Housing Complex C – Season 1 Episode 1 “Optical Illusion” Recap & Review

Optical Illusion

Episode 1 of Housing Complex C begins with two children named Kimi and Yuri running away from a mysterious man who chases them into a storeroom. Before he reaches them, Yuri bashes him on the head with a piece of wood. The man falls.

He looks down at a puddle of water that was the result of the vase being shattered. An image of a rainbow is projected up onto the man’s chin.

In the past, we see an army of samurai-like men invading a nearby island and entering a cave. These samurai appear to be from an enemy nation as they’re murdering this island’s soldiers and people. The samurai corner two maidens inside the cave and successfully murder one of them, leaving the remaining maiden startled and scared.

The surviving maiden screams, producing ultrasonic waves to murder the samurai that killed her friend. Once defeated, she comforts her fallen comrade, leading to a transition of the mysterious man in the present. This man screams Kimi’s name but gets knocked out by Yuri’s father, accompanied by his wife. The man whispers a terrifying chant, leading into the show’s title card.

We receive a brief overview of the anime’s setting of Kurosaki village, its people, and customs. While sightseeing, a resident named Taka spots something strange peeping out of one of Kurosaki’s caves. When one of the residents asks him what’s wrong, Taka informs them it was nothing and continues sightseeing through his binoculars.

Seconds later, Taka walks over to his friends to chat about Kimi and ways to cool off from the scorching sun. Suddenly, an older woman named Wada stumbles by complaining that Taka and his friends should be helping with the funeral procession instead of relaxing. Although she hopes the Kurosaki funeral tradition will fall one day, Taka hopes it will continue thriving.

He gives a brief history lesson to showcase why the traditions are continuing in Kurosaki. He looks through his binoculars again and gets startled by Kimi. Kimi greets everyone and complains about the heat. Although Wada suggests cooling off by the outdoor sink, Kimi claims that the water is too hot. After wallowing over the heat, Kimi gets the craving for shaved ice, giving the elderly folks the idea to visit the storeroom.

At the storeroom, we learn from one of Taka’s friends that Kurosaki’s residents built this as a safe house to protect them from a war in the past. The last time they visited the environment, they had been looking for a missing man named Kojima. Taka claims that they found him frozen-solid, scaring Kimi. Kojima had been storing items he’d find around Kurosaki, which is why they found him here.

One of Taka’s friends finds the shave ice maker in the storeroom, and Kimi is thrilled. Although it’s a bit beaten up, one of Taka’s friends promises to fix the machine. The other two depart, leaving Taka and Kimi alone to explore the storeroom. Despite the storeroom’s worn-out appearance, Taka asks Kimi not to make a mess. Kimi finds a few collectibles and gleefully shows them to Taka.

Eventually, Kimi stumbles upon an old zoetrope. Taka explains how the zoetrope works to Kimi. He enlightens her about the device’s ability to create optical illusions and explains the concept to her via two-line drawings on a piece of paper. He tells her that a human’s eyes can be deceived and that there are many ways to convince it. The lies it sees hold the truth, thus creating an optical illusion.

Meanwhile, Taka recalls the creature he saw through his binoculars but assumes it was an optical illusion. Kimi looks through the storeroom’s boxes and finds a puppy’s corpse. She tosses it and screams, alerting Taka. Taka’s bewildered by the creature. He’s unsure why Kojima would store a dead animal’s corpse in the storeroom. He finds a strange rock with a marking written on it and exclaims that this storeroom holds value.

At Kurosaki, Taka informs Momo (Wada’s friend) that Kojima’s storeroom was built inside an ancient cave. He pulls out the marked rock and argues that it may have belonged to the Kurokado people (former inhabitants of Kurosaki’s past). Taka argues they should start a large-scale excavation immediately to uncover more information about these ruins. Wada stops by, informing everyone that Kimi looks more pale than usual.

For Kimi’s sake, Momo asks Koba to lock up the storeroom to prevent others from entering. Koba claims he’ll lock it up with a padlock after he fixes his motorcycle. Wada informs Taka that new residents are planning to move into Kurosaki village. Taka’s surprised, considering the buildings here are worn-out. Wada theorizes an establishment called Tsurie Fisheries representative Koshide is responsible for enticing people to reside here for work purposes. At the same time, a girl named Yuri and her family head for Kurosaki.

Meanwhile, Kimi shares her experience in the storeroom with Taka with her mother. She’s astounded by her discovery and claims to enjoy looking for treasure and surprises. Kimi changes the calendar and repeats the process the next day after departing. Then we see a group of men at Wada’s doorstep, surprising her. The man leading the group is Yuri’s father, Seichi Koshide, and we learn that Wada is this complex’s manager.

He explains that he’s a part of Suriei Fisheries. He says that the gentlemen beside him are technical interns, and it’s his job to act like a troubleshooter for them. These interns are foreigners who have traveled to Kurosaki to study Japan’s advanced technologies. One of the interns, Rubel, introduces himself to Wada and hands her some sweets. Wada closes the door on Seichi abruptly. She’s not thrilled they’re foreigners.

Meanwhile, Keiko Yoshide (Seichi’s wife) and her daughter Yuri introduce themselves to Momo. Keiko apologizes if they’ve caused Momo and her people any trouble. She explains Seichi’s job to connect foreign technical interns with businesses and worries that miscommunication may have caused an uproar. She asks Momo to report any issues to her if any crop up, and Momo responds with a similar reply.

