The characters of The Morose Mononokean.
An Ordinary High-School Student who initially doesn't believe in demons or spirits. All that changes when he accidentally steps on one and ends up getting forced into working at the Mononokean to pay off his debt. His kindness often causes some trouble.
- All-Loving Hero: While he's reluctant to do so at first, he eventually comes to love and cherish his job at the Mononokean so much that he wants to continue working there even if he pays off his debt one day. Ashiya wants to bridge the understanding between humans and demons, as well as make clients happy, whether they be human or demon.
- Adorkable: Endears almost everyone. To quote Mitsuchigura, "I never get tired of watching Ashiya-dono."
- Book Dumb: Subverted. A dust jacket omake in volume 4 shows that while he failed a quiz, it was likely because his answers were all a space off, rather than not knowing the answers. Conversely, Abeno did pretty well simply by memorizing the textbook.
- Brought Down to Normal: Temporarily. He loses the ability to see and hear demons after giving his sight to Tomori briefly. He gets better.
- Curtains Match the Windows: Has dark blue hair and blue eyes in color spreads.
- Disappeared Dad: He's only met his father once, on Christmas day when he was three years old.
- Foil: To Abeno, whether it be in their looks, personality, or methods and mindset for completing a job.
- Hair-Contrast Duo: Inverted with Abeno. Black-haired Ashiya is friendly and kind while blonde Abeno is cynical and grumpy.
- Gender-Blender Name: His first name, Hanae, has the word for "flower" in it (probably because his mom is a florist and runs a flower shop). The guys in his class assumed, from his name, that Ashiya was a girl — until he finally showed up in class; the boys were very disappointed.
- Generation Xerox: He apparently shares a lot of history with his Disappeared Dad, Sakae. Sakae was an employee of the Mononokean, serving under Aoi, just as Ashiya is now serving under Abeno. Sakae also met his eventual wife (Ashiya's mom) after exorcising a demon who was haunting her and left her ill. Similarly, Ashiya crosses paths with Abeno while trying to get rid of the demon that was draining his life-force and leaving him in the infirmary.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Abeno. He gets so unnerved when Abeno ignores him during Egen's visit to their school that he takes his anger out on him and calls him an idiot, only to immediately regret doing so.
- Idiot Hero: Not exactly dumb, but he gets himself into bad situations because he doesn't really think things through. Abeno considers him to be thoughtless.
- In Touch with His Feminine Side: Perhaps due to being raised by a single mom, Ashiya is very sensitive despite being a guy, is skilled in flower arranging, and dreams of continuing his mother's flower shop.
- Keigo: Despite being classmates, he speaks politely to Abeno and calls him "Abeno-san" due to being his subordinate at the Mononokean. This is played for laughs in a dust jacket omake in volume 3.Abeno: Our homeroom teacher asked me in a roundabout way if you're so polite to me because I'm blackmailing you.Ashiya: Oh... So that's why he asked only me if I wanted to switch seats.Abeno: Your polite language is making people weirdly suspicious, so cut it out.Ashiya: I can't just suddenly stop speaking that...that way. It's a habit now. See? Anyway, why didn't you just tell him you're not threatening me? How did you respond?Abeno: "Maybe it's because he owes me money."Ashiya: WHAT?! Why would you tell him that...?! Why would you tell him something to make him even more "weirdly suspicious" about my polite language?!Abeno: Because he wouldn't stop asking questions.Ashiya: Oh, no... He's gesturing for me to come from the hallway...!!!
- Manchild: His high energy, his recklessness, his emotional honesty and naivete has caused Abeno and Zenko to call him a 5-year-old.
- Meaningful Name: His family name comes from Ashiya Dōman, the historical rival of Abe no Seimei.
- Momma's Boy: Ashiya is clearly very close to his mother, and an example of their usual texts to one another shows they are genuinely good friends.
- Nice Guy: Very much so. However, his kindness and somewhat meddlesome behavior often attracts trouble.
- Not So Different: Says he and Abeno are more similar than they are different.
- Ordinary High-School Student: Outside of his ability to see and hear demons, he's undoubtedly one.
- She Is Not My Girlfriend: With Zenko, whose dad is very protective of his daughter. He assumes Ashiya is Zenko's boyfriend upon their first meeting. Fearing for his life, Ashiya has to correct him.
- Supporting Protagonist: According to Word of God, Abeno carries the weight of the plot, and he was initially supposed to be the protagonist, but Wazawa's editor suggested Ashiya be the protagonist instead. Amusingly, Ashiya was born as a doodle in the margins of Wazawa's early manuscripts.
