Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 9 Episodes 1 and 2 Review

Episode 1: Rat’s Wedding

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Plot: A man gets a new job in a strange town that is currently practicing a tradition where a wedding and a funeral are held at the same time.

Breakdown: SEASON NINE, BABY! Let’s do this!

Our ninth season of Yami Shibai has the narrator presenting the stories to a demonic looking version of the zodiac characters, and that’s really damn neat.

As for our first episode of the season, this one was pretty entertaining, a little creepy, but not really scary. A man gets a well-paying job at a company that resides in a very small town. The town is currently holding a traditional event where they have a wedding and funeral at the same time. The tradition was started as a means to cheer up the bereaved. When the wedded couple have their first child, it’s supposedly the reincarnation of the one whose funeral was held on the wedding day.

This whole creepy cult-like small town is always a pretty unsettling concept to me, but it loses its footing near the end. First of all, this whole story doesn’t make much sense. The boss guy who is telling the new guy all of this information says that, due to the tradition, their town never experiences town growth or loss. But…does that mean no one ever dies unless there’s a wedding planned? Or is there a spontaneous wedding planned when someone dies suddenly?

The new guy ends up basically getting kidnapped by the townsfolk to act as the groom for the bride of the wedding, but he’s a new person, doesn’t that mean the population technically grew?

The reason the episode is called Rat Wedding is shown in the ending….I…guess the townsfolk were all rat demons or something? When the new guy saw the funeral procession, there were six coffins. When he wakes up to his new bride, she’s holding six babies, but they’re not in the town anymore, I don’t think, so did they leave? Doesn’t that mean the population went down?

I don’t get it.

It’s an entertaining little story, but not really enough to elicit any fear.

The ED for this season is quite nice as always. The background visuals are a series of masks on pendulums that slowly grow more and more grotesque.

Episode 2: The Man in the Rabbit Hutch

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Plot: An elementary school teacher starts reading a story written by one of her students when the story starts to get a little too real.

Breakdown: This was pretty cool and creepy story. They showed just enough of the man in the rabbit hutch for him to be creepy while not giving away so much as to make him goofy. Just the disgusting sounds of him chewing on carrots was enough to have me consistently creeped out by the thing.

The one bad spot about this story is that it’s a little too obvious what the ending will be once the kid says he needs to find the man a new place to live. However, it’s made up for a little bit by including that awful crunch sound in the end. Eugh.


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Reopening the Theater of Darkness | Yami Shibai Season 8 Review

Plot: Season eight of the horror anthology series, Yami Shibai.

Breakdown: Yami Shibai’s crew took one Halloween off last year to work on a spin-off anthology series called Ninja Collection, but since that bombed and no one remembers it even exists, they came back early this year to give us more horror anthology goodness.

And it was fine.

Like all of the seasons prior, I’ll give a masterlist of my reviews on each episode. However, since I have abandoned numbered rating systems, I’ll just give my brief thoughts on each episode like normal and draw a conclusion.

Episode 1: Dropped Handkerchief – Silly hook attached to a lame and cliche premise. Decent ambiance, though.

Episode 2: Death Day – Much better, and pretty unique. Was both creepy and genuinely scary at the end.

Episode 3: Don’t Look Back – The base concept itself is rather frightening to me, but this episode is very cliché and a giant mess in regards to its own rules and logic.

Episode 4: Bean-Throwing – Quite possibly one of the worst episodes of Yami Shibai based purely on the editing/composition. It’s torture. It’s a shame because the story is fairly unique – not scary, but unique.

Episode 5: The Sound of Laughter – Got me a little in hindsight, but not in a scary way. More of an ‘oh, that’s clever’ way.

Episode 6: Catch of the Day – The only unsettling part of this stupid episode was the pained sounds of a baby crying, but that has no real bearing on the story.

Episode 7: Issun Boshi – Really unique premise and rather interesting manifestation of feelings of jealousy and vengeance, but also really silly.

