It’s been a while since I did one of these. As usual, I’ll look at my most recent review and one other. In this case, the most recent review was for something terrible so the other one is going to have to be good. As usual, there will be spoilers in this. So, if you haven’t seen Yami no Matsuei and are going to want to you might not want to delve further. I guess that’s also true for Tortured Souls, but its entertainment value comes primarily from its over the top goofiness, so spoilers are less important.
Corpse Party: Tortured Souls:
- Tongue-in-cheek Dialogue. Honestly, the easiest way to make Corpse Party a better series would be to transform it into a straight up parody and, given how over the top the series already is, all you’d have to do for that would be to change the dialogue to be more aware and call it a horror parody. You could have the characters draw attention to the fact that Yuka acts like she’s four and use her to make fun of the trope of having teenagers or grown ass adults act like small children. You could also have the characters draw attention to how goofy the monsters look and how stupid the whole situation is. Alternatively, you could have them continue to act like idiots, but in a way that makes it clear that it’s self-aware.
2. More Subdued Gore. Let’s say, for a moment, that you still want this series to be “horror.” The first thing to change in order to make that more effective would be the gore effects. As is, they look ridiculous and over the top. Mayu getting slammed into a wall by ghost children and turning into a puddle of mush is really damn funny. The scene where the anatomical dummy is stabbing Yuka and takes out her eye should be grotesque, but it’s so over the top that it really comes across as more absurd than anything else. A lot of the other deaths are unintentionally funny too, but those two are the most poignant examples. The gore gets so overdone that it swiftly loses any potential dramatic impact. Sometimes, less is more and this would definitely be one of those cases. Instead of focusing so much on excessive gore that looks silly, just use a more subdued, realistic level. It will come across as much more disturbing and work much more effectively for a horror piece.
3. Smarter Characters. This is another factor that really needs improved for this to work as an actual horror piece. These characters are just too stupid. Whether it’s Naomi trying to get Seiko out of a noose by pulling her legs (because that’s how you stop the noose from tightening around someone’s neck) or Yuka acting like she’s four or five instead of fourteen or Mayu sitting with the stupid looking zombie ghost children and having a nice chat, because something missing the top of its head is surely trustworthy. These characters act absurdly stupid. It doesn’t make you want to see them get through this, it makes you think that they’re too stupid to live.
4. Emphasise the Madness. I touched a bit on how the space they’re in supposedly drives you to murderous madness, but the only characters they touch on that with are Morishige and Naomi. If the series had focused less on its goofy looking monsters and more on the characters being driven slowly to madness, then it could have served to really develop them into real characters instead of caricatures of stereotypes while creating a claustrophobic atmosphere in which they really can’t trust one another because one of them could snap at any time. Base the horror on that atmosphere and that psychological trauma and you’ve got some stuff that’s actually terrifying instead of just over the top and gory.
5. Show no Monsters. This goes along with the last point and the fact that the monsters look ridiculous. Show signs of subtly done gore, some corpses strewn about and have evidence that something went down but don’t show what happened. Thereby giving you a chance to build mystery over whether there are actually monsters or whether the people killed each other. You could keep that mystery up until the survivors actually encounter Sachiko at the very end.
Yami No Matsuei:
1. The Pacing. This was, without a doubt, the biggest issue with the series. There were several plot points that got barely glanced over or don’t get explained very well.The problem is that J.C. Staff does about the best they can with the time they’ve got and the arcs they use. Honestly, the only two ways to really fix it would be to have more episodes or to skip one of the arcs and use that time to better develop the others. Frankly, I’d be prefer more episodes because I’d like to see more of this in anime form.
2. Stock Footage Attacks. Having stock footage attacks can, somewhat, work in things that are more light-hearted like magical girl works, but they really don’t work in something like Yami no Matsuei that’s more serious and has a lot of darker elements.
3. Don’t call it Horror. This is a nit-picky one, but this is really a supernatural drama. It shouldn’t have the horror label.
4. The rape flashbacks. Okay, so part of Hisoka’s backstory is that he was molested by Muraki and Muraki spends a lot of the series trying to force himself on Tsuzuki. Overall, this is handled pretty well, respectfully and with the gravity it deserves. That being said, the flashback scenes where they illustrate what Muraki did to Hisoka without actually showing it can be a bit awkward. I’m not saying that they should actually show that in detail, because they really shouldn’t, but those scenes could have definitely been handled more effectively.
5. A romance arc without the leaps. This is a pretty minor one since the romance between Tsuzuki and Hisoka is really good, but their relationship does leap a bit. And what I mean by that is that it moves forward really substantially without any real reason. I’m sure that it’s mainly because the anime skips some story arcs and those probably show their relationship’s development more completely, but it’s still a bit of an issue in the anime version.
So, those are my suggestions for how these two series could have been improved. Feel free to agree, disagree or throw in your own ideas.