Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories is a series of anime shorts, and the shorts run for about five minutes each. 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.
At the beginning of this short, a boy and his parents are at the department store to buy a birthday present for the boy. Unfortunately, the father gets a call to go to work and has to leave, and the mother quips that the father feels his work is more important to him than celebrating his son’s birthday.
When the father gets into the elevator to leave the department store, he wonders what his wife’s problem is. After this, he thinks, “Just let me be alone for today.” Suddenly, a low voice answers, “Certainly.” The father then notices that the floor lights aren’t working.
The elevator girl calls out “Floor B4,” which puzzles the father. He calls out and asks if they have passed the first floor. The elevator doors open, and it’s pitch black outside. Everyone else in the elevator, except for the father and the elevator girl, get off. The elevator continues until the elevator girl calls out “Floor B13.” When the elevator stops and the doors open, a red tint comes into the elevator. Suddenly, a bloodied man rushes toward the elevator; however, the elevator doors slam shut before he can make it.
The father panics, and reaches out to the elevator girl and demands to be returned to the floor where he had been at. The elevator girl falls, and the father is horrified to discover that she is actually a dummy. The elevator doors open, and it appears they are at the entrance to the department store. The father thinks he’s safe… but is he really?
This particular short was OK, but it wasn’t quite as strong as some of the other shorts that have appeared during this series. After the elevator doors opened the first time, I kind of predicted that something weird would happen when the elevator opened again. While I hadn’t quite been able to predict the ending, I just knew that something had to be wrong when he made it to the entrance of the department store. Unfortunately, since this particular short ended up being a little on the predictable side, it ended up not being quite as strong of a horror or suspense story as it could have been.
Even though I may not have been as impressed with this particular short, I’m still intending to watch more of Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories.
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