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Manga / Pet Shop of Horrors

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"Welcome to my pet shop. Tonight, you will find something you desire."
Count D

Pet Shop of Horrors is a Horror/Fantasy josei manga by Matsuri Akino, which first ran in Missy Comics DX from 1995 to 1998. Despite the title, the manga only rarely focuses on horror, instead slowly building up the relationships between its characters in a magical setting. The four-episode anime adaptation produced by Madhouse chose to focus largely on the horror, and re-imagined four chapters from the manga series.

Pet Shop of Horrors is the story of a peculiar shop in the Los Angeles Chinatown, and the clients that visit it. The store's proprietor is an effeminate and sinister man only known as "Count D". He sells both normal animals and mythical creatures to people who visit his Dysfunction Junction. These animals and creatures can appear human to clients who are searching for something in life — a pet to help them get over the loss of a child, for example, or to cope with unrequited love. Count D uses his pets to teach their human caretakers a lesson, making them sign a contract stating they'll take good care of their new friends. Almost inevitably, they don't. The outcome is rarely pleasant, although some stories (especially those involving pets given to children) do have very heartwarming endings.


Enter Leon Orcot, a young and inexperienced LAPD detective, who has noticed the correlation between some very messy deaths and the victims' visit to the titular pet shop. Leon takes to spending more and more time at the shop as the series progresses, developing a peculiar yet close relationship with the guy he's supposed to be investigating for murder.

When Leon's traumatized and mute little brother Chris arrives to stay with his sibling, D becomes the boy's babysitter. Along with the animals of the pet shop, Leon and D become the boy's new family, and they gradually open up to each other. The cast additionally consists of Jill (Leon's detective partner), Tetsu (a teenaged Tao Tieh goat-demon with a crush on D), Pon-chan (a little tanuki girl), Hon Long (a three-headed dragon girl) and Q-chan (D's bat familiar). However, D's affection for Leon and Chris doesn't stop the pet shop's body count from increasing — and when D's Evilutionary Biologist father turns up after many years, Leon finds himself drawn into a desperate attempt to save all of humanity.


Tokyopop's translation of the first few volumes added swears, mistranslated many names and sound effects, included many typographical errors, and generally altered the source material. After four volumes, a new translator was hired, who immediately asked the manga's fan translation community on Yahoo Groups for help. As a result, the remaining six volumes of the series have a more accurate translation, although they, too, are riddled with flaws and egregious mistranslations. Much of the manga's text is also full of untranslatable jokes: D's speech in Japanese often states one thing in hiragana (ex. "innocent bystanders"), but something quite different in kanji (ex. "mere mortals"). Finding an annotated fan translation is still highly recommended to fully enjoy the series.

The manga has a sequel, Shin Pet Shop of Horrors (New PSOH, or PSOH:Tokyo, in English), with the action moved over to Shinjuku's Red Light District in Tokyo.

Has no relation with Little Shop of Horrors, so no, you won't find giant man-eating plant monsters here.

This manga provides examples of:

  • Actually, That's My Assistant: Despite serving as the caretaker of Count D's Petshop, the D that is the main character is not Count D. The actual Count D is his grandfather.
  • Adult Fear: D's pets seem to bring this out in more than a few stories:
    • In "Daughter" two parents, the Langfords are mourning the loss of their child Alice to drug addiction that Mrs. Langford enabled. When D offers them a Replacement Goldfish claiming it's a rabbit, Mrs. Langford sobs and insists that it's Alice brought back to them. In the anime this is taken further, where they thank D for bringing Alice back to life.
    • Karen's parents were brutally murdered, and the trauma left her with psychosomatic blindness. It's revealed she was in denial that her own uncle committed the crime to inherit their fortune and wants her out of the way as well.
    • In another story, a girl sees her family fighting all the time, only settling down when getting a pet that pleases all of them. This makes her upset, and she keeps begging for them to stop arguing. It turns out that the "girl" is a ghost dog, and her original family left her and drove off a cliff. In the fire that ensues, D has to remind the family that at least they are all alive and have each other, though he couldn't save their pet.
    • Chris's situation. He blames himself for his birth mother's death and feels that his adopted sisters do as well, which is why Leon takes him in, despite not having a child-friendly apartment until D cleans it. Chris also can't talk, although thanks to D he can communicate telepathically with Leon and with the animals in the shop. There Are No Therapists, though there is magic.
