Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 5 Episodes 3 and 4

Episode 3: The Crow Children

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Plot: A young girl named Sae is on her way to visit her grandma for the first time with her mother when they meet a creepy old lady dressed in black that the local children call ‘the crow lady’.

Breakdown: I would’ve guessed this was a spin-off to Children of the Corn when first looking at that title.

This episode’s a bit on the predictable side and doesn’t really get at all creepy or scary until the final 30 seconds or so, which is a bit ironic because this is one of those stories that just ends in a moral and not anyone being perpetually tortured, going crazy or dying. That was a welcome twist considering the main character of this story is a cute little girl.

It’s definitely not the scariest or creepiest entry, and they even throw in a jump scare near the end, but I thoroughly enjoyed this episode.

The art is back to the way it was in episode one, which is nice, but the episode also clearly has much less animation than most other episodes, if that was even possible.

Episode 4: Copycat

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Plot: Haru is a young woman who just finished her college orientation. She’s surprised to find that her old childhood friend, Yukari, has also gotten into the same school as her. Yukari always copied everything that she did. Wore the same clothes, bought the same things, pursued the same dreams. It was flattering and fun throughout childhood, but as you get older, you need to develop your own personal identity. What happens when someone’s personal identity is yours?

Breakdown: This is, I believe, our first story that isn’t inherently supernatural. It is really just a story about a crazy friend who is doing everything in their power to copy someone else. The twist at the very end is what throws you for a loop.

One of the main aspects about this story that sits uncomfortably with people is that I’m certain many people have, at one point, had a friend with similar traits to Yukari. I’ve even been in a somewhat similar situation. It’s very awkward to deal with a friend that you do really like but is either intensely clingy or is trying to do everything you do to be just like you. You know trying to talk to them about it, even kindly, will likely hurt their feelings, but eventually everyone hits their breaking point.

Yukari does reach that boiling point of incredible annoyance, which is quickly offset by her insane creepiness. She is dead set on copying Haru as much as humanly possible.

….And I’ll just leave it at that line.