Gregory Horror Show is a CGI anime series produced by Naomi Iwata of Milky Cartoon. What can be agreed on is that it takes place in some sort of purgatory world which includes a Hell Hotel. The creator of this world is an old anthropomorphic mouse, Gregory, who also owns and runs the hotel, "Gregory House." (No, not that one.) There are three seasons, a fourth half-season on the DVDs as a side series, a PlayStation 2 game, and a manga.
The first two seasons take place in Gregory House, and take place from the perspective of the season's protagonist, known as the "Guest." The season then shows what happens to him/her after finding themselves lost and finding the hotel, checking in, and eventually trying to escape back into reality and away from the Ax-Crazy locals. The PS2 game makes use of these seasons as a base, as it has the player control a Guest trying to escape. The DVD release of the first season also includes The Gregory Gallery Tour Special, a 3-episodes sub-season in similar format but in a different setting.
The third season features no Guest character, but instead follows Gregory as he takes a ride on a sentient train to who-knows-where and comes across many familiar faces along the way. This season is a little lighter with a noticeable increase in comedic tone.
The sub-season focuses on one of the more recurring characters, Catherine, as she works as a nurse in a hospital and engages in self-deliberation about what she wants in life.
The manga, Gregory Horror Show: Another World, was created by another author and many details of the setting are so different from the anime aside from the Art Shift to the point where it seems like a Gaiden Manga (although given the nature of Gregory's world, it seems appropriate). Our guest has a name this time, Tooru Takenozuka, a 22-year-old freeter (a.k.a. NEET) who takes a room at the only apartment complex that will take him, Gregory House, while Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life.
On July 3rd, 2015, Naomi Iwata's website went up, including a page of a possible new season called Mystery Holiday. Details are scarce, but it seems to include a major Art Shift and a focus on more child-oriented problems and worries, as opposed to the more adult problems of the first two Guests.
The series has a minor cult following.
Not to be confused with the Rocky Horror Show.
This series provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Gregory Mama is both emotionally abusive (can't go a single conversation without insulting Gregory) and physically abusive (she tends to hit him in the head with her staff). She's also the only character Gregory is actually afraid of, and in The Second Guest, he briefly considers letting her die.
- Afterlife Express: The Last Train is one, leading its passengers into the depths of hell.
- Always Night:
- In its full three series, it is never day. In the video game, you could go outside at 3:00 PM and it would look the same as night, and in the sub-series The Bloody Karte, which featured some periods of twilight, but still no daylight.
- Once or twice we get a scene that seems to take place in the daylight, but those turn out to either be illusions or possibly just another quirk of the hotel.
- Anthropomorphic Personification: Each of the guests supposedly embodies a universal fear. Some of the more obvious are Hell's Chef (fear of criticism) and Judgment Boy (fear of consequences.)
- Art Evolution: In the first season, while they did squash and stretch, the shapes that made up the characters' bodies (torso and legs) didn't bend, making them all seem stiff. From Second Guest onward, the characters were able to fully bend and twist like actual bodies could, making them much more life-like.
- Art Shift: Combined with Deliberately Monochrome, the real world is portrayed in black-and-white live-action.
- Mystery Holiday seems likely to have a less cubic artstyle, including some characters getting redesigns.
- Ax-Crazy: In the anime, damn near everyone in the hotel (and if they aren't, they're not quite there). Enforced in the Game where taking the bottled soul of a guest causes them to chase you and attack you to get it back.
- The Bad Guy Wins: It doesn't matter how hard the Guests try to escape, how much they want to return home...Gregory will always get their souls.
- Berserk Button: Cigarettes dull taste buds. Hell's Chef does not take the sight of the little white things well."NO SMOKING! NO SMOKING!! Cigarettes are the enemies of CUISINE!"
- BFS: Hell's Chef's knife. It easily cleaves through elephant bone.
- Black Comedy: The show can occasionally delve into this.
- Blatant Lies: "Those stairs get me every time." Says Gregory, splattered in blood and with an axe visibly sticking out of the back of his head.
- Boss Subtitles: In the PS2 game, each resident gets one during their introduction video. Same with the manga.
- Bratty Half-Pint: James is a humongous brat to just about everyone he comes across. Including his own grandfather.
- Call a Hit Point a "Smeerp": The PS2 game's health bar is a measure of mental health. When it runs out, you go insane.
- Can't Take Criticism: Perceived or real, Hell's Chef does not react well to having his cooking criticized. A rude pig patron in "The Last Train" made that fatal mistake.
- Career Versus Man: Catherine has a few struggles with this in The Bloody Karte. It comes to a peak in episode 11. Also, the root of all the Second Guest's problems.
- Catchphrase: The Judgment Boys have one after their Judgment Game. "It was your choice, (and) now you have to live with it."
