Kimodameshi, usually translated as "test of courage," is a game similar to going to an amusement park Haunted House. Pairs of teenagers (frequently couples, but sometimes it's Not a Date) negotiate a course at night that's set up to be as scary as possible; the path usually leads past carefully-designed eerie scenes, out of which an actor in a ghost costume will occasionally leap to increase the shock factor. It basically identical to PG-rated American-style haunted houses - and, like haunted houses worldwide, it's a chance to give teenagers an excuse to cling to each other. Kimodameshi is primarily a Japanese cultural artifact; it differs from a Western Scare Dare game in that the kimodameshi is more organized, and works like an ad hoc adolescent Rite of Passage. It's also an excellent excuse for the writers to spotlight a Love Dodecahedron or push along a Slap-Slap-Kiss relationship. Teams are sometimes randomly assigned, which gives plenty of chances for characters to regret being paired with the "wrong" partner.... Frequently seen in the Festival Episode. Compare Youth Is Wasted on the Dumb, Scare Dare.
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Anime and Manga
- Ai Kora has a chapter where our perverted hero sets up his classroom's haunted house at the school festival so as to be able to sneak around and take pictures of girls with his "beloved parts" in Rambo-inspired gear. When he sees two other guys trying to hit on the girls, he terrifies them into oblivion by striking from the shadows.
- Attack on Titan: Junior High has an episode where the 1st years participated in the "57th Test of Courage" to find the "Wonders of Titan Junior High", only to find out that it was nothing more than a "Scooby-Doo" Hoax caused by the 2nd and 3rd years, who are pulling the strings.
- Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts uses this as a competition between the 2nd year students and 3rd year students. This takes place in a Matrix-like environment with the summoned creatures all re-themed as Japanese horror monsters. Whoever screams, loses.
- Episode 7 of Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu LOVE!. Since there are no girls in the show, the Ho Yay is turned Up to Eleven on this kimodaeshi.
- Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan spoofed this, with the main character commenting that he expects cat robots from the future, nurse-witches, reindeer who are doctors, or moving castles to pop out...
- Cardcaptor Sakura used this theme as a vehicle for one of the Cards in the first season.
- This also worked very well with Sakura's fear of ghosts in a few episodes.
- Code Geass has this in the school festival episode of Season 1; Kallen plays a tombstone/Nurikabe hybrid, and ends up scaring Ougi and Viletta who pass by on a date.
- Dennou Coil also featured a kimodameshi competition, made more interesting by the use of digital horrors. It's nice to note that, among the usual monsters, the digital creatures also included The Greys, Chupacabras, the Flatwoods monster, and the ability to shoot back.
- Family Compo with Masahiko and Shion at a festival on a Not a Date, supposedly testing whether participants are a "real couple". They pass, of course.
- A Fruits Basket example: Despite being terrified of haunted houses, Tohru agrees to accompany Momiji, Kyo, Yuki, and Hatsuharu through one at the beginning of summer break. She becomes so frightened she starts to cry, at which point both Kyo and Yuki offer to lead her through. Embarrassed, they begin to fight, only for Momiji to take Tohru's hand and scold them for letting their rivalry come between helping a girl in need.
- Spoofed in an episode of Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu. Sousuke and Kaname visit an Abandoned Hospital at night, and Kaname hopes it will scare The Stoic Sousuke. Given that he's been a mercenary since he was eight, intangible things like ghosts and strange voices don't frighten him a bit, and Kaname divides her time between being afraid, and getting annoyed at Sousuke for not being afraid. The only thing that scares him in that episode is Kaname's apparent death, and he admits as much as the two of them ride home together on his bike.
- Great Teacher Onizuka did this during the Okinawa class trip (and had plenty of Japanese horror movie references sprinkled throughout).
- Not only, it also referenced The Thing (1982), with a head-spider that had Onizuka's facial features!
- Haruhi Suzumiya features one in Endless Eight.
- Karin's class creates one for the Festival Episode, with Usui's creepy eye providing scares. That works a little too well; several crying kids have to be escorted out.
- In episode 8 of Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl.
- Kimi ni Todoke has one of these near the beginning.
- Seen in a two-part story arc in Kirby of the Stars, complete with a haunted house sent by Nightmare.
- K-On!: Sawako-chan makes an appearance as the final scare, much to Ritsu's disgust when no one makes it to her trap. To elaborate, no one even knew the teacher was there, and she'd gotten lost trying to follow her students. She ended up giving Mio a scare so hard, she was reduced to a foaming mess.
- Love Hina sends its chaotic cast through a "haunted house" as part of its Festival Episode, with semipredictable results.
- Class 3-A of Mahou Sensei Negima! builds a haunted house (complete with an actual ghost) for the gigantic, no-holds-barred festival that is Mahorafest. Given that most of the class adores Negi, there's a lot of fighting over who gets to escort him through it.
- One takes place in My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU in episode 8.
- Natsume's Book of Friends featured one of these, complete with creepy house with a haunted reputation... it soon starts going downhill...
- Ouran High School Host Club held a kimodameshi tournament for Halloween, the prize going to the builders of the scariest haunted house.
