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Yami Shibai

Theatre of Darkness: Yamishibai

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Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories

  • Episode aired Dec 7, 2014

Chris Stuckmann in Chris Stuckmann Quick Movie Reviews (2011)

The mysterious, yellow-masked Storyteller is a man whose true name and origin are both unknown. He appears at dusk where children gather and recites sinister tales based on Japanese urban le... Read all The mysterious, yellow-masked Storyteller is a man whose true name and origin are both unknown. He appears at dusk where children gather and recites sinister tales based on Japanese urban legends, to which his young audience eerily intakes. However, the Storyteller is no ordinary... Read all The mysterious, yellow-masked Storyteller is a man whose true name and origin are both unknown. He appears at dusk where children gather and recites sinister tales based on Japanese urban legends, to which his young audience eerily intakes. However, the Storyteller is no ordinary teller of tales. He incorporates a kamishibai, a traditional paper-scrolling device, to a... Read all

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Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories

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Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories also known as Theatre of Darkness (闇芝居 十二期) is a Japanese anime series in the horror genre based around Japanese folktales. So far, it has had 11 seasons, with the 12th season releasing in January 15th, 2024.

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Synopsis [ ]

A series of short horror stories based around Japanese myths and urban legends. The series is framed around an old man telling these tales to schoolchildren on a playground using kamishibai, a traditional Japanese storytelling method using paper scrolls.

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Everybody loves a good horror story, don't they ? Well, maybe they got a little more than they wished for in this...

A rather peculiar animated series from Japan, Yami Shibai (also known as Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories or Theater of Darkness ) is a compendium of short horror stories based off Japanese folklore and urban legends, as told by an old man to the kids in a playground, through the paper theater (or "kamishibai"). The series through the ninth season is available on Crunchyroll , with a tenth set to release in January 2022. Oh, and there's also live action adaptation as well (also available on Crunchyroll).

  • …And That Little Girl Was Me : The season 3 finale reveals that the child narrator from the third season is actually the old man narrator from the first two.
  • Animation Bump : The only bit of conventional animation in the first season is from "Tormentor", which helps to illustrate who is being affected by a particular curse.
  • Season 3 has notably better drawn character models, though still with the iconic stop motion animation.
  • Once again in Season 4, to the point that some episodes look more like mainstream anime aside from the stop motion.
  • And I Must Scream : Anyone who moves into the apartment in "The Neighbors" will be lured into the neighboring one and trapped forever with the tormented spirits of its previous victims.
  • Artifact Title : In season 3, the original intro with the paper theater and the old man is replaced with a child drawing in a sketchbook on the playground, so the pun about "Kamishibai" no longer makes sense. Then the season 3 finale reveals that the boy was the old man all along. However, it's back for seasons 4 onwards.
  • Art Shift : Season 3 features bouncier and more fluid animation, and slightly more visceral styles for monsters. In season 4, each episodes will have close-up shots in live-action, usually on a small object or a note. In season 5, the art takes on more of a stylized from resembling watercolor or illustration which varies from episode to episode, and some of the episodes feature film grain effects.
  • The man in "The Next Floor" wanted to be left alone... So he's left alone in the closed-down, haunted mall at night (or possibly forever ...).
  • Miki from "That Side Festival" wanted to stay at the festival forever...
  • Babies Ever After : "Nao-chan" ends with Takkun's parents welcoming a new baby into their family, named after their old deceased college friend. By the looks of the face the baby is making, it very well was the Nao-chan shadow Takkun plays with, and heavily implied to be the real Nao-chan as well.
  • Black Eyes of Evil : When even apparently normal human characters have these eyes, watch out...
  • The Blank : The gallery attendant from "Paintings" reveals that she doesn't have a face when she moves out of the shadows
  • Kotone from "Cursed" has one inflicted on her so that her skin is black and blue with bruises and has a red arm stretching around her wrist.
  • Satomi from "Merry Go Round" is turned into a twisted merry go round horse, and is still alive .
  • Breather Episode : "Flower Reading" in season 5. The episode as a whole has a Lighter and Softer style and is more colorful than the others, and ends on a bittersweet note rather than a Jump Scare or Downer Ending .
  • Cats Are Mean : In "Tongue" a man is seemingly haunted by the ghost of a cat for the sole crime of burying it after it had been hit by a car. Except it's not the CAT'S ghost, it's the ghost of a woman whose body he DIDN'T find.
  • Costume Copycat : Appropiately used by both Yukari and Haru in the episode "Copycat"
  • The boy in the season 3 intro.
  • Kotone in the episode "Cursed".
  • The friends of the titular "Tomonari-kun", as well as the ghost himself.

