahiro confronts a number of problems that test his abilities as a Spirit Master. In one episode, Masahiro ends up possessed while in another he comes to his brother’s aid when a Monkey Demon attacks. The really juicy part comes in the first episode of this volume.
VIDEO QUALITY: A
A pristine picture makes the Anamorphic Widescreen visuals all the more satisfying to look at on any screen. I fell in love with the animation the first time I laid eyes on the series and I still enjoy it now.
AUDIO QUALITY: B+
The sound quality is excellent and it makes the great score really stand out nicely throughout the four episodes. I highly recommend you stick to the Japanese voice cast because the English dub isn’t as good.
There’s very little to speak of in terms of extra material here so don’t expect much. The highlight here is clearly the episodes.
Volume 4 of Shonen Onmyouji is nothing short of riveting and the four episodes in the volume have a lot to offer fans that have been waiting for this one. I can safely say that fans of the series will certainly enjoy the episodes that peel away the layers to reveal an anime series worth keeping an eye on if you like good anime.