Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 9 Episodes 3 and 4 Review

Episode 3: The 44th Sheep

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Plot: A college student suffers from insomnia, but flies off the handle in a rage when his friend tells him to count sheep to get to sleep, muttering that the 44th sheep will come for him if he does. That night, the friend decides to see what he was talking about by counting sheep. When he gets to 44….

Breakdown: This one was a half goofy half creepy.

I never really thought you could make a scary story out of counting sheep, but if it was possible, they did as good a job as anyone.

While it does a good job at being creepy, especially using the limited animation to its benefit, you just can’t escape the goofiness of the concept. It can’t help but be marred a little on the subject matter alone.

Episode 4: Lapdog

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Plot: A woman takes a job as a petsitter for an old lady in a secluded town. The pay is good, the dog is adorable and it’s not too much of a hassle. However, no good deed goes unpunished.

Breakdown: This episode was frickin’ hilarious.

I don’t even want to spoil why it’s hilarious, just trust me. It is. And I don’t mean that in a manner of the episode being stupid. I just mean the story is good but goofy.

Also, in case you’re like me and hate stories with animal death, don’t worry, the cute little puppy doesn’t die. It has a depressing ending, but the puppy doesn’t die. Also, wait until you see the puppy in a raincoat. It’s adorable.


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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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Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 8 Episodes 7 and 8 Review

Episode 7: Issun Boshi

Plot: Niimi used to be best friends with Miyama before he started dating a girl Niimi had a crush on. Miyama shares the tale of Issun Boshi – a creature that grants one wish to anyone who catches it. Consumed by jealousy, Niimi attempts to capture the creature, but things don’t turn out as planned.

Breakdown: This one was…..unique.

At face value, it’s a pretty goofy story, especially after Niimi accidentally steps on Issun Boshi. It gets damn near cartoony when Issun Boshi pops up in Niimi’s body and beats him up from the inside.

However, if you think about it a bit more, this story is a pretty good supernatural take on being consumed with jealousy or revenge. This is never a tale where the moral is ‘be careful what you wish for’ because Niimi never technically catches Issun Boshi nor is he offered a wish. He accidentally squishes him, which causes Issun Boshi to infiltrate his body and torment him as punishment. The only way he’ll let up is if he kills Miyama for spreading the story of Issun Boshi, causing people to chase him, and Nanako, his crush, for laughing at the legend.

I actually kinda like it, but I don’t much care for the slight implication that Niimi might have schizophrenia, and that’s the reason why he’s hearing voices and getting violent. If true, it’s perpetuating negative stereotypes about schizophrenia.

Episode 8: Viewing

Plot: A high school student gets notified by her teacher to not come to school the next day because the school will be shut down for a special viewing. Deciding to go anyway with her friends as a joke, she finds herself locked in a nightmare as she enters school grounds.

Breakdown: This episode is fine, but it’s also built on an insanely weak premise. What teenager thinks “Oh we get the day off school tomorrow? Hey, ya know what would be funny? If we went to school anyway for no reason and to do nothing. Let’s also wear our school uniforms in case anyone catches us.” Like, what? I know some kids do loiter in their school in the off-hours, but why would that be the first thing you’d think to do when told you have a sudden day off from school?

It’s not like the school is empty either. The teacher specifically said it was closed for a special viewing, meaning there would be some people there.

As for what went down when she actually did go to the school….it’s very confusing. She gets there and sees the classrooms filled with students who shouldn’t be there. Suddenly, the ‘viewing’ starts, and everyone puts their hands to their eyes and screams while a bunch of students drag a coffin through the halls. When the screaming stops, the girl opens her eyes to see that everyone now has empty eye sockets. The coffin opens and reveals Chie’s body and the Chie we’ve been seeing disappears, implying that she’s dead I guess.

So the moral of the story is if your teacher tells you to not go to school, you have to do everything in your power to resist going to school anyway. I know how much you kids love school, but if you go to it during off-hours you’ll die, so don’t do it.


