Yami Shibai 7 Review

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

Breakdown: This season of Yami Shibai was consistently okay. There weren’t any entries I hated, there was one episode I loved, and everything was more or less….fine.

That assessment is actually more disappointing than anything because I really don’t like when entertainment is just middle of the road. It’s usually just shorthand for ‘forgettable.’ But let’s really assess the damage and high points here.

Episode 1: Delivery What batter way to start off a series I was describing as being middle of the road than with a very middle of the road episode. There’s some creepiness here, but it’s not much and the twist at the end is pretty contrived.

Episode 2: The Sleepless Child A highlight of the season for sure, this episode had great buildup, nice atmosphere and some legitimate scares. It also subverted expectations a bit with that ending, but the jump scare made me wag my finger a little.

Episode 3: The Reception Room I think I jumped the gun a little on this episode. While I did really like it, it’s still a tad confusing on just what exactly the doll was doing to the couple to the point where I feel like it’s a problem. If the doll was killing them, then I don’t feel sympathy with the doll at the end, really. Still a great episode, but not as great as I was initially gushing about.

Episode 4: Paintings Decent enough of the creepiness factor, but the story was kinda bland and I didn’t much care for the MC.

Episode 5: Notice of Termination of Service I have just as little to say about this episode today as I did back when I watched and reviewed it. It’s a solid entry, but nothing too special.

Episode 6: The Veranda Another meh episode, the only things this episode really has going for it to me are the spastic animations they had on the fingers and the sound the ghost woman was making. Otherwise, it’s very dull.

Episode 7: Public Phone More meh. There are significant writing problems with this episode and the art is terrible. Outside of that, there are some creepy elements, but it’s a messy episode.

Episode 8: Cough Earned some points for both being legitimately creepy for a few seconds and for giving me a good laugh. If only the ending weren’t so ridiculously silly.

Episode 9: The Woman in the Elevator Had some good spots of tension and an interesting story, but it was a bit too predictable and I really just felt bad for the ghost more than I was scared of her.

Episode 10: Manga Cafe Frustratingly stupid MC, goofy art and animation, lack of scares and kinda confusing story at the end.

Episode 11: Little Sister’s Room After mulling it over for a while, I decided the only things I really liked about this episode were the fact that it had good tension, but it was misplaced, and the cool way the ghost or demon thing moved without anyone acknowledging it was there. Outside of that, it’s a mostly unpleasant episode as we have a bitchy sister and her equally terrible friend talking smack about fat people and her brother, who has done nothing wrong as far as I can see, a fairly nice guy in the brother, but that’s ruined because he gets killed in a hilariously bored way, and some of the worst art the series has had so far.

Episode 12: Fitting Room While I did enjoy it for what it was, and the mannequins were some of the creepiest things we’ve seen all season, it didn’t blow me away and it was another entry that was very confusing.

Episode 13: Refrigerator Basically the same situation as Fitting Room only amplified by about 100. This story is certainly unique, especially for Yami Shibai, and it was a lot better than I thought an episode about a fridge could be, but at the end of the day, you basically have to write your own story for it to make any sense. In a way, it’s basically asking your to create the horror for them, so your mileage with this episode will vary depending on what story you come up with, if you even bother trying to come up with one in the first place.


One thing I definitely noticed as I was recapping the episodes for this review was that there were many more instances where I was making theories on what was actually happening in an episode than I would usually do. Yami Shibai is no stranger to leaving things open to interpretation, but they went overboard with this season to the point where it was almost frustrating. Refrigerator is by far the biggest offender, but nearly every episode this season had these problems. The Sleepless Child and Manga Cafe probably fared best in that department and even they had issues.

Even in the episodes where I felt it wasn’t necessary to explain every little thing, like Notice of Termination of Service or Fitting Room, I still felt like I was forced to fill in the blanks to make a full story. You can definitely have coherent stories without going too much into detail, scary short stories basically thrive on that, but the risk of confusing your audience to the point where the horror diminishes was too high.

Your instant reaction to a scary story should be fright, terror, anxiety – if your audience is too confused when the story ends, even if the story is scary, they won’t feel nearly as much of those emotions because they got sidetracked by confusion first.

I also find it a tad unacceptable that we got two episodes that had funny endings this season – Cough and Little Sister’s Room. They were both one liners too, it was a bit ridiculous. I enjoyed the comedy, but it ruins the horror.

Overall, this season isn’t worth much outside of The Reception Room, The Sleepless Child and, just because I find it interesting to theorize about, Refrigerator. Everything else was caught in a purgatory of meh.

I found the opener this season to be interesting since it was so different to every other opener we’ve had in Yami Shibai, but I also was confused as to why the narrator was in this weird rundown building, why we were here and what was even happening. So many openings have the narrator in a public or otherwise open place gathering people or spirits or what have you to watch the show. Who is he rallying together to watch the show in this abandoned….hospital? Warehouse?

It also amounted to nothing, which I am always disappointed by. At least have the narrator bookends loop around each season. Come on.

The ending theme was pretty good. It’s a grungy and catchy song with some interesting visuals.

The art and animation, like every season, fluctuates. There is some really bad stuff in here, but also some pretty nice visuals.

Even in spite of this disappointing season, I look forward to season eight next year if they decide to continue this franchise.

Additional Information and Notes: Yami Shibai 7 was produced by ILCA and is not currently licensed in the US.

Episodes: 13

Year: 2019

Recommended Audience: It’s a horror series, so by default it’s already meant for more of an older audience. Outside of that, nothing of note really. The typical scares and creepiness factors of the franchise. 12+

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Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 7 Episodes 11, 12 & 13 (FINALE) Review

Episode 11: Little Sister’s Room


Plot: A teenage boy searches through his little sister’s room without her permission for something of his that she seemingly stole from him. He hides under the bed when he hears her and her friend enter the room, but they’re not the only ones there.

Breakdown: I liked the background tension this episode built with the shadowy figure hopping around behind the guy without drawing attention to itself. I also liked the design of the ghost or demon thing that was under the bed.