Episode 8: Viewing – Another fairly unique story held down by its weak premise. I still can’t get over how anyone who has ever been a student before would believe a trio of teens would randomly get the day off from school and then they decide to go anyway, uniform and all, for a…joke?

Episode 9: Antlion Pit – Out of all of the season eight episodes, this one is probably the most memorable to me. Outside of being a cautionary tale of something that many people don’t really have much control over, there isn’t much in the ways of scares here, but I did enjoy it quite a bit.

Episode 10: Footprints in the Snow – Best episode of season eight in all categories, from art to scares to uniqueness to ambiance, BUT it’s also incredibly depressing.

Episode 11: Curse – I really liked this one, but I wish the ending was different. Kinda ruins everything they were going for with the curse.

Episode 12: String Telephone – Really sloppy art, really sloppy premise, bad execution, but if told differently, it’d make for a fine campfire ghost story.

Episode 13: Sleeptalking – Season eight’s finale is just okay. I do find the premise to be a little scary, but they didn’t set up the twist well enough, if at all.

I was pretty underwhelmed by season eight, but outside of getting really frustrated with Bean-Throwing, nothing left too bad a taste in my mouth. There are plenty of spurts of creativity here, but it’s like they have a bucket of good ideas and half-ass the execution most of the time. A few of the entries were legitimately really good, but I yearn for more. I didn’t sacrifice last Halloween just for a few good Yami Shibai episodes in return.

Sad to say, but I think the days of the bookends with the narrator being anything more than typical bookends ever again are long over. I still enjoy them, especially the ending theme sequences, but I wish more effort would be put into making even a slight linear storyline again. You don’t even have to make a big deal out of it. Just make it a cool Easter egg or something.

Onto season nine!


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Yami Shibai 3 Review

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Plot: A little boy drawing on a slide presents us with tales of demons and monsters.

Breakdown: Well, now we’re at Yami Shibai 3, the season most people seem to hate with a passion, for some reason. Nearly every comment I saw about this season was slamming it in some way.

People ranking the seasons always put this one last or called it terrible. The comments on the individual episodes called the stories stupid, boring and plain not scary.

I will admit, the sudden change in format and the seeming change in subject matter was a bit difficult to deal with. However, is it really on the lowest rung of the ladder for this franchise so far?

Episode 1 – Lend it to Me: A creepy little story with a successful jump scare at the end. In hindsight, the monster looks a tiny bit silly, but it’s only on screen for a few seconds and it’s not that bad.

Episode 2 – Tunnel: I called this episode the scariest one of the series so far, and I would probably say that statement still stands up even after watching the rest of the series. Successful jump scares, creepy atmosphere, freaky imagery – it’s just a really effective episode.

Episode 3 – Rat: The first ‘meh’ entry of the season, I’m not that freaked out by rats, the husband is a complete ass, and the final imagery is a little silly. It’s a bit squicky, but doesn’t really warrant anything above an ‘okay’.

Episode 4 – The Noisy Hospital Room: Creepy setting with a couple of decent scares, but ultimately disappointing with somewhat silly visuals.

Episode 5 – The Museum of Taxidermy: Another creepy setting with some nice atmosphere, but ultimately predictable and kinda meh.

Episode 6 – “That Side” Festival: A mixed bag in regards to freaky imagery, but not really that scary and has a fairly sad ending.

Episode 7 – Behind: This one is just completely ruined by the visuals, which are cartoony and laughable. The sad part is that the actual story is fairly strong, but the imagery just makes it fail.

Episode 8 – The Empress Doll: This one had so much going for it. Great atmosphere, creepy environment, freaky visuals and creative ideas, but it is marred very badly by the BOO ending.

Episode 9 – The Fourth Man: This episode has a decent enough set up, but it’s predictable from start to finish, the visuals aren’t that creepy, the monsters are very easy to avoid and the ending is cheap.

Episode 10 – Merry-Go-Round: Very effective in its setting and atmosphere with some pretty freaky moments, this one also just ends up being silly in the end. And I mean really silly. Despite the silly ending, this was a very memorable episode that made something unique out of itself instead of relying on clowns like I was worried it would do.