cast of yamishibai japanese ghost stories

  • The little girl in "Give It To Me" starts out normal enough, but she gets increasingly creepy as the episode progresses. Then she suddenly appears in the protagonists car...
  • The girl in "Flower Reading" is a bit creepy, but might be benign.
  • Whatever was inside the titular "Snow Hut".
  • Takashi in "Tree of Innocence".
  • Creepy Crows : "The Crow Children". They're not actually crows...
  • The Matrushka doll from "Inside" and also the doll inside the train locker from "Locker".
  • "Taro-chan" from the story of the same name, particularly because he's heavily implied to be housing the soul of a little boy who died in a traffic accident .
  • "The Empress Doll"
  • Mikoto from "The Reception Room", though thankfully it doesn't seem to be evil.
  • The old man telling the stories tends to always speak like this.
  • The speaking voice of the Umbrella Goddess.
  • The nurse in "The Noisy Hospital Room".
  • Nakayama/Honoka in "Calling Crane".
  • Creepily Long Arms : Whatever is inside the aquarium in "Fish Tank"
  • Darker and Edgier : Season 6 has a heavy focus on ghosts as both antagonists and symbols for painful personal loss.
  • Dark Is Not Evil : This trope comes into play at times, such as with the creepy neighbor in the first episode or the Crow Lady in Season 5.
  • Dead All Along : The main character from "Copycat" is actually a ghost, which leads to her copycat friend committing suicide. The main character of "Flower Reading" might be this too, if he didn't just die at the end.
  • Deathbed Confession : Inverted for "Funeral Confession". All of the attendants of the funeral go into the room of the deceased to tell them one secret they never were able to reveal when the deceased was still around.
  • Death of a Child : No one is safe in this series, least of all children.
  • Dem Bones : The creepy skeletons that appear when a character lies about writing a story he found on a train and they drag him down to Hell.
  • Demonic Dummy : The ventriloquist dummy from Taro-chan.
  • Demonic Possession : "Tormentor", "Contradiction", possibly "Inside". The same also applies to "Calling Crane" and "Tomonashi Cave". Also what happens to Satoshi in "Tree of Innocence".
  • Downer Ending : For the most part, the stories told by the old man seem to be lack anything resembling a Happy Ending , even if a story doesn't end with an impending death.
  • The second season's ending song is sung from the perspective of a middle-aged person who believes they've wasted their life and decides to leap towards the heavens (and their death) rather than stumble around for their remaining decades.
  • Eastern Zodiac : The theme for season nine centers around the Chinese Zodiac.
  • Eldritch Abomination : More than a few of the... things that appear in the show (read: those that aren't Humanoid Abominations or Animalistic Abominations ).
  • "Public Phone", where a phone booth is haunted by a Humanoid Abomination , which lures in more victims by letting them call for help with a phone card inside the booth before killing them
  • Evolving Credits : In Season 3, a new singing mask was added to the credits every episode, until all 13 of them appeared around the drawing boy with the thirteenth being worn on the boy's face.
  • Exact Words : The ritual in "Swamp Offering" involves throwing away a most prized possession, not necessarily your most prized possession.
  • Takuya does this to himself at the end of "Frogs Eggs" so he won't be scared of other people's eyes anymore.
  • The woman from "Manga Cafe" sold her eyes to afford a valuable earring
  • Failing a Taxi : "Red High Heel" starts with a salary man who's been working late finding it impossible to catch a cab home, and starts to walk home. Once a free taxi picks him up on an empty suburban road, he quickly wishes it hadn't...
  • Fate Worse than Death : Anyone who doesn't heed the rule of not taking any pictures of the art in "Paintings" is trapped inside a painting themselves and added to the gallery. And judging by the creepy art, it's not a pleasant fate
  • Four Is Death : In "Capsule Toy Machine", the salaryman we follow begins to rapidly age as he uses the mysterious and titular machine one night. He only manages to collect three toys, but as he reaches for a fourth he expires.
  • Frequently-Broken Unbreakable Vow : In "Tomonari-kun", the main character promises the boys that she’ll play with the strange shadow they call “Tomonari-kun”, but never has time to keep it (and it's implied she's creeped out by the boys and doesn't want to uphold her promise). Unfortunately for her, Tomonari-kun forces her to enact on the promise, dragging her into him and turning her into another shadow.
  • Genre Anthology : The episodes are all independent from each other, with no revisited characters in the stories or horrors.
  • Ghost Story : A no-brainer, although in some cases it seems to play with the usual expectations.
  • In "Video", three bored boys decided to play a cursed VCR tape they got from their friend. It doesn't end well for them!
  • The main character in "Cassette Tape" returns to his parents home and finds one of the old cassette tapes he used to record audio diaries as a child. They start out normal, but the entries go on longer than he remembers doing the diaries, and become increasingly nonsensical and surreal. Eventually, it reaches his teen and adult years, long after he moved out of his parents home, and finally reaches the day he arrived back . He understandably freaks out and pulls off the headphones which he only now notices are not plugged in .
  • The TV in "Notice Of Termination of Service" won't shut off, and starts listing people in the town who have died recently, finishing with the name and picture of the main character , accompanied by someone beginning to knock on the door.
  • Haunted House : Several, most notably in "The Empress Doll", "Fish Tank", "Sewing Shears" and "Kitchen".
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack : Quite often.
  • Hellevator : "The Next Floor". It takes the protagonist to floor B4 , which is a totally dark floor that all the patrons (minus him) walk into as if in a trance. Then it goes to B13 , this one lit with a Red Filter of Doom , and a bloodied man tries to drag himself into the elevator, but the doors close just in time.
