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Ayakashi: Samurai Horror Tales is the less remembered anime series from which Mononoke originates. Eleven episodes long, it consists of three self-contained arcs, each with very different animation styles:

  • Tenshu Monogatari (Goddess of the Dark Tower), based on the Meiji-era Kabuki play by Kyōka Izumi. It tells the story of a forbidden love between a god and a human.
  • Yotsuya Kaidan (Yotsuya Ghost Story), an adaptation of the classic Japanese ghost story about betrayal, murder, and revenge from beyond the grave.
  • Bake Neko (Goblin Cat), an original creation and the most famous of the arcs; it was later continued with Mononoke, featuring the Medicine Seller as the main character. The story would appear again but in radically different form in the Spin-Off.

Not to be confused with Ayakashi Ayashi. For more tropes about the Medicine Seller, see Mononoke.

Tropes used in Ayakashi: Samurai Horror Tales include:
  • Art Shift: The animation in the Bakeneko arc is very different from the rest of the series.
  • Asshole Victim: Nearly everyone in the Bakeneko arc, and most of Oiwa's victims.
  • Attempted Rape: Takuetsu (Yotsuya).
  • Brother-Sister Incest: Naosuke and Osode very nearly.
  • Cats Are Mean: Just the Bakeneko story...
  • Chiaki Konaka
  • Covert Pervert: The Medicine Peddler carries feudal-style porn, as well as rather interesting medicines. Kayo was intrigued.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Many of Oiwa's victims.
  • Deranged Animation: Oiwa's curse results in a couple strange sequences.
  • Driven to Suicide: Osode, Naosuke, and Genshiro. Oiwa's death may have been this or accidental (Yotsuya Kaidan).
  • Duel to the Death: Between Iemon and Yomoshichi, whom the revenge quest was passed on to by Naosuke.
  • Flash Back: How Tamaki's story is told.
  • The 47 Ronin: "Chushingura" is mentioned in Yotsuya; the samurai characters were involved.
  • Impoverished Patrician: The samurai and their families after they are dishonored (Yotsuya). The two main female characters often allude to their fallen status.
  • Inexplicably Awesome: The Medicine Peddler just turns up out of the blue with no explanation of who he is, how he got there or why he can do what he does. Then awesome ensues. And he's off again.
  • Jacob Marley Apparel: Oiwa keeps her disfigurement as a ghost.
  • Lady Macbeth: Oume, although she's not married to Iemon yet. Iemon had disliked his current wife for a while but Oume gives him an excuse and the tools to get rid of her for good.
  • Lemony Narrator: Nanboku (Yotsuya)
  • Meaningful Name: Lady Mao's name is phonetically identical to 'cat' in Chinese. Guess what kills her.
    • Tamaki has this going on as well, though it requires some explanation if you aren't from Japan and aren't familiar with the humour. 'Tama' is a common name for a cat, which makes it funny anyway even if you don't have the kanji staring you down because "hee hee bakeneko lady has a cat name, awesome". But when you consider the 'ki' kanji they use means living or birth...? You can take her name to mean KITTY IS ALIVE/REBORN.
  • Medium Blending: Yotsuya Kaidan has a few live action sequences.
  • Mega Neko: The Bakeneko (which represents its immense hatred).
  • Monster Delay: For most of the arc, the Bakeneko is invisible.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Oume tricks the object of her crush into poisoning his wife. It's a nonfatal poison, but the results were horrific and convinced the husband to discard the wife.
  • Never My Fault: Sato (Bakeneko) isn't directly responsible, but she refuses to take responsibility for her complicity and spends much of the story screaming that it isn't her fault.
  • Nightmare Face: Oiwa, because of the poison.
  • Ojou
  • The Reveal:
    • Bakeneko: Tamaki's story.
    • Yotsuya Kaidan: Yomoshichi isn't dead, Naosuke had murdered another man by accident.
  • Revenge: A central theme in all three stories.
  • Rule of Scary: Oume's poison, administered orally, can permanently disfigure someone's face in just a couple hours. [1]
  • Spoiled Brat: Up to Eleven, and lampshaded with Oume.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Zushonosuke and Tomihime.
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: Oiwa from Yotsuya Kaidan is the original version.
  • Swarm of Rats: A common motif in Yotsuya Kaidan. A woman's corpse is swarmed by rats, and later another woman is eaten alive. Also invoked at Iemon's death.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Iemon rips out a fistful of hair from Kohei's head to torment the servant as punishment for stealing. Later Oiwa attempts to comb her hair after being poisoned and ends up ripping out whole chunks.
  • Twelve-Episode Anime: Yes, Ayakashi is a twelve episode anime, but it's actually an anthology that has three separate four-episode animes by different production groups (Bakeneko, which was supposed to be the final season, ended up with its own spinnoff, Mononoke.)
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Oiwa's baby.
  • Woman Scorned: Oiwa.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: We are continually informed that Oiwa was a perfect wife before she went crazy.
  1. For why this is problematic, see Perfect Poison.