Episode 11 – Cuckoo: Good atmosphere and buildup, but this isn’t scary at all, is barely interesting in its story and ends up being pretty silly. Plus, I really believe that grandma is a bitch. She must’ve known what that clock really was, yet she just lets her granddaughter get caught up in it.

Episode 12 – Water: About as interesting and creative as its name – this episode is milquetoast at best and silly at worst.

Episode 13 – Drawing: The best season finale of all three seasons, and a very well-written and composed tie-up to the story of the little boy who has taken over the narrator’s job this season. The actual story itself is a little predictable once you get into it and the visuals aren’t fantastically scary, but it’s a great entry in this series and really makes up for the narrator’s absence, especially the absolute end.

I’d say this season is on the same level, roughly, as YS2. Neither are as good as S1, but this definitely doesn’t deserve all the hate it’s getting, in my opinion.

Additional Information and Notes: Yami Shibai 3 was directed by Takashi Taniguchi and Tomohisa Ishikawa, and was written by Hiromu Kumamoto. It was produced by ILCA and is currently licensed in the US by Sentai Filmworks.

Episodes: 13

Year: 2016

Recommended Audience: The Museum of Taxidermy is pretty much the worst you get in terms of gore, and even that’s not too bad. Typical scary situations and whatnot. 7+


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Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 3 Episodes 5-8 Review

Episode 5 – The Museum of Taxidermy

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Plot: A young couple are on vacation when they decide to seek refuge from the rain in a museum of taxidermy. While the husband is enjoying all of the various stuffed animals, the wife is aggravated and creeped out. She quickly leaves the museum, and her husband follows later, but when he returns to the museum to find his lost hotel key, he finds that the museum is creepier than his wife thought.

Breakdown: Taxidermy?! Now you’re really cheating, Yami Shibai. What’s next; clowns?

So yeah, taxidermy is creepy, and the episode pretty much goes the way you’d probably expect. I guess it’s a little freaky, but overall it’s just kinda meh. I will say that the prank that the husband plays on the wife was kinda funny. I don’t know why I laughed out loud at that.

Also, if everything was the way that it was when they arrived, why did they not notice? Let me just say that people typically move every now and then, especially children. The entire place being dead quiet, no pun intended, with no one moving? I’d notice that on my first visit ten seconds in.

Episode 6 – “That Side” Festival

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Plot: Miki and Asako are two young girls enjoying a festival. When Asako is having so much fun that she wishes to stay there forever, she finds that she just might get her wish.

Breakdown: This one is also a bit of a miss to me. I feel like season three is relying a bit too much on monsters and demons, and while this can sometimes be freaky to me, I just don’t find it as scary as ghost stories.

That being said, there is some freaky imagery in this episode, but it’s also hit or miss since there are several different types of imagery here. It is a bit sad that all of that happened to her just because she was having so much fun that she never wanted it to end. Poor girl was just enjoying herself.

Episode 7 – Behind

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Plot: A bunch of teenage boys are away overnight on a field trip. One of them shares a scary dream that they had about a creature that appears behind him and he knows he cannot look at. However, he is forced to look at the creature after it grabs his head and turns it towards it. But it’s just a dream….right?

Breakdown: Boy I am not on the same page as a lot of commenters on this series. This is one of the few episodes in YS3 that I see people giving praise to for being legitimately scary and I just don’t feel it.

Sure, the idea of a creature that you can’t look at but forcibly twists your head and prevents you from closing your eyes is a bit creepy…..it’s the visuals that break the atmosphere for me.

You’d think that a creature who is breaking the necks of its victims to force everyone to look at it would be creepy-looking, but it’s not. All of its victims have faces that look like Halloween-themed twirly lollipops, and their eyeballs bulge out of their faces like cartoons. And the actual creature itself looks very similar. The story is creepy, the imagery is damn near laughable.

