Nine students gather in their high school at night to bid farewell to a friend. As is customary among many high school students, they perform a sort of ritual for them to remain friends forever, using small paper charms shaped like dolls.
However, the students do not realize that these charms are connected to Heavenly Host Academy—an elementary school that was destroyed years ago after a series of gruesome murders took place, a school that rests under the foundation of their very own Kisaragi Academy. Now, trapped in an alternate dimension with vengeful ghosts of the past, the students must work together to escape—or join the spirits of the damned forever.
A feast for mystery fanatics, gore-hounds, and horror fans alike, Corpse Party: Tortured Souls - Bougyakusareta Tamashii no Jukyou shows a sobering look at redemption, sacrifice, and how the past is always right behind, sometimes a little too close for comfort.
Hello. Well this was probably the most disturbing thing I have ever seen in my life. Not only is this the most disturbing animated series I have ever watched, it is the most disturbing fiction work I have had the pleasure of experiencing.
This is one of those series that makes you cringe but you still love it because it takes you on a well written story. Where as this is still not my favorite horror anime, I still think that it did an amazing job with what little time it had. It had a story and a conclusion and we were not left with a
cliffhanger like Umineko left us with. But what I really want to emphasis on is the fact that series fit everything into 4, half-hour long episodes. This is amazing for that small length of time.
I also want to bring in the concept of how good the disturbing art was. The art in this series did such a good job at making the art disturbing and grotesque that I almost vomited a couple times throughout the series. I did notice some similarities between this and the Team Silent Silent Hill game's art, what with blood coming down the walls and bodies everywhere, and that was generally a good choice, just to make the series that little bit more disturbing.
The opening theme was pretty good and most of the background sound, or even the lack of sound at points was a good choice for the series. You can really see the inspiration from Akira Yamaoka within the soundtrack and I thought that it was genuinely a good choice to go that way for a horror series.
The place where this series is a bit lacking is the unoriginal cast of characters. Though, to be fair, it is harder to create a cast of characters within this genre of horror that is original while also keeping it in a more modern time line, you could of done better than taking the generic cast of highschool students (2 possible lesbians, 1 guy with glasses, 1 hopelessly brave guy, the little sister, the occult freak, and the guy with no defining features what so ever, otherwise know as the boring guy). But the character of Sachiko was pretty original. Half of the things that happened with this character I didn't see coming and I just love her voice actress.
But for my overall enjoyment. I really enjoyed this series. it was a very genuinely well made horror series that kind of goes away from the norm. I do genuinely believe that there aren't many series that pulled off this sort of thing nearly as well, and definitely not in the same time frame as Corpse Party.
Watching Corpse Party is literally like watching a horror movie. There you are, trapped. Can't even shout, can't even cry, the dangers are coming by. When you realize that death is coming before you, screams are shouted out but you won't be heard. But that's just the beginning. For once you're trapped, Corpse Party will take you to a place where your life will never ever be the same again. (that is if and only if you escape alive)
Corpse Party: Tortured Souls - Bougyakusareta Tamashii no Jukyou (or simply known as Corpse Party: Tortured Souls) is a series of four OVA episodes. The animation is
based off the game and chronicles the events in which a group of young students tells ghost stories at a school known Kisaragi Academy. However, they soon become haunted by the ghosts themselves after the earth shaken and sucks them deep down into the abyss....of the once existent school known as Heavenly Host Elementary School.
As this is a horror theme series, expect dark themes such as blood, gore, and death. I'll just throw a warning sign right now that if you can't take the first episode (or rather the first 20 minutes), then you might not have enough stomach to make it. I'll just say this as bluntly as I can:
This series is about watching kids getting murdered. Got it? Good.
There is a sense of hopelessness in Corpse Party. Because the characters are trapped in this new environment of darkness, they struggle to survive both physically and mentally. The taunting scenes of blood and body parts carves a haunting memory into the characters. In particular, the first episode sets up a graphic premise for a particular girl named Naomi after she witnesses a gruesome death of her friend. It is from there on that we immediately take notice just the grievous situation our characters are in. The deaths and tortures are real and there's no turning back. Rather than a ghost story, this might be the final chapter for our characters' lives. Corpse Party paints such dark themes as the way it conveys itself from the premise.
