Pokemon Shorties! (8) Pikachu’s Ghost Carnival Review

Pokemon Shorties Pikachu Ghost Carnival

Rating: 7.5/10

Plot: Pikachu and the other Pokemon are traveling to a lakeside to have a picnic, but their journey is detoured when some nearby Ghost Pokemon (and others) who live in a Ghost House intervene. It’s their Ghost Carnival day – a day when they select one of their group to be scared by the other Pokemon who create a spooky experience in the house. After that, they have a feast and other festivities. However, their shtick has become stale doing it on each other every year, so they lure Pikachu and his pals into the house to scare them instead.

Meanwhile, Meowth, Wobbuffet and Cacnea are on a job to demolish the Ghost House to make room for a new restaurant and Pikachu and the gang have to team up with the spooky group of the Ghost House to stop them from destroying their home.

Breakdown: I swear to God, I didn’t plan this. Check the list, this was next to be reviewed on the list of shorts, and I just happened to be lucky enough to have the Halloween-ish special fall in October.

Pikachu’s Ghost Carnival, which is an inaccurate name because it’s not his carnival, is definitely on the higher end of the spectrum for Pokemon Short quality. It doesn’t have Pokemon being flung all over with no plot (Look at that plot synopsis. I have TWO paragraphs. TWO.) It’s not just cute Pokemon being cute – it’s a funny and clever I-guess-I’ll-classify-it-as-Halloween-special-there’s-a-jack-o-lantern-in-the-title-card-it-counts short.

I liked how it was a collection of various Pokemon, not just Ghost Types, who inhabited the house and enjoyed making a scary haunted atmosphere. Plenty of people (and Pokemon) enjoy pranks and creating scares for other people in an innocent and fun-loving manner. We’ve had many episodes where Ghost Types are purely the troublemakers, but here we also have a Golbat, a Cubone, a Lickitung, a Koffing and a Ditto.

I’m glad I was able to find a subbed version of this short, because this was another that actually needed it at points. I think I would’ve been able to get through without it, and the subs I have might kinda be messed up anyway, but it added to the experience immensely because the narrator acts as a translator here.

I also really loved the art and animation for this short. Like many shorts, the landscape art is very much simplified, but they also stylized it to make it pop. The lineart for the landscapes is done in white instead of black and they choose to use a large amount of colors like purple to make it nicer to look at. I also really loved the shots when the Pokemon are scared and the outer shots of the windmill. They were nicely drawn without being overly detailed.

Even though it wasn’t the best song ever, I enjoyed the ending credits song quite a bit. It captured the tone of the short just fine, was pretty catchy and felt like a summer celebration song (Which is pretty much what the Ghost Carnival was. It’s pretty clear that, despite being based on Halloween, that the short is taking place in summer.)

I also enjoyed that Meowth and the other Team Rocket Pokemon actually had a role to play in this short, unlike nearly any other short where they pretty much remind you that they exist and nothing else. Although, I was confused as to why they had a crane with no wrecking ball…so they used Cacnea. That’s a new level of giving no shits about your friend.

That being said, I did have a couple of problems with the short. First and foremost, this is the most audibly annoying thing I’ve ever experienced in recent memory. Togepi, if I ever complained about your crying, I’m sorry. This short, for a good two minutes overall, was an audio assault on my ears all because of May’s Squirtle and random Pokemon encounter that served absolutely no point, Bonsly.

They cry…a lot. And their voices while doing so are unbearable. I almost muted the short several times.

But the pinnacle of audio homicide came in the middle of the scarefest when Pikachu and the others were being targeted. Squirtle gets so scared that it starts bawling, and all of the other Pokemon, every…single…one won’t shut the hell up as they attempt to get Squirtle to calm down.

Just when you think they’ll stop stabbing my ears with their voice forks, Bonsly starts crying and I nearly lost it. I swear.

Speaking of May’s Squirtle, I don’t remember watching enough to remember how obnoxious that thing was, but even though it’s noted as being younger than Ash’s Squirtle, it’s not like it’s a baby – why does it keep bawling and acting like a spoiled brat? It’s like someone decided to fuse Togepi and Chikorita together.

Also, this may be the subs, but this short is a teensy bit….sexist towards Squirtle? I couldn’t find anything about May’s Squirtle’s gender online, but this short clearly refers to it as a girl. The first instance of noting her gender was after she plopped down on the ground whining that she was tired and refused to go on. After Pikachu was coerced into carrying her, the narrator noted that Squirtle was a “willful girl.”

Later, when the Pokemon are getting scared at the Ghost House, Squirtle starts crying and one of the Ghost House Pokemon states that it’s bad to make a girl cry….So, if her age isn’t the reason she’s a crybaby and she’s not being babied because she’s a baby….is it because she’s a girl? That’s kinda the vibe I got during those brief spots.

Also, I’m aware that she eventually evolves into a Wartortle, and even though I love Wartortle, I find it bunk that this little Togepi wannabe evolved but Ash’s Squirtle never did. Maybe I’ll feel different when I revisit those episodes, but I doubt it. It’s a similar level of salty as when I found out May eventually got her Bulbasaur to evolve all the way into Venusaur. Like, seriously, does Ash feed his Pokemon anti-evolving juice in earlier Gens?

One other final negative note was that the shtick that the Ghost House Pokemon put their visitors through got pretty stale, and we only saw it three times. I can understand if they’re sick of it if they just keep doing the same tricks in succession over and over.

All in all, this was a very fun short that I’m glad I was able to review during Animating Halloween. It’s a perfect Pokemon short to watch on both Halloween and over the summer. You obviously won’t get any scares from it, even if you’re a little kid, but it’s still a good short.