  • Hell Is That Noise : The weird breathing sound the Umbrella Goddess makes.
  • Hidden Disdain Reveal : Ayano from "Kitchen" becomes increasingly more unpleasant once she thinks our heroine doesn't like her cooking, ending with her admitting she found her annoying and breaking off their friendship.
  • In "The Umbrella Goddess", Kenji is made to stay in his parents' shed and never open the door until morning after seeing the titular spirit. Aside from getting snacks from his friend Takeru, he keeps the door shut all night, throughout shakes, pleading from the spirit, and the spirit impersonating Takeru to get access to him. But just as he moves to go outside to rejoin his friends and family, the spirit seizes him. Well, he did open the door for Takeru earlier...
  • "Cursed" makes the viewer think that Kotone's curse had been lifted by the priests once her curse marks went away. Nope. When the previous priests mentioned that there was nothing they could do to stop the curse, they meant it; it not only kills the priestess who oversaw the ritual, but also goes right back to Kotone to claim her life the day afterwards.
  • Horror Hunger : "Ominie-san"
  • Inescapable Horror : As with many Japanese horror stories, there is no escape once you're targeted by the supernatural, even if you survive the initial encounter.
  • Lighter and Softer : Season 4 takes a sharp turn in this direction featuring less gore, tamer monster designs, and a gentle running narration by the old masked man's various voice actors.
  • Live-Action Adaptation : Believe it or not, there have been live action adaptions of some of the episodes.
  • Look Both Ways : The story Taro-chan tells has him getting hit by a car while riding his bike. Judging by how he sounds like he's sobbing when the policeman throws him off, it's likely that this was how the real Taro-chan died .
  • Loss of Identity : Seems to be the Mind Screw ending of "Guess Who?".
  • "Red High Heel" has the main character miss the train.
  • Missing Mom : The main character's mother in "Thunderous Visitor" abruptly abandoned the family when he was a child. Much to his surprise, she calls him out of the blue during a massive thunderstorm. The call was an even bigger surprise to his father, who had actually murdered her
  • "The Handshake Man"
  • In-universe, we have "The Umbrella Goddess". The sun is rising, the mood is cheerful and the boy doesn't even notice the Goddess waiting right outside the door
  • In "The Next Floor", a mannequin serves as the elevator girl of a hellevator in a department store. She drops the victim-of-the-day off at a floor where he's " left alone " forever, as per his wish.
  • In "— Drawings —", a boy with the power to draw monsters into existence sics a handful of mannequins on the watchman. It's implied they murder him.
  • Nightmare Face : Plenty of them!
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished : The main character of "Tongue" is haunted for giving a dead cat a proper burial. The ghost is angry that he didn't find her body!
  • We never find out exactly what the spirit in "Death Day" is, as it's invisible to everyone except Sachiko, who can see spirits. What we do find out is that it's NOT the ghost of the Kunitake family's mother, as they've thought for the past ten years since it always visited on the anniversary of her death, and smelled of her perfume.
  • It's never shown what takes away all the characters when the lights go out in "The Handkerchief Game
  • No Ending : The stories that don't have downright Downer Endings just sort of...stop.
  • Off with His Head! : Whatever is haunting the apartment in "Sewing Shears", as the top half of his head is missing.
  • Rapid Aging : One of the stories in season 2 involves a young man who suddenly turns into an old man while using a cursed toy dispenser.
  • "Rashomon"-Style : The episode Contradiction where a girl is called by her two friends who are trapped in a haunted hospital. Unfortunately her friends are both telling the truth about their dire circumstances .
  • Together in Death : The main character and his wife in "Flower Reading".
  • Trapped in Another World : Miki in "That Side Festival", Takuya and Miyako in "Don't Look Back".
  • Spooky Painting : A whole gallery of them in the episode "Paintings". It turns out that they trap people inside them .
  • Stealing the Credit : Haga finds a manuscript for a short story, and enters it into a Newcomer Writer contest under his name. The runners at least have the common sense to confirm the matter twice before accepting Haga as the real author, but once he cracks he's Dragged Off to Hell . Not like actually keeping the award was any less traumatizing, mind.
  • "The Next Floor" - don't ever think bad things about your family, because some supernatural being is gonna take you on a trip down to hell and then leave you alone in a closed mall for the rest of eternity.
  • The later seasons basically all have the moral of "Don't do anything or go anywhere, because you got a good chance of being brutally murdered by ghosts or yokai".
  • Not a GHOST per se, but the long, stringy hair appears again in "In The Water", this time belonging to a monstrous fish woman
  • Taxidermy Is Creepy : "Museum Of Taxidermy". It's especially creepy when the animal exhibits kill the visitors and staff and turn them into the actual exhibits!
  • The Tooth Hurts : "Grinding Teeth"
  • Thinks Like a Romance Novel : The protagonist of "Guess Who?"
  • Voice of the Legion : Whatever entity's possessing the doll in "Inside".
  • Wham Episode : The season 3 finale, which reveals that the little boy from the intro is really the old masked man from season 1 and 2.
  • Wham Shot : Season 3 leans heavily into these, with the child's sketchbook featuring the ones used in each episode before the ending credits.
  • Would Hurt a Child : Many of the supernatural threats have any qualms about harming or even killing children.
  • You Dirty Rat! : The wife in "Rat" is scared of the rats living in the couples new apartment. She was right to be scared . You were right, Ken-chan. They really grew on me.

