Mouryou no Hako Review

This is review number three hundred and forty six. This anime is part of the Fall 2008 lineup. The anime I’ll be reviewing is called Moryou no Hako. It’s a thirteen episode anime about a headless girl inside a box freaking people out. The actual story is not far from that, by the way. Also, if you’re wondering why I’m watching an old show, it’s because I used to do this. This anime is part of the ten recommended anime in that list, and I will be reviewing them alongside Winter 2014. Yes, this also means that the post is coming back once I finished the ten anime in the list. So everyone, prepare your non Boku no Pico anime and let’s have fun with the next one. This anime is one of the strong shows in that list of ten. Let’s read on.


First, on August 29th, a right arm was found on Outarumi mountain pass. On the 30th, both the legs of the same person were found in Lake Sagami. The following day, the 31st, she was kidnapped. And six days later, another person’s leg was found in Lake Sagami.

– Aoki Bunzou, Tokyo Police

Taking the Pants Off

I’m about to review one of my most favorite anime ever. I used to have a top ten, and Moryou no Hako is in it. Maybe I’ll publish the list some other time, but this anime is just divine. It’s the pinnacle of storytelling so effective that even some like me, who have seen it before, can still get chills watching it again after a good eight years have passed. I used to say this lightly, but mostly because I didn’t have a job back then, but this time you can take my word for it: I saw this anime in one sitting. I watched it on a Sunday, and I power through till the end. I knew I had a job tomorrow, but I still kept on watching until one in the morning where the ending must’ve given me an orgasm or something. As a guy that loves thick exposition driven stories, Moryou no Hako is like a Christmas ham for me. I only get it once a year, so I’ll eat as much of it as possible.  No, regular ham doesn’t have the same magic to it. Moryou no Hako is an intense narrative driven show with a really compelling mystery to it. This is my second time watching the show, and I did see a few faults when I first saw it, but this sh*t still holds up. This 2008 anime is still as great when you see it eight years later. At this point, it’s a clearly defined timeless classic. This show doesn’t age. It represents a collective group of anime fans present in every generation. It entices people that love good storytelling, with its amazing charm. It then forever burrows in your brain with its amazing ending. As the show puts it, it seems that you’ll end up with a moryou inside you as well after you experience this anime. You do not need to read this review. Stop right now, and then watch it. Absorb the confusion, then watch it again. Afterwards, realize how perfectly detailed the narrative is. Nothing is out of order. Nothing is randomly uttered. Every single line foreshadows something, every single scene amounts to something and every single action culminates into something big. Moryou no Hako is a good example of a high form of storytelling that most anime cannot execute properly. This is a rare anime. This is a timeless anime. This is a perfect anime.

Well, actually, it’s not but I’ve hyped you enough to now go into the actual review.

First of all, the story is told in a weird way. It’s told in the diverse cast’s point of view, and that means the story jumps erratically. One moment it’s following a girl and her lesbian adventures, and the next it follows a detective trying to solve sh*t then jumps far ahead into a guy writing a novel. The story is told in a disjointed fashion, and it is meant to really overwhelm you. This is actually a clever trick, because you’re asked to pay attention to so much and you forget the story is pretty damn simple. It’s a mystery about a sequence of events involving the different characters, and it’s really just skewered in its delivery. Or is it? Watching Moryou no Hako the first time is like someone asking you to solve a puzzle, but the bastard throws the puzzle pieces at you. Annoyed, you pick up the pieces and turn some of them over to get a better picture of the story. All of the pieces are presented to you, but you realize you have over two hundred pieces to put together. After feeling lost, the guy would then help you piece the puzzle together. The first half is littered with exposition that feels clunky and loose, and it’s designed to confuse you. It’s designed to distract you and take you out of your element, but it’s also giving you a fair chance to piece together the puzzle. The show might be overwhelming at first, but the mystery is actually solved before we ever reach the second half. This is the beauty of the anime. It fools you into confusion that you must now watch the second half and figure the mystery out. You are willingly asking for the guy to help you piece the puzzle when you can actually do it on your own. The funniest thing is that the story actually spells it out for you as well. At the end of the first half, this line is mentioned casually with no real relation to anything:

