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Posted on: October 29, 2011 3:06 pm by small image

“If you do not follow the rules of the contract, the store will not be held liable for anything that happens.”

Our next horror manga for the Halloween countdown is… Pet Shop of Horrors! My thoughts will be on the first volume, which I’ve just finished reading.

What does the scouter say about his BISHIE LEVEL?!

This manga seems to be a josei series, but it’s essentially an episodic horror, though it’s not necessarily always horrific… There’s always something supernatural going on at the very least. And it has its unsettling moments! And bizarre moments.

Then again, it has a fairly bizarre premise. Count D is our protagonist, and he runs a pet shop (of horrors) in Chinatown, Los Angeles. The pets he sells aren’t your everyday cats and guinea pigs, however–they’re mythological creatures that appear humanesque to the buyers (apparently), and tend to do frightening things if their new owners fail to follow all of Count D’s instructions. It seems there’s always three rules for them to follow in order to take care of these beings, and the amount of horror each story entails has to do with how well the owners adhere to those rules…

Alternate titles for the manga:
Petshop of Bishies
Bishieshop of Horrors
Bishieshop of Bishies

Overall the manga’s not terribly horrific, despite what the title implies. The stories are interesting though, and the protagonist works well for this type of premise. He’s serious about his work, but otherwise has a carefree, lighthearted personality. The sort of character who has this relaxed, all-knowing smirk on his face.

The manga ran from 1995 to 1998, so the art style is reminiscent of that era, and was a fun change of pace for me. But perhaps what sticks out the most is the fact this story takes place in America… I can’t think of any other manga I’ve read before with the story in North America, so this element also shakes things up a bit.

The manga didn’t grip me enough to make me want to rush to read more, but it’s a nice diversion, and its episodic nature works fine for reading in short, sporadic bursts. Reading it reminded me a lot of the anime Hell Girl (Jigoku Shoujo), which was also very episodic, focused a lot on single-story characters, and followed a strict formula. I quickly grew tired of Hell Girl despite the intriguing premise, since it was checking off a list of predictable elements to have in every single episode–but Petshop of Horrors seems to do a bit better with having some variety to its plots. For example, there seems to be a subplot forming for Count D and a police officer investigating the series of pet-related mishaps in the city, which could prove interesting in the long run.

But in the meantime, there are more pressing conflicts to deal with…