Studio ILCA brought the Japanese tradition of kamishibai or “paper-theater” to anime fans with the series “Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories” back in July 2013 and recently finished airing its sixth season.

Translated as “dark theater,” the mini-episode series chilled viewers’ spine with unique blend of still illustrations and animation. Unlike the current anime that have fluid motion and transitions, character and objects were like paper puppets which the animators could only manipulate certain parts. The art itself reflected the kamishibai’s story cards by using textures and technique that imitated traditional mediums like paint and ink, though they moved to a cleaner style starting in Season Four. The drawings’ roughness gave it a strange childlike feel that invited its audience to see through the demise of each story’s protagonist.

While each installment contained less than five minutes, it was a sufficient amount to present an original scary tale. Horror fans are bound to find one that will shake their inner core with the variety of misfortunate situations and evil spirits. All are available to stream on Crunchyroll anytime, but it may be best to make sure the lights are on so the shadows won’t interrupt.

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