+ story variety
+ surprisingly enjoyable
- "is this really from 2009?" visuals
- some annoying stereotypic characters
Story is about 3 middle schoolers telling or experiencing some classic japanese horror stories. Each episode is split in 3 parts, something that happens to them, something they tell and 1-2 minute short. When you see horror tag in anime, it usually means a lot of blood or human torture. Your classic horror movies often rely on on jump scares - woman walks down the dark halway of her house with only flashlight, nothing but her footsteps are heard, suddenly killer appears behind her with loud "bang" ambience and you get scared just for that moment. I'm glad these stories are different - they build up tension just to leave you creeped out at the end.
Few problems I had - to me they often felt unfinished, like they tried to squeeze as much as possible into their allocated time. Also, I was surprised how often were authors bringing up the concept of death, since this is basically kids series. And because this is kids show, none of the characters died despite being really close to it, thanks to some randomness that occured. Don't get me wrong, I didn't want to see them die, but it was killing the tension - whenever someone was about to die, you just knew he'll be fine.
Probably the weakest point. Animation was pretty weak, backgrounds and character design simplistic, those ghosts/monsters more often than not, uninteresting.
Ending was ok, no opening. Surprising right? How dares a japanese show to not have an opening theme! Actually it had something similar - shows you as guest going to thriller restaurant, where ghosts and monsters present you menu with some "creepy" foods, while playing "classy mansion" ambience in the background. Was supposed to serve slight comedic purpose - didn't work on me, as those food names sounded incredibly cheesy. Left me with "what the hell are you trying to do with this" feeling every time.
Background sounds were nice and atmospheric, except for one or two which sounded awfuly generic. (can't exactly remember)
Character development is close to 0. This isn't surprising as each episode is a standalone set of stories. As main you have this trio of kids - scaredy cat, who likes stories, tsundere girl who doesn't believe in ghosts but always tags along because "it can't be helped" and a blondie boy, who usually saves the day. There are few more of their classmates, but they don't always play a role in episode.
So I didn't like 2 out of this main trio. The tsundere girl - she always has evidence right in front of her yet still refused to believe in ghosts. It's like she knew she's in anime or something. Also her "high class" image was annoying 9.9 out of 10 times. The blondie guy was mostly the story teller and life saver. This is literally how few stories went:
girlX: "Nice weather today."
blondie: "That reminds me of this story I read the other day..." *story begins*
Yeah he's that kind of guy. And his saves seemed way too random and pulled out of nowhere.
Despite the bad stuff I mentioned, show is surprisingly enjoyable. Each story is unique and will leave you little bit creeped out. Therefore was fun to watch (except for occasional annoyance from few characters).
Do you like horror stories? How about classic japanese horror stories? Then please don't get put off by "kids" tag, as it shouldn't stop you from enjoying this little piece of work.
Although, I can't help but think how much better this could be, would they drop the kiddy aspect and made it more like Yami Shibai but animated, or Aoi Bungaku Series but episodic.