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durableness

Pet Shop of Horrors

is a Japanese horror manga created by Matsuri Akino. The series focuses on the eccentric Count D, proprietor of a mysterious pet shop located in the heart of Chinatown, and the numerous patrons who visit his shop.

The manga, published by Asahi Sonorama in 10 graphic novels, consists of 41 chapters in total. It has been licensed for distribution in the United States by Tokyopop. Recently, Matsuri has begun a sequel, . TOKYOPOP has acquired the rights to this sequel and calls it "Pet Shop of Horrors – Tokyo," and the first volume was released in February 2008.

Plot

Count D is the mysterious caretaker of a pet shop in Chinatown, San Francisco as mentioned in volume 5 of the manga in the episode titled Dual. Each of D's pets, which all have strangely humanoid appearances, comes with a contract with three major points. These points differ for each animal sold, and breaking this contract usually results in dire (and sometimes disturbing) consequences for the buyer, for which the pet shop claims no liability.

Individual chapters of Pet Shop of Horrors are often based on these consequences, and are each written as a stand-alone story, usually introducing one or more new characters in each chapter. With the exception of the main characters and their families, it is rare for a character to carry over to a later chapter, providing the series with a very episodic nature.

The detective Leon Orcot is used to tie the chapters together into an ongoing plot, usually in the form of a subplot within each chapter. Initially he suspects Count D of malicious criminal activity and using the pet shop as a front for drug trafficking. As the series progresses, he learns more about the pet shop and Count D himself, entering into a strange friendship of sorts with the Count as he works to uncover the truth.

Anime

Madhouse produced a 4-episode OVA adaptation of various chapters of the manga in March 1999. In an unusual move for an OVA series, the anime first aired as a miniseries on the TBS television network (as part of their – now defunct – programming block "Wonderful") before being sold on VHS and LaserDisc.

Urban Vision released the Pet Shop of Horrors anime in North America, initially across two VHS tapes (each available in either subtitled or dubbed format) in February 2000 and May 2000 respectively. It was then re-released on a single DVD-Video (containing all four episodes and both language options) in February 2001. It was not released in Australia, nor in the United Kingdom, and all of the American releases are now out of print.

Episodes

Episode 1 – Daughter – A rich couple has lost their only daughter, Alice. Fortunately, Count D is able to acquire a very rare species of rabbit that looks exactly like Alice. The couple is overjoyed and immediately takes the rabbit home. But their love for Alice makes them breach one of the contract's terms.

Episode 2 – Delicious – The popular idol singer Evangeline Blue and her manager Jason are about to be wed on a luxury ship when Evangeline "accidentally" falls overboard, her body never to be found. The heartbroken Jason travels to Count D's to pick up a pet that Eva had supposedly ordered. But to his surprise, the pet turns out to be a mermaid who looks exactly like Eva.

Episode 3 – Despair – Actor Robin Hendrix was a one-hit wonder. After the phenomenal success of his debut movie, Robin couldn't get any more acting jobs. It seemed he'd been stereotyped by the very role that made him famous. To top it off, his wife has left him. Robin loves keeping pet reptiles, and so he goes to Count D's to pick up an additional pet to cheer himself up. But Count D has something special for Robin: a very rare species of reptile known as Medusa, with the face and upper body of a beautiful woman, but the lower half of a large lizard.

Episode 4 – Dual – Roger Stanford comes from a long line of successful politicians, but is considered the bad apple of the family due to his carefree and womanising ways. His faithful assistant Kelly Vincent is determined to make Roger the president of the United States, even if it means making a pact with the legendary animal called the Kirin, who grants the wish of its sovereign through the blood of others. Count D just happens to have one Kirin in stock.