Recommended Audience: Err….I guess if your child is extremely terrified of even the slightest thing related to ghosts or horror…..2+?


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Digimon Adventure 01 Episode 11 Sub/Dub Comparison: The Dancing Ghosts! Bakemon

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Plot: Jyou and Gomamon meet up with Sora and Piyomon. Gomamon recruits Sora and Piyomon to pretend that they need Jyou as leader after he has a crisis of confidence. They come upon what looks like a church filled with people until they realize that they’re actually the ghost Digimon, Bakemon, in disguise. Jyou and Sora are set to be sacrifices to Lord Bakemon, and Gomamon and Piyomon have to find some way to save them.

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Title Change: The Dancing Ghosts! Bakemon is changed to The Dancing Digimon.

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Another awesome title card. Love the colors.

I usually don’t bring up dialogue where there is none, but Devimon monologuing to himself with not only a recap of what he did and what’s happened so far, but also prefacing the entire thing with ‘I, Devimon!’ and ending it with an evil laugh. That couldn’t be more super villain-y if he had a death ray nearby.

Jyou originally says this is why he didn’t want to go to camp. In the dub, he says if there’s one thing he’s learned in Digi-World it’s that beds don’t make good boats. I get that they’re implying he’s sea sick, but even if the bed made a good boat, which considering how well it’s floating right now, it does, he would still be getting sea sick.

Here’s a situation where the Japanese version confuses me more than the dub. Joe yells at Gomamon for eating all of the emergency food when he told him to conserve it for later since they don’t know when they’ll reach land. Gomamon says he did wait until later since Joe told him that 20 minutes ago. Joe shakes Gomamon and tells him 20 minutes is not long enough to wait, then he asks if there’s any food left whatsoever. Gomamon says there isn’t since Joe said he was sea sick and he needs the food to Digivolve if they encounter trouble. Joe yells that Gomamon will have no one to protect if he starves to death and then he suddenly vomits over the back of the bed.

In the original, Jyou looks at the empty bag and yells that this is why he didn’t want to go to camp, again. He tells Gomamon that he was supposed to be spending this time studying for entrance exams, and Gomamon asks why he’s telling him that since there’s nothing he can do about it. Jyou shakes him and asks who he’s supposed to tell. Gomamon responds by saying if they just sit there with hope in their hearts, Jyou might not get sea sick. He tries to ask what hope and sea sickness have to do with each other before vomiting over the back of the bed.

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I understand that Jyou’s just venting, but why would he take the situation of losing all of their food to vent about not being able to study for the entrance exams? Likewise, while dub Gomamon is actually making a lot of logical sense in why he ate the food, original Gomamon not only doesn’t apologize for it, but he brushes off Jyou’s rant with a literal ‘what do you want me to do about it?’ instead of any empathy. And Jyou has a point, what does hope have to do with getting sea sick?

The only things Jyou believes are in the box are bottles of water and sterilized packages of food. Joe thinks there might be fruit, vegetables (oddly emphasized as ‘vegetibles) bread, milk, cereal, hot dogs, cookies, candy and soda. I’m not surprised by the dub change because there’s a lot of syllables to fill, but why does Joe feel so comfortable listing off so much junk food and dairy products when he literally just threw up a minute ago?

Gomamon originally tells Jyou there’s no way that stuff is in that box. Jyou then shakes Gomamon and harasses him for having hope when he just told him to have hope. In the dub, Gomamon says he wishes that stuff is in the there. Then Joe shakes Gomamon telling him they wouldn’t need food if he didn’t eat it all.

I don’t know why he’s so excited in either version. You have a big wooden box, sure, but how was he expecting to open it? I know Jyou is always prepared, but I doubt he has a crowbar….or upper body strength. Surprisingly, dub!Joe actually does address this by bringing it up in a dialogue-where-there-was-none moment, but he never gives an answer.

Ogremon originally says ‘Too bad I’m not food!’ In the dub he says ‘That’s right digi-Pest! (in response to Gomamon saying his name) Pummel Whack!’ Again, the original’s line actually seems kinda worse, even including the ‘digi-pest’ thing because…is that some witty one-liner? ‘Too bad I’m not food!’ Yes, Ogremon. Getting you instead of food is indeed a disappointment to say the least.

And now for the flip-side. Originally, Gomamon says the reason Ogremon’s being defeated by his Marching Fishes is because his kind come from the mountains, meaning the smell of fish makes them sick. In the dub, they get preachy and kinda foreshadowy by saying when the forces of the small and weak join together, they can cause the downfall of the big and powerful. Both result in the same revelation (the fishes being punched away and Gomamon saying ‘Guess I was wrong.’)

The dub doesn’t include Ogremon’s line about not being able to swim. Makes you wonder why he won’t follow them. Also, why the hell would you seal yourself in a box, float yourself out in the ocean just hoping you approach one of the Chosen Children’s beds just to ambush them for really no reason? Actually, why would you do most of that at all? And to the one person in the group who has an aquatic Digimon of all things.

Once again, Jyou says he knew it was a bad idea to come to camp (dude, get over it.) Joe says he doesn’t like adventure and that he’s a stay at home and read kind of guy.

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Originally, Ikkakumon just says he’s tired from the battle. In the dub, he says he’s hungry too, which he shouldn’t be because he just ate all of that food.

Also, the dub’s music during Ikkakumon’s de-digivolving scene is way too heroic.

Piyomon is originally going ‘piyo, piyo’ as she hops (someone’s turning into a Pokemon) In the dub, she sing-songing ‘Sora is fishing, Sora is fishing!’