Happiness though? Honestly, there's none of that anymore. The joy and smiles from the faces of our main characters are wiped forever so don't expect any happy scenes in this episodes. What's more taunting deals with the fact that a few bonding scenes between certain characters are lived out so damn short. It really creates a sense of hopelessness and despair, more fueled so by the way the characters die off so tragically. As the group of students are separated into closed spaces of the alternate dimension, there's little hope of working together to escape. They are literally trapped rats. The souls are the predator and the kids are the prey.
Corpse Party also has a sense of mystery in its atmosphere. The mystery part comes from the Heavenly Host Elementary School where years ago, several staff members and students mysteriously vanished following murders and strange instances. It just happens that deja vu happens again and the murders are reanimated. The mystery aspect can be comparable to Another, Higurashi, and other series involving mysterious murders. The murders themselves are also quite graphic so be wary of gore and violence.
Character wise, the series is only condensed into two hours with these four episodes combined. Hence, don't expect everything to be adapted from the game. Because of that time length issue, most characters only gets some moments; some with drastic exits. The characters themselves tries to figure out not only how to escape but also of the history on what happened previously in the past. This specifically involves the origins of the Heavenly Host Elementary School and the murdered students. It is essential to unlock its mysteries (I guess similar to the game as well) because it will also allow the students to escape. More importantly though, it will also allow them to understand exactly why they were trapped in the first place.
Unfortunately, this series tries a way too hard especially in the violence department. It wastes no time with the blood and violent moments involving various weapons of torture. The taunting screams echoing throughout the school is also too old fashioned. Story wise, it's also quite confusing. Perhaps the length might be the issue here. In short, too many questions with not many clues to go on at first. More frustrating enough is the confusion on who is friend or foe. Plus, let's not also forget the fact that the violence itself serves more as a way to cover up the more exciting mystery aspect of the series. It literally kills any way for viewers to enjoy this series in formulating theories. Most of the time, you'll be watching kids running for their lives against fate even though everything seems to be hopeless. Oh and the supernatural part....kids murdering kids inside a school, ah the irony.
In terms of artwork, I do admit that the series conveys the atmosphere quite well with the gruesome violence. Characters are simple but to the point with nothing too flashy. The murdered kids from years ago all give off a creepy atmosphere by their disfigured faces. Then, there's the school itself or rather more specifically the Heavenly Host Elementary School. The structure of the school is designed to look old, haunted, and creepy. It hardly looks any realistic but definitely fits within the Corpse Party theme.
As soundtrack goes, expect some high standards. What I mean is the quality of the OST as it is strong enough to create a sense of fear for both the characters and maybe even for you, the viewers. The way it is orchestrated is thrilling with tearing vibrations. I have not played the game before but from my understanding, there's some of that original feeling from the game we get into this series. The OP and ED song are also strengths of this series that marks both the beginning and end of each episode. The voice acting is decent to convey the way the characters react to situations with their loud screaming. Their new-found situation has the characters scream at the top of their lungs and the voice actors/actresses does a well job at that. In particular, I find Kitamura Eri and Nakamura Yuuichi's performance to be quite well done.
So ultimately, I think a score of '6' is justifiable for Corpse Party. Oh I'd love to flip that number upside down but the lack of a decent story and destruction of a calm ending makes this a bit frustrating to watch all the way through. Oh and the violence serves as just pure shock value than anything taken for granted. It's also hard to understand certain situations at many stances because you might be more taken in more by the OST and violence than anything else. It's a ghost story gone wrong but I do have to admit that the premise is set up well. The concept's execution is quite gruesome so this might be something you'd watch on some weekend night with your friend while hunting down a scary movie to watch. Rather watching a horror movie like The Grudge, Corpse Party could be the alternative. For me though, this series was crafted out of violence, screaming, torture, and souls. Oh and do yourself a favor:
Don't watch this before you go to sleep. Seriously, don't.
Well...this definitely tortured my soul. "Was it because it was scary?" You might ask. The answer is no. It was simply...mind numbingly stupid. And incomprehensibly bloody. Corpse party is an opera of gore which not only fails as an anime, but also fails on every fundamental level of the horror genre.
