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Corpse Party-Tortured Souls: OVA (anime review)

corpse-party-ovaReview provided by Andrew and Katie

Title: Corpse Party-Tortured Souls: OVA

Director: Akira Iwanaga

Studio: Asread

Author: Shoichi Sato

U.S. Distributor: Maiden Japan, Section 23

U.S. Release Date: January 26, 2016

Format and Length: Blu-ray / 4 Episodes / 100 Minutes

Genre: Horror, Supernatural, Mystery

Industry Age Rating: 17 and up

Overall Personal Rating: B-

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Another, Elfen Lied, When They Cry, Danganronpa the Animation

Fair warning: The following anime series contains massive amounts of blood, body parts, and entrails

Synopsis:

The horrifying events that occurred on the unhallowed grounds of the Heavenly Host School were so gruesome and shocking that the entire school was razed in an attempt to wipe the events from memory. But, foolishly, a new high school, the Kisaragi Academy, was built in Heavenly Host’s place, and the only thing true evil requires is an invitation. So when a group of students innocently perform a charm intended to bind them as friends forever, the nightmarish evil is unleashed once again.

Transported into a living hell where Heavenly Host still stands and undead horrors stalk the bloodstained halls, the students are now the prey in the most brutal test ever designed by inhuman minds. What follows is not for the squeamish or weak of heart, as they are hunted down in a savage game of torture, murder, and insanity. Japan’s most terrifying series of videogames comes to gut-wrenching life as the spirits of the damned host a Corpse Party!

Commentary:

Here we go again. Yet another anime based on a game where the game came first, the bane of anime loving non-gamers everywhere. We all know how these are usually teasers to get you to buy the games. I don’t play games. I don’t have the time. Most have a tendency to end just as you are getting into it and when the story is getting interesting. They hit you with the “Play the game to find out how it ends” part, the thing I have grown to hate more than anything I can name. Why did I pick this up knowing it was… Wait there was an ending. None of this having to play the game to know how it ended bull. In only four episodes they managed to get a story in.

There are not many horror stories in anime that are like Corpse Party-Tortured Souls. The paranormal/slasher genre is not common. With limited titles the story has to be decent. This feels more like the late 1990s, early 2000s Japanese live action horror movie genre, which included titles like Dark Water, Grudge, Ring, Shikoku, and Suicide Club. It has the same ominous feeling and semi-predictability. But those are features that have endeared these types of stories to their fans. One thing is sure and that is Corpse Party-Tortured Souls does beat its predecessors with the amount of blood and gore that it shows. Makes most of the recommended titles seem tame actually. Seems more like an older anime like Ninja Scroll, where it rains blood with half bodies falling from the sky. Corpse Party-Tortured Souls has lots of gore, and horrible ways of dying. With only four episodes they had to work to cram everything in and it did make it hard to follow. I have to admit I had to actually watch it twice thru and caught many things I had originally missed.

Which leads us to the storyline. Most anime series and live actions like Corpse Party-Tortured Souls lack a storyline and are not super original. They solely survive on how bloody it can be and will take another bloody death over a glimpse of story any day. That’s where it breaks from horror and goes into the mystery aspect. Corpse Party-Tortured Souls does have some amazing twists that you would not expect. Just as you think you know what happened in 1973 that leads to current events, it throws in something completely unexpected that makes you rethink the entire thing. The only complaint, and considering its only four episodes, is everything seems rushed. They had to connect the dots in very little time. This is why I watched it twice and had a much better understanding the second time around. The story was complex and you had to connect a lot of those dots yourself, with little explanation outside of contexts clues they give. In the end you will have a few questions left but I think they are not very large compared to the story itself. The other thing was the characters. Though not well developed (how can you with so little time) you get a general idea of everyone and you tend to figure out personalities. In the end you learn to like most of them, but don’t get too attached, as the title lives up to its name. The only other thing to mention is the opening and ending are perfect for the setting of the series.

I could not help but to look up the games because I enjoyed Corpse Party-Tortured Souls a lot. I have come to find out there are many versions of the game and many different ideas in the games, and the anime is completely original from them all, so even if you played the games, this is new and worthwhile to look up, rather be a fan of the games or a fan of the horror genre.

Extras:

Corpse Party-Tortured Souls: OVA includes clean opening and closing animations and Maiden Japan trailers as special features. This series was released with Japanese with English Subtitles as the only language option.

Overall Grade:B-