Onari’s Kushi Power
The Mighty Storm Gods
The Demon Moon Rises
Oni: Thunder God’s Tale is a gorgeously animated, well written and enjoyable series. Although primarily geared toward families and kids, Oni is one of those rare little gems that’s enjoyable for adults and children alike. There’s a wonderful message at the heart of this one too, along with a welcome spotlight on Japanese folklore.
Split across four episodes, the creators of Oni have come out and said the show is essentially one big movie split into chapters – and you can really feel that while watching. In fact, the best way to sit through this one is to binge all four at once. But don’t worry, there’s more than enough to whet the appetite and there never feels like a minute wasted on this one.
The story is set deep in the heart of rural Japan, with hyperactive Onari, a young girl raised by her oddball father, Naridon. She’s about to embark on an epic quest to unveil her true unique powers.
With the Demon Moon set to descend on them and the evil Oni ready to strike at their heart when it does, Onari is taught along with a number of other students in how to become a true Kami and fight back against this terror.
However, all is not what it seems and as the episodes tick by, it soon becomes clear that there’s a greater truth lying in plain sight.
For the most part, the story is quite straightforward and includes all the usual plot beats you’d expect from a series/movie like this. You’ve got your power training scenes, the light bits of comedic levity and a big world-ending fight during the conclusion too.
To be fair to Oni though, nothing here ever feels perfunctory. Even the most simple scene has been created deliberately and there is a really nicely worked twist midway through this that reframes how you view certain characters and locales.
For those who played Stray earlier this year, there’s some definite similarities between the art style and tone of some levels as there are here. However, I’m not about to spoil that in this review!
The animation in Oni looks fantastic though and with a blend of CGI and stop-motion, you can really tell a lot of love and attention has gone into this project. While it’s not quite at the same staggering level as something like Kubo and the Two Strings, there’s a lot to be impressed by nonetheless.
Alongside the animation is the voice acting which is great all round, with some talented names lending their voices to this project. George Takei is probably the one most people will gravitate toward, however credit needs to be given to Momona Tamada, who brings Onari to life with a spunky vibrancy that really resonates off the screen.
With four chapters clocking in at around 35 minutes a pop (and a slightly longer finale to boot), this is an easy to watch but difficult to put down series.
Read More: Oni: Thunder Gods Tale Ending Explained
Verdict - 8/10