The story begins with a group of people in a classroom performing a ritual of some sort. They suddenly and inexplicably get transported into another dimension full of other students who are getting killed by these mysterious ghosts as well as each other. While this may seem interesting enough (to those with twisted minds
who enjoy watching miserable characters suffer immense pain and anguish), one must keep in mind that the producers tried to fit a ton of material into just four episodes. This resulted in Corpse Party being incredibly rushed and full of plot holes. Many things were left unexplained and the anime just felt unfulfilling. Nothing much happened in this show besides tons of mindless killing. The only thing that somewhat redeemed the plot revolved around a little ghost girl and why she dragged these kids into her twisted dimension, though even that was too insignificant to salvage this train wreck.
This might be where the anime failed the hardest. Throughout the entire show all of the characters just mindlessly killed each other or suddenly became absolutely hysterical. Most didn't even bother trying to escape the alternate reality that they were trapped in and were just like "lol, I'm gonna die here anyway, so might as well brutally massacre the other student trapped here with me!" The cast were generally aggravating to watch and the majority of their decisions were nonsensical. The most interesting character was the ghost girl, because the writers at least seemed to try to give her some development, but it still wasn't enough to make me care in the slightest. I also couldn't tell you the name of a single character from this show. They're just that forgettable.
The visuals are pretty average. I thought that the characters looked quite bland and it was always too dark to actually make out the features of the scenery and characters anyway. Then there's the gore, which always came in unrealistic amounts at a time, making moments that were supposed to be horrifying seem almost comical.
I will say that I thought the opening theme was a nice sounding composition. Plus I have no complaints about the soundtrack, which worked efficiently in some situations and gave the show more of an edge. Also the screams sounded painful/hysterical enough to be believable and the maniacal laughs were good. At least the voice actors tried to get the audience to care. The producers should have followed their example.
I was cringing while watching this. Once again I must say that it wasn't because it was "scary"; it was just bad. I really couldn't invest myself in this anime due to it's atrocious story telling techniques. The one good thing about the anime being only four episodes was that I was able to finish it rather quickly.
In conclusion, Corpse Party was just horrendous. I watched it hoping for a horror anime on par with the likes of Higurashi. Instead I got a rushed and poorly designed show that I'm simply better off forgetting. I'd suggest Corpse Party to those interested in media focused on horror and gore (though don't expect much). Otherwise, it'd be best to avoid this anime.
Naming an anime "Corpse Party: Tortured Souls" is like making a promise to the viewer that you're going to deliver with exactly that. It's easy enough to expect the opposite; after all, for some reason a lot of would-be horrifying, gory anime are hit with the unfortunate black bars of censorship, or the convenient off-screen carnage of PG-13 justice, or otherwise just have a mechanism to protect your eyes from seeing violence, even if violence is the reason you're there. Sometimes the Blu-ray edition arrives months later to fix that, and sometimes it just remained unfixed, forever covered in a shining white light across the
screen where entrails should've been visible. In the case of "Corpse Party: Tortured Souls", the title alone brazenly declares that it has torture, corpses, spirits of the dead, and raves. It's practically OBLIGATED to be a gruesome splatterfest, PG-13 be damned.
At first glance, though, it might seem like the odds are against that. There are primarily three sorts of people who would watch this anime: unassuming strangers who want to see high school students get abused by ghosts, unassuming strangers who are squeamish to blood and don't yet know that this anime will feature high school students getting abused by ghosts, and fans of the video game it adapts who want to see their favorite high school students get abused by ghosts, this time animated. However, said source material, Corpse Party (...Blood Covered: Repeated Fear) is a handheld video game that's developed by a rather small studio. So visually, what it can show is inherently limited to pixelated guts and the occasional artist CG. To amend this, the game mainly relies on its excellent audio and writing to convey its horrors. In many ways, reading a lengthy description of a torture scene, alongside the horrifyingly realistic screams of the talented voice cast, is a lot more effective than flatly 'showing' what takes place. To add to that, "Tortured Souls" is actually the second OVA based on the franchise, the first one, "Missing Footage", being more of a trailer. Despite being an OVA and therefore being more immune to censorship than television broadcast series, Missing Footage ended up being censored all the same.
So, taking into account the style of horror displayed in the source material, which is unsuitable to be imitated properly in an animated adaptation, and Missing Footage being an unfortunate display of censorship, there should be no reason to assume Tortured Souls will fully live up to its title. There shouldn't be, and yet, well...
...Corpse Party: Tortured Souls ended up being, quite simply, a slasher film in animated format.
