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Kimodameshi, usually translated as "test of courage," is a summer 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, Intimacy Via Horror.


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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.
  • During the island arc of Assassination Classroom, Koro-sensei splits his class into boy-girl pairs to send them through the dark cave. Supposedly it's a test of courage, but really it's just an excuse for Koro-sensei to pair off the couples he ships together.
  • Anpanman episode 627b "Anpanman and the Wolf Ghost" has Creampanda and some of the children going out at night in the forest to see how long they can last without being afraid. They encountered Chibi Okami when they saw his glowing eyes and think he's the wold ghost of the forest.
  • 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.
  • Episode 7 of Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!. Since there are no girls in the show, the Ho Yay is cranked up on this kimodaeshi.
  • 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.
  • Den-noh Coil also features a kimodameshi competition, made more interesting by the use of digital horrors. 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. Sōsuke and Kaname visit an Abandoned Hospital at night, and Kaname hopes it will scare The Stoic Sōsuke. 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 Sōsuke 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 does this during the Okinawa class trip — and had plenty of Japanese horror movie references sprinkled throughout. Not only, it also references The Thing (1982), with a head-spider that had Onizuka's facial features!
  • Isekai Quartet has the characters doing one during a field trip. There's no one playing monsters to scare them, but between the Overlord characters and Tanya exploding in wrath when she thinks Aqua is the Being X, there are plenty scary moments.
  • 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, specifically arranged for Sawako to be the frightener.
  • Seen in a two-part story arc in Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, complete with a haunted house sent by Nightmare.
  • During the second beach holiday chapter of Kitsune no Yomeiri, Kanon sets up a test of courage to try to scare Kyouka with her Tanuki followers, only for the test is interrupted when Kyouka is kidnapped by a giant octopus.
  • 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.
  • Kanna and Saikawa do this in chapter 8 of Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid: Kanna's Daily Life, exploring an abandoned building that people occasionally see lights from despite no electricity running in the place. It turns out that Fafnir had turned it into his own private arcade, using magic to power the cabinets.
  • One takes place in My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU in episode 8.
  • One arc in My Hero Academia has some of the classes in UA take part in a test of courage in a forest at night, as a way to let off some steam from the Training from Hell they were subjected to. It promptly goes to shit when super-villains sneak in and start attacking.
  • Natsume's Book of Friends featured one of these, complete with creepy house with a haunted reputation... it soon starts going downhill...
  • Class 3-A of Negima! Magister Negi Magi 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.
  • Non Non Biyori: Natsumi decides to hold one at the end of summer vacation, but they use the village shrine rather than a graveyard for safety reasons. Komari gets picked to be the scarer, but the supplies Natsumi provided are pretty lacking; she gets caught in a Bedsheet Ghost without eye holes. Her brother Suguru makes it to the shrine and back without her noticing, making her think there really is a ghost.
  • 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.
  • In Chapter 10 of The Quintessential Quintuplets, Fuutarou is in charge of making one for his classmates, because he was self-studying while the tasks got delivered and the others put it on him. He decides to make the most of it and give them all as big a scare as he can, with Yotsuba's help. Save for Ichika and Miku, he seems to have been quite successful.
  • Ranma ½:
    • One of the late stories sends the cast, paired off, into a "Cave of Lost Love" that really is haunted as part of a plot by Ukyō Kuonji (plus Shampoo in the OVA) to break up Ranma and Akane. The plan backfires quite spectacularly on Ukyō and Ryōga Hibiki: comparing Ukyō and Ryōga's selfish alliance of convenience (which has only just escaped breaking apart due to Ryōga'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 Ryōga and Ukyō are one of the happy couples they seek to break up. They promptly start ignoring Ranma and Akane to try and break up Ryōga and Ukyō, 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 Ryōga and Ukyō 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/episode 2 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 Squid Girl, 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!
  • In Touhou Sangetsusei, the residents of Gensokyo engage in a Kimodameshi. Youmu Konpaku, who's afraid of ghosts (despite being a half-ghost herself) spends pretty much the whole time running in terror like a Scooby-Doo character.
  • Urusei Yatsura:
    • In one manga story, when Ataru agrees to take Lum out on a date, their final dating activity is in a kimodameshi set up in a local amusement park. Lum, being an oni, isn't scared at all, but happily pretends she is as an excuse to cuddle up to Ataru. Ataru is likewise completely unphased... until they leave the ride and an old groundsman reveals that the two most persistent ghosts were Real After All. Though he turns out to have been just lying, this leaves Ataru petrified. This sequence got cut from the 1981 Animated Adaptation of the chapter.
    • In a later story, the students of Tomobiki High are made to go through a kimodameshi set up in their school, and none of them are scared — though they quickly pretend to be when they learn that it was the principal's idea.
  • Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out!: While on a vacation trip with their friends, Ami and Itsuhito decide to set up one of these for Hana and Shinichi, hoping that Hana will get scared and cling to Shinichi for protection (and thus give them a push into a Relationship Upgrade). They're in for a big surprise when it turns out that Shinichi is the one who's terrified to go into the dark and Hana is the one who has to guide him back (and wastes no time in poking fun of him for being such a scaredy cat).
  • Featured in chapter 25 of Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs, during which Chisaki tried to set up a scary situation involving real spirits, in an attempt to get other members of the class to believe Kogarashi really is a spirit medium.

    Fan Works 


    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • In Amnesia: Memories, Spade World has the club-trip group in Shinano split into pairs and perform a dare to walk down a path in the very dark forest to leave flowers at a grave that has a ghost story surrounding it. Turns out to be a front, as the members of Ikki's fanclub manipulated the pairs and time to leave so that Ikki would not enter the forest at all, and the heroine would enter the forest late, get separated from her partner, and then left alone while actually surrounded by Ikki's fangirls and in potential danger — one Bad Ending actually takes place in the forest, where the fangirls succeed in their plan and harm the heroine enough to render her blind, deaf, and comatose.
  • 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.

    Web Animation 
  • In hololive ERROR, Honoka Omori makes some of her classmates (namely, all the named characters of 19XX) go through a test of courage, but rather than a simple fake ghost plan, they try to see if any real ghosts show up in their school's art room. In particular, it was inspired by the urban legend of a girl who loved painting so much she started hurting herself to use her own blood as paint before bleeding out to her death, and how anyone who sees her final painting is doomed to die. They... see absolutely nothing, but right after the kimodameshi ends, one Nanase Furukawa starts freaking out, which eventually leads to them all getting buried under the rubble of the soon collapsed school.

Alternative Title(s): Test Of Courage