Definitely a Shinbou Work
Here we are at the conclusion of Obsucre Week and our October Review Fest. Today I’ll be looking at an interesting title: Le Portait de Petite Cossette. This anime is a three episode OVA series that came out of studio Daume back in 2004. Haven’t heard of them? Think again, this is the studio behind some fan favorites like Yuru Yuri, and another great Halloween title, Shiki. Is this title a hidden gem, or something that was best left buried in the past? Let’s find out.
Initially I heard about this series from infamous YouTuber Digibro, who likely needs no introduction. Love him or hate him, he does know a lot of anime and often recommends some interesting titles at the very least. I remember him talking about the incredible production staff behind this project and his general summary certainly had me interested. However, I am one to do my own research and form my own opinion. After looking into Cossette some more, I decided I had to pick it up (there really isn’t any other legal way to watch this one that I know of) on DVD.
You may recall my review of Pet Shop of Horrors, which I took a look at earlier this week. Sentai seems to have nabbed some pretty niche titles, but that’s perfectly fine with me! That anime ended up being fantastic and Cossette seems to be a clear winner in just it’s opening moments as well. I mean, even before Shinbou’s name came on screen as the director, I knew this would be good.
Need more proof that this is a must-see? Who’s this we have here? It’s no other then famed Yuki Kajiura! For most people these two would be more than enough evidence to sell this anime. Yet, it’s flown under the radar and gone unseen. That’s a real shame.
I can’t really put into words just how interesting I found Cosette to be as it opened. The first episode was captivating. You can tell, much like all of Shinbou’s work, that he directed this. More importantly, the initial “mystery” (if you haven’t read the back of the DVD case or anything ) was presented really well. Couple this with some horror undertones and you guys should know by now that I’m completely sold.
Episode one showcases everything we’ve come to expect form Shinbou, and I can safely say that if you are even remotely a fan of his work it won’t disappoint. Here’s where the rub comes in, if you don’t like his heavy visual directing you are probably not going to enjoy this. That being said, there is a lot on offer beyond this as the writing was superb in setting an initial hook. A strange thing to say since the story is about a man who falls in love with a girl trapped inside a drinking glass.
Reminding me of Another, Rozen Maiden, Madoka, and of course Monogatari, everything about Cossette oozed a certain style and tone that was just perfect for the time of year. I know this is me largely just gushing about how great I found this anime, but I was truly surprised because it surprised even me with how good Cossette ended up being.
At its core this is a cautionary tale about obsession. There are a lot of great themes and ideas present in Cossette. Lending itself to the obvious comparisons to The Picture of Dorian Gray. Seeing that this is rather short, with only three episodes running just over 30 minutes each, it’s something best experienced for yourself, so I won’t go into it here. Plus, I’ve said plenty positive about this as is.
Cossette really is superb and I would consider it a must-watch. Despite this, there are some negatives that I should hit on. All of these are relatively minor for me but may weigh more heavily for you. Let’s get the biggest issue out of the way first, and that’s the audio mixing. The voice actors are so dang quiet. I had to jack the volume up so high, and this made other audio in the show too loud at times.
If you know anything about Shinbou’s work then you’ll know he has a thing for including young girls (at least in appearance) and this is no exception. That being said though, she is not overly sexualized, at least not in a way that was bothersome to me. If you are particularly sensitive to this then it may be a turn off, but since I am somebody who really isn’t a fan of that sort of thing perhaps it not bothering me will carry some weight for you.
Additionally, there are a few moments where things feel just a touch too long. This is likely due to the episodes being longer than the standard anime length. Most o the time, this isn’t all that noticeable but there were a few minor instances where I thought an episode might be over only to have it continue or another 5 minutes or so. Not really a bad thing, but could be bothersome for folks.
That’s it for this one. I was very impressed and can not express enough my enjoyment with Cossette. If you are able to watch this one, I would definitely recommend it. You can purchase the DVD of the series over at Rightstuf for about $15. What a great title to end these themed reviews on!
Are you going to give Cossette a chance. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. If you enjoyed this, consider becoming a patron of mine so I can continue to make more content like this. Just click the button below for more details. Thanks again for reading and I hope to see you around Jon Spencer Reviews again soon!