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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


Yamishibai aka "Yami shibai" Season 1 + 2 [Blu-ray]


(Tomoya Takashima, 2013 - 2014)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: I Love Computer Art (ILCA)

Video: Section 23



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Episode Runtime: 0:05:02.302

Disc Size: 25,254,868,738 bytes

Sample Episode Size: 907,247,616 bytess

Video Bitrate: 20.80 Mbps

Chapters: 2 per episode

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 19th, 2016



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080i / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio Japanese 1892 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1892 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)



English, none








Description: Every week at 5 p.m. an old man in a yellow mask shows up at a children's playground and tells them ghost stories based on myths and urban legends of Japanese origin. The man tells the stories on the back of his bicycle using a traditional kamishibai (紙芝居?, Paper Drama) method and features a new tale each week. In the third season, instead of the old man in a yellow mask and his kamishibai stage, a boy sits on a playground slide and sings, "Friends on that side, come to this side... Friends on this side, go to that side..." as he draws illustrations of the creatures in the stories. At the end of each episode, the narrator's mask sings the closing song to him, multiplying in number as each episode ends!



The Film:

Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories also known in Japan as Yami Shibai (Yami Shibai?, lit. Dark Play) and Theater of Darkness is a 2013 Japanese animated series. The first season was directed by Tomoya Takashima, with scripts written by Hiromu Kumamoto and produced by ILCA. Each episode was animated in such a way so as to mimic the kamishibai method of story-telling. The series is organized into a collection of shorts with each episode being only a few minutes in length. Each episode features a different tale based on myths and urban legends of Japanese origin.

The first season premiered on TV Tokyo on July 14, 2013 and ran for thirteen episodes until September 29, 2013. A second season began airing from July 6, 2014. It will be directed by both Takashi Shimizu and Noboru Iguchi along with scripts written by Shōichirō Masumoto. The first season spawned a host of merchandise and a mobile game while also receiving mixed reactions at the end of its broadcast.

