Netflix’s Anime Onmyoji introduced Abe no Seimei as a divine and all-knowing Onmyoji whom Lord Hiromasa of the capital visited to ask for his help to protect the Emperor from a demon who rode in a phantom oxcart. The demon princess had made a week-long journey to reach the capital to make the Emperor pay for what he did to her. Hesitant at first, Seimei eventually decided to accompany Hiromasa to the capital. Seimei wasn’t like other Onmyoji, and he didn’t merely vanquish demons; he made sure that their souls were cleansed and they didn’t harbor any bittersweet grudges.
Seimei was rational and strategic; thus, he rarely jumped the gun like Marihara. His biggest strength wasn’t his mystic powers but the ability to rein in his haughtiness when faced with a superior threat. However, there were many in the capital who were weary of his cold and stone-hearted demeanor. Seimei often mocked the nobles of the capital in ways they couldn’t possibly understand. He had maintained the idea that he was a deceiver and heatless, no matter how much Hiromasa admired him. Seimei also had a soft spot for Hiromasa, as it had been years since he had seen a pure and noble man like him.
Why did Seimei refuse to help Kaneie?
Lord Kaneie was among the richest noblemen of the capital, but he was only virtuous and noble in public, as he harbored an unquenchable thirst for women. Kaneie had courted and slept with many women but was in search of an unrivaled beauty who could satisfy his lust. Kaneie had heard stories about a lord who defeated a demon in the game of Sugoroku and won a woman so ravishing that she outshone even the stars. Kaneie always wanted to lay with someone like her, and thus, he entertained a demon in the game of Sugoroku. Kaneie promised the demon his body if he lost, but if he was victorious, the demon promised him an unrivaled beauty that he had assembled from the parts of thousands of beautiful women. Kaneie agreed, but he fortified the game halfway when he realized that the demon’s victory was inevitable.
As a punishment, the demon stole his entire body except his head. When Hiromasa brought Kaneie’s head to Seimei, he refused to help him, stating that Kaneie was a despicable human who shamelessly used women as objects of his pleasure. Since it was Kaneie who sought the demon out in the first place, it was best that he dealt with it, too. Even though Seimei hardly made it obvious, he abhorred people like him, who would even sell their own mother for their personal gain. Seimei stated that since the demon wasn’t a direct threat and wasn’t harming anyone, he had no intention to purge it. However, Seimei changed his mind when Hiromasa requested that he help Kaneie for the sake of his family members, who had done nothing wrong. Seimei agreed and wagered his powers to convince the demon to play a game.
Does Seimei have a generous side?
Despite his hard exterior, Seimei was a kind-hearted Onmyoji who didn’t make his feelings and emotions known to others, as he felt that it would make him appear vulnerable. Seimei was rational, unlike Hiromasa, and felt that emotions blinded a man’s ability to make reasonable choices. In one instance, Seimei attracted Hiromasa’s ire when he purged Tadami’s vengeful spirit rather than turning him back into a human, and for that, he was called callous, cruel, and deprived of human emotions. What else could be expected from a fox’s offspring? Hiromasa said. However, vanquishing Tadami’s spirit wasn’t Seimei’s choice, as he was ordered by the Emperor himself to do it. Not knowing the real reasons, Hiromasa stopped visiting him for a while but eventually realized that he was wrong when Seimei chose to help the demon caterpillar rather than exorcise it. Even though Seimei had a tongue sharp enough to cut through granite, and despite his manners, there were many who were genuinely fond of him. Seimei also kept Hiromasa close, as his musical talents lent his spell a certain potency.
There were many occasions where we got to see Seimei’s generous side. He believed that every human that had turned into a demon had a story to tell, and there was a reason for their bitterness. In Onmyoji episode 2, Seimei saw through a demon’s face and recognized that he wasn’t evil but just wanted recognition and praise for his skills, something he never received when he was human. A similar situation occurred in episode 4, where he helped a troubled demon reunite with his friend so he could have closure. This was Tadami, who turned into a demon after being wronged during a poetry competition. Thus, it was clear that even though he sported a hard exterior, Seimei actually cared about people who were wronged like him. Seimei also saved a noble family from a demon caterpillar, who grew to a considerable size by the day. When mature, the caterpillar would kill anyone whom its master desired. Towards the end of the final episode, Seimei was even ready to sacrifice himself to save Hiromasa.
What is Seimei’s relationship with Doman Ashiya?
Doman Ashiya was a lady Onmyoji who was known for devouring human souls for fun. It was Doman who created those weird mouse-bat hybrids called “Sekisanko” to do her bidding. Doman sent one of her Sekisanko to Kaneie so she could lure Seimei to her. Seimei and Doman were always in a cat-and-mouse game, where the latter placed curses on innocent people while Seimei lifted them. This way, Doman got to kill her boredom, and Seimei received his praise. In one of the episodes, Doman placed a resurrection spell to return a dead girl’s soul to her body, knowing the harm it would bring to the family. Seimei was quick to deduce what was happening after finding the mud on the house’s patio. Seimei helped the family lift the resurrection spell. The girl wasn’t the only one, as Seimei helped dozens of people who turned into demons because of some grudge, jealousy, or unfinished business. Hiromasa’s best friend and mentor, Atsumi, was a flutist who became the pawn of a two-horned demon because of his jealousy towards Hiromasa’s musical talents. Even though they were always locking horns, Doman, on many occasions, saved Seimei’s life. She once advised Hiromasa on how to contact the master of human souls to save Seimei from a demon’s attack. The duo even fought side-by-side when Seimei was trying to summon Lord Taizan to bring Hiromasa back from the dead.
Why did Seimei become stone-hearted?
In Onmyoji episode 8, Seimei was attacked by a demon’s Sekisanko and became gravely injured. This was Atsumi’s doing; he was actually targeting Hiromasa. The only way for Seimei to survive was to defeat the Sekisanko inside of him, and thus, the bug princess was called. The plan was to pit Princess Sekisanko against the demons and defeat them. This was the moment when Hiromasa learned about Seimei’s tragic childhood and the reasons for his cold-hearted demeanor. Ever since Seimei was just a disciple, he was harassed for being the fox’s offspring. The kids of his age used to beat him and order him to wag his tail since he was a fox child. Unfortunately, one day, a demon attacked their convoy and ate many of the disciples, and everyone blamed Seimei for their deaths. They even condemned his lineage as a fox child, too. This was what made Seimei so cold and stone-hearted towards his own kind.
The only person who was ever kind to Seimei was Tadayuki Kamo, but unfortunately, he died soon after Seimei crossed into adulthood. Seimei also attracted Masanaga’s betrayal when he refused to help him kill his father with a curse. Fearing Seimei would open his mouth, Masanaga sent out assassins to murder him, but Seimei survived. This left him feeling betrayed, and he realized he would always be despised and an outcast, no matter what he did. Seimei thought Masanaga was his friend, but the latter tried to kill him. Since Seimei had no friends or family, he would often get lonely, and to counter it, he would use his powers to bring forth divine beings like Mitsuyo and Mitsumushi, the girls we saw in his house. However, as time passed, Seimei developed a strong bond with Hiromasa because he had no evil bones in his body. Even though Seimei never put it into words, he had once or twice considered Hiromasa his friend.