31 Shinbi's Apartment Ghosts!
DAY TWO: THE NO-FACE GHOST
Written by Jonathan WojcikThey may have a growing personal army of the dead, but it's not all fun and frolic for these kids. Now that they can see and interact with spirits, they're more likely to be targeted by them as well, and in this episode they notice that their mother has begun to behave abnormally.
The thing even serves live, wriggling fish for dinner, keeps the curtains drawn and has notably smashed every mirror in the house. As it eventually turns out, it has possessed multiple people in the apartment complex at once, attempting to usurp their lives for some indeterminate purpose.
The being's true form, the No-Face Ghost, looks human except of course for its smooth and featureless face. In addition to possessing bodies, it can shape-shift to imitate anyone at any time, or at the very least anyone it has previously taken over. It seems to be driven by little more than bitterness and rage, too, and can't bear to "see" its own reflection. But why?
ORIGIN REVEAL (!CONTENT WARNING!)
The No-face Ghost was once a kind, happy, and loving young mother. It seemed like she was still as in love with her husband as the day they met, even after at least a decade raising an equally happy daughter.
But on one ordinary, liesurely drive through the country, they run afoul of a truck driver falling asleep behind the wheel...
The last thing she remembered was their car spinning out of control. When the mother comes to, she's in a hospital bed, her face is heavily bandaged, and she's alone. She's told her face was badly damaged in the accident, but she doesn't care about that; she only wants to know if her family is safe, and we already know the answer from the look on the doctor's face before he says what you never want to have to tell someone.
Some time passes, but not enough for the bandages to come off. Everything reminds her of her family. She can't even distract herself with television without remembering her husband and daughter playing video games together.
The last words she ever says, before the memory goes black, is that she's coming to see them soon. We know what that means, but we'll never know how she chose to do it.
Dying in such overwhelming grief, the woman's soul felt nothing but hatred and jealousy, bent on tormenting those who still enjoy the love of a family. Over time, the spirit even forgot who it ever was, what it ever looked like, where it originally lived or even how to be human at all.
Little did she know, her loved ones hadn't moved on either. All along, they had waited in their own apartment for her to come home. Now knowing her original apartment number from the memory-visions. Hari allows the spirit to pursue her to the correct door, and the three are finally reunited.
Hari gets her usual reward, and not to ruin the emotional ride we just went on, but the POKEMON GET moment is never not going to be a little jarring. We discussed this a little in my review of the first episode, but this phenomenon appears to be a sort of "split." The human soul and the monstrous ghost are two different things, with one passing on to the afterlife and the other left on Earth in the "ghost orb."
"Here, I don't need this anymore!" says the dead woman, handing her soul's vengeance-form over to a child like a used Christmas sweater. Just kind of a weird thing to do.
The No-face Ghost isn't a very original concept, and it isn't the most unique or original design spin on the concept either. Visually it's kind of forgettable, besides the cute fact that its chibi form has the character for "NOTHING" written on its face, but the simplicity is obviously the point. The fact that she's a faceless, generic template of a person is so much more interesting through the lens of why she took such a form. It's both frightening and heart-wrenching to imagine someone becoming a faceless, body-possessing entity because its entire sense of self has been lost to overwhelming grief. It's certainly one of the heavier origins given to a ghost in this setting, but, fair warning, emphasis on "one of."
They don't screw around with this show.