Yami Shibai 4 Review

Plot: A continuation of the horror anthology told as a series of kamishibai productions.

Breakdown: When I first went into the fourth season of Yami Shibai, I was met with a tidal wave of negative comments and reviews. People hated this season with a passion, but I was more than open to it because, well, I really love this franchise. While they have had their share of bad stories, I wasn’t ready to write off this season from the start.

Episode 1: Tongue Clever-ish twist, but confusing to the point where I can’t make much sense of it at all. It’s also not that creepy or scary.

Episode 2: Fish Tank Not scary, creepy or clever. It has the most cliché of all horror story plots and only kinda gets points for using a monster that I’ve never seen done before.

Episode 3: Sewing Shears Again, not scary and very cliché. Points only go to the kinda creepy monster and the aspect of shears.

Episode 4: Red High Heel  Good idea, nice start, poor execution. Disappointing. I still think my suggested ending would’ve been better.

Episode 5: Night Bus Best episode so far, but still not very strong.

Episode 6: Guess Who? Getting better. This one is creepy, off-putting and clever, but the only thing that gets me is the logistics of what exactly happened and who that girl even was.

Episode 7: Footsteps Middle of the road. I should dock it off for reminding me of the toilet episode, but I feel nice today.

Episode 8: Cassette Tape I really enjoyed this episode, even though the animation is even more sparse than normal. It’s mostly just the shots of the tape recorder. Creepy, amps up the tension nicely and uses its concept very well. I just wish the box had been better explained.

Episode 9: Grinding Teeth Creepy focal point, cringey (in a good way) sound effects, not too bad about halfway in, drops the ball and falls flat. Disappointing.

Episode 10: Calling Crane My favorite of the entire season. While the game itself is just weird, this is a very beautifully drawn and colored episode with plenty of creepiness and atmosphere.

Episode 11: White Line Clever and creepy with a unique enough premise and freaky visuals. A lack of live-action shot is distracting due to the break in continuity, though.

Episode 12: Snow Hut I still can’t decide on how much I really like this episode. It’s clever, but not scary. It has some creepy visuals, but it makes me sadder than anything else. Plus, it really bothers me that they never explain why this snow hut needs someone occupying it.

Episode 13: Underground Walkway You ever have those moments where you’re watching a horror movie and you want to yell out to the screen ‘Don’t go in there! Who the hell would go in there?! Turn around! Does this look safe!? Go back! You ran into a scary person! Turn around! What is wrong with you?!’? That is this episode in a nutshell.

Is it the worst entry? No. But it does require major stupidity to pull the plot off and the twist isn’t that scary at all. Being a disappointing season finale, especially when you’re following up the awesome season three finale, is just not cool.

Bottom Line: Despite shaking off the naysayers, this season is, by far, the weakest of the seasons so far. Each season has had their problems. Season one was the strongest, though was damaged by the stupid toilet monster story. Season two had plenty of good ideas, but ultimately ended up a largely ‘meh’ season with poor execution. Season three relied a bit too heavily on monsters for my taste and changed into a format that was slightly difficult to get used to, though ultimately paid off very well.

Season four didn’t do anything different except made the narrator tell the whole story, which has its ups and downs, and include one live-action shot per story, which is largely pointless. It had many silly or meh stories and ended with absolutely no fanfare.

Additional Information and Notes: Yami Shibai 4 was produced by ILCA and is currently licensed in the US by Sentai Filmworks.

Episodes: 13

Year: 2017

Recommended Audience: No worse off than any other Yami Shibai season. 10+

If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 4 Episodes 11, 12 and 13 FINALE

Episode 11: White Line


Plot: A teacher is working late one night when she spots a young boy in a tattered school uniform drawing chalk lines on the yard. As she goes to investigate, she finds the boy has vanished, but the white line has been drawn into the school. Where does the white line lead?

Breakdown: This one’s pretty clever and unique. It’s not the creepiest or scariest story in the world by a long shot, but I enjoyed quite a bit, especially the ending, and it’s one of the stronger entries this season.

The art style this time around is kinda back to being a little more anime-ish, but not too badly. It’s also like the lines are much crisper and sharper than they usually are and like the coloring is fuller and more vibrant.

There’s no live-action shot this time around, which was weird, but the narrator was delightfully entertaining, especially at the end.

Episode 12 – Snow Hut

And then he gets shot through the eye…..Oh sorry, that’s Saw II.

Plot: A young boy and his older brother decide to build a snow hut. As his brother goes off to get something for them to eat, the boy spots another snow hut across the yard. Oddly, this hut has no entrance, but it seems like there’s a small flickering light inside. The boy is curious to see if someone is in there, but some things are better left alone.

Breakdown: I wanna say this one works, but it kinda doesn’t because it’s one of those stories that I find sadder than scary.

