Original Run: January 11, 2016 - April 3, 2016 Number of Episodes: 13 Genre: Horror, Supernatural
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Yamishibai Season 3. Reader discretion is advised.***
It’s time to begin our third journey into the dark and the macabre, the strange and the creepy. Listen to the stories of the things that go bump in the night.
It’s once again time for Yamishibai.
- Lend it to Me – A man is on his way home when he passes a public bathhouse he has never seen before. He decides to use the facilities. At first, he appears to be the only customer. Until, from the women’s side, someone begins asking to borrow a few items.
- Tunnel – Two friends get lost on a road trip and come across a tunnel that is not on their map. Since they are running out of gas, the friends decide to drive into the darkness.
- Rat – Moving into a new apartment, a young wife gets scared after being bit by a rat. It is not until her husband goes on a business trip that the wife realizes how aggressive the rats really are.
- The Noisy Hospital Room – A man wakes up in the hospital from a nightmare and goes looking for a nurse. He stumbles upon a corridor where there’s a lot of noise coming from the room down the hall.
- Museum of Taxidermy – A married couple on vacation make a stop at a local taxidermy museum. The exhibits on display are exceptionally well made, almost as if they will start moving at any moment.
- “That Side” Festival – Two friends are having fun at a festival when one innocently asks, “wouldn’t it would be great to stay.”
- Behind – On a class trip, a group of friends stays up talking, and one confides he has been having a terrifying dream lately. In the dream, he’s in a classroom, and something always comes in from the back door.
- The Empress Doll – A group of friends arrives at an abandoned house for a test of courage. The place is rundown, except for a well-kept doll display.
- The Fourth Man – A rumor is going around known as the Handshake Men. Should you run into them, you must shake the first four’s hands. However, under no circumstances should you shake the fourth man’s hand.
- Merry-Go-Round – At a small amusement center, this is a merry-go-round where it’s free to ride for whoever is holding a red balloon.
- Cuckoo Clock – While visiting her grandmother, a young girl comes across an old cuckoo clock right. The antique so interesting, the girl becomes enthralled by it.
- In the Water – A young swimmer is under a lot of pressure before the big meet. For a bit of extra practice, he goes to the school’s pool at night.
- Drawings – A new teacher starts her first day after seeing a boy drawing pictures in the park.
Season one was incredible and extremely creepy. Season two was also really good, but not quite at the level of its predecessor. Now, we’ve come to season three, and, well, uh-oh.
A quality all three seasons of Yamishibai have illustrated is the ability to create tension. Once again, I found myself covering my eyes out of anticipation of what might be coming next. Unfortunately, that sense of terror has been waning since season one, and season three is, by far, the weakest of the trio.
Without rehashing everything I talked about in the previous two Yamishibai reviews, I want to focus on season three’s final episode: Drawings.
This story did something I did not think a show like Yamishibai could do; it just didn’t seem in its nature. Drawings brought an end to the series. Of course, this is assuming this is, indeed, the end.
Let me ask you something. As you are reading this review, does a Yamishibai Season 4 exist? If the answer is no, then things have come to a satisfying close. Despite season three not being that stellar itself, it gave a nice conclusion to a trilogy of decent horror anime.
However, if the answer to my question is yes, then oh no. Hopefully, whatever season four is, it’s better than this installment was. Not to jinx anything, but that is not a high bar to clear.
I had hopped season three would make up for season two’s relative mediocrity, but alas. This installment was a massive disappointment.
To start, the art style.
I won’t say that this season was visually poor. On the contrary, it looked pretty good. The problem was, it didn’t look like Yamishibai. It had too much (how should I say this) anime polish.
Hear me out.
In the first two seasons, the artwork was much more realistic, and that realism added to the creepiness. Season three looked like what you think an anime should look like and made the overall atmosphere suffer.
If you don’t believe me, simply look at The Fourth Man. This episode did retain the more Yamishibai-style seen in the first two seasons. Then compare it feel to the rest of the stories in this season.
Also, a staple of Yamishibai has been each episode building to something. Then when the tension was at its peak, at the last possible moment, we see…something. What was revealed was usually fast and hard to make out, which was why it was so scary. We could never really be sure of what we saw.
So, what the hell happened in season three?
First, there was way too much reliance on details. Second, we always get a good, long look at what the monster was; there was no uncertainty. Third, and without a doubt the most significant issue, was the animation. As in, there was animation.
In seasons one and two, movements were ridged and jittery. Things looked unnatural. In season three, lips and limbs move, ruining the illusion.
Combine all of these problems, and you’re left with something that’s no longer scary, no matter how good the build-up might be.
There is still tension this season, but sadly, the way it is delivered wastes what good there might have been.
You see reveals coming a mile away, you get a clear look at the unknown, and things simply don’t have the kind of feel we have come to expect from this series.
If this is truly the end, then so be it.
Yamishibai Season 3 can be skipped.
But these were just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise Yamishibai Season? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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