    • In one manga chapter a woman kidnaps Chris and Count D, meaning to kill them in revenge for Leon killing her criminal husband in self-defense. Leon lies to the officer that he doesn't remember that day, but he confronts the woman and says that if she wants to kill him, then go ahead, but leave Chris and D out of it. D is only able to stop her by revealing that she's pregnant and would be a criminal mother as well if she went through with it.
    • One mother, who had an abusive parent whom she murdered in self-defense, was scared of doing the same to her daughter, and would take it out on the family pets. (In one case she did let a bird go before she could do damage.) D mentions that abuse is cyclical, and that the mother was to be pitied more than feared. Her husband then faces the reality that their child Julia is going to become abusive to animals as well, not because of abuse, but because It Runs in the Family.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Karen's friends nickname Dreizhen "Dora-Chan". He blushes as she giggles. It becomes a Meaningful Echo when she tells him, "Dora-chan! RUN!" as her uncle prepares to murder her, and Dreizhen acts on his bodyguard instinct.
  • All There in the Manual: Count D's contracts say how to take care of the pets: what should be fed to the pet, that no one except the owner(s) can see them and in what way the pet should be kept.
  • Almost Kiss: D loves getting a bit too close to Leon's face.
  • Anime Chinese Girl: The Kirin chooses this form. It's appropriate, considering the Kirin is a Chinese mythological creature. While many other "pets" look like adults, the Kirin looks like a young girl with bound feet, wearing a lavishly ornate outfit, flowered headdress, and imposing makeup.
  • Anti-Hero: Count D and his grandson D.
  • Age-Appropriate Angst: Chris' guilt over "killing" his mother (she died in childbirth) is a major part of his characterization, and he becomes a bit of a woobie as a result. Leon, however, who was actually raised by the late Ms. Orcot until he was 18 or 19, never really goes in to his reaction to her death.
  • Agent Peacock: D.
  • Agent Scully: In spite of the steadily increasing volume of evidence, Leon simply refuses to believe that there are supernatural forces at work, instead trying to come up with "realistic" explanations.
  • Alas, Poor Yorick: Alas poor man from OVA 2, whose head we see cradled lovingly by the mermaid replacement of his dead bride.
  • All Myths Are True: Unicorns, Kitsune, Phoenixes, and Vampires all exist in the PSoH universe, not to mention the fact that the pet shop's animals appear and talk as humans.
  • And You Thought It Was a Game: Leon is aware that D is dangerous, but he seriously underestimates how dangerous. Good thing D likes him... Chris, however, is totally unaware of the darker side of D's nature, but if anything, his innocence protects him.
    • Wu-fei knows, though... and falls victim to D's cases often. Far too often. To the point of death, even. But, of course, it's always an illusion
  • Artists Are Not Architects: While Akino's backgrounds are generally beautiful, there are times when perspective and distance are just off.
  • Attempted Rape: D comes under danger of this a few times, though he either deals with it himself or is saved by his pets before it goes beyond innuendo and/or threats to that effect.
    • Xiao Fua fights back against her Boss/attacker. She escaped the rape, but loses her life.
  • Audience Surrogate: Jill.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: When one of Leon's friends goes rogue and shoots himself during a criminal raid, Leon says he wishes he had died instead. Count D, via a magical butterfly, shows Leon how empty his life would be with that scenario, since Chris wouldn't have been born, the pet shop wouldn't be in its usual spot, and Leon would have nothing to look forward to except a bullet in his head. Leon wakes up from the "dream" shaken but able to handle his guilt.
  • Big Brother Worship: Count D's younger sister seems to have this.
  • Big Damn Kiss: D and Tetsu. Leon is disgusted by it.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The first series ends with Leon saving humanity from a deadly plague and surviving his serious injuries, but has left his job and is now searching the world for D after he vanished. Chris grows up to become a successful FBI agent, who meets up with D's heir, a younger "clone" or possibly D's de-aged father, as part of an investigation involving another of the Shop's pets.
    • Happens again for Shin with D taking off right as Leon finally catches up with him forcing the former detective to continue the chase.
