Friday, June 13, 2014

YAMISHIBAI: JAPANESE GHOST STORIES

Yamishibai is a picture-story style of animation whose motif is surrounded and based off the rumors, and urban legends throughout the history of Japan.
[Crunchyroll description]

Original Japanese Title: Yamishibai (Dark Play)
Dubbed by: There is no dub, you can watch it subbed on Crunchyroll.
Animation: ILCA
Manga adaption?: No, but the stories are based on Japanese urban legends.
Rating: (not rated)

{I, the reviewer, give Yamishibai, 9 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

Now, this is sure one unique anime, if you can even call it anime. Yamishibai is not exactly animated, but is told in the style of Japanese kamishibai storytelling (paper theater). The artwork in the series is very good and unique, sometimes the style is better in other episodes, but in general it gets the job done and creates for a unique atmosphere.

Each episode is about almost 5 minutes each, so you can easily marathon it. While some might not like the "animation" and style-choice, stick around a few episodes and you'll be pleasantly surprised. The introduction with an old man telling children the ghost stories and the way it is conducted seems like it is also geared toward children, so the family can enjoy this series if you like ghost stories and are interested in Japanese urban legends. That doesn't mean you'll not get scared, by any means, many of the stories are creepy and smack you in the face sometimes with a jump-scare! This proves that excessive gore and blood aren't needed to freak you out; Yamishibai does what a lot of horror lacks, that is, providing a creepy atmosphere and then really scaring you by the story's revelation or ending. So it was nice not having to worry about blood rivers and entrails being pulled out (the worst the series gets is a strange, fleshy creature in episode 6).

Be sure to pay attention to what characters are moving; there were some points where I was confused as to who was talking (mainly in episode 10), other than that, that's really my only complaint since they have no lip flaps.

While some stories are obviously better executed than others, the series as a whole managed to at least creep me out, but often times my eyes would widen and I did sometimes jump. It builds tension as things start winding down to the end, which is exactly what I like in a scary story! Plus the fact that these are based on Japanese urban legends makes it really interesting. I highly look forward and anticipate season 2 of the summer season!

Recommend?
YES! If you like ghost stories, and are interested in learning about Japanese urban legends, you'll enjoy this! Especially if you're looking for something fresh in terms of animations.

I certify this *ANIME NEWCOMER WORTHY* as well, it's not the traditional anime-style, it's an animated form of the paper theater storytelling method and the art-style for it is nice. It's also safe enough where kids who are old enough can watch, so it can be enjoyed by the whole family.

[VIEWING PLEASURE]

[MUSIC]
The music fit the atmosphere quite well. While I can't say the pieces were memorable, a lot of horror scores aren't but they do their job. However, the ending song appears to be sung by Vocaloud Hatsune Miku, which was interesting.

[SUB VS. DUB]
There is no dub, but you can watch it subbed on Cruncyroll. The voice acting is pretty good. There were only a few times it felt stiff, but most of the time it was done pretty well.

[MOVIES/MANGA]
None.

[RELATED TITLES]
None.

[DVD EXTRAS]
I watched this on Crunchyroll.

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
In the sixth episode, there are some uses of "d" and "h", but that's about it.

[TOBACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
None.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
Some episodes have a little bit of blood, but that's usually it. If someone is attacked or about to die, it usually ends before you see it occur. The worst case would be in episode 6 when (*SPOILER* You see this disgusting fleshy thing on the train, with misplaced eyeballs and it wraps around the man).

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
Some episodes have ghosts and monsters in them, one episode has a ritual where you have to laugh all night 'lest a creature appears, and another episode involved a priestess trying to cure a girl from the wrath of their ancestors.

*EPISODE LIST*
1. The Talisman Woman
2. Zanbai
3. The Family Rule
4. Hair
5. The Next Floor
6. The Overhead Rack
7. Contradiction
8. The Umbrella Goddess
9. Cursed
10. The Moon
11. Video
12. Tomonari-kun
13. Tormentor