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Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 8 Episodes 5 and 6 Review

Episode 5: The Sound of Laughter

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Plot: A teenage boy is studying for his entrance exams when he starts hearing the sound of an old lady laughing wherever he goes.

Breakdown: This episode was funny, but I could see how it could be kinda spooky for a split second at the end.

The entire episode, I felt like laughing with the old lady, whom we never see by the way. And at the end, when the laughter spreads like laughing gas to the teen’s parents and they just can’t stop laughing no matter what, I was starting to laugh out loud.

Then you realize, ooh it’s spooky because the laughter spread to you. Clever, if you can get it to work, which it did for me, but that novelty wears off very quickly.

I still don’t understand what is up with this old lady. Why is she laughing and tormenting this family? What’s her story?

Episode 6: Catch of the Day

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Plot: A man brings home an odd fish after going fishing with a friend and starts acting very odd.

Breakdown: This episode was really stupid.

Guy caught a ‘fish’ that we never see, and he starts acting all weird because of it. In the middle of the night, his wife catches him cutting up the creature, which is…kinda blur censored or something? It’s clearly still alive and wailing like a baby as he chops it up. This made me very concerned that the ‘fish’ he ‘caught’ was actually a baby he kidnapped, which is why he desperately didn’t want his wife to see it…..

But nope.

It’s just a sea creature of some sort that makes the men turn into….I dunno, something after they eat it. The final shot is of the wife trying to pull off a blanket from her sleeping husband, implying he had turned into a monster, but they cut away before we see it. I guess it is slightly creative, but it’s definitely not scary and not all that interesting.


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Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 8 Episodes 3 and 4 Review

Episode 3: Don’t Look Back

Plot: A young man finds himself lost in an unfamiliar neighborhood with a sign that says ‘From this point forward, don’t look back.’

Breakdown: This episode has the same cliché vibes as the first episode, even though it’s not quite as bad. However, like the first episode, there is also a problem in how the gimmick works.

In this episode, the obvious gimmick is that you can’t look back when you’re walking in this place or else you’ll disappear. The main character meets a young woman who also stumbled into this place. She used to be traveling with her boyfriend, but he looked back when he heard voices and vanished instantly. She has gone crazy desperately trying to not look back no matter what, and she’s trying to save the main character from suffering the same fate as her boyfriend.

Thing is, this place is also a purgatory of sorts. She states she’s been walking for so many days that she’s lost track, implying that no matter how much you walk you can’t escape from this place….so…why not look back? Sounds like you’re screwed either way.

This place also doesn’t follow its own rules. She says you can’t look back or else you’ll vanish, but then she also says she’s looked back several times, but she doesn’t explain what happened when she did. There’s just a closeup shot of a rock on the ground as she says it.

When you do look back and vanish, you’re just transported to the same location only a lot foggier and with ghosts hanging out in the windows of the houses. You’re still stuck in a loop either way. It’s never established that the ghosts will do anything to you, and it still seems like it’s pointless to not look back. If you’re trapped forever, you’re trapped forever.

Tell you the truth, the non-ghost neighborhood is really almost as bad. The ghosts are still technically in that area trying to trick travelers into looking behind them. They pretend to be your loved ones or kind strangers and they never leave you alone. The only difference is that you can’t see them. All the while, you try desperately to not look back and keep walking forward, knowing you’re not actually getting anywhere.

This story is actually pretty frightening to me, but, honestly, the ‘don’t look back’ stuff doesn’t have anything to do with it. The concept of just wandering into to some unknown area and being trapped forever without even realizing it seems like hell to me.

Episode 4: Bean-Throwing

Plot: A little boy is concerned that her mother has befriended a demon and is desperate to drive him out of their home.

Breakdown: Jeeezzzzz that episode was a nightmare to sit through…..Not because it was scary, though.

