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Nightmare Fuel / Kubo and the Two Strings

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Enter the Gashadokuro: skeletal, massive, and frightening.
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Coming from masterminds behind the likes of ParaNorman and Coraline, it's no wonder that Kubo has its own share of horrors.


  • The fact that Kubo had one of his eyes ripped out when he was a baby.
  • The Sisters are this, from their visual design to their creepy, synchronized voices.
    "Kubo... Kubo... Little boy..."
    • Not to mention that they reveal themselves not only by the creepy cooing, but also by appearing out of mist. At first there's only one...then the second one appears from behind the first. They blow all other haunted scarecrows out of the water.
    "Come to your aunties..."
    • Washi's smoke pipe can summon a big black smoke demon that causes chaos everywhere it goes.
  • In a huge rarity for western animation, the film posits that sometimes your own family is the worst enemy you could have. Have fun with that, kids.
  • Kubo and Monkey finding refuge inside a Dead Blue Whale! Let that sink in for a moment: they have to take shelter inside a giant something's corpse.
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  • Kubo has a small moment of Power Incontinence in this scene. When he lies to Monkey that it must've been mosquitosnote  that bit her rear, he notices that three of the origami birds are changing into origami mosquitos who make a beeline for Monkey. The uneasy look on his face hints that he doesn't mean for this to happen. Bonus points for the origami mosquitos' uncanny size, bordering on Jumanji-sized.
  • Even though Beetle turns out to be benign, it's scary from Monkey's point of view when he seemingly abducts Kubo out of nowhere. One minute, her back is turned, and the next, he's gone, leaving only his voice calling out for her. Since Monkey is basically Kubo's mother, it's every parent's worst nightmare to have your child stolen from right under you.
  • If you think about it it's scary that Monkey nearly stabbed Beetle. Once you know their true identities, it's ironic that Sariatu nearly killed Hanzo like she was supposed to years ago, if it hadn't been for Kubo's intervention. It would've also been tragic for Kubo's mother to kill her husband and never really know the truth then.
  • The Gashadokuro. A giant roaring skeleton with fiery eyes that nearly eats both Monkey and Beetle. Even the credits sequence showing how the massive puppet was animated ends with him lunging at an animator!
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    • The thing's introduction counts as well: Beetle pulls a sword from a pedestal shaped like a skeletal hand, which rises up into utter darkness. This is followed by numerous giant bones littered around the area also rising into the abyss. Followed by two giant glowing eyes lighting up, and the Gashadokuro revealing its nightmarish skeletal face...
    • Its reveal is made even more terrifying since the film first seems to prepare a Jump Scare with the hand possibly clutching Beetle once he pulled out the sword. Instead it is a Bait-and-Switch as the hand slowly descends into darkness, only for something much worse to come back with that hand.
    • A touch of Fridge Horror when its Skeletons in the Coat Closet attire is made completely out of human-sized bones. In Japanese mythology, Gashadokuro is formed from the bones of humans who died from war and starvation. When it catches someone, it bites their head off. The only warning of Gashadokuro's arrival is ringing in the ears. The only defense is to run.
  • The monster in the water, the Garden of Eyes. Think a huge bunch of stalk eyes that hypnotize the victim while gradually luring them into its mouth, which is little more than a swirling maw of teeth (like a Sarlacc on steroids). And then there's how Beetle rescues Kubo from them: by shooting out the eyes with arrows. What's worse is how it loudly SCREAMS IN PAIN every time Beetle takes out one of its eyes!
    • Kubo came this close to being swallowed by that giant mouth!
    • Because he was being mesmerized, the leaf boat gradually falling apart comes as an alarming indication of how little time Kubo has before he runs out of air, especially for Monkey.
  • The fight between Monkey and one of the Sisters on the ship has the Sister sinking the sickle end of a kusarigama into Monkey's side and reeling her in. Ouw-tch. Blood is quite visible when it happens.
    • While we don't see it, the implication that Monkey killed the first sister by cleaving into her head, given her mask was sliced in two is rather frightening.
  • Hanzo's transformation into Beetle manages to be this despite never appearing onscreen. We just see the Hanzo doll convulsing as it's crushed and refolded by one of the Sisters.
  • During the fight at Hanzo's castle the bottom half of one of the sisters' masks breaks. Her skin is just as white as the mask was and the way her mouth contorts in fury while the upper half of her face is covered by the mask is terrifying, as are her sharp teeth. It dives hard into the Uncanny Valley to great effect.
  • Then there's the Moon King's floating, glowing, monstrous form, looking like a mix between a Dunkleosteus, a koi fish and a centipede with massive human teeth, helped by the fact that it has enough elements of his human guise to make it more eldritch.
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