Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Director: Akiyuki Shinbo
Genres: Horror, Anime & Manga, Animation
Eiri, the art student-hero of the Gothic OVA Le Portrait de Petite Cossette ("The Portrait of Little Cossette," 2004), falls in love with the mysterious image of a girl he sees within a Venetian glass goblet. As his fas... more »
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Nicole B. from SUN PRAIRIE, WI
Reviewed on 12/14/2007...
If you like visually complex horror-drama, this is quite a find! Great for fans of gothic lolita, or 18th century art, or histories of antiques.
That having been said, while the visuals are stunning, and the musical score is gorgeous, the plot is a bit erratic and hard to follow at times.
From what I've read since I watched it, apparently the story deviates from the the manga. There's a lot of confusing peripheral characters (a doctor, a psychic, the store owner, a love interest, a Buddhist priestess, fellow art students...) that never really make any sense.
I appreciate that, like the main character, you're kind of thrust into a world where you don't know what's going on, or why - and ghosts from possessed antiques attack without warning... but even at the end of the 3 episodes, you're kinda left wondering what just happened.
But it's very well done cinematically - on par with "Perfect Blue," "Ghost in the Shell" and the like.
Pretty pretty poison.
Wonderful Art And Soundtrack With A Difficult Storyline
Saint Dubricius | Eastern Seaboard, USA | 01/17/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Le Portrait de Petite Cossette (The Picture of Little Cossette) has two very positive qualities for anime. First, the animation is the most exquisite I have ever seen in anime and almost each frame is beautifully and artistically composed. Secondly, the soundtrack is sublime and fortunately available as a CD as of this writing. However, excellent animation and beautiful music does not make an anime a guaranteed best seller in the west, but first, a synopsis:
Eiri is a talented Japanese art student who works part-time in his uncle's Tokyo antique shop. Eiri finds an antique Venetian glass from 18th century France and when he looks inside it, he sees played out for him the life of a very young French girl who is ultimately murdered by her fiancee, an up-and-coming artist in Renaissance France.
The objects in the room that witness her murder determine to seek revenge on the soul of Cossette's murderer that has been reincarnated in Eiri. As Eiri falls in love with Cossette, he submits to brutal tortures brought upon him by the objects so the soul of Cossette can eventually find peace.
However, there are complications as Eiri will most likely die from his fanatic devotion to the 250-year-old ghost girl forcing his friends to intervene on his behalf.
There are several reasons westerners struggle with the story line. First, Cossette is a Japanese interpretation of 18th century France which goes against what westerners know of how people lived and behaved during that time period. There is a lot of artistic license to accept here.
Secondly, the advertising gives the impression Le Portrait de Petite Cossette is primarily a love story and it is not. It is primarily a horror story with enough gore to make most cinematic bloodbaths tame in comparison. There is a lot of blood in this picture and both Eiri and Cossette bleed fountains of it. This DVD is not necessarily meal time viewing.
Also, western sensibilities toward gothic lolicon, a Japanese cultural fad centering on the artistic glorification of young girls, would make most westerners uneasy. Eiri is a young man romantically involved with a prepubescent girl even though ghost she may be. By the bye, the nudity warning on the film is inconsequential as it is in outline and washed out.
Finally, the world view of the film is one of Shintoism, the national folk religion of Japan, so the tropes are different from the Judeo-Christian world view the west is familiar with which explains the story line's view on reincarnation and why the objects that witnessed Cossette's murder have individual spirits themselves.
If you are willing to take the story on its own terms, Le Portrait de Petite Cossette has its rewards for the anime fan in the arenas of art and music, and people interested in Japanese culture will find much to consider."
Through the Looking Glass, Gothic Anime Style
Shanshad | Discworld | 02/25/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"My mind is still whirling from this one. La Portrait de Petite Cossette in the most general terms is a gothic ghost story with an anime twist. But that hardly describes what the viewers are getting themselves into. For anyone who thinks anime encompasses animation quality like the drek seen on TV in Pokemon, I'd love to show them something like this, where the animation is nothing less than a work of art. A bloody, twisted and sometimes dizzying work of art, but amazing nonetheless.
