Dark Gathering – Season 1 Episode 11 Recap & Review


S-Rank Danger: Castle H Ruins

Episode 11 of Dark Gathering begins with Yayoi explaining S-Rank locations to Keitaro. She says S-Rank spots can trap or grant folks curses forever. Despite feeling chills down his spine, Keitaro vows to persevere through the Castle H Ruins with Yayoi.

Yayoi looks up some more facts about the Castle H Ruins during her expedition with Keitaro. She speculates the spirit who roams this area singles out and scares people who arrive and ignore its history.  

Yayoi and Keitaro plan to visit the ruin’s waterfall since it’s the scariest spot. They bump into a mysterious elder who offers to take them to the waterfall. Yayoi accepts her offer, baffling Keitaro. Yayoi hands Keitaro her phone and asks him to read “close encounter” stories she found about the Castle H Ruins. The stories offer insight into spiritual entities, strange sounds, and the old woman who wanders the ruins at night.

As they trail behind the old woman, she gives Keitaro and Yayoi a spiel about the waterfall’s dark history involving murder and suicide. Yayoi tells Keitaro they have a lot to lose by backing out now, so it’s best they press on. She hands Keitaro a doll for self-defense purposes.  Keitaro hears strange footsteps behind him, but Yayoi doesn’t know what he’s talking about. As they continue following the woman, Keitaro grabs Yayoi’s hand.

However, it turns out this is an illusion as Yayoi finds herself possessed by a spirit. She’s shown walking alongside the old woman with Keitaro nowhere in sight. Keitaro realizes Yayoi and the woman are gone and hears someone trailing behind him again. Keitaro looks for Yayoi.

Meanwhile, we cut to Eiko at her home. She checks up on Keitaro via her computer but realizes something is amiss. At the same time, Keitaro continues searching for Yayoi while Yayoi is shown walking with the old woman (who’s disguised herself as Keitaro).

Thereafter, Keitaro finds himself surrounded by the Castle H Ruins spirits. The spirits start controlling Keitaro’s body and won’t allow him to flee. Keitaro starts seeing visions from the Castle H Ruins past. He sees many women commit suicide and snaps out of his trance. He finds himself near the waterfall, gets stabbed, and falls. Afterward, Keitaro finds himself standing above water as the spirits of the suicidal women rise from the water to tell him not to forget.

Suddenly, Keitaro finds himself back where he was before this madness occurred. He questions if it was all an illusion but after touching his bloody neck, he realizes this all occurred. He spots the doll Yayoi handed to him and realizes the spirits ripped its neck area apart. Keitaro flees to continue searching for Yayoi. He spots Yayoi running somewhere and chases her. He stumbles over a hill, sees Yayoi’s been lynched, and panics.

The spirits tell him not to forget again as he finds himself at the waterfall again. Keitaro feels defeated and can’t believe he let his guard down. The episode closes with Yayoi moving her finger, signaling to the audience that she’s still alive.   

The Episode Review

Dark Gathering has been creepy before but it’s always had a sense of lighthearted content to balance things out. This episode takes the anime’s horror aspects to the extreme and delivers what many people expected and wanted from the series since the beginning. From its creepy depictions of suicide to the haunting music that elevated the show’s eerie atmosphere, episode 11 was a phenomenal chapter by a landslide.

However, it has its faults in certain areas. The beginning portion of the episode was spent recapping what occurred in the prior episode. While it’s great to get people caught up on Yayoi’s Japan Tour plan, it’s not that difficult to understand what she and Keitaro plan to do. Furthermore, there were moments in this chapter that were somewhat difficult to follow. While its surrealist elements helped to elevate episode 11’s horror, it was tough to track events at times.

Besides those minor issues, this was a great chapter of Dark Gathering. It contains solid tension and enough nightmarish imagery to give folks the creeps. However, it’s best to expect our heroes to overcome the Castle H Ruin’s spirits’ wrath. Based on the preview for next week’s chapter, we’re in for a fancy Graduate versus Graduate battle. I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds. Hopefully, future expeditions capture the terrifying aura this episode delivered too. 

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You can read our Season 1 review of Dark Gathering here


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