Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories also known in Japan as Yami Shibai (闇芝居, lit. Dark Play) and Theater of Darkness is a 2013 Japanese animated series. The first season was directed by Tomoya Takashima, with scripts written by Hiromu Kumamoto and produced by ILCA. Each episode was animated in such a way so as to mimic the kamishibai method of story-telling. The series is organized into a collection of shorts with each episode being only a few minutes in length. Each episode features a different tale based on myths and urban legends of Japanese origin.
The first season premiered on TV Tokyo on July 14, 2013, and ran for thirteen episodes until September 29, 2013; A second season aired from July 6, 2014, to September 28, 2014. The third season aired between January 11, 2016, and April 3, 2016. A fourth season began airing on January 16, 2017.
The mysterious, yellow-masked Storyteller is a man whose true name and origin are both unknown. He appears at dusk where children gather and recites sinister tales based on Japanese urban legends, to which his young audience eerily intakes. However, the Storyteller is no ordinary teller of tales. He incorporates a kamishibai, a traditional paper-scrolling device, to add visuals to his already demented narration.
A series of short horror stories, Yami Shibai begins with a bachelor who, after moving into a new apartment, immediately starts sensing a malevolent glare being pressed into him. A single talisman rests on his ceiling, but he has no way of knowing it is one of the few safeguards that separate him from a bottomless pit of suffering. Each story is more terrifying, more appalling, and more sickening than the last as the Storyteller’s audience find themselves being sucked into the vicious world of his words.
ED1: “Kaifuu Emaki” by AVtechNO! and Teniwoha (performed using Hatsune Miku)
ED2: “Shijuukunichi Me (四十九日目)” by Nashimoto Ui feat. Miku Hatsune
ED3: “Naa? Naa? Naa? (なぁ？なぁ？なぁ？)” by The Mirraz
ED4: “Yume Oi Bito (夢負い人)” by Takuto
ED5: “Yawarakai Kamen (やわらかい仮面)” by ヒグチアイ (Ai Higuchi)