Episode 7: What Happened in the Tunnel
Plot: A couple go through a tunnel as a shortcut after a long day of hiking in the mountains. The trip through the tunnel seems immediate to one of them, but to the other, Rina, it took forever. She suffers from such intense fear that she is hospitalized for months, but her boyfriend doesn’t remember what happened in the tunnel.
Breakdown: Gotta admit, I thought this one would be a bit of a dud just because the art style seemed a little too goofy, but, surprisingly, the art worked quite well here. Even the limited animation was effectively utilized.
What wound up damaging the episode was the story. This isn’t necessarily a bad episode – there are definitely some scary elements to it and even some surprising twists – It’s the fact that the story doesn’t make enough sense to me to consider it as scary as it should have been.
This is one of those stories where I really can’t solidify what my theory is on what happened. I definitely know that something attacked them in the tunnel and, at some point, they let go of each other’s hands or she let go of his hand on purpose, but I can’t really make a lot of sense as to the other details of the story. I think I’ll avoid full spoilers here, but I will say her boyfriend is very, very dedicated, and this is probably one of the sweetest couples in the entire franchise. Shame what happened to them, though.
Episode 8: Wristwatch
Plot: There’s an old legend of The Watchman who shows up to people wearing watches. He has a simple request – Give him a big clock or a watch? You have to choose correctly or else you get kidnapped. However, no one knows which is the right answer. You have to guess and hope for the best. When a woman loses her watch, her sister reminds her of the legend, which prompts her to flashback to when she was a child with a new pink watch that she eventually lost over time. Does The Watchman have anything to do with the watch she lost now?
Breakdown: Some episodes of Yami Shibai definitely work a lot better with their presentation than they do their story, especially since some premises are downright silly – such as this one. While it is pretty silly and confusing, but there was enough done with the presentation for it to not be a huge issue.
The legend of The Watchman definitely has a strong vibe of an actual Japanese urban legend, even though it’s not. It is pretty silly, though. A mysterious figure approaches people with watches and asks “Big clock or watch?” and you have to give him one. If you don’t choose or you choose incorrectly, you wind up getting taken by a monster.
It took me a while and a few rewatches to finally figure out what the heck was going on with this legend.
This is just my theory, but it fits everything I saw so I think it’s solid. It was hard to tell because their voices were similar, but the YOUNGER sister answered when The Watchman asked for a big clock or watch. She chose “watch” which was the wrong option. As a result, she got taken away by The Watchman. However, it also seems the older sister’s memories were erased because she both didn’t remember her sister vanishing nor did she remember how she lost her watch.
At the beginning of the episode, the older sister notices her watch is missing, and her younger sister says with a grave face that the Watchman took it. I believe the older sister was once again approached by the Watchman, she offered her watch, he took it, but it was the wrong answer. I have no clue how long it takes for the Watchman to take you once you answer wrong, but it took about 24 hours in this episode, it seems. Either that or it’s possible the sister she’s been seeing has been the Watchman in a different form or a fake the Watchman is presenting her with, and when she jokingly did the Watchman’s ritual, she actually was the Watchman asking the question and she didn’t answer, which means she’d get taken away.
The right answer is “big clock” but it’s understandable that no one would choose that because you can’t really give a big clock to someone you randomly meet on the street. Even if you did own a big clock, you wouldn’t have it on you to give to someone at any point. A commenter theorized that, when you answer with “big clock” The Watchman goes to find a big clock tower or something and leaves you alone, which is plausible, but I’m not sure how much I believe that. You’re not really giving something to The Watchman if he has to go out and find one.
The only detail that doesn’t fit in fully is the very ending when the older sister says, “Then, the next one is me?” I don’t quite get what she means by that, but I stick by my theory.
Overall, I did enjoy this episode quite a bit. Didn’t get me with the scares as much as episode seven, but it worked well enough.
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