However, this episode is really odd because, even though Yami Shibai episodes are only four minutes long, this somehow felt really padded. He spends way too long reaching for the…thing (what was it? A book? A CD? I couldn’t figure it out) and we spend too long listening to the girls prattle on, spending half of their conversation making fun of fat people, whether it be overweight fans of a pop idol named Michi or her fat otaku brother that she also mocks for being perverted, even though we see no indication that he is as such.

I started really sympathizing with the brother because, even though they’re trying to make off like he’s a creepy otaku, he just seems like a typical guy who has an interest in anime/pop idols. She’s the one stealing his stuff, claiming she’s going to sell all of his merch and saying he’s so creepy he’d probably install a camera in her bedroom.

I was really waiting for him to burst out from under the bed to yell at her or maybe accidentally burst out a declaration while under the bed because of all the things she was saying about him, but then I realized he’s right to be highly concerned about being ousted. It’s not just a case of her brother being in her room, but he was hiding under her bed. If she told their parents later, I can bet he’d get in much more trouble for supposedly perverted behavior than she would for hearsay comments about him being creepy, especially when she’s saying that stuff while he’s hiding under the bed….We know the context, but they wouldn’t.

It’s so strange that, ultimately, I felt more tension wondering if they would catch him under the bed than I did of any supernatural being attacking any of them. The demon or ghost or whatever it was really felt like an afterthought, honestly. At the beginning, I thought we would find out they had another sibling who died or something and it was the ghost of that sibling, or the room was kept the same after the younger sibling died and neither sibling was meant to be in there, but nope. Just a completely random spirit haunting the girl’s room for some reason – never attacking her for seemingly weeks or months, according to the psychic friend, because reasons.

And, of course, this is a lose-lose situation in regards to the attack. I sympathized too much with the brother to want him to die, and I hate the girl and her friend too much to not want them to die.

The art in this episode was also really poor. The shapes were wonky, especially the eyes, there was a severe lack of detailing, and there’s one shot where the girls have no faces for absolutely no reason. Usually, animators will opt not to draw a face on a character if they’re very far away, but the camera was way too close to warrant not drawing faces.

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Episode 12: Fitting Room


Plot: A business woman relives her glory days in a cute little boutique that sells a lot of the outfits she used to wear when she was younger. It’s easy to get wrapped up in nostalgia and even easier to become consumed by it.

Breakdown: I really enjoyed this episode, even if it did have its flaws. For instance, there are a few too many old outfits of hers in this boutique for her to not feel even slightly creeped out. She doesn’t seem bothered by the fact that there are no employees in the building. And….was it my imagination or did she get killed because she brought in too many items to the fitting room? I only ask because there’s no reason they’d bring that up otherwise, and the sign fell down after she got nabbed, so…….Also, why were there closets filled with clothes in the fitting room if you’re only allowed to bring in one outfit?

Otherwise, mannequins can sure go to hell, eh?

This episode was interesting in that it focused more on psychological terror than the supernatural threat. This woman is taking a stroll down memory lane by wearing all of her old outfits. She’s mostly remembering people praising her for how good she looked, what good fashion sense she had, how good she was at piano or something. But then the memories turn sour. She starts hearing those same people say terrible things about her, which causes her to freak out.

I was wondering if her memories were really accurate. Because it seems like people either loved buttering her up or these memories were not right. I’m just having a hard time believing everyone around her doled out such unyielding praise to her at such….suck-up levels. Especially the part where she’s remembering what her friends were saying. I probably wouldn’t really have thought to ask but she also said she thinks she would have the courage to confess to a cute guy named Hashimoto now, as opposed to back then, and she said he was so nice to people, even to her.

He also, when shifted to a negative memory, claims she’s indecisive and hesitant. Where did that even come from? If the other negative memories of her were right and she was full of herself and needed compliments a lot, she wouldn’t be hesitant and indecisive.

Was this whole experience in the fitting room meant to expose or exploit some feelings of insecurity? Were her memories reliable at all? She’s so caught up in reliving her glory days, that I almost get the feeling like her current life isn’t all that great, which makes the ending that much sadder, if you ask me.

I wouldn’t say this episode is particularly scary, but I found it interesting at least. Sometimes, your own inner thoughts and concerns about yourself can be your deepest fears, and that’s pretty powerful if that’s what they were going for.

I won’t spoil the ending……but screw mannequins….and those creepy creaky noises they were making.

The art for this episode was done in a similar style to Manga Cafe, but the designs were quite a bit different, much more realistic and less cartoony, and even the animation wasn’t nearly as janky. I really liked it.

Episode 13: Refrigerator

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Plot: A refrigerator observes its family through the passage of time.

Breakdown: Okay!……Okay……Okay?…….


So…it…uh….there’s this fridge……..No, I should start somewhere else….Have you ever seen The Brave Little Toaster?

Ah, nevermind.

Alright, let’s just start at the very very beginning, which is simply the title. When I saw that title, I was very skeptical. It’s our season finale, and it’s about a fridge. It doesn’t help that the fridge talks. I really thought this would end up being one of stupidest episodes of Yami Shibai since that one about the toilet, but I didn’t hate it, honestly. It’s different, certainly, but it’s not bad different. It’s just….very….very confusing. And, sadly, no matter how many comments I read, really no one had a satisfactory theory on what happened to the little boy, so I’m going to share my thoughts.

Please note that my theory changed several times and this one might be kinda out there, but it makes sense to me.

The story starts out picturesque. A fridge is enjoying its life serving as a new addition to the kitchen in the home of a happy family. However, after a few years, the family gets increasingly miserable to the point where they’re always at each other’s throats. Less and less food would be put in the fridge, and they rarely ate together anymore.

After about a decade, it’s clear the family has gone nuts. There’s no food in the fridge anymore, it’s stained with blood and they’re very manic. They eventually load up the fridge with large packages of food, which makes the fridge very happy. However, the fridge notes that the food seems strange and smells very familiar. It also notes that the little boy is the only one of the family to not grow up. The father is notably not present, and the remaining family members chant that there wasn’t another way.

As we end the episode, the conclusion can be drawn that they killed the father, chopped up his body and put it in packages in the fridge either to hide or eat it maybe.

The end.

