There aren’t many horror anime out there these days. Shows like “High School of the Dead” or “Death Note,” while great shows, don’t carry with them the feeling of traditional Japanese folklore horror. To fully get the effect of Japanese horror, there needs to be a lot of originality, elements of wtf, and a special kind of artwork. There is one anime that I’ve seen lately that contains all of these elements, Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories.
Yamishibai was released this year, July 14, 2013, and is a horror/supernatural/folklore genre anime. Each episode starts out with an old man arriving at a children’s playground and telling them an always startling story. The animation mimics the Japanese story telling style of kamishibai or paper drama, originally used in Buddhist temples in 12th century japan. As of today, there are only seven episodes the last having been aired today and the next airing September 1st. Each episode gets weirder and scarier as you progress through the show and only lasts around four to five minutes but by the end you’re happy it’s all over. At the end of each episode a distorted song plays to the image of a spinning record and the old man’s face smiling in the background.
Who made it:
Yamishibai is directed by Tomoya Takashima and written by Hiromu Kumamoto, neither of which have participated in the production of anything big prior to this show (with the exception of something apparently called Blezer Knight Voice End “Ekkai Kishi Boisu endo” where Hiromu’s name appears in the cast list).
Why you should watch it:
When you’re finally through watching these you walk away a little more scared than you were coming in. Yamishibai will be forever ingrained in my mind as one of Japan’s spookiest anime to date. So if you’re looking for good old fashioned folklore horror to scare the pants off you, this fresh look at horror anime is just the thing for you.
Sometimes I am generous when rating things, however this is definitely not one of those times. I gave this anime five stars simply for the fact that it scared me more than once, as well as the artwork being an amazing accent to the horrifying story telling experience.