Sunday, October 31, 2010

Take a walk on the wild side with the Medicine Seller

Medicine Seller by Jenzee
Just in time for Halloween.

My good friend pointed out to me that one of the anime that I introduced to her is being shown on Animax. The Ayakashi: Samurai Horror Tales featuring the Medicine Seller, a occult detective that goes around solving and performing exorcism for strange mysterious cases.

I was introduced to this character via an article that presented Anime for Non Anime viewers (lost the url for that article). Among the list of 10 odd anime, The Medicine Seller series (a spin off from The Ayakashi Samurai Horror Tales series, called Mononoke) stood out the most for the unorthodox animation style and multi-layered story telling of supernatural tales.

The visual aspect presents a paper puppet type of animation that infuse with plenty of funky editing. There's repetitive motifs used to tell the story but it's never boring and it brings a chilling aura to the story. The artworks is filled with beautiful art of traditional Japanese culture, scenery and folklore that mesmerizing to look at.

So far, the story format that I encountered for The Medicine Seller's series were basically a supernatural story told in two to three episodes. It often starts with a demon terrorizing a group of people and the Medicine Seller happened to wander right into the action. He has a bunch of weapons to detect the demon spirit but the main weapon would be his sword that could only be unsheathe if he learn the spirit's Form, Truth and Regret.

In the pursue for the Form, Truth and Regret of the demon spirit, the story often reveal plenty of twist from the initial premise. It often dig out the ugly side of human and often the folks that are being terrorized are the guilty with a much more terrible sin that the manifestation of the demon spirit.

 The Ayakashi: Samurai Horror Tales currently showing at Animax on Friday 8 to 9pm (repeat at 12 midnight) is up to Episodes 5 and 6. The story arc that they are done with was Bake Neko. The problem with Animax screening of Ayakashi was beside the obvious cropping / framing error, there's some form of censorship with the Anime. The problem is that the story telling is in a rather complex form and with the removal of certain scenes, it made it harder to understand what really went on. Personally, I feel that it's a good place to get acquainted with this series but Animax isn't really a good medium to fully appreciate this series. The story would tend to spill over the 2 episodes per week constrain and imagine waiting 1 week to compete the story. Plus the dense and complicated story would work best if all the relevant episodes are watch in one sitting.

Thankfully, the wonderful internet has the solution. So far I managed to find Bake Neko from The Ayakashi: Samurai Horror Tales,  Noppera-bō のっぺらぼう, Nue 鵺 & Bakeneko 化猫 from the Mononoke TV series. 

Highly recommended for folks who like weird twisty supernatural tales.

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