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Literature / Requiem from the Darkness

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Counterclockwise from the upper-left: Nagamimi, Momosuke, Mataichi, Ogin.

The Wicked and the Damned: A Hundred Tales of Karma (Kōsetsu Hyaku Monogatari, meaning "Hundred Stories") is a series of novels by Natsuhiko Kyogoku. These novels were adapted into an anime titled Requiem from the Darkness (Kyōgoku Natsuhiko Kōsetsu Hyaku Monogatari, "Natsuhiko Kyogoku's Hundred Stories") and a live-action show.

The anime especially is known for its rather bizarre plot-lines and story elements; said story follows Momosuke as he travels around Feudal Japan in a search for one hundred ghost stories. But while doing this, he runs across a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits. They fight evil...

...Well, kind of, anyway. Think Darker and Edgier Scooby-Doo.

The series is also known for making lazy animation an artform; seriously, they turn it into an advantage.

Requiem from the Darkness provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Sword blades can often cleave through human bodies as if they were made of wet tissue paper. "The Shibaemon Raccoon Dog" is a particular example, where the villain, a insane samurai cleaves people in half at the waist as neatly as if they were paper dolls.
  • Abnormal Ammo: A slightly less fantastic case than the norm, the Nodeppou gun can fire any normal rock like a musket ball.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Characters often display unnatural and otherworldly coloration, especially if they are just background characters, which only adds to the surreal and mystical air that the animation is trying to cultivate.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: When Mataichi's group is forced to "exorcise" an innocent person to stop a disaster, Momosuke calls them a bunch of murderers. Mataichi points out that the author himself participated in a number of exorcisms, sometimes directly killing the murderers himself. Momosuke is speechless.
  • Ax-Crazy: Most of the sinners that the group encounters will either be this already or will devolve into this once their sins are revealed.
  • The Beastmaster: Nagamimi can control animals.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Although they win in the end, Mataichi, Nagamimi, and Ogin all die, leaving poor Momosuke alone, just as Ogin finally says his name instead of referring to him as "author." However, it does leave open the possibility that they may still be alive after Momosuke publishes his book.
  • Big Bad: Kyogoku Tei, the patron of Maitaichi, Nagamimi and Ogin's group, turns out to be creating a mystical superweapon literally powered by human atrocity with which to destroy Japan.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: While some of the work they do is explicitly good, Nagamimi, Mataichi, and Ogin have been known to enter this realm when it comes to punish sinners.
  • The Blank: As a stylistic choice, unimportant side characters tend to be drawn with few features. See No Mouth.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Happens during a few death scenes.
  • Body Horror: Many, many characters suffer horrific physical mutilation and distortion, usually to fatal results, over the course of the series. "Salty Choji", for example, has the titular character as a morbidly obese and repulsive figure, whose rippling skin strains to cover his flabby body, with bulging bloodshot eyes and dripping with sweat.
  • Break the Cutie: Momosuke by the end of the series has had his worldview challenged long enough for him to break.
  • Broken Bird: Ogin has shades of it, mostly thanks to her horrible backstory.
  • Catapult Nightmare: If a Dream Sequence turns up in this show. The midway point of the very first episode starts with this as the Monster of the Week wakes up from a nightmare.
  • The Chessmaster: Kyogoku Tei, the series' Big Bad, who is manipulating events from behind the scenes to achieve his ultimate goal.
  • Crapsack World: And how! Momosuke finds how gruesome his world is as he fails to uphold his idealism in others. From dealing with child murderers to Abusive Parents, it didn't take long before he snapped.
  • Darker and Edgier: Amazingly, some of the stories in this series are far more grisly and gruesome than the mythical stories they are based on! A good example is "Salty Choji": in the myth, this story revolves around a gluttonous man who devours an entire herd of horses 300 strong, whereupon the last horse's spirit tortures him to death over 100 nights — in the series, this story revolves around a fratricidal cannibal who is trying to slake his lust for human meat by eating horseflesh instead.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Mataichi, Ogin and Nagamimi are supernatural beings who seek out evil-doers and expose their sins before ensuring they die and their souls are dragged off to hell. Despite this, they are not cruel or malicious, and they do not wish to harm the innocent — merely to punish the guilty.
  • Dark World: This is not a kind world the show is in.