Except it does, this means a lot to the viewers. The guy pictured up there is also the guy that’ll help you solve the puzzle. The same puzzle you could’ve solved on your own. Now, I only understood the hints when I re-watched the anime. The main reason you’re really watching this anime though, is because you really didn’t care about the mystery at that point. The only reason you’ll continue on with the second half is because you are engrossed in the story. Nothing matters to you now than finishing the anime, and I love that high level of storytelling. The narrative is built so strongly that you actually lose interest in the mystery, and you just want to see the guy help you piece the puzzle together. For some odd reason, it feels like the experience is a lot more worth it if he tells us which piece goes where. The story is so powerfully told that you won’t realize you’re caught up in it. I guess simply put, you didn’t recognize the “toori-mono” that took over you. Haha. The reference won’t make much sense until you see the anime, but it’s worth it, damn it. So this is Moryou no Hako. You can dissect the show and point out each flaw, but it doesn’t matter because the experience is simply unmatched. The only real hurdle you’ll be facing is the amount of exposition thrown in your face and the erratic pace of the story. It’s told like the novel, so it’s patient with its build up. I know not a lot of people can tolerate that, but I know for a fact that this anime can get its claws on you easily if you give it a chance. Be enticed by the mystery, but slowly be hypnotized by the guy in the picture as he tells you how to solve the mystery that got you there in the first place.

]Mouryou no Hako

Anyways, the story has three plot points scattered throughout the show. Actually, the progression is more like plot point one then plot point two then plot point three then three again then two and then we finish it off with one. Did that make sense? It won’t really make much clearer sense in the actual show, but let’s take it one step at a time. First off, let’s talk about plot point number one. It’s the story of the two girls and the sadistic fate surrounding them. The first episode features two girls named Kanako and Yoriko. They’re weird girls, but they have the same wavelength. They like the same things, and they’re growing up a bit misunderstood. They’re also a tad rebellious, as you’d expect from their age, but they have sought comfort with each other. Right off the bat, the show wonderfully establishes the era it’s in. We’re in the 1960s where the biggest craze is the injection of western ideals in Japan. Other than that though, the tone of a dreary and off putting aura is also nicely established. The author has this technique where he over explains something simple, and the intended effect is more on disorienting you than actually telling a story. Kanako is obsessed with this story of water goddesses dying, and she explains in detail how they die. Is it necessary? No. But the graphic nature of her description feels a bit weird that it throws you off. The more the author over explain simple things in a bizarre fashion, the more you expect something as wild to happen as well.  It’s as if it’s building to something, but you’re drunk in exposition to really know what exactly it is. Keep in mind, this is the first episode. Anyways, the two girls are caught in an accident that starts the chain of events that are connected to the overall story.

The first plot point then follows this detective named Kiba. He is the first person to respond to the accident, and he is suddenly caught up in Kanako’s family’s unusual situation. When he arrived to the hospital to check on the girls, a lawyer, a guardian and one of the girl’s mothers welcomes him with their weird dynamic. Detective Kiba suddenly feel a bit uncomfortable around them, and he starts sticking around. One of the girls is hospitalized, and her condition is so bad that she has to be transferred to another hospital. She is taken to an ominous place that looks like a giant box. Kiba is a bit unsettled at the events happening before him, and he starts to suspect something is amiss. While trying to uncover who put the girl in the hospital, he is also surprised that a kidnapper is after her. Police is asked to swarm the place and guard her, but the girl still somehow vanished. The kidnapper somehow entered the place unseen, and he took the girl right in front of everyone. Detective Kiba is confused, and he is now caught up in an even bigger mystery than the one he is working on. The first plot point is really like a big epilogue to get your feet wet in the story. It’s overwhelming, but the story feels too intriguing to drop. You want to know more of what happens to the girls, and you’re curious on what Detective Kiba will unravel next. Unfortunately, the first plot point ends there. It stops on the part where the hospitalized girl is kidnapped. Afterwards, the show slowly shifts to the second plot point.