Right before I wrote this review, I had one theory that the father killed the little boy right after the shot of them acting all happy-go-lucky. Then they became miserable because of the boy’s death, and the boy was haunting the house afterward which is why we see him throughout. Then they went crazy and killed the father in an act of vengeance. I thought maybe they had hidden the boy’s body in the fridge at some point, which is why the fridge said it smelled familiar, but that didn’t make quite enough sense because we would’ve seen at least a hint of it at some point in the episode.

But then I noticed something. The boy never spoke. He never really moved much either. He mostly just stared at stuff. His shirt also never once changed. And then I noticed the most damning thing – from the very beginning, there was only four chairs at the dinner table but, if the boy was part of their family, there would be five (Mom, Dad, older brother, sister and younger brother). In addition, when the mom puts the cake in the fridge, there are only four slices.


I can’t imagine he was part of the family and died before the start of the episode, so I came up with this theory. Again, it’s kinda out there and might not fully fit given some details, but I’m comfortable with it.

The fridge isn’t a new fridge. It’s just new to this family/house, right? I believe the fridge is a refurbished used fridge that belonged to someone else. The boy was killed, chopped up and stored in the fridge, which is why the fridge noted that the smell was familiar even though we never saw any body parts being put into the fridge over the years (and all of the food looked normal to me, but that might not mean anything.)

The boy now haunts the fridge and affects the family of the owner of the fridge.

As for why the family eventually went nuts and the father got killed and chopped up by them, I believe the boy’s father killed him and he wanted to kill the father of this family to get revenge by proxy, so he used his ghost powers to influence them, make them go insane and eventually do the deed. That’s why he looked so happy in the end and finally disappeared. The fridge also got blood stains as we neared the end because the ghost was causing the stains from his body to reemerge now that the killing had happened or was close to happening.

The only real hitch in this theory that I can’t get around is why the fridge doesn’t recognize the kid, but I guess it’s possible that it was a fridge in the basement or garage or something of the first owner and never really noticed the kid. Maybe the events were so horrible, it blocked it from its memory.

I dunno, maybe my entire theory is bunk. But if you just take the episode at face value it is ridiculously confusing. You pretty much have to make up your own story and overlay it on top to really get enough value, story-wise, from it. It is an entertaining episode if not just for the unique perspective, different storytelling technique and gradual buildup to the really dark stuff.

The fact that the story was being narrated by this admittedly adorable sounding refrigerator also added a unique aspect to this episode. It was a deep contrast to the dark feelings of the family and the grim vibe. I felt a tiny bit sad for the fridge at the end. (Well, that’s a sentence I said.)

It was a creepy episode, but it stops there. The story and atmosphere never become truly scary. It’s one of the better episodes of the season, but it’s also probably the most confusing one of the entire franchise. I know I liked it, but it would definitely be polarizing for most people.

Sad to say, this is another season that closed out without any special little ending or the narrator doing anything special. 😦

That being said, it’s fitting that the end of the newest season of Yami Shibai also closes out this year’s Animating Halloween. It went by way too fast, if you ask me, and I can only hope we get another season of Yami Shibai to visit next year. The full review of season seven is coming up soon, but for now have a happy and safe Halloween!

And be nice to your sentient fridge.

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Animating Halloween: Sekai no Yami Zukan Review

Plot: Inspired and reliving the stories of old 60s and 70s horror stories that used to be told in magazines, Sekai no Yami Zukan presents several of these stories as short animations.

Breakdown: Hey, it’s October again! That means it’s time for Animating Halloween! The month-long event at The Anime Madhouse where I load up the month with Halloween and horror-based reviews! I’m ready and raring to go, so let’s start! (Cards on the table. I meant to post this review last October, but it slipped through the cracks. Sorry. :x)

I had been a bit sad when I finished the last season of Yami Shibai, so I looked up series that were similar to it.

I didn’t really expect to find a show that was a damn near clone of it…

Sekai no Yami Zukan basically is Yami Shibai, with the only real differences being the art style (though the animation is still the same extremely limited slideshow-esque style), the bookends being….well, a book instead of a kamishibai show, and the subject matter focusing much less on supernatural pieces of folklore and more on things like….aliens, ancient civilizations and alternate dimensions. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing, and considering the time period it’s taking from, it’s understandable that these topics are being covered.

Also, I should mention that the director of Yami Shibai 2, Noburo Iguchi, directed this. Considering Yami Shibai 2 was largely meh, that was a little worrying right out the door. This guy has absolutely no other crew credits to his name besides directing Yami Shibai 2 and Sekai no Yami Zukan.

I didn’t feel compelled to give a specific post to each episode like I do with Yami Shibai, so let’s just go down each episode quickly.

Episode 1: The Black Shadow of Temptation – In this episode, a man is incredibly suspicious when he realizes his wife is sneaking away at night. One night, he decides to follow her. She, in a daze, walks through the woods, getting cut up and wounded by the trees and rocks, yet not feeling or noticing a thing. She meets up with a strange figure of a man, and her husband jumps out demanding to know what she’s doing.

The man’s an alien, she and her husband get abducted, the episode ends ambiguously with them as well as several other people in pods being experimented on in the alien ship.

I don’t get it.

Literally any story could take this turn. A man was eating his dinner and got abducted by aliens. A kid was putting gum in his sister’s hair when he was abducted by aliens. What the hell does this turn even have to do with the plot? Was she being seduced by the alien? What did jealousy have to do with it besides getting him abducted too?

Episode 2: The Fairy in the Snow – Quite a bit better than episode one, especially in regards to the ending…..but holy crap, one scene had me literally, not lying, laughing out loud for a solid minute.

The story goes that a boy named Michael was lonely and starved for love since his father was constantly chastising him and his parents were always arguing. He had no friends, but made himself a friend one day when he built a snowman.

Michael’s father destroyed the snowman and told his his son to stop making such pointless things when there are more serious matters, such as an impending snowstorm.

As the snow starts, Michael sees the snowman come to life and beckon him from outside his window. Michael, against his father’s orders, goes off to join his only friend, tired of his miserable life with his father. Michael’s father grabs his gun and runs after him, but the snowman pushes him off a cliff.

That was the scene that had me rolling. The simplistic animation coupled with the silly visual of a snowman murdering someone was just a perfect mixture of hilarity.