- Kakeru in Psycho Busters encounters one of these who manage to come across his psychic friends and mistake them for ghostly activity: Hitodama Light created by Kaito, Ayano's astral form, and Xiao Long who closely resembles a Zashiki-warashi.
- One of the late stories of Ranma ½ sends the cast, paired off, into a "Cave of Lost Love" that really is haunted as part of a plot by Ukyo Kuonji (plus Shampoo in the OVA) to break up Ranma and Akane. The plan backfires quite spectacularly on Ukyo and Ryoga Hibiki, and may even have been intended as Ship Sinking by the author: comparing Ukyo and Ryoga's selfish alliance of convenience (which has only just escaped breaking apart due to Ryoga's own difficulty with controlling his emotions) to Ranma and Akane's bickering and angry banter, the ghosts conclude that Ranma and Akane hate each other, while Ryoga and Ukyo are one of the happy couples they seek to break up. They promptly start ignoring Ranma and Akane to try and break up Ryoga and Ukyo, ignoring their protests that they aren't the couple here. The backstory to the Cave of Lost Love heavily implies that, after this experience, they will never be able to become a couple- this is all but made explicit in the manga version, which ends with a scene of Ryoga and Ukyo fighting bitterly over whose fault this was.
- Possible related to this trope is the "zombie-demon show" that Mousse takes his date to at the end of one late manga story. Unfortunately for him, as his date is Shampoo, she does not find it romantic or frightening in the slightest and is instead angrily disgusted, beating Mousse up and leaving him there for his troubles.
- Shows up in Sakura Trick. Though the person setting it up ultimately didn't do anything, and it only gets scary because Mitsuki is terrible at spying on her sister.
- In chapter 3 of School-Live! Kurumi, Yuki, and Yuuri do a Test Of Courage at their school. They live at school but they stay in their classroom at night. For Kurumi and Yuuri the trip serves as a way to restock on supplies however Yuki is oblivious to the zombies and just thinks they're having fun.
- Sgt. Frog:
- One episode had Momoka suggest the group do this, as part of her latest scheme to get closer to Fuyuki.
- Same in the manga, where things are complicated by running into a real ghost, one of a Japanese fighter pilot from World War II who briefly bonds with the frogs.
- In the English version of the manga, "Kimodameshi" was translated to "Playing Chicken".
- Happens in episode 3.1 of Shinryaku! Ika Musume, mostly as an effort by Eiko to scare Ika-chan, who wasn't raised in human society and has no idea why the whole ordeal was supposed to be scary. After getting separated from the group, Squid Girl then accidentally freaks out the human characters when she activates her glow-in-the-dark mode and chases after them, wondering why they keep running from her. When actual ghosts appear around her and escort her back to safety, she never realizes what they are, instead musing that not all humans are bad.
- In Strawberry Panic!, Tamao uses one of these as an opportunity to frighten Nagisa so that she can record her screams. Simultaneously disturbing and hilarious...
- To Love-Ru had one of these early on, with the addition of a rumor stating that the pair that makes it to the end will become an actual couple. Naturally, Rito makes it to the end with both Haruna and Lala with him.
- Tokyo Mew Mew: Ichigo Momomiya and Masaya Aoyama go to one of these at an amusement park in one episode. Poor Ichigo ended up fainting, but that's okay, because Masaya carried her through it!
- If it had not been for one of these, the plot of Psychic Detective Yakumo would probably not have either Haruka or Yakumo in it.
- Variety shows on Japanese TV have gotten a lot of mileage out of sending their hosts or other well-known talents through supposedly haunted buildings.
- Kamen Rider Den-O includes one that's laughably un-scary to any rational viewer and most of the characters, but frightens Deneb so badly that it causes Yuuto to waste one of his two remaining single-use transformation trinkets.
- Also had a little chihuahua statue that scared the hell out of Momotaros for some reason.
- In School Days, the cultural festival haunted house was basically a front for a private room where couples could have sex. Unknown to most of the student body, the activities there were videotaped for the later entertainment of the senior class.
- Da Capo II features an event based on The Seven Mysteries of the school.
- In Little Busters!, one of the later common route events involves Kyousuke setting up a kimodameshi for the others. The player can choose two of the girls to go with (plus an easter egg option where he goes with Kengo and Masato if you choose to hesitate for long enough), with different dialogue depending on the combination. Either way, the girls will be scared and Riki will be wary but ultimately figure out the tricks - unless you go with Kurugaya, who will instantly figure out what the 'spooky' things are and end up leading both the girl and Riki by hand.
- Happens in several routes of Aoi Shiro. Yasumi and Nami's routes have them accompany the protagonist (and would be love-interest) Syouko. It also occurs in Kohaku's route but this time Syouko is accompanied by Ayashiro who is just a friend (much to the disappointment of Yasumi and Nami both).
- In Taketo's route of Class Trip Crush, the cast participates in a "guts test" staged by their teachers. The protagonist is paired up with Homare, who spends the entire time explaining his observations on the Sibling Triangle going on between the protagonist, Taketo, and Yasuto, to the point that she doesn't have a chance to be scared at all.