Sora says she’s using a twig for bait and hopes one of the fish thinks it’s a worm. She then asks Piyomon if she saw anything while she was searching around. Piyomon says it’s too foggy to see anything. Sora then states that she believes they’re on an island. In the dub, Sora says if she caught something big, Biyomon would be right there with her eating it. Biyomon says ‘since you put it that way’ which doesn’t make much sense to me. Then Sora believes she’s caught something.

Despite the fishing rod being a stick and not having a reel, the dub includes a sound effect like a fishing reel being let out.

Sora expresses amazement that there’s a big fish out there dumb enough to believe the twig is a worm. In the dub, she just says she’s grabbed a big one.

I would say they screwed up this line for the sake of lip syncing, but the dub syncing here is appalling. Sora originally just says ‘Jyou-senpai!’ which is three syllables. In the dub, Sora goes ‘Oh my! It’s a person! Jooooeeeeeeee!!!’ Obviously, this doesn’t fit. She really could’ve just said “Oh my! Joe!” and it would’ve fit much better.

There’s no way Jyou and Gomamon drifted that close to Sora and Piyomon’s island while they were sinking without either of them dying.

Now that I look at him, it’s pretty dumb for the aquatic Digimon to have such stubby back legs. When he’s carrying something underwater, he can barely move at all.

Sora’s manner of speech kinda bugs me. She says stuff like ‘Oh my!’ and ‘Goodness!’ Seems a bit too proper for someone who’s a tomboy is all.

Originally, Jyou doesn’t ask where Ogremon is because he was knocked out after they had already escaped him.

Piyomon originally says she doesn’t know where the others are. In the dub, she responds to Joe asking where Ogremon is by saying ‘he’s gone’ but again it seems like the lip syncing falls short because even that short line is too much and the line basically fades off before Sora cuts her off in the dub.

Jyou originally bursts with somewhat forced confidence and says that he’ll be the leader. In the dub, he agrees that he’s brave and says he’s the greatest one there.

Jyou originally hears bells and asks if the bells are to commemorate him becoming leader. (What is wrong with Jyou today? He’s either being obnoxious, making no sense or being stupid) Sora says that’s impossible. The bell sounds are not present in the dub until after this exchange. Instead, Joe asks if he fails, who will save them all. Sora responds that her fishing line will help them again.

Gomamon originally says that Jyou’s become quite the leader and Sora laughs at his statement. In the dub, he asks if a black gear got Joe and Sora laughs at his joke.

Originally, they stop because they hear music. In the dub, they just stop because they’ve arrived at the church.

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Original!Sora is definitely acting poorly when it comes to treating Jyou as a leader. But dub!Sora is basically mocking him straight out over his title….the one they forced upon him. I know this is a ‘they created a monster’ thing, they even said it in the dub, but don’t act like he appointed himself leader. Doing that isn’t going to improve his confidence. It might actually make it worse if you prod him into something he legitimately feels like he can’t do.

Besides light background music, there is no music that the ‘people’ are dancing to in the dub. Makes the scene seem weird.

Originally, Sora believes these ‘people’ are putting on a festival. In the dub, because of the masks, Sora believes they’re celebrating Halloween.

Again, they bring up Halloween where there is none in the original.

‘Priest’: “We’d love to have you join us. We don’t have a lot of young people around. And no holiday is complete without them. You arrived just in time for some…..fun.”

Another Halloween reference.

Gomamon originally states that the Bakemon live in Overdell Graveyard. Also, I know we haven’t reached this part of the story yet, but how does the Digital World have a graveyard when Digimon never really die? And on the rare occasions that they do seemingly ‘die’ they never leave a body behind.

Gomamon and Piyomon don’t originally call the Bakemon losers. They just state that it’s weird for such a Digimon to be given the honorable suffix of ‘-sama’.

The ‘priest’ originally says God does not forgive those who speak rudely of the Bakemon. Both Gomamon and Piyomon apologize for their comments. In the dub, he tells them to not tell them who they should and should not honor. Gomamon then says ‘now now’ while Biyomon tells him to back off.

Sora asks where the ‘priest’’s offering is and he tells them that it’s them. In the dub, Sora asks when the trick-or-treating starts……

Oddly, the dub has Gomamon actually calling Bakemon by a somewhat translated honorific, Lord Bakemon. I think Saban was confused when the honorifics came up in the original and they had Gomamon adopt the title.

Saban gets confused again. In the original, the narrator says Bakemon is a Digimon who wears a white sheet as a disguise and that no one has ever seen the form underneath. In the dub, Gomamon says the guy was Lord Bakemon in disguise, stating that no one has ever seen his true form, implying that this is his true form. It’s not only wrong, it’s weird. They show a depiction of Bakemon when Gomamon’s asking about why they honor them, so why is this seen as a big reveal?

Also, am I alone in thinking Bakemon’s more interesting if you believe that is his real form? Instead of ‘here’s a dorky Digimon who wears a sheet.’

Jyou and Sora yell out that they’re in Overdell Graveyard. In the dub, they point out the dancers and bet that they’re Bakemon too.

Jyou says as he’s crying, again, that he should’ve stayed home studying instead of going to camp. Joe yells that he can’t be someone’s appetizer because he’s supposed to be going to med school.

Sora tells the Bakemon to go easy on the salt. Bakemon agrees, saying too much salt is bad for the body. In the dub, she asks if they’re really going to eat them. Bakemon responds that they’d taste very good with the right seasonings.

Gomamon originally justifies his claims that the guard Bakemon is dumb by saying Digimon who sleep with a mucus bubble coming out of their noses are stupid. Piyomon asks if it’s a good idea to judge his intelligence based on that and Gomamon says it is. In the dub, they skip straight to talking about the plan without justifying why they think he’s stupid. I actually prefer the dub because, yeah, sleeping on guard duty is enough of a reason to believe the guard isn’t too bright. We don’t need some convoluted justification for it.

