*Warning: This may contain minor spoilers*
Synopsis: A collection of short, horror stories told by a mysterious storyteller at dusk using a kamishibai, a traditional paper-scrolling device.
Story/Plot: As is every other season apart from the first one, this one was a hot mess. Can this season even be considered horror? I found myself feeling super sad for the characters or just plain laughing more than I found myself feeling creeped out by anything I was seeing, and I don’t think that was the creators’ intentions for their audience. Which kind of brings me to my first point. Each season, our storyteller appears at dusk at a different location in front of a different crowd. To me, I think it’s because the audience for each segment/season changes. Yes, the audience is shown as children, but I feel like the stories each season are targeted toward different types of people in general. So, who the heck was the audience for this one? The season begins with a dismemberment story and it ends with one, as well. There are quite a lot of corpses throughout the series. So, was that by coincidence, or was that on purpose? I don’t know. Take that as you may because I still haven’t come up with a reason.
The art remained pretty similar to the past seasons apart from one episode in particular that, I must admit, I kind of freaked out about. The art in that one was spectacular for this show. All of the others were just pretty typical for the series.
The execution was another thing that I noticed lacked when compared to the previous seasons. A majority of the stories made no sense unless you sat down for ten minutes after watching an episode and tried to peel the onion for them. The furthest you could get was just a theory because the episodes did so little to steer you toward any type of legitimate conclusion.
The stories weren’t all bad, though. A lot of them sucked as horror stories, but as normal ones, they weren’t so bad. I actually found myself quite enjoying a majority of them when I pretended they weren’t part of the series.
Characters: So… I really don’t have much to discuss regarding all of the characters. They’re just your typical horror story cliches: irritating and kind of stupid. I mean, they weren’t all bad, but pretty close.
What I really wanted to discuss in this portion was the voice actors this time around. They were extremely lackluster and downright disappointing for a horror series. They needed to implement more fear and desperation into their characters. I wasn’t convinced whatsoever that any of them were legitimately frightened of anything that was occurring. It would’ve made no difference to me if the characters had stood there stone-faced while mumbling in a monotone voice, “Ah. No. Stop. I’m scared. No. Please. Ah.” The sense of urgency just wasn’t there for the characters.
Favorite Character: Is it even possible to have a favorite character for this type of show? Very unlikely. However, I stupidly promised myself I would choose one every time I made a review. Honestly, the only logical choice for me would be the man from Episode 9: The Woman in the Elevator. It was the episode that intrigued me the most and that actually made me want a much longer one that expanded on the story. I’m always fascinated by charming killers (not good-looking, although this is a happy coincidence, but just charming with their words, personality, and demeanor in general) and the way the guy in the episode carried himself checked all of those boxes. He made me feel nervous to have him be alone with the woman in an enclosed space. That was a huge plus for me.
Overall Score: So, in all honesty, I didn’t dislike this season. Yes, I absolutely hated certain episodes, but overall, it wasn’t as horrible as I had originally thought it would be. Reading through some of my episode reviews really helps me remember how much I enjoyed a lot of them, whether because the mood was created well or because it was just plain hilarious and ridiculous. I’m glad I’m doing this episode review thing prior to reviewing the season as a whole because it really does help me get my thoughts together. So, I think I’ll be giving this season a 5/10. This is actually higher than some of its predecessors, which is really surprising to me. I’m sure it might change after a re-watch, but I’ll let this season sit in its score of 5 for now.
Do I Recommend This?: Unless you’re a die-hard Yami Shibai fan (are there even people like that out there?), then no. The seasons have been declining in story quality the longer the series runs, so the first season is pretty much the only season I ever recommend to people who are looking for horror series. This particular season is one I don’t recommend. On the other hand, it’s also only 13 episodes long with each episode being 4 minutes long, so it’s not like you waste that much time if you decide to check it out. So, it’s easy to watch if that’s what you’re looking for, I guess.
It’s also understandable why each season feels like it lacks. Just think about it. On paper, it’s a great and simple idea: a different “ghost” story each episode. But, 7 seasons and 91 episodes later, I’m sure they’ve started running dry on ideas.
On the bright side, though, I won’t be mad if they come out with an 8th season because I’m apparently a huge masochist. Obviously, I would have zero high hopes for it, but I’m very curious to see how long they’re willing to continue with this series.
Anyway, that’s all for now. Oshimai, y’all.