Honestly, we want a whole season of Resident Evil Masterpiece Theater.

One of the most respected franchises in the history of anime is World Masterpiece Theater. Starting in 1969, World Masterpiece Theater really hit its stride in the late 1970s when anime studio Nippon Animation took over production duties, adapting classics of Western literature such as A Dog of Flanders, Anne of Green Gables, and Heidi, the last of which was a breakout success for future Studio Ghibli co-founders Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata.

That family-friendly formula worked for nearly 30 years, before World Masterpiece Theater ran out of steam in the late ‘90s. Since 1998, only three World Masterpiece Theater series have been produced, but Nippon Animation has just released something that’s sure to warm the hearts, and chill the spines, of old-school anime fans: Bio Masterpiece Theater: Leon and the Mysterious Village!

As the video opens, we see Leon, the lad in the leather jacket on the right, and Ashley, the girl on the left, approach a smiling dog sitting in the center of a bucolic village with a clock tower in the background and puffy white clouds in the sky. Of course, if you’re a fan of the Resident Evil series, which is called Biohazard in its Japanese releases, you know that Leon and Ashley are the two main characters of Resident Evil 4, and that they really should assume that everything they encounter is going to try to kill them.

We then cut to the title card for “Episode 1: Searching for Ashley,” “Where could Ashley be…” muses Leon, cheerfully holding his 9mm handgun as he strolls through the town. “Oh, I’ll ask that man,” he says, approaching a hunched over gentleman who bears an uncanny resemblance to the grandfather from World Masterpiece Theater’s Heidiwith one exception.

Things don’t go much better when Leon seeks help from the other villagers, who, like their Resident Evil 4 counterparts, are deranged, bloodthirsty, and more than willing to turn their farming tools into murder instruments. One of them swings a hatchet at our hero, its blade crashing down on his head of perpetually parted hair. Since this is Bio Masterpiece Theater, though, the result is less visually grisly than it would be in the games…

…though it still kills Leon, bringing the episode to a quick close.

▼ Capcom Asia also posted an English-subtitled version of the video, called Resident Evil Masterpiece Theater: Leon and the Mysterious Village.

As for why Nippon Animation would channel its World Masterpiece Theater in such a bizarre way, Capcom’s Resident Evil 4 remake comes out this Friday. It’s a graphically enhanced and gameplay-improved of the 2005 original, but as Bio/Resident Evil Masterpiece Theater shows, there’s still an undeniable charm to doing things the old-fashioned way.

Source: YouTube/biohazard via Otakomu
Images: YouTube/biohazard
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