- Technician vs. Performer: The Performer to Abeno's Technician. Abeno is calculating and efficient, whereas Ashiya is spontaneous and does things that are not requested by the client, but are nevertheless for the sake of bringing happiness to all parties involved.
- Tender Tears: Cries very easily. Abeno even tries to have him put it to use to get the laughing mask. He even says "My tear ducts are weak, I can't control myself."
- Tranquil Fury: He rarely gets angry, but when he gets pissed off for real, he shows this, in contrast to Abeno.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: He and Abeno are basically vitriolic Heterosexual Life-Partners.
- Work Off the Debt: How he is forcibly employed at the Mononokean by Abeno after he asked the latter to exorcise the demon haunting him, incurring a debt of 1 million en (the currency of the Underworld).
The morose master of the Mononokean and Ashiya's classmate. He exorcises demons by opening the gate to the underworld for them.
- Asleep in Class: Almost always seen sleeping in class. Unless it's lunch, the end of the school day, or during a test, he's probably asleep.
- The Atoner: Seems to harbor guilt over his role in what happened to the first Master of the Mononokean.
- Bishōnen: Implied. Early on, the girls in class blush when he speaks to them briefly, and Princess Amno takes an instant liking to him upon meeting him.
- Book Dumb: Averted. While never said to be particularly smart or dumb, he did well on a quiz because he basically memorized the textbook.
- Character Development: Starts out cold and indifferent towards humans, but Ashiya's humanizing influence makes him attempt to bridge the gap between humans and demons.
- Curtains Match the Windows: Has blonde hair and golden-yellow eyes.
- Death Glare: When he's annoyed. Ashiya is usually the target of these.
- Deuteragonist: According to Word of God, his character carries the weight of the plot.
- Face of a Thug: Downplayed. Due to his blond hair, stern expression, and facial injury, a couple of kids mistook him as a thug, and continues to refer to him as such throughout the whole chapter.
- First-Name Basis: He's usually referred to as "Itsuki" by the demons, particularly Yahiko, and the three rulers of the Underworld.
- Foil: To Ashiya. Abeno is stoic and completes a job efficiently, whereas Ashiya is more emotional and often goes and does something not specified in the job request. While this annoys Abeno at times, he concedes that Ashiya is able to make clients happy in part because of this extra meddling.
- Forgotten Childhood Friend: He played with Yahiko while he was lost on a mountain for three days while he was still a child. In the present time, he forgot about Yahiko until after they played hide and seek to jog his memory.
- Hair-Contrast Duo: With Ashiya. Inverted in that he's blonde but the cynical and grumpy one while black-haired Ashiya is kind and friendly.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Him and Ashiya. They often have petty spats but are basically friends.
- Hidden Heart of Gold: Is typically very grumpy but still helps others. A prime example is when Ashiya lends his sight to a demon who has lost hers so she can see the world one last time before heading to the underworld. Ashiya regains his sight, but he loses the ability to see and hear demons. Abeno ends up visiting the demon and asks if Ashiya will ever regain the ability to see demons, but he tries to put a muzzle on whoever lets it be known that he went out of his way to do this.
- Humble Hero: Zigzagged. Abeno is very respectful towards demons, particularly his clients, almost to the point of self-depreciation. When dealing with humans, or demons he's really familiar with (like the Legislator), he can be very harsh.
- In-Series Nickname: "Itsuki"
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Abeno is very curt with humans and says he doesn't particularly care for their wellbeing due to their lack of belief in him, stemming from their inability to see spirits. He's also strict with Ashiya and can be extremely condescending. In spite of all that, he genuinely cares about the demons he exorcises and, deep down, does want humans to believe in and understand the existence of demons. And despite his initial statement that he doesn't care about humans, he will not allow them to get hurt because of a demon.
- Klingon Promotion: There are rumours going around the Underworld that Abeno killed Aoi to gain the title of the Master of the Mononokean. Abeno denies this, but the truth of what actually happened to his predecessor has yet to be revealed.
- Last-Name Basis: With Ashiya. Though Ashiya calls him "Abeno-san." Like Ashiya though, he calls Zenko by her first name.
- Meaningful Name: His family name comes from Abe no Seimei, a figure roughly analogous to the Merlin of Arthurian legend.
- Mysterious Past: Not much is known about Abeno's life before becoming the Master of the Mononokean. He started working as an employee under Aoi when he was seven, which only raises more question as to why he was involved with the underworld at such a young age.
