Anime review: Garden of Sinners Collection


gardenofsinners-coverIf you’re still undecided on what anime you or your friends/family/significant other want for Christmas, look no further than the Garden of Sinners Collection. This is a new offering from MVM Entertainment – 8 hour-long films spread across 8 DVDs. Each feature-length episode tells part of the story of Shiki Ryougi, who wakes from a coma with amnesia and a mysterious ability that allows her to see the invisible lines of mortality that hold every living and non-living thing together.

Intrigued and a bit confused? I was when I first came across ‘Garden of Sinners’. I’d heard a lot of very good things about this show, which was actually aired in Japan back in the late 1990s, and liked the idea of a more ‘film-like’ anime series rather than the standard 25-minutes-and-26-episodes format. The films aren’t in chronological order but the story doesn’t feel all over the place because each ‘film’ has its own distinct story and eventually links back to the main mystery: who is Shiki Ryougi and what does her power mean?

Working for a small independent agency, Shiki attempts to unravel the baffling mystery behind a series of abnormal, horrifying incidents, but do they foreshadow something even more tragic and ominous? Things are not what they appear to be on the surface, but what dark revelations lie underneath? Shiki must tackle supernatural incidents with her special abilities while searching for a reason to live.

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If you enjoy more ‘subtle’ horror shows with plenty of mystery and a decent-but-not-ridiculous amount of gore, ‘Garden of Sinners’ will be right up your street. The antagonists in the series range from runaway murderers to ghosts to fairies, and the mysteries from a spate of schoolgirl suicides to stolen memories. That said, this isn’t horror and mystery for the sake of horror and mystery. The series also deals with psychological concepts such as multiple personalities, the anima and the animus, and the nature of sin. Cheery stuff just in time for Christmas, right?

My favourite thing about this series is the art work and music, neither of which are at all dated despite being nearly 20 years old. (Wow, I feel old!) The story itself is complex and mature but is action-packed enough to keep your attention throughout. The anime series is based on the original Japanese light novels by Kinoko Nasu and published by Type Moon, who are behind the well-known anime series ‘Fate Stay Night’. Fans of FSN will recognise certain concepts and characters from this series in ‘Garden of Sinners’, but I won’t tell you what those are!

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The MVM collection also comes in a stunning box, complete with post cards and booklets, so this is a brilliant gift idea for a true anime fan who wants to rediscover some classic series. The series is out on 15th December and you can pre-order it on the MVM online store here! Happy Christmas viewing!

Image credits: MVM Entertainment and Iniciativa Global

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