Does it live up to its title? It damn well surpasses the title, as it's not called "Corpse Party: Tortured Souls: Eyeballs Being Skewered by Goddamn Scissors: Now With 50% Less Innards". Basically, they did not hold back. The very concept of "holding back" was brutalized as much as the show's main cast. The result is nothing short of a 2 hour guro display of high school students being violently executed, fitting squarely into the genre of "Slicing of Lives". No censorship whatsoever; no hopes or dreams, either.
Without a doubt, the brutality and even the plot-induced psychological despair deserve some respect for how unadulterated they are. Of course, like quite a few other Japanese horrors, it relies on vaguely sexual gore and excessive violence more so than the "don't look behind your back!" sort of subtle scares (or God forbid jump scares), accomplishing a result that's more 'disturbing' than 'scary', but it executes the former absolutely splendidly while still retaining aspects of the latter. And yet unfortunately, there's still something besides that to be desired, something that's perhaps only noticeable while having the source material as a point of comparison. The more 'refined' elements, the ones that aren't judged by the amount of spleens visible to the naked eye; that is, the characters themselves, and to a lesser extent the plot in general.
Alongside its more subtle direction of horror, the main protagonists in the video game were more than just slaughter material for the villains. In classic utsuge fashion, all the characters that end up dying horribly are to varying degrees likable, given background, motivations, something to make you care for them. Unsurprisingly, though, Tortured Souls ended up suffering from the bane of many, many video-game-to-anime adaptations: time constraints. Jamming lengthy stories into 12 episodes- or in this case, only 4. The characters have been reduced to the absolute basics of what their personalities should consist of. However, unlike most cases, there was a way to make the best out of this predicament, and that was intentionally shifting the focus from the characters to the beheading thereof. It took a more "western" approach to horror, one that doesn't try to make the viewer particularly empathic or attached to the characters, essentially amplifying the raw horror and gore aspects at the cost of the emotional and heartbreaking ones. To this end, the characters were more than just "reduced to their basics", and some of them were altered to act in a stranger way as part of the process of shocking the audience- for instance, altering one of the characters' deaths from a suicide to an armed fit of madness, in the process getting quickly killed by another character.
On the storyline front, the premise is as simple as always. A bunch of teenagers and a teacher accidentally perform a ritual that transports them to the cursed Heavenly Ho- I mean, Tenjin Elementary School, in which dying means experience the pain of your death for all eternity as a soul (a 'tortured soul', if you will). While the plot unsurprisingly progresses a lot quicker than usual and several minor and major plot points are different, none of this is exactly noticeable without being familiar with the source material- which begs the question, does it really matter? All things considered, the result in question is by no means bad. Shallow, arguably, and perhaps even disappointing in some aspects. But 'bad' would be far too much of a stretch. Looking at the production values, most everything is pretty good- sure enough, the animation for most 'normal' scenes isn't the best Studio Asread has produced, especially considering that this is an OVA and not a television broadcast, but the, uh, 'raunchier' scenes are done well and are pleasing to the eyes. In as much as decapitation is capable of being "pleasing to the eyes".
And as the "Party" in the title promises, the soundtrack is great, albeit primarily recycled from the game. The voice cast is terrific, featuring good ol' Pikachu as the main antagonist, and A Certain strangely familiar scientific pairing among the main protagonists. The opening song performed by resident cast member Asami Imai is likewise superb, and the cast's performances are enough to make all the gory scenes disturbing even with the screen turned off. All in all, the audio is very splendidly done.
And so, the main drawback lies with the characters. Even while being a stranger to the franchise, it's easy enough to see that neither the protagonists nor the antagonists are particularly deeply thought out, to the point where it's hard to see them as being a lot more than a hunter and its prey, both serving as the 'trigger' for the violence to occur. But had I been a stranger to the franchise, I would've by no means expected anything really beyond that from something titled "Corpse Party". Considering this and the dramatically different ending, the best way to enjoy Tortured Souls would be to treat it as a standalone creation. This way, Corpse Party: Tortured Souls is a very welcome addition to horror anime, and makes for a great anti-censorship statement, and an example to be followed.
On the other hand, if you find the notion of panty shots flashing directly before the violent mutilation of a schoolgirl to be disagreeable, consider not watching Corpse Party: Tortured Souls, as Corpse Party: Tortured Souls is very, very disagreeable.