Primary characters

Count D
*Gender: Male (though his appearance is androgynous and he is often mistaken for a woman)
*Nationality: Overseas Chinese
*Age: Unknown
*Occupation: Owner of "Count D's Pet Shop"
Though he denies the name is "Count D" – claiming that this title belongs only to his grandfather, the shop's true owner – most humans refer to him by this name, often shortened to "The Count", "Count", or simply "D". He runs a pet shop in Chinatown while the shop's alleged true owner is travelling abroad. His motto suggests he doesn't actually sell pets but rather "love, dreams, and hope" with a three-term contract.
He appears more fond of animals than humans and displays a love of the natural world. He usually appears calm and soft-spoken (except when he is fighting with Leon), though towards the end of the manga series, his attitude changes. He enjoys drinking tea and has a special fondness for confectionery. In fact, Leon often bribes him with sweets and pastries in return for information. Although he often expresses disdain for humans and claims to hate human children, he eventually becomes very attached to Chris, and he also seems to hold his brother Leon in affection.
In Volume 4, Leon suspects that D may be a vampire, but D's father later refutes this (and D is actually a vegetarian). He shares a striking resemblance to his father, and to his grandfather, the real Count D. This is because they are imperfect clones or, more correctly, duplicates of one another. They are almost identical except for the colour of their eyes; D has one purple eye, like his father, and one golden eye, inherited from his grandfather. Though it is hinted earlier in the series, it is revealed in Volume 10 that he is not human, though what he and his family are exactly is left open to interpretation. According to D's father, they are the last of an ancient Chinese civilization that was very close to animals. Because of their wisdom, the people were kept at the imperial palace as wise men, priests, and priestesses, giving them all superior treatment. When the prince asked one of the priestesses for her hand in marriage and she refused him, however, he grew angry and ordered a massive genocide of the people. Only one man from the civilization survived, vowing to take revenge on the humans for what they did to his family.
As well as being the main character in Pet Shop of Horrors, D makes a cameo appearance in volume 4 of Genju no Seiza, another manga series by Matsuri Akino.

Leon Orcot

*Gender: Male
*Nationality: American
*Age: 24 at the beginning of the series
*Height: 184 cm
*Weight: 72 kg
*Occupation: Detective
Leon Orcot is a hot-headed young detective who attempts to connect the pet shop with mysterious deaths in the region. He is convinced Count D is a criminal and proceeds to investigate him with an iron will, determined to be the one to put the cuffs on the manicured hands of D. Over time, he forms a close and complicated relationship with the Count. He has a disdain for the supernatural and therefore refuses to be believe D's explanations for the events of the story, though this attitude is challenged as the series progresses. He is extremely lecherous as displayed though the series, and spends a lot of time chasing girls. Over the course of the series, Leon is given two pets by D (a flowering plant and a butterfly), both of which help him through hard times in his life (as opposed to other pets sold, which are meant to teach their owners a lesson).

Other characters

Humans

Chris Orcot
*Age: 6
*Height: Short
*Weight: Light
*Personality: Cheerful and innocent, but a bit of a crybaby
Chris is Leon's much younger brother – their mother became pregnant with Chris when she was fifty, and died during childbirth. As a result, Chris was raised by his aunt and uncle, who he grew up calling "Mom" and "Dad". When Chris' younger cousin, Sam, told him that he was responsible for his mother's death, he was so shocked that he lost his ability to speak. Chris was sent to Los Angeles with Leon and spends most of his time in D's pet shop. Although he can't talk, Chris has the ability to telepathically speak to all of D's animals as well as the Count and Leon. He also thinks very highly of Q-chan saying that he was "The cutest, rarest, and highest priced pet in the shop," though as it turns out, Q-chan is the only "pet" Chris perceives as an animal. Since he initially only ever sees the animals in their human form, he believes that the Count actually sells human children, although he feels all right with that as long as the children don't mind it.
In Volume 10, Chris reconciles with his cousin, regains his ability to speak, and moves back to his aunt's house. This comes at the price of his loss of ability to see the animals in their humanoid forms, referred to in the manga as something of a "Departure from Eden". Twenty years later, he is shown as an FBI officer, tracking down the next generation of the Count's family.

Jill

*Height: 168 cm (5 ft 6 in)
*Weight: 53 kg (117 lbs)
Jill is Leon's fellow police officer. She is far more sensible than him as well as far more knowledgeable (for example, she learned Chinese and rattled off the life cycle of the butterfly to D). Jill seems to like D a lot and is usually exasperated by Leon's constant claims that D is a criminal.