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The scene about the torture is basically the same, but Gomamon claims the graveyard must be too poor to have food and the Bakemon is offended. In the dub, they’re teaching him how to taunt them and tell him to go get food to eat in front of them and he agrees to go get some bananas.

Eugh, Digi World bananas look disgusting.

Jyou says his soul tastes bad. Joe says he’s mostly gristle.

Jyou says that Sora’s soul probably tastes better than his. Joe says it doesn’t matter because they’re both done for.

This next part’s a mess because of the commercial break in the dub. Before the break, they cut out a very short exchange between Jyou and Sora where she says the Bakemon is stronger than she thought and Jyou says it’s because he’s a ghost. After the break, they replay the shot of Bakemon tossing away the Harpoon Torpedo and skip over Jyou’s speech about sutras and prayers to have Sora’s responding animation say that Bakemon is tough. They replay the shot of Birdramon doing her Meteor Wing and Bakemon deflecting it then finally show the shot of Jyou’s speech.

Bakemon’s Hell Hand is not given a name in the dub so far.

Joe says ‘Bakemin’ It was once, but it bugged me.

Jyou’s solution is completely butchered and it always bothered me in the dub. I finally know why this seemed so awkward. Originally, Jyou said Bakemon is a spirit and spirits can be repelled with sutras and prayer. Sora asks if he knows any sutras and he responds that his grandmother from the country once taught him a prayer to do better on exams. Sora’s dubious, but is willing to give it a shot.

In the dub, Joe says good always prevails over evil and they have to weaken Lord Bakemon. Sora tells him he has to do it because he’s the leader and Joe tells her to not be a quitter. He then explains that he once saw a TV show where a Roman physicist talked about the power of mind over matter and how chanting one phrase over and over can be powerful. He believes if they focus their minds on Bakemon losing his power, he will. Again, Sora’s uncertain, but gives it a shot.

I absolutely never understood the dub. Never. Mind over matter, whatever. But it’s like those times where the character find a deus ex machina and just never use it. “Hey Devimon! Devimon lose your power….Devimon lose your power……Devimon lose your power!” *Poof* “Wow that was easy…..Hey, you don’t think…..There’s no place like home….there’s no place like home….there’s no place like home!” *Poof* Wow! It worked we’re back in the real world!” *series end*

At least the original explains that this is working because he’s a ghost Digimon and that Jyou is using a sutra prayer to deter a spirit. It’s still a little silly, but it’s within believable bounds for this show. The dub is just nonsense. His logic isn’t even based on what Bakemon is. They would’ve been better off even saying he’s a ghost and they can be rid of him if they convince themselves that ghosts don’t exist. Bakemon loses his power because they’re rooted in belief, like Santa or fairies or something. Stupid still? Yes. Makes more sense? Yes.

Another thing about this scene that always confused me….since when is Sora’s hat a helmet? Why is it suddenly hard enough to act as a drum? She doesn’t take it off very often, but in the second OVA (second part of the first movie) they clearly show it as a regular floppy hat.

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They insert the same shot of Jyou talking before he commands an attack right before Bakemon gets hit….for some reason.

The music in the final scene of the original is really great and suspenseful.

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I don’t much like this episode. Jyou and Joe are both insufferable. Jyou’s annoyingly sputtering off ‘I knew I shouldn’t have come to camp!’ every five minutes, Joe’s being an ego-driven aggressive ass and both of them are just being overall annoying. I can get that, if anyone’s having a crisis of confidence, it’s Jyou, but he flips his switch between confident and weak-kneed so much and so drastically that it’s really irritating.

Jyou’s big moment of confidence as leader was a complete and utter fluke, and the revelation in the dub was just ridiculous. Not to mention that it’s almost as annoying seeing Sora and the others pretend so poorly that they desperately need Jyou/Joe as leader. Jyou should’ve been smart enough to at least question their behavior, especially considering how independent and confident Sora usually is.

I like the setting and the Bakemon, but I feel it was wasted for the most part.

(This would’ve been posted months from now given my upload schedule since I recently updated the SDC for Digimon Adventure 01 earlier this month, but considering the subject matter is ghosts and the dub references Halloween so much, I though it’d be a nice Animating Halloween bonus to put out two updates. Happy Halloween!)

Next episode, we check in with Takeru and Patamon. Can they find it within them to be annoying too?

…Previous Episode

Pokemon Episode 20 Analysis – The Ghost of Maiden’s Peak

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CotD(s): Technically no one, though one could say that Gastly and the Ghost are Characters of the Day.

Gastly: A Ghost Pokemon, this particular Gastly is a unique one in that it can talk without telepathy and can transform into anything it wishes. This Gastly also makes a habit out of coming to the Summer Festival for the sake of keeping the Ghost of Maiden’s Peak’s story alive by pretending to be her and whisking men away. For some reason, this Gastly is also deathly afraid of sunlight.

The Ghost of Maiden’s Peak: Name unknown, she is a spirit of a maiden whose lover was supposedly lost in a war. She waited for him day after day on the cliffside waiting to see her lover’s ship come in, but it never did. She died there, leaving her spirit and the strange rock formation bearing her image behind. Her story follows several other well-known similar tales across the globe.

Plot: Ash, Misty and Brock arrive at Maiden’s Peak after their adventures in Porta Vista. While Misty and Ash are excited to arrive at a new location, Brock is sullen that he wasted a whole summer not enjoying the ‘finer sights’ of the season, such as girls in bathing suits, and didn’t find love.

