With Kannou Mukashi Banashi Portable just out I suppose a lot of people will be playing it, so what better time then to pick up reviewing the series again.
官能昔話 3 ～怪談～
Company: 5pb records
Based on: Japanese Folklore
Official Site: http://5pb.jp/kannou/index.html
Kannou Mukashi Banashi is a series that tells well know tales in a... slightly different way. Each volume contains several stories, all done by a different seiyuu. The series uses the dummy head microphone, which can make it sound as if someone is talking into your ear (when listening with headphones or earphones). And in this series they have made sure that the seiyuu talk very eroi.
As always the CD starts with an introduction by Inoue Kazuhiko, who explains how the CD works and instructs you to put on your head- or earphones in some very suggestive wording. The setting for this CD is that you are at the Kannou Temple, where the head priest tells you several stories. The stories themselves are are done by several seiyuu.
Hoshi Souichirou tells the story of Miminashi Houichi, a blind biwa player who lives at Amidaji temple. One night, someone who sounds like he is wearing armour comes to temple to request his services. He takes Houichi to a large mansion where he is asked to play the tale of Heike. After he is finished he is left alone with the princess who requested his services, and he teaches her how to play the biwa. He returns to the temple in the morning. Night after night Houichi goes to play, but a priest from the temple is suspicious about where he goes and has someone follow him. It turns out that the place where Houichi goes to play night after night is actually a graveyard...
Shimono Hiro tells a story called Bancho Sarayashiki. The story is about a girl called Okiku who works at the Aoyama mansion. The young master of the house, Aoyama Harima, falls in love with Okiku. After a while she falls in love with him as well. However one day Harima is married to another woman. However he still continues his relation with Okiku in secrecy. To test whether Harima really loves her or not she breaks one of the families heirloom plates. Believing she broke it by accident he forgives her. However his wife finds out, and forces Harima to punish her. Cornered by his wife he stabs her to death, and throws her into a well. However Okiku her ghost comes back to haunt the house...
Koyama Rikiya tells the story of Doujouji and the travelling monk Anchin. One day he injures his leg, and resides at a house. The daughter of the house, Kiyohime, is to take care of him while he is there. As time passes they fall in love, however due to Anchin being a monk he is not allowed to marry. Because of that he decides to leave, but because Kiyohime looks so sad he promises her to return in three years to make her his bride. A promise that he cannot keep. When he never returns Kiyohime goes to search him, but when he is not at the temple where he should be she transforms into a giant serpent in her rage and turns up at the temple where Anchin resides. He hides under the temple bell, but the now snake Kiyohime still manages to find him...
The final story is called "Sanmai no Ofuda" and is told by all of the seiyuu. This is a story about a young priest who goes into the mountains to find chestnuts. The high priest warns him for a Yamamba (which) residing in the mountains and gives him 3 protective charms. Of course he meets the yamamba and tries to use the charms to get away. He uses all three charms but only manages to escape while the yamamba still chases him. Finally, it is the hight priest who manages to defeat the yamamba.
As these are kaidan, Japanese horror stories, none of them end very well (except for the last one). Most stories have been made a bit more romantic than their original counterparts, but in return they are also very effective on the scare effects. The sound of the armour and princess trying to find Houichi, The ghost of Okiku counting the plates, and finally the voice of the snake Kiyohime circling the bell don't miss their scare effect.
The tension in the CD is double, on the one hand the phrasing is still eroi, and on the other hand you also have the tension from the horror stories. I don't like the last one as much, but the other 3 are really good. And of course, Kannou Mukashi Banashi is one of my favourite series ever.