Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Dark Gathering (2023 - )

Streaming Service: HiDive
Series Name/Year: Dark Gathering (2023-)
Genre: Animation, Fantasy, Horror
Average Episode Length:  25 min (1 Season, 25 Episodes)
Rating: TV-MA
Production/Distribution: OLM, HiDive
Director: Hiroshi Ikehata
Writer: Murakoshi Shigeru, Kenichi Kondo
Actors: Yû Sasahara, Nobunaga Shimazaki, Kana Hanazawa, Yoshihiro Nakamura, Mitsuki Saiga, Fumi Hirano, Yôhei Azakami, Hina Koyanagi, Naoki Sabae, Kazuyuki Okitsu, Kujira, Yôko Sômi, Sayaka Aida, Kosuke Sakaki
IMDb Blurb: Keitarô Gentôga takes a part-time job tutoring the child prodigy, Yayoi Hôzuki. Little does he know she's a gifted medium hell-bent on finding the spirit behind her mother's vanishing and she's gravely determined to drag Keitarô into it.
Cat’s Point of View:
I recently stumbled onto an anime streaming service called HiDive – and part of my introduction and trial experience was the new 2023 anime series Dark Gathering. I vaguely recalled seeing a trailer at some point and having a chuckle at the dark comedy laced into the teaser. Considering that we’re almost through with September and are on the cusp of Spooky Season, jumping into a series about some youngsters fighting spirits seemed perfect. 
So far, I haven’t been disappointed. 
Why so far? I would have watched the whole series already had I been able – even with only a subtitled version available. Dark Gathering premiered in Japan just this past July and is still airing with new episodes releasing on Mondays. This series is apparently available on HiDive as a simulcast – so as soon as an episode hits overseas networks, it becomes available on the service. 12 episodes are currently available at the time of this review, and the 13th is set to air on October 2nd, 2023. The full season will have released as of Christmas Eve of this year. 
I have to say, just shy of halfway through, I’m thoroughly invested in this story and will be figuring out whatever I need to do in order to make sure the subscription to HiDive is budgeted until I can watch this whole season at the very least. This isn’t an ad for that service and they’re not a sponsor or anything like that at this time, though; so let’s focus on the series. 
The characters are young but relatable on an uncomfortable level. They’ve all experienced tragedy in some fashion and are striving to reclaim their lives and move forward. One of the characters is trying to re-emerge after living as a shut-in for a while and is horribly socially awkward. Another of the main characters is delightfully optimistic, if a little on the yandere cray-cray spectrum. The first two that I’ve mentioned are of college age. The third primary character seems to be in middle school or something like that. She’s not quite a “magical girl” but her abilities are at the center of the story as the trio set out to gain strength so that they can hunt down and vanquish the evil entity that stole her mother’s spirit. 
Thankfully, with such a young character involved, the story stays on the more wholesome side where relationships are concerned. While romance seems to be an undercurrent in the series, it’s not at the forefront and is treated in the bumbling/blushing manner rather than anything explicit. Dark Gathering earns its TV-MA or R rating from the supernatural situations that involve blood and gore, as well as some language. The intrepid trio find themselves in some harrowing circumstances as they hunt down supernatural elements (or fight the spirits that hunt THEM down) as they further their quest.
For those manga fans out there, Dark Gathering is an adaptation of a Shonen Jump manga series. From what I could gather from the VIZ release trailer for the actual manga, the anime seems to be staying fairly faithful to the source material. Of course, I haven’t read the manga at this time so I can’t vouch 100%, but it at least looks promising.
There are plenty of atmospheric elements to love with this series, and fans of supernatural horror – or really ghost stories in general, should find plenty to enjoy here. I appreciated the snippets of actual Japanese folklore scattered throughout, as well. 
Going back to my mention of the rating for Dark Gathering, I need to reiterate that this series absolutely deserves the Mature Audiences Only rating. Even though one of the characters is very young and has an interesting “chibi” or “lolita-like” appearance and sports a massive plushie collection, it is not suitable at all for young viewers. There are many triggering situations depicted within this series that wouldn’t be appropriate. Further, if appropriately aged audiences are sensitive to depictions of characters un-aliving, as the modern-day phrase goes… this might not be the right fit for you. (There are at least 2 episodes out of the first 12 that directly deal with a club with an unalive-pact or depictions of the Jigai ritual.)
With all things considered, this story has kept me at the edge of my seat for the 20-ish minutes of each episode not dedicated to re-cap or credits. I am hopeful for the young protagonists, and am crossing my fingers that the young girl will be able to rescue her mother’s spirit by the end and the other 2 primary characters can find some peace. Who knows what will happen in the next half of the series. I can’t wait to find out.
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None 
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score –None
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 7.2/10
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 4/5
P.S. – You can find additional information directly from the series’ website.
Series Trailer:
Original –

Subbed -  

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