Michael hugs the snowman and thanks him for saving his life, claiming he’d gladly give his life for his friend. The snowman asks if he’s sincere in his statement and reveals that he’s really a monster under the guise of a snowman. Michael gets sucked into the snow and the bigfoot-esque creature escapes into the blizzard.

The monster idea, while predictable, was well-executed, except I really think they could’ve come up with a better monster design besides bigfoot.

Episode 3: The Reaper Racing Across the Plain – Still getting better, but ehhh. This story is about a hitch-hiker named Noel who gets a ride in the middle of the desert from a beautiful woman. After a while, she starts acting strange, and Noel wants to be let out, but the woman won’t let him.

It’s suddenly revealed that the woman was being used as a puppet by robotics within the truck. She is a lure to get unsuspecting men into the truck. It was a man-eating truck that uses humans for fuel, and now Noel is being absorbed.

This one was predictable on one hand because there’s obviously something wrong with this woman, and hitchhiker stories never go well. On the other hand….sentient robot car that eats people for fuel. I honestly can’t tell if that’s silly enough to ruin the story. Maybe if the narrator hadn’t flatout said this was a man-eating car that used people for fuel? The fact that it used the woman as a puppet and as bait was really clever, though.

Episode 4: What the Mysterious Circle Really Was – Getting better still, but what is with that title?

A farmer and his son see a strange circular light above their cornfields one night. The next morning, they discover that there has been a crop circle-like design cleanly cut from their cornfield. The boy surmises that it was aliens, but the more logical father believes it was a thief. To combat the thief, they stakeout their other cornfield that night. Right as they’re about to leave and go to sleep, they spot the same circular light again – this time it’s coming closer to them.

They realize that the light is not a UFO or even a disk, but a tornado-like swarm of massive insects the size of cars. They have razor sharp wings and massive mouths like sharks. They were devouring the crops and now they were targeting the farmer and his son, but they survive.

I adored the art in this one. The monsters were nothing special, but I really liked the details and the style. Also, I like that they went away from the predictable and silly alien explanation. Wasn’t very scary, though.

Episode 5: The Mechanical Men Come – Robots!…..Obviously.

This one is terrible on all grounds. A man is in a restaurant and notices that the waiter hasn’t been serving anyone for over an hour. When another patron complains about it, they realize that most of the patrons and the waiter are robots…..Why they’re in the restaurant when they don’t need to eat, and why one has a minimum wage occupation, I don’t know.

The man panics and runs out into the streets to make it back to his house to save his family, but the city and subsequently the country/world are already being overrun with robots. Survivors try to flee, and the man spends six months fighting robots and living on the streets while trying to make it back to his family, who are, from all I can tell, in the same general area. Why it took him over six months to get back, I don’t know. Luckily, his family never left the house that entire time. Yay!

He becomes leader of a survival group with his wife and daughter, they flee, and it’s revealed that the father was really a robot the entire time….his whole life. He thought the best way to annihilate the human race would be to become one and infiltrate them.

I have….so many questions.

First off, why? Why? For all of it. Why? If the main aim of these robots is to kill all humans and basically assume human identities that will inherit earth for whatever reason, why not just kill them all and be done with it? Why spend decades in a human skin trying to infiltrate them when you have a massive robot army who could wipe them out with no issue?

Second, how did he create a daughter if he’s always been a robot? How did his wife never find out?

Third, why did he freak out in the restaurant if he already knows of the robots and is one? Not just in his actions but the narration gives us his thoughts.

Fourth, why did he stay ‘in character’ during those six months if he’s a robot? If the robot apocalypse was already happening, what is the point? Join them and kill all humans.

Fifth, why bother saving his wife and daughter from the robots if he was planning on trapping and killing them anyway? This whole six months+ ordeal seems to be for the sake of leading a small group of survivors, including his family, into a fatal trap, but if he wasn’t helping them this whole time, they’d already be dead.

Sixth, how did his wife and daughter survive that whole time in their house? It’s not even barricaded.

Seventh, why did he go to the restaurant in the first place? He was alone. Robots don’t need food.

But the episode isn’t even over yet. We see that this whole thing is a virtual reality simulation that the dad bot is watching in the future – basically a recreation of historical events kinda thing. In all of its expositiony glory, his now robot wife explains that humans have been wiped out for years and they enjoy their future with their robot daughter.

Even the art was the worst for this segment. It’s all craggy and yellow with weird details. And the childish manner in which it’s drawn sucks out any horror the episode may have had.

The music was a little cool, but that’s about it.

Episode 6: The Nightmare that Disappeared into the Sand – A monster washes up on a beach and, surprise, it’s really a monster. Three dumbass self-absorbed teenagers get eaten by it.

I have nothing else to say. It’s really boring.

Episode 7: The Innocent Clown – PBBBBBBBBBBBBBBTTTTTTTTTT AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! Oh my god! HAHAHAHAHAHA! Oooh….*sigh* Congratulations – you are one of very few pieces of media to actually make me laugh at clowns.

First and foremost, the ‘animation’ of this episode completely ruins any semblance of horror, because the ‘animation’ is just photographs. Nothing drawn here, just photographs ‘animated’ in quick succession.

Second, this one is cheap enough to use jump scares, because no one ever likes to see clowns suddenly appear.

Third, because this isn’t animated, we can clearly see that this clown is just a guy in a cheap clown costume.

Fourth, the story goes that there’s an urban legend about cloudy days. If you stay inside on a cloudy day, a clown will appear from another dimension and kidnap you. Don’t laugh yet, that’s not what I’m nitpicking at the moment. When we see outside, it’s clearly sunny…..Just sayin’….we’re not blind.

Fifth, what the hell is that urban legend? If that were real, nearly everyone would get kidnapped.

Running down the story real quick, a girl and her younger sister are inside of their home during a sun—cloudy day. The younger one has her back turned to us the entire episode…..so she’s obviously a jump scare. As the older one is brushing her hair, she sees a clown appear in the mirror. It disappears and reappears on the patio to jump scare the audience.

The older sister finds that she is paralyzed and the clown is actually targeting her sister. The older sister uses all of her strength to cover the mirror with her body, which seems to deter the clown, assuming the mirror was the portal to the other dimension.