The story focuses on the protagonist, a young man named Eiri, who works in his uncle's antique shop. When he encounters a luminescent glass goblet, he begins to see the life of a girl from another time and place. These visions continue to haunt him, pulling him deeper and deeper into the world of Cossette, and away from the everyday world. For 250 years, Cossette has been trapped in the crystal goblet, now Eiri will do whatever it takes to help her. Over the three episodes of this storyline, the truth takes shape and the drama plays out to its powerful and bittersweet conclusion. Now, I'm a fan of the Japanese culture and the twisting, often puzzling jumps of storyline that are the subject of so many anime movies, but I have to admit this one was a little more difficult to grasp than most. Revelations and explanations come piecemeal and don't always seem obvious. The gothic themes tied in with Japanese shintoism and yet employing Christian symbols as well make the underlying messages a bit hard to determine. But I was prepared for that. What didn't work for me were the group of female characters that interact and attempt to help Eiri. There wasn't enough time spent developing them or explaining their involvement for me to identify and understand what their significance to the story was most of the time. It would have helped to have more clarification and more time spent on them within the series.
As to the animation itself, I don't think I can offer enough praise. Brilliantly and lovingly done, with amazing details and artistic care. The colors are rich, the character of Cossette is so vividly drawn and crafted by the animation that we get a real sense of Eiri's growing awareness of her. The theme of glass and glassworks dominates the settings-hinting at what will happen from the very first images. The anime is done artistically rather than comfortably-those who hate images changing quickly, or the rapid interposition of several images, may find this disorienting. As this is gothic anime, expect blood-a lot of it. This is no kind of children's anime, and may not be for those who don't like gore. Still, I didn't find the blood or gore gratuitous and the actual nudity in the anime is blurred and hazy-nothing is actually visual. The sensuality in the story really doesn't go further than kissing, which is just as well, since Eiri is clearly an adult while Cossette, ghost or not, is a child. On the strength of the animation alone, I would recommend taking a look at this if you are fan of this genre, but the music is also exceptional. I will admit to being a fan of Yuki Kajiura's music already, and I immediately recognized her style at the outset of this anime. Yuki manages to capture the ethereal and fragile nature of Cossette and the glassworks exceedingly well, and the result is a breathtaking blend of animation and music.
I will repeat, this is not an anime for children. It's not for anyone who gets nightmares easily or hates the sight of blood. Fans who enjoyed this may also like Kakurenbo, and, if you're into classic anime, Vampire Hunter D.
Happy Viewing! ^_^ Shanshad
Great atmosphere, great story, although confusing the first
Keonyn | Minnesota, USA | 09/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is easily one of the more unique anime titles to come out this year. A gothic title about a young man who becomes obssessed over the spirit of a young girl that's trapped inside an antique glass after being murdered by the man she loved 250 years ago. This can definetely be a difficult story to follow the first time around and is definetely the type that doesn't really start to come together until the very end so it's likely the type you should expect to watch twice.
Visually the anime is quite stunning and the character designs are very well done, especially Cossette who's design reflects the sadness and tragedy one would expect from a trapped spirit. The anime also uses a good deal of "camera" styles and filters to add to the atmosphere of the show although at times the 3D effects look a little out of place but that's a minor issue. Some of the secondary characters are a little too secondary and a few even seem pointless altogether which only makes things seem a little more confusing the first time around than it could have been.
All the audio tracks are quite good, the english script stays pretty much true to the japanese script and the VA's all do a pretty good job. The soundtrack is quite impressive and only adds to the overall atmosphere that much more.
There isn't a whole lot of action or much of anything fast paced in this anime, it is more or less a supernatural love story of sorts, at least that's the best I can explain it. If you're an action fan or just want to see some battles then this probably isn't the best anime for you. Also, you have to go into it knowing that you're not really going to understand it all until the end. This is a great anime though for any that don't mind what I listed above and I certainly recommend it."