Yami Shibai Episode 9 Anime Review


Not a flesh-eating monster, despite the series.

Once again, a home run in the creepy department. I really enjoyed all the subtleties in this episode, and it also managed to remind me of a story I like a lot. I really like how there wasn’t any jump scares here, and yet the episode managed to build up the dread.

So, in the opening scenes we see a girl huddled in her room. She has her arms wrapped around herself, and we can see a hand imprint on her. The older bruises on her arms are depicted by a splash of water colour, which looks extremely artistic as well as vivid. She’s obviously being hounded by some malevolent spirit that attempts to squeeze her to harm her.

The mother comes in and, at first I thought she would have the same problems, and with the slow reveal of her body, I found it odd that she was bruise free.

Mother and daughter go to see and old lady priestess and here is where the magic lies. In that brief instant, we see the hesitation on the priestess’ face where she contemplates and then accepts her fate. I knew then that the priestess was choosing to take on the curse in place of the young girl, probably thinking of giving her a bright future in sacrifice.

Harry Potter anyone?

The girl and mother walk off with the girl now blemish free. I expected the old priestess to die, but what caught me off guard was that the curse had not been removed from the girl. The spirit is now strangling her, with red hands, probably even more angry that a priestess was called in.

The really interesting part was that the priestess waited until she passed away for the man to call the mother and tell her that she has to be careful because the curse wasn’t lifted. What I’m guessing happened was that the priestess took on the spirit and as it hounded her and sapped away her life, the girl was able to lead a few days of peace. If she had told the girl and mom that she wasn’t able to completely remove the curse, they wouldn’t even have had that. An old person sacrificing themselves for the young isn’t unheard of in Asian cultures. The recent Fukushima plant where the old people went in place of the young to help out was in the news, and there are a few stories of old people “disappearing” into the mountains in a famine.

Curses are really scary. If the person placing it is evil enough, it can be passed down through the generations. If you believe in those things. The mother probably had the same experience as her daughter until the girl was born and the curse passed on.

There is a duality in this episode. The girl was paying for the crimes of her elders, and an elderly person saves her. It at once teaches how the sins of an ancestor can be passed down through generations, and also teaches how once can be saved by an older person. Maybe it’s even a commentary that the sins of a parent can never be truly erased, no matter how hard someone else intercedes.


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One response to “Yami Shibai Episode 9 Anime Review”

  1. Wall says :

    A manga I really liked that addresses this theme of curses that pass to later generations is the “Skyhigh Karma”. Recommend all the stories.
    I enjoyed the comments and curiosities of Japanese culture that you did!

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