Yami Shibai 2 Episode 1 – Taro-Chan
Plot: A police officer goes around to schools giving safety lectures with his puppet, Taro-chan. While he’s a talented ventriloquist, perhaps it’s Taro’s turn to say a few words.
Breakdown: Opening the season on a creepy, then funny and yet ultimately sad note, this episode kinda cheats a little because dammit, using ventriloquist puppets should be cheating! They’re one of the pinnacle creepy yet for some reason for children icons of our time like clowns or Furbys. I had nightmares for years about that stupid Urkel puppet from Family Matters, and that’s a damn sitcom! You’re cheating, anime! You just are!
That being said, this does seem to follow the typical ‘haunted puppet’ formula. Acts all normal then boom it can talk on its own. But it’s not being threatening, really. It just gains the ability to talk and essentially goes on with the act in the same way, to a degree. Sure, it doesn’t let go of the officer’s arm, which leads to a funny shot of the officer trying to fight with the puppet to free his arm while Taro tries to tell his story about bike safety. However, it’s not doing anything you’d think it would do like gain a demonic voice or start cutting people up.
It takes a really sad turn near the end, and I feel like spoiling this one, so turn away until episode 2 pops up to avoid it;
It starts telling a story about how he was riding his bike and got hit by a car. His limbs start flying off, he starts getting louder and louder with the details of the crash and just as the officer is able to throw him off of his arm, he fumbles to the floor and keeps repeating that it hurt in a terribly distressed tone of voice. So, yeah, the insinuation here is that this is the spirit of a real boy who died after getting hit by a car. How he became a puppet and why is beyond me, but this is one of those instances where I don’t really care. Maybe the guy in the car did it to him? I don’t think the officer did it because he seems completely baffled by the whole ordeal and has no idea what the little wooden o-fuda is for.
I’ve never felt bad for a ventriloquist dummy before, but Yami Shibai 2 somehow managed it. This segment was a bit creepy for a minute, but damn it just ends so sadly.
Episode 2 – Kitchen
Plot: A college student visits her friend at her new apartment. While it looks brand new, the building was occupied once before. Perhaps the old tenants are still around….
Breakdown: This one has creepy visuals, but overall feels a little on the lazy side. It’s really just a ghost that makes people go crazy and kills others for whatever reason. You can guess what will happen from the instant that the friend says that people used to live there before. And I hate to beat this dead horse, but a proper backstory for stuff like this would be nice.
What I didn’t expect was the absolute ending, which just seems equally lazy and makes no sense. If it had the ability to spread out to such a wide range, why didn’t it ever do it before? It could kill or possess everyone in town with such a power.
Like I said, the creature itself looks creepy enough and is animated in that craggy ‘crayon’ type look, but the rest of the animation seems off. I can’t pinpoint what it is, but this segment’s animation seems more…..’kid-ish’ than normal.
The ED this time is just alright. It’s the same basic style as the last one only the distortion isn’t as obvious and the melody isn’t as good.