The story skips a couple of days later, and we are now introduced to a couple of news people on the hunt for their next big scoop. They heard that a dismembered arm is found at a lake and a couple more body parts starts popping up somewhere else. It seems that a serial killer have appeared in our little story. How is it connected to the story about the two girls? It’s never explained. In fact, the first plot point is slowly downplayed here. The focus now is on new characters we’ve never met before, and they’re talking about something we should pay attention to. What? Well, aside from the author over explaining things, he also love time jumps. The first plot point happens sometime around June, and the second plot point fast forwards to August. There’s a big time gap missing from the story. Are the two plot points related? Young girls dismembered sounds like it fits the first plot point, but how exactly? At this point, the questions really just start piling up, but the show never addresses them. The story still moves along with the glaring questions hovering above it. The characters of the first plot point are still doing their thing, while the characters of the second plot point are slowly taking center stage.

The main character for the second plot point is a guy named Sekiguchi. He is an author currently in a bind on how to order his anthology. His collection of stories should be ordered in a specific way, and it’s pretty much an allegory to the anime itself. Anyways, he heard of the dismembered case and he is intrigued about it. More so, he is also currently infatuated with the story he last read. He is asked to check to the story of an up-and-coming author, but the narrative he read is so haunting that it stays in his mind. It doesn’t hold much weight now, but Sekiguchi will soon realize how he’s connected to the dismemberments in some way. Meanwhile, Kiba is fixated on the doctor that runs the box hospital and the past of this actress named Yokou Yuzuki. In fact, Kiba is a bit obsessed with the actress and he thinks there’s something worth looking into her. The facts he digs up have the same uneasiness as the weird feeling in the first episode. It’s happening again where the over explanation builds into something you aren’t sure if related to the story or not. At this point, the show has thrown so much puzzle pieces at you that you aren’t really sure which the relevant pieces are. The only thing that matters now though is the fact that limbs of high school girls are being put in boxes, and they’re taken from the victims while they’re alive. Meanwhile, Kiba’s investigation leads to an ominous story about an immortal soldier. The story practically confuses the hell out of you that you aren’t really sure what to make of it all. The way it also jumps from different character point of views, who have their own different agendas and motivations, is hard to take all in. Right when you’re totally at a loss though, the show would plunge into tedious hell. I’d like to call it that, because the over explanation goes out of control when we reach episode five. This is where the third plot point is introduced.

The third plot point follows an editor of a magazine sniffing on a tip about a well-known religious figure. It seems that his followers are being plunged into misfortune, and they often kill themselves. He’s revered as a great healer though, so you need a really solid evidence to oust a respected public figure like that. The editor just happens to be friends with Sekiguchi, and he decided to ask his opinion on what to do next. Sekiguchi introduced him to Kyougokudou. The guy is an expert of sorts about different subjects, and the third plot point is really just about people talking to Kyougokudou in his room. It’s a weird part of the anime, because this is where you’ll be beaten up good by exposition and the author’s over explanations. I remember Kyougokudou is introduced guessing the editor’s true intention in visiting him, but he also guessed the editor’s home town. In the remaining minutes of the episode, he told a bunch of stories like how priests are different from fortune tellers, the shrine in the editor’s hometown, and other odd sh*t that really just confuses you. The entire plot point requires focus, because Kyougokudou is actually solving the puzzle for you in this time. He’s taking the pieces together, retelling it in a more obvious manner and showing you how the pieces fit together. It’ll take a lot to follow the conversation though, especially when they talk about the “moryou”. I think an entire episode is dedicated to explaining how water gods are somehow turned into demons that exorcists expels, but they’re actually not demons and you actually need a more academic mind set in dealing with moryou. I think the entire dribble is an allegory at how things aren’t really what they seem in the story, but it’s over explained in such a boring manner.

