Well you can’t even trust your own expensive glassware anymore without having flipping spirits inhabiting them. This week we delve into a “tragic love story” in Le Portrait de Petite Cossette. I have to put the tragic love story in quotations because while it certainly is tragic, it’s for all the wrong reasons.So yeah as you might have gathered I wasn’t all that impressed with this anime (well actually a 3 episode OVA), it stars a young artist named Eiri who works at his family’s antique shop, one day after looking through the newest batch of items coming in he finds a very beautiful Venetian glass and well everything might as well of ended there.Within the glass he keeps seeing an image of a girl, frolicking around and doing stuff girls trapped in objects do, and he slowly becomes obsessed to the point of not being able to leave the glass very long and flipping his shit when his close friend Shoko nearly smashes it xD One night Cossette actually reaches out to him and offers him a pact of blood in a cup so they can ‘remain together’ naturally being an idiot Eiri accepts without reading the terms and conditions.
He learns that Cossette belonged to an aristocratic family in France in the 18th Century and lived a very blessed and loved life. An artist named Marcello was commissioned to paint her portrait and eventually they fell very much in love and became engaged (this despite being the crux of her existence is very glossed over). Unfortunately for her Marcello was a psychopath and after capturing her beauty in a final portrait decided he didn’t want to see her change or grow old etc. so murdered her whole family before stabbing her as well, even after her declarations of love, the ass hat! The devastation of this betrayal caused her spirit to become trapped in the glass and all the objects present in the room at her murder to become cursed items, holding nothing but wrath for Marcello but basically will kill anyone who owns them.
Well guess who Eiri resembles? Could it be Marcello? Yes apparently he has inherited Marcello’s soul and so all the cursed objects want to torture and kill him. Lovely. The only way for him to set Cossette’s soul free is to take the pain and punishment that Marcello skipped out on. So through the months that follow he keeps finding these cursed objects, takes their abuse, Cossette stands there in a robe and rips him open. Rinse and repeat. Naturally this starts taking a toll on Eiri and he is in real danger of dying. Well here come our dynamic secondary characters… just kidding they are poorly written and completely wasted.
Shoko is Eiri’s close friend and is in love with him, she’s the first to notice him going crazy but never really does anything just follows him occasionally being jealous, I guess she is the person to sort of save him but not really. We have a doctor Hatsumi, who’s only purpose is to go “but there’s nothing physically wrong with Eiri, let’s just leave him to be crazy”. We have 3 psychic ladies, who are all equally useless as they don’t notice Cossette, only a malevolent presence… I actually feel frustrated typing this as they were all just so lame.
This had the potential to be a good gothic horror romance, instead it was pretentious and impetuous. Even the pacing is all over the place, there were so desperate to get Cossette in asap the first episode is a hurried mess of a narrative with you barely knowing what’s going on or why you should care. I felt zippo romance between Eiri and Cossette, he just becomes obsessed with her from the get go, and yeah I know it’s sad what happened to her and her soul is trapped but that does not equate to passionate death-defying love. Cossette is a little more understandable I mean he represents the man she loved so much yet also hurt her the most so her tentative attitude makes a little more sense. Then poof she suddenly is madly in love with Eiri, I guess after seeing a guy get tortured to prove his love for you must be impressive in a sick kind of way.
So truthfully this entire OVA feels a little like a vanity project, the visuals regarding Cossette and her messed up her dimension are really beautiful and creepy and the music is impeccable. Really this could have been a music video and been incredible, instead we have an anime that so wants to show you Cossette is throws away narrative, pacing, character development and cohesion. In the end it just felt so rushed that it took away any dramatic tension or romance as you’ll just be wondering what the flip is going on. I would be kinder to it if I felt it was more of an art project and they were being very minimalistic on purpose, but they deliberately put in so many secondary characters and extra bits and never bothered to do anything with them which just ended up frustrating me.
If you’re interested in visuals it is worth at least watching some clips of Cossette as she is done beautifully, and if you can stand a minimal plot with derp pointless characters you might enjoy it. For me it was just too lacking in so many areas for me to find it truly enjoyable which is such a shame because beautiful girl trapped in spooky portrait seeking revenge sounds like a real cool plot line to me. It is a manga so hopefully the story is fleshed out a lot more so maybe go there if you’re really interested.