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DualShockers

Yamishibai - japanese ghost stories: 10 best episodes, ranked.

Unveil the mysteries of Yamishibai by exploring its 10 best episodes, including gems like Copycat and Farewell Confession.

Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories is a unique animated series that harks back to traditional Japanese storytelling techniques, delivering spine-chilling narratives through its innovative paper-drama style. With its unique visual charm and suspenseful soundscapes, the series captivates the audience and transports them into a realm of supernatural horror .

RELATED: Most Terrifying Monsters In Anime

The show has presented many eerie tales for 10 seasons, leaving viewers in suspense and thrill. Due to their exceptional storytelling, intriguing plot twists, or bone-chilling conclusions, some episodes stand out as the best amongst the rest, demonstrating the series' capacity to transform seemingly ordinary situations into gripping tales of horror and mystery.

10 Tormentor - Season 1 Episode 13

Shouta from Yamishibai - Japanese Ghost Stories

In this story, influenced by the Kunekune myth, three elementary school boys spy on a house reportedly haunted by the Tormentor, an entity linked to disappearances. Shouta and Taichi, see a few blindfolded occupants and a disfigured figure.

After viewing it through binoculars, Taichi goes into shock and leaves. Shouta later learns that Taichi is mysteriously transferring to a school in Tokyo. Shouta visits Taichi's house and witnesses a struggling, twitching Taichi with the same blindfolded people. While leaving, Shouta spots Taichi through the window, transformed into a Tormentor.

9 Paintings - Season 7 Episode 4

Paintings from Yamishibai - Japanese Ghost Stories

A man attends a free but eerily empty art exhibit, intrigued by the grotesque, anonymous works. Despite being warned against photographing the art, he disobeys and shares the images on social media. Subsequently, the paintings vanish from their frames, and the receptionist, revealed to be faceless - admonishes him.

Suddenly trapped in a void filled with reaching hands, the man is dragged into darkness. The ominous ending features a new patron photographing a newly added painting at the exhibit, hinting at a repeated cycle of horror.

8 Capsule Toy Machine - Season 2 Episode 7

Businessman from Yamishibai - Japanese Ghost Stories

A businessman struggling with work stress becomes captivated by a capsule toy machine that produces items from his past. Each turn of the machine reveals a cherished memory - an eraser, a dog figurine, a figurine of his childhood crush.

RELATED: Best Anime Characters That Wear Glasses

Unbeknownst to him, each turn also accelerates his aging; he loses hair, teeth, and his skin wrinkles. He is so engrossed that he doesn't notice his life slipping away until he collapses, having bought his last capsule. The story ominously ends as another businessman pauses by the same machine.

7 Fish Tank - Season 4 Episode 2

Fish Tank from Yamishibai - Japanese Ghost Stories

Three middle school boys explore a reputedly haunted mansion, where Shigeru encounters an abandoned, murky fish tank. Curiosity piqued by a mysterious bubbling sound, he peers into the tank, only to be pulled in by slimy, purple hands emerging from the dirty water.

When one of his friends comes searching for him, he finds only the fish tank. The suspense heightens as he hears a bang from within the tank, suggesting that a chilling fate similar to Shigeru's may await him, adding another chapter to the mansion's eerie legend.

6 Rat - Season 3 Episode 3

Rat from Yamishibai - Japanese Ghost Stories

Kenta and Machiko, a young romantic couple , move into an old, cheap apartment, where they encounter a rat. After being bitten by one, Machiko is left alone as Kenta leaves for a business trip.

On his return, Kenta is met by an unspeakable horror: rats flood out of their bedroom, followed by a giant rat possessing Machiko's pigtails and a human-like face. In a chilling giggle, this monstrous creature reveals that the rats grew on her, indicating a horrific transformation, bringing a terrifying twist to their rat problem.

5 Cassette Tape - Season 4 Episode 8

Cassette Tape from Yamishibai - Japanese Ghost Stories

A man returns to his hometown for a wedding. He finds an old cassette tape containing an audio diary from his childhood, including events he doesn't recall, like an altercation with an older man at a park. The entries grow increasingly surreal, culminating in his present-day voice.

RELATED: Best Anime To Watch On Crunchyroll

Horrified, the man removes the headphones, only to realize they were never connected to the cassette player. This twist forces him to confront the unnerving possibility that his past and present actions are not as he remembers, leaving him in existential dread.

4 Copycat - Season 5 Episode 4

Copycat from Yamishibai - Japanese Ghost Stories

Haru, a college freshman , reunites with her childhood friend Yukari, who was known for copying everything Haru did. Despite Haru's admonishments about the need for individuality, Yukari continues her mimicry, including their shared ambition to become teachers.

Suddenly, Yukari is hit by a car and killed after crossing the street against the light, revealing that Yukari made it off the college's waitlist due to her untimely death. Haru sadly realizes that in her persistent imitation, Yukari copied even her existence in a haunting twist of their intertwined lives.

3 Delivery - Season 7 Episode 1

Delivery from Yamishibai - Japanese Ghost Stories

A man house-sits for his friend Hasegawa and receives two parcels delivered simultaneously over two nights. A sense of dread builds when the delivery man ominously lingers, and Hasegawa's phone rings from within the second package.

Upon calling Hasegawa, he learns that his friend is supposedly home, despite his absence. As blood begins to seep from the parcels and the delivery man returns with more, the chilling revelation of what the packages might contain and who the real Hasegawa might create a terrifying climax, leaving the man in a nightmarish scenario.

2 The Dripping - Season 6 Episode 5

The Dripping from Yamishibai - Japanese Ghost Stories

A man borrows a stranger's umbrella from a convenience store, unintentionally attracting the attention of a vile woman in white who appears reflected in a shop window. Frightened, he leaves the umbrella behind, but it mysteriously reappears in his house, accompanied by incessant dripping and a woman's wheezing.

