Category Archives: ReAnimeTion

Dead Cells – Horror News

Horror News is the “Motion Comic Series” offered from Tomotoon, part of Next Media Animation. It began streaming in April 2014. It is a motion comic/manga style story covering a handful of creepy tales, with the wraparound story being that of the mysterious publication the Horror News itself.

But first, some horror news because it has been a while. The winter here is harsh and cold, what can I say. Attack on Titan has people excited in advance since it won’t be out until 2016. Tokyo Ghoul 2 has come and gone. Psycho Pass and Diabolik Lovers have had an OVA each and there are three vampire series on right now that I’ll get into another time. Speaking of vampires I picked up the series Shiki, which may be up next if I don’t get around to new Tokyo Ghoul first. I’m half through Shiki right now, and it is pretty good.

Never did get around to covering my top hentai for Chris Excess. He had been on the Dead As Hell Horror podcast from time to time as well, and for that I do apologize. I just haven’t been in a hentai mood I guess, but I will leave you with this. Frantic, Frustrated and Female. FFF or F3, was one I had very shyly lent to me just after it came out in 1994 and was likely the most funny and cute hentai I had ever watched. It is basically about a girl who cannot achieve orgasm and resorts to all sorts of crazy antics to rectify this. She eventually becomes possessed by an incubus with ridiculous results. The best part is that ‘F’ is the sixth letter of the alphabet, making this one a little extra satanic.

I also had a request from a more different Chris, the host of Bind Torture Kast which just happens to be my most favourite horror podcast of all time. Devilman was one of his suggestions and now I have to decide if I want to watch the series from 70s or the OVA from 1987 or 2004 – it will likely be the first OVA since I’m sure that was the one that is on his mind and the first one I saw too – and I have to decide that before the remake gets released this Fall. Yes another remake, because that’s what the world needs is more Devilman.

So, Horror News. It was a fun watch and only crossed my desk because it had Horror in the title. I dont even remember how i came across it, but being a journalist, the news part caught my eye too.

The description on Crunchyroll reads…  “Rei Kigata is a boy, a first year middle schooler at Ishido Middle School. He is not a believer of any paranormal phenomena such as existence of ghosts or spirits of any kind, but one day at midnight, while he is asleep, a mysterious newspaper called ‘Horror News’ is delivered to his room. The newspaper tells a story in which one of his teachers at the school will get killed in a car accident the following morning and Kigata will be a witness of the accident. The story turns into a fact the following day and since then, the mysterious newspaper is delivered every night”

Sixteen short chapters run about 10 minutes each and makes a great story to watch on your mobile device – not something anyone would usually recommend for an anime, but that is what these shorts are perfectly designed for. You can watch them all in one run just as easlity as you can watch them one at a time.

The first two chapters introduce you to the mysterious Horror News publication that Rei receives at midnight.

Chapters are otherwise grouped together by color coded titles. And it is more confusing to explain than be subject to. Episode 16 and 12 are called Pages In Black, which are folk tales. Episode 4 and 13-15 are Pages In Red, which are bizarre tales. episode 1 to 3 and 11 to 12 are Pages In White, or ghost stories and some of my favourite. Episode 6 to 9, Pages in Blue are science fiction and in my opinion the most boring. Just not for me.

I’ve been told it is a chinese motion comic style, and a little like Speed Racer in tone, the characters are very one dimensional in more ways than one. if you liked Yamishibai, or Japanese Ghost Stories,  you may like this. Another fun one is ‘I Luv Halloween; from Tokyo Pop – I love Tokyo Pop and Halloween, so go figure.

The deaths are really pretty bloody just cartoony of course and there sure aren’t many. We get to see a lot of Rei’s best derp faces and him exclaim in shock, disbelief, fear, then mental anguish; usually in that order. And usually every episode because he is a jumpy kinda guy.

It has a dim, colorful and slightly dark color palate that uses a lot of blues and reds. something like an aged comic book look to it. For an interesting read, check their wikipedia entry under Next Media Animation and how they develop motion comic for newscasts, let alone their more colourful social media antics.