  • Bizarrchitecture: The pet shop.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: D demonstrates this due to his preference for animals over humans, not batting an eye when humans die but caring when the animals do. In the second volume, a queen comes to him and asks him to destroy a "bastard" that we are led to believe is a human fetus conceived in a womb of her husband's mistress, and says it's because of the promise his grandfather made. D does the deed with disgust, with Leon assuming that he murdered the human princess. What he actually did was steal the last two eggs of an endangered bird species, destroy the sperm samples, and let it enter extinction.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Subverted; when a woman kidnaps D and Chris, Leon lies to his superior that he doesn't remember shooting her husband in self-defense, but he has a flashback to her grief.
  • Character Focus: Leon, in Doom.
    • Wu-fei, in either volume 4 or 5 of Shin PSOH.
    • T-chan, in a sidestory that didn't appear in the Tokyopop version of PSOH.
      • Chris in the other sidestory, as well as the first chapter he appeared in and the second Christmas chapter...; he's popular!
  • Character Overlap: D turns up to have tea with the lead character and his posse of animals in Genju No Seiza, Petshop's sister series.
    • And in Shin PSOH (PSOH Tokyo), we have this guy from some other series that takes care of the petshop for a while.
    • Femto-kun, all over both Petshop mangas.
  • Celibate Hero: D, for obvious reasons.
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: Chapters can have good, downer, or bittersweet endings. An example of a "good" ending would be a girl buying a dog that saves her from a relative trying to kill her for her inheritance. A Bittersweet one would be a mother dying to save her child.
  • Cheeky Mouth: Averts this like the plague, except for some cartoony expressions.
  • Cherry Blossoms: Happens once, with the painting of a blooming cherry tree on a kimono.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: Don't get D started, whatever you do. You'll be there for years.
    • Leon gets a serious case of this illness at the end of the manga.
  • Cool Pet: D has Q, and arguably every single pet in the series is a Cool Pet of some sort!
    • Q is not his pet. Q is his grandfather the real Count D. But he doesn't know that. Neither do we, until the end.
  • Costume Porn: Pretty much every single anthropomorphized animal has a jaw-droppingly gorgeous outfit, sometimes based on real-world folk costumes, or designs by Erte, or pure fancy. Rich folds of embroidered cloth, ropes of pearls, elaborate hair or headdresses... it's a cosplayer's dream come true or nightmare depending on how you look at it.
  • Cut-and-Paste Translation: Tokyopop's earlier English volumes seems to be a rather loose adaptation of the Japanese original, with dialogue often being completely rewritten for no good reason, sometimes inducing plot holes (see below at Dub-Induced Plot Hole).
  • Damsel out of Distress: Dreizhen's human, a blind girl named Karen, grapples with her uncle when he prepares to shoot her and her dog, only to tell "Dora-chan" to run. Karen says that her life isn't worth it compared to his. Dreizhen obviously refuses.
  • Death by Childbirth: Leon's and Chris' mother dies during childbirth. The story justifies this by mentioning that not only was she pregnant very late in life, but she wasn't in the best of health to begin with.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The reason why D and his family think poorly of humanity in general and are the last of their kind. Long ago their race were praised and worshiped for being able to communicate with animals and acted as a bridge between them and mankind. One day a prince attempted to marry one of them but was rejected, angry he spread rumors that painted them as monsters and that they were no better than animals, turning public opinion against them and leading his people into wiping them out.
  • Dissonant Serenity: D, though it might be a mask — case in point, Dynasty.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The idea and the title almost sounds almost exactly like Little Shop of Horrors. Both works take a rather cynical look at human nature, and revel in their characters being karmically punished by peculiar creatures.
  • Doting Parent:
    • Viciously deconstructed in "Daughter". The parents lacked any will to discipline their daughter Alice and could never say no to her, not even when she became a delinquent and a drug addict. This ultimately led to Alice's death by overdose when her mother caved in and gave her more drugs instead of helping her rehabilitate... and once they take home a pet from D's shop, they prove that they still haven't learned their lesson!
    • Also deconstructed in "Durableness", where Sandra's constant doting on her daughter, Julia, not only leads to issues with her husband, who is more strict, but as Sandra's past is revealed, it becomes clear that her overly doting behavior stems from her terrible relationship with her own mother who she accidentally killed in self-defense as a child.
  • Downer Ending: The series consists mainly of vignettes about the pet shop's clients. Not many have happy endings. The conclusion of the series, in which D leaves Leon forever, isn't exactly what you'd call a happy ending either.
