Yami Shibai 6 Review

Plot: The sixth installment of the horror anthology series, Yami Shibai.

Breakdown: This certainly was an interesting, but somewhat tame, season of Yami Shibai. There was definitely more of a focus on happier endings and sadder, tragic stories than there were actual horror, but that doesn’t mean they slipped too much in the horror department.

Like I’ve mentioned before, part of horror is creating a connection with the main characters and caring for them to the point where you worry for their safety, heightening the sense of horror that you get from the danger at hand. Problem is, some of these stories didn’t amount to much as horror as they did tragedy. I’m not sure how much of a problem that is because Yami Shibai is a theater of darkness, and tragedy and sadness are indeed dark feelings. I would say I come here for the horror, but I moreso come for the stories as a whole.

The good news is that, even when the stories were more sad or tragic than usual, and even if they had happy endings, the twists and horror elements were usually well-done, and I can’t think of any story this season that was notably bad.

Episode 1: Thunderous Visitor Starting off a little sad, but definitely creepy with some great pacing, Thunderous Visitor has a great twist and a lot of suspense.

Episode 2: Tomonashi Cave While the story is alright, the episode as a whole is very cliché, and you only really care about one of the characters. Some of the visuals were creepy, but it’s nothing to write home about.

Episode 3: The Wind’s Warning The story manages to be creepy while having both a happy ending and a sad but sweet twist.

Episode 4: Swamp Offering Confusing ending, and I still don’t quite understand it even with several theories surrounding it. However, it’s a decent enough horror story with a cathartic ending.

Episode 5: The Dripping A really chilling and legitimately frightening tale that is only hindered by the setup that I can’t make heads or tails of.

Episode 6: Sakura I really love this story, and it does have several creepy and eerie elements, but it could be dinged off for being more tragic and sad with a happy ending than providing full horror. That doesn’t really bother me, though. Also, how and why the tree was suddenly cut down is a bit too convenient and confusing.

Episode 7: Frog Eggs The more I think about this episode, the creepier it gets. The story doesn’t make much sense to me no matter how I look at it, but I can’t deny that those damn dot eyes and the very ending make for very effective scares.

Episode 8: Sea Fortunes Weakest episode of the season by far. It’s not necessarily all that bad, it’s just boring and not scary to me. Not to mention that the story doesn’t even make much sense.

Episode 9: Mud Games Second of two episodes of Yami Shibai that I would say are damn near perfect. I would dock it off for being so ridiculously sad, but I can’t, in all good conscience, do that because it did emit a fairly strong emotional response in me. Plus, it does have a very good horror element to it amidst the sadness, so it’s not faltering in that area for the sake of tragedy.

Episode 10: Tree of Innocence I mentioned that this episode was sadder than Mud Games due to the current circumstances of one of the boys, but Mud Games still created a stronger emotional response in me as a whole, and the true sadness of his situation doesn’t sink in until you’ve either watched the episode a couple of times or you’ve sat and ruminated over it, and the horror element in this one is pretty lackluster.

Episode 11: Frozen Memories Still going strong with the sadness, like the happy ending, but very very light on the horror and creepiness. I kinda liked that the…whatever that was outside the door was an unseen threat, but it just didn’t work very well.

Episode 12: Waterfall Drop One of the creepiest Yami Shibai entries, marred only by a slightly predictable setup and some craggy artwork.

Episode 13: Echoes Definitely a creepy and legitimately disorienting episode with a decent enough twist at the end, but nothing that horrifying, and slightly disappointing because this is the season finale so I expected more spice.

Here’s the thing, this is definitely the most consistent season of Yami Shibai yet in terms of quality in writing. There was only one ‘bad’ episode, and it wasn’t even really all that bad so much as uninteresting and confusing. I really enjoyed season six, but it did skimp on the horror several times.

I’m not against them going a different route when it comes to the ‘darkness’ aspect of the ‘Theater of Darkness’ Afterall, sadness and tragedy are two dark things, but after five seasons and a distinct theme of horror, you come to expect more in the actual horror department from Yami Shibai. Over half of the entries are aimed more towards sadness than scares. They can sometimes meld the two quite well, but it’s so strange that they decided to go down this route.