Excerpt from Wikipedia located HERE


Season 1

1 "The Talisman Woman" "Ofuda Onna" July 14, 2013
A young man moves into an apartment building and notices a talisman stuck to the ceiling of his room. He removes it and notices a mysterious woman eerily staring at him from another apartment across the street. Upon returning from work the next day, he finds his apartment door strangely unlocked and another talisman stuck to the ceiling. Upon trying to remove it, the mysterious woman suddenly appears behind him. Afterwards, the woman is arrested for breaking and entering and as the police take her away, she appears to tell the man something, although he doesn't hear what she says. When the man returns to his apartment, he shockingly finds hundreds more talismans stuck beneath his dining table and upon removing them horrifically finds his room filled with a swarm of ghosts. As they approach him, the man tells himself repeatedly that it's not real.
2 "Zanbai" "Zanbai" July 21, 2013
A man wakes up in a hospital with no memory of how he got there and tries to question three men dressed as patients who whisper amongst themselves in a corner but they ignore him. The doctor explains what had happened to the man and that he would be able to leave the next day. That night unable to sleep, the three men seem to stand outside the curtains of the man's hospital bed, frightening him. The next day, as the man is released, he notices the three men on the hospital roof, seemingly performing the banzai cheer for him, which he relates to his cab driver. The driver notices the men in the rear view mirror and horrifically realizes they are doing a ritual called "Zanbai" to which he suddenly urges the man to get out of the car since he would not be able to leave the village alive, at which point the cab is struck by an oncoming truck.
3 "The Family Rule" "Kakun"  July 21, 2013
A young boy called Toshiharu and his parents move back to the countryside home of his mother's parents. As Toshiharu waits outside, his grandfather has a meeting with the main family explaining a ritual called "Calm Through Laughter" during which the adults must stay indoors and pretend to laugh and be merry all night long so that the evil ghost Toshiharu's great-great grandfather who feeds on negative emotions would not come near. That night Toshiharu wakes up to use the bathroom and curiously peers into the room filled with all the laughing adults, horrifically finding them wearing hideous smiling masks. As Toshiharu terrifyingly backs away, the main door to the garden outside slides open and the group watches in horror as a figure approaches from the shadows and lunges at them.
4 "Hair" "Kami" August 4, 2013
One night a lone elementary school teacher had remained in the faculty office a bit late to finish working on the school newspaper. When she starts making copies using the photocopier, the school bells eerily start ringing whilst the first test page comes out with strange hair-like lines. Upon investigating the scanner, she finds the head of a girl inside the machine, but upon double checking, sees nothing and deduces that she is just fatigued. The photocopier then starts behaving erratically and makes copies with each copy becoming more and more obstructed by the hair, forcing the teacher to pull the plug. Upon checking the scanner again, she sees a length of messy black hair being sucked into the paper loading tray and upon looking inside, finds nothing. However a ghostly pale white child appears upon closing the scanner's lid.
5 "The Next Floor" "Ikai" August 11, 2013
A family of three visits a shopping mall to buy their son's birthday present, until the father has to leave after getting a call from work. After some patronizing from his wife, the man steps into the elevator and wishes to be left alone. Upon noticing the elevator's rather gloomy-looking occupants, the elevator attendant stops at an unlisted Floor B4, where all but the man get off on the completely dark floor. The attendant then makes another stop at Floor B13 and the man witnesses a bloodied person hurriedly running towards the elevator which suddenly departs. Scared, the man demands that the attendant take him back to his original floor but horrifically finds that it is only a dummy. Arriving at his original floor, the man steps into the deserted mall, with the power being cut. As the elevator leaves, the dummy, strangely upright, wishes the man enjoyment of his solitude.
6 "The Overhead Rack" "Amidana" August 18, 2013
A workaholic man rides the train home after a day spent working. Suffering from obvious fatigue and discomfort he starts growing annoyed at his fellow passengers' chatter. Just then he notices a grotesque flesh-like mass on the overhead rack to which he attributes as a hallucination. Suddenly, the train makes an abrupt emergency stop and the conductor announces that an accident had befallen a passenger, at which point the train's electricity is cut for the safety of the rescue workers. The strange flesh-like mass then reappears and starts enveloping the man while two passengers chatter about how that exact area had been the spot of recent deaths. The man starts panicking and goes through his options when all of a sudden he looses the strength to reject the monstrous creature, who remarks that the man would feel better soon.
7 "Contradiction" "Mujun" August 25, 2013
A woman called Yuuko is awakened in the middle of the night by a phone call from her frightened friend, Mayumi. Mayumi explains that she and their other friend, Tooru visited an abandoned and supposedly haunted hospital on the outskirts of town as part of a test of courage. However Tooru started venturing deeper into the building despite her pleas and eventually broke into a locked room where his personality seemed to change. Mayumi then fled in fright and phoned Yuuko, asking to come over before mumbling the strange phrase, "I can leave?" At that moment, Yuuko is startled by a knock on her door from which Tooru starts explaining the same story as Mayumi with their roles reversed, further adding that it looked as through Mayumi's face had been replaced. As Yuuko opens the door however, Tooru appears with a grotesque face repeating the same phrase.
8 "The Umbrella Goddess" "Kasa Kamisama" September 1, 2013