Episode 8 – The Empress Doll

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Plot: Many teenagers go into abandoned houses as tests of courage, and this group has wandered into a house that is in pretty good shape for being abandoned. They see a bunch of hina dolls in the living room and notice that the empress doll is missing. Thinking another teen taking a test of courage must have taken it as a trophy, they continue to wander the house. However, the empress doll is still there….

Breakdown: This one started out really good. Standard format of a bunch of teens trying to prove they’re all brave by going into an abandoned and possibly haunted house in the middle of the night with nothing but some flashlights and a sense of curiosity. The atmosphere is great, the tension builds up well, they had a great idea in the middle of the episode that was utilized very well, and the visuals were pretty creepy too….

But the ending completely ruins it. Let me just say, you get sucked into the creepy environment, the weird doll vibe, the feeling of being watched, you see something terrible happen and wonder what’s truly behind them and then they straight up BOO! OOGABOOGABOOGABOOGABOOGA! you. It’s just disappointing. Even ending the episode without revealing the ‘monster’ (ala cut to black and screams) would’ve been a lot better than what we got. They already had a pretty good shocking jump-scare-ish moment right before the end, why ruin it with something that cheap?


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Yami Shibai 2 Review (Full)

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Plot: A continuation of ghost and demon stories presented in kamishibai format.

Breakdown: Since I don’t have as much to talk about with Yami Shibai 2 as I did with the first season in regards to background, I will quickly run through my final thoughts on each episode.

Episode 1 – Taro-Chan: If I take these episodes as not being entirely horror related, I would say this episode is actually pretty good and memorable. It’s very sad to imagine what Taro-chan had to go through and, ultimately, what he still seems to be going through. It was a nice twist on the ‘possessed ventriloquist dummy’ story.

Episode 2 – Kitchen: On further consideration, this episode was lazier and less interesting than I gave it credit for. The creature looks a little creepy, but it’s predictable, and the absolute ending is just kinda dumb.

Episode 3 – Inside: This one is also just kinda meh. It doesn’t go nearly far enough to generate any sort of reaction, and the doll itself just isn’t that creepy.

Episode 4 – The Wall Woman: Another one that is just alright, this one has a decently designed creature, some suspense, but ultimately blows it by practically beating us in the face with warnings of a final jump scare.

Episode 5 – Locker: Doing better here with a relatable character, an actual urban legend-esque setting (urban legend within an urban legend?) a creepy doll and a sad ending. However, I really must emphasize how poorly this whole locker thing is set up. It’s just borderline ridiculous.

Episode 6 – Nao-Chan: Not scary, though probably not meant to be, this one is an interesting story with a slightly creepy visual and a confusing ending. Might’ve been more impacting with a longer story, perhaps allowing us to meet Nao-chan originally.

Episode 7 – Capsule Toy Machine: How creepy or scary this episode is really fluctuates on how much nostalgia means to you, I think. Though there’s a difference between getting excited over toys or games that you used to love as a child and certain people you knew and events that happened to you when you were younger. This episode includes both in a fairly clever way. I believe this one might connect with a wider audience than I first noted. No monsters or ghosts here, but it’s still a frightening concept.

Episode 8 – Farewell Confessional: An interesting idea, but the execution is a bit lacking. Like I mentioned in the review, there’s just something a bit silly about the secret that becomes the tipping point for the big scare at the end in comparison to one we hear earlier. Plus, you can see the jump scare coming from a mile away.

Episode 9 – Ominie-san: I still can’t figure out what the hell was supposed to be so freaky, creepy or weird about this episode. People like a weird food, a new person in town doesn’t want to eat it because it’s weird, and then she’s forced to eat it and gets a bit hooked on it. Outside of the meat looking weird and the people having terrible table manners, this one is the weakest episode of the lot.

Episode 10 – Bugged: I really, really, really don’t like bugs, and I liked the progression in the main character from being a grumpy ass of a person to being out of his mind. I figured that, in the end, he started out as a grumpy jackass and probably got worse on his own as time went on, but the bugs influenced him to get increasingly worse until he was no longer in control of himself. I almost feel like him angrily trying to kill the bugs was a subconscious way of trying to make himself better. It’s not a great episode, but it’s alright.

