Tired of writing riddles for children, Yamaoka Momosuke plans on gathering spooky and gruesome stories and publishing them in an anthology called Hyakumonogatari ("One Hundred Tales"). While researching these old myths and legends he comes across a mysterious trio who call themselves the Ongyou. They are detectives who are investigating the legends to reveal their truths...and bring those in the wrong to justice. Each time Momosuke meets the Ongyou he must face horrible truths and battle with his morals, but he's seeing things he shouldn't be seeing...
Hundred stories, More commonly known as "Requiem From the Darkness" is a horror anime like no other. 13 episodes of the most disturbing and gory stories you'll ever witness. The basic plot of the story is about a young man who is an author journeying to lands where there are mysterious rumors in order to write a book of 100 Japanese horror stories. Every time he encounters the supernatural though he runs into a group of the "Exorcists" traveling Japan to destroy the darkness in people's hearts.
Story: Each episode is a separate story in another village, but even though its "Episodic" the relationship between main
characters is still developing. Most episodes start with a very disturbing scene, usually a brutal murder that hints at the "Darkness" behind the episode~ it really pulls you in from episode one~ The first half is setting the stage and characters for the story and how the main character the author meets them. The second half of the episode is discovering the malignant evil in the perpetrator~ catching him commit his crime, and then the exorcists killing him in some manner.
What really sets this apart from other anime is the length it went to in shock value; most episodes revolve around the murder, rape, and or plain torture of women and small children...And the story is played out in a way you never see it coming~ Be warned that this is Rated R for these reasons... if you have a weak constitution to gore or horror in general I wouldn't advise you watch this series. No matter how much you think "They're not going to show it... they're going to pane away..." they do show it... generally in the most gruesome manner and in slow motion.
Art: The art is very... "Original" I guess~ It is not Standard animation which gives it a nice flair sometimes~ But on some occasions the animation is just so overdone in its unique style that it doesn't look nice on the eyes, or you don't even know whats happening.
Sound: The opening and ending are nice, I don't know if they really match with the feeling of the anime, but they're ok; the ending is very calming... which may be something you need to hear after some of the crazy conclusions to episodes. The OST music didn't stick out very much, but it wasn't poorly done at least and it effectively portrayed the mood.
Character: The main character balance is a little off; they were original I suppose, but the story almost flows without their presence since each episode is about the episodic characters than the main characters usually (Similar to Jigoku Shoujo).
Enjoyment: 95% of the episodes were original and had me on the edge of my seat. They broke so many expectation barriers on Gore... and even more socially taboo things which I will leave as teasers for people who haven't seen the show. If you're more of a fluffy luv luv anime lover, or want some luls... this definitely is not the anime for you~ But if you're thirsting blood and hellish plot twists this anime is right up your alley.
The main character, Momosuke, is a young writer whose ambition is to create an anthology of disturbing stories and mysterious country tales. On his trip researching the local legends he comes across the Ongyu - an odd trio of travelers in search for the wicked (each episode is about a different person in a different place) and handing out punishment for previous sins. The young author joins their travels and witnesses just how corrupt can people get. On his way he'll have to question his own morality, as the trio's ways of treating their "victims" is very cruel both mentally and physically.
Art is what
dragged me into the anime. Just as the story dives into the darkness of human souls, the art gives the atmosphere. Hundred Stories does not have your typical style. Very few characters look like normal poeple - most are deformed in one way or another, the surroundings are dark and often quite literally twisted, setting the mood for all the disturbing things the viewer is about to witness. And beleive me - many scenes here are pretty graphic, so don't even touch this anime if you can't stand the sight of blood and voilence.
To summarize, if you're looking for a happy, warm anime, stay away. On the other hand, if you enjoy taking a trip into twisted darkness, don't mind blood and gore and love sinister plot twists, this is an anime you've been looking for.
Kousetsu Hyaku Monogatari is an anime based on the writing of Kyogoku Natsuhiko. It was handled by TMS Entertainment, the same studio behind Detective Conan and Monster Rancher. So, how does a studio like that manage with a horror series? Let's take a look and see.
We open with a writer named Momosuke. Turns out, he's going on a trip to gather information to write an anthology of a hundred tales. While walking on a rainy night, he nearly falls off of a cliff only to be saved by a traveling monk named Mataichi. Mataichi gives Momosuke directions for a place he can stay
and gives him an ominous warning to go straight there. In the dark, Momosuke stumbles into a derelict looking building where a second traveling monk has shown up. Inside, Momosuke sees that Mataichi is there as well. Mataichi laments Momosuke's inability to listen to people's advice and tells him he's going to see something terrifying. This begins Momosuke's association with Mataichi, Ogin and Nagamimi, three people who find people guilty of horrific crimes and conduct summary executions against them after frightening them into revealing the truth.