If there are negatives to this series – not including whether you like the style or not, they would be that the collection of tales go from creepy and personal, to traditional and terrifying to aliens and yeti then just kind of peters out on the curse of the pharaohs. There is no real related thread and the last episode doesn’t even follow the main character on any sort of adventure but is the audio equivalent of him reading to us a grade school essay on King Tut. The device of the actual Horror News newspaper is largely abandoned by the end. This is unfortunate since I really liked the Horror News newspaper as a character, which it had become.

On the plus side, they hit on ghosts, possession, vampires, doppelgangers, the yeti and just lots of random death and screaming. Quite a mix. In a lot of other applications, this tactic would be aggravating because they are really all over the map yet due to the short duration, they get away with it.

The entire series is available on crunchyroll and like I said best watched on a tablet or mobile. I tried finding it in the Tomotoon site but it wasn’t featured and I sadly only speak English. So I don’t know if there are more episodes coming, it doesn’t look like it, but who knows.

So this is Dead Cells, a horror anime podcast and symbiot to Dead Air. If you want more horror, Wes ‘Dead Air’ Knipe and I podcast bi-weekly and you can find us at Dead Air on soundcloud, stitcher, itunes, facebook, twitter and likely wherever you are listening to this right now. If there is anything you think I should watch, let me know in the comments, at typicallydia on twitter or facebook and wherever you hang out online.

Dead Cells horror anime podcast: Hell Girl

Hi there, this is typicallydia and I am here on Dead Cells, part of splatterpictures.net to talk about “Hell Girl”. This is a good, though pretty sleepy anime. You know how when watching “X Files”, you kinda get quiet, you kinda get melancholy. you kinda turn inward and dissect humanity under the microscope – or telescope – that the show provides. It never hurts when Scully poses her emo diary entry in soliloquy at the end. The feels. The actual thought provoking is maybe what you didn’t expect from a sunday night television – and it is not what i expected from this anime.

From the friendly neighbourhood wikipedia entry Hell Girl is “also known as Jigoku Shōjo: Girl from Hell, and is an anime series produced by Aniplex and Studio Deen. It focuses on the existence of a supernatural system that allows people to take revenge by having other people sent to Hell via the services of the mysterious titular character and her assistants who implement this system. Revenge, injustice, hatred, and the nature of human emotions are common themes throughout the series.”

That’s a really wordy explanation. Hell Girl is available through a website called the Hell Link, where you initiate a ‘hell correspondence’. You type int the name of someone you want sent to hell. Hell Girl will appear, explain to you the terms of the agreement. Meaning, they will go to hell but your soul will also go to hell once you die a natural death. She’ll hand you a straw doll and you can contemplate this while… hanging out with your straw doll? It has a red string around its neck. So once you are really sure, you pull that red string. Hell Girl will appear again, and sell that person’s soul to hell immediately.

This is one of the first anime I watched when I first discovered Crunchyroll streaming over WiFi the last time I was in college. It comes from Studio Deen who have brought us Pupa, Is This A Zombie?, and other harem, crime, romance and slice-of-life animes. All in all a rounded if not slightly cheesy company.

Themes in the first season seem to really focus on bullies. You know, it gets better, right. Well, no. You make it better. If you can’t make it better – and some people really try to – you just send you enemies to hell.

This is where you meet Ai Enma, her grandmother, and three helpers. Wanyudo is an elderly traditional Japanese man who transforms into the black straw doll. He also changes into her chariot sometimes that she takes to the mortal plane. He seems to be her moral compass.

Ren is her blue straw doll. A good looking younger man, he is also represented as an eye that looks down on humans under scrutiny. He observes their actions and tries to see what condemned them to hell or spurred them to use the hell correspondence. He was a sword in a former life! So he is against bloodshed and is maybe an aspect of Hell Girl’s humanity.