Episode 11 – Picking Up: Another bit of laziness. A cautionary tale against plagiarism/art theft, but the visuals are lame, and this is really only slightly frightening for people who have committed/thought about committing this act.

Episode 12 – Netsuke: Great on the visuals, scares and atmosphere, a little light on the story for my tastes.

Episode 13 – Bringer Drums: Suspenseful enough, jump scare got me, but the story still fails to make any sense to me in the end.

As you can see, this season definitely suffered from a lot of ‘meh’. Plenty of good ideas met with equal amounts of wasted opportunities and poor executions. I think this season shows how badly the four and a half minute run time really affects these shorts. With just a few more minutes and more details to the stories, they could be much stronger.

Additional Information and Notes: Yami Shibai 2 was directed by Noboro Iguchi and Takashi Shimizu, and was written by Shoichiro Masumoto. It was produced by ILCA, and is currently licensed in the US by Sentai Filmworks.

Episodes: 13

Year: 2014

Recommended Audience: There is some gross imagery in Bugged, but nothing that bad. Other than that….really nothing. Scary situations and whatnot, but still no gore, sex, swearing or anything. 10+


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Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 2 Episodes 11 and 12 Review

Episode 11 – Picking Up

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Plot: A college student finds a draft of someone’s novel on the train home. He becomes entranced with reading it, but soon becomes weirded out when he somehow ends up on a bench at the train station later that day without realizing it. As he’s about to throw the novel away, he notices an ad for a novel writing contest with a prize of three million yen. Unable to resist, he sends in the novel and surprisingly wins. However, getting credit for the work of another has a way of biting you in the end.

Breakdown: I hate plagiarism. I hate art theft. That’s why stories like these aren’t quite as scary. It’s hard to feel scared when deep down you’re happy that something bad is happening to someone.

Not to say that plagiarists and art thieves deserve being killed, going crazy, being sent to hell, etc. but this is fiction, so I can fictionally laugh at them when this does happen in fiction, fictionally.

This is basically a cautionary tale against such a thing, and admittedly the visuals aren’t that interesting. Just a lot of skeletons. However, if you have ever done anything similar, this might be something to creep down your neck.

Episode 12 – Netsuke

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Plot: A college student named Kaoru is helping out her grandma at her store for a while since her grandpa recently passed away. She’s taking some toys and things that her grandpa would’ve wanted her to have. As she’s gathering things, she stumbles upon a box and asks what it is. Her grandma explains that they’re netsuke that her grandpa always forbade her from touching them. They’re two tiny carvings of faces. Kaoru asks if she can take them as earrings and her grandma agrees. As she happily wears her new earrings, Kaoru starts to believe she’s being followed. Do the netsuke truly not belong to her?

Breakdown: This one actually had me going in the middle because they do a fantastic job with that chase scene and making the pursuers seem pretty creepy. I knew a jump scare was coming, but it still got me anyway, and I continued to feel tense throughout the scene.

Not much to say about this one except I feel like the grandma is either an idiot or a complete bitch, based on the ending. I won’t spoil why I think that, but geez.


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Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 2 Episodes 9 and 10 Review

Episode 9 – Ominie-San

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Plot: A teacher moves from the city to start a job in a school in the country. While she’s enjoying her new job so far and the students seem to adore her, she is grossed out by the fact that everyone seems to be obsessed with weird looking purple meat called Ominie-san. She can’t bring herself to eat it, but once you’ve had one taste, you’ll be hooked for life.

Breakdown: This one is just kind of weird. That’s it. Everyone in this town loves to eat Ominie-san but the teacher doesn’t find it appealing at all so she avoids it at every turn without even trying a bite. I don’t feel like it’d be a big deal to spoil this one since I find it horribly anti-climactic so here goes…..she eventually is tricked into eating some and also becomes hooked.