The sister is safe, the older sister is now able to move freely, but the younger one still won’t turn around. When she does, jump scare, the clown’s face is photoshopped onto her…..pbbbtttHAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh and the older sister is kidnapped by the clown and dragged through the mirror, only to be discovered by the real younger sister when she returned later that day. Apparently the younger sister was the clown the whole time? How does that make sense? She was there long before the clown entered. And, what, does that mean he was just dicking around that entire time? For what purpose?

Eh, who cares? This episode is only remotely creepy if you’re deathly afraid of clowns. Pretty good for a hearty laugh, though.

Episode 8: The Mysterious Natives Who Never Get Sick – Stupidest one yet, in my opinion.

There’s a tribe of natives that never gets sick. A research team went to investigate why they’re able to stay so healthy, but they went missing. Concerned about his wife, the leader of the team, a man named John, went to the area to find the tribe and locate his wife. They say they’ll show him to her but only if he agrees to learn their secret too.

John agrees, and they knock him out with a weird gas animation. When he awakens, he finds his wife, Mary, and the research team dressed as cavemen and he’s now in his shorts. Mary states that the secret to their health is people. They shrink them down to microscopic levels and force them to combat pathogens entering their system, otherwise they’ll die.


Why the caveman outfits? Why is John the only one in normal shorts? Why are humans more adept at combating pathogens than your own white blood cells? How are they surviving in there? Poking at them with a stick probably wouldn’t do much. Humans are covered in germs and microorganisms and you’re injecting them into your system. You’re essentially loading yourself up with pathogens to fight off pathogens. How are they shrinking them? Do they have an endless supply of research teams to inject themselves with or do they sacrifice their own people sometimes? Why don’t the people just die? It’s morbid, but surely you’d die anyway from a lack of food or water. If I had to choose between a lifetime of battling germs with sticks in someone’s blood stream or dying, I probably wouldn’t hesitate too much, especially considering that battling the germs just helps the people who did this to you in the first place.


Episode 9: The Cursed Box that Brings Misery – One thing this series kinda has going for it is the ridiculous plot twists it throws at us. Even if they’re stupid, the audience typically doesn’t expect the turn the story takes. Here, it’s just a cursed box. When you look at it, you’ll either die or get possessed and kill people. The end.

The narrator makes it seem all spooky by saying ‘Now you looked at the box’ so now I guess everyone who watches this will die. Better tell everyone in a Youtube comments section.

Episode 10: The Strange Mask that Sees the End – Got a pretty good one here. It’s an original premise, though the ‘supernatural mask’ is one that’s been done time and again, and they do some pretty creative things with both the story and the animation to make it seem creepy and unsettling. This is one episode I won’t spoil for you.

Episode 11: The Call from Beneath the Earth – These people are insanely stupid. The story’s stupid too, but these people in particular are stupid.

A couple goes to an island that is covered in creepy statues. There, they meet a creepy woman. She tells them of a legend where couples would swear their love to each other in a different location where there are more creepy statues out in the middle of the jungle. The idiots follow the creepy woman, continuing to find creepy statues along the way. She leads them to a creepy cave where they find a creepy altar and, surprise surprise, it was a trap.

The cave is filled with eyeless cave dwellers who have lost all of their senses from living underground (I’m pretty sure they only lost their sense of sight considering they can have conversations, but whatever. Also, she navigates above ground very well for someone with no senses) They want their ‘light’ which is their way of saying they want their senses so they can live above ground again. Seeing as how the woman can function just fine above ground, I don’t see what this is about. Why are they even underground to begin with?

The cave dwellers spew some liquid onto the couple, which turns them into stone. The statues were really people the cave dwellers have attacked this whole time since the liquid not only seems to petrify them, but also mutates them I guess?

The narration then says they turn regular people into these statues because they hate them so much for their senses and ability to live in the light. They thought that giving the light dwellers as offerings to…whoever, they’d get their light back. The end.

This one only got a little lenience because the petrifying liquid thing surprised me a little and is kinda creative.

Episode 12: The Red Eyes at the Bottom of the Sea – This just reeks of a low budget B movie.

A mad scientist kidnaps a guy vacationing with his wife at the beach and performs an experiment on him that turns him into a humanfish: A human-fish hybrid….the end. I was starting to crack a smile at how silly the whole thing was, but, ultimately, it was just boring.

Episode 13: The Tree Shrouded in Fog – This one is alright, but bittersweet.

A girl is walking through the foggy woods trying to reach her grandmother’s house. Three handsome young men try to stop her, warning her of the dangers of the foggy woods. She proceeds anyway since she must reach her grandmother’s house. As she walks, the fog gets incredibly dense, and she soon sees shadows which take the form of her grandmother, who abuses her, and the students and teachers who used to bully her for being an orphan.

She runs away from the visions and meets the three young men again. They tell her that the fog takes the form of whatever she fears most, but they’ll lead her to a tree where all of her sadness will dissipate. She finds her deceased mother welcoming her with open arms as she reaches a clearing. The young men explain that they’ll gladly give her this happiness, but she must give up her body. A tree appears in place of all five of them with knots in the shapes of their faces, happily together forever. They say that new knots shaped like faces are added whenever the fog lifts.

Bottom Line: As a whole, this series could’ve been much worse, but it’s still very hit or miss. The source material lends itself to being mostly goofy over being interesting or scary, and that hurts it a lot.

They have some nice art styles here, and they do some clever things with the animation sometimes, but the art can also be terrible with weird animation choices that actually harm the story more than help it.

Like the art and stories, the music is also hit or miss. Some selections are really cool, catchy and haunting while others are incredibly silly or annoying. The ED is the one consistent song that kept being praised in the comments, and while I agree that the song is good, it’s also repetitive and not great.

It’s an alright series to sit through if you’re itching for something in the same realm as Yami Shibai, but, while there is one really good story in here, it’s definitely one of the biggest mixed bags I’ve ever watched.

Additional Information and Notes: Sekai no Yami Zukan was produced by TV Tokyo, who also produced Yami Shibai, and it was animated by ILCA, who also animated Yami Shibai….Starting to believe this was meant to be an actual off-shoot of Yami Shibai but they opted to have it be its own thing while also seeming very similar to it. It is not currently licensed in the US.

