Confession time! I bailed on this show after three episodes. Yes, horror is not a genre I go chasing after and the title of the show, “Corpse Party: Tortured Souls”, certainly should have been enough of a tip-off, but I decided to try it out anyway. It was a dismal failure for me. Then I learned it was four shows and an OVA so I went back in to tough it out.
Now, this entire crew is not in the full run of the show, but it offered a picture of the nine players in it for the anime, and that is the grouping in the middle. We are talking about the girl in the red dress lying down, the two atop her, then we move to the right another seven. Shorty and to the left, Red Book and to the right might be in the manga or the video game, but I didn’t research that far.
We are at Kisaragi Academy and it has been a very successful school festival. The seven students are, left to right: Ayumi Shinozaki, Sekio Shinohara, Satoshi Mochida, Satoshi’s younger sister, Yuki, Naomi Nakashima, Yoshiki Kishinuma, Mayu Suzumoto, Sakutaro Morishigem and class assistant homeroom teacher Ms. Yui Shishido. We also have to include that one in the red dress, Sachiko Shinozaki, as well (note that she doesn’t cast a reflection. Shhhhh!)
In order to remain friends forever, they perform the “Sachiko Ever After” charm, which requires a simple paper cut-out of a person. Everyone grabs a piece of this person and chants the phrase in your head, “Sachiko, we beg of you”, one time for each participant present and once more for Sachiko herself. After chanting, everyone holding onto the paper doll pulls it apart, leaving each person with a paper doll scrap.
However, something goes wrong and they are transported back in time, when this academy was actually the Heavenly Host Elementary school, where an unspeakable mass murder took place. We learn that the high school is built on the ruins of the previous school and the ghosts are not at peace and want justice.
Here is where it goes off the tracks, as we are subjected to unrelenting amounts of gore, just to see how much of it you can take: buckets of blood and guts (no, I mean they have buckets filled with guts, just hanging around the rooms. It is so hard to get janitorial help when they end up getting slaughtered trying to clean the bathrooms). Maggot-riddled corpses litter the rotted hallways and decaying classrooms, but they are not fully dead, either the corpses or the classrooms. They seek vengeance or revenge or test scores and then proceed to absolutely butcher anyone they can find. Their favorite torture is to stab someone’s eye out with a pair of scissors, although they are not above disemboweling, hanging, decapitation and tongue cutting. And I though elementary schools in the inner city were tough!
It’s just that it got way too much way too fast and most of this happens in the first episode. It is sheer unrelenting carnage and death and gore and guts and veins in my teeth. Now, if you are the kind of person that dotes on this stuff and you have a lifetime subscription to “Fangoria”, they you will like this show. It’s not often you see someone degutted from the back and is still able to talk. “Run away!” Oh, there is a scissor-wielding maniac that has just cut you to shreds and you think I’m going to hang around for the second feature? Toodles! How many of them have to die? All of them, just to play it safe. Did I spoil something? Probably not.
For me, real horror is what I can come up with in my own mind. Leave me enough of an impression and I will fill in the gaps. I do not need to see the knife descend into or the hedge trimmer severe away. And there comes a point when the blood becomes more of a joke than something to be feared. Do you know how hard it is to get blood stains out of a white shirt? I might as well throw the thing away! Salt and lemon juice? AND lots of cold water? But as soon as possible? I might as well throw the thing away!
Halloween is coming up, so you might want to consider popping this into the DVD player. The 11-minute OVA is Episode 0, as we set up things that are going to happen in the show and it is a rare instance that you should see it before you watch the show, as it makes no real sense when it concludes. But you can get all the murderous glee you want, if that is all you seek from horror.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (Overall, a good art design)
Plot 3 (Something to link one killing to the next)
Pacing 5 (Starts and stops)
Effectiveness 5 (Just an excuse to go kill-crazy)
Conclusion 5 (It reaches a ‘coupler’, but doesn’t really end, not this kind of tale)
Fan Service 0 (A similar show would be “Honey & Clover”)
Overall 4 (Too much gore, not enough real horror)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. I ain’t cleaning up this mess!