Ghost Stories "Am I Beautiful? Kuchisake-onna" (partially found unaired episode of anime series; 2000)
Ghost Stories is an anime series that ran for 20 episodes between 2000 and 2001. It centers around Satsuki Miyanoshita moving to a new town. After making new friends at school, they visit an abandoned building in the nearby area and discover that it's haunted. The haunting was a result of Satsuki's mother capturing ghosts who haunted the school and surrounding area. Due to the urbanization of the town, the ghosts are now roaming freely, and Satsuki must use a book from her mother to exorcise the ghosts for good. The series is best known today for its English dub by ADV, which heavily rewrote much of the original dialogue to turn the series into a dark comedy as opposed to a supernatural drama.
One episode, "Am I Beautiful? Kuchisake-onna" ("あたしきれい? 口裂け女"), attempted to depict the Kuchisake-onna urban legend. Kuchisake-onna (which translates to "the slit-mouthed woman"), according to folklore, would stalk an area in a large overcoat and a surgical mask. She would ask children if she was beautiful or not and, regardless of their reply, would normally kill them after revealing her disfigured ear-to-ear slit of a mouth.
The episode was intended to air in Japan on November 5th, 2000, as the third episode, and was even previewed as an upcoming episode, but it was ultimately pulled from airing due to complaints from parents who were worried that her disfigurement would look too much like a cleft palate. Fuji TV obliged and pulled the episode due to fears of offending viewers. The episode was also never released on DVD and was not present in the English dub.
It is unlikely that Fuji TV will release the episode due to the controversy, and it's unknown if they even still have a copy of it. As of now, the only footage from the episode that has been seen by the public is the 15-second preview.
Script and Concept Art
While the episode has never surfaced, on October 24th, 2020 the script was found online by Pixiv user 黄泉ネット(ゆめみし), who uploaded twenty of the thirty page script. The script might have been taken from an 2002 archive of a website that hosted the script. Some of the pages for the script was not individually archived so the entirety of the script is incomplete. The user also uploaded concept art of Kuchisake-onna, which appears authentic as this same art also appeared on a Mandarake auction alongside official concept art of other Ghost Stories characters.
- A page from TV Drama Database detailing "Am I Beautiful? Kuchisake-onna" (in Japanese) . Retrieved 28 Jun '17
- Pixiv upload of script. Retrieved 23 Jun '21
- Archive of the script. Retrieved 23 Jun '21
- Pixiv of concept art.Retrieved 23 Jun '21
- Mandarake auction. Retrieved 13 Aug '21