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What does a micro series actually work?

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Most times, I scratch my head over these micro-series. The content’s so short, I can’t really get that invested in any one little snippet. The effect is about the same as trying to read any of those vestigial adventure strips in the back of the funnies. I understand that they’re trying to fill space, and… that’s… exactly what they feel like. Shrug-inducing filler.

So there’s an interesting contrast between these two…

AI-MAI-MI seems like a fun little Magical Girl show. It’s cute. It seems to be turning some tropes on their ear. But just as soon I’m starting to get into it -- whoosh! -- it cuts to credits. See another snippet in a week? Even when I’ve watched other micro series in blocks, the experience is always really disjointed. Not only is it hard to get into the chunks of actual content in between the constantly repeating intro’s and outro’s, it’s actually hard to even remember what you’ve just watched.

JAPANESE GHOST STORIES, on the other hand, makes much better use of the format. Actually, it's even better use when you compare it to last season’s attempt at a horror micro-series, PUPA. Essentially, this is CREEPY PASTA: THE ANIME – concise horror fiction that’ll scare the shit out of you (presumably while you’re taking a shit). It’s hard to maintain scares in little glimpses from week to week. Why not just bottle all the good stuff in a distilled form, evoking more scares than you actually have time to show?

Honestly, on paper, the notion of a ventriloquist conjuring the dead through his dummy on stage doesn’t sound that scary. But… man… this was just so creepy to watch. And I think that’s mainly got to do with how the show lets you fill in all the gaps yourself, which is exactly how horror should work. Hell, it even makes the limited animation work to its advantage. Everything always looks a little askew.

Watch JAPANESE GHOST STORIES and AI-MAI-MI MOUSOU decide for yourself.

sickVisionz moderator on July 17, 2014 at 4:08 p.m.

I saw a few episodes of the Japanese Ghost Stories a little while back. Not bad. It reminds me of these little black books they used to sell at my elementary school book fairs that had like 5 or so short horror stories in them. The only one I remember is some girl with a scarf and its eventually revealed that she's dead and decapitated but the scarf keeps her head attached.

Anyways, I wish these were longer. They are like teen minutes I think but I think they'd be better at a full episode with the occasional two parter. As is they always feel kinda rushed to me.

ElHaon July 18, 2014 at 8:41 a.m.

I found Yamishibai good as it was. Although it was even less than 5 minutes long, if you don't count the intro in.

BTW there will be a second season (sometime)

Dig Deeper into Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories 2

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