Mononoke 10-12: Medicine Seller’s Last Bang

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In the final arc of Mononoke, the Medicine Seller involves himself in the murder of a young girl whose body is run over by a train in a metropolitan city. As the seven suspects involved in the murder find themselves in the train, in the same car, whisked away to a ghost world, the Medicine Seller pieces together the murder while the Mononoke picks off the travelers one by one.

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Another fascinating story and a decidedly good one to end the series with. The period setting threw me for a bit of a loop at first. Unlike previous stories which felt firmly planted in pre-industrialized Japan, this arc featured a metropolitan city, trains, telephones, and fashionable Western clothing. While it made sense to me that this arc could have taken place in a recently industrialized Tokyo, and other stories in the more antiquated countryside, I’ve seen it suggested elsewhere that this arc implies the Medicine seller existed over several decades, if not centuries.

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While I think the mannequin imagery was interesting, I couldn’t quite understand its purpose. Initially I thought it was simply an interesting way to highlight the main characters in crowd scenes. However, in the final episode there were several scenes where a main character would phase in and out of being a mannequin. Perhaps that was a way to show they were not entirely important to that flashback?

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This was the final episode of Mononoke, and while the Medicine Seller’s pronouncement at the end left the series vaguely open to a continuation, the fact that Mononoke is a spin-off from the Ayakashi series leaves me hopeful that more will be coming.

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