a.k.a. Kyogoku Natsuhiko Kosetsu Hyaku Monogatari
a.k.a. Hundred Stories
a.k.a. Requiem from the Darkness
In the Bakumatsu Era when the existence of monsters is greatly feared, Hyakusuke Yamaoka is an aspiring writer who is tired of writing riddles for children. He travels all over Japan in search of old myths and legends, hoping to write and eventually publish his book “Hyaku Monogatari”. One rainy night, he comes upon a trio of detectives who call themselves the Ongyou. Made up of Mataichi of Deception, Ogin of the Puppets and Nagamimi of the Bird Calling, the Ongyou investigates and solves legends to reveal their truths and right the wrongs. Unfortunately, Yamaoka sees the very things that question his morals and that he desperately needs for his book.
summary by Eek
Highs: Haunting atmosphere; genuinely scary
Lows: Requires foreknowledge of Japanese mythology; CGI is a bit intrusive
In my early Boy Scout days, I can remember exchanging scary stories with fellow scouts of mine. However, none of them were of the “look over your shoulder every five seconds and stay awake with every light on until dawn” quality. However, that’s just the sort of quality that Worldly Horror Stories has.
In anime, it’s often difficult to get the desired atmosphere; everything needs to be geared towards creating the right feeling or else it feels faux. Beginning with an acid trip called the opening credits, Worldly Horror Stories‘ atmosphere is very real and very alive. The art style is reminiscent of The Soul Taker but still unique in its own right, and the background music greatly enhances the flow and tone. You can feel all of the fear, grief and desire that the characters are perspiring. All of this works towards making a very frightening experience; when I first began watching this anime, I was truly freaked out… in only the first minute. Quite a few of the stories deal with taboo subjects like incest, cannibalism and necrophilia, but all of them include murders where people are dismembered in an extremely grotesque fashion. Yet what makes it scary is the suspense accomplished by the perfect timing of events.
However, you’ll be prevented from getting the fullest out of Worldly Horror Stories if you don’t know a whole lot about old Japanese mythical creatures and legends. I suggest reading Madoka’s Japanese Myths and Ghosts lecture, but that’s only a start. It’s safe to say that if you don’t have a background on mononoke, tengu and youkai (those being just a few), you’re going to be missing a lot of other key details. On a separate note, there isn’t a whole lot of CGI used, but when it’s on screen, the CGI sticks out like Wesley Snipes at a Ku Klux Klan meeting. Yet this won’t deter you too much from enjoying this anime.
I’ll admit that I’m not and never was particularly fond of the horror genre in general, but Worldly Horror Stories will make you feel like you just watched Alien for the first time. If you don’t feel like sleeping for a few days, this anime is your ticket.
Worldly Horror Stories can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.