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 a young woman named Yuuko getting a call from her friend, Mayuri. Mayuri sounds frightened, and says that she went for a driver with a male friend named Tooru so they could go to a deserted hospital as a test of courage. She says from the moment they got there, she had a feeling someone was watching them. Mayuri says she told Tooru she wanted to leave, but he went further and further in. Tooru found a locked door and worked at getting in. Mayuri says the moment he stepped into the room, Tooru started acting strangely. Mayumi asks if she can come to Yuuko’s place, and then comments she can’t stand this dark and painful place. Mayuri also starts asking if she can leave.
Suddenly, there’s loud banging on Yuuko’s door. It’s Tooru, and he yells through the door to be let in. As he yells, he starts giving a different version of what happened at the hospital: he says that Mayuri is the one who started acting strangely, and that she was the one who went further and further in. Tooru says that when he thought he found her, it was like she had someone else’s face. Tooru begs for Yuuko to open the door. She opens the door, and is greeted by a shocking sight.
I will give this particular short credit for the fact that it didn’t rely as heavily on the formulaic writing that I had complained about in my piece about sixth short for Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories. After hearing Tooru’s side of the story, I basically was able to guess what the ending would be, but the story of this short was still told in such a way that seeing the predictable ending didn’t make it as anticlimactic as I had thought it would.
This approach to telling this story was refreshing for the Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories shorts. It reminds me that the writers haven’t entirely fallen into a rut after all, and that there is still some potential for these shorts. I just hope I won’t see as much of the formulaic writing in the remaining shorts in the series.
Additional posts about Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories: