Animating Halloween: Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein Review

r49tgc1

Rating: 7.5/10

Plot: Alvin, Simon and Theodore have a gig at a theme park doing hourly shows. When they get lost while trying to find the awesome roller coaster, Dragonland, they stumble upon the attraction for Frankenstein’s Castle only to find that someone has made the lab inside very much real and has brought a real Frankenstein to life within it. The chipmunks are chased throughout the park by the creature, but later befriend it when they realize that he doesn’t understand what he’s doing. However, his creator won’t rest until he has a true monster wreaking havoc on the world.

Breakdown: This one is not quite as near to my heart as the Wolfman movie, but I definitely remember watching it. Thing is, this just didn’t air on TV nearly as much as the Wolfman one. *shrug*

We have a balancing act going on here. The animation is a little rougher than Wolfman, but the writing is funnier. The songs are about on par with each other with a couple being great and one being very meh. I’m a little disappointed that this movie doesn’t have a big song at the end like Wolfman, though. Especially considering that a consistent plot thread through this movie has been Alvin and the Chipmunks trying to make and get gigs with the big movie premiere being the main one, which we don’t get to see.

The stories are also on par with each other with decent enough plots bogged down by making no sense in resolution. And, to be honest, this movie doesn’t make much sense in setup either. Why the hell did Dr. Frankenstein, which I assume is his name, need to travel the world to set up shop in a theme park castle? Surely there are many other abandoned castles to make a new monster or even a real lab to rent? That just makes no sense.

In regards to resolution, it’s basically just telling a group of people who are trying to attack Frankie that you can’t judge a book by its cover. Though it’s really weird that they reacted so fiercely in the first place. The damn park is seemingly having a Halloween-esque type of theme going on right now and Frankenstein’s castle is a friggin’ park attraction. It’s obvious Theodore is hugging him and it wouldn’t be the slightest leap to assume Frankie’s a guy in costume.

Plus, the way they get Dr. Frankenstein out of the picture is by getting him permanently trapped in a Sammy the Squirrel (Mickey Mouse rip off) costume and making him the new mascot. Yeah, he’s permanently stuck in a costume. Won’t even try to cut it off or anything I guess. And even though he could easily leave and go back to mad sciencing (which he does at the very end anyway) he resigns himself to torturing himself as the mascot even though he despises Sammy the Squirrel. It just seemed rushed and poorly thought out.

I pretty much knew they wouldn’t kill Frankie or anything like that, but people now accept him openly? He’s a tour bus driver now? He speaks with a chipmunk voice because the boys taught him how to speak English?

All of that out of the way, this is a pretty good movie with some memorable moments, great music (though that friendship song can be barf worthy a little) and funny jokes. I’d gladly recommend it for a Halloween watch or for anyone who is a fan of Alvin, Simon and Theodore.

Speaking of Theodore, does every movie somehow end up about him? Or is it just the monster ones for some reason? Alvin does get turned into a ‘monster’ in this one (a fairly ridiculous monster, to be honest) but Theodore gets a lot of focus. Is there a movie that focuses more on Simon? I’d like to see that.

Recommended Audience: Outside of brains in jars and the clear indication that Frankie is a being made up of dead person body parts, nothing. 7+

Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 3 Episodes 5-8 Review

ys3ep5

Yami Shibai 3 Episode 5 – The Museum of Taxidermy

Plot: A young couple are on vacation when they decide to seek refuge from the rain in a museum of taxidermy. While the husband is enjoying all of the various stuffed animals, the wife is aggravated and creeped out. She quickly leaves the museum and her husband follows later, but when he returns to the museum to find his lost hotel key, he finds that the museum is creepy than his wife thought.

Breakdown: Taxidermy?! Now you’re really cheating, Yami Shibai. What’s next; clowns?

So yeah, taxidermy is creepy, and the episode pretty much goes the say you’d probably expect. I guess it’s a little freaky, but overall it’s just kinda meh. I will say that the prank that the husband plays on the wife was kinda funny. I don’t know why I laughed out loud at that.

Also, if everything was the way that it was when they arrived, why did they not notice? Let me just say that people typically move every now and then, especially children. The entire place being dead quiet, no pun intended, with no one moving? I’d notice that on my first visit.

Episode 6 – “That Side” Festival

ys3ep6

Plot: Miki and Asako are two young girls enjoying a festival. When Asako is having so much fun that she wishes to stay there forever, she finds that she just might get her wish.

