Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai Episodes 9 and 10 Review

Episode 9: Grinding Teeth

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Plot: An office worker and her girl friend are out on a trip to a foreign area. They explore many tourist spots, including one odd cave filled with Jizou statues that the locals seemed to avoid. That night, the woman developed a severe pain in her tooth and was forced to seek out a local dentist in the middle of the night to get it checked out. When she arrives, she finds that her toothache is much worse than anything she could’ve imagined.

Breakdown: This had much more potential than what it became. The setup doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it’s one of those instances where I wouldn’t care much if the scares paid off. They pretty much didn’t.

Teeth is one of the richest wells of easy creepy content. For some reason, a lot of people are creeped out when thinking about teeth or seeing detailed images of teeth or even thinking about going to the dentist. The sound of teeth grinding is also one most people cannot stand. It’s not particularly creepy, but it is one of those sounds that makes you cringe. These topics together can easily make for at least a creepy story.

Instead it basically falls flat and even seems kinda silly. The ending shot was unnerving due to the sounds and cliffhanger, but that was about it.

The live-action shot of the episode was of the dentist holding a pair of pliers as she was about to pull the woman’s tooth. That shot worked very well and added more elements of creepiness to it, but you quickly realize that the dentist is not the bad guy here. Though, honestly, she should’ve told the woman what was going on in order to prevent her from leaving.

All in all, another middle of the road entry.

Episode 10 – Calling Crane

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These two episodes side by side really highlight how this season’s art shifts drastically between stories.

Plot: Bored of mobile phone games, a group of three girls decide to play a creepy game they heard about at school called Calling Crane. You put a razor blade and a red string into a glass of water then write the name of a deceased person on a paper 49 times and turn it into a paper crane. Once you swallow the crane, you’ll be able to talk to the person whose name you’ve written on the paper. It’s all harmless. After all, it’s just a game….right?

Breakdown: Now this is a nice mixture between a classic setup (teenage girls playing a spooky game to talk to the dead) and some interesting and creepy elements that are new and original, for the most part.

Who the hell even thought up this game premise? Even for Japanese horror games, that’s weird. You have to swallow the paper crane? That’s gross and dangerous.

This episode doesn’t really take any turns you don’t really expect it to, but it is still some creepy fun made all the better by the visuals. The lines are much more detailed and made to look fairly realistic. The colors are also done in a very obvious watercolor method.

There are three live-action shots this time around. The first is a shot of the glass with a razor in it, the second is a shot of a broken glass with the razor and string sitting in the water, and the third was a shot of the paper crane. I won’t go into more details on the circumstances of these shots, but they definitely add to the creepiness factor, and I like that they amped up the amount of live-action shots for this one. Given the art style of the regular animation, it fits quite well.

I very much enjoyed this entry and hope to see at least one more like it before the season ends.