Sunday, December 4, 2016

Corpse Party: Tortured Souls


   I'm totally the kind of guy who googles "most violent anime" and then makes a "to-watch" list out of the results. I just really like bloody anime. It's pretty much the only reason I bothered with Elfin Lied. On the other hand, I also really like Japanese ghost stories, so Corpse Party was a no-brainer. I don't have the highest standards when it comes to anime, so I enjoyed Corpse Party fairly well but it desperately needed tighter writing. If it had that, it could have had the potential to be a genre classic. But, it doesn't, and it's not. Which is really a shame.

   The show is about a group of high school friends who complete this little paper charm friendship ritual so they'll be BFFs or something, and it ends up stranding them in a dark spirit realm. The spirit realm is this labyrinthine old elementary school that was home to a series of grisly child murders. So obviously, the place is full of dead bodies, vengeful ghosts and other poor souls who've become trapped and some have gone full psycho. I mean, for the most part I just had little nitpicks throughout about character behavior and odd inconsistencies, but there was one moment that nearly broke the whole show for me.

   One of the teens gets trapped in this spirit school with his little sister- who can't be much older than five, and she has to go pee. So they good looking for a bathroom, I mean... forget the fact the whole place looks like it's been condemned for a fucking decade, LET'S FIND A BATHROOM. Okay, whatever. She's a kid. So, they go roaming around, stepping over dead bodies, avoiding psycho people, and eventually this other little kid shows up (who's obviously a ghost) and the older brother is like yeah, go with her, she'll take you to go pee, I'll just be over here in another room. IN WHAT WORLD IS THAT A GOOD IDEA?

   Obviously the doors lock behind him, and he gets separated from his little sister. It's bad writing on a level so severe, it gave me a headache. There's lots of moments like that. Weak writing seeps in through the cracks, making characters do truly stupid shit. "Let's split up-" how about let's not? I mean, the characters in Scooby Doo behave more competently than this. It's lazy, in my opinion. Maybe I'm being a bit too harsh, but I mean, these kids are suddenly unphased by all the dismembered bodies after minutes of being trapped in this spirit realm? Most of them never seem truly horrified, just kinda spooked momentarily.

   It sorta breaks the immersion. You can't really care about characters so mind numbingly stupid. So when they get stabbed, decapitated, or disemboweled, you kinda just shrug. I will admit though that the writing isn't consistently stupid, just in parts, so some of the character deaths really hit home. The show gets points for being unpredictable. Characters I was absolutely sure would survive got massacred in terrible ways straight off the bat. Others got their deaths later on, but still. Some of the deaths were fairly telegraphed, but plenty of them left me gobsmacked.

   The world building is solid, and the backstory is surprisingly solid as well, but the character writing is pretty subpar. The animation is about as good as you'd expect, nothing special, but not bad either. All in all, if you want a gory, ghost story, you'll have fun with Corpse Party so long as you don't expect too much from it. It gets bonus points for not sparing the kids in this gruesome story. Nobody is safe in Corpse Party, which is probably the best thing about it. It's only four episodes, but it probably should've been another four.

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