    • It was expected by fans to be retconned in the second series, what with the first two volumes ending with a short vignette about how Leon is chasing D ALL OVER THE WORLD. But Akino left it hanging again.
  • Dramatic Irony: PSOH thrives on this, but the most obvious example is when Leon reassures himself that vampires don't exist... while the reader, through D's perspective, sees that the vampire in question is sitting on the couch behind Leon, in bat form.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Evangeline's real death. She found out that Jason still loved Louise, even after marrying Evangeline, and threw herself off the ship.
    • Medusa. After her lover removes her blindfold and dies upon looking into her eyes, she decides to take her own life by looking at her reflection.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: In "Discovery" there's a scene where D treats Leon's wound, which Leon remembers also happening in what he assumes was a dream. That is significant, as realizing it wasn't a dream is part of Leon's final acceptance that D is not exactly a normal human. Nevertheless, in Tokyopop's "translation", Leon just remarks that D is as weird as a tattoo artist he once shacked up with, something the "translator" seems to have pulled out of their ass. Along with D apparently not remembering the "dream" in question, which is just ridiculous.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: D is constantly being mistaken for a woman.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first few chapters are more standalone compared to the rest of the series, though they do lay the foundation of suspicious deaths that leads Leon to meet D for the first time.
  • Easily Forgiven: After Leon nearly arrests D, suspecting him in a murder case only to be told he's wrong, D invites him for tea. He even makes sunny-side eggs on toast since Leon has revealed he hates sweets.
  • Fantastic Nature Reserve: The Count's shop.
  • Fairytale Motifs: Eva's storyline parallels to the Hans Christian Andersen's Tear Jerker Fairy Tale, "The Little Mermaid".
  • Food as Bribe: Sometimes Leon can bribe D with pastries to assist him with cases.
  • Forgot Flanders Could Do That: Tetsu goes from a being a cunning murderer to being a cute, child-like comic relief after his first appearance. In one of the final volumes, however, he's briefly shows as a bloodthirsty demon again, when the situation calls for it.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: D lets a mermaid switch bodies with him for a while, so that she can go to the shore to contact her human boyfriend again. Hilarity Ensues when Leon, who doesn't know what's going on, finds a seemingly amnesiac D and a hot naked mermaid.
  • Friendly Local Chinatown: Averted; Leon's superior reminds him that they don't have much authority there and that the tougher Leon is to the people, the more difficult they will act towards him.
  • Friend or Idol Decision: The young leader of a terrorist group has D kidnapped so he can lead them to the lost city of El Dorado, when they get there, D tells him that in order to gain entrance to the city he must sacrifice his pet jaguar. He ends up choosing not to go through with it.
  • Generation Xerox: D's whole family, with some pretty grim implications. All of them are mistaken for the real Count D (D's grandfather). Chris eventually falls into this trope too.
  • Growing Up Sucks: Even if Chris hadn't regained his voice when he did, he would still have lost the ability to see the pet shop's true form as he grew up.
  • Hair-Raising Hare: An early chapter (and the first episode of the OVA) has a rich couple who lost a daughter visiting Count D's shop and taking home a very rare species of rabbit that looks exactly like said daughter. Unfortunately, their love for their daughter leads them to break one of the rules of D's contract, and much rabbit-horror ensues.
  • Has Two Mommies: Sorta; Leon's been promoted to parent in regards to Chris, and D is Chris' babysitter with an ambiguous relationship with Leon.
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend: Leon tries to say this once when D runs into his arms to escape from a vampire, but D then stomps on his foot and tells him to be quiet.
  • Heroic BSoD: Volume 10, D suffers from it after getting shot by Vesca Howell and falling into a river; grandpa saves him by summoning visions of extinct species to motivate him once more to fight against humankind.
  • Historical In-Joke: One kirin owner was Eva Braun, Adolf Hitler's lady; they name him Blondie.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Leon and D, or alternatively...
    • Also applies to D's dad and FBI agent Vesca/Weskar Howell, rubbing off on readers on an almost Generation Xerox level.
  • Masquerade: Count D and his family, along with the animals.
