Horror-fans will love this one. Pet Shop of Horrors is about the owner of a pet shop in Chinatown, New York, whose name is Count D and sells all kinds of ordinary, exotic and even mythical animals to his clients. It’s basically a case-based series: the four episodes all focus on a different client of his, where their pets have a massive impact on their lives.
And it’s these cases that really make this anime shine. They’re all surprisingly deep and thought-provoking. As each case starts to unfold, you’ll be thinking something along the lines of “why the heck did Count D sell such a dangerous animal?”. Then the climax comes with a twist, and everything suddenly makes sense. Not only that, but each of these cases makes you look at death from a very different perspective than usual.
While the cases are deep, I wish I could say the same of Count D; he’s pretty much the weakness of this OVA. Don’t get me wrong, he’s an interesting character, and he’s got definite potential, but he just isn’t fleshed out or developed properly at all. We never know how the guy gets his pets, we never know why he’s selling pets when the danger of being arrested is so high. In fact, I’m surprised that nobody found the fact that he forbids all his customers to show their pets to others strange. In episode four, he also does something that basically isn’t explained anywhere. We also never find out why all his pets look like humans.
Still, if you’re looking for case-studies or horror, this is a nice recommendation. Pet Shop of Horrors uses the traditional Japanese style of creating a creepy atmosphere through storytelling, and it does so pretty well. The soundtrack, while not amazing, is sufficient in helping to achieve this effect. Just be aware that the fourth episode isn’t the best of the cases, so it might disappoint a bit. It was by no means bad, though.