A boy called Kenji goes to the countryside to visit his friend Takeru. After some catching up, Kenji is left alone at the front of the house and notices a woman abnormally holding an open umbrella with her mouth and making a high-pitched whining noise. After relating this to Takeru's father, the man becomes horror struck and to the woman as the "Umbrella Goddess". That night, Takeru's father has Kenji sleep in a shed with a bowl of salt and warns him not to open its door for anyone until morning. Some time later, Takeru brings Kenji some snacks and apologizes for his father's measures before leaving. Just then, Takeru strangely reappears and asks Kenji to open the door, which the latter refuses and instead locks it in fear just as the Takeru-figure starts rocking the shed, all the while a high-pitched whine echoes throughout the shed and the bowl of salt burns. Later that morning, unbeknownst to Kenji as he exits the shed in a sigh of relief, the Umbrella Goddess appears behind him.
9 "Cursed" "Tatarare" September 1, 2013
A woman informs her teenaged daughter, Kotone that she had tracked down someone who may be able to help them remove a curse which befell Kotone's body. After a bit of hesitation due to the past failures of others who sought to help her, Kotone agrees. The following day, they visit a Shinto shrine where the priestess deduces that enemies of their ancestors had brought the curse upon their family and proceeds to evoke a ritual that night which seemingly cures Kotone. The next day, as Kotone and her mother breathe a sigh of relief, the priestess' aide informs them via a phone call that the priestess was killed as the curse was passed on to her and relates her finals words which lament her failure to help them. As the mother receives these words, the curse mark simultaneously appears on Kotone's neck on her way to school and kills her.
10 "The Moon" "Tsuki" September 8, 2013
While spending the night at a lodge, a high school boys' baseball team discuss their current training camp and recall how their teammate, a boy named Daisuke, fell into one of the lodge's pit toilets during a little league training camp back when they were in first grade, although he fails to recall the event. As Daisuke uses the restroom later that night, he recalls the event while staring at the moon through the window, and remembers that there was some type of figure stalking him while trapped in the pit. In the present, Daisuke notices a figure staring at him from the pit before suddenly vanishing. Startled, he attributes the figure to his imagination and while finishing up in the bathroom, the door suddenly creaks open and Daisuke watches in horror from the mirror's reflection as some type of creature climbs out of the pit toilet.
11 "Video" "Bideo" September 15, 2013
While trying to complete a huge amount of unfinished homework, three middle school friends decide to take a break and watch a recorded videotape, which supposedly shows things that the recorder didn't remember shooting. When the video starts playing the friends notice something which resembles a human face next to a gravestone and assume that was the scary footage. However Takaaki also notices a strange humanoid figure in the background, which his friends fail to see, and upon rewinding the tape, finds that the figure somehow moves to the foreground and starts staring directly at him. Now thoroughly spooked, Takaaki notices two more humanoid faces reflecting in the screen and turns around to find that his friends had morphed into strange humanoid creatures who continue to question him about what he had seen.
12 "Tomonari-kun" "Tomonari-kun" September 22, 2013
A high school girl returns to her apartment complex and notices five small boys sitting around a black, shadow-like mass in the courtyard, whom they personify as their friend, "Tomonari-kun." They claim that "Tomonari" invites her to play with them, but she declines and promises to play with "Tomonari" soon. The next day, they invite her again, but she uses her part-time job as an excuse. When she returns home, the girl finds the boys knocking at her door, who claim that "Tomonari" spoke of visiting her and point to a black shadow on her ceiling, claiming it to be "Tomonari". Spooked, the girl throws the boys out and watches in fear as the black shadow manifests eyes and speaks of her promise, before it pulls the girl into itself. Finally the boys look on and seem to be happy for "Tomonari" before sitting around two shadows in the courtyard.
13 "Tormentor" "Uzuki" September 29, 2013
A trio of elementary students are expectantly observing a house in the vicinity of their neighborhood using a pair of binoculars, hoping to see the Tormentor, an entity that according to one of the students, caused his grandmother's childhood friend to disappear mysteriously following its appearance. The student, visibly unnerved, leaves on false claims. The remaining two, Shouta and Taichi, spot the occupants of the residence stumbling around wearing blindfolds, with an eerie apparition seemingly contorting its limbs barely visible behind one of the residents. As it is about to appear in the surveiling Shouta's field of vision, Taichi snatches the binoculars impatientantly and goes into shock upon seeing the entity, abrubtly leaving in a similar 'dancing' manner. Shouta meekly arrives at his friend's house the following day to return his binoculars, but is sternly told off by Taichi's father, who claims his son will not be playing with him anymore as he is transferring to a school in Tokyo. The student briefly glimpses past the father to see a group of people cautiously observing and attempting to handle a writhing Taichi, his mother weeping desperately nearby and someone reminding others to not to look at Taichi in the eye. Upon leaving Shouta notices who he believes is Taichi watching him from a window. Using his binoculars he views the window but no one is there. He suddenly spots the father, aghast, pointing alarmingly at something in his direction. Shouta then shifts the binoculars gifted to him by Taichi's father to the right and witnesses Taichi rushing at him as a Tormentor. The screen fades as Shouta looks into the eyes of Taichi through the binoculars.

