Requiem From the Darkness (Complete Series)

One of the hardest genres to find in anime is horror. The excuse that I usually hear to explain this is that the medium of animation removes the viewer too far so they can’t engage closely enough to get that deep, unsettling sense of horror. On this I call bullshit. If the creators of horror regardless of medium (be it a live action movie, a book, or a painting, or, yes, an anime) utilize the viewers imagination properly, it doesn’t matter that animation is being used instead of a live cast. In this way, someone looking to create a horror anime would have to look at it more like writing a novel and construct the anime to wholly engage the viewer’s imagination. Dark imagery and crazy, gory, supernatural happenings don’t hurt. But if you engage the imagination then anything is possible. One of the few attempts at a horror anime is Requiem From the Darkness. It succeeds in a lot of ways to be interesting… unfortunately, its element of interest is largely in aesthetic and artistic arenas. In terms of actual storytelling Requiem From the Darkness fails.

The above image, while cool looking, fails to accurately give a sense of just how cool this series is in the visual sense. It feels really modern in its fluidity and really old in the way they give the sense of patterns seeping through the background. I can’t describe it better than that, but it feels akin to an old Japanese painting or something. To use an American analogy, it is an intentional antiquing like the lines and missing reels of 2007’s Grindhouse film.

The characters and general story behind Requiem From the Darkness is rock solid. The story follows Yamaoka Momosuke (usually just referred to as the Author) through his quest to write 100 ghost stories for a book he wants to publish. And yet he keeps on encountering phenomenon that are real-life examples of freaky stories. With these encounters he runs into a mysterious trio who is investigating these things. With a storyline like this, and great characters, and a beautiful visual style, it seems that they would have to try really hard to screw this up.

But unfortunately they do. There is a line between giving the viewer too much information that you are boring (or, even worse, insult the viewer’s intelligence) and being too obscure than you are just confusing. It isn’t even that fine of a line. Most programs error on the side of giving too much information… but not Requiem From the Darkness. It revels in fragmented episodes that have interesting elements, but no strong conclusion to bring them together so that they make sense. The few episodes that do make sense don’t actually satisfy in any way. The sense of bewilderment only serves to disconnect the viewer.

Now, I am willing to accept the possibility that I just stumbled upon a bad sub. If it sounds interesting to you, check out a few episodes and see how you feel after them. Or maybe I am just crazy. But that was my general feeling.

Title: Requiem From the Darkness
US Distributor: Geneon
Number of Episodes: 13
Availability: Readily available in both singles and as a thinpack set.
Links: ANN Encyclopedia
Rating: 77

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