Why? After seven seasons and seven full-length reviews, why is Yamishibai Season 8 not getting the same treatment? It’s quite simple, actually.
Yamishibai hasn’t needed a review since season three. It hasn’t mattered for a long time if an entire installment is worth your time. Instead, the individual stories themselves have become the stars.
Most of the time, a Yamishibai season is forgettable; I only continue with this series because why the hell would I stop now? However, every now and then, Yamishibai puts together a tale that lands hard. When this show manages to bring all the pieces together, it continues to prove why it is a staple of anime horror.
Therefore, starting from season eight, we will be looking solely at the stories. Which new entry, if any, will resonate? Let’s find out.
It’s time to begin our eighth 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.
A group of friends enters an abandoned house rumored to be haunted. By doing so, the friends have unknowingly entered a terrifying game.
This episode had a pretty good build-up. Granted, much of the atmosphere was creepy for the sake of creepy. For example, there was a family portrait with all the faces scratched out. I’m not sure what it had to do with what was going on, but it was certainly disturbing.
I also don’t think it was meant to be funny, but I chuckled a little with the main girl threw the handkerchief behind her friend, completely throwing them under the bus.
A newly wedded wife joins her husband’s family for their traditional Death Day celebration. Quickly, though, the wife realizes there is something horribly wrong.
I liked this one quite a bit. I can’t tell you how many Yamishibai stories I’ve seen that involved some strange family ritual. Usually, the protagonist is the person completely out of the loop, and this segment started that way.
However, Death Day gave a nice spin on this setup. The result was frightening.
Don’t Look Back
A young man finds himself lost. Without noticing where he is going, he passes a sign warning him not to look back. The man then finds a woman spouting some outrageous things.
Okay, I feel like I’ve seen this one before. An eerie misty ally, arbitrary rules, being lost; how many times have I come across this story?
Not only that, Don’t Look Back plays out exactly how you expect it would. All in all, there was nothing special – or memorable – about this story.
A young boy lament over his mother befriending a demon after the death of his father. At school, the boy learns of the traditional bean-throwing event meant to chase away evil demons.
I assume many of you will pick up what was implied in this story. But on the off chance you’re confused, all you need to know is that a typical Japanese oni (a demon) has a horn growing out of their head.
Other than that, this segment relied on unnecessary escalation. Also, no one ever understands that thin walls don’t make suitable sound barriers.
The Sound of Laughter
A high school boy keeps hearing the laughter of an unknown, unseen old woman. Soon, the woman’s laughter gets closer and closer.
The moral of this and many other Yamishibai stories is, if you hear something going on outside, don’t look out your window. Doing so is a sure-fire way to get yourself killed by a monster.
It’s episodes like The Sound of Laughter that made me not want to do a full review of this series. It didn’t leave much of an impression.
Catch of the Day
A woman’s husband comes home from a fishing trip. Curious about what he caught, the wife is unnerved by her husband’s unexpected edginess.
Again, this was another episode that lacked any memorability. There have been other Yamishibai stories involving mysterious/obviously dangerous items being brought home, so there was nothing too special about this one.
However, Catch of the Day was much blunter about how unnatural its “item” was.
A young man is on edge due to his friend’s change in demeanor after the latter gets a girlfriend. Irritated, the young man thinks he sees a strange shadow fitting the description of Issun Boushi, an old Japanese folktale hero.
I don’t want to say the protagonist of this story got what he deserved, but there is a difference between tracking a shadow and destroying literally everything in your path. It was hard to feel sorry for him.
That said, this was one of the more graphic episodes of Yamishibai that I’ve seen. The problem wasn’t so much blood, but god damn, what happened to the protagonist sure looked like it hurt.
A high school girl gets a call from her school. She is told that under no circumstance are students to come to class the next day. Being a rebellious teenager, the girl decides to ignore the warning.
Once again, boys and girls, if you simply do what you’re told, you will avoid a horrible fate.
Episodes like Viewing are interesting because the visuals look more (for the lack of a better word) anime-ish. It doesn’t add or hinder the horror, but this style of animation stands out. Which is good since the story itself was rather bland.
An overworked office worker comes across a mysterious park, and inside is an endless desert. The office worker hears a voice saying to let go and join the rest. After this encounter, the office worker feels even more drained and exhausted.
Yes, Japanese corporate life is a horror story on its own. I found it a little odd that this episode tried to be scary. To me, it would have made more sense had the idea of rotting away in a desert was preferable to having to endure a thankless job.
Footprints in the Snow
A brother and sister to off to play in the snow. Without warning, the sister finds herself all alone. While looking for her brother, the girl comes across many strange footprints.
DO MORE SNOW EPISODES!
I don’t know what it is, but whenever Yamishibai has a story with snow, they end up being incredibly good. This one was no exception.
While goofing around, a high school boy accidentally breaks an old Jizo statue. His friends say this means he’s cursed. The boy laughs it off, but soon, it really does feel that people are waiting for him to succumb to something.
Although I know mysterious men in black suits can never be a good thing, they don’t really scream horror. This felt like a useless detail. After all, our protagonist’s descent into madness was helped along by the voices screaming in his head.
A young girl hands her dad one end of a string telephone she made. When the father puts the cup to his ear, he hears the voice of a woman he once knew and has desperately tried to forget.
Little children can be creepy, especially when they don’t seem to have any sense of danger.
For only being four minutes long, String Telephone had a lot to unpack. This episode did require the audience to infer much of the unsaid information, but that’s why I thought this story worked so well.
A young man invites his buddy to stay the night. The next day, the buddy says the man walks and talks in his sleep. Wondering what that’s all about, the man decides to record his nighttime escapades.
It has been brought to my attention that I sometimes say things in my sleep. I’ve always been told I spout random silly nonsense, so at least I’m not the guy in this story. However, you’ll never catch me recording myself sleeping.
That just seems like a bad idea.
For the past few seasons, Yamishibai has been trying to break from a once nasty habit. This series, at one time, would always want to reveal its monsters and ghosts. I’m glad this series has stopped doing that because leaving things vague and mysterious is proving to be much scarier.
Season 8 was fine. I’ve seen Yamishibai when it’s at its worst, and this was nowhere near that.
This franchise knows how to build tension, and this installment had that in spades. Do you want to know what’s better than a jump scare (other than absolutely everything)? It’s waiting for a jump scare that never comes. This season did that incredibly well.
Like always, for being around 50 minutes long, Yamishibai Season 8 is well worth a look.
But these were just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? What were your impressions of Yamishibai Season 8? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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