Kowabon – Episodes 4 & 5

4-1


Episode 4

Wow, the creepy factor definitely got dialed up for this episode!

Episode four takes place over a span of a week. On each day of the week, our leading lady Shoko (who goes by the username “show.co0507 “on her Instagram-like account) takes a picture and uploads it online. Her followers dutifully comment every day, saying things like how she looks so happy. But starting on Day 2, we see something start to go wrong with her pictures.

On Day 2, it’s some minor distortion on her face in the uploaded photo. On Day 3 we see a shadowy spectre sitting silently on her bed, seemingly invisible to Shoko as the young woman drops her bag on the floor and walks by. Then on Day 4 Shoko uploads a picture with a selfie stick and comments on how she hasn’t been home in awhile… but the comments her followers make seem to imply that she was away from home and still uploading pictures. Shoko doesn’t remember this and is confused.

The next day, Day 5, we see Shoko sick in bed with an illness, still uploading pictures to her Photograph account. On Day 6… haha, well we see the spectre sitting on her bed facing forward, watching Shoko as she stares at her computer screen in a wide-eyed trance. Shoko watches photos of herself being uploaded to her account, complete with captions like “Today I’m out watching baseball,” and “Come to the beach.” These captions are also being provided by the person manipulating her account; Shoko herself is not interacting with the computer at all.  The last beach picture that gets uploaded seems normal, until the spectre’s face whips around to face Shoko through the screen.

On Day 7, the webcam flickers on to show Shoko sitting apathetically on her bed, her long dark hair hanging down. A moment later when the static clears, Shoko no longer has her face.

My thoughts: Awesome! New favourite episode. I really like how this episode took place over the course of a week, instead of one scene all at once. It amped up the suspense a little to watch Shoko become more and more haunted (possessed?) by this ghoul, until we see in the final moments that it has essentially consumed her being.

 

 


 

5-1


Episode 5

At the time of this review, this episode has not yet been subtitled, so I am reviewing the raw.

It is someone’s birthday, and someone is recording the celebration on what I’m assuming is a camcorder. (Note that the date displayed in the bottom left corner is Halloween! Oooo ~ )  The birthday girl and two of her friends are  sitting around a table, with another friend standing and filming from a short distance away.

The view starts switching between the guy with the camcorder, to the cellphone cameras of the other three friends at the party.  They’re all taking pictures with the birthday cake and having a good time, until the lights go out.

When the lights come back on, everyone seems to be confused about what happened. The viewpoint starts switching between all the different cameras again, and settles on the young man with the camcorder. He is filming his three friends and attempting to talk to them, but they are huddling around someone (or something?) and seem to be ignoring him.

The screen flickers, and suddenly the three friends are standing. But from the way they are standing, it looks like their heads are missing. The disembodied, distorted voices of his friends are still talking to him and Camcorder Buddy is clearly freaked out. Suddenly the ghostly heads of his friends whip up and backwards, then fall right off their bodies! He screams at them to stop as their headless bodies continue to approach him, and then his recording device falls to the floor and turns off.

When it turns back on, everything is dark and twisted. The camcorder is on the floor and pointed upwards, and we see three bodies standing around the camera. The spooky voices are still laughing maniacally, and right as we notice there is now a new voice among them, another putrified head falls off one of the bodies and lands on the camcorder.

My thoughts: I liked the concept behind this episode, but I think that it didn’t play as well as the previous ones. I don’t know about anyone else, but when an episode of a show starts switching between viewpoints too often, I find it a) hard to follow and b) stay interested. I feel like the episode would have been much scarier if a lot of the camera-viewpoint-switching had been removed or at least toned down. I’m sure it didn’t help that this episode had no subtitles either. As I mentioned at the beginning of this series, my Japanese is very subpar and I can unfortunately only understand the basics.

 

 

Nikolita

Just an animanga-loving social worker. I've been watching anime for almost 20 years - ask me about my favourites! I've been to Japan twice and would live there in a heartbeat if I could.

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2 Responses

  1. Yumina says:

    What a nice review <3 I really like the way you retell the story in your reviews for Kowabon: it's detailed without being excessive, the flow is easy to read and understand, and it still gives spooky feeling for someone who hasn't watched it yet (I myself haven't watched episode 5). A very good job indeed, so thanks for your hard work <3

    For me, watching Kowabon feels like reading Fuan no Tane (Seeds of Anxiety). Both are short, and both just hit you in the face with the core parts of horror (they leave the background story where the sun doesn't shine), and shove that core down in your throat. And it's scary because we don't know. We don't know why that ghost or that creature choose the… victims, is it because of some karmic experience or just random acts, which is scary either way, and that fact makes us uneasy and anxious. It doesn't help when both also don't give us 'the aftermath', like are the creatures finally being exorcised or something, and I like that. We don't know. And that's scary.

    • Nikolita says:

      Omgoodness a comment! Hi and thank you very much for reading my reviews! <3 Thank you for your kind words.

      I haven't read Fuan no Tane, and if I liked horror more I'd definitely go check it out. Thanks for the recommendation though! Like you said, sometimes it's what's not shown is what's the scariest.

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