Season 2
1 "Taro-chan" タJuly 6, 2014
A police officer named Hatanaka is to give a presentation about road safety in a ventriloquism act with a doll named "Taro-chan" at a public meeting. The act begins smoothly enough until the doll's head jams and a talisman falls out. Afterwards "Taro-chan" convulses and seemingly gains its own consciousness and explicitly details a bicycle accident, much to Hatanaka's horror. As Hatanaka desperately struggles to remove his hand from "Taro-chan", the crowd believes it all to be a part of the act. However Hatanaka manages to throw "Taro-chan" down stage where it manages to say that the accident "hurt".
2 "Kitchen" "Daidokoro" July 13, 2014
A university student is invited to her friend's apartment to have dinner. Her friend is cooking the pasta when she arrives, so they converse at the dining table. As dusk falls, the student experiences the strange sensation of being watched. She looks closely at the air conditioner; she notices the sound of a man's sigh and an eye suddenly appears, looking at her. At that point, the electricity suddenly goes out and the student screams in surprise. Her friend casually mentions that electrical outages occur often and are nothing to worry about. The two then sit down to dinner. After the scare, the student makes an excuse to not to eat but her friend angrily accuses the student of simply disliking the cooking. From the corner of her eye, the student discovers a black mass with two eyes climbing out of the kitchen sink and moving towards the two of them. The student struggles internally over what to make of the black mass and why her friend can't see it. As the black mass begins to envelope her friend, still berating her about her reluctance to eat, the student shouts for her friend to escape with her before abandoning her friend and running outside. As the student climbs the nearby hill, the black mass is seen expanding out of the apartment building and overshadowing the student. The screen goes to black and the student's scream is heard. The story ends with a pair of eyes popping out of the blackness.
3 "Inside" "Nakami" July 20, 2014
A boy comes home holding a Matryoshka doll, or a Russian nesting doll. The mother inquires about it and the boy explains that he found it outside. The mother then insists that it's dirty and proceeds to take it outside to throw it away. Later that night, the father comes home and the boy is worried because his mother still hasn't returned from disposing of the doll. The father guesses that she's gone to the supermarket but the boy notices that her purse and handbag are untouched. Even later that night, the mother finally comes home and walks into the hallway holding the doll while speaking in a monotone voice. The boy glances at the doll. Some days later, the boy hears his mother crying downstairs and rushes to her only to discover her mother sitting with the doll next to her; she insists in a monotone voice that nothing is wrong. The boy then goes back up stairs, only to hear his mother laughing downstairs. The boy consults with his father, who brushes it off as the mother getting really into a TV show. One night, the mother goes to bathe, holding the doll. The boy sneaks next to the bathroom to try to find out more about the doll. He removes the top layer of the doll to find a small doll with a different emotion painted on the face. He continues removing layers of the doll to find other emotions until he comes across an unpainted layer with only a ghastly face drawn on with red pen lines. The boy opens the doodle-drawn layer and the screen fades to black as a loud mix of voices from men and women are heard laughing, crying, shouting, and screaming. After hearing the disturbing noise, the father charges into the bathroom to find the mother and son standing side by side with their backs to the door. The boy responds to the father in a monotone voice similar to the mother's, and the doll is now put back to normal, sitting on the table next to them.
4 "Wall Woman" "Kabe On'na" July 27, 2014
A young university student is taking a break from his studies to look out the window. He stares dreamily at a beautiful young woman across the street, as she hangs her laundry on her balcony. When she goes back inside, the student prepares to return to his studies, when he witnesses a shadow scale the wall of the woman's building in a strange cat-like pose and disappear through her balcony door. A moment later, the woman reappears in the student's view and painfully contorts herself into the shadow's cat-like pose, and suddenly turns her attention toward the student with a contorted face. He tries to evade her stare and carefully peers out at the balcony to find that she had disappeared. Soon after, he hears strange scraping noises through his wall and follows them around the apartment to the bathroom. He investigates, finding it empty, but his bedroom window is wide open. He slowly glances around the room, when suddenly, a pale creature with long, gangly, contorted limbs drops from the ceiling and crawls toward him.
5 "Locker" "Rokkā" ロAugust 3, 2014
