Let me just start off by saying that I am a HUGE fan of the Mahjong anime Saki. I don't care what you think - sure, it may be for girls, mainly (I'm a guy) but it's just so fun to watch with its crazy exaggerated mahjong effects and zany, cute girl characters. Sure, it's stupid and pointless to a lot of people, but I love it because it's fun. Now, Saki has never been a morbid or violent show. Sure, some sex references, but it's never been a horror show, or a gruesome show nonetheless. And naturally, you would not believe my excitement when my friend lent me a copy he found of a "lost tape episode" of the show. Let me say, the video changed my outlook on the anime for a long, long time.
The date was sometime in September. I don't remember the exact date, but I know it was early in the month. Around the 12th, I think, when autumn was fresh and new. When my family were out shopping for Christmas decorations (they did a lot of their holiday shopping early), I got a call from my friend, Mark. Mark lives down the block from me, so it's not hard to talk to him. He called me up and told me that a DVD store owner gave him a copy of a "new" episode of Saki. Mark told me the man had said that it was a "secret" episode of the show, never aired on television.
This of course sparked my interest, being a huge fan of the show as I explained earlier. There was a catch to this "lost episode" thing though. Mark revealed to me he had watched it right after he had rented it from the store, and he had said it was the single most disturbing thing he had ever saw. I laughed. I thought he was joking. He never was a huge fan of the show anyway, and hell, he sometimes even made fun of me for it. He was probably playing a dirty trick. Despite warning me more, I told him to bring the thing to me. He told me he would drop by my house the next day and give it to me, but he advised me that if I had a weak stomach I shouldn't watch it at all. I laughed some more. I failed to notice a tinge of fear in his voice that I noticed after I watched the horrible tape.
My dad handed the tape to me the next morning and I eagerly took it. He asked me if I wanted to go with them to do more Christmas shopping, but I rejected, saying I wanted to watch the tape.
As soon as they left, I climbed into my attic, where I have an old, still working DVD player and a TV. I eagerly took out the DVD, and prepared to put it into the DVD player. I noticed something odd, though.
Instead of a normal Saki DVD cover, which had all those pretty decorations which would make a "normal" boy cringe in masculine fear, it was just a blank artwork. Like the back of a DVD, except on both sides.
I shrugged it off, since, after all, this was supposed to be a lost episode that was probably made really sloppily. I sat back in my chair and popped in the DVD, pulling out my remote so I could press "play".
I put in the DVD, and again, I noticed another weird thing. "Play" was the only option. No "credits", "behind the scenes", just "play". I shrugged, again thinking it was just sloppily made and edited. I pressed play on my remote. The intro played as usual, normal, nothing paranormal about it. Random mahjong phrases, upbeat music, everything's normal.
It was then I noticed something was a little off.
The upper right corner of the screen was, for some reason, flashing a little like static. Also, I had sworn this was episode 25, the episode before. It started off like the last episode, at least.
The static stopped, and so did the entire scene. Instead, it switched to a sidewalk. There was an odd, grey background - no color. From her side, I saw Toka, the eccentric, arrogant blonde girl, leaning back against the wall, looking down to her feet. 'This is weird,' I thought, 'why is Toka here? Wasn't everyone supposed to be at the training camp last episode?' I shrugged and pushed on through the episode.
There was another thing I noticed too, though. Toka wasn't smiling or acting happy like she usually did, no, she just stood there, leaning back against a wall, with this dismal look on her face, her eyes half-closed, pointing to her feet. Toka usually wasn't like this...
Suddenly, the color came back on again. Toka turned her head to another girl. Hajime, her name was, a young looking girl. She had a smile on her face, as opposed to Toka, who still kept her dismal look. The creepy thing about this part was that there was no sound...that is, besides the strange sound of wind, which sounded like it was coming from outside the TV, as if it was in the room, blowing a cold chill over me. I had no idea what Hajime and Toka were talking about. At this point, I was physically uncomfortable, but there was nothing that would make me question if it was as thoroughly disturbing as Mark had said...yet.
The next scene, still in color, cuts to Toka's mansion at nighttime. The only things weird here are that the sound is a little out of pitch, and that the mansion is surrounded by a forest of leaveless, dead trees, which were never there before.
The scene cuts inside of the mansion. Jun is being her usual, relaxed self, while Koromo is jumping all over the place like normally. Normal so far. Tomoki then begins to speak, but her voice had a strange tinge to it - like it was squeakier than her normal voice. I had no idea what she was saying, as the subtitles weren't present. It was then that things started to get really horrifying.
An ear-splitting, dissonant, tuneless piano key cuts off the scene. For the love of God, that scared the living shit out of me! I actually paused the tape out of pure fear. I actually thought something was in the room with me after hearing that. I clutched my chest, and looked from both sides, honestly thinking I wasn't alone. I cursed the DVD, regained my posture, took a deep breath, and continued on.