They arrive on shore to find that there’s a Summer’s End Festival going on, but Brock continues to mope until he spots a beautiful woman on a dock. While he’s instantly head over heels for her, she mysteriously turns into a Gastly and vanishes before Brock can go see her.

Team Rocket schemes to take the money that is dropped on the ground throughout the festival. James catches a glimpse of the same beautiful woman Brock saw, but she also vanishes while James is looking away.

As the group enjoys the festivities, Brock continues to feel sullen, but now he’s saddened by being unable to meet the woman from before. He bumps into an old woman who warns him of a beautiful young woman who will lead him to a cruel fate.

As Team Rocket tries in vain to get some coins, James also meets the old woman who gives him the same warning.

Later, a painting that is usually kept within the Maiden’s Shrine is unveiled to the public. James and Brock are shocked to see that it depicts the woman they both saw earlier. The old priest presenting the painting explains that it’s impossible that they saw this woman since she died 2000 years ago.

Legend states that the Maiden’s lover went off to fight in a war and she pledged to wait at that cliff overlooking the waters until he returned to her. Sadly, he never came back (and imagery would imply he died), but she continued to wait and wait until her body turned to stone, leaving behind the statue-esque rock formation. Even today, the Maiden continues to wait until she reunites with her love.

James and Brock visit Maiden’s rock and instantly start gushing over her again. In the midst of James’ ramblings, Jessie and Meowth scheme to steal the painting and sell it.

Later that night, Ash and Misty prod Brock to leave Maiden’s Rock, but he tells them to go on ahead to the Pokemon Center, intent on watching the rock formation at least until curfew. However, when curfew rolls around, Brock is nowhere to be seen.

Meanwhile, as Team Rocket is about to awaken to steal the painting, the ghost emerges and puts everyone but James to sleep, luring him away from Jessie and Meowth. As Brock continues his rock-watching marathon, the ghost appears before him as well and takes him away.

The next morning, Team Rocket and Ash and Misty find that James and Brock are missing. They all bump into one another, prompting Jessie to do the Team Rocket motto, albeit by herself since James is gone. In the middle of the motto, James pipes up to do his part, leading the group to discover him and Brock acting all giddy and weird in the shrine. With a swift jolt from Pikachu, the two come to their senses.

The old woman from before explains what happened to the guys. During the festival, the ghost of the Maiden whisks away all of the men in the area, and the next morning they’re found in the shrine with the life sucked out of them acting like zombies while babbling like idiots.

The group pays for some ‘anti-ghost stickers’ to help James and Brock, but as the night draws on, they find that the ghost is unaffected. She tries floating James and Brock away, but Brock is grabbed by Ash and Misty. James is broken from his telekinetic hold by Jessie, who blasts the ghost through the stomach.

The Maiden fights back with some ghouls, and Ash tries to identify them with his Pokedex to no avail. However, Dexter does detect a Pokemon nearby, so he scans around for it. Ash discovers that the Maiden herself is actually the Ghost Pokemon, Gastly, in disguise.

The group prepare for battle, but Gastly’s transformation and hypnotic abilities prove to be formidable. Against Pikachu, it turns into a giant mouse trap. Against Meowth, it turns into a giant ball. Against Ekans it turns into a mongoose. Against Koffing it merely protects itself with a gas mask. It combats Charmander with a fire extinguisher.

Realizing the gravity of the situation, Ash calls out two Pokemon at a time with Squirtle and Bulbasaur, but Gastly also easily combats them by transforming into their evolved forms, and even decides to mess with them by fusing the Venusaur and Blastoise together into the fake Pokemon Venustoise.

Ash is just about ready to give up, but Misty throws her hat into the ring by defending them with a cross, garlic and a wooden stake. While Gastly groans at the vampiric defense, he cringes when the sun rises as that is one of his weaknesses. He vanishes before their eyes and the groups return to the festival.

As the festival goers send out lanterns on the water to guide the way for lost spirits, we see Gastly also departing, bidding farewell to the real Maiden.

He claims that he visits places like this frequently to keep old legends and spirits alive, and the Maiden thanks him for his efforts. As Gastly leaves, he tells her that he’ll be on the lookout for her love to hopefully reunite them and allow them both to rest in peace.

That night, Ash and Misty enjoy the final dance of the festival while Brock longs for love once more.

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– I really believe this episode would’ve been quite a bit better if they hadn’t spoiled that the ghost was actually Gastly the whole time at the very first scene. Granted, some shots of the Maiden, even before the very end, are supposedly her, but the one causing all the mischief was Gastly. The Pokedex reveal later is actually pretty clever and a good reveal. Why ruin it?

– Yes, Porta Vista that place we won’t know of for a few years.

– Ladies and gentlemen, yet another prime example of how far 4Kids fell. They left that shot and scene with Brock talking about and imagining ‘bathing suits, and girls to wear them’ completely alone. Bikinis are fine, guys, but for the love of God, Jessie, have some shame with that skirt! *digital paints longer skirt*

– So, spoiling the Gastly thing again? We’re three minutes in counting the theme song, guys. At least pretend it’s a twist.

– Jessie: “People spend a lot of money at these festivals, but they never pay attention so they drop their change all over the place!” I’ve been to a lot of fairs and festivals in my life, and, hoo boy, let me tell you how much change I’ve dropped. They give me the change, but I’m just so into everything else around me that I spill it like I’m in an infomercial. Unable to pay attention to the fact that I’ve dropped my change because of the aforementioned distractions, my change remains on the ground, amongst the other millions of coins that have been scattered by the other guests. I start to hear my footsteps turn to chinging noises. But I pay it no mind. For everything is so awesome that I cannot look down. Change does not exist in my world. My world of festivities.