  • Horror Hates a Rulebreaker: Every episode involves Count D and his petshop of very rare and very exotic pets, many of which often can appear human to clients who are searching for something in life - a pet to help them get over the loss of a child, or to cope with unrequited love. Count D's contracts always include specific instructions in regards to taking care of these pets, including things that they are not to do. And when these rules are inevitably broken, Bad Things tend to happen to the clients as a result.
  • Humanity on Trial: The pet shop clients and, friendship with Leon notwithstanding, D's the prosecution...
  • I am a Humanitarian: Chef Wong, from Dessert. Of course, it's because he's actually a totetsu in a human's body, but that doesn't make it any less creepy.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All chapter names begin with the letter "D".
  • Interspecies Romance: Robin Hendrix and Medusa to the point where even D is surprised to learn that Medusa took her own life after Robin's suicide.
    • Also from the first manga: the fisherman and the mermaid, Pon-chan and Hon Long for Chris, T-chan and Mary (sidestory not in the Tokyopop version) as well as T-chan and D, the vampire Marquis Alexander and Isabelle, etc.; and it gets worse in the new manga.
  • In the Hood: Count D to differentiate him from both his son and grandson D who are told apart from their hair lengths. The length of Count D's hair or whether he even has hair is unknown.
  • In Your Nature to Destroy Yourselves: D and his family acknowledge this. They also want to accelerate the process...
  • Irony: In "Dual", Kelly Vincent though kind and empathetic, admits to Nancy how useless those kinds of traits are in the face of politics compared to charisma and power. What gets him to pass his Secret Test of Character is choosing to wish for Nancy's happiness over his own ambition.
  • It Was Here, I Swear!:
    • When the police and the FBI raid the petshop after D has left, Leon is shocked at finding only a small storage room instead of the vast underground maze.
    • In that same chapter, Chris calls Leon and confesses what he saw as well, probably still in unbelieving shock that the petshop is gone.
    • Happens yet again in Shin when D very quickly vacates the premises when informed that Leon has tracked him down, just barely avoiding the former detective.
  • Jedi Mind Trick: D uses this on a security guard of a zoo sperm bank.
  • Karmic Death: A running theme throughout the series, most obviously when someone obtains a pet that required a contract and breaks any of the rules.
  • Karma Houdini: A phoenix, oddly enough, who makes a human suffer through several lifetimes, allows her to fall for each and every member of D's family time and again, has her die alone thanks to love ignorance, and then goes back over to D and his family to gloat about it.
    • The phoenix was a gift to that human in her earlier lifetime, when she was a princess in a foreign country. D's great great grandfather Count D gave it to her as a wedding present, to grant her a wish. All the girl wished for though was the heart of D's great great grandfather. Since the phoenix couldn't grant that wish, she was stuck reincarnating and dying until her wish was granted. Still doesn't excuse it for not telling D about the early death clause though.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Most children in the series cruel, but there are a few exceptions.
  • Killer Rabbit: With actual flesh-eating bunnies.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: One orphan, a rich heiress, has gone blind from the trauma of losing her parents especially on realizing she had seen her uncle Edward murdering them. D offers her a seeing eye dog named Dreizhen, who protects her when the killer returns and takes a bullet. She in the meantime treats Dreizhen kindly and is pleased when her friends say he is cute, as he blushes. She regains her sight in time to see a normal, injured Dobermann pinscher, and they end up becoming friends for life.
  • Last of His Kind: A few of the pets end up being part of a species that are on the brink of extinction or the last living specimens. This is also the case for D and his family.
  • The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: The pet shop, which can make a labyrinth out of a tiny building and that can be packed up and moved on remarkably quickly.
    • Wu Fei, in Shin PSOH, lampshades this at some point in one of the first two volumes.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: The pets are the living embodiments of this, though they quickly become a means of creating a Self-Inflicted Hell.
  • The Mafia: Let's generalize; however, notorious flavors are Italian, Japanese, Peruvian, and (of course) Chinese.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: D is able to fully recover from mortal injuries, but he can't cure minor ones. When he hears that the "blood of a God" is needed at one point, he calmly slits his own wrist to provide it. But when he breaks a nail...
  • Mama Bear: A woman in Shin is initially a subversion of this, having a reoccurring nightmare where her abusive ex tracks down her and their son and when the man goes to kill her, she uses her own child as a human shield. In the end, when the man finds them for real she sacrifices herself to protect her son.
  • Mascot: Q-chan, Pon-chan and T-chan.