Breakdown: This one is also a bit of a miss to me. I feel like season three is relying a bit too much on monsters and demons and while this can sometimes be freaky to me, I just don’t find it as scary as ghost stories.

That being said, there is some freaky imagery in this episode, but it’s also hit or miss since there are several different types of imagery here. It is a bit sad that all of that happened to her just because she was having so much fun that she never wanted it to end. Poor girl was just enjoying herself.

Episode 7 – Behind

ys3ep7

Plot: A bunch of teenage boys are away overnight on a field trip. One of them shares a scary dream that they had about a creature that appears behind him and he knows he cannot look at. However, he is forced to look at the creature after it grabs his head and turns it towards it. But it’s just a dream….right?

Breakdown: Boy I am not on the same page as a lot of commenters on this series. This is one of the few episodes in YS3 that I see people giving praise to for being legitimately scary and I just don’t feel it.

Sure, the idea of a creature that you can’t look at but forcibly twists your head and prevents you from closing your eyes is a bit creepy…..it’s the visuals that break the atmosphere for me.

You’d think that a creature who is breaking the necks of its victims to force everyone to look at it would be creepy-looking, but it’s not. All of its victims have faces that look like Halloween themed twirly lollipops and their eyeballs bulge out of their faces like cartoons. And the actual creature itself looks very similar. The story is creepy, the imagery is damn near laughable.

Episode 8 – The Empress Doll

ys3ep8

Plot: Many teenagers go into abandoned houses as tests of courage, and this group has wandered into a house that is in pretty good shape for being abandoned. They see a bunch of hina dolls in the living room and notice that the empress doll is missing. Thinking another teen taking a test of courage must have taken it as a trophy, they continue to wander the house. However, the empress doll is still there….

Breakdown: This one started out really good. Standard format of a bunch of teens trying to prove they’re all brave by going into an abandoned and possibly haunted house in the middle of the night with nothing but some flashlights and a sense of curiosity. The atmosphere is great, the tension builds up well, they had a great idea in the middle of the episode that was utilized very well, and the visuals were pretty creepy too….

But the ending completely ruins it. Let me just say, you get sucked into the creepy environment, the weird doll vibe, the feeling of being watched, you see something terrible happen and wonder what’s truly behind them and then they straight up BOO! OOGABOOGABOOGABOOGABOOGA! You. It’s just disappointing. Even ending the episode without revealing the ‘monster’ (ala cut to black and screams) would’ve been a lot better than what we got. They already had a pretty good shocking jump-scare-ish moment right before the end, why ruin it with something that cheap?

Animating Halloween – Yami Shibai 3 Episodes 1-4 Review

ys3ep1

Yami Shibai 3 Episode 1 – Lend it to Me

Plot: A man decides to stop off at a public bath after work. It’s very late, and after the usual hours of a public bath, so he has the place to himself. As he washes up, he hears a girl on the woman’s side of the bath ask to borrow a bar of soap. He’s happy to lend it to her, but starts to get weirded out when she asks for more…..and more…..and more…..and more.

Breakdown: First things first, the first two seasons were presented in a traditional kamishibai format. A man in a creepy mask, our narrator, would gather the kids around the miniature stage and present the story for the day.

Now, we have some kid on a slide singing to himself while drawing a picture as our intro. What was wrong with the narrator? You’re purposely trying to emulate a kamishibai. Those are usually presented by such performers with stages, not kids sketching on the slide. How do you screw up your own intended style?

Later, during the end credits, we see that the kid is being fed these stories by a floating mask that resembles the mask the narrator used to wear. As each episode goes by, more masks join him, IE, there are two in episode two, three in three, etc. So I guess the narrator is just whispering his stories to a kid to give him inspiration to draw instead of putting on a show. He either got lazy or had to sell his stage and puppets to post bail or something.

Now for the story itself; it’s pretty damn creepy, and the final jump scare/reveal of the ‘girl’ actually did get me. I didn’t really see where the story would be going from the start, so that was a pretty nice twist.

Let’s just say she asks to borrow stuff like a razor and scissors and let your imagination go for a bit.

After a lackluster season two, season three starts off pretty strong with a creepy, creative and legitimately scary note. Hopefully the rest of season three will be just as good……Still miss the narrator, though….

Music-wise, I’m not liking the new ED that much, but the one for the second season grew on me a bit so maybe this one will too.

Episode 2 – Tunnel

ys3ep2

Plot: Two men are on their way to a hot spring, but they end up getting lost in the middle of the night. As they enter a tunnel, they run out of gas. They decide to take a break from pushing the car and hope a car drives by that can help them find a gas station, but they’re not alone.

