Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories: Episode 1 – “The Talisman Woman”

Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories is a series of anime shorts produced by ILCA and directed by Tomoya Takashima. The shorts are about five minutes in length, and they feature an old man who shows up every week at a children’s playground at 5:00 p.m. to tell Japanese ghost stories. These shorts are being simulcast on Crunchyroll on Sundays.

The shorts are animated in such a way that it mimics kamishibai, which is a traditional Japanese method of storytelling. Since these are Japanese ghost stories, there is horror associated with these shorts, and the animation style really works to convey the horror aspect.

The first episode is “The Talisman Woman.” In this short, a man moves into an apartment and finds a talisman on the ceiling. He removes the talisman, and notices a mysterious woman staring at him from an apartment that’s across the street.

One day, he comes home and finds his door unlocked. When he enters the apartment, he sees another talisman on the ceiling; as he’s about the take it down, the mysterious woman from across the street jumps out at him; the woman is arrested for breaking into his apartment. As the man cleans his apartment, he finds a lot of talismans stuck underneath his dining table. The short ends with the unexpected surprise that greets the man after he removes all of the talismans.

Overall, I thought that this short was rather effective. It utilized its short runtime well, and the animation style really sets the atmosphere of the story. I will definitely continue following this series of shorts to see if it continues to be just as strong as this first short was.

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