"I was really surprised by how much I loved Geneon's "requiem from the Darkness." The short 13 episode anime series really is a breath of fresh air in a genre crwoded with Hulking mecha, predictable harem shows and over-the-top comedy. The series is visually a huge treat. The characters still are anime style but they have a slightly angular/ almost punk comic style to them. The backgrounds are very stylized and feature a amazing combination of art styles and CG work.
The story itself is a simple tale of young Momosuke attempting to collect local ghost stories for his book "100 stories." Along his way he encounters 3 strangers whose job it is to punish wrong-doers with a fate best befitting their crime. Rather than collect ghost stories Momosuke gets caught up in them and bears witness to some of the darker aspects of life in Edo-Era Japan.
The show is violent and features some scary sequences and mature themes but isnt gratuitous in its depictions. Overall the mood is suspenseful with bits of comedy and drama here and there. I recommend the regular verion of this series as oppossed to the boxset. The Boxset has cheap plastic holders (think CD flip book holders) for all 4 DVDs but not the cover art. The boxset is pointless unless you are okay with keeping JUST the DVDs from volumes 2-4 and throwing away the cases and cover art. AT half the price plus with a case to match vols 2-4, the regular version is the way to go.
If you are looking for some beautiful and offbeat anime with a plot this is an EXCELLENT place to start. Don't let this quiet release slip by"
Anime - the Kwaidan (Japanese Ghost story) way
errorfound482 | Walla, walla Washington | 01/19/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I've only watched the first volume which seems to be building up to something, rising to the climax, so I can't give a judgement about the entire series, but...
Everyone's right - this is not your typical anime. If you're looking for animation style, you might be disappointed - it's definitely stylish, with creative ways to use still images (it's not a slideshow... but there's less movement than you would expect). The opening is weird (as in odd), but...
If you're into Japanese Ghost Stories, this is definitely the anime for you. Japansese Ghost Stories have always been told differently than Western Ghost Stories (such as the classic live action KWAIDAN). You can see the roots of tale-spinning which would later evolve to the likes of modern classics like THE RING.
The whole premise is that a writer is seeking ghost tales in order to compile it in a book called "100 Stories", but finds himself encountering actual ghosts while finding a trio of supernatural agents seeking to eliminate these ghosts. Every episode is introduces a new Japanese ghost story.
It's definitely grisly and mysterious with alot of background on Japanese culture. So far the story seems kinda' slow (it's not action-packed) which is also typical of Japanese Ghost stories, but it seems building up to something which I can't wait to find out what. It's quirky though, and I would recommend a rental before buying."
A macabre blend of dark storytelling and disturbing visuals-
August Trelaine | Los Angeles, CA | 10/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Requiem from the Darkness is far from your average anime. This statement, vague but poignant, does well to describe the essence of the series. It isn't normal. It delves into the human psyche in deranged and supernatural ways and, in all honesty, probably shouldn't be viewed by anyone under the age of 16. If made into a movie, an R rating would be more than deserved. But here I am, 13 years old, and after watching the show I'm still alive and kicking. Basically, if you're squeamish, Requiem from the Darkness may bother you at times. Satoshi Kon's masterpiece tends to have some pretty graphic stuff in its openings-case in point, one introduction depicts a grotesque obese man rigorously chomping on what could very well be slabs of human flesh-another shows seven women being burned on stakes, blood running from their eyes. In all fairness, those are the two worst cases, and the main body of the episodes usually don't contain anything close to such violence. The point is you don't want to be giving this to your eight year old.
I've talked about the violence, so I feel obligated to tell of the sexual aspects of the show. Firstly, there's very little-to-no nudity. If memory serves, there are no topless scenes. That is not to say there are not sexually inappropriate episodes. One episode is devoted largely to a scandalous sexual relationship between a father and his (notably over 18) daughter. There are, well, "motions" and a couple flicks of a tongue shone. In the very last episode a shadow of a woman being raped is depicted.
So, understand first that if you're too young to make an Amazon account than you most definitely shouldn't be watching this show. Now, moving on.
While there is an ongoing plot, Requiem from the Darkness is largely episodic till the last few shows. Each episode is an independent, and singularly brilliant, entity in and of itself. The writing and storytelling is simply amazing, the plot lulling you into a trance and capable of rushing you forward at any moment. The tale usually unfolds as you follow the main character, an author looking for stories to write in his book "100 Ghost Stories." The author gets tied in the affairs of three supernatural exorcists, who find and (eventually) murder excessively sinful souls. The exorcists seem to always know what's going on, while the author has to put together the facts like a detective to realize often strange and obscure situations going on around him. The resulting rhythm and story is, simply, magnificent.
If anything is a drawback in the series, it's the animation. Many people criticize its looks, and I can't blame them. The art isn't particularly well done. It is stylistic, in a way I think is good for the show. Only the main characters have detailed faces, crowds and onlookers with strange, almost inhuman looking complexions. The environments are often warped-perhaps not fully in color, or bowing like someone had bent them inward. Some people might think of these effects as a bad thing. I'm personally indifferent.
I'd go on discussing Requiem from the Darkness, but-lo! life is harsh. If you're of age, get this show. You'll not regret it. "
Dark, styled, and macabre...
C. Iverson | East Coast | 05/15/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I wanted to throw in my 2 cents here - I really liked this series. The music is a good creepy mood setter, the character design is unique (I like the Mataichi Gang's caricaturized look and how non-main characters are nearly blankfaced or kind of resemble goblins or elves), and the stories are pretty cool.
In the tradition of many anime I've seen, the story does start a bit abruptly, forcing the audience to simply accept the characters as they are and ride along with the story, which begins with small isolated vignettes connected only by the characters observing, gradually building to a larger plot climax. Regardless, the self-contained stories are entertaining. It's similar to series like Vampire Princess Miyu, and is reminiscent of Tales from the Crypt in its blood-and-gore themed morality tale.
Not for the faint of heart, of course, but definitely entertaining if you're in the mood for some macabre tales to creep you out a bit."
To this DVD I commit thee!
J. Perry | San Francisco, Ca United States | 11/02/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was recommended this by an employee at Suncoast Video at a mall, who claimed not to be into anime. That's a first, a helpful mall employee that wasn't pushing the latest Spiderman flick! It turns out to be as good as she said. Great music, interesting animation, and above all, great storylines that forces you to watch each episode a second, third, forth time!A wonderfully macabre treat that is truely twisted yet frightfully entertaining.I can only wait until December for the second DVD to appear."