Hone is a beautiful woman who is represented with a red straw doll. In her former life she was forced into a brothel and remains very romantic yet jaded. Hone Onna is a form of a revenge spirit or yokai that allows her to show her form as a bone woman or decaying corpse, much to the dismay of those unfortunate to accompany her and Hell Girl on the ferry ride to hell.

Kikuri is an annoying and adorable little ragamuffin brat that kicks around both the human realm and the shores of hell. She mostly gets in the way and ruins things. A real imp. I like her.

Yamarawo is the yellow straw doll, but i haven’t watched season three yet, so i’ll do another segment when i have.

Now, the hell correspondence. The Hell Link. The web site plays a huge role as almost a character in and of itself. With all of the time we spend online it is a wonder that all we’ve come up with is how to send your enemy sparkles. We all know how that went. If you could send someone to hell would you? Who would you send? Would you be fine with your soul consigned to hell after the deed is done? its easy to sit and watch others do it. they are getting their comeuppance and the people being ferried to hell really deserve it. But, would you?

There are some really great aspects of society covered that usually get poked fun at in other anime but here can be boiled down to their basest elements. The loss of a child. A lover scorned. Sibling rivalry. these are the near everyday themes that are torn away at, layer by layer until you agree the wrongdoer should be held accountable. The victim is right. Someone needs to go to hell.

The last episodes of either season are certainly worth watching if you are looking for a story arch. Otherwise, the stories are an anthology series and somewhat repetitive. The beginnings have similar elements as you are introduced to the players for the episode. The endings are all similar as the person who was cursed by someone they knew is ferried to hell. But then, any fan of horror is used to repetition in some form. Slashers, revenge and possession films tend to veer into an ad lib script. And there is a beginning-middle-and-end formula to follow in most horror so we cant complain too much can we.

 

There isn’t much gore, though there are some pretty intense reveals and some twisted scenes when they head to hell – the series also deals with some pretty twisted thoughts. Just the way some of these revenge plots come about. Most of them are pretty sad. So yeah. If you wanna watch sad stories that are thought-provoking if not morose that always end with someone going to Hell, then Hell Girl is your thing.

The animation style is pretty plain, as is the music. For the opening theme there is a soft pop song that is catchy and upbeat and a brooding, slower closing song. Not grating at all but not particularly memorable. The show is more haunting than anything. That is maybe the best word I can think of to describe why I like it.

I love the look of Ai. at Fan Expo a few years ago there was a cosplayer dressed as sailor outfit Ai, complete with red scelera contacts and had cut her hair into a hime style with blunt cut varied length bangs, instead of using a wig. Ai wears a few outfits through each episode, another formula mirroring the beginning-middle-and-end. A sailor suit that she appears in on earth and while chillin out at home, contemplating her cursed life over blood red spider lilies reflected in the River Styx.  When she is finished bathing in said river she wears a white under kimono, then dons a psychedelic floral swirling technicolour thing that she wears to send souls to hell.

Lovely stuff.

Anyhow, those who like quiet, brooding horror and strange tales will like Hell Girl. Season two and three (Two Mirrors and Three Vessels) stream on cruchyroll, and the first season is widely available. Asking your local comic book shop to order a copy is likely the best idea.

some of the stuff I have my eye on is the upcoming season of Attack on Titan, which will be a while, the second season of Tokyo Ghoul which I’ll be in on soon, remaining Parasyte and its live action counterpart and some new vampire themed anime. Vampire Holmes piques my interest buuuuut I’m looking more forward to Kekkai Sensen, otherwise known as Blood Blockade Battlefront. a nice dark vampire occult story that will help balance my love of Blood Lad. while I do enjoy Blood Lad as much as I enjoyed Is This A Zombie I’m not sure how to approach them on Dead Cells. maybe a comedy episode? We shall see kids, we shall see. In the news is also an anime entitled ‘Horror News’ conveniently enough. It is on crunchyroll right now so once I’m done reading books for the upcoming dark side tour and watching films with Wes ‘Dead Air’ Knipe for Dead Air and splatterpictures.net I’ll be settling into the time vampire that is horror anime.

