Review by: Sophie Stevens
Publisher: Geneon Entertainment (FUNimation Entertainment)
Running Time: 100 minutes
Rating: 13 & Up
Release Date: Available Now
A painful lesson in loss and chaos.
I have to admit that I am now officially hooked on Shonen Onmyouji after having checked out our Editor-in-Chief’s rather glowing review of Volume 4. Without even thinking about it, I was able to find the first four volumes and I couldn’t stop watching it.
“Please oh please let me review Volume 5,” I said to our Reviews Editor, Clive Owen. “Things are going to turn ugly up in the spiritual world of Shonen Onmyouji.”
As it turns out, I was right. As the shadowy figure that is the stealthy, tricky and skillful Kazane reveals herself to Masahiro and his shikigami companions, the mastermind behind the attacks is waiting in the dark. The black crow that sits on Kazane shoulder might hold the answer to the mystery behind the attack since the spirit of an unknown enemy possesses said bird to talk to Kazane. Of course, what she wasn’t expecting was the fact that the shikigami she thought was her enemy saved her from dangerous miasma.
In Volume 5, we find Kazane ready to strike again and after having disappeared she shows up as the lady-in-waiting of the young Princess Nagako who is feeling jealous over the attention of her new baby brother that is to become not only a Prince but also the heir to the Mikado throne. Meanwhile, the city is happy to see the Emperor so happy and even Masahiro feels a pleasant change in the wind. Unfortunately, this happy moment is interrupted by Toshitsugu who tells Masahiro that “You’ll lose something soon.” Way to bring the guy down, Toshitsugu.
Interestingly enough, Masahiro’s grandfather, the powerful Seimei, tells Masahiro something similar and it begins to worry the young man. In fact, Masahiro even has a dream in which Mokkun is running away from him and ignoring her trusted friend as he calls out to the shikigami. Meanwhile, a powerful force manages to break through Seimei’s Divination Spell, which gets the old man thinking of the two only foes capable of doing that one of those people is dead. When the presence of a dark miasma is felt, Seimei sends Rikugou, Genbu and Taiin to seek out its source.
It’s clear that the miasma is an attack that is directed at the Palace itself and Masahiro sets out to lend a hand only to find his father attempting to set up a barrier. Whoever is behind the attack is powerful enough to keep his father that busy and when Kazane attacks she discovers that Rikugou is holding back his blows. The black crow suddenly speaks and it is Genbu who recognizes the voice. In a moment of hesitation, Kazane is able to break free and take Princess Nagako through the gate to the other realm using the little girl’s hatred.
Reporting back to Seimei, we learn a lot more about his past and the possibility that the enemy pulling the strings is a man thought to be dead. We witness a young Seimei accepting a mission when his close friend, Ryusai, decides to go with him despite the fact that Seimei tells him he has a bad feeling about the mission. As it turns out, Seimei is correct and Ryusai falls in love with a powerful spirit that compels Ryusai to cast a forbidden spell called the Soul Binding Spell. All hell breaks loose after that and Ryusai ends up dead by the hands on one of the shikigami.
With the Princess missing, Masahiro leads the shikigami through the gate only to end up lost. Mokkun, in his Guren form, is separated from them and encounters Kazane on his own who finally reveals her true intentions to the shikigami and why she hates them so much. In the confrontation, Kazane manages to cast the very spell that got Ryusai killed. When Masahiro does manage to find Guren, his friend commits a horrible act that has the other shikigami turning on Guren.
To say more would spoil the surprising turn of events that have elevated this must-see anime into a I-really-can’t-wait-to-see-what-happens-next anime. What I will say is that the battle that takes place is one of the more exciting and dramatic moments in the series and the true identity behind the crow is revealed to be somebody they all didn’t expect. In fact, we even learn who Kazane really is in the final episode of this four-episode volume and why another shikigami named Takao has been searching for her with two Guardians.
Volume 5 of Shonen Onmyouji pushes the series forward into a more dramatic and electrifying direction and it certainly works. What started off as an intriguing tale of Guardians and spiritualists has become a deeply involving tale that deserves your full attention. This series just keeps getting better and better so missing out on this series would be a real shame.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Kazane is back and her reasons for wanting revenge (as well as her true identity) are finally revealed while Masahiro’s dream about Mokkun becomes a reality when a spiritual attack on the Palace threatens the life of the Emperor and his family. The outcome of the battle will definitely take you by surprise.
VIDEO QUALITY: A
The Anamorphic Widescreen presentation works great for a series that looks as good as this one. The visual effects and the fight scenes look good too.
AUDIO QUALITY: B+
The Japanese voice acting in this series is top notch and, personally speaking, is far better than the English dub. As far as the music is concerned, the score is beautiful and the closing theme song is actually good.
The only extras found here are three previews of Geneon releases and that’s about it. I do like the reversible covers but that doesn’t count.
Shonen Onmyouji is quickly becoming that anime series you do not want to miss and it just keeps getting better and better with each volume. Volume 5, however, has reached a moment that has taken an exciting fantasy series and turned it into a riveting and powerfully addictive gem. We are definitely looking forward to the next volume.