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Pet Shop of Horrors

psoh-1
Genre: Drama
Company: Studio Madhouse
Format: 4 OVA
Dates: 3/1/1999 to 3/22/1999

It’s just a little pet shop in the middle of Chinatown. A place where people can buy love, hopes and dreams, embodied in the animal they may take home with them. For a desperate soul, such creatures can mean the world. The catch? There are no catches… as long as the customer abides by the contract presented by Count D, owner of this run-of-the-mill shop. However, even a few rules can be harder to follow than one might think, taking into consideration the Count’s cutting sense of irony.

summary by Kjeldoran

 

Reviewed: 03/23/2003 by
Grade: 73% av-Kjeldoran

Highs: Original storyline and presentation; truly twisted twists

Lows: Add-on elements and characters spoil the mood; fourth story not fully developed

I have to admit, very few of the countless anime I have seen successfully presented both horror and suspense, diving instead into gore fests that looked silly instead of scary. While Pet Shop of Horrors does not exactly break this trend, it can still take comfort in the fact it is one of the most original and involving of its field.

Developing characters through their newly acquired pets, which take the shape of the demons haunting their souls and gives them a second chance only to be deceived once again, is a fascinating process. Even without the use of eye and ear candy, this anime quickly grabs your attention because of that dark, paradoxical drama present in every OVA.

Being four short stories with few common characters, Pet Shop of Horrors would have been engrossing from start to finish had the young, bold detective idea been dropped. The only role he seems to play is that of the character whom you need to explain everything to, vicariously making the audience understand every bit of what is going on. His dead-end investigations could easily have been replaced by more character development for story-specific characters or perhaps a glimpse of Count D’s psychological profile. Furthermore, the detective’s clueless attitude always manages to ruin whatever suspenseful atmosphere had developed.

The first three installments only have that one detriment. The fourth one, however, also suffers from the overachiever syndrome; desperately wanting to make a memorable finale, it goes for a storyline that might have worked with twice the length. In spite of this, the climax, with its bitter irony and morale, is of the thought-provoking kind that you will not soon forget. Too bad they all come too fast. Nevertheless, Pet Shop of Horrors probably has what it takes to disturb and shock you without relying (solely) on gore and nudity like countless others.

 

Pet Shop of Horrors can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.

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