A high school student longs to be noticed by a handsome senior baseball player, yet despairs in her inability to tell him how she feels. As she walks home from school one afternoon, she overhears an urban legend about a coin locker in the train station basement; if you place a photo of your beloved into the locker with a doll in it, your wish to be with them will come true. She decides to try it out, picking the locker with the baseball player's jersey number, to find a pale, disheveled, old-fashioned doll, holding a small black box. Assuming this must be the doll, she places a photo of her crush inside and prays that her wish comes true. The next day, she returns to the basement and opens the locker to find that the photo had disappeared. Suddenly, her crush appears, explaining that he wants to try out the locker legend, but is horrified when she mentions the doll. Before he can clarify, a dark shadow reaches out of the locker and envelopes him, crushing and contorting his body. The student can only look on in horror as the shadow drags the boy in and slams the locker shut.
6 "Nao-chan" August 10, 2014
A family living in a small flat plays with shadow puppets on the ceiling while they prepare for bed. When the lights go out, the boy, Takkun, watches as shadows coalesce on the ceiling. Before happily drifting off to sleep, the little boy mumbles "Nao-chan..." Some time later, the woman asks her husband if he knows anyone named "Nao", since their son has been calling this name up at the ceiling at night, but to no avail. Takkun tries to point "Nao-chan" out, but his parents see only an ordinary ceiling, prompting the father to think Takkun just wants to play with shadow puppets again. After lights-out, Takkun calls out to Nao-chan again, but this time, a ghostly disfigured, sad-looking face appears on the ceiling. The face approaches Takkun's mother... The next morning, she awakens and remembers Nao as being a college friend of her husband's, who died alone shortly after contacting them. The narrator explains that this friend was responsible for Takkun's parents' marriage. A few months later, another baby boy is born with a face that resembles that of the ghostly figure... a baby whom they name Nao-chan.
7 "Capsule Toy Machine"
"Gatcha"  August 17, 2014
A business man walks home one night after a bad day at work, when he notices an old man in a graying suit huddled over a capsule toy machine, with many empty capsules strewn about on the ground. A bit disturbed, he moves on toward home. The next afternoon, after another hard day, the man passes by the capsule machine again and decides to give it a try. When he opens the capsule, he finds a favorite eraser that he lost as a child, and his hair starts turning white and falling out. He marvels at the objects that appear in the capsules; a dog figurine of his childhood pet, a girl figurine of an old crush. Meanwhile, he ages faster and faster, with each turn of the machine's crank. More of his hair falls out, as do his teeth, and his skin wrinkles. He is so consumed by his obsession with the capsule machine that he doesn't notice another business man passing by behind him, deeply disturbed by the scene. He collapses as he buys his last capsule. The next day, the passing businessman stops by the machine...
8 "Farewell Confessional"
"Kokubetsu" August 24, 2014
A man named Ken goes to a funeral in his family's hometown, where he notices the mourners' unusually jovial disposition. Everyone is ushered inside, where the atmosphere takes on a heavy aura. Just as Ken notices the absence of a priest, the first mourner, an older man, walks through the shoji screen door into the room with the deceased, which is lit only by two candles. The man bows, whispers that he impregnated the dead man's wife during an affair, bows with his finger to his lips, then returns to the mourners' room. A young woman follows suit, except she mentions breaking a branch on his plum tree. Noticing Ken's confusion, an aunt (?) explains that this kind of funeral is a "Farewell Confessional", where mourners confess to the corpse about something they could not tell the deceased in life, so that their sin can be absolved. She then promptly urges him into the other room. Not having seen the dead uncle (?) in some years, Ken is at a loss for a secret to admit. Finally, he hesitantly confesses to accidentally killing the deceased's dog. Upon doing so, a sudden gust blows the corpse's face shroud upward and extinguishes the candles. After concluding that it was just the wind, Ken prepares to leave the room... until the dead uncle sits up and angrily asks, "IS THAT TRUE?!..."
9 "Ominie-san" August 31, 2014
A young school teacher named Asako moves from Tokyo to teach in the country. One day, at lunchtime, they all excitedly clamor around a dish they call "Ominie-san", a strange purple mass that gives off black fumes. The students wolf it down hungrily with a strange crunching sound, but Asako collects it in a plastic bag and slips it into her purse. Later that afternoon, she sneaks the bag into the basement to dispose of it in the furnace, when it starts squirming! She tosses it into the furnace in a hurry. En route home, she stops at a small restaurant for dinner. There, she overhears two men at a nearby table order "Ominie-san", mentioning something about keeping up their strength, and stops dead in her tracks. Nauseated by the sight of them eating it with the same crunching sound as the students, she hurriedly pays and leaves. The next day, she calls into work sick. Her aunt wakes her up for dinner, which she eats with enthusiasm. Her aunt admonishes her to keep up her strength and says that, because she couldn't eat "it" at school, she mixed "it" with vegetables to make it more palatable. "It", of course, turns out to be "Ominie-san". Initially shocked by the deceit, Asako begins salivating at the sight of the pot, and charges at the stove. The episode ends with the same strange crunching sounds heard throughout.
10 "Bugged" "Mushitsuba" September 7, 2014