  • Death of a Child: In several episodes, including the first two.
  • Deranged Animation: Just look at several of the "people" in the crowd scenes, and then watch some of the action scenes and you'll know why this trope is almost omnipresent here.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: It’s clear Momosuke has some level of feelings for Ogin. Sadly, she dies in the final battle. There’s a possible chance this may be a Subverted Trope as she and the rest of the Ongyo may still be alive.
  • The Dragon: Tatsuha works as this, alongside the hermits for Kyogoku Tei.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The first episode has Nagamimi able to shapeshift and sound exactly like the person he’s impersonating. This is dropped in later episodes where Nagamimi disguises and still sounds like himself.
  • Eye Scream: A particularly squirmy example in "Floating Head.", when Oyoshi kills Otama.
  • Freudian Excuse: It's established that many of the "monsters" and murderers in this series come about because of the cruelties they faced as once-innocent children...
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: ...But that doesn't make it okay to murder people, as is also made clear.
  • Genre Blind: It takes a remarkably long amount of time for the Momosuke to realize that his new friends aren't exactly "heroes".
  • Giggling Villain: Tatsuta. She's often in a very happy mood, even as she's committing terrorism, and laughs at it.
  • Gorn: There's even an episode concerning a series of pornographic scrolls detailing the various stages of corpse decay.
  • Gonk: 100 Stories features an extremely bizarre art style, particularly notable in its depiction of villagers and other incidental characters.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Men, women, children... the Absurdly Sharp Blade makes no distinction. This is particularly prominent in "The Shibaemon Raccoon Dog", where the young samurai cuts people in half at the waist, as he killed his mother long ago. This happens to coincide with a legend where tanukis split people in half at the waist to eat their livers.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Momosuke chooses to sacrifice his life to save Yasuku, even knowing that the man's he's saving is a remorseless serial murderer, purely because Yasuku was more passionate about living than he ever was. (Mataichi saves him.)
  • Hidden Backup Prince: "The Shibaemon Raccoon Dog" revolves around a young samurai, the son of one of the Emperor's mistresses, who was raised to take over the throne when the ill emperor died. However, the emperor managed to produce a legitimate heir, and so the child became useless. His own mother attempted to poison him, but he switched the cups. As she cursed him, he struck her down, starting a lifetime of berserk rages he had no control over.
  • Humans Are Bastards:
    • The entire point of the show, though "bastards" might be too kind a term.
    • The final episode has shades of it at the beginning, but overall the show has a bit of an optimistic approach to this trope.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Despite his efforts to join Mataichi and the gang, Momosuke is repeatedly told to turn back before it's too late.
  • I Love the Dead:
    • "Katabira Crossroads" revolves around a series of pornographic scrolls... the subject of which are corpses in varying states of decay.
    • The subplot between Momosuke and Ogin, since Ogin is pretty blatantly stated to be a ghost.
  • I'm A Humanitarian: "Salty Choji." The Reveal is that the house-owner is actually the real owner's twin brother, who was forced to eat his brother's corpse when they fell down a ravine together and who has been obsessed with the taste of human flesh ever since.
  • Jade-Coloured Glasses: By the end of the series, Momosuke has had most of his idealism worn away by the very human monsters he's run into.
  • Kabuki Sounds: The anime's soundtrack makes heavy use of traditional Kabuki sounds to add to the surreality of everything.
  • Knight Templar: Mataichi, Nagamimi and Ogin don't care about excuses, they don't care about justifications, all they care about is that those who have committed evil are found out and brought to justice... at least, to their version of justice.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Mataichi & Co.'s mission. Mataichi is even called a "karmic enforcer" at one point!
  • Marshmallow Hell: Ogin does this to Momosuke in the first episode.
  • Meaningful Name: Nagamimi ("Long Ears").
  • Mercy Kill: By the end of "Floating Head" Oyoshi has gone completely insane, and Momosuke requests that Mataichi grant her peace, however possible. He does.
  • Mind Screw: Sometimes it's very difficult to understand just what the heck is going on here, thanks to long bouts of Exposition on things that may have been mentioned once in the episode in question.
  • Morphic Resonance: No matter what form he takes, Nagamimi can't change his unusual ears.
  • Mr. Exposition: Mataichi is just about this trope personified. Expect him to explain what is going on or reveal the relevant backstory whenever he shows up.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Being incredibly beautiful and prone to wearing very little clothing, Ogin naturally serves this role in the series.
