The setting is the end of the Edo period amid political strife and human suffering. Young Momosuke, an aspiring author, sets out on a journey to collect 100 stories to make into a book. Right away he meets up with a trio of outlaws: Mataichi the Trickster, Ogin the Puppeteer and Nagamimi the Bird Caller. As they travel, the group encounters the most twisted and horrible parts of human nature. It is the task of this group to punish each person in a manner fitting their crimes - a gruesome undertaking to say the least... Thus, the bells of the requiem are heard throughout the land...
After arriving in town, Momosuke runs into a man and learns of a missing bride Shiragiku. On his way to find out more he learns from a wayward priest named Ryojin about a tragic friendship a girl named Tatsuta and strange fires. Now while on the search for answers about the strange fires and the missing Shiragiku, Momosuke gets tangled up in a bizarre tale of jealously and stolen identity and the only answer lies on a missing pinky. When Momosuke notices that the culprit has both her pinkies, he interferes in Mataichi's judgement allowing Tatsuta to get away with the Hermits. Mataichi figures out that Kyogoku Tei was behind this and the Ongyou take their leave from Momosuke.
A writer of riddle books for children, Momosuke Yamaoka's ambition is to compile a book of 100 ghost stories. While traveling on business he is caught in a rain storm and seeks shelter at a local inn on the advice of a spiritualist named Mataichi. At the inn, Momosuke encounters Ogin and a monk named Enkai. Enkai was a former apprentice who apparently suffers delusions in which he hears the sound of azuki beans being washed. Mataichi arrives at the inn during the evening. The innkeeper Tokuemon shares the story of an apprentice boy of his who was murdered by Tokuemon's clerk Tatsugoro. He tells how the spirit of a boy named Yasuke haunts the inn as an Azukiarai. The tale provokes a strong reaction from Enkai, and together Mataichi, Ogin, and Nagamimi (who was Tokuemon in disguise) stoke Enkai's emotions provoking a breakdown. Enkai confesses to murdering the apprentice boy several years earlier in a fit of rage because Tokuemon intended to make the boy his heir rather than himself. He dies soon after and his body ending up in the nearby river as Mataichi commits Enkai's soul to the next world. When Momosuke encounters Mataichi, Ogin, and Nagamimi, he learns that they are the Ongyou. Before the Ongyou disappears, Mataichi warns Momosuke to keep his distance from them.
Momosuke encounters a hunter named Yasaku while investigating the tale of Hakuzōsu, a legendary fox who posed as a monk to tempt a hunter away from killing foxes. It is revealed that the legend is based on Yasaku's love for killing both animals and people. Yasaku claims that the bandit leader Izou made him kill some people. Despite Momosuke's attempts to save the murderer, Yasaku sends him off the bridge. Yasaku suffers a slow and agonizing death(offscreen) at the hands of the Ongyo before his soul committed to the next world. Momosuke is then saved from death by Nagamimi.
Momosuke arrives at Kichibe's Willow Inn, hoping to learn about the fabled Willow Woman who is said to haunt the inn. It is claimed that she possessively desires Kichibe, who is soon to be married, and in her jealousy was responsible for the deaths of the innkeeper's previous wives and children. At the inn Momosuke encounters the Ongyo: Mataichi, Ogin, and Nagamimi. The wedding ceremony for Kichibe and his new wife Yae goes ahead as planned, but afterwards the spiritual trio use their talents to force Kichibe to confront the Willow Woman. It transpires that she is in fact a second persona of Kichibe's, created in response to the burden of his family responsibilities and the worrisome prospect of being discarded once he produces an heir to take over the family business. Kichibe is sliced in half by the willow tree's branches soon after as Mataichi commits Kichibe's soul to the next world. Yae gives birth to a son as Momosuke is disgusted at how Kichibe's relatives pressured him to give birth to an heir.
Momosuke hears the legend of the Katabira Crossroads where some women have died there. He is told by Sajiro Ogata and Fushimiya that it first happeneed when the nobleman Genba Sasayama lost his wife to the spirit that lurks there. However, it would turn out that Genba Sasayama (the husband of the woman who first started the rumor) was driven to murder the other women to commit acts of Necrophilia. Though the Ongyo attempted to punish Genba Sasayama by summoning the spirits of his victims, the defiant nobleman refused to accept of doing anything wrong as took his own life. Genba ends up taking his own life when Mataichi tried to commit him to the next world. Before the group departs, Nagamimi places the corpse of the actual murderer near Genba's corpse to make it look like that he avenged his wife's death at the cost of his own life when Sajiro Ogata arrives.
