Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Review | OVA | Le Portrait De Petit Cossette

LE PORTRAIT DE PETIT COSSETTE : College student Eiri Kurahashi receives
shipments to his family's antique shop, when he comes across a beautiful antique
glass, and in the glass, he begins seeing visions of a hauntingly beautiful girl
named Cossette d'Auvergne and the tragic end of her life. Eiri ultimately falls
in love with the ghost of Cossette and becomes obsessed with freeing her from
her cursed state. Cossette accepts Eiri's wishes, and Eiri becomes entrapped in
Cossette's gruesome world and must now suffer for the sins that bind Cossette to
her fate.

At first glance, the imagery of Le Portrait De Petit Cossette (The Image Of Young Cossette) is enough to draw in plenty of attention because of its dark but majestic composition, and probably Cossette's choices of Elegant Gothic Lolita dress as well. I thought at first that this was a short series, and was surprised to learn that it's actually an OVA of the manga of the same name. That may have been the problem.

Le Portrait De Petit Cossette starts out with an indirect introduction to our protagonist Eiri, who works, as it would appear, by himself at his family's antique store. Changes in Eiri's personality makes his college buddies suspect there's a girl wandering around somewhere in his mind. Well, yes and no; there is indeed a girl Eiri can't keep his eyes off of, but this girl happens to be merely an entity that appears to him in a Venetian wine glass that found its way to the antique store the week before. The entity is Cossette d'Auvergne, the daughter of a rich aristocrat from the 18th century. Eiri can't peel his eyes away from Cossette's simple life on her family's estate playing out for him in the glass. Eiri does suspect at first that the image of Cossette may be a figment of his mind due to illness, or perhaps a few too many, but when Cossette's life finally plays into her death, Eiri realizes exactly what's going down: that girl IS a ghost, unjustly killed by her painter fiance, Marchello Orlando. Desperate to free Cossette's soul from the torture of her prison within the world of the glass, Eiri accepts the pact offered to him by Cossette, in which he is brutally punished for the sins of Marchello.

With the bleak and dreary atmosphere of the show, plus its haunting music and plot, why not indeed? The first thing you expect to find (or I did, anyway) in Eiri's purgatory is an elegant finish to the curse, which would match Cossette's cushy lifestyle surrounded on every side by her parents' vast land and beautiful home. What we get instead is a blood show reminiscent of Braveheart, and that may have been the downfall of this show. Sure, everything needs a little blood to make it real, but too much unnecessary blood just makes it annoying. There's blood at the beginning that's useful to the plot, but as the episodes drag on (literally, drag), there becomes so much pointless use of blood, it gets a little ridiculous. There are several points where it would appear that there's just blood in the scene because the crew felt like putting blood there. It just stopped getting disturbing after the 10th event of exaggerated blood spewing lasting a good 5 minutes.

The show's assembly was overall pretty terrible. I think the problem is that what should have gone into a few dozen episodes were instead put into 3, and the editors appeared to try hard to fit the telling of 30 episodes' worth of material into an OVA, and the final compression make the series way too repetitive to watch. I admit I got a little tired of watching Eiri lose gallons of blood he shouldn't even have at this point.

I don't know that any child would express interest in watching this OVA, but I would definitely not let them check this one out. There are several scenes (well actually, the entire OVA) depicting very graphic, fantasy-occult-style tortures with lots...and lots....and lots....and lots of blood. Characters also appear nude in a few scenes, but private regions are shaded or at a distance and can't be made out. The OVA is overall very disturbing and one I suggest the family should stay away from.

Speaking of staying away, if you don't like violence, repetition, or ridiculous and pointless blood, you should probably pass by this one. It just didn't work as an OVA, it should have been a full-length series, that probably would have helped it a lot, because each episode is around 40 minutes long, and there are so many special effects and conversion into dream-like states, you'll start to wonder if you're watching an anime or getting high. There's just too much for the brain to swallow, and what should have been given in small doses was taken way overboard.

Overall Rating:
/ 5

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