Breakdown: Wow, just wow. People said Yami Shibai 3 was the least scary season, but screw that because this episode is the scariest of all the seasons so far. It has eerie atmosphere, a familiar setting, creepy visuals (I won’t explain them full out, but let’s just say there are creepily smiling faces involved) and plenty of squickiness.

Even the ambiance in the music selection is fantastic. There’s a jump scare in the middle of the episode that completely got me because the freaky thing was suddenly on screen yet there was no music cue or music at all. It was just silence and then boom it was there.

While I can admit in hindsight that the actual monster is somewhat uninspired on base design, the one addition to its features is more than enough to make it memorable and freaky.

Episode 3 – Rat

ys3ep3

Plot: A married couple moves into a new apartment, but the wife, Machiko, is freaked out by the appearance of rats in their new home. Her husband, Ken, isn’t bothered at all, and tells her that she has to get used to the rats since she chose an old and cheap apartment to move into. He lays down some traps before he leaves on a business trip, and Machiko tries her hardest to get used to the rat problem. Maybe she gets a little too used to them.

Breakdown: This one was just meh. First of all, let me point out what a complete asshole Ken is. What husband tells their wife to ‘get used’ to a rat problem in their home? That is horribly unsanitary and unsafe. Even if it wasn’t, it’s something that obviously makes his wife uncomfortable and even scared. That in itself should be enough to get him to call an exterminator. He doesn’t even really seem to care when one of the rats bites her. Just living with rats is bad enough for your health, but being bitten by one? Go see a doctor!

Second of all, I’m not really all that freaked out by rats. Sure they’re fairly gross and a little creepy, but I was never too concerned with them.

Finally, the ending is predictable enough and the final shot of what happens to Machiko after Ken returns is just a bit on the silly side. The animation done to her while she’s talking is a bit freaky, but it’s overall kinda silly.

Episode 4 – The Noisy Hospital Room

ys3ep4

Plot: A man is staying at the hospital while he gets some tests done. He has a nightmare that something horrible is happening in a strange room at the end of the hall. When he wakes up, he’s covered in sweat, so he goes to find a nurse to help him get changed. He finds no one but an old man and the room from his nightmare. He hears the voices he heard before in the room, but a nurse stops him and tells him to stay away from that room. The next night, he decides to open the door anyway, and despite being knocked down by some force, he finds the room empty. Is there really something worth hiding behind these doors?

Breakdown: I can safely assume that hospitals freak most of us out even a little bit, and while there are one or two creepy moments in this episode, it’s mostly disappointing. They don’t explain what the things behind the door really are nor do they explain what that weird truck with the human shaped-statues driving around in the middle of the night is.

What we do get is a little on the creepy side, but the creatures look ultimately laughable and cartoony. It kinda breaks the atmosphere a bit. Plus the timing is off, building up to an obvious jump scare that isn’t even really a jump scare.

I’ve started to notice that season three is moreso about demons and monsters than it is about ghosts. So far, none of the stories have been ghost stories. They’ve all been monster or demon stories. That might hurt this series more than you might think….

Yami Shibai 2 Review (Full)

fz247yu

Plot: A continuation of ghost and demon stories presented in kamishibai format.

Breakdown: Since I don’t have as much to talk about with Yami Shibai 2 as I did with the first season in regards to background, I will quickly run through my final thoughts on each episode, give it a numbered rating, and finalize the entire season with an averaged rating.

Episode 1 – Taro-Chan: 8/10 If I take these episodes as not being entirely horror related, I would say this episode is actually pretty good and memorable. It’s very sad to imagine what Taro-chan had to go through and, ultimately, what he still seems to be going through. It was a nice twist on the ‘possessed ventriloquist dummy’ story.

Episode 2 – Kitchen: 4/10 On further consideration, this episode was lazier and less interesting than I gave it credit for. The creature looks a little creepy, but it’s predictable, and the absolute ending is just kinda dumb.

Episode 3 – Inside: 5/10 This one is also just kinda meh. It doesn’t go nearly far enough to generate any sort of reaction, and the doll itself just isn’t that creepy.

Episode 4 – The Wall Woman: 6/10 Another one that is just alright, this one has a decently designed creature, some suspense, but ultimately blows it by practically beating us in the face with warnings of a final jump scare.

Episode 5 – Locker: 7/10 Doing better here with a relatable character, an actual urban legend-esque setting (urban legend within an urban legend?) a creepy doll and a sad ending. However, I really must emphasize how poorly this whole locker thing is set up. It’s just borderline ridiculous.