Joking aside, can we all show some serious empathy for Team Rocket who have now apparently become so poor that they have to resort to crawling in the dirt at a festival hoping for some pocket change?

– Jenny is seriously going to take in a penny as lost currency? The amount of tax dollars she wasted just approaching Team Rocket and taking the penny was 100000% more than that penny’s worth. And she was really going to file a report? I don’t even think Mr. Krabs would be such a tightwad that he’d go to the police looking for a lost penny. How would you even prove it’s yours?

– I don’t know why, but James is kinda adorable when he’s in love.

– They said ‘perished’. I’m going to put that in the ‘directly mentioning death’ jar.

– Eric Stuart seems to be having a lot of fun playing James and Brock in this episode.

– Megan Hollingstead is doing a terrible job as the Maiden, though.

– Brock: “If she were my girlfriend, I’d make sure she’d never leave my sight.” Maybe there’s a reason you don’t have a girlfriend, Brock.

Also, congrats, James’ declarations of even fighting Team Rocket to keep the Maiden safe are way more romantic and less creepy than what you just said, Brock.

– Aw, Jessie tries to save James from falling.

– Brock stares at a rock shaped like a woman for hours on end……Brock….you’re starting to scare me. You could argue that it’s the effects of the spell, but we haven’t really seen any proof of any spell in Brock yet. Brock is just obsessed with girls and vulnerable, and James is just a healthy adult male. They saw a gorgeous mysterious woman and started fawning over her – it’s not that hard to believe. And if it truly is the effects of the spell, why doesn’t James feel compelled to stare at the rock for hours?

– Jeez, with that nagging, you’d think Nurse Joy was Ash’s mother.

– Why is Team Rocket sleeping in a tree?……How are they sleeping like that?

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– I don’t really mind the Who’s that Pokemon? being Gastly, since it would moreso be a clue to what’s going on and not a downright spoiler.

– Side note: I’ve seen this episode in Japanese, and the part where Musashi/Jessie does the motto by herself until Kojirou/James chimes in is hilarious in the original. It’s also funny in the dub, but the way the Japanese VA’s say the lines are just golden.

– Considering how utterly giddy Brock and James are when they get out of the shine and the fact that their hands are up in ‘groping position’ if you’ll forgive the term, I kinda have to wonder what the hell Gastly was doing to them all night.

– So she whisks away ALL the men, huh? Because there were quite a few men at the festival that didn’t succumb to this.

– It is a weird parallel how Brock is still entranced by the ghost and in love with her, but James is scared to death and wants nothing to do with her now. Did they just not give Brock enough juice in that electric jolt or is Brock so blue balled that he’s giving into this while James’ fear of ghosts is overcoming his desire for the Maiden?

– It’s also weird how they’re keeping so much of the Japanese stuff, even some text, in this episode, but they resort to calling the o-fuda ‘stickers.’ Talismans or sutras work just fine, guys.

– James, I know Jessie and Meowth are indeed cheap, but it’s quite obvious that the ‘stickers’ don’t work anyway. The ghost blew them away like they were paper airplanes. In fact, considering that you still have several ‘stickers’ stuck to you while the others have blown away, I’d actually say, somehow, the ones Jessie and Meowth got for free bummed from Ash and Misty’s purchases are actually of higher quality. At least the adhesive is.

– Jessie: *blasts the ghost with a rocket* “Hey, girl! You can’t take him!” Whoo yeah!

“You haven’t got a GHOST of a chance!” *exasperated sigh*

– James: “You really do care!”

Jessie: “It’s not cuz of you. Girls like her disgust me. Always waiting around for her man as if she were his faithful pet. She can’t stand the thought of losing him. She cries. But I’d say ‘See ya later! There are plenty more fish in the sea.” Okay, first off, I’ve always really liked this whole scene from the blast to this rescue. I’ve always been a rocketshipper and this was basically the first episode where we got slight pokes at that. Plus, it’s just a pretty nice moment between them anyway.

While I do agree with Jessie to a degree in saying no one should be so hung up on someone they love that their whole lives are dedicated to just waiting around for them, especially to the point where your body becomes part of the cliff you’re waiting on (And, hey, taking into consideration fossilization, it could possibly happen), is it really a wonder that Jessie doesn’t get many love interests considering her attitude in the second half of that tangent? Yeah, there are many more fish in the sea, but some people are worth fighting for and waiting for.

– And as an AAML lover, I always thought Misty hiding behind Ash and grabbing his arm was adorable.

– No idea why this Gastly can talk without telepathy.

– Kinda SDC stuff, but the ball that Meowth plays with originally has the text “matatabi” in hiragana written on it. In the dub it’s removed. I only mention this because it’s kinda sloppy digital paint considering that it’s moving. The lineart and some of the coloring on Meowth’s paw keeps getting covered by white when it moves.

– So they go to the trouble of removing the hiragana from a rolling ball but not the kanji from a static fire extinguisher? Okie dokie.

– Well, it’s been more than 15 years……where the hell is our Pokemon fusion? I really mean it. Pokemon fusion is an awesome concept and it’s been a part of the fanbase for many years. I even used to make Pokemon sprite fusions. Digimon had it, why not Pokemon? It can be temporary like it is with Mega evolution and Digivolving. Are they saving it for a rainy financial year?

– I like how Venusaur and Blastoise kinda do a little fusion dance when they combine.

– That sure is a close up shot of a big shiny cross that is. A lot bigger than Zakuro’s cross necklace from Tokyo Mew Mew, it is, it is. Uh huh. Then again, I guess holding up a big gold rectangle would just be dumb.

Misty – “How about this?”

Gastly – “What’s that!?”

Misty – “It’s a golden rectangle!”