Hearing about the murderous cutthroat Giamon of Inarizika, rumored to be a Kowai (a ghoul that can survive any fatality), Momosuke learns some of Ogin's past. It then turns out that the culprit is the Head of Public Housing named Kinzo Sasamori who has been masquerading as Giamon of Inarizika. When Kinzo starts developing a strange mole on his head he sees a masseuse who is actually Nagamimi in disguise. Nagamimi recommends Kinzo to see Momosuke about his mole. Meanwhile, Mataichi approaches some men working for "Giamon" telling them that there is a way to kill a Kowai so that it stay's dead for good. Momosuke leads Kinzo to a spring that would cure him of an illness that is speculated by Nagamimi to turn anyone obsessed with a beast into that beast. Momosuke leads Kinzo to the entrance to the underground spring flowing from the Shrine of Inarizika in order to bathe in it. While washing the mole on his head with the water, he has an encounter with Ogin whom he recognizes as the girl he killed. He ends up attacking Ogin who dodges the attacks. Just then, Kinzo's body starts to be consumed by the mole-like markings on him. Outside, Momosuke is told by Mataichi that Giamon of Inarizika was actually a fictional creation and that the real Giamon is Ogin's father. Mataichi then states that Kinzo has been using the Giamon of Inarizika name to take advantage of the homeless people for his own profit and had poisoned the real Giamon when he found out, murdered Giamon's wife, framed Giamon for his wife's death, and executed Giamon. Just then, Kinzo emerges from the cave as a furry beast who is then impaled and beheaded by the men that Mataichi rallied. Mataichi then throws an Ofuda on Kinzo's severed head and then tells the men to burn the remains so that Kinzo can never come back to life.
Momosuke arrives at a town where a woman named Oyoshi is being chased by a ronin named Matajuro Ishikawa. Momosuke then ends up developing a crush on her and learns that she is the concubine of Yahei Anzai. It turns out that Matajuro is Oyoshi's father who did a seduction which resulted in Matajuro murdering his wife. Oyoshi is bothered by the what remains of Otama which speak to her. After murdering Yahei Anzai (who put Oyoshi up to an attempt on Matajuro's life), Matajuro ends up capturing "Otama". When confronted by Momosuke and Oyoshi at Tomoei Point, Matajuro reveals Otama's corpse as it turns out that Oyoshi had been forced to kill her. Just them, the authorities arrive to bring in Matajuro. Mataichi, Ogin, and Nagamimi make Oyoshi face up to the magnitude of her crimes as Matajuro is mutilated in his fight with the authorities. At Momosuke's request following Matajuro's death, Mataichi commits Oyoshi to the next world offscreen.
Momosuke and the Ongyou encounter a traveling performance troupe which includes a samurai who claims to be a Tanuki, a Raccoon Dog that assumes human form. Momosuke speaks with the man and learns that he was originally intended to be the stand in for the Shogun in the vent of his death due to his perpetually poor health and lack of heir. However, this plan abruptly collapsed when a son was born to the Shogunate who could serve as a rightful heir. Thus to save her own life, the mother tried to poisoned Shibaemon. However, the boy switched out the drinks and the mother consumed the poison, cursing her son as it caused Shibaemon to snap and kill his mother. When he joined the troupe, the troupe leader knew of his past deeds but kept him anyway out of sense of sympathy, unaware that Shibaemon killed his granddaughter soon time after as the samurai was driven mad to the point of attacking anything that he sees as a threat to him. During a performance, Momosuke and the Ongyo force Shibaemon to come to terms with his past as he dies upon being mauled by dogs unleashed by Momosuke, becoming the very animal he pretended to be. Momosuke finishes his tale in memory of the Tanuki as Mataichi commits Tanuki's soul to the next world.Watch Now:Amazon
The trio go to investigate a house on a hill where there have been reports of people dissapearing. Upon their arrival they discover that a man named Kobuta, has been eating his guests. This obviously will not be tolerated by the trio so they go in to commit him. Strangly enough he has a man-eating horse that attacks them, but is easily defeated by Nagamimi. Mataichi then commits him to next life.
