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The Dark Side of Kamishibai

The good guys don't always win, and a happy ending isn't always just a punch line away, as some of the emerging dark-toned kamishibai are proving. Now don't get me wrong; I'm a sucker for a happy ending and I'll always enjoy a good laugh. Yet some days, one craves a little something besides a light-hearted comedy. While magic girl stories have their equal share of part comedy and drama, best exemplified by Firefly's "Questors" and Lisa (Quova)'s "Agile Heroes," but sometimes one wants a little more darkness. Well, there's no need to worry as some kamishibai authors are already creating moodier kamishibais.

Looking very promising is Lisa (Quova)'s "Armageddon Machine Yari." This is the story of a lost little girl - not just any little girl, but a girl born in a lab, into a world full of fear and peril: Can she survive the alien virus and lead the human race to victory? I don't know, but it sure is going to be one hell of a rocky road finding out.

Next on the list is Alex-chan's story of vengeance from beyond the grave, "Dark Moon Rising." This story will have you on the edge of your seat, as a teenage girl faces off against an evil spirit. The author recently told me that this story doesn't have "an exactly happy ending."

Lastly, "Stone of Destiny" by Cori Falls, is full of intrigue and foreboding. See as the story hardly starts and the heroine already seems to be dead! But don't worry: the story isn't that gloomy, but while I don't want to ruin the ending, I will say the heroine is alive at the end and probably hasn't seen the last of the villain.

With several more authors considering darker-toned stories, it looks like Kamishibai will have a nice balance of comedy and drama to suit every taste.

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