Final Thoughts: Mokke

This cat was my favourite part of the series.

Shizuru and Mizuki Hibara are a pair of sisters with a rather unique family condition- Shizuru can see monsters and spirits from the other side, whilst Mizuki is highly susceptible to being possessed by them. With their parents disinterested in the supernatural, Mizuki and Shizuru end up living under the protection of their grandfather, but the greatest lesson he has to teach them is that they must learn to deal with mystical matters on their own.

Episodic tales of magic and the supernatural have always appealed to me, and so it was that last autumn I was highly looking forward to Mokke- surely it would be the latest in a long line of enjoyable gold and silver tier series. Unfortunately, even the involvement of the vaunted Studio Madhouse couldn’t disguise the fact that ultimately, Mokke was more mediocre than anything.

Ironically enough, the problem wasn’t that Mokke was just a series of episodic tales about different monsters and supernatural phenomena- the real trouble was that the whole attitude of the series was so gloomy and pessimistic. The main culprit was the girls’ grandfather, whose constant warnings about leaving well enough alone put a damper on everything- even things which seemed harmless or even beneficial were bound to turn out to have a sting in the tale by the end. There were only a handful of episodes where you actually felt motivated to care about the situation- the rest of the time you were just waiting for something to inevitably go wrong.

Despite being a largely episodic series, there are one or two ongoing threads in Mokke, although none of them really amount to anything. The main recurring theme appears late in the series, when Mizuki takes up judo after visiting a relative, although there are other unresolved issues, such as the girls’ mother’s aversion to talk of all things supernatural.

With most characters being of the one shot or forgettable variety, the focus of the series is squarely on Shizuru and Mizuki, who pretty much alternate between being the main character for an episode. As the older sister, Shizuru is the typical reticent worrier type, whilst Mizuki is the more hotheaded of the two, apt to throw caution to the winds and run headfirst into any situation- provided her sister and grandfather are around to back her up. Both girls mature a little over the course of the series, although their development is hardly significant- blink and you’d miss it. Meanwhile, Grandpa plays the typical ‘grumpy on the outside, plays cruel to be kind’ old man, although his hairstyle and smoking habits suggest that he may be an older Ginko from Mushishi.

Despite being left in the capable hands of Studio Madhouse, Mokke is hardly the most impressive series visually- character designs are generic and the overall look is of something produced on a limited budget (much like Yume Tsukai a couple of years ago). Background music generally fits the tone of the series, but it isn’t something you’re going to particularly remember or want to listen to on its own.

Final Thoughts

A mediocre series all round, Mokke only makes things worse by having such a bleak and pessimistic outlook- you can’t enjoy yourself or root for the characters when you know that everything will almost certainly go wrong by the end of the episode. It may not be all that bad to watch, but neither is it particularly worthy- it’s the kind of thing you use to fill time when there’s nothing better to do.

Tier: Bronze-

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5 Responses to Final Thoughts: Mokke

  1. Martin says:

    Sounds like I did the right thing by dropping this one then. You’re dead-on with the idea that it’s a show “you use to fill time when there’s nothing better to do” – sadly I had too damned much to do while Mokke was airing, and coupled with the subbing group whose video quality was higher dropping it as well, my interest fell away.

    The said video quality was a real problem for me – it was a pretty-yet-plain show that lacked real sparkle. Another unfortunate case of ‘not bad but could have been so much more.’

  2. Michael says:

    While I am fond of pessimistic novels, I am not very fond of it when it comes to anime. Anime, after all, for me needs to entertain primarily before it informs or elucidates on different issues in this world. I’m currently downloading it, but I’ll probably just check on the first episode. I trust your reviews, and this article doesn’t seem to bode well for the series.

    Of course I’ll still check it out. Thanks for the forewarning, though.

  3. TheBigN says:

    Despite all the “sinister” aspects of what the sisters had to deal with, Mokke was actually a good way to relax for me. I don’t think the outlook was that pessimistic at all, but just that in terms of learning how to cope with the powers they have, they’re bound to come into less than wholesome elements. And there wasn’t that much of a focus on those aspects save for the first episode I thought. I focused more on the slice-of-lifish elements of the series, so there’s probably bias with that, but even with grandfather letting the sisters know that they should be wary, the warnings had a parental tone to them. The lessons learned weren’t necessarily kind on them, but I don’t think the negative aspects dragged the show down.

    I guess it depends on how you look at it though. :/

  4. maglor says:

    If you concentrate on the visuals, Mokke is not your thing. I was very engaged by how they tried to deal with many difficult issues in real life. It also had one of the best OP and ED song for last 5 years, and I have found the series to be very enjoyable.

  5. Karura says:

    Martin, Michael: The thing is, there were a handful of episodes I enjoyed, and the rest was just anime white noise for me. It’s why I can’t really recommend it unless you have a lot of time on your hands.

    TheBigN: I love slice-of-life, but it has to be good slice-of-life. I know not everything can be happiness and light, but Mokke seemed overly determined to ram its message home for me.

    maglor: Although the visuals were an issue, I never consider them the be-all and end all of a series, so I was focusing on other aspects too. I guess ultimately it just didn’t click with me when there are better examples of episodic supernatural series out there.

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