Horror News (Anime Series)

Animated by Next Media

Suitable for 13+

Horror News is an animated series about Rei Kigata, a middle school student who does not believe in ghosts, aliens, or other supernatural phenomenon. One night, exactly at midnight, he receives a copy of “Horror News”, a terrifying newspaper that details the existence of all sorts of spooks. Once the newspaper correctly predicts the death of his school teacher the next day, he is compelled to keep reading it. He soon finds the that knowledge of the unknown is not without a cost; seeing into the future will cost him 100 days of his life each time he reads the cursed paper.

Reading that synopsis you would think this Anime would be awesome to watch. A revolving door of horror motifs in a supernatural newspaper? It sounds like an endless plethora of episodic scares. Sadly, the only good think about this show is the synopsis. Horror News is by far the worst anime I have watched in a very long time. It took a great concept, and ruined it with poor animation, boring storylines, and childish interpretations of any and everything horror. So now I’m going to tear it apart.

Horror News uses a baffling minimalist animation style that I’ll do my best to describe. The scene is split up like a newspaper: three different images separated by a black border. Maybe you would see the school, three students, and a building, all in still frame for about 2 minutes. Then the next scene would appear. Only the main character is actually animated. Everyone else is just a still picture. While you are looking at these admittedly boring visuals, you are bombarded with endless repetitive dialogue. You would think with this minimal art style might lend some creative spin to the content, but it does not. You might expect that the content would rise up to the challenge in order to produce a compelling narrative, but that is not the case.

Horror News does technically have a story. Boy finds paper, paper tells all about spooky stuff, boy explores spooky stuff. Somehow, this anime manages to mess that up. I was shocked. The characters, both child and adult, have such asinine opinions about the monsters they encounter. I thought maybe something was lost in translation, so I got out my japanese dictionary (I speak conversational Japanese virtue of a highschool otaku phase, japanese classes, and a semester in Japan) and buckled down. Even in the native tongue, the dialogue is repetitive and simplistic.

This is quite the feat for a culture whose cartoons are known for impromptu monolithic monologues. At one point, the show goes into a two episode dissertation about aliens, constantly repeating the same three or four images during the speech. Nearly 15 full minutes dedicated to this rant, and it could have been completed simply by saying, “Some people say they saw aliens, I believe them. Most people don’t, because the government says there are no aliens.” Instead, the boring voice over lists a bunch of dates and times in which people saw a flying saucer. Without any visuals and almost no dramatic delivery, it’s as tedious as a Wikipedia directory list. No one was abducted, nothing was learned, everyone loses. Well spent 100 days, Rei.

Every character beyond the main, Rei Kigata, is completely forgettable. The only two standouts I can think about is the vampire girl who bites a baby and the baseball player who has a ghost clone. See how cool that sounds?! Guess what, both of those plots are completely unwatchable. A vampire bites a baby, and I could barely keep my eyes open. I digress. Rei Kigata, the kid who receives the evil newspaper, spends his artificially shortened time running around being shocked by all the weird stuff he sees. He is scared at all times. He lacks a single profound thought in the entirety of the show. He does little to no character development.

The final slap in the face, the ominous, “100 days of your life will be taken each time you read the news,” has absolutely no plot relevance and remains a pointless empty threat. Simply stating, “hey look, this paper its killing you,” is weak. He can’t feel it, and the character is so young that he probably won’t notice at all. You know what show had an amazing life shortening plot point similar to the 100 days threat? Death Note. Mei’s deal with the shinigami to give half her life in order to see the name and lifeline of any individual had huge plot impact. The intensity and melodrama of her sacrificing half her life a second time to help Light was by far one of the most emotional moments of the show. This rule from Horror News lacks all the depth and complexity that Death Note had with almost an identical idea.

In summation, this show is nigh unwatchable. I wanted it to be over before the first episode ended. I’m usually looking for the positive in anything I watch, but this was a complete miss. I didn’t even want to go through the process of inventing a drinking game to complete the second half of episodes. I just drank. I have suffered you, Horror News, and I hope to forget everything about this series once this review is completed. May my analysis of this tedious anime protect future generations from losing the 2+ hours of their life that I lost.

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M J Meier

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