Episode 6 – Nao-Chan: 7/10 Not scary, though probably not meant to be, this one is an interesting story with a slightly creepy visual and a confusing ending. Might’ve been more impacting with a longer story, perhaps allowing us to meet Nao-chan originally.

Episode 7 – Capsule Toy Machine: 8/10 How creepy or scary this episode is really fluctuates on how much nostalgia means to you, I think. Though there’s a difference between getting excited over toys or games that you used to love as a child and certain people and events that happened to you when you were younger. This episode includes both in a fairly clever way. I believe this one might connect with a wider audience than I would’ve first noted, so I bumped up the rating a bit. No monsters or ghosts here, but it’s still a frightening concept.

Episode 8 – Farewell Confessional: 6/10 An interesting idea, but the execution is a bit lacking. Like I mentioned in the review, there’s just something a bit silly about the secret that becomes the tipping point for the big scare at the end in comparison to one we hear earlier. Plus, you can see the jump scare coming from a mile away.

Episode 9 – Ominie-san: 2/10 I still can’t figure out what the hell was supposed to be so freaky, creepy or weird about this episode. People like a weird food, a new person in town doesn’t want to eat it because it’s weird, and then she’s forced to eat it and gets a bit hooked on it. Outside of the meat looking weird and the people having terrible table manners, this one is the weakest episode of the lot.

Episode 10 – Bugged: 7/10 I really, really, really don’t like bugs, and I liked the progression in the main character from being a grumpy ass of a person to being out of his mind. I figured that, in the end, he started out as a grumpy jackass and probably got worse on his own as time went on, but the bugs influenced him to get increasingly worse until he was no longer in control of himself. I almost feel like him angrily trying to kill the bugs was a subconscious way of trying to make himself better. It’s not a great episode, but it’s alright.

Episode 11 – Picking Up: 4/10 Another bit of laziness. A cautionary tale against plagiarism/art theft, but the visuals are lame and this is really only slightly frightening for people who have committed/thought about committing this act.

Episode 12 – Netsuke: 8/10 Great on the visuals, scares and atmosphere, a little light on the story for my tastes.

Episode 13 – Bringer Drums: 7/10 Suspenseful enough, jump scare got me, but the story still fails to make any sense to me in the end.

Overall Score (Rounded up): 6.5/10

As you can see, this season definitely suffered from a lot of ‘meh’. Plenty of good ideas just met with equal amounts of wasted opportunities and poor executions. I think this season shows how badly the four and a half minute run time really affects these shorts. With just a few more minutes and more details to the stories, they could be much stronger.

Additional Information and Notes: Yami Shibai 2 was directed by Noboro Iguchi and Takashi Shimizu, and was written by Shoichiro Masumoto. It was produced by ILCA, and is currently licensed in the US by Sentai Filmworks.

Episodes: 13

Year: 2014

Recommended Audience: There is some gross imagery in Bugged, but nothing that bad. Other than that….really nothing. Scary situations and whatnot, but still no gore, sex, swearing or anything. 10+

Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 2 Episode 13 FINALE Review

ys2ep13

Plot: A married couple from the city has recently moved to the countryside. They find odd pellet drums lining the pathway to their house. The village elder states that these are meant to guide a god to their house to bring them good luck, but is it guiding something else?

Breakdown: Our second Yami Shibai season finale….is….alright, but confusing. I don’t really understand the ending at all. I know I’ve been spoiling quite a few episodes, but I really can’t explain properly without giving the play by play of the episode itself.

A married couple moves to the countryside and find weird pellet drums lining the streets, making a pathway all the way up to their new house. As they meet the village elder, he says the drums are meant to help guide a god-like being to the homes of newcomers to bring them good fortune. While the husband accepts this just fine, the wife is very apprehensive.

That night, the wife has difficulty sleeping but the husband is sleeping like a rock. As she tries to doze off, she hears pellet drum noises in the distance. They get closer and closer and she soon realizes that the pellet drums in the street are playing themselves. More and more drums start playing and the sounds get louder and louder. She tries to wake her husband to no avail until the drumming finally stops. When she looks back down to her husband, he looks possessed and starts screaming like a literal baby. We get screams and baby sounds, awaking the villagers for a few seconds, before they turn their lights back out and go to sleep.

So, can someone please tell me what the hell that was about? I know the drums were signifying that whatever that god thing was was approaching them, but what did it do to the husband and why? It sounds like he possessed him with a thousand babies. Is that good fortune? Is the wife pregnant now or something? Did she die? Why do the villagers do this?