- Not Good with People: Of the grumpy variety, though it's downplayed. It's more that he doesn't really care about people, rather than being bad at communicating with them. This is likely due to the lack of trust people have shown him in the past when he revealed he can see demons. The lack of effort to understand him and demons causes Abeno to give up on trying to ever get others to understand that many demons are in fact very benign. It's not until after working with Ashiya that his compassion for humans starts to show.
- OOC Is Serious Business: When he thanks Ashiya for a job well done, Ashiya starts freaking out because Abeno usually gets mad at him for speaking out of turn. This also happens when he apologizes to Ashiya and asks him to work at the Mononokean again.
- Perpetual Frowner: Described as "always morose." He does smile a few times, however, and according to the demons who visit him sometimes, they say his expressions have softened comparably from the past.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The calm Blue to Ashiya's enthusiastic and headstrong Red, though there are times when they're Not So Different.
- Supernatural Gold Eyes: Abeno has gold eyes and is a master exorcist.
- Technician vs. Performer: The Technician to Ashiya's performer. Abeno is calculating and thoughtful, but rarely does anything not requested by the client and works in a more efficient, if not colder manner. Conversely, Ashiya, who is less experienced working with demons than Abeno, is less knowledgeable and often acts in unexpected ways that surprise the clients, but his overbearing nature is borne of good intentions, and completing a task his way often leaves the client happier in the end despite the trouble it might bring initially.
- Tsurime Eyes: His sharp eyes give him a more stern image.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: He and Ashiya can argue over anything, but both will help each other when needed — though Abeno prefers not to let that be known.
- Younger Than They Look: Hanae initially thought that Abeno was older than him and was surprised they were actually the same age. And Zenko was equally surprised as he was to learn that they're both high school students.
- Voiced by: Ayaka Suwa (Japanese), Dawn M. Bennett (English)
A dog spirit demon that haunted Ashiya in the first chapter. He was exorcised by Abeno but later returns as a second employee to the Mononokean after they reunited in the Underworld.
- Butt-Monkey: Fuzzy frequently gets in trouble, either by falling off or getting intimidated, chased, taken away and almost eaten by other demons.
- Head Pet: Fuzzy's favorite perch is Ashiya's shoulders, but he sometimes climbs on his head. Ashiya mentions that he used Fuzzy as a pillow while he was still being haunted.
- In-Series Nickname: His name is Fuzzy, but aside from Ashiya and the Mononokean, everyone else calls him hairball or fuzzball.
- The Load: He never causes any serious hindrances, but his Butt-Monkey tendencies mean that Ashiya needs to constantly worry about his safety.
- Lovable Coward: He gets scared/intimidated really easily—and at one point gets chased around by Kinako, who is much smaller than him—but he is certainly loved by the other characters, especially Ashiya, who is willing to play with him all night if he wants to.
- Precious Puppy: Fuzzy is a supernatural dog spirit that looks like a hairball with 3 tails. In most of his appearances after becoming Abeno's employee, his presence is pretty superfluous, but he gets featured quite frequently for the sake of Rule of Cute and Funny Background Event.
- Put on a Bus: The author had always intended for Fuzzy to be a recurring member of the main cast, but there is still quite a long gap of absence between his exorcism at the end of the first chapter and his eventual return in chapter 11.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: He's a round, cuddly furball with stubby legs and huge eyes.
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Initially, at least. The author's note mentions how his presence in the first chapter is stronger than the two main characters.
- Team Pet: Even though he's an employee to the Mononokean, Fuzzy rarely does anything to significantly assist Abeno's job. Instead, he mostly just hangs around for Ashiya to cuddle and play with.
- Undying Loyalty: For Ashiya. When they first reunited in the Underworld, Fuzzy got himself injured to protect Ashiya against a much larger demon. Later on, while helping out the Legislator, he volunteers himself to accompany Ashiya's travel to the Birdcage, despite being easily scared by other demons.
The first Master of the Mononokean, and Abeno's predecessor who had passed away long before the series began. They normally appear in the form of a black cat.
- The Faceless: Whenever Aoi appears in their "default" human form, their face is always concealed. We only see them in full when they are in their cat form.
- Never Found the Body: Aoi's body was never recovered, and the search for it spurs one of the later arcs. It wasn't found because Aoi didn't die.
- Parental Substitute: Implied. Aoi is the only constant adult presence throughout Abeno's childhood, and while their working relationship is never shown in detail, we know that Aoi cares about Abeno very much.
- Posthumous Character: Aoi's death is what enabled Abeno's succession to his current status as the Master of the Mononokean, though they still appear in Abeno's flashbacks from time to time. Subverted; as Itsuki and the Princess suspected, Aoi is still alive - albeit heavily taken over by the parasite.
