‘Housing Complex C’ Review: Old Buildings Keep Old Secrets

Anime is, without a doubt, one of the most popular mediums. There are countless stories waiting to be told, and there are countless ones already told that are waiting to be discovered. The medium is an endless well of riches, and everybody seems to want to take a piece of the cake. Sony just recently bought Crunchyroll, for example, one of the most important streaming services for anime, and now Adult Swim is getting into the production side of things. Housing Complex C is the result of such an endeavor, and it arrives right on time for the Halloween season.

Housing Complex C is an anime series produced by Adult Swim in collaboration with Production I.G, one of the most important anime studios in Japan. Adult Swim has produced and paid for the series that consists of only four episodes and that will run through the month of October. It is a nice way to keep things in theme, as Housing Complex C is clearly a horror anime. It might be short, but things are getting rather strange and creepy from the first episode released, titled “Optical Illusion”.

The series tells the story of a girl named Kimi. She is only 9 years old, and she lives in an old building complex on the island of Kurosaki. The building complex is inhabited mostly by elderly people, who see and treat Kimi as if she were their own granddaughter. However, things start changing on the island with the arrival of Yuri, another girl close to Kimi’s age. They are willing to be friends, but soon they find that a number of foreigners are also arriving on the island, and strange, creepy things start happening without explanation.

Housing Complex C is a very frantic and almost schizophrenic series. The story is drawing references and influences from almost every single horror story out there, but as the series progresses, it is clear that we are facing a very clear example of Cosmic Horror. Which makes the show something quite interesting, as anime doesn’t often bring a direct H.P. Lovecraft influence to the fold. The work of the American writer is a huge influence on modern Japanese storytelling, but it seldom comes with his name attached.

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Housing Complex C doesn’t shy away from that influence, and what we see is the build-up to some sort of climax that surely will be quite crazy. The rhythm of the show is the main thing that will catch the attention of the audience, as we basically jump between many points of view, and that makes the story feel a bit more hectic than it actually is.

Kimi and Yuri are fantastic protagonists for the series, as they are clearly not in line with the rest of the show. They are cute, humble, and very polite, and yet, there is still something off about both characters. If that essence ends up becoming something that will be tackled by the narrative, we have to wait and see. However, the contrast of two cute girls guiding us through a story of cosmic gods and demons is quite extreme.

Visually the show falls into the lesser works of Production I.G. The company has never been known for creating amazing quality visuals, they are more consistent than anything. However, in an age where animation studios like Mappa and Studio Wit are pushing the visuals of seasonal anime, Housing Complex C feels somewhat dated and low-effort. Even One Piece, a weekly show, is coming out with some crazy visuals in this last Wano season, so it feels like Housing Complex C is behind the curve in this aspect.

What really worries us about the entire project is the fact that the series will only run for four episodes. This could mean that the show could be an example of all killer, no filler. Or could also become an example of an unfinished story that will leave things hanging, and it will only serve to add some horror content to the Adult Swim programming. It is hard to say what will happen. We have to wait and see, but the record of the studio and the many other anime out there doesn’t sound very promising at all.

The animation also feels quite stiff sometimes. We are not dealing with Mappa’s crazy animation quality here. If you want to see high-level animation, then better get prepared for the incoming Spy X Family or Mob Psycho 100. Housing Complex C feels more like a series from the early 2000s. This is not something so bad in the end because that dated quality adds something to the creepy factor that the series is trying to portray.

In the end, Housing Complex C seems like a very interesting anime, one that will tell a crazy horror story through the eyes of two young girls. The recipe could lead to some great storytelling if done right. If anime studios start creating more direct stories with Lovecraft as an influence, then we might be heading towards a new dawn of anime horror. Where is Uzumaki anyway, Adult Swim?

SCORE: 7/10

  • Nelson loves all things related to storytelling. He has spent most of his life studying narrative, applied across all mediums; film, TV, books, and video games. Mulholland Drive is his favorite film.