His sanity slips away when he finally encounters the ghostly woman looming above him. In a chilling finale, another customer takes the haunted umbrella from the store while the man, now reduced to a mumbling, smiling shadow of his former self.

1 Farewell Confession - Season 2 Episode 8

Ken from Yamishibai - Japanese Ghost Stories

Ken attends a unique funeral known as the Farewell Confession in his hometown, where attendees confess sins to the deceased to forgive their sins. Mourners share their confessions, including a man who impregnated the deceased's wife.

Having not seen his dead relative in years, Ken hesitates but admits to accidentally killing the deceased's dog. Immediately, a gust blows away, revealing the corpse's face, and extinguishes the candles. The corpse sits up, asking angrily if Ken's confession is true, creating an unsettling end to this supposedly cathartic ritual.

NEXT: Highschool Of The Dead: Best Characters, Ranked

JustWatch

Theatre of Darkness: Yamishibai - Season 11

Crunchyroll

Streaming in:

We checked for updates on 232 streaming services on January 23, 2024 at 4:51:55 AM. Something wrong? Let us know!

Streaming, rent, or buy Theatre of Darkness: Yamishibai – Season 11:

Currently you are able to watch "Theatre of Darkness: Yamishibai - Season 11" streaming on Crunchyroll, Crunchyroll Amazon Channel.

13 Episodes

S11 e1 - taro-chan returns, s11 e2 - the offering house, s11 e3 - rebirth paper, s11 e4 - from back then, s11 e5 - solo camping, s11 e6 - white flower, s11 e7 - that's not right, dad, s11 e8 - fan activities, s11 e9 - signature, s11 e10 - sairen station, s11 e11 - restart, s11 e12 - a silver lining, s11 e13 - music box, where does theatre of darkness: yamishibai rank today the justwatch daily streaming charts are calculated by user activity within the last 24 hours. this includes clicking on a streaming offer, adding a title to a watchlist, and marking a title as 'seen'. this includes data from ~1.3 million movie & tv show fans per day..

Streaming charts last updated: 1:19:55 AM, 01/23/2024

Theatre of Darkness: Yamishibai is 5475 on the JustWatch Daily Streaming Charts today. The TV show has moved up the charts by 1445 places since yesterday. In the United States, it is currently more popular than Home Improvement but less popular than The Untamed.

Streaming Charts The JustWatch Daily Streaming Charts are calculated by user activity within the last 24 hours. This includes clicking on a streaming offer, adding a title to a watchlist, and marking a title as 'seen'. This includes data from ~1.3 million movie & TV show fans per day.

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Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories

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Yami Shibai

Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories ( 闇芝居 , Yami Shibai ), also known as Theatre of Darkness: Yamishibai , is a 2013 Japanese animated series directed by Tomoya Takashima, with scripts written by Hiromu Kumamoto and produced by ILCA. Each episode was animated while mimicking the kamishibai method of story-telling, while featuring a different tale based on Japanese myths and urban legends. The series is organized into a collection of shorts with each episode being only a few minutes in length.

The first season ran on TV Tokyo on July 14, 2013 for thirteen episodes until September 29, 2013; it spawned a host of merchandise and a mobile game while also receiving mixed reactions at the end of its broadcast. A second season aired from July 6 to September 28, 2014. The third season aired between January 11 April 3, 2016. A fourth season aired between January 16 to March 26, 2017. A fifth season aired from July 2 to October 1, 2017.

A spinoff anime adaptation Ninja Collection was supposed to premiere on July 12, 2020 [1] on TV Tokyo 's animeteleto streaming service [2] and on Crunchyroll at a later date. [3]

The mysterious, yellow-masked Storyteller is a man whose true name and origin are both unknown. He appears at dusk where children gather and recites sinister tales based on Japanese urban legends, to which his young audience eerily intakes. However, the Storyteller is no ordinary teller of tales. He incorporates a kamishibai, a traditional paper-scrolling device, to add visuals to his already demented narration.

A series of short horror stories, Yami Shibai begins with a bachelor who, after moving into a new apartment, immediately starts sensing a malevolent glare being pressed into him. A single talisman rests on his ceiling, but he has no way of knowing it is one of the few safeguards that separate him from a bottomless pit of suffering. Each story is more terrifying, more appalling, and more sickening than the last as the Storyteller's audience find themselves being sucked into the vicious world of his words.

External Links [ ]

Official [ ], other sources [ ], other wikis [ ], references [ ].

  • ↑ https://www.tv-tokyo.co.jp/anime/nin_colle/news/index.html#220844
  • ↑ https://www.livechart.me/anime/10023
  • ↑ https://www.crunchyroll.com/anime-news/2020/07/07/crunchyroll-adds-ninja-collection-and-umayon-to-summer-2020-lineup
  • 1 Boku no Pico
  • 2 Why Does Nobody Remember Me in This World?

Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories Is Sorely Underrated

Yamishibai showcases some of the scariest ghost stories and deserves to be on anime fans' horror radars.

Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories is an animated short series consisting of supernatural folklore vignettes based on myths and urban legends from Japan. The series is now on its ninth season, which just aired in the summer of 2021.

Despite this respectable length, the series isn’t as popular as other supernatural horror series such as Another and Jujutsu Kaisen . The show's non-traditional art and animation style may simply not appeal to international viewers, while Japanese folklore may not resonate with most Western audiences. Regardless, Yamishibai deserves to be recognized as one of the best horror anime for its homage to Japanese lore and classical storytelling.