Samantha

Commonly known as "Sam". The cousin that caused Chris to stop speaking. She was four years old when Chris came to live in her household and disliked him immensely, especially when he ruined her bunny doll. She later regrets her outburst, realizing she misses him, and, with the help of Ten-chan, the two reconcile and she begins to refer to him as her "brother".

Josie

Chris' cousin and Sam's older sister. Despite Chris not being her biological brother, she has never thought of him as anything other than her little brother.

Animals

Tetsu
Often referred to as "T-chan". He is a totetsu, a mystical carnivorous animal that is a distant relative of the goat. He is a somewhat rough friend of Chris, and they are almost always together. To most people, T-chan is shown as a small goat that can be held in a lap. To the Count and Chris, he looks like a young man with wild hair and goat horns.

Pon-chan

Pon-chan is a Raccoon who lives at D's pet shop. She is a special friend of Chris and is more gentle than T-chan. To most people, Pon-chan looks like a normal raccoon. To the Count and Chris, she looks like a little girl with curly hair and a cute dress. She has quite a distinct crush on Chris. (Due to a translation mistake many fans believe that she is a badger, because Leon refers to Pon-chan as a raccoon and D corrects him, saying that she is a European badger.)

Ten-chan

Ten-chan is a shape-shifting nine-tailed fox with a relaxed personality and a crude manner of speech. His ability to shape-shift is so good that he can look like several different things at the same time, depending on who's looking at him. He also has the ability to mimic the personality of whatever he's shifted into and seems to have somewhat occult powers as well. It is uncertain how he got the name "Ten-chan", since he said once that it was not his name. To most people, when he's not transformed, Ten-chan looks like a little white fox with multiple tails. To the Count and Chris, he looks like a laid-back young man wearing casual clothes.

"Honlon" – Shuko, Kanan and Junrei

Introduced in Volume 2, this dragon was born with three heads. In human form it is portrayed as a little girl with three distinct personalities. According to Shuko, "The simplest explanation is that we're triplets that were all born with the same body". The triplets are: Shuko, the responsible one; Kanan, the violent one; and Junrei, the childish one. According to Shuko, each one of them was strongly influenced by the person who helped birth them. Shuko was born 60 years ago and since then had been raised by the Count. Her two other sisters had hatched more recently. Kanan had hatched after being held by Leon in Volume 2. Junrei had hatched after being held by a young boy (the grandchild of Mr. Smith, to whom her egg was accidentally given). Each one had taken on the personality of the last person to hold them while still in the egg. Kanan has the tendency to bully Junrei by pulling their hair. After meeting Chris, he made a contract with them, and like Pon-chan, they can get slightly jealous when he notices someone else.

Femuto-kun

An Egyptian Mau who makes an appearance in Dice in Volume 2, he is a character from Akino's previous series "Reikan Shouhou Kabushikigaisha".

Golden Kirin

Never actually from the shop. The Kirin is said to grant any wish, desire and power to its owner, and that the Kirin will be the one to choose. In Akino's Genju no Seiza another Kirin, the Blue Kirin Sohki, appears.

Others

Count D's father
Just as no one ever knows what Count D's true name is, D's father's name is never revealed. He is sometimes referred to in fan circles as "Papa D." He is somewhat manipulative and holds a grudge against humanity for destroying the environment and many species of animals. His own son doesn't trust him very much, even believing him capable of kidnapping Chris at one point. D's father looks almost exactly like his son (even with identical fingerprints), except that his hair is much longer and both of his eyes are purple. Like D, he is not human but his species is not revealed.
It is known that he attended to the university in 1975, passing as an exchange student from Hong Kong and being occupied with research at a genetic engineering laboratory. During this time, he met a human by the name of Vesca Howell, who later abandoned his career as a medical doctor to become an FBI agent, his sole intent being arresting D's father, as he, like Leon Orcot with Count D, believed him to be a criminal. Such goal was never fulfilled, though, as both died by the end of the series; Leon shot D's father, and D's father killed Agent Howell.