I can’t really mark them down for this, though, because I still think the quality of the stories was enough, and they always made an effort to include horror so it’s not like it was an afterthought.

Additional Information and Notes: Yami Shibai 6 was produced by ILCA and is currently licensed in the US by Sentai Filmworks.

Episodes: 13

Year: 2018

Recommended Audience: There is some gore, most notably in Frog Eggs, and even then you can’t see too much. While the season is slanted more towards sadness and tragedy, there are still plenty of scares and creepiness here. 12+


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Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 6 Episodes 11, 12 & 13 (FINALE)

Episode 11: Frozen Memories

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Plot: A man is caught in a snowstorm on a mountain, mourning the death of his only child. He promised that, when he was well, he and his son would climb a mountain together, and now he’s doing so on his own in his son’s memory. He seeks shelter in a mountainside cabin meant for travelers and meets a man who won’t communicate with him, only shiver. When he finally does talk, the only thing he’ll say is that something has returned and begs him not to open the door no matter what until the blizzard passes. What lies beyond the door in the frigid mountain snow?

Breakdown: Sticking pretty fiercely to the tragic story theme, this one actually has a happy ending. While I liked the story, it truly wasn’t anything horrifying. We never learn what happened to the other people that strange man was with nor do we see what’s out there.

Truthfully, I think the latter is for the best because sometimes the best horror comes from the mystery of what’s in the darkness, and the tension of wondering whether or not he’ll open the door is decent enough, but it still wasn’t anything really scary at all.

I’m glad at the end, but also a bit confused. I have nothing against Yami Shibai trying new things, but they’ve been skimping on the horror for a while now. Also, the art in this episode is fairly subpar.

Episode 12: Waterfall Drop

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Plot: A group of teenagers head to a waterfall for some fun. They tease each other about how the spot is supposedly haunted by people who have committed suicide on the cliff before tricking one of the girls into following a path to the top of the waterfall.

Breakdown: Slow start but definitely one of the creepiest Yami Shibai entries. The kids were creepy, the way they kinda fake you out with the scare is well-done and when the shit finally goes down it is fantastic. The lighting, the reveal, it was all great.

It was a teeny, tiny bit predictable because you know her friends are trying to warn her of something, and the actual design of the creatures could be better, but it’s still very creepy and impacting.

Also, the art could be a little better for this one. The lines are really craggy, even for this show.

Episode 13: Echoes

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Plot: Two girls enjoy a hiking trip in the mountains when one of them decides to have some fun with the echoes. They hear a man’s voice responding to them, but get creeped out when he asks where they are. They decide to leave, but a sudden onset of fog traps them. It’s so bad that they can’t see each other despite being a few feet away. One of the girls is unable to hear her friend either, and all she hears are the echoes getting closer and closer.

Breakdown: Strangely, despite being the season finale, there’s nothing that special about this episode. The narrator whispers in the start of this episode, for some reason, but that’s about it. Someone said that the figure in the fog at the end was the narrator, considering the intros for this season have been in a foggy area, but I’m not sure how much I buy that. If that’s what they were going for, they didn’t do a good job of conveying it.

As for the episode itself, I found it to be frightening in a disorienting way. There’s a strange, unseen figure in the fog, and it suddenly becomes numerous people, and they’re warning her about something else unseen. It’s a nice change of pace from the typical ‘Ahhh there are things in the dark!’ shtick.

This all culminates in a jump scare that seemingly leads into a happy ending, but then there’s a twist that legitimately took me off guard, and the voice acting for that one line made it very creepy.

A bit of an odd story to leave off on as it’s not terribly notable nor does it try to bookend the series as a whole, but it’s a good episode.

And that’s it for Yami Shibai 6! The full review of the entire season will be coming up soon!


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Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 6 Episodes 9 and 10

Episode 9: Mud Games

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Plot: A mother picks up her daughter from daycare in a rain storm when she starts telling her a strange story of what happened when she was playing in the sand box.

Breakdown: Well, we’re back to incredibly sad again.

I didn’t see the twist of this one coming, and it did have one or two very unsettling moments, but the whole story is a bomb of sadness. I won’t spoil it for you, but it’s like they came up with the bare-bones plot and asked themselves ‘Hm, what’s the most depressing route we could take this story?’

