Pet Shop of Horrors

Pet Shop of Horrors (1999)

I definitely would have watched more of these.

Pet Shop of Horrors is a great example of ‘episodic’ storytelling, with its sombre tales contained neatly within each episode. There are two links between stories – Count D and his LA pet shop, and detective Leon, who is trying to uncover the truth about the place.

Aside from the cautious friendship between the two characters, the mysteries here focus on Count D’s customers and their folly.

Perhaps in time, maybe Madhouse could have built successive OVAs into a series – but that was probably never the plan. I guess also, this show isn’t ‘horror’ enough for folks who want gore and shock? And sometimes when a show doesn’t easily fit into one genre, it’s hard to sell. I dunno, I should research its reception!

But my point is (finally!) that this Pet Shop of Horrors is more like supernatural mystery more than full-on horror, and even at times, tragedy.

And while there’s a clear structure to the episodes – meet a customer to see what dangerous creature D sells them, then watch that customer struggle with their choices, there’s enough variety with mermaids, rats, serpents and kirin, and the characters, that I enjoyed each tale.

It was also fun to see what felt like a nod to Gremlins (but may not have been, of course) re: Count D’s rules about his caring for his pets.

Finally, the question of whether and/or how the customers invariably broke those rules was where most of the horror came into play, and depending on whether they were meant to be sympathetic characters, so too, the tragedy.

This feels like a somewhat forgotten OVA from the late 1990s now, but I liked it a lot.

4 Stars

9 thoughts on “Pet Shop of Horrors

    1. I definitely wish it’d been longer so the Count and Leon’s relationship could develop but if you can find it, I reckon it’s worth a look, yeah 🙂

      Probably won’t end up as your fav OVA (not for me either of course) but it’s not one I see mentioned very often.

      (It feels like it’d suit ‘Retrocrush’ but we still can’t access it here in Australia, sadly.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lack of access is an ongoing issue in Australia. I love that it is easier now to find anime than it every has been (looking for anime in the 90’s was next to hopeless) but it is still difficult to find a legal way to view so many titles.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, tape-trading days! Or maybe SBS late at night 😀

          I’m super happy with AnimeLab but I’d love access to more older and obscure stuff too. Sometimes I can get lucky via a cheap DVD but that’s not always an option, huh?

          Liked by 1 person

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