  • Mayincatec: A Peruvian terrorist group called the Hand of Quetzalcoatl.
  • Mismatched Eyes: Count D has one gold and one violet eye. This may be an indicator that he's a supernatural being.
  • Mistaken for Pregnant: A chapter in SPSOH tells the story of some swallow eggs that make women pregnant with a girl upon eating them, Wu-fei health-checks all of his employees (trying to catch D with diabetes or the like), D's results get switched with another person's, and....
  • Moon Rabbit is used as a metaphor for why technology can be a burden, saying that humans "killed" the Moon Rabbit, the Moon Princess, and all the other mythological creatures of the moon by landing on the moon and showing none of them are real. Chris then cheerily replies "That's not true! They were all hiding!" which is appropriate considering Count D's Petshop is full of "mythical" creatures masquerading as pets. It also helps D gain more faith in humanity in general which is a good thing because both D and Count D himself are actually monitoring mankind to see if/when they will be ready to join the rest of the animal world in harmony. Very appropriate considering one version of the Moon Rabbit has the rabbit pounding medicine to heal Humanity's wickedness and "wounds".
  • More Expendable Than You: Karen and Dreizhen pull this in the climax of their story. As Edward prepares to shoot them both, Karen grapples with him and tells "Dora-Chan" to run for it and get help. Dreizhen gives a clear "NEIN!" and charges because he promised to protect Karen with his life.
  • Multiple Head Case: A three-headed Chinese dragon in Count D's petshop, they each have different personalities.
  • Mysterious Parent: D's dad and grandfather AKA the real Count D.
  • No Ending: The sequel manga leaves three plot threads hanging, namely Leon's pursuit, Chris's framed drawing, and Wu-Fei's accidentally rejected kirin. The first two are from the first manga, making it more frustrating that Akino has, once again, ended up without a magazine to publish in, having to hurry to the end of the manga... The third was just a further kick on the face to the resident Chew Toy.
  • No Name Given: Count D's son and grandson (nicknamed D by everyone).
  • Obfuscating Disability: A elderly man in a Shin chapter is revealed to have been doing this for several years to see how his family would react to his condition and is very disappointed at the result: his adult children forced his wife, who is younger than them, into being his caretaker and maid for their home or else she and their son will be kicked out, treat both of them horribly, and attempt to cut her out of her husband's will by having the man (who as far as they knew had a decreased mental capacity and couldn't legally agree to it) sign divorce papers.
  • Odd Couple: Leon and D.
  • Off-Model: Matsuri Akino cannot draw horses.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: D mentions that he sold a pair of canaries to Karen. That she's intact in mind, body and spirit shows that she passed his previous test. He's certainly impressed enough to offer her a guide dog who will also serve as her bodyguard, after her canaries die in the fire that Edward set while murdering har parents. Even lampshaded when he reassures Leon that Dreizhen is not another "weird pet".
  • Older Sidekick: Chin to Wu-Fei, in SPSOH; arguably also a potential Battle Butler.
  • Only You Can Repopulate My Race: Offered to D's dad and Vesca Howell; this trope was abused thoroughly this one time, much like Mistaken for Pregnant above.
  • Parental Abandonment: Leon's mother died giving birth to Chris and their father(s) is/are never mentioned. D has daddy issues of his own.
  • Pet the Dog: Although D dislikes humanity as a whole, he does have a soft spot for genuinely kindhearted people, especially if they like and are kind to animals. Chris is the biggest example in the series, to the point where D practically becomes a Parental Substitute.
    • Another example is in the last volume. While on the run from the FBI, D hitches rides from people. Most of them end up dead, because they thought D was a young woman and tried to rape him, but there's a notable exception. D stays with an elderly couple who are lonely because all of their children have moved out. They too think D is a woman, but treat him like a daughter and spoil him. They even discuss asking him to move in if he has nowhere else to go. D declines their invitation, but he does leave them a gift as thanks for their kindness: a happy puppy who will provide them companionship.
    • There's also Monica, a young girl who's already been reincarnated by a phoenix four times because the phoenix could not grant her what she truly wants, which is Count D's heart. D is genuinely upset that he can't return Monica's feelings, because unless he can she's doomed to keep reincarnating in a vain effort to get his love. He has a frank conversation with her that he wants to love her and help her, but he doesn't know what love is. Monica dies at the end of the story, which fills D with grief and regret. However, the phoenix informs him that he broke the cycle because this time Monica did get his heart. This makes D smile.