The series’ storytelling format is similar to Japan’s street theater known as kamishibai (“paper play”). This was a method of storytelling that was popular during the Great Depression and Japan's post-war period. Kamishibai consists of a narrator ( kamishibaiya ) who goes to street corners and tells stories using illustration boards placed in a miniature stage device. As the narrator tells the story, they change the image in the device.

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Yamishibai introduces this classical method of storytelling to modern audiences, but with a unique twist. In Yamishibai , our narrator is an old man with a creepy yellow kabuki-like mask who gathers children around in a playground to tell scary stories. Right from the beginning of each episode, the narrator’s presence creates an eerie mood that cleverly captures viewers’ attention and draws them into the story.

The creators of Yamishibai also add subtle changes to the storytelling to make each season unique. In the final episode of Season 3, “Drawing,” the story focuses on a little boy who draws monsters harming humans, which shockingly happens to be the narrator from the previous seasons. This episode showcases how the narrator got started in his kamishibai profession. In Season 4, the narrator has more of a presence in each short tale, unlike the previous seasons. As for the latest season, the narrator’s stories are based on the Chinese Zodiac .

The content in Yamishibai is mainly about ghost stories based on myths and urban legends in Japan, or else it incorporates cultural items with a spooky twist such as Japanese-style vending machines, manga cafes, miniature sculptures called netsuke and pellet drums. For example, in Season 1, Episode 8, “The Umbrella Goddess,” a little boy sees a lady holding an umbrella with her mouth on a sunny day. The boy ends up being locked in a toolshed for a night to prevent the Umbrella Goddess from attacking him. The Umbrella Goddess is based on the Hachishakusama (“Eight Feet Tall”), a demon that attacks children.

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Furthermore, many of these horror tales incorporate a moral lesson or superstition to teach viewers. For instance, in Season 2, Episode 11, “Picking Up,” a college student finds a drafted novel on an overhead rack. He miraculously wins a writing contest but has to verify that he wrote the story to the award presenter. He lies and tells the presenter that he is the author. When he goes to the event to receive the award, he is surrounded by several skeleton people, and soon after, he confesses that he isn’t the writer of the story, which leads the skeleton people to attack him. The episode presents a moral lesson about students not plagiarizing their work.

Aside from the unique form of storytelling and the content of the ghost stories , the series does an excellent job in executing its jump scares -- a standard horror film element where the audience is shocked or taken by surprise with a sudden shift or abrupt change in movement or image. Every season has several jump scares showcasing images of demons and misconfigured “human beings.” The series also cleverly executes when there should be complete silence or eerie noises during a scene, further enhancing the jump scare experience.

Despite its low-budget animation and ghost stories that may not appeal to Western audiences, Yamishibai combines a highly unique method of storytelling with many of the tropes and elements of the horror genre , making it one of the best underrated horror anime to check out.

KEEP READING: Kakurenbo: Hide & Seek Is a Forgotten Horror Gem

GameRant

Every 2024 Horror Anime

2024 should be great for anime fans, and the year will cover most genres thoroughly. Action, romance, and isekai tend to attract the most attention, with each season typically containing at least a handful of memorable additions to these categories. Winter 2024 alone has about 20 series split among these three genres, and it is also not lacking in comedy, slice of life, or harem properties. The season even has a surprising number of ecchi anime, and Chained Soldier and Gushing Over Magical Girls are both accessible through HIDIVE.

The Greatest Horror Anime Of All Time

Unfortunately, 2024 horror anime are in short supply for the moment. In recent years, the genre has been limited to maybe five representatives, with most not garnering all that much attention. At least, 2023 did end on a high note with Dark Gathering , a two-cour production that proved to be one of the best horror anime in a long time. Even though the 2024 pickings are currently slim, the year is still young.

Theater Of Darkness: Yamishibai 12

Winter 2024, yamishibai: japanese ghost stories.

Season 12's Release Date: January 15, 2024

Japanese Title Yami Shibai

Studio ILCA

Genres Horror

Also known as Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories , Theater of Darkness is one of the most prolific horror anime of all time, along with being one of the more iconic. Debuting in 2013, the series consists of short episodes that cover classic Japanese folk tales and creepy stories. Using mostly stilted images and typically ending with a twist, Yamishibai is responsible for some of the anime industry's most terrifying visuals , making it an easy recommendation for anyone remotely interested in horror.

Well, at least, that was the case in its opening few seasons; unfortunately, Yamishibai has been running on fumes for a while. While not unwatchable, the most recent entries were largely unmemorable, containing at most one or two above-average segments. Season 11 had the weakest batch of episodes so far, and there is nothing to suggest its successor will be much better.

Mysterious Disappearances

Spring 2024.

Japanese Title Kaii to Otome to Kamikakushi

Studio Zero-G

Release Date 2024-04-00

Based On Manga

Creator Nujima

Genres Supernatural, Mystery

A couple of 2024 anime flirt with horror. Madhouse's upcoming adaptation of Uoto's Orb: On the Movements of the Earth manga has the potential to be among the year's strongest offerings, and the source material is not lacking in upsetting moments and brutality. That said, it is, at most, horror-adjacent. Kaiju No. 8 is primarily sci-fi action, although a few of the Kaiju have unsettling designs that would not look too out of place in a horror story.

