Dark Gathering Anime Review

dark gathering anime yayoi

In Dark Gathering, spirits of both evil and harmless nature roam the world among the living. Some harness the power to sense or attract the supernatural, others can communicate with these ghosts. In the case of Hozuki Yayoi, she can perform exorcisms on those possessed by haunted spirits. One day she’s introduced to a cursed boy named Gentoga Keitaro who can also sense spirits.

Their meeting was meticulously arranged by Hozuki Eiko, the guardian and cousin of Yayoi. She’s the long-time best friend of Keitaro, who suffered from a past supernatural incident which left Eiko injured, a fate which Keitaro blames himself for. Yet Eiko is still deeply obsessed with the occult despite being unable to see ghosts herself.

Keitaro and Yayoi share a goal: finding a powerful evil spirit known as the Spectre of Death. For Keitaro, he wants to find a cure to the curse placed upon him and Eiko when they were children. For Yayoi, she wants to avenge her mother whose soul was taken by the Spectre.

Early in their journey they encounter a girl named Kamiyo Ai, who was claimed by a god as his bride. Her life is set to end at the age of twenty, and preventing her early demise becomes the main trio’s means to their individual ends. If they succeed in capturing Ai’s god, they have a greater chance of defeating the Spectre. But first, they must gather more “Graduates,” powerful spirits which have gained strength through consuming other spirits, to increase their team’s chance of victory. So they travel from one perilous spot to another and use their trapped ghosts to devour the haunting spirits.

The exposition and set up for the season was well implemented and clearly thought out. At first, it seemed like we would be following the journey of a socially awkward college student on the road to regaining his self-confidence. However, this was merely a red herring to a deeper and more engaging plot, one about death and misfortunes of all kinds.

The anime is a series of episodic mysteries where the viewer learns the backstories of the dead souls alongside the trio as they perform their exorcisms. And each episode takes its time unraveling the layers of horror in each haunted destination, such as the House of the Virgin Conception. Women who visited would mysteriously become pregnant and give birth to a monster shortly after. But the true horror there was its history: a father had accidentally killed his wife and then performed a sexual ritual with his daughter for supernatural salvation. Having dark stories like this at the back of your mind along with visual body horror on screen makes for a perfect mixture of gore and psychological horror.

The designs of the ghosts are effective in their goal to invoke an unsettling feeling to the audience. Spirits which at first appear as dazzling can turn nightmare-inducing, with bone-chilling screams that stick with you. The same can be said of humans too, as the show does not hesitate to show that the living can be just as dangerous as the dead. Like when Eiko’s gentle nature becomes sinister, as if a mask was being unveiled.

As the series progresses, Keitaro’s development from the bumbling socially inept boy drags on. He kept making mistakes that are easily avoidable, even in life or death situations. Eiko or Yayoi have to save him every time, giving the impression that he was more of a liability despite his spiritual powers. At some point, having your lead character be clumsy and slightly foolish goes from relatable and realistic to simply difficult to root for. The latter of which is unfortunately the case with Keitaro.

All in all, Dark Gathering is a good horror anime to pick up, with a rich storyline, great pacing, and compelling visuals. Although if you’re looking for a light watch, you may want to skip this show as it doesn’t shy away from discussing heavy and potentially triggering topics. This includes subjects such as child abuse and incest. Although, the anime does handle these sensitive subjects with the seriousness they are due. I highly recommend the series and look forward to the continuation of the trio’s adventures in any future seasons.

Dark Gathering is available to stream now over on HIDIVE.

dark gathering anime key visual

Title: Dark Gathering
Media Type: Anime
Aired: Summer 2023
Studio: OLM
Director: Hiroshi Ikehata
Original Story: Kenichi Kondou