Year: 2017

Episodes: 13

Recommended Audience: There’s some violence and a little bit of blood as well as ‘scary situations’ but no nudity or sex. 10+

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Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 6 Episodes 7 and 8

Episode 7: Frog Eggs

What’s wrong with your face!?

Plot: A boy was terrified of having too many eyes on him back in the city, so his parents moved them to the country. He finds himself still having trouble adjusting and being terrified of the eyes of the townsfolk. When he finds a pile of frog eggs in the nearby stream, will his troubles be over?

Breakdown:…..What the hell is up with the art in this episode? It’s both bad, but also a million times creepier because it’s bad. The scratchiness of the line art and those small dead eyes are just haunting. Look at this wall of paintings and tell me this isn’t horrifying.


This is a very good and unsettling episode, certainly creepy, but the story doesn’t make much sense to me.

A boy is so frightened by being around too many people or ‘having too many eyes on him’ that his parents are forced to relocate to the country where there are less people, instead of, ya know, getting him therapy or something.

The boy finds a weird pile of frog eggs in the stream and suffers from another panic attack after seeing the eyes of the townsfolk. In the middle of the night, he once again panics, this time believing the eyes of the paintings on the walls are staring at him.

He, for some reason, runs out to the stream to see the eggs and is happy they’re safe. He decides to move them so some rude kids from earlier won’t hurt them, and when he goes to do so one of them moves like an eyeball.

Cut to later where the boy is seemingly back to normal. He’s no longer scared of eyes on him, he’s willing to go out and do things, and he is happily watching something in a fish tank. When we see him from the front, he has the pile of eyeballs or eggs or whatever in the tank and we see that he has either gouged his own eyes out or the egg/eyeball thing has taken them from him.

This story is so weird and nonsensical. Does this mean this…thing has been tormenting the kid from afar all this time, or was it the worst coincidence ever that he came to a village with a weird eyeball/egg monster thing when he has a paralyzing fear of eyes? What is this thing? Is it taking eyeballs? Why?

I almost feel like this story is a horrific narrative on mental illness and none of this is paranormal. The kid is so terrified of eyes that he believes the frog eggs are eyes then he gouged out his eyes in fright.

It’s also kinda strange that you can’t get a lock on if the ending is a bad one. Yes, it’s horrible that the kid lost his eyes, but he’s also oddly happy and is no longer living in fear of eyes on him.

Seriously, I truly believe this whole situation would’ve been avoided had his parents taken him to a counselor or something.

Episode 8: Sea Fortunes


Plot: A woman and her husband visit a small island for a vacation when she mysteriously disappears. She winds up on the beach in terrible shock, but all she did was a pull a fortune on the beach. Good luck can only be granted if something is sacrificed in return….

Breakdown: This story’s just lame. It’s very cut and dry (opposite pun?) while also being confusing. These fortunes grant good luck for fishermen but only if the person pulling the fortune is sacrificed? What? We’ve seen sacrifice plotlines before, but what’s the point of getting good luck if you have to die to get it?

Strangely, the woman didn’t die. Why, I don’t know. She tries to run after she’s chosen to be a sacrifice. Then she’s teleported onto a boat in the middle of the ocean, some weird monster baby attacks her then…nothing and she somehow arrives on shore. Then she passes on the sacrifice duty to someone else by carving the mark of the good luck fortune onto her arm and having some random guy grab her arm as she falls over.

Usually stories this milquetoast can be saved with creepy imagery, but outside of the slightly creepy baby, which is just a regular baby malformed a tiny bit, there was none.

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Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 6 Episodes 3 and 4

Episode 3: The Wind’s Warning


Plot: A man comes home to his empty house and finds the side door open. He shuts it and goes on with his night, but the door keeps inexplicably opening on its own. Who or what won’t let him shut the door?

Breakdown: Sometimes, Yami Shibai truly surprises me by having sad and even touching entries in their lineup. This is one of those entries.

I won’t spoil the story for you, but it was a really sad and sweet story that actually has a happy ending for a change. Some stories can bring you chills and make you concerned for the characters without needing to kill everyone off, and this was a great example of that.

Episode 4: Swamp Offering


Plot: A pair of newlyweds move to the country to be with the groom’s family. The bride’s mother-in-law is very strict and cruel towards the bride, but she takes it in stride in order to be a fitting wife. The village has a custom where you throw your most precious item into the nearby swamp in order to protect yourself from harm in times of disaster. If you throw in worthless junk, a creature called ‘the muddy’ will emerge and take what is truly precious to you. How will this year’s offering go?

Breakdown: This one’s a little confusing, but also cathartic in a very Hell Girl sense.

A woman moved to the country to be with her husband and his mother. The mother-in-law was very strict and treated the woman poorly, even taking her deceased mother’s ring off her hands and keeping it because wearing the ring in respect to her mother was viewed as an affront to her ‘new’ mother.

The swamp offering was that night, and the mother-in-law threw in the woman’s ring for her, against her wishes of course, because that was what was most precious to her. The woman was distraught, but decided to accept it in order to be a good wife.

Now, here’s where things get odd. That night, the husband follows a trail of gross water to his wife, who is sitting in their room babbling about losing her ‘mother’ and desperately apologizing for not being a good wife. She’s shown to have her ring back on her hand, which is muddy, and the mother-in-law is mysteriously missing.

From what I could gather in the comments, since the woman herself threw in something that wasn’t precious to her (an old pen from school) the muddy took what was most precious to her. She had convinced herself that her ‘new’ mother was most important, so the muddy took her, I guess?

That didn’t mesh entirely with me, but there was another theory. Since the mother-in-law only threw in the ring and not something precious to her, the muddy came and took what was most precious to her, which was her life. However, that doesn’t explain how the woman got her ring back, unless the muddy returned it for some reason.

It was also theorized that the woman went back to the swamp and got the ring back herself, which angered the muddy. As a sacrifice to the muddy, the woman killed her mother-in-law and threw her in the swamp or killed her by throwing her in the swamp.