10 Best Manga To Read If You Like Kaiju No. 8

Finally, there is Mysterious Disappearances , a mystery manga with a supernatural edge. Again, describing this property as "horror" is a bit of a stretch, but the manga knows how to create a sense of dread while also throwing out some disturbing imagery. Targeting the seinen demographic, Mysterious Disappearances is packed with mature content, not all of which is of the horror variety.

Mononoke Movie

Maybe summer 2024.

Studio EOTA

Director Kenji Nakamura

Release Date 2024-00-00

Genres Supernatural, Mystery, Horror

The Medicine Seller is set to make a comeback, this time on the big screen. 2007's Mononoke is an experimental psychological mystery anime that revolves around four cases that are investigated by the Medicine Seller and have a supernatural element. While not necessarily "scary," the original show is nevertheless a cornerstone of the horror anime genre, one that makes brilliant use of striking visuals and disconcerting sound design to create an otherworldly and alien atmosphere.

Mononoke does not need a follow-up or a reimagining, but this concept certainly has room for expansion. EOTA's movie does not appear to be a sequel or a remake, and it might just tell another story within this universe. Considering the classic series follows an anthology format, the film should have no trouble fitting in.

Uzumaki: Spiral into Horror

Japanese Title Uzumaki

Studio Drive, Akatsuki

Genres Supernatural, Psychological, Horror

Creator Junji Ito

Without question, Junji Ito is the most famous horror mangaka of all time. The author is responsible for a plethora of brilliant works that cover an expansive range of subgenres and themes, although they mostly lean into cosmic horror territory. Despite multiple attempts, Ito's masterpieces have failed to translate into animated form, with most projects being disappointments. Netflix's Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre started 2023 on a lackluster note, and the show's main achievement is that it managed to be slightly better than Junji Ito Collection .

Consequently, expectations should be kept low for Uzumaki: Spiral into Horror . The adaptation has been in the works since roughly 2019, and information on the project is scarce. Still, there is a chance the 4-episode project will finally debut in 2024, bringing to life perhaps Junji Ito's most famous manga. Hopefully, it captures the source material's terror.

The 7 Best Body Horror Anime, Ranked

Every 2024 Horror Anime

Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories Season 12 Episode 144

Ep 144. Just Don't Open It

  • January 14, 2024

This is the story of a man who's looking for a new place to live...

cast of yamishibai japanese ghost stories

  • Genres Anime
  • Channel TV TOKYO
  • First Aired January 14, 2024
  • Runtime 4 min
  • Language English

Paramount+

cast of yamishibai japanese ghost stories

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Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories (TV 11/2023)

cast of yamishibai japanese ghost stories

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IMAGES

  1. Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories

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  2. Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories Season 1

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  3. Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories 8th Season: January 2021

    cast of yamishibai japanese ghost stories

  4. Yami shibai (TV Series 2013– )

    cast of yamishibai japanese ghost stories

  5. Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories (Live Action) Série TV 2020

    cast of yamishibai japanese ghost stories

  6. Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories (TV Series 2013- )

    cast of yamishibai japanese ghost stories

VIDEO

  1. Internet Mysteries: The Haunted Ema

  2. When You Understand Japanese Horror Mysteries: The Well

  3. Most Horror, Demons & Ghosts Based Anime's in Tamil

  4. Internet Mysteries: Ghost in Kamaitachi no Yoru Opening Movie

COMMENTS

  1. Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories

    Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories also known in Japan as Yami Shibai (闇芝居, Yami Shibai, lit. Dark Play) and Theater of Darkness is a Japanese anime series. The first season was directed by Tomoya Takashima, with scripts written by Hiromu Kumamoto and produced by ILCA. Each episode was animated to mimic the kamishibai method of story-telling.

  2. Yami shibai (TV Series 2013- )

    1 Video 99+ Photos Animation Short Horror 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 (Paper Drama) method and feat... Read all Stars

  3. Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories Anime Gets 10th Season in January

    The ANN Aftershow, Anime News Nina!, ANNtv, ANNCast, Answerman, Astro Toy, Intern Annika, Brain Diving, Buried Treasure, Chicks On Anime, Crashing Japan, The Dub Track, The Edit List, Epic Threads,...

  4. Yami Shibai (Theatre of Darkness: Yamishibai)

    Esta review también está en español. Step right up and have a look… It's time for Theater of Darkness… With this ominous presentation, a mysterious man wearing a golden mask invites us to enjoy Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories (Theater of darkness, and from now on, YS), an anthology of Japanese rumors and urban legends, full of spirits, ghost, curses, and all those creepy things we ...

  5. Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories

    Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories: Directed by Chris Stuckmann. With Chris Stuckmann. The mysterious, yellow-masked Storyteller is a man whose true name and origin are both unknown. He appears at dusk where children gather and recites sinister tales based on Japanese urban legends, to which his young audience eerily intakes. However, the Storyteller is no ordinary teller of tales.

  6. Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories (TV)

    The ANN Aftershow, Anime News Nina!, ANNtv, ANNCast, Answerman, Astro Toy, Intern Annika, Brain Diving, Buried Treasure, Chicks On Anime, Crashing Japan, The Dub Track, The Edit List, Epic Threads,...

