First Impressions: Pet Shop of Horrors

Welcome to our shop!

Once you sign a contract, you’d better not break it.

Another day, another new horror anime to review. I’d heard of this one, but had no clue what it was about. I kept thinking it was a sort of dark comedy, but that’s just because I couldn’t get Little Shop of Horrors out of my head. After watching episode one, I realized that this is no comedy in disguise. The title really does say it all.

Say hello to my little bat-rabbit friend, only $49.99. He comes in pink, too!

The show opens with a guy calling the titular shop to complain that the tiger he purchased was only a painting. Turns out this dude broke his contract with the shopkeeper promising not to show his purchase to anyone else. That’s when the painting comes to life, and, well, needless to say, tigers don’t like broken contracts. A cop investigating the murder barges into the pet shop and demands answers about the dead guy’s demise, but the calm shopkeeper tells him that everything was above-board with the purchase. After that a grief-stricken couple enters the shop looking for a pet to console them after the loss of their only daughter. The shopkeeper shows them a “rabbit” who looks exactly like their deceased daughter Alice. The couple quickly sign a contract stating, among other things, that they will only feed her water and vegetables, then they escort what they believe is their long-lost daughter home.

This kid makes The Bad Seed look like Rainbow Bright.

Even though Alice the rabbit only speaks a few words and acts stiff like a doll, the couple are thrilled and honestly feel as though they have their daughter returned to them. However, their indulgent love proves to be their downfall: Alice begs for a cookie, and the woman obliges, despite the man’s concerns with breaking the contract. Meanwhile the cop has been investigating the couple after watching them leave the pet shop because he believes that the shopkeeper is running an illegal drug trade. When he discovers that their daughter overdosed on drugs, he storms up to the house where he runs into the shopkeeper. The shopkeeper has been informed of the broken contract through the little flying creature at his side, and the two men enter to discover a scene of pure horror. I’ll leave it at that, but trust me: there’s some freaky-ass Watership Down s**t at work here.

Yeah, that's really happening.

I love this animation. It’s detailed and dark and brings to mind classic horror anime like Vampire Hunter D. The shopkeeper reminds me of an evil Lau from Black Butler, only instead of RanMao he has a little bat-rabbit creature for a companion. I’m interested to find out more about him and his sinister wares. I don’t love the fact that his eyes are drawn over his hair, but I will give the animators credit for that aspect adding to his creepy charm. The cop’s English dubbed voice didn’t seem to fit him for some reason, but everyone else sounded good. I wasn’t really sure what I was getting into with this series, and the horror did prove to be intense. But I like the story and the animation quite a bit, and the concept is interesting. There are a mere four episodes comprising the entirety of Pet Shop of Horrors, and I look forward to seeing what fresh horror is next.

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