One midsummer night, a man complains about his boss in his diary, when he hears a loud mosquito-like buzzing noise. He looks up, but he finds no bugs. A few days later, his workplace complaints intensify in his diary. The buzzing returns, which stops again when he glances up. He lights a mosquito-repellant coil and resumes writing. A few days after that, his diary complaints about the rain are interrupted by a pair of moths flittering near the ceiling light. Out of spite, he kills them with spray and lights them on fire in his ashtray, finding it oddly satisfying. About a week (?) later, he writes about everything annoying him lately, including the incessant insect buzzing and his skin itching. He looks in the mirror and finds himself looking extremely disheveled... and that he has maggots crawling out from under his eyelids. He hallucinates about writing in his diary; his "writing" becomes increasingly less cohesive and more violent. Eventually, his room becomes a big mess, and he is dead at his desk. His head appears as though it exploded. An insect peaks its head out of his open mouth. His last diary entry- a messily-scrawled "Help me..."
11 "Picking Up" "Hiroi-gyō" September 14, 2014
A college student named Keita Haga is riding the train home when he notices a novel manuscript called "After the Festival" left on an overhead rack. He becomes engrossed in reading it, until he finds himself at an unfamiliar stop. Just as he is about to throw away the manuscript, he finds a flyer in the trash for an amateur literature contest with a grand prize of 3,000,000 yen. The next day, Haga receives a call informing him that the manuscript won the award, and asking to confirm that he'd actually written it. Haga lies and affirms. He arrives at the Awards ceremony, where the host asks one last time to confirm that Haga had written the novel. As the ceremony begins, Haga notices the audience's blank expressions and lack of attention, likening the scene to a funeral. The moment he walks up on stage, he sees the audience and the host have become bare, deformed skeletons clapping their hands. The curtain opens behind him, revealing a swirling vortex. Horrified, he confesses that he didn't actually write the novel, and the auditorium falls silent. But the host reminds him that he'd already definitively confirmed his authorship. He is then dragged into the vortex by skeletal hands, shouting "I'm sorry!" as the curtain slowly falls.
12 "Netsuke" September 21, 2014
A college student named Kaoru is helping to clean her grandmother's shop when she notices a strange box in a cabinet. Her grandmother explains that it contains a pair of netsuke (small Japanese ornaments) that even her husband never allowed her to touch. She opens the box; the netsuke are of matching faces, and she fashions them into earrings. That afternoon, she is waiting for a train, when she hears a distant voice whisper "Give it back". Finding no one trying to get her attention, she dismisses it as her imagination. As she takes an evening stroll, two shadowy figures in traditional clothing stare at her from across the river. She hears the whisper again, "Give it back". The figures follow her along the river, until a bus arrives and blocks them from view. Kaoru takes the opportunity and ducks into a nearby alleyway. When she looks to see if the coast is clear, the figures are rounding the corner towards her, shouting "GIVE IT BACK!" She flees, but they gain on her fast, stretching out their arms to reach her. She sees a bus come to a stop ahead of her and makes a break for it. It is then revealed that the netsuke have been doing the whispering; they now say "Give back my face!" The hands swipe at her shoulder, knocking one of the netsuke off of its earring and shattering it on the ground. She reaches the bus and turns back to see the figures stopped to pick up the fragments. Moments later, at the shop, Kaoru tries to give the remaining netsuke back to her grandmother, who mentions a visitor for her. Her grandmother then notices the visitor at the door. Kaoru turns around and sees someone in traditional clothes... with hollow eyes and a shattered face...
13 "Bringer Drums" "Yadorikiko" September 28, 2014
A young married couple arrives at the outskirts their new town in the country, when the wife finds a small red Japanese pellet drum with its handle planted into the ground. When they arrive in town proper, they find two lines of pellet drums with their handles planted into the ground, leading up to their new house. Though the townspeople allegedly don't like city people, they find the town elder waiting to greet them and warmly offer a tour. During the tour, the wife asks about the drums; the elder explains that they are lined up to newcomers' homes as a town tradition, to bring them good luck. The couple is then led to a temple enshrining the town's protector god (perhaps a Jizo statue?), who will allegedly follow the drums to visit the newcomers' home. Later that night, the couple settles in for bed. The wife wakes up when she hears a strange distant noise. She notices the pellet drums playing on their own and the sound of babies crying, and tries to wake her husband, to no avail. As the sounds get closer and louder, she tries desperately to wake him. Suddenly, the drums and the crying stop. The husband stirs, and when the wife turns to face him, his skin turns ghastly pale and he wails in a distorted infant cry that echoes through the valley. Lights turn on in town, in the distance, but suddenly turn off as the crying continues and becomes more childlike.

