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With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, we know what you guys are looking for! You wanna grab that special someone and watch anime together, but you have to choose one that sets the proper tone. And what better way to get your crush cuddling than with horror??
Yami Shibai is a very short and VERY scary series where a masked storyteller weaves strange tales to his audience of children. The stories themselves are short and rather simple, excluding a lot of backstory or reason for the various monsters’ existences. Yet the imagery and atmosphere will have you shaking in seconds! Instead of focusing on gore, the feeling of hopelessness and having nowhere safe to go is what makes these stories so unsettling. For more stories with a wide range of monsters and atmospheric fright, here is a list of 6 anime like Yami Shibai!
Similar Anime to Yami Shibai / Similar Anime to Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories
1. Kakurenbo (Kakurenbo: Hide & Seek)
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: Sept. 2004
There is a town no one is to go near. Legend says there are oni (demons) that hunt children in the night and should you enter, you will never leave again. Naturally, this evokes the interest of several groups of children who come up with a game called Otokoyo. It’s much like hide and seek, only if you are caught, you’re gone for good. Some see this as a test of courage. One young boy sees this as his only opportunity to find his missing sister. Into the town they go, hoping to uncover the truth of this deadly game.
Kakurenbo is just one short movie but it does a good job of leaving you feeling uncomfortable long after it’s over. You spend a long time just being confused and apprehensive. Kakurenbo is like one long episode of Yami Shibai and would fit well within the series. It’s a stand-alone story that focuses more on eliciting fear than telling a complete narrative. Also like Yami Shibai, Kakurenbo’s unique art style lends itself to the story. Assuming you don’t live next to an oni-infested town, it’s probably not the scariest on this list, but dang it is unnerving.
2. Ayakashi: Japanese Classic Horror
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: Jan. 2006 – Mar. 2006
Three tales of terror await the person brave enough to finish this series. A woman betrayed and abandoned by her husband puts a curse on him. A man-eating goddess and human find love while each side loathes the other. A medicine man who decides to protect a family haunted by a vicious cat spirit. Who will live and who will die?
Ayakashi is not as atmospheric as Yami Shibai for sure. There’s a lot more exposition and explanation of how and why these monsters exist. One thing that lends to its fear factor is how quickly and easily people are killed off, which mimics the quick work of the monsters in Yami Shibai. The Ayakashi (also referred to as Mononoke, or monsters) are of various forms and have many different reasons for interacting with humans, just like the spirits in Yami Shibai. Both shows feature a storyteller narrating a scary tale, however, the narrator in Ayakashi plays a much more significant role. If you like a long narrative with your horror, this is a good and fun show to get creeped out by!
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2007 – Sept. 2007
A strange medicine seller is an auspicious sight for most, but he often is the only one people can turn to when the supernatural visits them. Knowledgeable in the ways of Mononoke, once he learns the form, the truth, and the reason for its existence he can draw his demon-slaying sword and kill it. However, trying to protect mere humans from a bloodthirsty creature long enough to learn about it is no easy task.
Mononoke is a spin-off of Ayakashi. As such, it features several different monsters all surrounding the character of the medicine man from Ayakashi. Mononoke differs from Ayakashi in that there is a general air of suspense early on in each story. Usually, the monsters are somewhat seen or alluded to before their intent is shown, as it is in Yami Shibai. You’re shown just enough to have an idea of what to be afraid of, but not enough information to know how to protect yourself! If you like the combination of horror and mystery, Mononoke is right up your alley.
Any Anime Like Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories / Any Anime Like Yami Shibai ?
4. Supernatural the Animation
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: Feb. 2011 – April 2011
Sam and Dean are two brothers upholding the family business. Unfortunately, that business is putting their lives on the line trying to protect the unknowing masses from blood-thirsty monsters. From ghosts to demons to shape-shifters, Sam and Dean must use their years of combat training and various tools to take out these horrifying creatures. Trying to balance finding their missing father with keeping their heads intact is hard work when you’re up against the supernatural.
Supernatural is an anime based on the American drama Supernatural. It’s somewhat lighter than Yami Shibai in some parts, but it does a good job of both scaring and shocking the audience, something Yami Shibai is quite good at. There is a wide range of monsters that the brothers hunt, each with unique motivations and powers just like those in the various stories in Yami Shibai. The monsters in Supernatural are scarier than many in the shows previously mentioned, and they include many situations that make you feel like you could be in danger too!
Supernatural the Animation New Trailer
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Oct. 2015 – Dec. 2015
Rumors of giant, man-eating monsters catch the attention of a researcher named Banba, who makes it his goal to discover the nature and intent of these creatures. More and more, stories of people who were killed by these cryptids spring up all over and no one knows how to stop them. Huge, fast, and powerful, these monsters seem to want nothing more than to kill anyone they come in contact with.
While in this series the monsters are all one ‘species’, they range drastically in type and where they live. They also kill in different ways, much like the various monsters found in Yami Shibai. Both stories are short, so the horror is pretty concisely packed with no time to doze off through minutes of exposition. Each episode features new people attacked in different ways by unique-looking creatures, so it has a similar flow to Yami Shibai minus the character of Banba being present for every episode and slowly piecing the answers together. It’s pretty good if you’re wanting a show that will make you worried that any second something horrible will happen!
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Oct. 2015 – Dec. 2015
Technology is a fantastic display of human ingenuity that brings us closer together. Unfortunately, sometimes it brings us close together with things we’d rather pretend don’t exist. Whether we are trying to view others or have others view us, we are not alone in our endeavors. Technology is all around us, and we cannot escape it. Nor can we escape what’s on the other side.
Kowabon is probably the closest and best alternative to for when you run out of Yami Shibai to watch. With their episodes being about the same length, the terror begins nearly the moment you press play. They both have a wide array of scenarios common throughout the world and indicative of life in Japan. The music in both shows creates a terrifying atmosphere which makes you scared of what's coming even if you can fully see the spirit slowly moving closer. While the stories in Kowabon aren’t as separate as the ones featured in Yami Shibai, there’s enough new information to keep you terrified of the next perceived threat.
There you have it, folks! Plenty of fear-fodder to keep the apple of your eye close to you all night. Or if you’re going solo, make sure to keep a stuffed animal nearby. Whether or not you like your horror carefully explained and well thought-out, or you just want to be thrust into a world of terror, there’s something for you! If you have other scary suggestions, please leave a comment and tells us why it will make our skin crawl.