Gastly – “Why are you holding it in my face?”

Misty – “I don’t know!”

– Also, a cross. Is that more proof that Christianity/Catholicism/Judaism is a thing in the Pokemon world?

– Gastly is not weak to sunlight. However, some interesting tidbits in the same vein;

It can be blown away in heavy winds due to the fact that it’s made up of toxic gas.

Ironically, per this episode anyway, it has the ability to learn Sunny Day through TM11.

– I like that Gastly wasn’t the ghost the whole time as the Maiden actually is around and was the being that Brock and James supposedly saw at the beginning of the episode. I also like how this Gastly has taken it upon itself to keep old legends like this alive, as well as keeping the memory of some otherwise forgotten souls fresh in the memories of others. It is depressing that the Maiden is still just waiting there, though.

– Brock: “If only you were 2000 years younger….*sigh* maybe next year.” Next year she’ll still be 2000 years too old for you…..with a lover…..and still dead….and a rock formation. Get help, Brock.

– Now for one of my favorite scenes of the series; the festival dance. Granted, it’s not a big deal, but I still vividly remember this scene both because all of the imagery just seemed so awesome to me (Oh wait, I mean, it’s Japanese so it scared the hell out of kid-me, 4Kids. Honest. I still have nightmares) and, obviously, the AAML shipper in me loved that Ash seemed googoo eyed over Misty in her yukata. That yukata is awesome, too. I love the Goldeen and bubble designs, and the whole thing just fits Misty perfectly.

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I still adore this episode, and it stands as one of if not my favorite episodes ever, even if it’s riddled with oddities and errors. I could just be biased, but so be it.

In addition to all of the nostalgic stuff, I love the festival aspect, I love ghost stories and supernatural plot lines, Brock and James were quite a bit of fun here, and it never seemed like they were wasting any of the moments they had. There were several subtle character moments, developments and even some nice psuedo-romantic moments. Granted, knowing what I know now in that Jessie and James never happens (Well, in the manga they do) and Misty and Ash will likely never happen, it just gets the die-hard old shipper in me down.

They also had the awesome aspect of Pokemon fusion, even if it’s never seen again and ultimately wasted. While the concept is cool, Venustoise was just Blastoise with a flower on its back. If you want some awesome Pokemon fusions, check this out. http://pokefusionman.deviantart.com/

Next episode…..*sigh* Well, we all saw this coming. Our first departure and one of the saddest. Three words everyone. Bye. Bye. Butterfree. Get out the tissues.

Previous Episode….

Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 3 Episodes 5-8 Review

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Yami Shibai 3 Episode 5 – The Museum of Taxidermy

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 creepy 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 say 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.

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?

Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 2 Episode 13 FINALE Review

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Plot: A married couple from the city has recently moved to the countryside. They find odd pellet drums lining the pathway to their house. The village elder states that these are meant to guide a god to their house to bring them good luck, but is it guiding something else?

Breakdown: Our second Yami Shibai season finale….is….alright, but confusing. I don’t really understand the ending at all. I know I’ve been spoiling quite a few episodes, but I really can’t explain properly without giving the play by play of the episode itself.

A married couple moves to the countryside and find weird pellet drums lining the streets, making a pathway all the way up to their new house. As they meet the village elder, he says the drums are meant to help guide a god-like being to the homes of newcomers to bring them good fortune. While the husband accepts this just fine, the wife is very apprehensive.

That night, the wife has difficulty sleeping but the husband is sleeping like a rock. As she tries to doze off, she hears pellet drum noises in the distance. They get closer and closer and she soon realizes that the pellet drums in the street are playing themselves. More and more drums start playing and the sounds get louder and louder. She tries to wake her husband to no avail until the drumming finally stops. When she looks back down to her husband, he looks possessed and starts screaming like a literal baby. We get screams and baby sounds, awaking the villagers for a few seconds, before they turn their lights back out and go to sleep.

So, can someone please tell me what the hell that was about? I know the drums were signifying that whatever that god thing was was approaching them, but what did it do to the husband and why? It sounds like he possessed him with a thousand babies. Is that good fortune? Is the wife pregnant now or something? Did she die? Why do the villagers do this?

This was a suspenseful episode, and the jump scare at the end did get me, but it’s just anti-climactic without knowing what actually happened.

And that’s Yami Shibai 2. I’d say this is not as good as the first season, but it’s still alright. And we’re still not done! As recently as this year, Yami Shibai was given a third season! And it’s finished airing, so we can give that a shot too. We’re running out of Halloween time, so maybe we can speed up this season. However, I haven’t heard good things about it, so here’s hoping we find some good in there.

Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 2 Episodes 11 and 12 Review

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Yami Shibai Episode 11 – Picking Up

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 add for a novel writing contest with a prize of 3 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 like copy someone’s answers on a test, pass off a picture as your own or buy term papers, 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. They’re two tiny carvings of faces. Kaoru asks if she can take them as earrings and she 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 beyond that 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.

Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 2 Episodes 5 and 6

Yami Shibai 2 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 know no 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.

Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 2 Episodes 3 and 4 Review

Yami Shibai 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.

Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 2 Episodes 1 and 2 Review

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Yami Shibai 2 Episode 1 – Taro-Chan

Plot: A police officer goes around to schools giving safety lectures with his puppet, Taro-chan. While he’s a talented ventriloquist, perhaps it’s Taro’s turn to say a few words.

Breakdown: Opening the season on a creepy, then funny and yet ultimately sad note, this episode kinda cheats a little because dammit, using ventriloquist puppets should be cheating! They’re one of the pinnacle creepy yet for some reason for children icons of our time like clowns or Furbys. I had nightmares for years about that stupid Urkel puppet from Family Matters, and that’s a damn sitcom! You’re cheating, anime! You just are!