The idea is fairly unique and the scene with the other snow hut is creepy, but it’s not creepy or scary enough for me to ignore the fact that I feel sadder for the fate of the boy above all else.

The live-action shot this time around was of the candle in the snow hut, and it’s pretty effective given that you see it from the hole in the snow hut, which does obviously lend itself to an easy jump scare.

The story is also one I can’t wrap my head around. Why is there some sort of snow hut prison out there? Who is in it, and why does it seem to need to have someone in it? The family seems to have no choice but to do what they seem to be intending on doing, but I don’t get it.

The art style this time around is a very scratchy almost sketchy or storyboard type of art style that I….think works in its favor? I can’t really decide.

Episode 13 – Underground Walkway

Someone should’ve told him he’s in a horror anthology.

Plot: A college student gets caught in the rain and decides to take a creepy, unfamiliar underground walkway to the station. He learns that you don’t do that.

Breakdown: Really? After the awesome ending season three gave us, you end the fourth season with this? It’s not a particularly stupid or bad entry, it’s just very predictable and meh. Not to mention, you want to clock out the instant he enters the walkway.

Gee, an unfamiliar, dark, dank, creepy underground walkway with flickering lights and no one else but a freaky worker around who’s trying to direct you down an even creepier and darker walkway and keeps chanting ‘it’s only dark at first.’? I’d sure nope out of there probably before I even got beyond the entrance. Dude, it’s rain. Just deal with it. Go into a shop until it passes. Get on a bus. If the alternative is ‘creepy, dark, dank underground walkway I could swear wasn’t here before’ exhaust every other option first….and still don’t do that.

The art style is basically identical to Snow Hut here, which is fine, and the live-action shots may be some shots of the tunnel (it’s really hard to tell) and the shot of the footprints, which add nothing to the creepy factor.

Like I said, not the worst entry, but certainly a disappointing one, and definitely a disappointment as a season finale. They didn’t even do anything clever with the narrators this time around outside of change them out every episode, which would be more impacting if the opening showed them in a different area with different kids every time, but it doesn’t. They don’t even alter the end credits. Pfft.

I’ll be releasing the full Yami Shibai 4 review soon enough, but first, I just realized that they released Yami Shibai 5 this year. Yay!

If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Animating Halloween – Yami Shibai Episodes 1 and 2 Review


Episode 1 – The Talisman Woman

Plot: A man moves into a new apartment when he notices his strange neighbor staring at him from her apartment across the street. He gets more and more unsettled from her staring as time goes on, and he’s even more frightened when o-fuda keep making their way into his house.

Breakdown: You didn’t think I’d forget about anime during Animating Halloween did ya? While it’s true that there really aren’t many Halloween specials or movies out there for anime, there is no shortage of horror anime, so let’s see what I can dig up this month.

Yami Shibai is a collection of shorts based on rumors and urban myths about monsters and ghosts animated in a style close to kamishibai, which is a public theater motif where paper dolls and scrolls are used to put on a puppet show. And I gotta say, the art is one of the reasons this caught my eye. I first caught wind of this show after looking for a new background pic for October. The rough hand-painted look really made the freaky imagery hit home. It’s fantastic.

These entries won’t be entirely long since the stories themselves are merely a few minutes long, so I’ve decided to bulk them up a bit by reviewing two episodes per entry. This episode was pretty damn creepy in its own right. The neighbor looks and acts much like any creepy neighbor in a horror film would act, and the one jump scare here actually got me a little, but I have to admit that I predicted the twist at the end.

If you know what o-fuda are meant to do and take just a minute out to think of a semi-logical reason the neighbor would be putting so much attention on this place, you can see it coming when the second o-fuda is found. I also would’ve liked to have built a bit more on the ending, mostly on what the backstory is behind the apartment for such a thing to happen. Decent enough short, but somewhat predictable.

Music wise, I really enjoyed the ED. It’s very fitting for this type of show. It’s a somewhat typical upbeat anime ED, though the lyrics are just weird and the audio is purposely screwed with to create an uncomfortable feeling.

Episode 2 – Zanbai


Plot: A man on a business trip to a strange village suddenly wakes up in a hospital with a broken foot without remembering how he got there. The other patients are acting strange around him. What do they want?

Breakdown: This episode was a little confusing. I mean, like the problem with the previous story, the stories are just so short that you have no clue why this stuff is happening. The zanbai thing is pretty clever since you are somewhat mislead into believing that the men are doing the banzai cheer, just in an odd way. It’s not until the last second that you learn it wasn’t a cheer at all, and it’s not until you look up what the kanji in the term zanbai means (since I don’t think that’s a legit Japanese term. Every search I’ve done on it has come up with Yami Shibai links.) that you truly understand.

However, we don’t know what this village is about or why they’re so set on not letting outsiders leave. And if they really wanted him to stay, why not kidnap him or imprison him?

It was still a bit creepy, and the shot of zanbai was beautifully and creepily done.

If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com