This was a suspenseful episode, and the jump scare at the end did get me, but it’s just anti-climactic without knowing what actually happened.

And that’s Yami Shibai 2. I’d say this is not as good as the first season, but it’s still alright. And we’re still not done! As recently as this year, Yami Shibai was given a third season! And it’s finished airing, so we can give that a shot too. We’re running out of Halloween time, so maybe we can speed up this season. However, I haven’t heard good things about it, so here’s hoping we find some good in there.

Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 2 Episodes 11 and 12 Review

ys2ep11

Yami Shibai Episode 11 – Picking Up

Plot: A college student finds a draft of someone’s novel on the train home. He becomes entranced with reading it, but soon becomes weirded out when he somehow ends up on a bench at the train station later that day without realizing it. As he’s about to throw the novel away, he notices an add for a novel writing contest with a prize of 3 Million yen. Unable to resist, he sends in the novel and surprisingly wins. However, getting credit for the work of another has a way of biting you in the end.

Breakdown: I hate plagiarism. I hate art theft. That’s why stories like these aren’t quite as scary. It’s hard to feel scared when deep down you’re happy that something bad is happening to someone.

Not to say that plagiarists and art thieves deserve being killed, going crazy, being sent to hell, etc. but this is fiction, so I can fictionally laugh at them when this does happen in fiction, fictionally.

This is basically a cautionary tale against such a thing, and admittedly the visuals aren’t that interesting. Just a lot of skeletons. However, if you have ever done anything similar like copy someone’s answers on a test, pass off a picture as your own or buy term papers, this might be something to creep down your neck.

Episode 12 – Netsuke

ys2ep12

Plot: A college student named Kaoru is helping out her grandma at her store for a while since her grandpa recently passed away. She’s taking some toys and things that her grandpa would’ve wanted her to have. As she’s gathering things, she stumbles upon a box and asks what it is. Her grandma explains that they’re netsuke that her grandpa always forbade her from touching. They’re two tiny carvings of faces. Kaoru asks if she can take them as earrings and she agrees. As she happily wears her new earrings, Kaoru starts to believe she’s being followed. Do the netsuke truly not belong to her?

Breakdown: This one actually had me going in the middle because they do a fantastic job with that chase scene and making the pursuers seem pretty creepy. I knew a jump scare was coming, but it still got me anyway and I continued to feel tense throughout the scene.

Not much to say about this one beyond that except I feel like the grandma is either an idiot or a complete bitch, based on the ending. I won’t spoil why I think that, but geez.

Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 2 Episodes 9 and 10 Review

Yami Shibai 2 Episode 9 – Ominie-San

ys2ep9

Plot: A teacher moves from the city to start a job in a school in the country. While she’s enjoying her new job so far and the students seem to adore her, she is grossed out by the fact that everyone seems to be obsessed with weird looking purple meat called Ominie-san. She can’t bring herself to eat it, but once you’ve had one taste, you’ll be hooked for life.

Breakdown: This one is just kind of weird. That’s it. Everyone in this town loves to eat Ominie-san but the teacher doesn’t find it appealing at all so she avoids it at every turn without even trying a bite. I don’t feel like it’d be a big deal to spoil this one since I find it horribly anti-climactic so here goes…..she eventually is tricked into eating some and also becomes hooked.

Now you may be thinking, “Twix, you must only be giving us a part of the story. Ominie-san must be human flesh or something frightening to eat. Maybe it makes the people who eat it become something horrible like serial killers, zombies or politicians! Maybe it makes you into a demon! Maybe it KILLS YOU!” Maybe it does nothing…..because it does nothing.

Outside of being super yummy and giving you slightly bad table manners (and sounding gross when you bite into it), there are no real side effects to eating Ominie-san. People just really like to eat it. Kids get excited when it’s on the menu for lunch, people order it like any other food at a restaurant…..it’s delicious.

ahhhhhh

They seem a little addicted to it, but the people act very normal otherwise.

All that would be left to be somewhat creepy or frightening in this situation would be where the meat came from, right? Well, they never tell us or really give us any hints. People were suspecting that it’s probably demon meat, but even that’s not really scary unless the meat actually does stuff to you, and it doesn’t. Maybe the demon’s still alive considering they’re still calling it Ominie-san….Okay….so? Meat is meat. I’m pretty sure most meat-eaters wouldn’t care if what they were eating was still alive somewhere. And there are even some foods that are served whole as living creatures that people eat without killing beforehand or cooking.