The third plot point is interesting though, because the path in solving the mysteries actually commence here. Kyougokudou starts feeding tips and information on how to oust the fake religious leader, and he is processing the information given to him in a really interesting manner. The more help the editor asks, the more he is slowly uncovering the truth about the religious leader. It’s an interesting story as well, especially when the mystery behind plot points three, two and one are slowly revealed in that order. The freaky part is that they all relate to each other. Seemingly three unrelated cases are somehow bound together, and you realize the large cast plays a part in how these stories relate. Around the time the third plot point is being resolved, the second plot point is slowly being reintroduced. The dismemberment case is focused once again when Kyougokudou helps in uncovering the identity of the killer. Once the second plot point is resolved, Kyougokudou sets up the big finale by uncovering the mystery of the event that started it all: the story about those two lesbian chicks. I think episode five and six serves as the most tedious episodes, but things just slowly get better from there. Every single thing is shed light to, and the mystery is a lot crazier than what you’d expect. Those odd ominous feelings you had while watching the show actually means something more, because they help make the ending spine chilling as possible. I think the author drowns you in faux paranoia only to make sure the real paranoia is as confounding as possible. The ending really makes up for that boring ass exposition tirade at the fifth episode, and I say the payoff is excessive. When I first saw it, I gasp like hell. I watched it in my dorm, and I was freaking people out as I gasp at the reveal Kyougokudou does.

This anime is perfect in my eyes, but impartially I also know that it isn’t. The main problem I have is the characters. We followed the emotional journey of two girls bound by death, a war veteran crashing into a wall head first and an author out of his gawd damn mind, and yet a group of hot guys appear then they somehow makes it all better. What? Episode five marks the appearance of Kyougokudou, and he is suddenly the main character of the story. Actually, he is the main character but it doesn’t really make a lot of sense. It threw me off when the characters gather at Kyougokudou’s side as if they knew each other. They aren’t as painstakingly introduced like the characters I mentioned, but they somehow took center stage no questions asked. They interacted like we were supposed to know who they were, and it feels like there’s this big question the anime doesn’t like to answer. Well, here’s the screwy part. Kyougokudou is the main character, and his appearance at episode five actually has more weight than it should. The big reason is because Kyougokudou is the star of the previous book before Moryou no Hako. Apparently, this is a series of books centered on the unusual cases Kyougokudou unravels. I’m not really sure how many there are, but the first book has its own wikipedia page. Summer of Ubume is where Kyougokudou makes his debut, along with Detective Kiba, the handsome private eye, Sekiguchi and the female editor. When Kiba is introduced in the story, it actually signaled the rest of the characters slowly making their big appearance in Moryou no Hako as well. This means that Kyuogokudou’s big reveal in episode five is supposed to mean so much more, because the guy’s impact in Summer of Ubume adds hype to his involvement in Moryou no Hako. With that being said, the audience is never really aware that Summer of Ubume exists so it’s a bit weird how they interact so friendly in the show. I don’t even think Summer of Ubume is ever referenced in the show, or maybe they did but I didn’t catch it. Anyways, Kyougokudou’s deep information on Japanese folklore and such also helped solve the case in Summer of Ubume. It’s basically his thing. It’s a jarring detective work that only makes sense if we saw the first book, but it’s simply just unusual when we see it in the anime. It is interesting though, because of the heavy foreshadowing, but it has a lot more meaning if we are introduced to Summer of Ubume. With that being said, how come no one has adapted Summer of Ubume before? Moryou no Hako has a film, anime, and manga adaptation. Is it really that good compared to the first book?

I have issues with Kyougokudou though, because it’s clearly the author stroking his big fat ego. Naming your character after yourself is one thing, but to have that character know all of the things to solve the mystery is just insulting. A veteran police and a private eye are eventually trumped by a bookstore owner. It’s upsetting, because he’s a f*cking Mary Sue and I hate this stereotype. Thanks to Mahouka, I no longer like characters clearly designed to be admired. Really? He appeared partway through all of this, and he somehow solved it before anyone else does. That’s bullsh*t. Even though the information is given to him, I still don’t like how a character that appears in episode five somehow took control of the anime and showed me how to solve the puzzle by himself. To be fair, he is a cool character. His extensive knowledge of Japanese and Chinese folklore, as well as the history of the world up until that point, does qualify him to solve the mysteries by himself. I still don’t like it. I didn’t care for him outside his puzzling conversations with the other characters, and I would still love the ending even if he isn’t the one doing the big reveal.

