In most ordinary high schools, many stories and rumors float around—some scandalous, some happy and some...more macabre. One such example is of monsters lurking in an abandoned mansion outside of town. Such tales, however, prove too tempting to resist for Hiroshi and his friends Mika, Takeshi, and Takurou. They decide to brave the rumored dangers in order to investigate the manor and complete a test of courage. Each of them approaches the mansion with an overwhelming sense of dread. And when they enter, they come upon a blue monster named Ao Oni who attacks them.
As Hiroshi and his friends try to solve the various puzzles in the mansion and escape their new blue nemesis, they find themselves meeting several horrible endings as they fail miserably.
Episodes 4, 12, and 13 are the only ones worth watching. At my least critical, I might include episodes 5 and 11 with those on the account that they mildly amused me, though I will still likely forget them a week after I've written this review. If you've stumbled upon this series of comedy shorts because of the following the original freeware Ao Oni game has gained, that's really all you need to know. Those are the only episodes of this show that I might consider clever, and even then, not by much. Most of the humor in these shorts is very stale and predictable,
and this problem can primarily be attributed to the characters, because they really aren't characters. They're each a single personality trait combined with a cluster of stereotypical horror character traits. In a freeware game where the focus is on the scares and the atmosphere, this characterization is forgivable. In a comedy series, it ensures that the punchline of each joke is heavily predictable and that the characters never form any meaningful chemistry. The story is largely just meant to be a vehicle for the comedy, and is thus also not worth talking about. The music is completely forgettable, the lone exception being the repeating strings that play whenever being chased by the titular monster in the original game. This track has been seared into the mind of anyone who has experienced the Ao Oni game. Even though it's really only a few seconds of music repeated over and over, it coneys a sense of panic well and manages never to get old or annoying. Thankfully, it's not overused in the series. It and the show's simple but effective art are the only things I can imagine remaining the same in the alternate universe where this show was a comedy masterpiece. Overall, if you REALLY have to see all of the semi-decent anime in existence, watch the episodes I listed above. If you're nowhere near that obsessive, skip this series. The good episodes aren't worth wading through the crappy ones, and even on their own, they never get more than a brief small chuckle. Just look up "Ao Oni Funny Moments" on YouTube and you'll probably get dozens of videos that will make you laugh more than all of the episodes in this series combined.
The best way I have to review and describe this... It was like watching Happy Tree Friends; Chibi Anime Edition... I watched Markiplier of course play this game, but even so I just... I couldnt get on board fully with the series... It was just so all over the place. The game was interesting both in story and character, I would have liked to have seen this as maybe an explanation into some of the events of the game... Instead I just walked away feeling like.... Well then... This is what happens when Happy Tree Friends turns Anime...
OI STOP DICTATING HOW LONG MY REVIEW
HAS TO BE... A REVIEW IS SUPPOSED TO BE PERSONAL OPINION NOT PERSONAL NOVEL... HOW LONG DO YOU WANT THIS THING TO BE SEESH.... I DONT HAVE MUCH MORE TO SAY THEN CHIBI ANIME HAPPY TREE FRIENDS BUT NOOOO MAL YOU WANT A FRICKEN NOVEL WRITTEN ABOUT THE SHOW.... Fine lets do this...
Long long ago it all started in a dreary anime chibi styled world, a group of friends decide to go hunt down haunted places, as they approach an old style abandoned mansion they step in, when suddenly WHAM THEY ALL TURN INTO CHIBI HAPPY TREE FRIENDS as the door slams behind them! Suddenly everything is chaotic and for some reason one of them runs and hides in a cupboard only to get electrocuted IDK WHY... BECAUSE HTF THATS WHY... It all spirals out of control from there.... Am I done yet Is this novel satisfactory to your character limit MAL?
So, I knew about the original game this anime was based off for years, having watched multiple let's plays of it and planning to do my own series on the game in the future. It's a pretty basic story, four friends going to try to solve an old mystery of their town in a way that basically makes it feel like a Scooby-Doo episode that has an ACTUAL monster rather than a disguised person, but has it's scary moments and has always been rememberable to me.
This anime, however, takes it in a more comedic route. And honestly, I'm perfectly okay with that, but I don't
think it's for every fan of the game. It's basically putting the characters in these scenarios for crude humor, as multiple times they get killed in various comedic ways. Art is okay, not much to say on story as it's episodic and each episode's only three minutes, and the characters are about the same as their game counterparts; Hiroshi is the skeptic, Takuro is the hot-head, Mika is the token "girl" character, and Takeshi's still a coward.
A few jokes fell flat for me, but all in all, it wasn't a bad time and did manage to make me laugh. Which is a good thing; I was in a pretty bad mood going in and it managed to fix that. The only "dud" episodes I had were episodes four and six, but that's probably because my sense of humor just doesn't match up to those.
If you watch this, don't expect to be wow-ed by it or anything as it's nothing special and doesn't have the same anxiety-filled tone as the game, but some might get a few chuckles out of it if they take it at face value and just use it as something to turn their brain off to for a bit.
I'm kinda disheartened by the overall low scores for this otherwise genius masterwork of comedic fiction. Now I do an extent of ignorance towards the sorce material but from the sounds of it, they made the right choice in making Ao Oni the Animation such a classic comedy anime. Along with the likes of Corpse Party, the amount of thoughtful shock value is exceedingly high. Personally, I laugh at every episode with a huge grin on my face.
Many of the characters reminded me of my wonderful friends, so seeing them get brutally murdered by Ao Oni every week is slightly heart wrenching, but nonetheless a
satisfying time. Every character is distinct, what with their own terrib- I mean beautiful designs and interpersonal traits.
Now, if you can read past my sarcasm, I actually think Ao Oni is an underrated masterpiece of comedy. Hey, I laugh at the characters being dismembered on a regular basis... so it can't be all that bad. Right?