I’m not sure the mother-in-law deserved to die here, but, hey, if we’re giving all these terrible fates to innocent people, why not have this shrill harpy take a dip in a swamp?

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Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 6 Episodes 1 and 2

Episode 1: Thunderous Visitor


Plot: A teenage boy reminisces about his mother comforting him as a child during a thunderstorm. She mysteriously abandoned her father and him when he was five, but now she’s back to comfort her child during another thunderstorm.

Breakdown: Whoo! Animating Halloween starts now! Another year, another October and another season of Yami Shibai to give us even more chills this Halloween season.

This year’s Yami Shibai intros are done in a very foggy swamp-like area with the narrator being a floating mask with a shadowy body before he turns into the regular narrator. A changeup from the norm, which adds to the ambiance, but where is this?

This episode is extremely well-paced and creepy. At first, you think the mother is coming after her son for whatever reason, but the story takes a big left turn right at the end and gives us a twist I never saw coming. There are no jump scares (except maybe thunder) and it slowly rolls you towards the truth.

The artwork this time around was nice. It was washed out, which fit with the stormy theme, and was drawn in a rough combination of pens and crayons. It also had more slight animations like arm movements and flashlight movement than YS typically has.

I liked this episode. It has a great feeling of suspense. And if it’s any indication as to the quality of the rest of this season, I think we got some good ones ahead of us.

As for the ED this year, it’s jazzy and fun to listen to, though, like some other YS ending themes, it clashes a little with the tone of the series.

Episode 2: Tomonashi Cave


Plot: A group of teenagers are on a field trip to a cave when four girls decide to go off to a different part of the cave on their own. One of the girls, Tomoko, suddenly gets bullied by two of the girls, having been betrayed by her supposed actual friend, Akane. The girls push her to the ground and decide to investigate some strange noises deep within the cave. When Tomoko suddenly hears them screaming, she has to decide whether she should save them.

Breakdown: By media mandate, all teenagers are stupid and terrible.

Anyone disagree? No? Cool.

Teenagers in horror shows are particularly stupid and terrible, meaning you never root for them to survive. Poor Tomoko is the only one here you hope survives, and horror stories hate having any semblance of happy ending in recent years.

The story, while being alright, is also nothing to write home about. It’s one of a million ‘stupid terrible teenagers go somewhere scary they’re not supposed to go and they end up getting screwed because of it.’ stories. There was a predictable jump scare and some kinda creepy imagery, though it also wasn’t really anything most people haven’t seen before.

All in all, it’s middle of the road material.

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Yami Shibai 5 Review

Plot: The fifth collection of short horror stories told in kamishibai format.

Breakdown: The initial hate I had come to expect from the fanbase seemingly died a little when this season got its footing. A few episodes out the door and, while there were still those familiar naysayers who believe basically all series start sucking once they exit season one, the comments were mixed at first for season five and then they got gradually better. Yami Shibai finally seemed to have shrugged off the blah-ness that haunts them throughout each season, only finding a ray of redemption in a finale twist or a particularly good episode.

I’m pleased to say that, despite some hiccups, this held true through the end. I’d even hazard to say this season was even better than Yami Shibai 1.

Episode 1: Wrong Number Starting off strong, this story takes a familiar set up with the mysterious creepy phone call and adds a twist that makes the ending very satisfying. A rare example of a horror story with an unlikable lead that really works.

Episode 2: Give it to Me Another good entry, this one mostly just suffers because, really, if a kid is being that greedy and annoying, you don’t just keep giving them stuff…..That doesn’t have much to do with the story, but if she never gave the kid anything, she might still be alive. Teach kids good manners = not dying.

Episode 3: The Crow Children This one was not really scary at all, but this is an interesting and enjoyable story with some pretty nice visuals.

Episode 4: Copycat This story was very cleverly written. While it is predictable to a point, the absolute ending throws you for a loop. This story is also creepy on the basis of being a very realistic scenario and not relying on supernatural circumstances to get a scare across.

Episode 5: Shadows of Women Clever, but not creepy or scary. Love the artwork.

Episode 6: Giveback-Sama Predictable and not all that scary, plus the structure of the myth is confusing, but there was one jaw-dropping twist I’ll give it credit for.


Episode 8: The Neighbors Not that creepy, but put a nice spin on a tired setup and did legitimately surprise me. Love the artwork.

Episode 9: If You Want to See Ghosts Weakest entry of the lot. Interesting setup, but doesn’t go anywhere you don’t expect it to go. Plus the more anime-ish artwork makes for less scares.

Episode 10: Flower Reading This story is touching and beautifully written enough to earn a perfect gold star with no scares. The artwork here is also fantastic. It’s not scary at all, but, as I mentioned in previous seasons, they technically don’t have to be scary to be good.

Episode 11: I’m the Only One Points off for cathartic horror ending instead of scary. Points given for friggin’ scissors. Dammit. Eugh. Also, the twist was clever.

Episode 12: The Last Bus Creepy, but not that much. Mostly gets points off for being so confusing on why this is happening to this woman.

Episode 13: Seductress Intentionally scratchy artwork….film noir….Mmm….AH! What the hell is happening!?….Oh….Pbbbbtttt ahahahahahah! Also, the series ender was very confusing. I like that they actually attempted to do something this time around *coughYamiShibai4cough* but what is it trying to say? What happened? Who is that guy?

Additional Information and Notes: Yami Shibai 5 was produced by ILCA and is currently licensed in the US by Sentai Filmworks.

Episodes: 13

Year: 2017

Recommended Audience: No worse than usual. 10+

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Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 5 Episodes 9 and 10

Episode 9: If You Want to See Ghosts


Plot: A college student shows her friend some ghosts by telling her to look into the reflection in her eyes. She says her friend taught her how to see ghosts using that same method when she was younger. Certain things weren’t meant to be shared….

Breakdown: Weakest entry of S5 so far, but still not too bad. This is the first entry that lends itself more to a traditional anime style, though not too severely to be that distracting. The movement and appearances of the ghosts just aren’t scary, and the ending was predictable from the instant she said she hadn’t heard from the original friend since she shared the power with her.

Not much else to say about it, really.