Let’s talk about the characters I did like. Even though they were clearly plot devices in the story, I still love how we are given a chance to really savor these characters. First up are Yoriko and Kanako. Yoriko basically reminds me of Nina from Code Geass when she was humping the table. She’s a character that is just out of it, but you can also tell the poor girl just needs someone to hug her. The show took time to explain her living situation with her mother, and the reasons why she is rebelling against the world. This girl is wonderfully fleshed out that you simply smile whenever you see her. Those moments where she adores Kanako, those moments she’s crying because of regret and her sudden resurgence in the story were all strong moments I still remember to this day. Yoriko is a strong character that I still love her eight years after I saw the anime. She is a plot device though, because she only took up a short role in the first plot point and I blame Kyougokudou’s sudden appearance for that. If it’s just Detective Kiba hunting down the culprit, then I think Yoriko would have more time to shine. Then again, that clearly won’t be as impactful compared to the way the anime told the actual story. Kanako is also a wonderful character. She has this free spirited personality, but you can also tell the girl is a tortured soul. The anime slowly peels away the layers of her circumstance, and I love how you’ll slowly feel happy for her when you realize she’s in a better place. Her life is described in the anime in such a colorful manner that even long after the anime has forgotten about her, you can still feel her presence in the story. As she said it herself, she’s an angel dancing in the light of the moon. Freaky as f*ck. Detective Kiba is a really cool character, but I didn’t quite like how he is forced to fall in love with another character. It didn’t really fit his personality, and it’s a redo of Sekiguchi’s situation in Summer of Ubume. Maybe the whole thing is a knock on the previous book, but it just didn’t feel natural. The guy is a broken mess, and I think the case involving the girls is driving him to the brink of insanity. So it doesn’t really feel right that he suddenly finds a love interest during his stages of vertigo. His obsession with the kidnapping consumed him so much that he is kicked out of the case, but he still worked on it afterwards. The guy is just layers of interesting, because he’s also battling with his past and maybe he thinks that solving the case of the kidnapped girl might clear up his conscience. He is also in a state of self-loathing though, and I think he’s trying to bring the world down with him.

I also love how they introduced the dismemberment killer. He is actually introduced in the first episode, leading up to the last one but we never really notice it. The show also took time to really get into his head. The scenes involving him are unsettling, but also surprisingly normal. His OCD is really just run of the mill abnormal, and the events leading up to killing the girls is actually interesting. Every single line he utters reveals something about himself, and every single scene he is in gives you a vivid look at how a psychopath works. There’s just no turning back when the show inadvertently shoves you into his shoes. His admiration for the “box”, his attempt at recreating it and his sick life in general is just fascinating to watch unfold before you. I think his relation to Sekiguchi is fascinating as well. The show mentions the guy having a disease, and he suddenly takes a big interest in the killer’s work. The fun part is that he doesn’t know he’s admiring a killer, but he also didn’t care about that when given a chance to peak at his brilliance. Sekiguchi is at the same decline as Detective Kiba, and he has the same forced romantic pairing with one of the characters. Sekiguchi is more f*cked up, but that’s what makes him fun to watch. In a sense, he shares the confusion and paranoia the audience share when they watch the anime. In the end, I would’ve peaked at the box as well despite everyone telling me not to.

The side characters are wonderfully presented as well. They’re stuck to their established roles, but the story makes use of them so beautifully that even one of the killer’s victims has a memorable appearance singing an old timey song before being killed. I also think the side characters really make this anime special. Yoriko and Kanako’s mother are both wonderful. The lawyer, the doctor and the caretaker involved with one of the girls are presented interestingly as well. The great part is that you don’t really value their role, until the show slip it past by you that they did something amazing. The story downplayed their part, and then slowly makes you realize they actually did something that affected the story greatly. Even the over explained stories have such character in them. The embodiment of a moryou is so interesting that you forget the whole thing is a foreshadowing of the events to come. The chilly story told by Kanako in the first episode also has a great body to it that you forget it’s ripe with foreshadowing as well. While the show did take advantage of presenting plain characters to embellish the story, I also think they did their part well. They act so random, but they often add a lot to the story. I think a good example is the conversation between the lawyer and the private detective. One of the big twists is casually revealed in their conversation, but it slips by you because of how mundane the scene is. Drunk in exposition and overwhelmed by it all, the show somehow ruins its own story but you don’t really notice it.