 

Dead Cells horror anime podcast: Deadman Wonderland

Today on Dead Cells we are going to talk about Deadman Wonderland.

This one is from from Manglobe, who also worked on Dante’s Inferno: An Animated Epic, and Samurai Champloo. This was a one season, twelve episode anime aired in spring 2011. Right now, you can catch it on Netflix, Funimation and sometimes The Cartoon Network.

I loved the first episode and while I liked the season, it never quite lived up to that level of carnage. if you are just idly checking this out for the gore, the first episode is totally worth it. by the last two episodes it comes around again with a lot of really brutal kills and madness galore, but I felt I was wading through the storyline for the sake of characters that would be introduced just to be killed off which is essentially what happened –  though the lingering death scene in episode 9 was pretty cool.

A summary from the Deadman Wonderland wikia reads: “Deadman Wonderland is about Ganta Igarashi being sentenced to death for a crime he didn’t commit. He is sent to the privately run prison Deadman Wonderland, where he meets his lost childhood friend, Shiro. He soon figures out he isn’t like any normal prisoner, but that he’s a Deadman, someone who has a Branch of Sin. This means he can control his blood freely. He is sent to G Ward and meets all the other Deadmen. They discover a plot set up by the Chief Warden Tamaki that has to do with the Red Man, the man who has framed Ganta into Deadman Wonderland.”

29 kills in the first episode alone. no wonder I fell for this off the bat. The Red Man is the mysterious antagonist that slaughters Gantas class before his very eyes. this is the crime he is framed for. during that first massacre, he is infected with a parasite that appeared during a devastating quake that produced the Red Hole, which is almost all that is left of Tokyo afterward. Ganta barely recalls the quake that killed his family, and it seems the families of most of his classmates and many of his future prisoner friends also perished in this tragedy.

It seems i liked nearly every character except the lead role. The simpering emo whining of Ganta drives me berserk. I get it. he’s human. he’s fifteen. he’s in jail and all of his friends and family are dead. sure. but wow. can it! if he doesn’t trip, fall down, whine, or doubt himself to hell in back every episode, it’s a miracle. Sometimes he is like the Caillou of anime.

Crow, or Senji, is pretty bad ass. The thirteenth bonus episode is devoted to his backstory, which just leads me to think he could have been expanded upon within the series proper, or adding to a second season. His relationship with Ganta eventually develops into what saves the storyline and Ganta entirely in my opinion, as teacher and student.

Ganta reminisces on how he knew Shiro when they were kids, and it is kind of touching and also introduces the Visco Elastic Soldier Aceman. This is a fictional show that Ganta was a fan of as a kid. I don’t know about you, but I certainly had a fixation on Gatchaman and maybe even HeMan when I was a kid, so chibi Gantas fixation on Aceman is totally relatable if not straight up adorable.

Shiro is another beast altogether. skin tight lycra outfit aside she is super fun and just a perma kid. since I have a huge amount of permakid wriggling inside me I really related to her. From what I read on wikipedia you can unlock her costume after playing through Lollipop Chainsaw, but even that doesn’t tempt me to play that game. i like her as a female character that is not yet hypersexualized and retains her childlike exuberance for adventure and sweets even though she can kick major ass and is pretty much immune to all the things going on around her precisely because of those two things.

Chang and en are fascinating and two of the three albinos in the story, Shiro being the other. They are the Directors bodyguards and though we see very little of them are quite striking in their look and limited backstory. These twins are in fact named after the famous and at one time longest living Siamese twins, Chang and Eng. being a fan of oddities, I noticed this hommage right away. always drawn to twins, I wish they’d played a larger role.

The chief warden makina is a super cool character that remains far too underdeveloped. its okay if you don’t relate to or get attached to anyone in the group of rebels she is fighting for that matter since they get wiped out almost as fast as you get used to them being around. She is around until the end, and though interesting her character remains very surface level.