Q-chan/Sofu D

Q-chan is a little bat-like creature and is D's constant companion. His name is perhaps derived from the sound he makes – "kyū". He is the only creature in the shop that looks like an animal to everyone (almost all of the other animals look like strange humans to Chris and the Count). After being hinted at through the series, Q-chan's true identity is revealed in Volume 10 as Count D's Grandfather, and the proper holder of the title "Count" and name "D". Although we never see the name in the English translation of the series, he is often referred to in fandom as "Sofu D," "sofu" meaning "grandfather" in Japanese. Upon the end of the series, "Q-chan" reverts back to his humanoid form (identical to D apart from his two golden eyes) and takes the reborn Count D's father to raise.

Manga volumes

Each volume contains four chapters, along with an ending "Pet Catalog", except for volume number 4, which has five chapters and the Pet Catalog. The letter D is the 4th letter in the English alphabet, so it may be symbolic in that light as the number 4 is considered an unlucky number linked to death in Japanese, Chinese and Korean culture. Every chapter name starts with the letter "D" and is about a different pet and the person and/or family that adopted it. More often than not, there is a resulting human death from these, thus strengthening the assumption of a corresponding theme of the number 4.

Note: This information refers to the TokyoPop version only. Two side stories were omitted from the original 10 volume release in Japanese and the English version, and are available only in the last volume of the 7 volume re-release in Japanese.

Volume 1 – Dream / Despair / Daughter / Dreizehn. Original rating 13+, new rating 16+.

* Dream - Young Angelique learns the tragic nature of breeding the rarest of birds in the Strelizia.

* Despair - Out-of-luck actor Robin Hendrix has always preferred the company of reptiles, so it's only natural that he would fall in love with a very special and dangerous one.

* Daughter - There is no love stronger than a mother's love for her daughter, but one mother is about to learn that love can be quite painful.

* Dreizehn - They say that a dog is a man's best friend but for the recently blinded Karen, the bond with her new seeing-eye dog is even closer.

Volume 2 – Dragon / Dice / Delicious / Destruction. Original rating 13+, new rating 16+.

* Dragon - When a common turtle egg is switched with a dragon's, Count D and Detective Orcot rush to stop a Christmas surprise from turning into disaster.

* Dice - Luck be a kitten named Lady tonight. Can a brush with Count D turn around the life of one small-time gambler?

* Delicious - The "fish" that Ethan Grey just purchased from Count D bears a striking resemblance to his recently drowned wife. A coincidence... or a ghost?

* Destruction - After Leon falls asleep on the job, D visits him in his dream to give him a lesson in ecology.

Volume 3 – Diamonde / Desire / Dessert / Devil. Original rating 13+, new rating 16+.

* Diamonde - Officer Orcot is charged with protecting a marked woman, but even Orcot never would have expected the Count to be the assassin.

* Desire - Young Maggie is bored with her new dog. When Count D offers her a much more exciting pet in exchange, will Maggie grow tired of it as well... or will the pet tire of her new master?

* Dessert - A string of high profile disappearances has Officer Orcot hobnobbing with the city's elite, but after catching the Count in their midst, his list of suspects is shortened to one name.

* Devil - After a chance meeting seems to stir up long-forgotten memories in an old woman, Count D begins to wonder whether ignorance is bliss in this emotionally moving and dramatic story.

Volume 4 – Digital / Dark Horse / Dracula. Note: While this volume has 5 listed chapters in the index, it only describes three on the back. The unsummarized chapters are Flowers and the Detective Part 1 and 2. Flowers part 3 is found in volume 6, with a semi-continuation called Flowers, and the Detective's Little Brother in volume 8.

The Flowers chapters are officially side-stories, despite the fact that the entire series is made up of short stories. Possibly this is because they are the only short stories that do not start with the letter "D". Part two was incorrectly listed on page 168 (when chapter 5 was on page 115) when in reality it starts on page 124, and chapter 5 starts on page 141.

* Digital - On firm orders from his chief, Leon reluctantly takes a murder witness, a tropical fish, to Count D in the hopes that the creepy pet shop owner will be able to extract any information. The count's seemingly supernatural ways have always been fishy to Leon, but the detective is going to have to scale back his skepticism if he's going to reel in his man.

* Dark Horse - Count D falls in love with a beauty in all its myriad forms, so when the eyes of a championship horse stir the fires of his aesthetic, he offers the owner things monetary and magical.

* Dracula - When Count D fits the victim profile for a local serial killer, Leon and an FBI agent are assigned to protect him. So what will working so close to the count mean to he and Leon's love/hate relationship?