It’s not a bad story by any means, in fact it’s very good, it’s just incredibly sad.

Episode 10: Tree of Innocence

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Plot: Twin boys, Satoshi and Takeshi, decide to climb a big tree. When Takeshi steps on a rickety tree branch and begs his brother for help, their mother arrives and pleads for them to come down….Well…one of them anyway.

Breakdown: This is so similar to episode nine it’s weird. Starts off normally, leads into creepy, revelation that one of the characters is dead, leads to the death of the loved one of the initial person who died.

The only major differences are the situation and the absolute ending, and it somehow makes the entire situation even more tragic than episode nine.

Spoilers! When Satoshi tries to save Takeshi, his mother begs Satoshi to get out of the tree because Takeshi recently died from falling out of that same tree. Satoshi was lured into the tree by Takeshi’s restless spirit. He caused Satoshi to fall, and when he did, Takeshi took over his body and walked home with their mother.

Dying is one thing, but having your dead brother take your body and leave you as a spirit in a tree with no one mourning you because they believe you’re still alive is heartbreaking.

I have no clue why the comments were so lenient on this one when they weren’t on episode nine. Tons of people were saying ‘Finally a good episode!’ when every other episode has been either mixed or littered with ‘This isn’t scary.’ This one’s even sadder, and, in my opinion, it’s less frightening. Ghost Takeshi is a little unsettling, but he’s a lot easier to watch than that scene with the toddler in the previous episode.


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Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 6 Episodes 7 and 8

Episode 7: Frog Eggs

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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.

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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

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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 Episode 5 and 6

Episode 5: The Dripping

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Plot: A man spends too much time reading at a mini-mart after work. When he decides to walk home, he sees that it has started to rain. He spots an umbrella in a stand outside of the mini-mart and realizes it probably belongs to the creepy man who was reading next to him. He decides to take it anyway and starts to walk home. No matter the circumstances, you shouldn’t steal anything from others….

Breakdown: This has been one of the more chilling and legitimate scary entries of Yami Shibai in quite a while. There are no jump scares, but there’s a great deal of build up, creepy moments and great horror shots. You sympathize with the protagonist enough to worry about his safety, but you also realize a tiny bit that he stole an umbrella, and that’s wrong….Not ‘you should die’ wrong, but still.

Only thing about this story is that I’m a little confused as to what’s happening. The creepy guy definitely seems to be the owner of the umbrella and he seems to know what happens to the people who steal it. Is he setting up this trap on purpose? For what reason? Who is this girl whose soul seems to be attached to the umbrella?

Despite that, this is certainly one of the scarier episodes of the series.

Episode 6: Sakura

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Plot: A man is hospitalized after a car accident. He hears children talking to him through the wall, asking to be his friend. He agrees and is happy to have some kind company as he recovers, but what happens when they want to meet him as the cherry blossoms fall outside?

Breakdown: This was certainly an eerie one. Starting off on an uncomfortable note is merely the fact that the man is hospitalized. He has a broken leg hung up in a sling, so he can’t really move to escape danger should it appear.

A majority of the episode goes on quite pleasantly. He’s just talking to these kids, enjoying the company, and then, one night, more voices join and they want to see him. Though some of the voices, particularly the children, aren’t so keen on the idea.

Spoilers! The big twist of this episode is a strange one, but explains why it’s called Sakura. Apparently, the big bad of the episode was the cherry tree outside. It was, I guess, demonic and lured many patients into hanging themselves from the branches over the years. It was about to do the same to the man, but the nurse stopped him getting up in the middle of the night. The next day, the tree was mysteriously cut down.

And thus, the day was saved by a nameless, faceless lumberjack. And, possibly, the nurse because she seemed like she kinda knew what was going on.

This twist certainly caught me off guard, and, while it is weird, it was also creative and creepy. Some people in the comments were complaining about another story ending with a happy ending, but not all horror needs death. It just needs suspense, atmosphere, tension and a feeling of personal concern. Plus, it’s not like it’s all that happy – tons of people were lured to their death by a tree, and they possibly still haunt the stump. They found death in a horrible way and can’t seem to rest.


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Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 6 Episodes 3 and 4

Episode 3: The Wind’s Warning

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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

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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

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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

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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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