Ayakashi~ Japanese Classic Horror – Anime First Impressions

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So after watching Jigoku Shoujo, I figured the Japanese idea of "horror" is probably a lot different from my idea of it. Some parts of Jigoku Shoujo were actually pretty funny, so I expected to either be scared during this anime or laugh at it. Did I do either? You know the drill, read on to find out!

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~Ayakashi~ Japanese Classic Horror is actually a collection of three stories, each taking 3 episodes. I’m guessing that most Japanese who watch this show are already familiar with the stories. I, on the other hand, was kind of clueless throughout.

The first story is "Yotsuya Kaidan" and is about this jerk named Tamiya Iemon. He kills his father-in-law and generally does some uncool stuff. I thought the episode was kind of cheesy and generally hard to believe, especially during the scene where he does the killing:

Iemon: Hey, what’re you doing here, other guy?
Other guy: Oh, I just killed this dude.
Iemon: Oh, you too? Well uh, let’s put the bodies together and they’ll probably just blame it on bandits.
Other guy: Yep, sounds good to me!

These are pretty old stories, so maybe people were just more gullible back then. In the next episode, Iemon’s wife drinks postpartum medicine/goldfish poison! Stay tuned!

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One thing I noticed during the entire episode was how ugly the characters were. The character designer is actually Amano Yoshitaka, who did the designs for Final Fantasy 6 (III in the US). That explains why all the pictures during the OP look like my Final Fantasy 6 game manual! I do have respect for the designer, but an ugly character is an ugly character.

Of course, it would be inappropriate for a horror anime to have chibi/SD/moe/loli characters all over huh? Actually, I think I may be onto something…

Even though the characters look really ugly, it’s a horror anime, so I won’t deduct points for that.

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The OP is Japanese rap! It sounds pretty cool once you get used to it. Does it work in the classical setting of Japanese horror? Hell no! I dunno what they were thinking with this one. I’ll still give it points for being different.

The ED is by Chitose Hajime, the same singer who did the Blood+ ED. The more I listen to her voice, the awesomer it sounds. I dunno if "awesomer" is a word, but that’s the perfect way to describe it. She’s really got some crazy voice control going on. I think it’s sorta like Enka, but not. Chitose Hajime is quickly becoming one of my favorite artists. (note: the ED was kinda blended into the end of the episode, so I cut off the beginning part. Sumimasen!)

Listen to the OP: HEAT ISLAND by Rhymester
Listen to the ED: Haru no Katami by Chitose Hajime

Overall, Ayakashi is hard for me to rate. It’s probably very local in the sense that it’s totally geared towards Japanese who probably already know these stories. I want to keep watching this anime, but really it’s a pain with all the ugly characters, and the story is really confusing to me. Then again, each "story" is only 3 episodes long, so the next one might be more interesting. I’ll probably keep on watching so I don’t miss something potentially good.

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12 thoughts on “Ayakashi~ Japanese Classic Horror – Anime First Impressions”

  1. well, i saw part of the anime, i do not get it…lol..i mean it was weird..the drawings arent that bad, well not as bad as those wanna be anime such as…..hmm…W.I.T.C.H. and that one show with the girls who are spies…umm…whats is called…well anyways, i kinda liked the drawing, made have a fuedal era feel to it…lol

    1. You mean totally spies? That show fried my brain and turned me away from anime for awhile…so many fearful things..anyway I have to agree the art was good but rather awkward and stiff and lacked fluidity. The first story was my absolute favorite because I have a weakness for stories with spirits coming back for revenge. Anyway because of it I became deeply interested in folklore of all nations and found odd stories of my own nationality that resembled others. All in all it was a very enthralling experience and I was glad for it.

  2. “I thought the episode was kind of cheesy and generally hard to believe, especially during the scene where he does the killing:

    Iemon: Hey, what’re you doing here, other guy?
    Other guy: Oh, I just killed this dude.
    Iemon: Oh, you too? Well uh, let’s put the bodies together and they’ll probably just blame it on bandits.
    Other guy: Yep, sounds good to me!

    These are pretty old stories, so maybe people were just more gullible back then. In the next episode, Iemon’s wife drinks postpartum medicine/goldfish poison! Stay tuned!”

    —————————————————————————–

    Actually in those days, it was not uncommon for bandits to do that sort of thing. The country was ripe with robbery, murders and chaos in general. There was a huge lack of authority due to the corrupt government.

    As for the art, Amano huh? I thought there was something very farmiliar about it. But it seems you’re so into the standard tacky anime art, that you’re unused to seeing something with much more grandeur and elegance. To each his own I guess.

    I’ll agree with the rap opening. Apart from the traditional instrumentals, I hardly see how it’s fitting to the anime. The ending was brilliant.

    I’m prepared for some sort of negative feedback, if any.

  3. This was a great anime. Somewhat hard to follow at times but worth watching. The intro with rap kinda sucks but the instrumentals on it are great.

  4. iirc, the first two arcs are four episodes each, not three…and therein lies the problem. If each arc had been say a 35 minute OVA, it could have been good, but by stretching it across 3-4 eps it became really slow paced and tedious. For some reason I forced myself to watch it all, not sure why I bothered.

  5. I actually liked all three episodes but loved the third one the most. They are obviously based on traditional stories, and it seems antithetical to modernize them as the whole point is that they are old traditional stories. The stories are also really interesting and have a very buddhist/shinto ethic to them. The third one is the best because of the beautiful textural detail that is there as well as all the pattern that is shown all throughout the episodes. This really informs the viewer and creates an experience often ignored in two dimensional art. The stories are not gory, so anyone looking for hentai or Suicide Club type story telling is in for a disappointment but if you like Soseki Natsume or are looking for more traditional style Japanese story telling and visuals you will enjoy it very much. The subtitles are very logical and are well done. The ending music is very j-pop but its the ending so its not that important. The beginning titles are different for each story and use pastiche rather well.

  6. Although the drawings are not as nice as the anime we see today, this anime is actually worth watching. I just watched the first episode earlier as a specimen for our creative writing class. The story is actually not as simple as it seems to be. You’ll see here how the Japanese view what we call “horror”.

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