Volume 5 – Dual / Day Nursery / Darling / Dance.

* Dual - When a congressman visits Count D they discover they have something in common--both make your dreams come true... for a price. But when the final vote's been tallied, this politician may be in for the upset of a lifetime.

* Day Nursery - When Leon lets his younger brother spend the day with Count D, he isn't expecting any trouble. After all, Christopher hasn't spoken a word in months. At least not to any people...

* Darling - A stray puss taken in by the count ends up having aristocratic pedigree. But by the time her princely owner comes to claim her, she's already developed a taste for freedom.

* Dance - Dancers and dreams coming together can be wondrous... or terribly destructive. And when their union happens at Count D's pet shop, Detective Orcot has a pretty good idea which of the two he expects.

Volume 6 – Discovery / December / Distance. Note: While not summarized on the back, the side story Flowers and the Detective part 3 is the listed 4th chapter in the index.

* Discovery - When Count D and Leon are abducted by terrorists, freedom comes in the form of a mystical jaguar.

* December - It was the night before Christmas, and under the house, a creature was stirring, far worse than a mouse.

* Distance - The youngest daughter in a family of musicians has no talent. Will a new pet sweeten her tune or make her sing the blues?

Volume 7 – Doom / Donor / Duty / Diet.

* Doom - After Orcot's act of hesitation results in the death of his partner, will Count D ease the detective's mind... or simply drive him mad?

* Donor - Count D's sister appears on the scene, and she wants to give D a piece of her heart... literally!

* Duty - A fifteen-year-old hit man has a little problem with la cosa nostra, and Orcot is the only thing that stands in the way of mob peace and all out war!

* Diet - Count D's diet plan has a simple rule: don't watch what you eat... but pay attention to what eats you!

Volume 8 – Deep / Dummy / Déjà Vu. Note: This volume contains a 4th chapter, Flowers, the Detective and the Detective's Little Brother that is not summarized on the back.

* Deep - When Leon confronts a murderous mermaid, Count D might be the one swimming with the fishes.

* Dummy - Will a new pet keep a bickering family from fighting like cats and dogs... or end up sending them all to the kennel?

* Déjà vu - Question: Who is Edna Hurry? Answer: A murder mystery that Leon is just dying to solve.

Volume 9 – Dreams / Desire / Death / Desperation. Note: Dreams is called Dynasty, and is the last chapter of the book. Desire is called Duel and is the first chapter, Death is Durableness and is the second chapter, and Desperation is the third chapter.

* Dreams - A young girl is haunted by dreams from past eras, each one involving the count.

* Desire - A dangerous pet, capable of granting anything its owner wants, comes into the possession of a violent mafia don.

* Death - A child lives a nightmare in which each of her pets is found violently killed.

* Desperation - A desperate woman with a grudge against Leon enacts her revenge on those he holds dear... starting with his brother.

Volume 10 – Departure / Disappearance / Duplication / D.

* Departure - When two young ladies pay a visit to Count D's shop, they're not looking to take home a pet, but their little brother--Chris Orcot!

* Disappearance - Count D has disappeared, and the hunt to find him is on, especially since a new serial killer has emerged, one whose modus operandi appears to involve frenzied wild animals.

* Duplication - When Detective Orcot meets Count D's father, it becomes clear that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

* D - In the climatic final chapter of Pet Shop of Horrors, the truth about Count D and his family is revealed... and we say good-bye to a few old friends.

Shin (New) Petshop of Horrors

Shin Petshop of Horrors is the sequel to Petshop of Horrors, and is centered around Count D's new shop, which he has set up in Tokyo. This is contradictory to the mild amount of foreshadowing in the final volume of Petshop in which an older Chris Orcot pays a visit to another "D" in the old pet shop and it is revealed that twenty years ago Leon disappeared in search of D. As of volume five, Leon has not appeared in Shin Petshop of Horrors save for a couple of side stories in which he is still searching for D.

The manga has been licensed in English by Tokyopop and is called Pet Shop of Horrors - Tokyo. The first volume was released in February 2008, and the second in July 2008. The third volume's release has been declared for October 2008.

References

External links

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