Ayakashi: Samurai Horror Tales, known in Japan as Ayakashi (怪?), is a Japanese
animated horror anthology television series produced by Toei Animation.
The series is made up of three stories: "Yotsuya Ghost Story", an adaptation of
the classic Japanese ghost story; "Goddess of the Dark Tower", based on the play
by Kyōka Izumi; and Goblin Cat, an original story by Kenji Nakamura and Michiko
Episodes: 1-4 (U.S. DVD release episodes 5-8)
"Yotsuya Ghost Story" is a retelling of the classic Japanese ghost story,
written by the 18th century kabuki playwright Nanboku Tsuruya IV.
In the anime, Nanboku himself becomes the narrator. Iemon Tamiya is a ronin
samurai who marries a beautiful woman named Oiwa. Oiwa is happy with her married
life and the birth of their child, but Iemon feels the burden of their poverty.
In return for the promise of a job by a rich man, Iemon promises to marry the
man's daughter and conspires to murder his own wife. A servant is ordered by the
rich man's daughter to poison Oiwa's food; the toxin permanently disfigures
Oiwa's face.Iemon then orders his servant to kill her after having his way with her. Oiwa
commits suicide after coming to know of Iemon's treachery. Another of Iemon's
servants is also killed and, along with the dead Oiwa, is nailed to a piece of
wooden board and tossed into the river.
After Oiwa's death, Iemon marries the rich man's daughter, as promised. But
Oiwa's vengeful spirit could not rest in peace, and she lays a curse on everyone
involved with her demise. One by one, Oiwa's enemies die a horrible death,
including the rich man and his daughter, and Iemon is plagued by visions of
Iemon Tamiya Voiced by: Hiroaki Hirata (Japanese), Brian Dobson (English)
Oiwa Tamiya Voiced by: Mami Koyama (Japanese), Nicole Oliver (English)
Osode Yotsuya Voiced by: Yuko Nagashima (Japanese), Rebecca Shoichet (English)
Gonbei Naosuke Voiced by: Keiichi Sonobe (Japanese), Samuel Vincent (English)
Oume Ito Voiced by: Ryou Hirohashi (Japanese), Lalainia Lindbjerg (English)
Yomoshichi Sato Voiced by: Wataru Takagi (Japanese), Michael Adamthwaite
Episodes: 5-8 (U.S. DVD release episodes 1-4)
"Goddess of the Dark Tower" is based on Tenshu Monogatari, a play by Kyōka
Izumi. It tells the story of a forbidden love between a god and a human. In
medieval Japan, Zushonosuke Himekawa is a falconer who is sent by his master
Lord Harima to retrieve a precious falcon named Kojiro.Zushonosuke's search is initially fruitless, though it leads him to a chance
encounter with a beautiful woman bathing in a lake. Zushonosuke falls in love
with her at first sight.
When news reach Lord Harima that the falcon has in fact fled to the castle keep
of Shirasagi-jo, Zushonosuke is ordered to go there to bring the falcon back.
Accompanied by two friendly demons, Zushonosuke makes his way to Shirasagi-jo,
which is rumored to be inhabited by beings called Wasuregami (Forgotten Gods).
At the castle, Zushonosuke is surprised to find the same beautiful woman he
encountered before, who introduces herself as Tomihime (Princess Tomi),
beginning their forbidden romance.
Zushonosuke Himekawa Voiced by: Hikaru Midorikawa (Japanese), Kirby Morrow
Tomihime Voiced by: Houko Kuwashima (Japanese), Willow Johnson (English)
Oshizu Voiced by: Saeko Chiba (Japanese), Tracey Power (English)
Ominaeshi Voiced by: Yui Kano (Japanese), Anna Cummer (English)
Kaikaimaru Voiced by: Kappei Yamaguchi (Japanese), Alec Willows (English)
Kikimaru Voiced by: Masaya Onosaka (Japanese), Samuel Vincent (English)
The episodes are presented like a play, with sliding screens taking the place of
curtains. The tale takes place in the Edo period, with Ukiyo-e style artwork.
A wandering medicine peddler arrives at the house of the Sakai Clan on a wedding
day, however as he crosses the threshold to the clan household he senses
something is not right. It's not a happy day. To save themselves from disgrace
and the poor-house, the family sold their only daughter's marriage to the Shiono
Clan to clear their debts. The peddler is not welcome, but Kayo the maidservant
allows him in the kitchen. Grateful, the peddler shows Kayo some special
"marriage aids" for the bride, Lady Mao. Kayo's bravery and good sense will aid
the peddler throughout the tale. As the bride crosses the threshold to meet her
wedding escort, she dies mysteriously. The peddler being an outsider brings him
under suspicion, and so he is seized and bound in ropes. Odajima searches the
Peddler's pack for poison, but finds odd medicines and curios before he finds a
bejeweled sword, which the peddler explains is a sword of Taima which is used to
kill demons. The house comes under a demonic attack. The ropes magically fall
from the peddler's arms and he casts paper wards on the walls to protect
everyone. The wards will not hold for long, so the peddler urges the family and
their retainers to reveal the terrible event that has caused such a powerful
demon to appear. As soon as the peddler can discern the shape (katachi), truth
(makoto) and reasoning (regret, kotowari) of the demon, the sword of Taima will
unsheathe and dispel it. The peddler and Odajima find black cat hair, so the
demon has the shape of a cat, a bake neko.
The Medicine Peddler Voiced by: Takahiro Sakurai (Japanese), Andrew Francis
Kayo Voiced by: Yukana (Japanese), Kelly Sheridan (English)
Odajima Voiced by: Tetsu Inada (Japanese), Trevor Devall (English)
Clan Lord Yoshiyuki Voiced by: Chikao Ootsuka (Japanese), Scott McNeil (English)
Lord Yoshikuni Voiced by: Naoki Tatsuta (Japanese), Paul Dobson (English)
Lord Yoshiaki Voiced by: Seiji Sasake (Japanese), John Novak (English)
Lady Mizue Voiced by: Yoko Soumi (Japanese), Alison Matthews (English)
Lady Mao Voiced by: Kozue Kamada (Japanese), Tabitha St. Germain (English)
Katsuyama Voiced by: Yutaka Shimaka (Japanese), Ken Kramer (English)
Sasaoka Voiced by: Eiji Takemoto (Japanese), Andrew Kavadas (English)
Miss Sato Voiced by: Yurika Hino (Japanese), Tabitha St. Germain (English)
Yahei Voiced by: Kiyonobu Suzuki (Japanese), Trevor Devall (English)