Let's get into the negative aspects of the series right away. The first is that it relies a lot on coincidence. Once the series gets going there's active trickery to get Momosuke involved in the plot, but early on he just manages to stumble into Mataichi and his group by sheer plot convenience. There's also the issue of him not having much to do in most of the episodes. There are a few where he plays a prominent role in the setup, but in most of them he either makes an incompetent attempt to help the criminal or he observes what's happening from the side-lines and contributes absolutely nothing of value. The reason we follow him being to give us a more outsider's perspective. Like in Yami no Matsuei, the horror elements are largely just dark and disturbing content, but nothing that's actually apt to frighten anyone. The ending is mixed. There is some good setup leading up to it, but the payoff is pretty weak.
There is also quite a bit about the series that's good. The premise is genuinely interesting and used to pretty good effect in most of the scenarios. The episodes are a bit formulaic, but there is more than enough variety in the setup and execution of them to keep it compelling. The dark content is handled decently, in spite of every scenario save one being completed in a single episode. I also like the way that the supernatural aspect is handled, but I can't go into too many details on that one without giving away spoilers.
Most of the characters in this series are a bit under-developed and I'm not just talking about the one-shot characters who appear in a single episode, which is the bulk of the characters in the series, or the supporting characters who appear in brief scenes throughout the series. No, I'm talking about the main cast. You never learn much about Mataichi's group beyond some sparse backstory details and basic character traits. Most episodes focus on their target and steadily reveal details about their crime throughout, although even these characters aren't particularly well developed or complex since most of their traits are based on their crimes with a very basic explanation for why they do it. As such, getting invested in the scenarios can be difficult. Momosuke is the most complex character in the series, having a pretty substantial character arc and undergoing changes as a result of everything he goes through.
The art has an unusual style. Everything has a textured look to it, kind of like the art of Gankutsuou, but more subdued. They also draw most of the random people in the crowd with very undetailed, blank faces which just kind of blend together. The details on the backgrounds are pretty muted and basic as well. Although I'm not sure if it's laziness or that they thought the series aesthetic would work better if people and things in the background were kept with minimal details. The series does have some obtrusive fan-service, particularly with some of Ogin's scenes, but there isn't a huge amount. I will give them credit in that the imagery that's supposed to be disturbing is very effectively done and the designs for the major characters are nicely handled.
The voice acting is really good. Seki Toshihiko, Wakamoto Norio, Nakao Ryuusei & Kobayashi Sanae voice our main cast and they all do a great job. Although it is a little strange to hear Cell and Freeza give performances together in a serious anime. The music itself is mostly really good at helping set the tone, but sometimes it's used to create a tonal clash which may or may not work depending on your perspective.
There is no ho-yay in this. There's very little romantic content at all and what there is is het.
Kousetsu Hyaku Monogatari is an anime with some good, compelling ideas but with execution that isn't very good. The characters are largely under-developed and the story has some serious issues. However, it does still have a lot of interesting moments and its art and sound do largely work. If you're interested in the premise and you don't mind the anthology aesthetic then you'll probably like it okay since it is decent enough. Just be advised that some of the content is disturbing. My final rating is going to be a 6/10. Next week, horror anime month continues with a look at Corpse Party.
I'll be honest, when I say, I don't have much to talk about when it comes to "Requirem from the Darkness"/Natsuhiko Kyogoku's "Hundred Stories"/ Kousetsu Hyaku Monogatari. So I'll stick to the basics while describing my experience after I finished this anime series.
Being 13 episodes long, each episodes being less than 25 minutes long, the length of the episodes is certainly not a problem, and works to set the ambience of the anime. However, it is the themes of the anime which make it a difficult watch. It might not be an artistic presentation, but it definitely is a thematic fright, because it talks about
the "darkness among men". Within its themes are: cannibalism, necrophilia, murder, and serial killing among the handful few obvious themes. Each of these themes is the integral part of the episode, and are all small steps towards an overarcing story which is concluded in episode 12 and 13.
One criticism which I have in terms of sound, is the theme song "the flame" which opens the anime. It isn't disconcerting, but it isn't serving a significant purpose towards building the anime either. Furthermore, in my opinion, it doesn't add to the opening of the anime visually (which is really good, and is undermined because of the theme song). I don't count art as requiring criticism because in my opinion, it is aged but it has aged well - and with respect to the anime, it adds an overall sombre tone to the story, which definitely works in its favour.
All in all, here's my two cents on it: If you're really into understanding how dark can a human heart be, watch this anime. Its a decent work to say the very least.