Remember that episode of Futurama where they revealed that the popular and addictive soda, Slurm, was goop that came out of a giant alien slug’s ass? That prompted much more of a physical response than this episode did.

They could replace this meat with any other really good food and it would work essentially the same way. Call the episode lasagna, cake or maybe Twix bars :3? The only scene that even seemed a little scary was the furnace scene. The teacher can’t bring herself to try the meat at lunch so she puts it in a bag and tries to throw it into the furnace. However, the meat moves right before she throws it into the fire. It’s a cheap jump scare, and if you feel scared even for an instant, remember that you’re being frightened by a lunch item and that fear will go away soon enough.

Unless you were traumatized by cafeteria lunch meat as a child, this episode is just barely a little weird.

Episode 10 – Bugged

ys2ep10

Plot: A man writes diligently in his journal every night, though for the most part he just constantly complains about everything around him. In the midst of the summer heat, he gets more and more aggravated with everything, especially the damn bugs that keep getting louder and louder….

Breakdown: Why bugs? Why? Just eughghghghsjdasjhdjk First puppets now bugs. I hate bugs. I just do. I will look at them from afar, but keep the hell away from me.

That being said, this one is a pretty good story. It’s basically a descent into madness story with bugs being the main point of threat. Thing is, it’s not made clear if this guy is legitimately getting increasingly mad or if he’s being influenced by the bugs. One might say that the bugs are feeding off of his constant hatred and negativity, but they may also be contributing to his feelings.

There are a few shots here that are just nope-worthy, but overall not horribly scary. Just squicky and a bit freaky.

Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 2 Episodes 7 and 8 Review

ys2ep7

Yami Shibai 2 Episode 7 – Capsule Toy Machine

Plot: A businessman is having poor luck at his job when he wanders by an old man who seems really entranced by a nearby capsule toy machine. The next day, he walks by the machine again, though the man is gone. He wonders what is in the machine to make the old man so interested so he gives it a try. However, the price for getting a toy is much steeper than it seems.

Breakdown: For someone who adores nostalgia, this episode was pretty damn creepy to me. Hell, those capsule toy machines are nostalgic in their own right. I remember using the machines by our local supermarket and getting superballs and little action figures and temporary tattoos; they’re pretty neat for some pocket change. And, really, what down on their luck 20-something wouldn’t decide to have a nice passing fling with nostalgia and spend some change on a capsule toy?

I really like the twist that they added to this machine, not just in the items within the capsules but also in the price for obtaining these goodies. I’m not sure if there’s really a message here besides try to live in the now and think of the future instead of losing yourself in the past because your life may pass you by in the meantime, which is a good lesson, but then again you have to wonder if the people using the machine aren’t ending up under some sort of spell after that first toy. You’d think they would notice what is happening to them after even the first toy pops out.

All in all, probably the best episode of the second season so far. Not downright scary, but pretty freaky, especially if you are one who gets lost in nostalgia.

Episode 8 – Farewell Confessional

ys2ep8

Plot: A man has returned to the country to be with his extended family after a relative passes away. However, this is no normal funeral. In this funeral, the deceased loved one stays in another room while mourners go in one after another revealing one secret to them. It is said that the secret will ascend to heaven and the sin will ultimately be forgiven. Ken has never been to one of these funerals before, and while he hasn’t seen this man in a long time, he does have one secret to reveal.

Breakdown: This one is also interesting but ultimately predictable from the instant that they explain what this funeral really is. The concept of revealing one secret to the deceased to alleviate both you and the deceased from the burden is a pretty believable and good concept for this short to have. Even if it does seem just like hell for the dead person. Sure a lot of the secrets are benign, but some of them are just things I would never want to hear even while dead.

And this confessional seems pointless since everyone on the other side can clearly hear the secret. Hardly anyone is really whispering and their only barricade is a paper wall…..

Which leads us to the main premise of this story. Spoilers ahoy!

Ken is all awkward and doesn’t know what to say to the man since it’s been so long since he’s seen him that he really doesn’t know if he was keeping any secrets from him. He finally remembers one thing and hesitates a bit since it seems too big to confess, but decides to do it anyway. The secret is muttered half the time, but the main idea is that he did something or other that somehow caused the deceased’s dog to die in an accident. He apologizes for it and starts to walk away when the cloth on the body’s face moves and the candles die out. He brushes it off as the wind and walks away, and the dead guy springs up in a rage that he caused his dog’s death and that’s the end.

