One thing I haven’t mentioned about Dark Gathering is that its origins and relatively longer run as an anime adaptation became clear in its episode structure as of late. Specifically, episodes like this start by repeating the last few minutes of the previous episode, recapping the situation before taking us to the actual plot of the season in about 3-5 minutes. This is not the most serious element in the whole plan. , but it’s worth noting. On one hand, there’s the obvious time/resource saving factor. On the other hand, it can be seen as a useful device for maintaining a reasonable pace of the episode’s plot, which is extremely important in a series as aimed at horror as this one.
That last point is good to mention in this week’s episode because it focuses on the show’s more spooky elements and ties it in well. It does that by taking advantage of our experience with Dark Gathering up to this point as well as the characters’ expectations of how things have gone so far. Yayoi already has a lot of experience exterminating ghosts; Hell, she claimed to have defeated a god before in last week’s episode. Her working relationship with Keitaro has increased in terms of trust and confidence, and Keitaro himself is a bit calmer in the face of all these weirdos and creeps. And they were preparing to capture another god-level threat anyway, so why couldn’t they confidently enter the territory of an S-Class creature and expect to handle themselves well?
Overconfidence is the bane of so many, but even before this episode made it clear how superior Keitaro and Yayoi were in this case, Dark Gathering succeeded in marking the trip This is “different” from their other adventures. They specifically don’t have Eiko with them in any capacity, for one thing. Yayoi asking Keitaro to take them to Castle H was an impulsive choice and probably not the most clearly planned decision in retrospect. So there’s nothing resembling any light-hearted banter between Keitaro and his goofy girlfriend, and the direct trust he and Yayoi have for each other has developed that means communication Their communication was clearly more direct and serious this time around. It’s the show’s presentation that makes the obvious difference here: There are virtually no wild jokes or silly things, just heightened fear as we and our heroes I wonder what they stepped into.
The film’s usual modest production values are making most of them have this material. The monochrome tones of the forest in the darkness of night are shown extremely clearly, as Yayoi and Keitaro are lost and separated amid constant visions that leave them unsure of where they should go from head. But what drives the atmosphere in this setup is the sound design. The episode makes excellent use of brief musical cues and snippets of music that only serve to grab our attention and then give way to some of the most ominous, audible silences I’ve ever heard. seen being used in a time like this. It’s heavy in the way necessary to convey the weight of fear the characters feel in this place, conveying vibes that something is wrong even before trust has just been established between Yayoi and Keitaro were mercilessly manipulated by the entity they were manipulating and chose to fight back.
The context of Keitaro and Yayoi’s attack approach and the true intentions of the spirits they are confronting are another important, decisive element of this issue. As Yayoi described at the beginning, the S-Rank creatures of Castle H are extremely powerful, but generally benign in their pursuit or cursing of those who set foot in their territory. It therefore speaks to Yayoi’s pragmatic, not necessarily benign, approach to her work that she is willing to try to trap these souls anyway, for the overall purpose of saving people like Ai or her mother. Whether that’s true or not, at this point, Keitaro has left behind some doubts, which the ghosts in the castle are ready to take advantage of to threaten him. The countless violent images and shams he considered scary because they were supposed to instill pure fear as a deterrent. That’s why our protagonists are superior at this point: These spirits could absolutely defeat Yayoi and Keitaro decisively, and instead choose to scare the bejeezus to give an opinion.
That ended up being toyed with.. The scene where Keitaro stumbles upon Yayoi hanging from a noose is some spooky setup, but it still sends Keitaro and us home because our heroes have overcome How to get through their thoughts? Yes, we don’t doubt that the characters will ultimately survive this encounter, but there’s still a big question mark as to whether they will succeed in their goal of defeating and trapping these spirits in the end. they will have to retreat. in admitting his own shortcomings and the power of meaning behind the sacrifices of the people at this castle. This is just the first unofficial stop on a planned extended ghost tour of Tokyo that will sell the work the characters have cut out for them in the future. So it was scary enough for us thanks to the show’s audio-visual efforts. But it’s also scary in the story for the characters, because it all makes them think that maybe they never had a chance to begin with.
Dark Gathering is now streaming on HIDIVE.
Chris knows that summer is the perfect time for ghost stories and hopes that’s enough to distract him from this intense Fresno heat wave. You can help distract him further by annoying him on Twitter (no matter how long that lasts) or check out his less scary musings about it on his blog.