Momosuke responds to a supposed letter from his brother Gunhachiro sent to him while at Katabira Crossroads. Gunhachiro calls him over when one of his friends named Kijirou Hamada was found dead after being killed by a stone. Momosuke says it to be a flying squirrel spirit known as a Nobusuma and a badger spirit known as a Nodeppou. They later learn from Matashiro that he used to be in a land pirate gang called The Bats that Tagamimi led. They raided Shimaso's house for a gun called the Nodeppou that shoots rocks with deadly precision. When Shimaso refuses to give it to Matashiro and Kijirou, they kill his granddaughter Otami as Shimaso is killed by Tagamimi. After telling the story, Matashiro is prosued by the Ongyou. While running from them, he falls off a cliff and impales himself on a tree. Shimaso's servant Jihei (who is possessed by Shimaso's ghost) takes Gunhachiro, Tagamimi and the rest of the troop out into the forest unaware that a possessed Jihei is killing everyone in sight except for Gunhachiro. Momosuke arrives to watch the internal battle between the Nodeppou's hatred and Shimaso's spirit. Afterwards, Mataichi sends Shimaso's spirit dwelling within the Nodeppou to rest. Momosuke then takes Jihei home.
Momosuke hasn't seen the Ongyou for months. When he asks Tsutaya if he heard any ghostly rumors lately, he tells Momosuke that there are two with one of them being the sea ghosts of Sanuki. While out walking, he comes across the Kyogoku Tavern where he has an encounter with Kyogoku Tei and the Hermits who point Momosuke to Shikoku to help the Ongyou who "vanished" while on an assignment. Momosuke comes across some fisherman who had lost some of their own to these sea ghosts. The fisherman tell Momosuke that the sea ghosts have been appearing near Kabuto Island instead of Twin Island as one of the fisherman tells him that one of the islands that make up Twin Island just vanished. The fishing magistrate Lord Sekiyama appears claiming that the sinking of boats is the work of the Kawakubo Clan and that he has taken action to remove this threat. While trying to get info on them, Momosuke is ambushed by some strange warriors only to be saved by Ogin. Ogin tells Momosuke to turn back and head home. After Ogin leaves, a man approaches Momosuke who tells him that Ogin took a boat out to sea bound for Twin Island. As the man takes Momosuke to Twin Island, he claims that the Kawakubo Clan are a bunch of ghosts of the defeated Taira Clan that clashed the Minamoto Clan. As the boat approaches Twin Island, the sea ghosts attack. Upon being washed up on Twin Island after surviving the encounter, Momosuke has an encounter with the Kawakubo Clan until their leader Tarumaro and the Ongyou arrive as Tarumaro states that the sea is angry. Mataichi later tells Momosuke that the beaches of Twin Island were stained during the fight between the Tyra Clan and the Minamoto Clan. He also states that 20 years ago, dozens of people died when the neighboring island sank. Tarumaro then explains of the Flame Lance that was entrusted to them by their ancestors which would act as a signal which would by of use when the Taira uprising occurred. Mataichi argues with Tarumaro about destroying the Flame
Strange massacres have been occurring at Seven Man Point. Momosuke encounters the man who he thought drowned helping him get to Twin Island, a ronin named Ukon Shinomore. Ukon reveals how he served under a feudal lord named Danjo Kitabayashi until an unspeakable evil plagued his land when death spirits have been appearing there. But as he journeys with Ukon to the man's homeland expecting the Ongyou to be there, Momosuke learns a horrific revelation. Meanwhile, the Ongyou discovers that Tatsuta is in cahoots with Danjo Kitabayashi.
After Ukon ends up captured by Danjo's servant Kaburagi, Momosuke ends up infiltrating the dungeons to rescue him only to be caught by Tatsuta and a female accomplice of hers. While Ogin infiltrates the prison, Mataichi warns the citizens that a tsunami is approaching their land. After most of the citizens and servants have left, Danjo reveals a black panther-like Foreign Beast as part of the reenactment and disposes of Kaburagi who is killed by the Foreign Beast. When the Foreign Beast tries to attack a girl as a sacrifice, Nagamimi takes control of it and the Foreign Beast kills Tatsuta's female accomplice. As Danjo is about to fire the Flame Lance on his own people, his true identity of Kyogoku Tei is revealed as the Ongyou confront him. Kyogoku Tei tries to destroy to Ongyou only to end up accidentally destroying the Hermits. After a terrific encounter, Kyogoku Tei is sent into a pit of darkness while Tatsuta is consumed by the resulting inferno. The Ongyou say their final goodbyes to Momosuke. The series ends with Momosuke working back in his book store, and remembering his past with the ongyou claiming that he sometimes feels like they are still there watching him. The final lines of the series are Momosuke telling how he will always know there is darkness in the world, darkness that can or can not be delt with.