Now you may be thinking, “Twix, you must only be giving us a part of the story. Ominie-san must be human flesh or something frightening to eat. Maybe it makes the people who eat it become something horrible like serial killers, zombies or politicians! Maybe it makes you into a demon! Maybe it KILLS YOU!” Maybe it does nothing…..because it does nothing.

Outside of being super yummy and giving you slightly bad table manners (and sounding gross when you bite into it), there are no real side effects to eating Ominie-san. People just really like to eat it. Kids get excited when it’s on the menu for lunch, people order it like any other food at a restaurant…..it’s delicious.

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They seem a little addicted to it, but the people act very normal otherwise.

All that would be left to be somewhat creepy or frightening in this situation would be where the meat came from, right? Well, they never tell us or really give us any hints. People were suspecting that it’s probably demon meat, but even that’s not really scary unless the meat actually does stuff to you, and it doesn’t. Maybe the demon’s still alive considering they’re still calling it Ominie-san….Okay….so? Meat is meat. I’m pretty sure most meat-eaters wouldn’t care if what they were eating was still alive somewhere as long as it wasn’t a poor innocent animal perpetually suffering, and I can’t imagine that’s the case if they have an endless supply of this meat (though it is possible.) There are even some foods that are served whole as living creatures that people eat without killing beforehand or cooking. Not saying I’d do either of those things, but it’s not uncommon. And I can’t even say either of those is the case here, because, again, they never explain.

Remember that episode of Futurama where they revealed that the popular and addictive soda, Slurm, was goop that came out of a giant alien slug’s ass? That prompted much more of a physical response than this episode did.

They could replace this meat with any other really good food and it would work essentially the same way. The only scene that even seemed a little scary was the furnace scene. The teacher can’t bring herself to try the meat at lunch so she puts it in a bag and tries to throw it into the furnace. However, the meat moves right before she throws it into the fire. It’s a cheap jump scare, and if you feel scared even for an instant, remember that you’re being frightened by a lunch item and that fear will go away soon enough.

Unless you were traumatized by cafeteria lunch meat as a child, this episode is just barely a little weird.

Episode 10 – Bugged

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Plot: A man writes diligently in his journal every night, though for the most part he just constantly complains about everything around him. In the midst of the summer heat, he gets more and more aggravated with everything, especially the damn bugs that keep getting louder and louder….

Breakdown: Why bugs? Why? Just eughghghghsjdasjhdjk First puppets now bugs. I hate bugs. I just do. I will look at them from afar, but keep the hell away from me.

That being said, this one is a pretty good story. It’s basically a descent into madness story with bugs being the main point of threat. Thing is, it’s not made clear if this guy is legitimately getting increasingly mad or if he’s being influenced by the bugs. One might say that the bugs are feeding off of his constant hatred and negativity, but they may also be contributing to his feelings.

There are a few shots here that are just nope-worthy, but overall not horribly scary. Just squicky and a bit freaky.


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Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 2 Episodes 7 and 8 Review

Episode 7 – Capsule Toy Machine

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Plot: A down-on-his-luck businessman wanders by an old man who seems really entranced by a nearby capsule toy machine. The next day, he walks by the machine again, though the man is gone. He wonders what is in the machine that would make the old man so interested. Curiosity gets the better of him, and he gives it a try. However, the price for getting a toy is much steeper than it seems.

Breakdown: For someone who adores nostalgia, this episode was pretty damn creepy to me. Hell, those capsule toy machines are nostalgic in their own right. I remember using the machines by our local supermarket and getting superballs and little action figures and temporary tattoos; they’re pretty neat for some pocket change. And, really, what down-on-their-luck 20-something wouldn’t decide to have a nice passing fling with nostalgia and spend some change on a capsule toy?

