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[Pet Shop of Horrors]
AKA: Petshop of Horrors
Genre: Horror mystery
Length: OAV series, 4 episodes, 30 minutes each
Distributor: R1 DVD from Sentai Filmworks
Content Rating: 16+ (graphic violence, nudity)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended: NightWalker, Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust
Notes: Based on a jousei (women's) manga by Matsuri Akino, available from TokyoPop.
Rating: Three StarsThree StarsThree Stars

Pet Shop of Horrors

Synopsis

A mysterious pet shop in Chinatown, run by Count D, has been suspected of numerous deaths and ugly rumors. When a customer comes in to buy one of D's weird and exotic pets, he must sign a paper that has some stipulations in the contract. A young investigator named Joel has been working on this case for quite some time, but cannot find enough evidence to prove that Count D was at fault. He seems to be onto something though: weird things have been happening to Count D's customers. This anime tells four tales of those who visit "The Pet Shop of Horrors"!!


Review

There is one thing to say: Pet Shop of Horrors is unlike any anime I have ever seen. This one is truly unique in a few ways.

Don't let the title fool you. This is NOT a Rick Moranis musical that goes by a similar name, nor is it that much of a horror series. It seems to fall into more of a mystery genre intertwined with a weird and unusual atmosphere.

The plot is above average in general, as mentioned above. Some of the episodes have weaker plots than others. Episode 2 and 3 in particular have very intriguing and interesting plots that are pretty easy to follow, while episodes 1 and 4 plots seem to be boring and monotonous. When you average out the conflicts that are shown within each episode, it seems like a really good series. Yet, the main plot that encompasses all of the episodes seems to be left in the dark, as more of the focus is placed on the encounters at the shop themselves. While the individual conflicts are pretty good, the plot that encompasses those encounters doesn't pull together the series as well as it should have.

The animation is above average as well, with each episode introduced by some high quality computer graphics that show a big difference in comparison to the rest of the series. Most of the art and animation is very good. There are still a few stills and pans thrown in here and there that just take that extra touch away from the eye candy.

Yet, there are some downfalls. First off, the background music really contradicts the atmosphere Pet Shop wants to create. While the animation builds an eerie atmosphere, the music in the background seems to be pulled out of some viewings on the Playboy channel. That isn't too big of a problem in comparison to the following.

The characterization of all characters presented is minimal at best. Even Count D and Joel, who appear in every episode aren't described too extensively. Most of this relatively large flaw is caused by the fact that most of the characters are shown in just one episode. Extending the length of the episodes, allowing for more character development and creating a much better climax could have remedied that issue.

It's pretty good if you're into the more unusual aspects of life, you might say, but there are just too many problems to give it my recommendation.

If you're into dark, mysterious anime, tack on another star.Robert Nelson

Recommended Audience: At times the violence can be relatively graphic, and there are a few spurts of nudity in episode 2. Best kept to older teens and up.



Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD, bilingual
Review Status: Full (4/4)
Pet Shop of Horrors © 1999 MADHOUSE
 
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