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Housing Complex C Season 1 Review – A horror mini-series with multiple shortcomings

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Anime in the horror genre hasn’t been creative in recent memory. While there are shows like Shiki, Higurashi: When They Cry, and others that have landed a spot in fans’ minds, some recent horror anime haven’t been as terrifying or grotesque as these memorable gems. Enter Adult Swim’s Housing Complex C, a mini-series that wanted to give something refreshing for horror fans to digest before the Halloween season.

This show has 4-episodes, with Yūji Nara directing the project and Studio Akatsuki handling its animation. Maki Terashima-Furuta had a producing role in this project and will go on to produce the long-awaited anime adaptation of Junji Ito’s Uzumaki. Each episode in this series has a run-time of 25 minutes.

This anime takes place in Kurosaki, a seaside town where multiple residents, including our protagonist Kimi, reside. After some foreigners and business consultants move into the area, strange things occur. All types of mischief happen concerning piles of dead fish and ancient artifacts surrounding Kurosaki’s origins. With the help of a few friends, Kimi must solve the mystery that lies dormant in Housing Complex C.

Even when our characters believe they’ve resolved certain matters, new events continuously crop up and make each situation feel unsolvable and more mysterious. While full of confusion and fear, our characters attempt to do whatever it takes to maintain the peace among Kurosaki’s people and its new residents. While the series has its splendid points, it carries mixed baggage.

This show’s storyline contains a decent amount of horrific visuals and suspense that’ll keep you invested. There are many subtle details that fans will pick up on upon re-watching the show. Some characters receive enough screen time to evoke fans’ compassion and worriment about their survival by the season’s finale.

At the same time, the show doesn’t always lean heavily into its horror and mystery components when it should. It wasn’t until the third episode that things started feeling more dramatic. While the first episode had a solid opener, what followed were minor bits of horror drenched with heartwarming slice-of-life elements. Considering Housing Complex C’s promise to terrify viewers, it should’ve amplified its horror elements tenfold.

Housing Complex C’s story issues don’t rest there. The series fell into trouble with its snail-like pacing and overabundance of information-heavy dialogue. This series would’ve benefitted greatly from having a 12 -episode run. Like Serial Experiments Lain and Monster, this show could’ve gradually dropped information at timely intervals. This way, the anime can maintain everyone’s attention, not just Lovecraft or horror fanatics.

This anime also had this “tell, not show” stigma that didn’t appeal to me. There were many instances in this series where it would’ve been better to show Housing Complex C’s residents investigating the area rather than have characters like Koba inform audiences about their attempts. These scenes could’ve helped viewers grow more attached to our cast, making their future outcomes feel more impactful.

Otherwise, the series featured some fun homages to some of Lovecraft’s beloved worlds and creatures like Cthulhu and others. Our characters encountered numerous obstacles that forced them to put their happy lives on hold to protect their loved ones and friends. While the show’s storyline wasn’t the best, it provides sufficient clues and details worth revisiting and identifying.

Housing Complex C didn’t deliver a solid narrative, and its characters suffer a similar fate. Due to the series having 4-episodes, many of its cast didn’t get proper development, which affected some of the story’s plot twists and flow.

Kimi and Taka were the notable characters of the bunch, with Kan following behind them. We spend a lot of time with these characters, learning how they act, think, and react to select scenarios. This helped those sad situations with them hold impact and carry weight. While some may argue against Kimi’s character, these three were the best of this cast because of how they affected the plot moving forward.

Although Housing Complex C’s cast carried mixed feelings, this series’ animation and artwork looked decent and sometimes horrific – in a good way. While some of Kurosaki’s residents didn’t have stand-out designs, some cast members had recognizable features. Kimi and Kan were two characters whose designs stood out the most. From Kimi’s black cat-themed shirt to Kan’s “deep one” looking appearance, those two had designs that fit with the show’s spooky atmosphere.

The horrific visuals in this show were stellar. Kan lurking at Taka and friends from afar and the dog’s head in the fruit sauce were subtle yet effective. There’s even a scene of a character hanging themselves in this series, eliciting themes of suicide and worriment. These instances should’ve been more present in the anime. It would’ve helped the show maintain a sense of dread and angst.

On the topic of death, this show didn’t do a stellar job of featuring kills. Except for the suicide, there were very few deaths in this series which made me fearful. Other deaths are handled off-screen, and this was a missed opportunity. We’ve seen killers perform murders in conniving ways in other media, so it’s unfortunate that we didn’t get to see these horrid acts take place here. It would make the murderers feel more threatening.

Sound-wise, Housing Complex C delivers a remarkable score and has nice voice acting. At the time of this review, the Japanese dubbing of the series hasn’t aired. I watched this entire show with its English dubbing. While some may not enjoy English dubs, fans shouldn’t downplay Housing Complex C’s English dub cast. Everyone performed fabulously, from Xanthe Huynh as Kimi to Kaili Mills as Yuri.

Regardless if a character was feeling depressed, scared, or anxious, these voice actors and actresses excellently conveyed those emotions. I could genuinely tell that everyone gave their best effort. The show’s opening and ending theme songs were incredible and matched the series’ mysterious and horrific tone. While there were some instances where animal noises interfered with the dialogue, the background music, and sound effects were excellent.

Overall, Housing Complex C isn’t a flawless horror anime and didn’t meet all expectations as a horror fanatic. However, the show offers some details and moments that will leave you unsettled. You can really tell that everyone involved wanted to deliver an original work that would stand toe to toe with other horror classics. While it isn’t perfect, Housing Complex C offers a decent amount of optical illusions, mismatched buttons, and horror to give viewers a fun time.