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.
The first season of YamiShibai is awesome, the second is pretty good, the third is ok, and this one, sadly, is not very good. The unique art style has gone from interesting and expressive to boring and lazy. The stories are nowhere near as tense, and I never feel scared anymore.
If you are at all interested in the series and its sometimes terrifying and always macabre treatment of the horror genre, please go back and watch seasons 1 & 2. They are, for the most part, uniquely Japanese and genuinely scary horror shorts. I turned a couple of those 4 minute episodes off because
they were scary as fuk and it was too late at night for me to be watching that shit. By contrast, I turned a couple of these 4 minute episodes off because they were so boring that 4 minutes felt like forever.
Eh, this series is kind-of going downhill. Compared to the other three seasons, this one just seemed completely different.
Heres a short list of the things that changed this season:
- The art style is different. I'm not sure why they decided to change this, but the new style does't really fit the atmosphere of the show.
- Less animation/animated scenes.
- There's WAY more narration instead of dialogue between characters.
- The stories are less scary [except for a few, for example, episode 3]
- They added in live action scenes. [which I kind-of like tbh]
Overall, I'm a bit disappointed, but, since it's only 4 mins
long per episode, I'll continue to watch it.
Current score: 6/10