  • Phenotype Stereotype: Both Leon and Chris are blond-haired, blue eyed, all-American boys.
    • Doesn't stop with the Orcot brothers, though: their aunt, uncle, two cousins, and their mom. Arguably, Jill is there too, and Agent Howell, and... well... Nearly anyone in the first manga, period.
  • Precious Puppy: Some of the pets are this, with Daisy being an utter Moe. Dreizhen is full-grown as a Dobermann pinscher, but he looks utterly adorable when licking away Karen's tears.
  • Promotion to Parent: Leon to Chris.
  • Prophetic Names: Possibly unintentional, but "Leon" pretty obviously means "lion," and the character shares a lot of traits with the king of the beasts. In a sidestory, he even reflects that it'd be great to be a male lion, lazing around all day and having a harem of lionesses...
    • It's intentional—the author even writes in one author's notes that her image of Leon is a skinny male lion who is separated from his pride. Also, in "Dragon" D goes starry-eyed at hearing his name, and later refers to him as a lion he's taming.
      • This "taming" reference is lost for anybody with the Tokyopop version of the manga; it's simply not there.
    • Don't search up the meanings of the characters that make up Wu-Fei's name. Don't link his surname to the history of China. Call him Taizu instead, and forget everything else!
  • Psychotic Smirk: D, and he does it with style.
  • Replacement Goldfish:
    • "Daughter", the first animated story, involves a rich family taking a very rare species of rabbit home that looks just like their lost daughter. Things go well, but then they break one of the rules...
    • Jason buys the "fish" that looks like Evangeline, as a means of atoning for his guilt for her suicide.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Leon about how D is unscrupulous, thinking him to be a common criminal instead of a Fantastic Aesop enforcer. The first anime episode displays this perfectly, when he accuses D of selling drugs to Alice Haywood while investigating the girl's death and the strange pet shop. Although he is right in that D did sell something of question to the Haywoods, it was actually a rabbit that eats human flesh if it goes off its diet of raw vegetables. As the series goes on, however, Leon starts to see D's true nature, and the federal authorities applaud him for starting to see it.
  • Rule of Three: The pet contracts.
  • Sanity Slippage: It's safe to assume that Jason was slowly losing it when he was spending time with his mermaid, since it resembled Evangeline.
  • Secret Test of Character:
    • Kelly Vincent, in a rare subversion of the prevalent Downer Endings in the series, passes with flying colors when he asks the Kirin to ensure the happiness of his best friend's wife over ambition. His reward? He wins the girl AND gets to be President of the United States.
    • The tiger scroll chapter. Ends badly for all. Including D and the tiger cub.
    • Pandora and the Eye of Persia.
    • Really, you could argue that D is putting most of his customers through such tests. Selling their "pets" is a chance for them to come to terms with their grief, or their guilt, to have a new beginning of some kind or another. It just so happens that most of his customers fail.
    • Leon gets one through his investigations. While he suspects D is a criminal using the pet shop as a front, D understands that Leon is just doing his job as a cop, he's fundamentally a good person, and his suspicions aren't completely wrong. In one case, for example, D uses a butterfly to help Leon come to terms with a friend's death and appreciate the life he has, and in another Leon makes sure that Chris has a happy Christmas. Leon despite himself rises to each occasion, which is why D saves his life after D's father mortally wounds Leon.
    • Chris seems to be having an ongoing one over the series after Leon takes in his kid brother and D invites Chris to stay at the pet shop. He can see the magic shop creatures and befriends them; Chris's kindness and innocence convinces D that there is hope for humanity. Even though later on Chris loses the ability to see the creatures in their true form after he decides to return to a normal life, he becomes a successful FBI agent that reconnects with D's heir/father.
  • Sex by Proxy: Leon is tricked into sleeping with two girls in one night, unaware that they're plant spirits who use him to spread their pollen. Basically, they had plant-sex through him.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shown Their Work: All those animals, mythical and otherwise! ...and the fact that Akino has not yet run out of one-word titles beginning with D. Taking the animals and folklore one step farther, Akino also dedicates a portion of the back of each manga to explaining about the creatures used and how they fit into folklore or the story.
