Onmyoji 2023 / A dull supernatural mystery series reimagining Japan’s legendary court cosmologist


With a history of court magicians and diviners, it’s easy to imagine ancient Japan as a fantastical world. Onmyoji depicts Abe no Seimei, Japan’s most famous historical court cosmologist, as he solves cases that involve the supernatural. With people turning into demons, or demons possessing people, you’d think that the anime would be mystical, fantastical, perhaps even totally crazy, as magic could free the story from normal earth-bound logic. However, Onmyoji stays on the tamer side, mostly explaining its magic through Seimei’s dialogue, and each case’s flashbacks. The show doesn’t even delve into the court politics that would drive Seimei’s rivalry with a genderbent Ashiya Doman. Onmyoji feels like a missed opportunity to go absolutely nuts with its magic.

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