Excited children gather around the enigmatic masked Storyteller once more. His unique kamishibai storytelling draws them into tales of fear and dread. These are dark and foreboding stories, which could happen to anyone...
This season has tales of a salaryman who buries a dead cat, only to be haunted soon after; a college student and her cheap new apartment that hides a ghastly secret; boys exploring an abandoned haunted house before coming across a strange fish tank; a man who finds himself on the wrong bus, and in more danger than he thought possible; and a young couple's visit to an amusement park, which suddenly takes a dark turn. All these stories and more await in Yami Shibai 4th Season.
For those not familiar with the Yami Shibai series, they're sketches done with paper-puppet animation techniques, quite stylishh, featuring small, one-episode horror stories. The first one was good, the second mediocre the third fantastic and unfortunately the fourth installment is 100% underwhelming.
First off, the most notable change: The narrator. The previous Yami Shibai narrator was a creepy-sounding old man, with a sly and sinister voice. This time we have a random idiot in what I assume to be his 30ish, giving a very disappointing opening ("It's time for Yami Shibai") that doesn't sound remotely threatening or vile.
The stories themselves are
a mess too. Season 4 takes (good) ques from season 3, understanding that it's much scarier to have unexplained phenomena happen rather than the typical vengeful ghost that we saw in the first two seasons, but somehow completely misses. The stories feel like they have no buildup, whereas in season 3 the insanity of the situation mounded as the episode progressed.
Here, it's pretty much... "Dry".
-Yami Shibai art style.
-The narrator is awful.
-The episodes have no buildup.
-Indifferent ending song.
The seasons of Yami Shibai continue to get less interesting except for a few good episodes here and there, but this season is what has made it really drop off as series that I was interested in. I did enjoy all the previous seasons even if none could quite match up to the beauty that was Yami Shibai season 1, but I still liked watching them. For season 4 though, this was not the case.
I felt the stories in this season were unfinished. A lot of them had a good idea but they were just executed poorly and done to their full potential. Episodes such
as episode 3 and 10 were probably in my opinion some of the better episodes of this season with others just feeling like they still had more to give. I also didn't find myself scared during any of this episodes and just left most confused and trying to research what had happened.
Disappointing, the one word I would use to describe the art in this season. As I stated in my reviews of the other seasons of Yami Shibai, the art was beautiful and very creepy at the same time which is what gave Yami Shibai that appeal and atmosphere. This season, they made the decision to change the art style, what reasoning was behind that decision I do not know nor wish to because it was not a good one. A cool thing this season did do though was add aspects of live action. Some of these live action scenes were really creepy and I felt added to my enjoyment of the series, sadly though, these were not enough to make this season worthwile.
The sound was not to bad considering. I felt as though the characters voices were not heard though as pretty much every episode consisted of two lines from actual characters and the rest being the narrator. This is someting that most people watching didn't agree with. I felt as though the characters need more lines for me to become more connected with them and understand how they actually felt in these situations.
Most of these characters I didn't really feel any sympathy for as they didn't really help themselves. All these situations could have been avoided if the characters weren't so out of it. It was interesting having a different narrator each episode though which has led to some cool theories. That is pretty much the only good thing to come out of this season.
As I said, I enjoyed all the previous seasons of Yami Shibai, but I felt whilst watching this season that I wasn't watching it because I wanted to but because the episodes were short and I felt like I should since I had watched the rest. There were maybe 2 episodes that I did get an ever so slight creep factor from but nothing scared me a lot or made me really feel like I was excited for the next story the season was going to bring.
Yami Shibai has gone downhill, everyone who has watched each season knows that. From season 1 the episodes started getting less creepy but they were still good and the art alone was enough to keep people interested, but now not only having even less creepy storylines but also changing the art, this has really put Yami Shibai into a hole that if another season is released, it will need to work to get out of.
At this point, this is just sad.
None of us should even be here, and yet HERE we are.
Yami Shibai season frickin 4.
I guess at least I went into this with rock-bottom expectations. After the absolute train wreck that was season 3 I said to myself screw it. I told my sister I was going to watch this and so we binge watched it together which may have affected my overall outlook on this (we riffed on this garbage season the entire way through), so forgive me if I seem a bit biased.
Guess we gotta start somewhere.
This was the pile of fecal matter this
season (though it usually is with these newer seasons). However, unlike the last seasons, this particular pile stunk even more.
For you see,
THESE EPISODES HAVE NO FREAKING ENDINGS!
