Monday, December 10, 2001

Pet Shop of Horrors

Genre: Fantasy / Dark
Parental Guidance Recommended
1999 Mari Akino, Madhouse, Tokyo Broadcast System

Pet Shop of Horrors DVDs
Pet Shop of Horrors Manga
Everything Pet Shop of Horrors

Cover Description:
Man-eating fish... matricidal rabbits... mythical beasts of ancient legends... Welcome to Chinatown's most unique petshop. This way, please - there is variety of exotic creatures to choose from; and the perfect pet for everyone waits here to be brought home and cherished. But be careful; what you see is not necessarily what you get.

The Count sells rare specimens embodying second chances for love, dreams, and hopes, but with specific instructions for proper care. The consequences of deviation, as a result, are simply murder. The Petshop cannot be held responsible for the aftermath of a broken contract. In an age when man is exceptional at self-delusion, the Count's greatest selling point is honesty. Whether or not the client can handle the responsibility, however, is a matter of life and death.

(4 Episodes)

Meet Hyde...errr Count D. >>> by skysenshi

After my initial shock at finding out that Pet Shop of Horrors isn't just another cheesy title, the second shock came in the form of Count D. Beautiful, enigmatic, poised, impeccably-mannered, and extremely cultured like a fragile Chinese doll, he reminds me so much of jrock band L'Arc~En~Ciel's lead singer Hyde (4th Avenue Café, one of Rurouni Kenshin's ending themes). His most unusual quality is that one of his eyes is purple and the other is gold, the latter being constantly veiled by his "Lux Super Rich" silky hair. One might think that he'd be nothing beyond being a wallflower/eye candy, but then Count D does have his eccentricities and funny moments, making Pet Shop of Horrors a light-hearted fare in spite of the occasional blood and gore. Couple this with his sharp contrast to the brash and cheeky Leon, the LAPD investigator who's obsessed with exposing Count D's "hidden criminal activities", and you have an intriguing combination that provides playful entertainment. Now that's plus points for character design.

Pet Shop of Horrors features 4 dark stories that focus on human desires, hopes, and dreams intertwined with Asian mythology. All of these have tones that might remind one of Adam and Eve's temptation in the Garden of Eden-how it is human nature to succumb to things that we are most passionate about. Many of the tales are quite tragic, although some of them have twisted happy endings that only Pet Shop of Horrors can execute with magical flair.

The art and animation are superb, blending silicone graphics with anime for full effect. The sounds, especially, make for a glorious crowning touch to an already exceptional work of art. I couldn't forget the (literally) enchanting vocals of Evangeline Blue in the second episode, and that's just one of the musical masterpieces that have been showcased in Pet Shop of Horrors. There's just one thing that I'm wondering about, though. How come all the male characters look scrumptious, while the females look so scary, you can actually pee in your pants while gazing at them?

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 9; Story 10; Characters 10; Sounds 9

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