I really like the twist that they added to this machine, not just in the items within the capsules but also in the price for obtaining these goodies. I’m not sure if there’s really a message here besides try to live in the now and think of the future instead of losing yourself in the past because your life may pass you by in the meantime, which is a good lesson, but then again you have to wonder if the people using the machine aren’t ending up under some sort of spell after that first toy. You’d think they would notice what is happening to them after even the first toy pops out.

All in all, probably the best episode of the second season so far. Not downright scary, but pretty freaky, especially if you are one who gets lost in nostalgia.

Episode 8 – Farewell Confessional

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Plot: A man has returned to the country to be with his extended family after a relative passes away. However, this is no normal funeral. In this funeral, the deceased loved one stays in another room while mourners go in one after another revealing one secret to them. It is said that the secret will ascend to heaven and the sin will ultimately be forgiven. Ken has never been to one of these funerals before, and while he hasn’t seen this man in a long time, he does have one secret to reveal.

Breakdown: This one is also interesting but ultimately predictable from the instant that they explain what this funeral really is. The concept of revealing one secret to the deceased to alleviate both you and the deceased from the burden is a pretty believable and good concept for this episode to have. Even if it does seem just like hell for the dead person. Sure a lot of the secrets are benign, but some of them are just things I would never want to hear even while dead.

And this confessional seems pointless since everyone on the other side can clearly hear the secret. Hardly anyone is really whispering and their only barricade is a paper wall…..

Which leads us to the main twist of this story. Spoilers ahoy!

Ken is all awkward and doesn’t know what to say to the man since it’s been so long since he’s seen him that he really doesn’t know if he was keeping any secrets from him. He finally remembers one thing and hesitates a bit since it seems too big to confess, but decides to do it anyway. The secret is muttered half the time, but the main idea is that he did something or other that somehow caused the deceased’s dog to die in an accident. He apologizes for it and starts to walk away when the cloth on the body’s face moves and the candles die out. He brushes it off as the wind and walks away, and the dead guy springs up in a rage that he caused his dog’s death and that’s the end.

I only decided to explain this full out because I have to compare Ken’s secret to another mourner’s. Another man’s secret was that he had an affair with the deceased’s wife and is the real father of one of his children.

…….This secret doesn’t warrant coming back from the dead in a rage and attacking the guy but accidentally causing the death of a dog does? Don’t get me wrong, I adore dogs. I’ve never lived without having at least one dog in the house, and I’d be pretty pissed with anyone who’d hurt them, accidental or otherwise, but really? And at least Ken had the decency to apologize for what he did. This guy was just all ‘remember when your wife got pregnant? That was me. Shh’

Well, at the very least we can hope Ken is fast enough to run away from a corpse through a paper wall. Or maybe one of his relatives would have the decency to lop his head off. This could be a common farewell confessional occurrence, I dunno.


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Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 2 Episodes 5 and 6

Episode 5: Locker

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Plot: Tried and true story of a girl with a crush on a guy but can’t admit her feelings to him. She overhears some girls talking about a locker that supposedly grants wishes. You put the picture of your loved one in the locker and your love will be realized. She puts the picture of her crush in the locker and prays for her wish to come true. When she checks back later, the picture is gone and her crush is also looking to make a wish. Will her love bloom or is there something more sinister about this locker?

Breakdown: This one was creepy, but a little confusing. Starts out with an innocent enough story and a rumor that leads to yet another creepy doll. And go figure, the creepy doll in this story is much creepier than the doll in the short about the doll.

I kinda have to spoil the ending to express my confusion, so please skip to the next episode to avoid spoilers.

Like I said, she puts the picture in the locker with the doll and later finds the picture missing. She sees her crush in the basement where the locker is located and they chat up each other for a bit before he reveals that he’s also there to make a wish. She explains that her picture went missing, and her crush becomes confused. As she opens the locker to show him, he jolts back in fright realizing that this locker is not the one that you’re supposed to be wishing on, but is instead….I dunno.

When she opens the locker, he is forcibly and painfully mushed into a ball and shoved into the locker, I guess to make a new doll, and the episode ends.

