Yami Shibai Episode 3 Anime Review
This episode was significantly less scary than the first two. The first one was by far the runaway scariest for me, which is probably why it was placed as the opening episode. Okay, for this review, there will be spoilers. Stop reading now and go watch it before coming back.
Done? You sure? Okay, good. I’ll do an explanation of what happened since there seem to be some confusion judging by comments I’ve read online.
The episode opens with a couple and their son talking to an old man who tells them it is tradition for their family members to all gather in a room and laugh the whole night long for one night a year. Apparently, there is a “he” who comes and “he” feeds off anger, hatred, scaredy-cattery and all that good stuff. It drove the old man’s grandfather mad, and apparently this method works. The dumbass of a father then goes to tell his young son that they can’t sleep together in the same room tonight. Son asks why and father disrespects his son by saying JUST DO IT! Geez. Dumbassery. A lot of stupid things happen in scary situations because of miscommunication, even just normal everyday accidents are the cause of that. Well, anyway, enough ranting.
The main confusion I sense in this scene might come from the fact that the son wasn’t included in the night laughing and here’s my hypothesis. We see that the old man talks to the father and says “now that you’re in the family registry”. So, the father basically married into that household, and took on his wife’s surname. It’s usually done when the “wife” is an only child without brothers or male cousins to carry on the family line, or she might have those relatives, but it’s pretty clear the boys won’t be getting married and popping out babies anytime soon either due to age or illness. So, this might explain why he married into her household and was involved in all this tomfoolery.
As to why the little boy wasn’t included in this? He still has his father’s old surname. The dad could be remarrying and decided to take on his wife’s surname while the young boy keeps his so he isn’t part of the family per se, retaining his old surname. Or it could just be way past his bedtime, which doesn’t really make sense since I doubt the creature/ ghost coming really cares when a kid’s bedtime is.
So, as we all know, and expected, the little boy wakes up and finds the room with adults laughing maniacally. He opens the door and they all have on scary clown faces with big smiles, and then they start screaming and becoming terrified as blackness zooms forward and we fade out of the anime.
What happened here is that the scary clown faces were meant to be scary. Unfortunately, the drawings just made then look like second-rate Jokers. The clown faces were either how the little boy viewed the adults with their plastered on smiles or it was an effect from the ghost-monster making him hallucinate. We all know that scary smile you get from a retail assistant or that lady behind the counter at your local fast food chain. Yup. It’s that. So, basically, the adults saw something behind the little boy and their laughing volume increased since it was clearly terrifying. They started to scream when the thing approached and they were all attacked, presumably all going mad. Laughing for the rest of their lives is how I would write it.
It’s logical. The being wouldn’t care about whether you were laughing or not. Just whether you felt fear. The tradition worked in the past because all the doors were shut and they couldn’t see the thing. With the door opened and seeing the thing, they became prone to attack. It’s an almost commentary on the erosion of family tradition. When you don’t know the reason behind doing something, you almost certainly make mistakes.
And another mistake the anime made was to set the jump scare at the dad telling the little boy to listen to him. It would have been better in terms of horror timing to have skipped that and prolonged the dread. It just felt oddly out of place. But when you take into account that the main protagonist for today was the little boy, we see why. Parents asking little kids to just follow something they say unconditionally is a pretty frightful thing. A lot of parents don’t get the point that kids can reason, even at as young an age as the boy. If the dad had spent one or two minutes explaining what they were doing that night properly, the boy wouldn’t have opened the door and the monster wouldn’t have attacked them.