Lastly, I guess I’d like to talk about the symbolisms in the show. There are tons, and some of them do reflect the story. The stories the authors write do tell of a bigger picture, and some of them are easy to pick up. The one about Sekiguichi’s spiral, the killer’s life told in prose and the ascending of the angels are all big allegories of something else. I think a bonus part of the fun is figuring them out on your own, so enjoy. The one that feels a bit inconsistent to me is really the one about the box.  It’s used in so many ways like concealing truth, repressing past, feeling safe, preservation of beauty and other random sh*t that I think the original meaning got lost in the whole thing. Is that intentional? Either way, it bothers me a lot that the box thing eludes me. Maybe it means nothing as well. I dunno. The comment section is below.

Madhouse is a beast of a studio. This also falls nicely in their long lists of dark f*cked up show, with Death Note at the top. I think this is a classic that everyone should try, and I’m baffled not a lot of people have. Not even the super hipsters like this anime. What is wrong with you? It can turn people away, but if you can sit through BroCon then you can watch anything. You can tell Madhouse really poured a lot of effort into this, and I think the result is a masterpiece rivaled by none. Speaking of someone putting effort in this anime, props for the debuting director as well. Ryosuke Nakamura really captured the wonderful aura of the novel, and he even added scenes of his own and it doesn’t feel off. Ryosuke truly understood the material source, loved it even, and he made sure the adaptation meets the original source. The dedication he had capturing the novel is outstanding. Novel anime are often the best ones, because they’re the hardest ones to pull off. The amount of stuff to talk about is insane, and only the truly talented can present it with justice. Ryosuke also break the format of first time directors sucking hard in their first try. The director of Super Sonico should’ve taken notes from him. I think this is also a high profile anime for the guy, and the success of this show would’ve cemented him as a masterful storyteller of his decade. For some reason, he has fallen into obscurity and I think that’s a shame. Moryou no Hako is a masterpiece, but it did poorly at the time of its release. I guess not a lot of people really cared for it, but damn it, they should. This anime should be taught at anime schools. This is ridiculous. I think the last work of Ryosuke is Aiura, and that’s sad. He shouldn’t be wasting his talent on a marshmallow show. Thank you for putting Steve Jobs in the opening of Crabby Time though. I’m hopeful he can bounce back and make another show as perfect as this one. We deserve to be impressed by his talents.

Sight and Sound

I remember this anime came off the Code Geass hype. I think aside from Madhouse and Ryonosuke, CLAMP should’ve gotten a sweeter deal after their contributions to this anime as well. They did the same Code Geass character design, but they made it more 1960s appealing. It’s the same tall and lanky characters with big heads and hands. The only difference is that the characters of Moryou no Hako are a lot more bulky, so the design isn’t that jarring to look at. Yoriko does resemble Nina though, and I think that was intentional. I missed out on an eight year old reference, gawd damn it. If you know CLAMP and followed their bishie escapades, then you know how they work. They put intense details on their characters. They work off the “tall, dark and handsome” idea, and they make something uniquely CLAMP out of it. It’s hard to explain, but they just know how to make beautiful characters. It’s because they started out as a yaoi doujinshi group, so they only make beautiful characters. Their style is so distinct that you even see it in a kid friendly show like Card Captor Sakura. They ruined her in Tsubasa Chronicles, by the way. I’m caught in this 2008 nostalgia that it conjures up dark stuff. Anyways, the male designs are really great. CLAMP has a template they work off in making characters, and every single template appears in Moryou no Hako. The broad character like Kiba, the menacing type like Kyougokudou, the slender and sexy type like Sekiguchi and the old guy type like the doctor. In yaoi terms, they’re all “f*ckable”, and that’s basically CLAMP in a nutshell. Secretly, they want their characters to have sex with each other. I think their range has grown though with the female characters. They have two templates, which is Yoriko as Nina and Kanako looking like CC. We have the straight haired serious looking beauty, and the timid bespectacled weirdo. In Moryou no Hako though, we are also introduced to new templates like the mothers looking all old and ugly, the prostitute victim looking all era appropriate and the character inside the box clearly having no template based off of. CLAMP loves their templates, because Sakura is basically a template of the CLAMP detectives, so it’s a big deal to see them expand their range. Gawd, I miss CLAMP. They should do more anime.

