Posted by psgels on 14 June 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews

I really like what Toei has been doing lately. They took three kids genres that had gotten really stale lately: children’s horror, science anime and mahou shoujo, and successfully managed to breathe new life into them with Kaidan Restaurant, Marie&Gali and Heartcatch Precure. Out of those three, Kaidan Restaurant is obviously the inferior, but if you like kids’ shows then this series will offer some unique charms.

And I must say that it was based on quite a good idea for its basic premise. From the outside, it may look like yet another show about a group of kids who really angered the gods badly, and run into a bunch of ghosts in every episode, but that wouldn’t quite do justice to what this show really is about: it’s a collection of horror stories, sometimes from all over the world, told through the perspective of the lead characters.

Basically, nearly every episodes consists out of two to three quick horror stories, delivered in bite-sized chunks. The stories are short, a tad repetitive, and not that well animated, but at the same time they’re quite well told. In just ten minutes, the creators nearly always succeed in building up a creepy atmosphere, despite the short length. The stories are well paced, correctly introduced and often not as straight-forward as one may think. The series is based on a series of award-winning children’s books, and that really shines through in the adaptation, despite the presence of any sort of big budget. It’s THE sign that you can tell a great story on a short animation budget. And heck, during its airtime this series consistently hit the top 10 of Japan’s viewing rates.

the stories are very repetitive, that’s true. But they all do what they intend to go: provide quick bite-sized chunks of horror. The series is specifically set up in a restaurant format, with meals consisting out of an appetizer, main course and desert, which proved to be quite an interesting metaphor for the series to work with. I also quite liked how some stories leave a lot up to the interpretation of the viewers by not outright stating what happened, while others are more straight-forward. In some stories, the ghosts are killed, but there are also plenty of stories in which the ghosts are the winners, or simply leave. That’s another one of the strange things about this series: it’s quite sadistic at times, but it also has its heart-warming moments.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Is actually quite effective in its horror storytelling. Consistently creates a pretty tense atmosphere for stories that only take up 10 minutes.
Characters: 7/10 – Points for the idea, but the main characters remain mere shells because of how they’re meant to represent a different person for most of the episodes. The characterization of the persons in these individual stories is quite good, though.
Production-Values: 7/10 – This is a bit of an ugly series. The animation budget is full of errors, and very basic. It does what it need to do, but nothing more.
Setting: 8/10 – Repetitive, but imaginative. The setting has a lot more charm than all those cheaply made kids’ shows that treat children like idiots.

Gakkou no Kaidan
Telepathy Shoujo Ran
Aoi Blink

4 Responses

  1. Avatar c160 says:

    So sad its ending,its one of the shows that I still look forward too every week(along with Heartcatch).One of the more entertaining shows lately,and really nicely done for a kids’ show.But I thought it would be longer than just 22 episodes(or rather,I WANT it to be longer than22 episode)..

  2. Avatar ars says:

    I’m guessing this was an accident, but I’m pretty sure that 4th image is from Kaichou Wa Maid-Sama.

  3. psgels psgels says:

    ars: um, yes, it was. I’m not sure how that one slipped by…

    Fixed now.

  4. Avatar lilyan says:

    theres now a petition to have the anime dubed

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