Pet Shop of Horrors is a four episode horror anime from the year 1999 about a pet shop that sells strange pets. For some reason, the pets always resemble one of the potential buyer’s recently lost loved ones. Each pet comes with three conditions that must be met, else the owner die a horrible death (and also they won’t be able to get a refund). The conditions vary depending on the pet, but one of the conditions is always that no one must see the pet besides the owner. The owner of the pet shop is only ever referred to as Count D. Our good looking hero is the misguided detective named Leon, who suspects the shop to be a front for drug trafficking, terrorism and white slavery….wait a minute…why white slavery? Why not just slavery in general? Bearing in mind this was 1990’s, not the 1760’s! Unfortunately, I could only find the English dub of this anime online, which is laughably bad by the way. The voice acting is crap, the sounds quality is atrocious, and the characters have the strangest dress sense. The animation is also stiff, making the characters look like robots at points. I’ll admit, I don’t remember much of 1999. I was six years old for most of it, but when you consider the fact that Akira came out eleven years before this did, it’s hard to defend the argument that it was a different time. Shaman King came out just two years later and that didn’t have any of those problems. The title of each episode begins with a D, but none of those four D’s stood for Dire, Dismal or D*ck Sauce. Ok, in all fairness, it’s not that bad. If it were, I wouldn’t have forced myself to sit through it.
Now, I said it was laughably bad. Some might interpret this as “so bad it’s good”. While it might get a giggle or two at a halloween movie night, if you’re looking to be in stitches, I’d much sooner reccommend Speed Racer or Garzey’s Wing if you haven’t seen those already. Some of Pet Shop of Horrors’ imagery is disturbing, but I’d hardly call it scary. If you’ve already seen those then by all means watch it, but don’t pay good money for it. Get it in a bargain bin or a charity shop or something. It’s watchable for three reasons. One is that it’s only four episodes long, another is that I dubbed over the Count’s voice in my head with that of Alan Rickman. Finally, I didn’t find myself hating the main characters at any point. Leon is supposed to be a hot headed asshole that gets on everyone’s nerves, but I still like him a lot more than Ichigo Kurosaki from Bleach (cue the booing). The Count is meant to be some kind of freaky weirdo, but I kind of like him. He’s just a lonely pet shop owner who likes tea and cake. It’s not his fault that his customers are all complete and utter morons who can’t follow simple instructions. Pet Shop of Horrors’ message seems to be that love is an addiction that will cause you to make stupid decisions that will ultimately kill you in a horrifying way. That’s kind of depressing. It borrows from a range of material that includes greek mythology and movies from the 1980s. It even implies at one point that Adolf Hitler himself owned one of the exotic pets that ultimately caused the holocaust. Surely that must be offensive, right? I will finally remark that after watching, I didn’t get that satisfying feeling I usually get when finishing an anime because it felt really unfinished, as if they were planning on making more than four episodes, but then the project got cancelled due to it not being up to standard, so if you’re someone who craves closure like myself, then don’t watch this anime.