Episode 10: Flower Reading


Plot: A man is caught in the rain at a bus station when he meets an odd little girl who has a thing for flower reading (The “he loves me, he loves me not” thing). Her predictions are always right. The flowers will show you the truth.

Breakdown: Yami Shibai does this once in a blue moon – they’ll give us a story that’s supernatural but not seemingly meant to be spooky or scary at all.

This is a very beautiful and sad story. Even the artwork is absolutely perfect for this tale. It’s slightly sloppy, in a good way, and sketchy with some colors being natural and many others being odd, surreal and even beautiful, like neon lights and rainbow colors.

I didn’t expect the twist this time around, both because it’s clever and, again, Yami Shibai typically doesn’t do stories like this. This was one of my favorite episodes so far. Well done.

Spoilers! I am a little confused as to what this is, though. I feel like this is some form of temporary purgatory or transition place that they’re in. The only reason I say that is because 1) She says the rain will never stop and 2) the only person who looks completely normal here is the man. The couple who were behind him were drawn completely in solid color and the girl has big red eyes and an extremely bright shirt. She also predicts that she won’t go home, meaning she’s either meant to stay there, guiding souls, or she’s also trapped there for the time being, herself being a spirit meant to find her way to either heaven or hell eventually.

Either way, it’s a fantastic story, but I wish that had been cleared up just a tad.

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Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 5 Episodes 7 and 8

Episode 7: Hide and Seek


Plot: A young boy named Takeshi is on his way to see his grandma for the first time. As they drive through the village, he spots an extremely old and broken down house with what seems like a little boy in the window. He asks his grandma about it, and she sternly warns him never to go near that place since that’s where the crone lives. Takeshi and his two friends decide to forego the warning and go to the house to play hide and seek. But what’s really hiding in that house?

Breakdown: Okay, we have officially jumped back into complete scariness. This might actually be the scariest Yami Shibai story of all the seasons so far.

The ‘only women and girls’ theory might not hold water here as the main character is a young boy, but he has two girl friends and the grandma is another main character soooo…maybe?

The start of the story is predictable enough, even calling back a little to The Crow Children in set up. Kid sees an old abandoned building with someone seemingly inside it, so he and his friends go to investigate and bad things happen. But dear god, the bad thing that happened. That thing freaked the hell out of me just with a shot of the top of its head.

While this is one of the best Yami Shibai entries, it’s also one that has a really sad ending because the victim is a child, and the circumstances surrounding this ending are even sadder.

Spoilers! After the bad thing happens, the parents and everyone but seemingly the grandma forget that Takeshi ever existed. Seriously, it was bad enough what happened to him, but now he’s but a flickering memory in Grandma’s head? Kid didn’t deserve to go out like that for mere curiosity.

Episode 8 – The Neighbors


Plot: A woman named Kana gets a great deal on a nice apartment. Her friends joke that this is probably one of those situations where there’s a creepy reason why the price on such a nice place was so low.


Breakdown: This season has a real knack for taking a fairly predictable set up (durr, I wonder if the neighbors are freaky durr) and just flipping you on your head in the second half of the episode. I’m not lying when I say nearly all of these episodes so far have had me genuinely surprised (some jump or jaw drop worthy) on their twists. Halfway into the series and this is eons above what we’ve been getting in recent years. If they keep up this pace, I’d even be so bold as to say this is even better than the first season.

This wasn’t the creepiest or scariest episode, but it was still pretty great. We have the absolute most realistic art designs so far and they add to the atmosphere very well.

A couple of jump scares happen, but one is pretty well done and the other is predictable with a not even all that scary face accompanying it. I really didn’t expect the twist again, and it’s pretty clever.

Another thing I’m noticing about this series is that I don’t care as much about not knowing the backstories of these entities as I was in previous seasons, even the first. I guess my theory that creepiness and scares can make up for it holds weight.

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Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 5 Episodes 5 and 6

Episode 5: Shadows of Women


Plot: A woman gets jealous when she finds evidence that her husband is cheating on her. She wants answers….and she’ll get them….Though she may regret it.

Breakdown: This one wasn’t particularly scary or even creepy, but it was very clever. I didn’t get the twist until the absolute ending, and they definitely took the story in a direction that I never would’ve expected.

The art this time was changed a bit, and while it didn’t add to the creepiness all that much, it was a really cool addition. The art style is basically the same, but it’s done with what seems like watercolor crayons. Also, for some reason, the ‘paper dolls’ for lack of a better word, seem like they cast more of a noticeable shadow in this episode.

Someone in the comments also pointed out something interesting that I should’ve noticed earlier. This season seems to be putting total focus on female victims. The ‘kids’ at the start are actually all women and girls. Every episode so far has had a female main lead. And the ending theme silhouettes are all of women. I don’t know why this season is going down this path or what it’s trying to do, if anything at all, but it’s interesting either way.

Episode 6: Giveback-sama


Plot: A high school girl is distraught after losing her boyfriend to a girl she thought was her friend. She comes across an odd story in a library book about a being named Giveback-sama. You call her as the clock nearly strikes midnight and merely ask for whatever you want back and she will deliver it to you. However, there’s a catch. You must call her back the next day at the exact same time to thank her for what she’s done or something terrible will happen.

Breakdown: This one’s fairly predictable due to the story actually saying straight out that ‘something terrible will happen’ if she doesn’t call her back, so obviously she’ll either forget or something will prevent her from calling. However, there is a twist that was a little clever and I did drop my jaw near the middle.

Again, a commenter made a theory as to what the twist was about, and while it does make a good deal of sense, there’s one aspect that doesn’t make any sense to me.

They said that it seems like the friend might’ve used Giveback-Sama before the girl, and forgetting to call her back caused her untimely death. When the girl went to make the thank you call, the friend came back as a spirit to prevent her from doing so in order to get her killed as well, I suppose as revenge for getting Tomo (The boyfriend). A sort of ‘if I can’t have him, no one can’ situation. However, the entity is called GiveBACK-Sama, so I’d think she’d have to have him before the girl to ask Giveback-sama to give Tomo back. *shrug*

Without this theory, you just have to believe that the friend died because of the girl’s request and she came back as a spirit to stop her from making the thank you call as revenge, which, admittedly, does make a little more sense. What do you think?

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