A similar problem horror shows encounter is taking things away too soon. I remember when I saw “The Shining” for the first time. I had Jack Nicholson come on screen and I already knew he was nuts, so his slide into insanity was not only not a surprise, but had me wondering why it took so long for him to achieve it.
This show is creepy right from the get-go, so the slide into uncertainly is effectively removed. That only leaves us with what I refer to as the Death of the Week…but I get ahead of myself.
In 1972, at Yomiyama Middle School, in Class 3-3, there was an honors student who was good at sports, very popular among his peers and even the teachers were fond of. However, when Misaki suddenly died, the shocked class decided to carry on as if Misaki was still alive. However, when the class’s graduation photo was taken, they saw someone in the shot who should not have been there—Misaki. (Enter kettledrums and violins.)
We now fast-forward 26 years. Kōichi Sakakibara is going to school there, but starts off the year in the hospital, owing to a punctured lung. Just about to leave the hospital, he sees a strange girl wearing an eye patch, who descends to the basement of the hospital to ‘see someone’. But on that floor is the morgue. What gives?
As Koichi goes to school, things take a turn for the weird. He sees the girl again, but no one talks to her at all. It is as if she does not exist. Well, nature abhors a vacuum, so he starts to ask questions, but is told to “stop hanging out with something that doesn’t exist”. So, does this settle the issue? Did Freddy Kruger stop at one?
He finally meets up with the girl in question, Mei Misaki, following her to her house, which triples as a studio and museum. Her mother makes dolls, ranging in size from Barbie to life-size. But they are so lifelike as to be really unsettling. From there, the story unfolds about the Curse of Class 3-3, and it appears that this will be a year of heavy vengeance, as the countermeasures weren’t done right.
Which now brings me back to the ‘Death of the Week’ comment? Since we cannot talk about this Curse, Koichi’s digging may exacerbate the problem, as more and more people die off. And the set-up is so heavy-handed as not to be horrific as more cliché.
A student is running with an umbrella. A nurse gets into an old elevator. A pal is leaning against the railing on a veranda. What is this,Western Union? Even Edgar Cayce could see this coming and he’s been dead for 70 years. And since the school takes things away from being normal-looking, as it is rusty and weather-beaten, it just adds to the horror set-up. I assume the janitorial staff is too busy cleaning up all the blood to attend to Rust Patrol.
The larger intent is to show an absolute ocean of blood when people die off (with the exception of the kid who kacks because of a faulty ticker….ooops, did I spill the beans?), but I never felt horrified, more of sympathy for the poor janitorial staff that has more to clean up.
This is a shame, as it is a fine-looking show otherwise. We do stay away from a lot of the tropes of anime (the jiggling eyeballs of terror, the slide into Chibi, the ridiculously wide-opened mouth), so the reactions are more genuine looking, but the results are still the same.
And when the end came, I was more relieved that it was over and nothing more, even though it turned into an Orgy of Death. I mean, I think 12 people got wasted over the last two episodes, perhaps even more. Did I feel sorry for those who died? Well, they got out of the show earlier, although getting chopped up in the prop of a motor boat may be a bit steep of a price to pay.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (Naturalistic, despite the intention of it)
Plot 5 (Spiritual revenge)
Pacing 8 (When it plays the slow approach, it works)
Effectiveness 5 (The bail-out)
Conclusion 3 (It stops cold)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Overall 6 (Just not my cup of tea)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. What’s this about a Curse and…..ACKKKKKK!