I’m a fan of a couple different Japanese short horror series. Some of my favourite episodes of them:
I’m not sure which series this one was from, but I love it… Not because it’s scary, but…well…
It’s a retelling of the Phantom Hitchhiker story, only the driver is a cabbie. You know how it starts…a young woman flags down a ride, and asks to be brought home, only when the car arrives, she’s no longer in it. In this case, the cabbie talks to the girl’s parents. They tell him she does this every few days, and thank him profusely for helping their daughter, tell him that it’s good for them, too, and pay him well.
After the conversation, he drives off, thinking about his late mother, who’s grave he has yet to visit. ‘Maybe,’ he muses, ‘I should go visit her.’ The ghost girl pops up in the back seat. ‘I can take you to her!’ Cut to black.
It cracked me the hell up, it was just so random. Like ‘no, we can’t follow the original story, or have this end on a sweet note! Random scare!’
One from Shin Mimi Bokuro (translated at Tales of Terror from Tokyo):
A young woman is living with her (divorced? widowed?) father. He does this thing where he’ll come home, with his suit backwards, and claim he was accosted by a spirit called The Backwards Suit. His daughter finds this ridiculously cringy, but he keeps doing it. So, this goes on for a while, until the daughter finally stops humouring and tells him off.
She feels a little bad about hurting his feelings, but is at least glad the stupid jokes have stopped. Then, one night she takes a different route home… She walks in, and is greeted by her father, who points at her with a huge grin on his face. She looks down and…her clothes are on backwards. Between the dad’s grin and her ‘WTF’ reaction, it was hilarious.
And one that wasn’t funny…
From Yamishibai (Shadow Play), a…well…almost-animated series based on kamishibai (paper play).
A man takes shelter from the rain, while on his way home from work. While he’s waiting for it to pass, he spots a young couple, and gets nostalgic for when he had that. Then he notices a little girl fortune telling with flowers about whether the rain will stop. It won’t.
He approaches her and asks her what she’s doing there so late. She doesn’t say anything, and just comments that she hopes his wife will come for him. He deflects. She asks him what fortune he wants told, because her fortunes are always true, and he comments ‘shouldn’t you be going home’…which she takes as a fortune telling request. She won’t.
She asks for another fortune to tell. He doesn’t answer. She decides to read whether his wife will come for him. He tries to tell her that his wife won’t be coming for him. But she’s already started so, he goes along with it. She’s going to come.
The man starts to explain that his wife can’t come, when the girl points. The man looks. A woman is approaching. He stands, then goes to join her, declining the girl’s offer of another fortune. The girl looks, and then it hits her, and she begins fortune telling again.
‘You’re dead. You’re not dead. You’re dead. You’re not dead. You’re dead. … So long, Mister. You don’t need any more fortunes.’
It’s just so nice, and heartwarming. With a spooky edge, and a slightly shuddery one when you think about the fact that it doesn’t give any indication of why he was dead. Did he die because his wife came for him, or did his wife come for him because he was dead? If the former, did the girl’s prediction happen because the wife was coming, or did the wife come because of the prediction? In the end, it doesn’t matter…he was reunited with the wife he clearly dearly loved and missed terribly, which is nice, even if he had to die for it.