I noticed a pattern around episode 4ish. The viewer was presented with a character (usually someone who isn't worthy of punishment mind you), the character is thrust into a horror scenario, monster/ghost is punishing victim and then the episode just... ends. They end on a cliffhanger that is never resolved. We never know what happened to the person, we never see the monster/ghost, nothing. Zip. Zap. ZERO. Most of the set ups could provide good payoffs, however the decision to end on cliffhangers is BAFFLING TO ME. WHY???? WHY END ON A CLIFFHANGER??? I HATE TO SAY THIS BUT SEASON 3 WAS BETTER AT IT'S STORIES THAN THIS GARBAGE SEASON!
This was ANOTHER pattern I noticed with my sister. The art style slowly got worse and worse as the season went on. It was decent... For two episodes pretty much. Then it took a twisted swan dive off the cliff and became still shots with nothing moving. Not only that, but in two particular episodes (9 & 12), the art style looked like freaking unfinished sketches rather than AN ACTUAL ART STYLE FOR A TV SHOW. HOW DID THEY GET AWAY WITH SUCH LAZINESS?!? Episode 10's art looked like it was directed by Wikihow, 9 & 12's looked like it came out of my 7th grade sketchbook, 6's looked like it belonged to a freakin romance that an anime-obsessed 13 year old would write, must I go on???
The ending song was trash. Narrator-san riding a bicycle to a J-pop song. Good idea for a horror themed show guys (violently slams face against desk).
Sound wasn't memorable. The voice acting was meh at best. For whatever reason, they changed Narrator-san's voice every episode. And they weren't even GOOD. They all sounded waaaaayyyy too enthusiastic and never really creepy. Good thing they brought the ORIGINAL voice actor for the last episode *face palm*.
They also decided it was a good idea for Narrator-san to narrate EVERY SINGLE LITTLE THING in the episodes for the whole series. It got old real quick.
Lol what characters
Okay, I'm not gonna spend too much time on this. Most of these characters, like the other seasons, are Mary and Gary sues that don't really deserve punishment.
THE KICKER WITH THIS ONE THOUGH IS THAT MOST OF THE VICTIMS BECOME VICTIMS BY COMPLETE ACCIDENT.
Every single situation in this show (well... regardless of episode 2 & 10) the characters STUMBLE UPON THE BAD THINGS BY COMPLETE ACCIDENT AND ARE JUST INCREDIBLY UNLUCKY.
THIS IS NOT HOW THINGS WORK!!!!!!!!
I enjoyed watching the first half of the series because of being able to riff on it so much with my sister. However, after a while, it just got so TEDIOUS. I could tell she was bored too. We finished it, in the end, however this season just didn't need to exist in the first place. Just... I wish they would end it here... BUT NOPE. WE GOT A 5TH SEASON AIRING RIGHT NOW.
Just end me now.
Garbage season as always. Season 5 is probably gonna be garbage too.
A few things before I begin. First and foremost, this review is, as are all reviews, only an opinion, so if you feel differently than I do, please do not take what I say personally. Also this review won't be one that's professionally structured in any way, I'm not going to go through each category and label what I liked and disliked about it, so essentially this is just going to be a big wall of text about things I didn't like about this show (not much positivity here), so I apologize in advance for that. I don't typically write reviews but I feel like
I need to this time around just to express my disappointment.
Yamishibai is an amazing show, specifically the first season. I think it's a gem that every fan of horror should watch. Seasons 2 and 3 less so, but they're still at least fairly enjoyable. This season however was just bad. The first thing I noticed was the change in the narrator, now I could've looked past this eventually, however the narrator is changed constantly, and none of the new narrators came close to being as good as the original. The original narrator started each episode with a sinister, creepy tone of voice, most if not all the narrators in this season failed to do so and in most circumstances, sounded comical. Continuing in my complaints with the narration, for some reason in this season, the narrator would narrate the entire episode instead of just setting the scene like in previous seasons (minus season 3) which prevented the stories from organically telling themselves. The art style in this season was also very poor, whereas in previous seasons it was a paper puppet look with lite animation, this season's was more of a slideshow of rough sketches, especially in the latter half of the season. The stories themselves this time around were also just not scary in the slightest, not even the tiniest bit creepy or unsettling, or even interesting, which obviously in a horror show is the biggest drawback of all, I could forgive everything else if the stories where at least good, but alas they were not. In the end this season made me sad, as the first season of Yamishibai was so incredible, and although seasons 2 and 3 were no where near as good as the first, I couldn't believe how far this show has fallen. I can only hope that season 5 restores some of the magic this show originally contained.