- Con Man: Public Phone."This phone does not accept small change."
- Cool Train: The Last Train. Gregory calls it "Ambition."
- Counting Sheep: Sleepy Sheep tries to do this, but he winds up exhausting himself and falling asleep himself.
- Creepy Child: James fits this trope, at least until it becomes apparent that he's just a bored kid in a remote hotel.
- Creepy Doll: Lost Doll.
- Deadly Doctor: Catherine
- Deliberately Monochrome: Reality for the First Guest in the final episode of the original series.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Catherine gets what can only be described as "orgasmic pleasure" from blood-drawing...and the episode of The Second Guest when she draws blood from Gregory, ignoring his pleas for her to stop, carries quite a few rape undertones.
- Don't Fear The Reaper: Death is one of the only characters that's clearly friendly to the protagonists of the series.
- Downer Ending: Both for the first two series and the game.
- First series: The Guest manages to, with Death's help, escape Gregory House and return to reality. However, then he sees the world as gray and returns, becoming Haniwa Salaryman, who would appear at least once in every season thereafter.
- The Second Guest: Neko Zombie goes fire-kamikaze to destroy Gregory's world, and tells the Second Guest to throw herself into the flames to complete the process. She doesn't, and the hotel quickly resurrects itself, with the Second Guest becoming a member of Gregory's family. With another new guest just entering the hotel.
- In the game, Neko Zombie burns the hotel down like before. The Player Character escapes back to reality, but then returns for good immediately after.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Inverted. The guest in the second season tries to do this, but Gregory's cocktail makes her memories become clearer instead.
- Dysfunction Junction: The hotel attracts a bizarre slew of guests, each with their own obsession and delusions.
- Ear Worm: Gregory gets Do you know / Who I am? / They call me / Judgment Boy! stuck in his head, and starts singing it!
- Eldritch Location: Gregory House and the surrounding area are something of a purgatory-like place where the usual laws of reality and sanity don't really apply.
- Escape from the Crazy Place: Every human Guest somehow lost their way in life, then ended up at the Gregory House after walking through fog. Their stories revolve around trying to get away from the hotel before they go stark raving mad.
- Evil Chef: Hell's Chef, of course. Perhaps what best cements this is his attempt at murdering The Second Guest for smoking and killing/serving a pig customer that complained about his steak.
- Evil Laugh: A few of the characters. Gregory himself has a trademark evil chuckle; it usually indicates when he's not telling the entire truth.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: One of the only solid parts of the show is that the majority of the residents' names are quite appropriate. For example, Cactus Gunman is a cactus with a gun.
- Failure Is the Only Option: It doesn't matter who they are or how hard they try to leave, none of the Guests between two seasons of the anime shorts, a PlayStation 2 game, a Mobile Game and a Manga managed to escape Gregory House in the end.
- As The Last Train shows, Not even Gregory can escape.
- Played for Laughs in The Bloody Karte. All of Catherine's attempts at romance are doomed to failure because of either the insanity of those around her or her own malicious personality.
- Fate Worse than Death: The final fate of the guests from the first two series.
- Festival Episode: Neko Zombie's chapter in Another World, complete with Goldfish Scooping Game.
- Florence Nightingale Effect: Woe to those that fall victim to this when it happens to Catherine. The most notable example is with Cactus Gunman in The Bloody Karte.
- "Freaky Friday" Flip: James and Gregory for an episode and a half in The Second Guest. Gregory Mama is not amused with "Gregory's" antics.
- Frozen Face: Due to the art style, there are quite a few characters who fit this, the eyes being the only thing that moves on their face. This is averted in the manga.
- Gainax Ending: To season three - the season is implied to be a prequel and Gregory prepares to bring the train to Gregory House only for it to be revealed... that it was all a toy being played with by James! But there really were people on it anyway. Including Gregory. Who is playing with the train in the train.
- Girl with Psycho Weapon: Catherine, who has a freaking huge syringe. And she loves drawing blood with it.
- Ghost Butler: The front doors are almost always locked when the character tries to escape through them directly.
- Golem: When Neko Zombie sets the whole hotel on fire, we see that Hell's Chef is made entirely of candle wax. Logic (for what it counts in this series) suggests this.
- Gratuitous Spanish: The Cactus siblings, to go with their wild west theme.
- The Gunslinger: Cactus Gunman. He'd probably be good at it if he could ever hit a target in front of his face.
- Hell Hotel: well, more like a Purgatory Hotel but Gregory House certainly qualifies.
- Hotel Hellion: James causes much trouble for everyone in the hotel, but especially his "Grandpa" Gregory.
- Impact Silhouette: Gregory Mama's door has a Gregory-shaped hole (poorly patched up) in the second half of the second series.
