I can't believe this.
I actually cannot believe this.
Yami Shibai 5 ended with a goddamned story about a woman turning into a giant praying mantis monster and eating a guy. Then the mask guy literally walks off into the sunset.
I figured there would still be a sixth season because why wouldn't ICLA keep going, but I truly thought after some of the episodes in 5, it was just fully set to just keep on going downhill.
But no. Yami Shibai 6 actually turned out to be decent. Hell, some of the episodes are actually genuinely creepy. When I watched the first episode, the opening being like the mask materializing from darkness immediately stuck in my mind.
And it turned out there was an actual reason for it.
The "Dark" Yami Shibai
I don't really know what happened at ICLA.
I never do. But there's plenty of art that looks similar to the stuff that was in 5 and Sekai no Yami Zukan. Yet the tone of this season's episodes are just so completely fucking different that it honestly mostly feels like it was made by someone else entirely.
In addition, there's actual movement through all of the episodes! They actually didn't do the thing where an entire chunk of an episode is just obviously like one single drawing! Amazing!
Don't get me wrong, there's still some of the good old Yami Shibai goofiness and/or a jumpscare ending or two, but I really cannot describe this season as anything else but a pleasant surprise. You know, even excluding the typical insanity that did make it into the season.
I really can't stress how terrible 5 was enough. It genuinely felt like they were just 100% out of ideas or were just tired of making Yami Shibai. But lo and behold! There's actual energy in this seasons! It feels like, god forbid, that they're actually TRYING again.
...Or maybe not that they're trying again, but they really seemed to right a ship that seemed like it was sailing full speed towards an iceberg. Like rather than fully focusing on jumpscares and the schlock I've come to expect from Yami Shibai, there are actually several episodes that are more about people who have lost loved ones, or more psychological stuff.
Like the very first episode clearly appears at first to be yet another spooky woman ghost episode, but the entire thing of the episode isn't that a spooky woman shows up and does a spooky scary jumpscare. It's that the father murdered the mother and she's coming back to "surprise" him.
Then, in another episode there's like a swamp people throw precious possessions into as like an offering of sorts to appease an entity called "the Muddy" and I was just so fully prepared for a mud monster to emerge.
But nope! Instead, it's VERY strongly implied that the wife just dragged her mother-in-law off and threw her into the swamp for throwing her ring from her biological mother into the swamp.
What about the fun filled episode where a hospital patient is hearing voices from the room next to him, and it turns out to be the voices of people who hung themselves from the cherry tree outside?
Or the episode where a mother dies on her way to pick up her daughter from daycare but dies in an accident and then the daughter also somehow dies? No... no ghosts huh? Just a dead mother and daughter. That's...
Oh yeah, what about the mountain hiker who genuinely does hear the voice of a ghost trying to get him to come outside of the cabin into a horrible storm, but the ghost is claiming to be his dead son who died before he could get to climb the mountain with his father? And then the father is just about to give in to his grief and meet the ghost outside, but stops and doesn't go through with his suicide at the very last second, because he doesn't want to leave his wife alone.
...They should have stopped trying to scare us years ago! I actually like this weirdly dark and melancholic Yami Shibai.
"Time to sit down and watch the new Yami Shibai season for my dose of good old jumpsca--what the fuck is this shit? Most of this season SUCKS! THE SPOOKY WOMAN APARTMENT WAS THE PINNACLE OF YAMI SHIBAI."
Putting aside the more traditional Yami Shibai episodes of this season... you know, your drippy creepy woman, your weird eyeball fish monster, your mountain fog ghosts, that... weird episode about a curse where the lady just suddenly ends up on a boat in the middle of the ocean with a screaming baby...
Those episodes aside, I can probably say with a straight face that out of the seasons I've watched, Yami Shibai 6 is arguably one of my favorite ones. And even including those episodes, this is very much an improvement over Yami Shibai 5.
That's of course if you still haven't reached the point where you're basically treating all of the seasons the same as bottom of the barrel trash.
I mean, at this point... fuck it! Let's see it, ICLA! Let's see what Yami Shibai 7 brings us! Could and probably should go out on a high note with this season, but I'm up for a seventh season!
Maybe I'll have finally watched 3 and 4 by then.
A 5 out of 10.
Trust me, coming from me, that's good for ICLA. Er... ILCA, I mean.