The cinematography is something to really study and dissect, because Roysuke Nakamura is a genius director. Not just the animation, but everything involving a scene is just outstanding. The camera work, the sound and the background design really makes the experience unlike any other. I love how he uses cicadas to drown out a scene. You can feel paranoia build up, and it adds to the tension you feel watching the anime. He also utilizes silent scenes so perfectly. I’m not talking about characters in a quiet room. No, the scene is entirely devoid of sound and the thing you’re watching just speaks for itself. That is a high level of directorial work that you rarely come across with. Like the novel, the animation is also wonderfully intricate. The excerpt scenes starting the episodes are so nicely done, and the use of symbolism to establish a scene is really well done. I love this scene:

This is Yoriko with some sunflowers. Cool shot, but sunflowers also represent loyalty, adoration and longevity. It basically represents Yoriko as a whole, and this detail is presented on top of the clusterf*ck the author dumps on us. Ryosuke is an incredible visionary. He also translates the novel wonderfully making the over explanation so colorful and interesting. He knows the dialogue alone will kill people, so he uses great visual scenes to effectively deliver the message. His style is really transcendent that you are just drawn into his storytelling. I love how he doesn’t setup shock scenes. He lets it build up, and the audience just creates their own reaction. When the limbs are presented, the visual scene just explains it all. When the moryou story is told, the one about corpse eating demons is just flashed with a powerful visual scene that means so much but delivered nonchalantly. He isn’t someone pointing out the important scenes of the novel, but he works one with it knowing that the experience is just too good to spoil. I respect him a lot for this anime.

The anime’s OP is “Lost in Blue” by Nightmare. Visual Kei bands doing anime opening songs is so 2008, don’t you think? I actually love the anime version of this song, because it’s so powerful. The lyrics nicely capture the empty feeling of the song, and it also wants the audience to bleed along with it. I regret watching the PV of this song though. The full song is so damn boring compared to the one in the anime. It’s weird. The anime’s OP features a short montage of the events of the anime, but Ryougokudou is present in it. The scene in the third plot point is actually a heavy focus in the OP sequence which kinda ruins the surprise a bit. It doesn’t matter. It still looks cool, especially along with the song. The anime’s ED is Naked Love” by Nightmare. This one feels a lot more like the f*cked up gay band gimmick it represents. It’s funky, and it’s weird. I love the instrumentals and the creepy lyrics. I think the ED sequence takes the cake though, as it features naked girls in a row walking. Yeah, that’s all it is. It’s creepy and awesome.

Overall Score

9/10 “It’s a masterpiece, but it’s something you need to watch with effort in order to appreciate its beauty.”

This show is boring, and it’ll test you, but it does bring an anime experience so amazing that it is unmatched. The characters, the narrative and everything else just comes together to make an unforgettable viewing experience. It lags in the middle, but it slowly gets interestingly fast form there. If you love thick exposition heavy shows, then you’ll like this anime. If you like mystery shows with a paranoid feel to it then you’ll love this one a lot. This anime is also a good example of why novel adapted shows are just extremely good. I assure you, the moryou inside the box will stay with you forever. I highly recommend it.

3 thoughts on “Mouryou no Hako Review

  1. Just finished this show and immediately went to look for reviews. It was a great one!
    Nice review as well, I agree with most of it, although for some reason I actually did like Kyougokudou a lot.

    • kyougokudou is alright, but i felt that he stole way too many good parts for characters that were there form the very start.
      thanks for the comment. 🙂

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