Just in time for spooky season, adult swim is set to air the new horror anime series Housing Complex C during its Toonami block. After weeks of Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal repeats, Toonami was due for some new and fresh original content to kick off the late night block.
While presented as a horror series, and there are moments of explicit violence and horror, the majority of the first episode is setting up what is likely to come. There are scenes which invoke feelings of eeriness, mystery and general uneasiness, but the explicit horror elements are less than I had expected. They will likely come later as story lines evolve and things eventually ramp up.
The premiere episode kicks off with a lot of information in a short period of time. This intriguing and intense period of action takes place in the near future, while also hinting at some sort of mysterious past. Not fully understanding the moment, I found myself looping back to it at the completion of the episode to rewatch it, hoping to make more sense of it, now having learned about the characters and how they could possibly end up in this moment. The sequence will likely be a major moment when we come to it again.
As the episode progresses, it seems to want to focus on the idea of perception. This applies in many aspects of the word. First off we see the idea of perception as a visual metaphor. Is what we are seeing really there or our minds playing with us? These moments can catch the viewer off guard at times invoking that spooky atmosphere. We also see people’s perspectives on how they perceive others and how they react in certain situations towards them. Some characters explicitly show their biases when facing others. Are they justified in those feelings or are they just missing information?
While I wish additional episodes were made available ahead of the series premiere to get more of a sense of the series, the premiere episode I was able to view does a solid job setting the scene, introducing spooky elements, and is topped off by an impressive animation style. You get a real understanding of most of these compelling characters and their motivations.
The pacing of the series feels like they’re playing with a full season of twelve episodes. With this mentality, and knowing there are only four episodes, it seems like there should have been more urgency and using the most of the time. Midway through the episode I also began to realize that if you were to begin watching the episode in the middle, you might not even realize it is intended to be a horror series.The pacing could easily increase, as well as the horror aspects, which I highly expect will happen with all the mysterious hints teased so far. It will also likely make for an extremely satisfying binge once all episodes are out.
The voice actors in the English dub do an impressive job, fitting each character and truly bringing each one of them to life. Kimi, voiced by Xanthe Huynh, is instantly a standout. Her presence on screen is always the center of attention. I also enjoyed the fact that a bunch of the main characters are older, and some grumpy, which is fun to play off of the young, curious, and likable Kimi.
A subtle detail I noticed was the way backgrounds and colors contrast in various scenes and locations as well as elements of daytime and nighttime. Based on the title of the series alone, it could easily have become trapped in just the apartment complex with walls and closed rooms, but instead, we see a variation of locations and scenery animated.
While not as scary as I was hoping, and seemingly going with more of a spooky vibe overall, there are many satisfying moments and reasons to keep watching. There are still three episodes left to go and I’m thoroughly intrigued to see where it all goes next. If the series can deliver a fully realized story based on the developments so far, it should continue to shine. Spooky will do, but if you came for horror, you might need to wait for Uzumaki to get that true horror experience.
Housing Complex C premieres Saturday, October 1 at midnight on adult swim’s Toonami block. Episodes will stream on HBO Max the next day.