That being said, this does seem to follow the typical ‘haunted puppet’ formula. Acts all normal then boom it can talk on its own. But it’s not being threatening, really. It just gains the ability to talk and essentially goes on with the act in the same way, to a degree. Sure, it doesn’t let go of the officer’s arm, which leads to a funny shot of the officer trying to fight with the puppet to free his arm while Taro tries to tell his story about bike safety. However, it’s not doing anything you’d think it would do like gain a demonic voice or start cutting people up.

It takes a really sad turn near the end, and I feel like spoiling this one, so turn away until episode 2 pops up to avoid it;

It starts telling a story about how he was riding his bike and got hit by a car. His limbs start flying off, he starts getting louder and louder with the details of the crash and just as the officer is able to throw him off of his arm, he fumbles to the floor and keeps repeating that it hurt in a terribly distressed tone of voice. So, yeah, the insinuation here is that this is the spirit of a real boy who died after getting hit by a car. How he became a puppet and why is beyond me, but this is one of those instances where I don’t really care. Maybe the guy in the car did it to him? I don’t think the officer did it because he seems completely baffled by the whole ordeal and has no idea what the little wooden o-fuda is for.

I’ve never felt bad for a ventriloquist dummy before, but Yami Shibai 2 somehow managed it. This segment was a bit creepy for a minute, but damn it just ends so sadly.

Episode 2 – Kitchen

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Plot: A college student visits her friend at her new apartment. While it looks brand new, the building was occupied once before. Perhaps the old tenants are still around….

Breakdown: This one has creepy visuals, but overall feels a little on the lazy side. It’s really just a ghost that makes people go crazy and kills others for whatever reason. You can guess what will happen from the instant that the friend says that people used to live there before. And I hate to beat this dead horse, but a proper backstory for stuff like this would be nice.

What I didn’t expect was the absolute ending, which just seems equally lazy and makes no sense. If it had the ability to spread out to such a wide range, why didn’t it ever do it before? It could kill or possess everyone in town with such a power.

Like I said, the creature itself looks creepy enough and is animated in that craggy ‘crayon’ type look, but the rest of the animation seems off. I can’t pinpoint what it is, but this segment’s animation seems more…..’kid-ish’ than normal.

The ED this time is just alright. It’s the same basic style as the last one only the distortion isn’t as obvious and the melody isn’t as good.

Yami Shibai Review (Full)

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Plot: A series of short four-minute ghost and demon stories and urban legends presented in an animated kamishibai format.

Breakdown: I’ve already given my opinions of each of the episodes of this series, but I thought I’d do a quick wrap-up review for organization sake.

I really love short stories. They’re quick, fun and usually impacting and memorable. I especially love short horror stories. Those stories that instantly put you in front of a campfire with friends and family in your mind. Those urban legends that get passed around from person to person, leaving whole areas of people slightly on edge. They’re just awesome….when they work correctly.

This series is based off of an old Japanese street theater technique called kamishibai. A kamisibaiya, kamishibai narrator, would travel around with a butai, essentially a fold-up mini-theater and paper slides that would be interchanged to show passage of time and movement throughout the story.

This type of entertainment was very popular in the 1930s and post-war Japan, entertaining audiences of children all across the country. In order to make money on these shows, the showrunners would sell sweets to the children as their fee for the show.

As you can probably guess, while kamishibai did enjoy a period of great popularity, it was eventually all but snuffed out by the advent of television. Somewhat ironically, in Japan, television was referred to in the early days as denki kamishibai or electric kamishibai.

There are stray kamishibai shows in Japan today, but it’s mostly just a memory now. However, it is fondly remembered for its impact on Japanese children and society as a whole during the harrowing period in the 1930s and ’40s.

It is also greatly respected for its influence on the development of manga and anime. In fact, some of the first manga and anime started out as stories in kamishibai, such as Oden Bat, and the manga artist Shigeru Mizuki, creator of GeGeGe no Kitaro and Akuma-kun, started his career as a kamishibai artist.

Yami Shibai presents each episode as a kamishibai show with a mysterious masked narrator showing each story. While kamishibai typically showed a wide variety of stories, Yami Shibai focuses entirely on horror, ghosts, demons and monsters.

Since, like I mentioned, I’ve already discussed each short in full, I will rate each episode, linking to the individual reviews, then give an overall rating based on the individual ratings.

Episode 1 – 7/10

Episode 2 – 6/10

Episode 3 – 7.5/10

Episode 4 – 6/10

Episode 5 – 8/10

Episode 6 – 8.5/10

Episode 7 – 7.5/10

Episode 8 – 7/10

Episode 9 – 7/10

Episode 10 – 3.5/10

Episode 11 – 8.5/10

Episode 12 – 8/10

Episode 13 – 8.5/10

Overall (Rounded up) – 7.5/10

Really think the toilet monster hurt the rating more than I first thought.

The animation style is something I feel compelled to warn some people about, though, since I imagine this animated kamishibai format, which is basically paper dolls and everything animated in puppetry style and stop-motion, would get on the nerves of some people. I really believe this style greatly helps the storytelling aesthetic, but it appeared to annoy some people, so fair warning.

Additional Information and Notes: Yami Shibai: Japanese Ghost Stories was produced by ILCA. It was written by Hiromu Kuramoto and directed by Tomoya Takashima.

Episodes: 13

Year: 2013

Recommended Audience: There is a lot of ‘scary imagery’ but there’s not any gore, and the death scenes aren’t that bad. They usually cut away to the credits right before the big death happens. There’s one episode that touches upon suicide. There’s no sex, nudity etc. No swearing. 10+