Welcome to the Project Hydra for Corpse Party: Tortured Souls, the review series where random AniTAY members review random episodes of a show, without prior knowledge of the shows contents or story. We hope this is as entertaining for you as it was bewildering for us.
Competent, Disturbing, Bizarre. These three things sum up most of Corpse Party: Tortured Souls' first episode for me. It is a creepy, unsettling horror show, even if it feels a bit obvious, and cliché at times.
I'll say up front, I'm not a horror guy generally, and as such have little experience in horror film, and definitely not horror anime. Just so you all are aware, before I continue. The show's general premise is fairly simple, A group of High School friends are enjoying some final moments together, before getting whisked off with their teacher and one of the boy's little sister into an alternate dimension comprised of an elementary school, haunted by a malicious force out to kill/ royally disturb them all. It's simple, and it works.
Atmosphere: This show is a master of atmosphere, within the first half minute, I knew what I was in for. The music and sound effects are excellent, setting mood perfectly, and man, that eerie children laughter… it's just creepy.
The show also has some interesting visual hints and symbolism, most of which is unexplained at this point. Clocks that move erratically, hallucinations, random rotting corpses etc. As a first episode, keeping most of the reasoning behind the curtain is good, as it builds suspense and the mystery keeps me on my toes.
The Characters: The Cast, for the most part is fairly generic, and looks to be a group of likable, walking death flags. Most of them were given little to no backstory, or defining traits, and besides the group's already existing friendship, we barely have much reason to care for these kids.
The Subtlety (or lack thereof): This show is not a subtle show, the only form of subtlety i've found is their foresight in not showing all the scares right away, but otherwise the show is very opaque in presentation, almost everything creepy is shown large, and imposingly, like the clock, the guts, and the tilted camera angles. Not that obvious tactics are bad, just obvious tactics are obvious.
The use of fanservice: There are 3 main fanservice shots which just drew me out of the story. First is the accidental pervert shot in the flashback scene. Now thematically it lightens the mood as a joke, but it didn't have to be the boob joke did it? Also that was the least convincing way to have a terrified guy to accidentally grope a girls breasts. Seriously, at arms length, standing up, facing one another? At least have him hug her from behind then out of terror. The 2nd one is the Lesbian shot, which did give Seiko a character quirk, but still it seemed out of place. Now the third shot is the most unforgivable, the ghost attack scene. I mean that is a spiritual torture scene, and you ruin it with a panty shot, and borderline tentacle rape! Come on, why? This is supposed to be terrifying, don't jolt me out of the experience by focusing on the girls panties!
Idiotic Ideas: Okay, I know splitting up is a cliché/death flag in horror films, but the whole "I dropped my charm back there," is so stupid. (Baka! *cough*) I mean didn't you all put them in your wallets? So where's your wallet? - Maybe if losing the charm becomes a death flag for other characters later on, that might make it more forgiveable in this instance (but not less stupid).
Death, Death and lots more Death. Also I hope that there will be some explanations on how this whole creepy school works and why, or at least thematic closure if not exposition.
Would I watch more? Yes... I think I would. Corpse Party: Tortured Souls starts on a decent footing as a horror anime, with potential for greater things. Hydra Head #1's recommendation: Try it.
This is Part 1 of Project Hydra for Corpse Party, written by Krakken_Unleashed and Coordinated/Edited by Rockmandash12. You can find the rest of the parts here, and if you want to see more Project Hydra, check the Project Hydra Tag on AniTAY. For an explanation of what Project Hydra is, check this out. You can join the fun on our Sunday Cafes or by posting your own articles on Kinja with the Ani-TAY tag.