Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories: Episode 6 – “The Overhead Rack”

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.

This short begins with an overworked man riding home on the train. He overhears everyone talking on the train, and wishes that they would just be quiet. Suddenly, he sees a grotesque flesh-like mass on the overhead rack, and the man wonders why no one else notices it.

The train comes to a sudden stop, and an announcement over the intercom says there has been an accident involving a person. At the same time, the overworked man doesn’t see the flesh-like mass and thinks he just imagined due to being tired.

Another announcement comes over the intercom saying that a rescue operation is underway and that all the electricity to the train will be temporarily turned off in order to assist the rescuers. After the lights go out, the flesh-like mass reappears and starts enveloping the man. As the mass envelops him, the man basically loses his mind.

Maybe it’s just me, but I didn’t feel this short was as strong as some of the earlier shorts in this series. It probably didn’t help that I found the main character, the overworked man, to be rather annoying. I honestly had a hard time caring about what happened to him.

It probably also isn’t helping that now that I’ve gotten this far into this series of shorts, I’m picking up on a bit of a formula for the stories. I know that the writers can be a little limited in what they can do with a roughly five-minute runtime, so it’s probably easier to starting relying on a formula. This didn’t bother me at first, because I hadn’t entirely picked up on the formula. But now that I realize what the formula storytelling is, I think it is starting to dampen my enjoyment and enthusiasm for Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories.

Even though I may not be enjoying these shorts as much as I did when I first started watching Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories, I will continue to watch these shorts. Since these are so short, I don’t really feel like I’m wasting my time.

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