Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 4 Episodes 1 and 2

Episode 1 – Tongue

I want eyeballs, I want liver, Meow Mix, Meow Mix please deliver

Plot: A man takes pity upon a dead cat in the road and moves it onto the sidewalk. He and some nearby boys decide to bury it and make it a proper grave. However, things tend to follow those who show them kindness.

Breakdown: First and foremost, holy shit people hate this season. I was pleasantly surprised to see this as a recommended anime on a streaming site and lo and behold the first page was tons of people saying what complete and utter garbage it was. I thought they trashed YS3 badly. There was nary a kind word about this season on that page.

But, hey, I pretty much liked YS3, so maybe I’ll like this season too.

Second, we’re back to having proper intros and the narrator. However, this narrator seems like a different guy and he has a different voice. This voice is deeper and more menacing, which I guess sets a better tone, but I think I have to get used to it.

He also narrates each and every bit of the story, which didn’t happen much in the first three seasons. I don’t know how many times he’ll do this and I’m not sure if I like it.

Finally, before the episode review anyway, the ED is somewhat bland but catchy. It’s a happy-go-lucky forgettable song that would fit in nearly any other anime and it contrasts a lot with the EDs of the past three seasons. Hopefully they’ll do something creative with it over time.

New this season also is that, apparently, each episode also has at least one clip in live-action. It serves no purpose, not even horror-wise.

Now onto the episode. I was kinda torn emotionally as the episode went on. I didn’t want this guy to end up dead because he did something nice for a poor dead cat. I was also disappointed that an episode titled Tongue wasn’t creepier. However, I think the twist at the end was unexpected, albeit a bit confusing.

He is indeed being stalked by the spirit of the cat, but it turns out that it’s merely being used as a puppet by another spirit that is actually malicious. From what I could gather from the conversations, this was apparently the ghost of someone who died nearby where the dead cat was. Her spirit watched the cat get found and given a proper burial, but he didn’t find her and lay her to rest, so she got jealous and upset and attacked him for it.

It is clever, and I wish we could get a Side B to this story to get her view, but uh, if you were really murdered or left for dead or what have you, wouldn’t you have bigger bones to pick with whomever is responsible for your death rather than someone who merely buried a run over cat? Oh, hey, if you can communicate with him, why not tell him where your body is and ask him to give you a proper burial?

Episode 2 – Fish Tank

No. The answer is always no.

Plot: A boy and his friends break into an abandoned house and one of them finds a weird fish tank filled with murky water and plants. The house is abandoned, but is the tank?

Breakdown: So I guess the narrator is going to keep telling the whole story now. Still not sure if I like it or not. It both adds tension yet takes it away. They’re taking away the silent tension but replacing it with creepy story-teller tension. Also, this is more like what a real kamishibai would be like.

As for this story, it’s meh. Everything you expect to happen happens. Starting off with the ‘teenagers breaking into a creepy abandoned house’ trope is never a good sign, but the instant you see that tank you know that there’s some monster in there and you know it’s going to take/eat him.

They also sorta ruin the initial kill by having one of his friends go into the room (with the stool the boy used to look into the tank mysteriously back in the corner of the room) with him about to investigate a sound coming from the tank, indicating that he’ll be eaten then the other boy will be eaten too.

The creature isn’t even creative. It’s just creepified human arms.

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