Excerpt from Wikipedia located HERE


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Yamishibai come to Blu-ray from Section 23  in 1080i - which I presume was how it was broadcast on television. The appearance is replicating the traditional 'kamishibai' paper art method. So figures are moved around in a less-fluid motion than standard animation. There is an odd appeal to it - augmenting the haunting qualities of the stories. There are no flaws - the video is very clean and produces, what appears to be, an authentic visual presentation from how it was originally produced. There are 13, 5-minutes, stories per season and there are two season on the lone single-layered Blu-ray disc.











Audio :

A standard lossless DTS-HD Master in the original Japanese language - 2.0 channel at 1892 kbps (24-bit) and it sounds excellent - occasionally creepy and very crisp and tight - both narration and occasional traditional-sounding music. When depth is exported it can be surprising and fairly chilling. There are optional English subtitles on the region 'A' Blu-ray disc.


Extras :

The Yamishibai Blu-ray has no supplements.



I had trouble staying focused despite the stories being so short. I guess it turns out to be about 1.5 hours of content although you see the opening and ending credits 26, separate, times. I love the idea behind this and hope to see similar expressions. I think I appreciated Yamishibai but it probably is not something I would enthusiastically recommend. The Section 23 Blu-ray produces a fine presentation - of a unique, and unusual, horror-focused night in the home theatre but you may find it more interesting than scary. Ex. it's certainly no Kwaidan. I hope this review informs you of what to expect.  

Gary Tooze

April 16th, 2016


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

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