- Shapeshifter: Abeno mentions that Aoi can turn themselves visible to normal humans, and take whatever form they'd like. They once approached a young Ashiya while disguising themselves as his father, Sakae.
The only daughter of the head of Seiryuji Temple. She befriends Ashiya and Abeno after Ashiya helps her dad out of a demon-related predicament.
- Brainy Brunette: It is implied that she is a studious student, as she tells Yahiko they won't play with him until after school is over.
- Cuteness Overload: She takes an instant liking for Kinako (Yahiko's newfound best friend) and wouldn't stop brushing her hair when Yahiko brought her to the temple.
- First-Name Basis: With Ashiya. Abeno also calls her Zenko, but she calls him by his last name.
- Meaningful Name: Her family name comes from the Fujiwara dynasty, a family dominant in the politics of Heian-era Japan.
- Older Than They Look: Both Ashiya and Abeno mistaken her for a grade schooler when they first meet her. Shes 15.
- Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Comes off as stoic and uptight, but begins to show her softer side after befriending both Ashiya and Abeno.
A youko who used to play with Abeno while he was still a child before being forgotten. Started working at the Seiryuji Temple as an apology for cursing Zenko.
- Bratty Half-Pint: He's a willful troublemaker who bit Zenko just to get Abeno play with him, and when he was sent to help out in Zenko's temple to reflect on his behaviour, he spends his time there goofing off and eating snacks instead of helping out. He also likes to call Ashiya names.
- Eyes Always Closed: His usual expression regardless of his current form. When he opens them he reveals that his dark sclera with red and gold pupils. Tends to open them more than is usual for the trope.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Yahiko (foolish sibling) is childish and irresponsible despite his age and doesn't do anything but eat, play and sleep. His sister the Underworld Princess, is hardworking to a fault, and refuses to rest even when she's sick because of her dedication to her duties to protect the Underworld.
- Intergenerational Friendship: We don't know how far their age differences actually are, since demons are immortal, but if their appearance and personality mean anything, the mentally-3-year-old Yahiko is close friends with the old demon Okina.
- Like Brother and Sister: He befriends a small demon, whom he names Kinako. Okina says they are like siblings, especially after Kinako transforms her ears to look like Yahiko's.
- Little Bit Beastly: He added fox ears to his human form for Abeno because he thought they were cute. Abeno just tries to back away even with him clinging to his back.
- Out-of-Character Alert: Sets off Ashiya's suspicions when he refers to him as the Mononokean's servant instead of employee and when he refers to Fuzzy as "Fuzzy" instead of his usual "Hairball".
- Strong Family Resemblance: Looks quite a bit like his sister, the Underworld's Princess.
- Voluntary Shape Shifting: He normally switches between his fox form and his human child form but can transform into other things like when he made himself look like Abeno.
- You Can't Go Home Again: He can never be exorcised to the Underworld; he and his sister have to remain on opposite sides, or else the Master of the Mononokean will no longer be able to open portals between them to exorcise others.
- Youkai: His specific species is youko.
One of the rulers of the Underworld, who is in charge of making the laws that govern the Underworld society. He resides in Newt Lake and is the direct superior to the Master of the Mononokean.
- Beware the Nice Ones: The Legislator is very good-natured, but he won't take any grievances done against the Mononokean lying down. When the Executive messes with Ashiya, the Legislator did something to the former that causes Abeno to shudder at the thought, and the Justice has to remind him to "play nice" when they were about to meet again.
- Big Brother Attraction: Inverted. The Legislator is said to be in love with his younger sister, and is constantly asking her to visit him. Possibly downplayed/subverted in that he doesn't seem to mind that she's in love with someone else.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: As the Legislator, he is technically the backbone of the Underworld, but he is a drunk, playboy gambler who is in love with his sister. At least he never does anything that would ruin the Underworld, and the Justice seems to get along fine with him, so...
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Implied. He may behave like an irresponsible layabout, but as one of the rulers of the Underworld, he must be very powerful. Even the Executive, whose mere presence is strong enough to almost kill Ashiya, is careful not to provoke him too much.
- Curtains Match the Window: Has light blue hair and blue eyes, which gives him a calm and 'safe' aura.
- Perpetual Smiler: The Legislator is almost never seen without a laid-back grin on his face.
- Pointy-Haired Boss: He's Abeno's superior, but is constantly making himself a nuisance by getting drunk and sending SOS to Abeno to get the latter do his work for him.