This episode was a total mess because of the dialogue. The little boy, Youta, is narrating throughout each second of this episode, but there is also regular dialogue going throughout the episode as well in the background. So, if you speak Japanese, you have to focus a lot to get both tracks of dialogue or stop and rewatch sections to focus on one track at a time. And if you don’t understand Japanese, you have to constantly pause the video to understand what’s being said in both tracks.

It totally took me out of whatever scary experience I would have had watching this episode.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Youta’s narration goes at a mile a minute because the episodes are so short. It’s like he chugged a case of Redbull before recording. So you not only have to pay attention to two tracks of dialogue most of the time, but you also have to keep pausing even more frequently just to read what Youta’s saying.

Once you manage to trudge through all of that, you find yourself with a fairly unique story, but also one that’s not that scary. Youta’s family used to be fairly happy, but things changed when his father suddenly left. He started hearing his mother having secret conversations at night with a shadowy figure that had red eyes. After having a weird existential crisis that seems way too heavy for his age, Youta felt like he had to get rid of the demon to protect his mother, but he didn’t know how to do it.

His school has a tradition every year of bean-throwing. People are meant to throw beans at demons once a year to keep them and the misfortune they bring away for a year. Why beans have this power, I don’t know.

Youta keeps a bag of beans from the event. That night, he sneaks to his mother’s room when she’s speaking with the demon, telling him she believes Youta’s starting to figure out their secret. He bursts in, breaking the light, and blindly throws beans everywhere to ensure the demon is gone.

When he’s done, he manages to find a light and turns it on. Both his mother and the demon are gone. He rubs his head and feels something odd. The end.

From what I gather, Youta and his parents must have been demons? That’s the only reason why his mother would have also vanished after the bean pelting. I think his father was either killed by a demon or could no longer maintain a non-demonic image anymore and had to stay hidden from Youta until he was old enough to know about his heritage.

I believe at the end Youta is feeling horns developing on his head?

This is interesting and all, but it’s not really scary. It’s mostly just sad because Youta, I guess, killed or banished his parents and now he has to grow up as a demon child without anyone to help him? Or is the talk about needing to do the bean throwing every year seemingly pointless because it means the demons return and indicate that his parents will be back next year?

I don’t know. And quite frankly I don’t want to keep analyzing this episode to figure out anymore. Even in the comments section people were like “I need a mangekyo sharingan to follow this episode.” This episode needed to be at least a couple minutes longer and have more breaks in the narration to not be so sloppy. It is ridiculous.


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Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 8 Episodes 1 and 2 Review

Episode 1: Dropped Handkerchief

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Plot: Four teenagers go to an abandoned house in the middle of the night as a test of courage…..What could possibly go wrong?

Breakdown: Welcome one and all to 2021’s Animating Halloween! Yami Shibai is finally back after….*snicker* ghosting us last year, and they made up for the lack of season last year with two seasons premiering this year. Season nine is wrapping up right now, and we’ll be going over that this year as well to also make up for the lack of Yami Shibai in Animating Halloween last year.

I’m really excited…..buuuuuttttt…..

This episode was kinda lame, if you couldn’t tell from the plot alone. It’s so ridiculously cliché. It’s so disappointing that this is what we have to start out with. I mean, come on, four teenagers go to an abandoned house at night as a test of courage? Plus, the house has spooOOooooky backstory to it in that people just vanish when they’re in the house and the last residents were a family that also suddenly vanished?

Granted, the story itself has decent ambiance, but the only non-cliche hook is the aspect of the handkerchief, and that’s just boring in my opinion.

They very briefly show a shot of a drawing the kid from the missing family made where it depicts him playing the handkerchief game with what I assume is his family? The handkerchief game is almost exactly like Duck Duck Goose. A person who is ‘it’ walks behind a circle of people. They drop a handkerchief behind one of them, declaring them ‘it’ and that person has to pick up the handkerchief, chase the tagger and try to catch or kiss (?) them before they’re able to make a full lap around the circle and take the tagged person’s spot.