I only decided to explain this full out because I have to compare Ken’s secret to another mourner’s. Another man’s secret was that he had an affair with the deceased’s wife and is the real father of one of their children.

…….This secret doesn’t warrant coming back from the dead in a rage and attacking the guy but accidentally causing the death of a dog does? Don’t get me wrong, I adore dogs, I have three of them and I’d be pretty pissed with anyone who’d hurt them, accidental or otherwise, but really? And at least Ken had the decency to apologize for what he did. This guy was just all ‘remember when your wife got pregnant? That was me. Shh’

Well, at the very least we can hope Ken is fast enough to run away from a corpse through a paper wall. Or maybe one of his relatives would have the decency to lop his head off. This could be a common farewell confessional occurrence, I dunno.

Animating Halloween: Halloween is Grinch Night Review

1adtbxt

Rating: 5.5/10

Plot: As a sour-sweet wins blows through Whoville, irritating all of the creatures in the night, a little Who named Euchariah gets swept away and lands nearby the Grinch. He is on his way to Whoville to terrorize the Whos, spurred from the sour-sweet wind. Euchariah must find some way to stop the Grinch and save all of Whoville.

Breakdown: Hey guys, do you remember that How the Grinch Stole Christmas had a prequel?

Immediate responses are probably lacking; sit back and think for a minute. I’ll start back up when you say “….Oh yeeeaaahhh. I kinda remember, I think.”

uzvca33

Back with me? Good. For those of you who still aren’t catching on, don’t feel bad. I didn’t remember a lick of this special until I got to the very ending.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas is one of the most beloved Christmas specials and probably the most beloved Dr. Seuss story ever. If you ever wanted a Halloween special with the Grinch…..then look somewhere else because this short has nothing to do with Halloween; you damn lying title.

Yep, this story has absolutely nothing to do with Halloween. They don’t even make a Halloween-like day and call it Grinch Night. It’s a random night where a sour-sweet wind blows through the countryside, irritating the various animals and calling the Grinch down to be a bucket full of bastard.

Not much happens for a majority of the special. We get songs, we see the Whos holing up in their houses, scared to death of the Grinch, and we see the Grinch traveling down the mountain forcing poor Max the dog to pull his physics-defying cart.

Only about 18 minutes into this 25 minute long special do things actually start happening, and even then it’s just Euchariah stalling the Grinch asking to be scared (because he likes it…make of that what you will) Why, you may ask? What will this do to save the town?

Well, you see, the wind doesn’t last forever and once the wind dies down, the Grinch must turn around and go home.

That’s it. When the wind dies down, the Grinch has to go home and not terrorize the town. Why? I have no clue. I mean, the Grinch is the Grinch. He likes scaring people and ruining their good moods. He doesn’t need the annoying sour-sweet wind blowing to make him want to do it. It’s like he’s honor-bound to not attack the town when the sour-sweet wind isn’t blowing. That kind of makes the Grinch a bit too reasonable.

Keep in mind that this is a prequel to How the Grinch Stole Christmas so he’s obviously still going to be an ass after this, and the last we see of him in this short is him looking forward to the next sour-sweet wind so he can do some terrorizing.

And absolutely nothing was learned.

Okay, it wasn’t a complete wash because something good did come of it. Max decided to ditch the green goblin and go live happily with Euchariah.

Oh wait, even that’s not a good ending because we know he’s back to being slave-driven by Grinch on How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

I guess there is one good thing that came of it; Euchariah proved that he was a brave young lad who saved the town.

Except he wasn’t shown to have bravery problems before this, so this supposed character growth seems a bit misplaced. I mean, hell, this is a kid who braved hurricane force winds and the threat of a Grinch attack to go to the bathroo—I mean ‘The Euphemism’ (Seriously, calling it the euphemism makes it sound much worse.)

He did save the town, so there is that. But really, the Grinch was just planning on scaring the Whos with his cart of nightmares. If this short is supposed to be for Halloween, and Euchariah is supposed to be making kids less legit scared by proving that scary things can be fun sometimes, then he didn’t really save the village from much, did he?

Wow, I just completely negated every plot point of this special. Uhh….Hmm…

Well, the music was pretty good. Not nearly as good or memorable as How the Grinch Stole Christmas, but still solid enough. The song at the end with Euchariah getting the full Grinch treatment (well, now, I’ m making innocent things sound worse.) was the only one I remembered from watching this when I was a kid. The other songs were fine, but I definitely didn’t remember them.

