A box of goblins, just in time for Halloween

by dm00

Mouryou no hako is based on an award-winning novel by Natsuhiko Kyogoku, who also wrote the novel which gave us Requiem from the Darkness.  Some of the Requiem from the Darkness team has joined in the production of Mouryou no Hako, and I think it shows.  Character designs come from CLAMP, filtered by the able hands of Asako Nishida (who also transmuted Carnelian’s designs in Yami to boushi to hon no tabibito and the equally-cherry-blossomed Touka gettan; and also gave us the breeze-tangled tresses of Simoun).

Come dance in the moonlight and cherry blossoms, reciting bad poetry with me...

Come dance in the moonlight and cherry blossoms, reciting bad poetry with me, my Yoriko...

The novel is the second in a series that centers around an antique bookseller who gets involved in solving mysteries.  It was adapted into a live-action film last year.

The show has a delightfully creepy beginning: an encounter between strangers on a train, and one of them has a talking, living head in a box — the perfect beginning for an October ghost story.

Much of the episode centers around the poetry and cherry-blossom-strewn moonlit walks shared by poor Yoriko (the daughter of a widowed maker of doll’s heads) and doom-laden Kanako (wealthy and mysterious).  But this seems to be the set-up for the first of a series of deaths that will draw the attention of our set of detectives:

Seventy years before <i>Legal Drug</i>

Seventy years before Legal Drug

In this episode, we meet two of these fellows — the fellow on the left was the man who had the surprise encounter with the girl’s head in the box.  The man in the middle is a Tokyo detective, who just happened upon the scene of, perhaps, our first crime.  Before he did so, however, he had a vision, apparently harkening back to an experience he had during the war (I assume the invasion of Manchuria — this episode appears to be set in the 1930s).  This scene is marvellously creepy, and coupled with the earlier scene on the train, promises a chilling horror series to come.

With production people associated with Requiem from the Darkness and Boogiepop Phantom, I expect this to be an interestingly chilling series, and am looking forward to more.

6 Responses to “A box of goblins, just in time for Halloween”

  1. 1 blissmo October 19, 2008 at 2:29 am

    Well, I didn’t really like this show at all, maybe because its not my cup of tea, and even near the end of the first episode I didn’t find it creepy at all until Kanako smiled at the end lol

  2. 2 21stcenturydigitalboy October 19, 2008 at 2:59 am

    all I have to say is ‘fuck yes’

  3. 3 dm00 October 19, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    I view the Kanako/Yoriko story as set-up. It seems clear from the OP that the show is going to be more about the four detective bishounen (plus a gamine), perhaps with involvement from Yoriko.

    What I thought was creepy about the episode was the opening on the train, and the detective’s war-time flashback (also on a train). Though the doll given to Yoriko and the doll-maker’s talk of “dolls as empty boxes for souls” seemed a bit portentous, as well.

  4. 4 adaywithoutme October 20, 2008 at 12:40 am

    I believe the episode was set in 1953, since they said at some point near the beginning of the episode that it was the year Showa 27, which would be 1953 – so the Tokyo detective was probably flashing back to WWII.

  5. 5 ETERNAL October 21, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    Looks interesting, I haven’t seen anything too deep or psychological in a while (except for Monster).

  6. 6 Maura October 23, 2008 at 12:50 am

    I saw this on crunchyroll,the first episode it looked good and I was trying to find out more. Thanks so much, I’ll definatly have to check this out now.

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