Urasekai Picnic (Otherside Picnic) started life as a series of light novels written by Miyazawa Iori. They’ve since been turned into a manga series and now an anime series that is currently airing on Funimation. The story makes liberal usage of characters, events, and locations from Japanese “net lore,” something akin to what we might call creepypastas in English, but generally comes from a thriving community of anonymous 2channel users sharing “true accounts” of terrifying things that happened to them at some point in their life. From these, characters, locations, and even events become so popular (depending on how good the story is) that they become somewhat of a modern urban legend, spread not through traditional word-of-mouth but through anonymous postings on the internet. These characters and locations are often easily and immediately recognisable for Japanese fans, but perhaps less so for Western fans who are unfamiliar with their base stories. So, if you’ve been wondering just what “net lore” has been featured on the show, look no further! Here’s a list of all the stories that have appeared in the anime so far.
Kunekune (Episode 1)
Our favourite white (or occasionally black) wiggly guy that’s often seen waving and wiggling in the distance of rice fields. If you see this creature up close, it’ll drive you mad. You can find the full Kunekune collection of stories in this Kowabana episode.
Elevator Game (Episode 1, Episode 10)
By following a particular series of button presses, you can find the entrance to another world. Used in the anime several times to enter the Otherside.
Hasshaku-sama (Episode 2)
Perhaps the most famous 2channel creepypasta of all, it’s the eight-foot-tall lady herself, Hasshaku-sama! Chances are good you’ve already heard of her story, but if not, you can listen to it here.
Big Head O (Episode 3)
A village full of creatures with abnormally large heads, as the sign on the way there seems to suggest. This was a brief story shared on 2channel long ago that has stood the test of time perhaps thanks to the both terrifying and amusing idea of creatures with massive heads (that are never explained).
Space-Time Man (Episode 4)
The Space-Time Man has appeared across numerous 2channel scary story accounts over the years. He (or they, as there may be several) appears as a middle-aged man in work clothes (occasionally with a hard hat). He’s usually not very kind and chases people away from certain locations that he may or may not be the guardian of. If you stumble upon him, then he’ll likely escort you back from whence you came.
Kisaragi Station (Episode 5, Episode 6, Episode 10)
Potentially the most famous story to have ever come out of 2channel, Kisaragi Station was a thread posted by “Hasumi” in 2004 which detailed her experiences, in real time, on board a train that appeared to have taken her to some place that wasn’t of this world. You can find out more here.
Monkey Dream (Episode 6)
A popular “once you hear it, you’ll be cursed too” story from 2channel back in the day. This story is a dream you have where you’re sitting on a mostly empty train, but none of the station names sound familiar. In fact, they’re strange things like “eye gouging” and “skewering,” which is exactly what happens to someone on the train at each stop. If you don’t wake up before they reach you, well… You can find out more here.
Resort Job (Episode 7)
Resort Job is one of the longest stories ever shared on 2channel, and it details a group of university friends who take part-time jobs during the summer at a seaside Japanese inn. The inn they work at is run by an elderly couple and has a strange design. They soon discover the only way to the second floor is through a narrow staircase outside, and it’s supposed to be empty and not in use. So then, why do they keep seeing the owner take rice up there every day…?
At Suma Coast (Episode 7)
At Suma Coast is a weird little creepypasta featuring three friends who go out for a bike ride near Suma Coast (or beach) that end up getting beat up by a bunch of delinquents. Then alien-like creatures show up and… yeah…
Ninja Cats (Episode 8)
Just like it sounds, in 2008 someone on 2channel shared a story about being targeted by ninja cats. They detailed the harassment they were suffering from these cats and even gave a location, which people visited and found no cats, thus ending that little adventure a few weeks after it began.
Sannuki Kano (Episode 9)
Another “read at your own risk” story, Sannuki Kano was shared on 2channel in 2009. A somewhat human-looking monkey appeared in the poster’s yard and informed them that “Sannuki Kano” was about to show up, and handed them a bag, informing the poster they should show this to the “Sannuki Kano” person. Inside the bag was human teeth, and when Sannuki Kano showed up, she appeared to be an old woman. The poster did as asked and received a tooth in return. They buried the tooth in the garden but soon heard from locals that the very name of Sannuki Kano itself was cursed and they should never say it out loud. Whoops.
Kankandara (Episode 11)
One of my personal favourites, Kankandara was once an unfortunate shrine maiden who was killed by an evil giant snake and… well you really should just read the story, or you can listen to it right here (and take a look at the potential truth behind it over here as well!).