It seemed so much storyline was wasted in this freedom fight thing :/ although it did introduce you to the gestapo style Undertakers, a breed of guard that is pitted against the deadmen when the prison is at a loss to control them.

One of the few showcased female Deadmen, Minatsuki aka hummingbird seems to be there as fan service. the psycho nymph type. with Shiro flaunting her lovely hair and perfect though fully clothed body, I suppose it is needed for some who come for the flesh to be sated. I found her boring and cliche, though a really good vehicle for brutal language and distressing adult themes.

Mockingbird however, is none of those things as a bisexual-ish and androgynous blood tasting type, he is the strongest deadman and can absorb powers not unlike the X-Men rogue. we only get to meet the coolest deadman, mockingbird, at the end and that is a real shame, though on the other hand, another point of redemption within the last four episodes. I probably like him best since not only is he super crazy strong, has a really cool way of coming about in the anime, but is also a male version of Shiro.

Throughout the series, their weapons get increasingly bloody, and that is what I stayed for. The Branch of Sin as it is called, is blood from the Deadmens bodies that has solidified and can be melded by their will. They were infected by the Nameless Worm during the Great Tokyo Earthquake where many lost their lives. Upon rebuilding, Deadman Wonderland was built at the epicentre as a massive prison reminiscent of The Running Man, the film with Arnold Schwarzenegger and the novel by Stephen King. Those that enjoyed that movie and shows like The Hunger Games and Battle Royale will love the game show atmosphere. I sure did.  Then again, I am also a huge fan of horror anime and Most Extreme Elimination Challenge so you can see why I love this blend so much… or well, wanted to love it. it’s not without it’s faults for sure. what this falls prey to is late introduction of too many characters stealing stage from the three or four that have been developed and you actually care or wonder about.

There could have easily been two seasons with what material there is regarding Shiro, The Red Man, the Deadmen, the Branch of Sin… all of that is sort of dulled for the sake of some kind of military and political intrigue. I found a lot of the drama quite boring  – and that is not just the horror hound in me howling, it really was that boring. The game show atmosphere, the fights, the relationships between Ganta, the two girls and Crow were ten times more fascinating. This is one where it may do well to read the manga which is getting a North American release as we speak thanks to Viz media who have picked up the series..

The opening theme song is pretty brilliant. Typical japan-american-fusion-metal from Fade but for once the song actually has something to do with the story. Pretty catchy song and nice and heavy which fits the theme well. Within incidental music, I hear some twin peaks Laura’s theme and beautiful people by Marilyn Manson type riffs.

There were rumors of a second season and I really hope there will be one. it would be good timing as there is an extra boon to gory horror action anime since streaming and pay services have been popularized more and more with the great titles coming out and accessibility of these services.

I may sound like I’m on the fence and maybe I am. while I liked the basic story, I could have done without the embellishment of freedom fighting and delved more into the histories of the inmates and the warden, the promoter and the director, let alone all of the initial deadmen we meet. the end was a bit of a tease as the audience is privy to things ganta isn’t. had he not hinted in the last three minutes that he would continue his quest to have his questions about the death of his classmates answered, there would be no need for a second season really. it could have ended with one line… a line you will know when you hear it, right before the very last scene.

Also, for the lack of sex I don’t think anyone even kisses, don’t think it is without very brutal adult themes. some of the words that are used will be intensely offensive to some delicate little flowers out there. as will two scenes of animal violence. i wouldn’t say the animal deaths are gratuitous at all, and they are both intrinsic to the plot. I’m personally okay with their use here but some draw a hard line with that so be warned.

Next, I’d like to talk about Hell Girl. I’ve watched this off and on and since it isn’t entirely linear, and not a splatter horror i think it would be a nice break from all this blood. We can get into a little more psychological and social horror in the vein of Death Note with a little X Files and Final Destination. Thank you for listening and if you have anything that you think I need to watch for Dead Cells, let me know here splatterpictures.net, on twitter, tumblr, instagram or wherever you hang out online.