Maybe that’s understandable because unlike HtGSC, this special didn’t air nearly as much around the Halloween season. Maybe because it has jack squat to do with Halloween….They could’ve melded the Grinch into Halloween festivities so easily it’s sad. Like he was irritated by the happy Whos enjoying harmless scares and candy that the Grinch went down to Whoville to stir up legitimate scares and horror. Then he gets thwarted somehow and goes back home to prepare for being cranky on Christmas.

Overall, it’s an okay special, but doesn’t amount to really anything. It doesn’t really get you in the Halloween mood, and the only quasi-freaky imagery is kept to the very end. What the hell is the Grinch anyway? Nightmarish schizophrenia incarnate? How is he doing all of that?

Recommended Audience: And Fiddletwix said “It’s Dr. Seuss, are you kidding me? You could watch this special if you were negative three!”

Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 2 Episodes 5 and 6

Yami Shibai 2 Episode 5: Locker

ys2ep5

Plot: Tried and true story of a girl with a crush on a guy but can’t admit her feelings to him. She overhears some girls talking about a locker that supposedly grants wishes. You put the picture of your loved one in the locker and your love will be realized. She puts the picture of her crush in the locker and prays for her wish to come true. When she checks back later, the picture is gone and her crush is also looking to make a wish. Will her love bloom or is there something more sinister about this locker?

Breakdown: This one was creepy, but a little confusing. Starts out with an innocent enough story and a rumor that leads to yet another creepy doll. And go figure, the creepy doll in this story is much creepier than the doll in the short about the doll.

I kinda have to spoil the ending to express my confusion, so please skip to the next episode to avoid spoilers.

 

 

 

 

Like I said, she puts the picture in the locker with the doll and later finds the picture missing. She sees her crush in the basement where the locker is located and they chat up each other for a bit before he reveals that he’s also there to make a wish. She explains that her picture went missing and her crush becomes confused. As she opens the locker to show him, he jolts back in fright realizing that this locker is not the one that you’re supposed to be wishing on, but is instead….I dunno.

When she opens the locker, he is forcibly and painfully mushed into a ball and shoved into the locker, I guess to make a new doll, and the episode ends.

I have so many questions. First of all, if that wasn’t the wish-granting locker, what was it? What was that doll? Are there really two supernatural lockers in this school that work on a wish system? Why did her crush get turned into another doll? Is this the vengeance spirit locker? How did he know what was in it? And how did he seemingly know he’d be the one to be transformed?

It’s not a big surprise that she chose the wrong locker, though. Her method of selecting a locker among the 50 or so in the basement was to choose the locker that bore the number of her crush’s baseball jersey. Because…yeah, why wouldn’t it be that number? Except the fact that these are unused lockers in the basement not baseball team lockers, and there’s no reason to ever suspect that. You’d think if the wish locker and the vengeance locker were so well known someone would mark them or something. If they both work on the same system just with drastically different outcomes, I’d say that’s something to warn people about.

It should be noted that one of the lockers had a note on it, which might be marking it as the wish locker, but there’s no shot close enough to read it. You’d figure the first thing she’d look for is a damn sign or note indicating which locker is the wish locker.

This whole story ends on a pretty sad note because of this, too. This poor girl just wanted, literally, for her senpai to notice her, and she ends up killing him on accident instead.

Episode 6: Nao-Chan

ys2ep6

Plot: A mother becomes slightly worried when her young son starts saying ‘Nao-chan’ over and over while looking at the ceiling at night. They know no Nao-chan and Takkun stays at home all day with his mother and has never met anyone with that name. They brush it off as an imaginary friend and play around with him about it, but Nao-chan is certainly real. What does he want?

Breakdown: I….actually don’t think this one’s even aiming to be a horror story. To be fair, despite the title translating to Theater of Darkness, the full title of this show is Yami Shibai: Japanese Ghost Stories, and not all ghost stories have to be scary.

That being said, the middle of the story where we finally see Nao is pretty damn creepy just on the design of Nao and how he makes no noise as he approaches.

I’m not exactly sure how we’re meant to take the ending. I suppose it’s a good thing because a good friend of the family gets reincarnated but Takkun clearly seems angry at the situation and the parents seem like they’re not in the same frame of mind as they were previously. I don’t want to say that they seem like they’re in a trance, but similar to it. I want to say that they’re fine and that Takkun is just being jealous because if Nao is what he’s supposed to be there’s no reason he’d do anything bad to them.

This one’s a pretty good story, but there’s no real scary material here outside of Nao’s reveal.