- Voiced by: Hiro Shimono (Japanese), Z. Charles Bolton (English)
The overseer of White Sands Prison, the Justice is one of the three rulers of the Underworld. He is responsible for keeping the peace and ensuring the security of the Underworld's residents, and has the authority to sentence criminals.
- Big Eater: Implied. We never see the Justice actually eat food on-screen, but he seem to get hungry easily, and gets most excited when food is mentioned.
- Curtains Match the Window: Both his hair and eyes are purple, though the color of his eyes is more reddish.
- Exhausted Eye Bags: He has bags under his eyes and usually a tired look.
- Horse of a Different Color: Despite being one of the most powerful demons in the Underworld, the Justice often has Abeno and Ashiya ride on his back while traveling. This causes the citizens of the Underworld to mistake Ashiya for him when the group went shopping at a town—and they praise "the Justice"'s power to tame a "wild beast".
- Nice Guy: While reminiscing about Abeno during the latter's time as Aoi's employee, the Justice mentions giving Abeno piggyback rides while exploring the underworld, buying him snacks, and allowing Abeno to sleep on his soft fur. This is a sharp contrast to the Legislator, who pretty much treated Abeno as a convenient servant.
- The Stoic: The Justice's default expression is "perpetually bored", and he remains mostly unfazed by most of the hijinks displayed by other characters.
- Super Speed: When he gave Hanae a ride on his back to the Birdcage, he ran so fast that Hanae nearly flew off his back and felt terrified when they arrived at their destination.
- Vegetarian Carnivore: He's a tiger demon, but he's not allowed to eat meat and calls himself a vegetarian.
The third ruler of the Underworld, who spends most of his time cooped up in his Bird Cage residence. He's known for his hatred of humans.
- Fantastic Racism: He hates humans, and tried to have Ashiya arrested and killed despite hearing good reports about the latter's work as an employee of the Mononokean.
- Jerkass Has a Point: The Executive may be in the wrong for trying to harm Ashiya for being human, but even the Justice agrees with his line of thinking, that, by rights, humans really shouldn't be allowed to go in and out of the Underworld too freely, lest it causes an uproar among the demonkind.
- Lean and Mean: He's very tall, very thin, hates humans, and is said to have a violent temperament.
- Noble Bigot: Despite his strong dislike of humans, the Executive is willing to put aside his personal feelings to work together with the Mononokean for the good of the Underworld. He was actually the one who taught Abeno about the Underworld (since he's the most efficient teacher of the three rulers). He also deigns to ask for Ashiya's assistance to investigate the Cursed Forest, even after knowing that Ashiya has killed a demon, despite previously threatening to kill Ashiya if he ever proves to be dangerous to demons.
- The Shut-In: Discussed. The Executive almost never comes out of the Bird Cage, such that his coming to see Ashiya is considered by Abeno and the Justice as an OOC Is Serious Business moment for him.Ashiya: (thinking) One of the Underworld's most powerful demons is a shut-in?
- Trademark Favorite Food: Apparently, the Executive is fond of sweet bean buns called Gyomake-sera. The other two Officials went out of their way to buy some for him when they went to his place for a meeting to appease him.
- Tranquil Fury: The Executive is the most hot-headed of the three Underworld rulers, but he doesn't raise his voice or visibly express his anger. Instead, he simply unleashes his considerable demonic strength whenever he gets pissed, in order to intimidate and oppress the target of his wrath.
- White Hair, Black Heart: His hair is light gray, and he is hostile towards humans.
- Workaholic: The reason the Executive never leaves his residence is that he's always busy with his work. Even when the other rulers come to visit him to discuss an urgent matter regarding the Princess, he quickly leaves to take care of other business when the others decide to take a break.
The Princess of the Underworld
Princess Kamikamowake Ikazuchi, simply known as the Princess of the Underworld, is the first occupant of the Underworld, and sits at the top of the demons' hierarchy, even above the three rulers.
- Authority in Name Only: Zigzagged. Despite her title, the Princess doesn't actually govern the Underworld, and the ruling authority is held by the Three Major Powers. However, the three rulers do respect her, and are willing to concede to her requests to a certain extent.
- Barrier Maiden: The Princess's primary function in the Underworld is to create a barrier around its perimeter to protect the territory from outside influences (i.e. curses, parasites, etc. that can disrupt the citizens' safety).
- Strong Family Resemblance: She looks almost exactly like her brother, Yahiko.
- Tender Tears: She cries before the Master and employees of the Mononokean right after telling them how much she really misses her friend and potential successor, Aoi.