First of all I must apologise for the delay in putting something up, I have been very busy of late and haven’t had time to really sit down and write. But never fear I found something horrifying to traumatise everyone with… I will write a much happier review soon xD
Yeah for someone who doesn’t like horror, I end up watching some messed up stuff… Yamishibai is a collection of short ghost stories and urban legends told to the audience through some spooky ass man who wears a creepy yellow mask and loiters round playgrounds. Its literal translation is something like dark play or theater of darkness so it’s not like I can say I thought it was gonna be rainbows and butterflies, but I honestly hoped it would follow the formula of; person encounters spooky thing, flees for life and lives to tell the tale. NOPE.
Ok so each story is self-contained in a short episode but I can tell you right now don’t go into this expecting any sort of pleasant outcome. If you ever watched a show from the 90s called tales from the crypt, it is kind of like that. You know the character is going to have something horrible happen but you don’t know when or how, unlike tales of the crypt though there is rarely a moral lesson, it’s usually just wrong place at the wrong time which is quite horrifying in itself.
Some of the legends you will probably recognise if you’ve watched enough anime as there are a few of the popular cliché ones but there are quite a few which just showcase a really creative nightmare. As you can probably tell from the screens the art style is also messed up, if this was any other anime I’d say this was ugly ass but as its horror it fits it perfectly, it’s all paper cut out/storybook style to fit with crazy mask mans bicycle of doom theater. The animation is purposefully rigid to match this and really keeps you on edge, of course some episodes are better than others but overall it does a good job of keeping tension throughout the episode even if some end a little anticlimactically or predictably if you’re a horror fan.
Now as this is very stereotypical Japanese horror its more psychological tension then say blood spurting over the screen, I will admit I watched one season of this, in a crowded room, lights on, with friends around me to poke fun or occasionally go “ew gross”. This is the only way I would recommend watching it as I’m a big coward, if you actually like horror you’ll probably get a kick out of watching it alone in the dark. Otherwise steer clear or ensure you have people around you for 24 hours after watching.