  • Mummies at the Dinner Table: In "Floating Head" Oyoshi refuses to believe that Otama is dead, killed by her own hand, no less, and claims that she's only ill.
  • Never My Fault: A few sinners desperately try to use scapegoats to absolve themselves. Mataichi and Co. are never impressed.
  • No Mouth: Most of the minor characters. The pic on that page is from this series.
  • The Noseless: Most of the minor characters lack a nose for the same reason they tend to lack a mouth.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Kyogoku Tei. He’s gonna take everyone out for his own benefits.
  • Only Six Faces: There are a limited number of models for background characters and other "extras", all of them quite surreal.
  • On the Next: Mataichi surmises what will be the issue in the next episode. Momosuke takes over in the final episode preview, however Ogin still drops the episode title and Mataichi ends it with his Catchphrase.
  • On The Next Episode Of Catchphrase: Ogin will say “Next time, on Natsuhiko Kyougoku’s Requiem from the Darkness, (Episode Title)” with Mataichi ending it with his Catchphrase.
  • Parental Incest: In "Floating Head." Oyoshi's father Matajuro Ishikawa committed this against her from a young age, making her mentally unstable. She eventually used his passion for her to convince him to kill her mother.
  • Perverse Puppet: Ogin's puppet, which is very pretty...until it looks at you.
  • Primal Scene: In "Floating Head", Otama sees the Parental Incest she and Oyoshi's father is committing upon Oyoshi and is too young to understand it, thinking their heads are dancing. When she talks to Oyoshi about it, Oyoshi kills her.
  • Pyromaniac: Shiragiku. (Or so it seems. It's actually her childhood friend Tatsuta, whom is lashing out at the world for her misfortune.).
  • Schizo Tech: Despite the series being set in Feudal Japan, several items show up that are far too technologically advanced to be there. Prominent examples are Momosuke's goggles, the stone-shooting Nodeppou gun, and the Flame Lance, a weapon of mass destruction powered by human evil.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: A fair few of the sinners operate under this idea.
  • Shapeshifter: Nagamimi has the ability to change his shape, and often assumes other forms in order to get his team closer.
  • Ship Tease: Quite a bit between Momosuke and Ogin. While they don’t get together at the end, there’s a chance they may reunite one day.
  • Shout-Out: Many of the stories in this series are based on real Japanese folklore tales and myths.
  • Split Personality: In "Willow Woman", the titular lady is one of these for the owner of the inn, driven insane by his greedy relatives, who only saw him as a means to carry on the family's ownership of the inn by having an heir—hence the murders of his wives and children.
  • Surreal Horror: Bizarre visuals, deranged characters and weird stories, all played to scare and shock.
  • Taken for Granite: Almost happens to the Ongyo in the final battle, but thanks to Momosuke, it doesn’t happen. It does happen to the hermits.
  • Tanuki: "The Shibaemon Raccoon Dog" revolves around a series of murders allegedly done by a tanuki hungry for human livers.
  • Transvestite: The titular villain of "The Willow Woman" is an insane man who dresses as a woman to commit murder.
  • The Trickster: The entire crew, but especially Mataichi.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Momosuke is Too Well-Meaning To Live. Luckily Mataichi's team is there to save his ass.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: Kyogokutei serves as the boss of Mataichi's crew for most of the series, but turns out to have been planning to cover the world in darkness and evil all along. Naturally, our team of anti-heroes won't stand for that.
  • Vapor Wear: Ogin doesn't wear much, if anything, under her kimono.
  • Verbal Tic: Quite a few. Mataichi's speech is highly archaic, and Nagamimi...well, Nagamimi is Norio Wakamoto.
  • Weapon of Mass Destruction: A mystical WMD powered by human atrocity, no less. Becomes the focus of the final two episodes.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Momosuke can't go five steps without running into some demon or serial killer. Then again, it is mostly his fault for actively seeking these things for his book.
  • When Trees Attack: Two for one special; a possessed tree decapitates a woman holding a baby. The women drops the baby. Then she falls on and crushes the baby. Only it turns out there's no ghost involved at all and she was actually murdered by her insane husband.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Momosuke, initially at least, is a caring, loving, compassionate soul who genuinely believes the world is full of good people and more good than evil.
  • Writers Suck: Poor Momosuke is everyone's Butt-Monkey. Episodes always have him at death's door in some shape or form.

Alternative Title(s): Kyogoku Natsuhiko Kosetsu Hyaku Monogatari, Requiem From The Darkness