The teenagers all happen to sit in a circle when they visit the kid’s room, since that’s supposedly the most haunted room in the house. They want to party there, but one of them notices a handkerchief behind another person that wasn’t there before. The lights suddenly go out, and when they come back on the person who was nearest the handkerchief is shown to have vanished. The same repeats until everyone’s gone.

It happens so quickly that I just don’t see the point in even playing this game. It would be interesting if they showed one of them winning the game and escaping the house, but none of them can even try. The best that happens is one of them realizes the handkerchief is connected to the disappearances and throws it after they pick it up, but they still die. Even if you realized the game in time, there’s no one to chase or catch so how would you even win?

We have a new intro, this time being the narrator presenting his kamishibai show to a bunch of ghosts populating a dark foggy street. The ending has a new song, which is pretty darn good. The animation accompanying is has a girl made out of pencil scribbles running down a live-action street passing some fellow scribble people until she reaches the Yami Shibai narrator. It’s possible some of these people are references to the stories but I can’t be certain.

Episode 2: Death Day

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Plot: The Kunitake family has a tradition of always gathering in the family home and spending the day together on the anniversary of their mother’s death. It seems like an innocent enough tradition to Sachiko, who has recently married into the family, until she realizes that maybe the mother is celebrating this day as well.

Breakdown: Alright, this is more like it! A more original premise, pretty spooky ambiance and a genuinely surprising and scary twist at the end.

I am very thankful that they didn’t show what the ghost looked like in the end because that would have ruined the entire twist and the looming fear over what was in the room with them. Not sure why Sachiko could see the ghost when no one else could, but that’s an easily hand-waved detail.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story. Wish this one had been the first episode of the season, but what can ya do?


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Animating Halloween 2021 Update

Hello visitors of this little ol’ blog. Hope you’re all staying healthy and happy.

October is just around the corner, which means Animating Halloween is coming up real soon. With that, I have some good news and some bad news.

The good news is Yami Shibai has released two new seasons since the last Animating Halloween, which is AWESOME because I really thought Yami Shibai was over and done with. The tradition continues!

The bad news is things are kinda hectic right now. I’m moving soon-ish (numerous variables are keeping that up in the air. It’s kinda frustrating.) and I still have to do a bunch of stuff in preparation of that. Plus I have other personal things to handle. Animating Halloween is still on for sure, but posting once a day as I usually do during October may not work for me right now. To not rob you of Animating Halloween goodness, I will do a rollover AH day into November for each day I miss in October.

I know my posting habits aren’t spot-on either way, but I wanted to at least give you guys a heads up this year. I love doing these month-long review specials and it always makes me disappointed when I don’t manage to complete it, both for you guys and myself. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, and I want you guys to be able to celebrate alongside me. 🙂

Finally, if you have anything you’d like to see me review for Animating Halloween, feel free to make suggestions. As a reminder, I will review anything as long as it’s mostly animated or is a graphic novel/manga of some sort and, of course, related to either Halloween or horror.

Have a Happy and SpooOooooOOOOoooookkkkyyyy Halloween, everyone! And thank you all for reading! 🧡

Animating Halloween 2020 Close-Out + 1000 Posts! + Other Updates

With the rise of the sun in November’s first dawn, we close out this year’s Animating Halloween. I hope you all had some ~spooky~ fun with it. I certainly did, even if I nearly didn’t manage the one-post-a-day schedule. (Sometimes I posted past midnight…. D: )

As per usual around the Madhouse, though, the end of Animating Halloween means it’s time for me to slow my roll. I tend to take November easy blogging-wise since it’s sandwiched between two months in which I have everyday posting events. I’ll still be posting regularly, but not as often as normal. In the mean time, if you guys have anything you’d like to see me cover for A Very Animated Holiday Special this December, feel free to throw them at me.

