Animating Halloween – Yami Shibai 3 Episodes 1-4 Review

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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

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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

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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

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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….

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