Momo’s happy that more younger folks reside at the complex since most residents are elderly. Yuri spots Momo’s doorplate and asks her if Hideo is her husband. Momo informs her that Hideo is her son, whose going through some issues. She tells Yuri if she ever runs into Hideo to say hi and that he means well.

Somewhere in Kurosaki, Taka and his friends discuss their problems with the new interns and residents. During their discussion, they spot one of the large bulky interns standing by a nearby tree. Taka tells the others to keep their crude first impressions of the guy to themselves. Before Taka could introduce himself, he witnessed bubbles floating around him and Kimi standing outside a railing.

Kimi wishes them good morning, and Taka and the others greet her. One of Taka’s friends notices that Kimi’s standing outside the railing. They warn her to stay put, but Kimi trips. Thankfully, the bulky foreigner saves her from the fall as the others rush by to scold Kimi for her actions. As Taka introduces himself and Kimi to him, the muscular man tells Taka his name is Kan. Koba, and the others introduce themselves to Kan, as they all share a few laughs and comments.

At night, Kimi is standing atop the complex and gets startled by Yuri. The two introduce themselves to each other, as Yuri’s happy to meet someone around her age range. Yuri asks Kimi to be her friend, and Yuri documents the occasion with a selfie. Kimi’s astounded by Yuri’s phone and bombards her with questions about how it works. Kimi informs Yuri that she enjoys the locales and people in Kurosaki and Yuri hopes she can feel the same way.

Kimi takes Yuri to the storeroom, and Yuri stumbles upon the padlock Koba used to lock up the area. Yuri’s a little worried and feels they shouldn’t be here, while Kimi’s insistent on showing Yuri some neat things. Kimi startles Yuri with the dead puppy corpse she found earlier and laughs. Yuri jokes about not wanting to be Kimi’s friend anymore when suddenly, they hear a strange noise.

The two girls look ahead to discover a strange individual walking toward them. Yuri asks Kimi who it was, but Kimi’s unsure and suggests they check that area to see what that person was up to. The two investigate and find a mysterious entrance that leads them to a bizarre room covered in drawings. They’re taken aback by the artwork and decide to visit Momo.

Momo greets them and informs them that she plans to finish preparing the shaved ice for tomorrow’s activities. Kimi hands Momo a pen, which Momo recalls having at her former business. Momo asks where they found the item, but when Kimi brings up Hideo, Momo’s startled. Kimi asks if they can return it to him, and Momo allows them to do so. However, she reveals they’ll have to return it to him alone since she and Hideo aren’t on good terms.

Kimi rushes to Hideo’s door and apologizes for her and Yuri peeping in on his activity. They promise they won’t tell his mother about the drawings, even though they feel the artwork signifies that he’s in a lot of pain. Hideo opens the door in a creepy fashion and stares at the girls menacingly. He grabs the pen from Kimi’s hand and swiftly closes it. Hideo slips a drawing he did of them under the door to make the girls feel at ease.

We discover it’s the 18th and turn our attention toward Koba and Taka. These two stumble upon numerous fish lying around in a nearby park. We hear some people chanting as Wada notes many dirty clothes thrown around the apartment complex. Wada knocks furiously on one of the intern’s doors and rushes into their apartment, demanding to know what they’re doing.

The intern apologizes for the disruption, saying that it’s a part of their morning prayers. However, Wada stops him mid-sentence complaining that they’ve ruined the washing area. Taka and his friends hear the commotion and try to calm Wada down. Unfortunately, she’s not having any of it and doesn’t like that the interns’ daily ritual gives off a cult-like vibe.

Taka apologizes to the gentleman, explaining that the residents here aren’t used to their practices. Wada’s behavior has everyone looking at her funny, including Kimi. Kimi plans to revisit Momo to obtain some shaved ice, as she believes everyone’s throwing a fit because they’re suffering from the heat.

Arriving at Momo’s, Kimi notices something strange. No one seems to be answering her calls, leading to an investigation of Momo’s apartment. Kimi crushes one of Hideo’s anime figurines and slowly looks into Hideo’s room since his door’s open.

The episode concludes with Kimi discovering Hideo’s corpse strangely laid on his computer desk. She denounces the scene in front of her as an optical illusion.

The Episode Review

With the spooky season upon us, it’s great to have more horror-themed anime crop up. This episode of Housing Complex C did a fine job establishing this anime’s setting, characters, and tone. On the other hand, I can’t help but wonder if the anime’s leaning too much into its lighthearted content. This anime’s expected to have four episodes, each lasting about 24-25 minutes.

While I found the episode’s minor comedic and cheerful scenes charming, there needed to be more emphasis on the show’s horror. Visuals like the man-like fish, Hideo’s eye, and the dead puppy’s corpse sent chills down my spine. However, these visuals didn’t leave an impact as the episode would drop us into a more laid-back scenario.

Hopefully, future episodes will amplify the pressure and terror hidden within Kurosaki. At the same time, this episode’s pacing was a tad slow and could’ve been faster. I understand the necessity to establish our roster of colorful characters, but with four episodes, I’m unsure if this was a smart move.

Pacing and horror implementation issues aside, this episode features a slew of intriguing details worth speculating, analyzing, and remembering. Kimi is an incredible bundle of joy with the potential to be a long-lasting fan favorite due to her personality and potential mishap involving her mother. There are also several key elements I hadn’t noticed during my first watch-through of the series that will benefit from viewers re-watching.

Overall, this episode was a slow-burner with a bunch of meaningful details. While I had some issues with it, I’m excited to see how this mystery involving Kojima’s storeroom and Kurosaki unfolds. Let’s hope the next episodes will feel more spooky and less joyful.

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Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!
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