In other news, as of my Corpse Party: Tortured Souls review, I’ve reached 1000 posts on my blog! I had no idea I was close to this milestone and I have no idea of anything I can do to celebrate, but it’s really cool to think that I’ve got 1000 posts under my belt. And I thank you all for reading however many of those 1000 posts. 🙂

I hope you all have a happy and safe November! ♥

~Twix

Animating Halloween | Mickey Mouse: Lonesome Ghosts (1937) Review

Plot: Mickey, Donald and Goofy have created a ghost-hunting business and their newest ‘clients’ happen to be a group of bored ghosts looking for some fun scares.

Breakdown: Ghostbusters 50 years before Ghostbusters. Instead of proton packs, they used a shotgun, a butterfly net and an axe. And instead of “I ain’t afraid of no ghosts.” they said;

Goofy: “I’m brave!….but careful.”

This short is pretty entertaining, I smiled a few times and even laughed out loud a couple of times, particularly at Goofy. Not their best work, but it’s a nice watch for Halloween. I sometimes get nostalgic for Mickey’s old ‘dot eyes’ design.

I will say that the sound design on the ghosts is terrible. I get that this is the 1930s and they were going for a ghostly echoing voice, but it really just sounds like they recorded their lines in an airplane hangar on their lunch break.

Not much else to say about this short. It’s fun, it’s Halloweeny, it has some great animation, and I still don’t understand how you can fight ghosts with an axe. Supernatural has taught me that the shotgun might be loaded with salt rounds, and Fairly Odd Parents taught me that butterfly nets can catch supernatural beings, but the axe is just silly.


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Animating Halloween | Kim Possible: October 31st Review

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Plot: Kim wants to go to Monique’s Halloween party, especially considering her crush, Josh Mankey, will be there, but she ends up creating a web of lies while trying to avoid going Trick-Or-Treating with Ron. What’s worse, she has a top-secret nanotech bracelet on her wrist that slowly covers her in armor the more she lies – and Drakken and Duff Killigan both want it.

Breakdown: Considering how much I loved Kim Possible so much when it was airing, I can’t believe I’ve forgotten about this Halloween special for so long.

….But on the other hand I can totally believe I’ve forgotten about this Halloween special for so long.

It’s just such a cliché plotline with one of the most overly parroted lessons in all of media – honesty is the best policy. It’s so overly done that the episode kinda pokes fun at itself for doing it. Kim’s little brothers points out how stupid it was to lie when Ron and her parents both would’ve understood, and even the villains go on about how disappointed they are in her.

And, really, a Halloween special has to be the absolute worst setting to use something like the Centurian project (the nanotech bracelet) because she can just claim the armor is part of her costume or is her costume – which she did, even though she tried to cover it up with a princess outfit. Actually, considering the Kim Possible universe, she can just claim that the armor is slowly covering her up for some reason. She doesn’t have to tell people it’s because she’s lying.

Outside of the cookie cutter plotline, though, this episode is perfectly fine. There are some funny moments, and the Centurian project is a pretty awesome set of armor. The one part I don’t like is the part that covers her head. It just looks weird. Also, if that’s the full armor, I’d think it should cover her face. The suit is so advanced that it can instantly recover from any damage, but all someone would have to do is aim for her face and it’d be all over.

The animation is a bit rough, but this was season one Kim Possible and it had a habit of being all over the place. There’s one scene that’s just terrible, though. Kim’s mom is taking tickets at the hospital’s haunted house, and they show her saying ‘Thank you, enjoy.’ THREE TIMES without anyone handing her a ticket or entering the haunted house. The only part of this shot that is animated is her lips. It’s like they forgot to animate everything else.

I can’t imagine there will be many more Halloweens where I’ll purposely seek out this special, but it did stoke my fire to do a Cartoon Step-by-Step of Kim Possible sometime soon.


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