I have so many questions. First of all, if that wasn’t the wish-granting locker, what was it? What was that doll? Are there really two supernatural lockers in this school that work on a wish system? Why did her crush get turned into another doll? Is this the vengeance spirit locker? How did he know what was in it? And how did he seemingly know he’d be the one to be transformed?

It’s not a big surprise that she chose the wrong locker, though. Her method of selecting a locker among the 50 or so in the basement was to choose the locker that bore the number of her crush’s baseball jersey. Because…yeah, why wouldn’t it be that number? Except the fact that these are unused lockers in the basement not baseball team lockers, and there’s no reason to ever suspect that. You’d think if the wish locker and the vengeance locker were so well known someone would mark them or something. If they both work on the same system just with drastically different outcomes, I’d say that’s something to warn people about.

It should be noted that one of the lockers had a note on it, which might be marking it as the wish locker, but there’s no shot close enough to read it. You’d figure the first thing she’d look for is a damn sign or note indicating which locker is the wish locker.

This whole story ends on a pretty sad note because of this, too. This poor girl just wanted, literally, for her senpai to notice her, and she ends up killing him on accident instead.

Episode 6: Nao-Chan

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Plot: A mother becomes slightly worried when her young son starts saying ‘Nao-chan’ over and over while looking at the ceiling at night. They don’t know any Nao-chan, and Takkun stays at home all day with his mother and has never met anyone with that name. They brush it off as an imaginary friend and play around with him about it, but Nao-chan is certainly real. What does he want?

Breakdown: I….actually don’t think this one’s even aiming to be a horror story. To be fair, despite the title translating to Theater of Darkness, the full title of this show is Yami Shibai: Japanese Ghost Stories, and not all ghost stories have to be scary.

That being said, the middle of the story where we finally see Nao is pretty damn creepy just on the design of Nao and how he makes no noise as he approaches.

I’m not exactly sure how we’re meant to take the ending. I suppose it’s a good thing because a good friend of the family gets reincarnated, but Takkun clearly seems angry at the situation, and the parents seem like they’re not in the same frame of mind as they were previously. I don’t want to say that they seem like they’re in a trance, but similar to it. I want to say that they’re fine and that Takkun is just being jealous because if Nao is what he’s supposed to be there’s no reason he’d do anything bad to them.

This one’s a pretty good story, but there’s no real scary material here outside of Nao’s reveal.


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Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 2 Episodes 3 and 4 Review

Episode 3: Inside

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Plot: A young boy brings home a set of matryoshka dolls that he found on the playground. His mother is creeped out by the doll and tries to throw it away for him. However, she returns later acting strangely and will not let the doll out of her sight. What is within this doll?

Breakdown: This is another one that seems a little lazy. First of all, using a creepy doll is more kinda-cheating. It’s only a smidge better than using a puppet.

Secondly, the doll isn’t even creepy. How the hell you screw up making a doll creepy is beyond me.

Third, the story itself is just pretty meh. The doll is making the mom act weird, and, obviously, since it’s a nesting doll, the big creepy thing at the end will be within the dolls. And, really, even the absolute end where they reveal what’s inside the doll isn’t that freaky. It’s just a bunch of scribbles drawn onto the dolls which leads to a black screen and a bunch of screaming and laughter, which in turn makes the kid all trance-like and weird. They don’t do anything violent or anything while in these trances, they just walk around like zombies and have mood swings.

Episode 4 – The Wall Woman

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Plot: A college student has a bit of a crush on his next door neighbor, a beautiful woman in white. As he’s watching her from his window one day, he sees a strange creature climb up her walls and into her house. She seems fine when she emerges later. Is he seeing things?

Breakdown: Hate to say it, but this one’s also pretty lazy. Basically, the summary of this is a guy sees a monster, thinks he’s seeing things, encounters a bunch of evidence to the contrary, surprise, the monster’s real.

I’m not even really yearning for a backstory here, it’s just bland, and you completely expect the jump scare at the end. They practically announce that it will happen. Some of the visuals are pretty freaky, but that’s about it.


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