  • Somebody Else's Problem: If you violate your contract, then have fun dealing with your pet.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: Happens several times. If a woman gets pregnant in this series, the father is probably dead or about to die.
    • In the episode where Count D and Chris get kidnapped by the grieving girlfriend of a man Leon shot on duty, the end of the episode reveals that she is pregnant with her lost boyfriend's child.
    • In SPSOH, a woman living in denial of her husband's death gets a chance to see him one more time during the Bon festival of the dead. At the end of the three days, right before he returns to the land of the dead, he informs her that she "won't be alone from now on." Later, she is revealed to be three weeks pregnant... by her four-months-dead husband.
    • Also in SPSOH, a dowdy would-be novelist gets transported to success and fame by one of D's pets granting her good fortune. She even meets a wonderful man who recently underwent the same rags-to-riches journey, with a suspiciously similar pet. The good fortune is brought to a crashing end when both her pet and her new lover die on the same day... but both she and the surviving pet are pregnant.
  • Spell My Name with an "S":
    • The translator probably didn't realize that like Leon, Chris and Jill, agent Howell is also named after a Resident Evil character, Wesker. He ended up romanizing his name as "Vesca".
    • Woo-Fei, aka Taizu, is his last name Rau/Lau/Liu? And isn't Wu more appropriate either way than Woo?
    • Leon and Chris: Orcot or Alcott?
    • T-chan, or Tetsu or Tet-chan...?
      • This is just a case of Translation Convention. In Japanese it's "Tet-chan", it was localized in the English translation as "T-chan".
  • Spoof Aesop: The basic premise of the series—D's idea of "justice" is more than slightly skewed, and not only of "justice" as of Shin Pet Shop of Horrors.
  • A Spot Of Tea: D is fond of afternoon tea and pastries. Usually he and Leon have their discussions over tea.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: The mole teenagers that are heirs of two Yakuza gangs.
  • Sweet Tooth: Count D has this. Leon often uses brings over sweets in order to get information out of D.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The first series epilogue.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: Played for both comedy and drama with D's sister in "Donor" - she looks so much like him that Leon mistakes her for D at first. She turns out to be a modified ape, created by D's father as a organ donor for D, and raised to believe that she was a genuine person.
  • Undying Loyalty: Daisy, the dog for her human Maggie. When Maggie fails a Secret Test of Character by adopting Daisy, treating her as something to boss around and getting jealous when her family likes Daisy better, the latter saves her from a fate of joining D's children that are left in the shop.
    • All of the dogs in the dog chapters, really. Dreizhen, the doberman-turned-bodyguard, takes a bullet to save his mistress from her evil uncle Edward. Anastasia, the borzoi in SPSOH, is at first so loyal to her servant handler rather than her wealthy owner that this threatens to get her in trouble. At the end of that story, Anastasia even complies with the handler's wish to save his girlfriend at the cost of his own life... then leaps off the cliff after him. She even turns him into a dog so he can be with her. Rudy the caretaker of a young Filipina woman’s older husband who offers to take her away from the man’s evil children from his previous marriage. When she refuses, he accepts and instead helps the man reveal he was faking his dementia and Rudy returns to his original form, a mutt puppy.
  • We All Live in America: The setting is in Chinatown of Los Angeles, but the original manga and anime has people speaking Japanese. In one case, Leon is able to get beer from a vending machine, which does not exist in America.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: D confesses this to Monica when it's revealed that she loves him and wants his love in return. Although it's never explicitly stated whether he genuinely doesn't understand it, or whether he doesn't want to admit he understands it. Evidence points to the latter.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In SPSOH, what happened to Leon after the two sidestories?
    • This get somewhat resolved by the end of the story: he shows up at the shop right as D pulls another of his disappearing acts before leaving to try and track him down again.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: One of the driving points of the series, more so in the anime; Leon hates that D sells dangerous pets to clients, and says that the shop is not liable. He makes good points about how they seem to be Disproportionate Retribution and can cause a moral hazard.
  • Yandere: Norma Langley, the very jealous vampire who attempts to kill D in volume 4; arguably, also D's father over D.
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: Karen addresses Dreizhen by his full name, while her friends call him Dora-chan. The only time she uses the Affectionate Nickname is when her uncle is holding her hostage and threatened to shoot Dreizhen as a witness to the real culprit.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Hammered home incessantly.


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