- Jaw Drop: Catherine has a few in The Bloody Karte. Since she's a lizard, her jaw even detaches as well.
- Kill It with Fire: At the end of The Second Guest (as well as the end of the PS2 game), Neko Zombie sets the whole hotel ablaze in the hopes of finally destroying Gregory's world. Unfortunately for him, the Second Guest's lesson remained unlearned.
- Large Ham: Judgment Boy. JUDGEMENNTTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!
- Also their boss, Judgment Boy Gold, who's even hammier.
- Major Injury Underreaction: Gregory's family isn't at all phased by being mutilated & incinerated when the hotel goes up in flames at the end of The Second Guest. James especially finds it amusing that all his skin was burnt off in the fire.
- Mind Screw: Not just for the viewer, but Gregory runs into a few of these during Last Train. This is where most of the horror comes from.
- The Mirror Shows Your True Self: Or does it really?
- No Name Given: Neither of the Guests have their name revealed—official material and fans just call them "Guest." Averted with the manga's guest, Tooru Takenozuka.
- Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: Starting in the second season, each season and the Catherine side series had a subtitle. In order: The Second Guest, The Last Train, and The Bloody Karte.
- The manga is subtitled Another World.
- Offscreen Teleportation: Gregory can do this.
- One-Winged Angel: At the end of the first season and the PS2 game, Gregory becomes a huge ghost and chases you, trying to keep you from escaping to reality.
- Pet the Dog: Shockingly enough, Gregory has a few of these moments in the third season, such as with Lost Doll and Sleepy Sheep.
- Plot Coupon: The souls in Soul Collector.
- Precision F-Strike: Gregory has a couple of these in The last Train."Ugh, damn it!"
- Pride: Supposedly the bane of Hell's Chef; he refuses to eat anyone else's cooking and he kills anyone who insults his even slightly.
- Purely Aesthetic Gender: In the PS2 game, you control either a young boy or a young girl. The only thing that's different (besides your appearance) is Cactus Gunman's horror show: shooting you if you're a boy, smacking you with a rose bouquet if you're a girl.
- Rage Against the Reflection: Happens with the First Guest in Night 17. He finds that the Mirror of Truth shows Gregory as his true self. He punches Mirror of Truth. A little bit later into the same episode, he punches out another mirror when Gregory is surrounding him.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Catherine, mostly due to her creepily sexual behavior and obsession with "blood tests".
- Rousing Speech: Gregory delivers one to the train in The Last Train when it draws the short end of Judgment Boy's game.Gregory: You say you don't want to lead the passengers into the depths of despair? Well I say don't do it! Why should you let someone else decide your destination? There's only one direction: the future! Don't hesitate! Proceed straight ahead!
- Sadistic Choice: Thankfully, all of Judgment Boy's are hypothetical. Maybe.
- Salaryman: Haniwa Salaryman.
- Sanity Slippage: The hotel can only be found by people who have started to slip already. Prolonged exposure to the hotel results in even more of this. By the end of the first two series, both Guests have officially gone off the deep end.
- The videogame uses a sanity meter in place of a regular health bar. It slowly but constantly decreases just by being inside the Hotel, although sleeping in your bed completely refills it given you give yourself time between rests.
- Schrödinger's Butterfly: Referenced in episode 21 of Last Train. When Gregory finds himself in a landscape that's apparently frozen in time, he finds out the scene is an illusion when he touches a frozen bird and it dissolves into dust.
- Single-Stroke Battle: Between Hell's Chef and Musha Dokuro in Last Train.
- Soul-Powered Engine: Literally enough, the engine of the Last Train. Apparently after wandering enough, lost souls become pure energy.
- Superpowered Evil Side: Last Train seems to suggest that this applies to Lost Doll."Katie": I'm inside your body, inside your mind! I am your darkness, little girl!
- Surreal Horror: Much of the horror becomes this, often due to the show's art style.
- Survival Horror: The PS2 game, created by Capcom.
- Terms of Endangerment: Gregory calls the First Guest "my friend," and the Second Guest "my dear."
- In the PS2 game, Gregory Mama briefly calls the player-character "Dearie."
- Title Drop: In Volume 1, Night 10
- Token Good Teammate: A couple albeit, few guests in the hotel actually help the guests in their escape.
- Villain Protagonist: Gregory, especially in the third series.
- Catherine in The Bloody Karte season.
- Villains Out Shopping: The third season follows Gregory as he takes a vacation.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Hell's Chef becomes immobile if the flame on his hat is blown out.
- White Void Room: Gregory runs into one of these near the end of Last Train.
- You Can Always Tell a Liar: Gregory's not the most honest guy anyway, but you know he's only telling part of the truth when he starts chuckling.
- Your Mind Makes It Real: The hotel is a manifestation of the viewpoint guest's longing for excitement.
See ya on the next trip!