  7. Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories (TV 8/2021)

    Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories Anime Gets 9th Season in July (Updated) (Jun 4, 2021) You can contribute information to this page, but first you must login or register Japanese staff

  8. Yamishibai (TV Series 2020-2020)

    Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories also known in Japan as Yami Shibai - Live action single series spin-off of the popular animated series of the same name. ... Full Cast & Crew. Last Season. Season 1 2020 • 12 Episodes Season 1 of Yamishibai premiered on September 10, 2020. Inside / Flower Reading / Sleepless Pair ...

  9. Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories

    Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories also known in Japan as Yami Shibai and Theater of Darkness is a Japanese anime series. The first season was directed by Tomoya Takashima, with scripts written by Hiromu Kumamoto and produced by ILCA. Each episode was animated to mimic the kamishibai method of story-telling.

  10. Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories

    Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories also known as Theatre of Darkness (闇芝居 十二期) is a Japanese anime series in the horror genre based around Japanese folktales. So far, it has had 11 seasons, with the 12th season releasing in January 15th, 2024. A series of short horror stories based around Japanese myths and urban legends. The series is framed around an old man telling these tales ...

  11. Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories

    Please visit http://www.crunchyroll.com/ChrisStuckmann for a FREE 30-day membership!FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/ChrisStuckmannTWITTER: https://twitter...

  12. Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories (Anime)

    A rather peculiar animated series from Japan, Yami Shibai (also known as Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories or Theater of Darkness) is a compendium of short horror stories based off Japanese folklore and urban legends, as told by an old man to the kids in a playground, through the paper theater (or "kamishibai").

  13. Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories Anime Confirms Season 10

    Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories Season 10 Release Date. TV Tokyo announced that Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories will be renewed for season 10. New episodes will air every week, starting from January 2022. If you haven't watched the show yet or read the manga, you have a lot of episodes to get busy with until the 10 th season is released.

  14. Yamishibai

    Kenta and Machiko, a young romantic couple, move into an old, cheap apartment, where they encounter a rat. After being bitten by one, Machiko is left alone as Kenta leaves for a business trip.

  15. Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories (TV 2/2014)

    Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories - Complete Collection Seasons One & Two (Sub.DVD) 2016-04-19 (from $22.00) Japanese staff: Japanese cast: Director: Noboru Iguchi Shoichiro Masumoto Takashi Shimizu.

  16. Theatre of Darkness: Yamishibai Season 11

    5413. 5414. 5415. Theatre of Darkness: Yamishibai is 5411 on the JustWatch Daily Streaming Charts today. The TV show has moved up the charts by 1446 places since yesterday. In the United States, it is currently more popular than Hip Hop Uncovered but less popular than The Tom and Jerry Show.

  17. What is Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories anime about?

    Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories also known as "Theatre of Darkness" is a supernatural horror anime series directed by Tomoya Takashima.It consists of stories based ...

  18. Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories

    Folklore Media: Anime Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories ( 闇芝居, Yami Shibai ), also known as Theatre of Darkness: Yamishibai, is a 2013 Japanese animated series directed by Tomoya Takashima, with scripts written by Hiromu Kumamoto and produced by ILCA.

  19. Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories: All Episodes

    Premiered 2013-07-14T17:30:00Z. Runtime 4m. Total Runtime 9h 36m (144 episodes) Country Japan. Language Japanese. Studios ILCA + 1 more. Genres Anime, Horror. Yamishibai is a picture-story style of animation whose motif is surrounded and based off the rumors, and urban legends throughout the history of Japan.

  20. Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories Is Sorely Underrated

    Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories is an animated short series consisting of supernatural folklore vignettes based on myths and urban legends from Japan. The series is now on its ninth season, which just aired in the summer of 2021. Despite this respectable length, the series isn't as popular as other supernatural horror series such as ...

  21. Watch Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories Season 12 Episode 145 ...

    Watch Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories - Theatre of Darkness: Yamishibai 12 - Episode 2 (s12 e145) Online - Watch online anytime: Buy, Rent. Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories, Season 12 Episode 145, is available to watch and stream on TV TOKYO. You can also buy, rent Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories on demand at Amazon Prime online.

  22. Every 2024 Horror Anime

    Also known as Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories, Theater of Darkness is one of the most prolific horror anime of all time, along with being one of the more iconic. Debuting in 2013, the series ...

  23. Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories Anime Gets 8th Season in January

    The ANN Aftershow, Anime News Nina!, ANNtv, ANNCast, Answerman, Astro Toy, Intern Annika, Brain Diving, Buried Treasure, Chicks On Anime, Crashing Japan, The Dub Track, The Edit List, Epic Threads,...

  24. Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories (TV 5)

    Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories (TV 12/2024) (sequel) Alternative title: 闇芝居 (Japanese) Genres: horror , supernatural. Themes: folklore , ghosts , monsters. find similar anime based on ...

  25. Watch Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories Season 12 Episode 144

    Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories, Season 12 Episode 144, is available to watch and stream on TV TOKYO. You can also buy, rent Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories on demand at Amazon Prime online. Genres. Anime. Channel. TV TOKYO. First Aired. January 14, 2024. Language. English.

  26. Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories (TV 11/2023)

    The ANN Aftershow, Anime News Nina!, ANNtv, ANNCast, Answerman, Astro Toy, Intern Annika, Brain Diving, Buried Treasure, Chicks On Anime, Crashing Japan, The Dub Track, The Edit List, Epic Threads,...