I had paused the tape right when the key finished - now there was just a black screen, with the tuneless key looping faintly in the background, swirling and swirling. This went on for a good 3 or 4 minutes - I would've fast-forwarded the tape, but I didn't want to stop at something horrifying - so I just sat there, preparing for the worse.
3 or 4 minutes later, a sound of faint sobbing became audible. The sound of Toka sobbing. I knew that voice - she was my favorite character, I just thought I'd mention. Suddenly, the black screen cuts off, and Toka is seen sitting on the edge of her bed. Her sobbing is a lot more audible now, and she is leaning over the edge of her bed, crying into... a picture? My morbid curiosity urged me to continue watching. What the fuck was going on??
The scene then zoomed in on the picture. It was a picture of a woman I didn't know, but believe me, she looked a lot like Toka. Stuff in the picture was crawling around the woman's face, maggots, rats, everything. It was absolutely revolting.
Toka's face then grew into a scowl. She sounded visibly angry this time. She crushed the picture in her hand, and when she let go, her hand was covered in blood, as if the picture was bleeding.
There was then something - a small flash, a glimpse of something. You could only notice it if you played it frame by frame. I really, really wanted to stop watching this thing - what Mark said was right - but my gruesome curiosity got the better of me. I paused the tape, and rewinded it. When I paused it on the frame, my mouth dropped.
The picture was of Toka, covered completely in blood, holding a normal saw, with a demented grin on her face. Her victim was lying in a crib - that part almost made me wretch since it automatically made me think of a baby - and the victim was completely stripped naked, it's legs cut off, it's eyes gone completely. I couldn't tell if it was a boy or a girl, but it was clearly someone around Toka's age. Blood dripped from its mouth like a faucet.
I broke down and started to sob into my hands. What the hell kind of sick fuck would make shit like this?! I had to keep it paused out of anger and disgust, for about 5 minutes. I continued on like the masochist I am. I'm honestly surprised I didn't throw up at that part.
Anyway, the scene then cuts to a room light by dim light. You can hear slight footsteps - shuffling. The lights then turned on, and Toka becomes visible, sitting in the middle of the kitchen on a chair, sobbing like last time. The next part was definitely one of the most disturbing.
Around Toka were the bodies of all her friends. All of them - Tomoki, Jun, Hajime, Ayumu, Hagiyoshi, and even the sweet and innocent Koromo were all lying on the floor, completely covered in blood, dead, their bodies mangled almost beyond recognition. I lost it at that point, and I hurled all over the side of my chair. I don't know how, but I kept watching.
The dissonant sound of a babie's crying was heard in the background, as Toka pulled out a huge steak knife, a demented, evil grin spread across her face, accompanied by a sickening chuckle. On the tip of the knife was the eyeball of one of her friends, which she took and chucked far away from her. Toka then dropped the knife besides her, and held her hand up to her face and, still smiling like a madwoman, grabbed her face and began to pull it off! I searched for the remote, trying to pause it and end the madness, but it was gone, supposedly lost in a blur of my own vomit and tears.
Toka peeled the skin off her face, accomponied by a horrible peeling sound, and all the skin fell off, left with two demented eyes and a sickened smile. Once again, a horrible, dissonant piano key faded into the background, but I was too disturbed to be startled by it again, and again, the screen went black.
That was it. I was done with this bullshit. I looked for the remote, and when I finally found it, a note came up on screen. It simply read, in grey, sloppy, blurry words:
"This tape is not meant for the public eye to see. That's the only thing to be said."
I did not accept this, not at all. I sent the tape to Gonzo studios in Japan, and they finally sent me back a translated, thoroughly disturbing note a few months later.
The note said that the group was deeply sorry for letting me see the tape. They explained that the tape was created by an old, mentally disturbed animator who killed himself shortly after quitting the job at the studios. The other animators found the tape while rummaging around a vault, and sent it to a DVD store in America - apparently, my DVD store. The mentally disturbed animator created the tape out of anger and pain that his entire family was killed when he was young boy, leaving him traumatized. The woman in the picture Toka was holding was a warped picture of the man's mother.
I sent them back another letter, thanking them for telling me, and I asked them to burn the tape so it could never be exposed to anyone again. They did so, and that was the end of the nightmare.
It didn't end there, though. At least, not mentally. That tape will always be burned in my mind, until the end of my days. I couldn't watch any Saki or TV for a year after watching this. So I leave you on this note...when you find a golden coin (or in my case, a lost tape of a show I love) just remember that it won't always have the nicest impact on you. Joey out.
Written by The Koromo