Le Portrait de Petite Cossette
Eiri, a teenage art student, finds a venetian glass
that allows him to look into the world of a mysterious beauty. Her
soul, trapped for over 250 years, has waited patiently for someone to
set her free. Her innocence masks a vengeful heart, and when dark
forces are unleashed, determined to atone the sins of the past, Eiri
must decided how much he is willing to sacrifice for the one he loves.
Like the work of recent Japanese horror (The Ring &
The Grudge come to mind), the repercussions of the past, hold very real
consequences for those in the present. Eiri’s devotion to Cossette,
does not lead him toward pottery wheels, Patrick Swayze and overplayed
Roy Orbison tracks; yet he too faces a hellish ordeal - a sacrifice he
must make, in order to fulfil his destiny. Lavish scenes of torture
position Eiri as a Christ like figure – strung up and attacked both
mentally and physically. It seems he has little choice - Cossette
consumes his life, and literally scars him.
Akiyuki Shinbo uses what we see to build tension -
reminding the viewer that Eiri too is constantly being watched, framing
him in the reflection of objects that litter the antique shop in which
he works. Aware of its audience, sly references like this, litter each
episode; be it the fake film grain included, the slight simulated
projection stutters, or references to the “horror movie maniacs”
watching at home. Its more than just for kicks – it adds a further level
to the story, and encourages the viewer to actively seek out meaning
underneath the surface.
Eiri’s infatuation with Cossette seems to be
primarily visual. He speaks of how his time with her has been
unforgettable – yet we never see why this is the case, aside of the
physical beauty of Cossette herself. It makes his actions questionable,
if not a little confusing for the viewer.
Nevertheless Le Portrait de Petite Cossette works
as an unsettling tale mixing of both anime and horror – its unique
visual style builds an uneasy feeling in the viewer throughout each
moment that will keep you awake long into the night.
The review copy contained only the English
language audio track, which suffered a need to over explain the obvious,
perhaps due to the translation from Japanese to English. The Japanese
audio track and series of special features (Staff and Cast Interviews,
Music Video Featuring Maria Inoue) were not included for review.