English: Ghost Hunt
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Oct 4, 2006 to Mar 28, 2007
Premiered: Fall 2006
Licensors: FUNimation Entertainment
Source: Light novel
Duration: 25 min. per ep.
Rating: PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
Score: 8.001 (scored by 52,461 users)
1 indicates a weighted score. Please note that 'Not yet aired' titles are excluded.
2 based on the top anime page. Please note that 'Not yet aired' and 'R18+' titles are excluded.
The greatest asset of this series is the characters. Their personalities are rich and engaging, and their memorable interactions with one another is one of the greatest selling points of this series. It is one of the main aspects that makes you want to keep watching episode to episode.
Yes, the storyline is superb, and the arcs are usually kept to 3 to 4 episodes. This keeps the series watchable without frustrating the viewer, waiting for an arc or storyline to end.
This series is not scary at all, but can be quite suspenseful at times. It keeps the "creepiness" to a minimum, but at times, you still find yourself walking around the house to turn on all the lights. It's purpose is not to scare you, but to keep you glued to your screen, which it does beautifully.
For me, the humor in this series is also one of the most enjoyable aspects. There are moments when my family would literally bust out laughing, to the point of cackling. The relationship between Naru-chan and Mai, or Bou-san and Ayako will keep you in stitches.
I cannot recommend this series enough, and I'm attempting to get as many Ghost Hunt converts as I can!
Watch this series!! You will not be disappointed! read more
Story (3): The premise revolves around a group of paranormal investigators who investigate reports of spiritual activity and as such the series is divided into 7 cases as opposed to having one overarching story. Sounds like it could be interesting however what lets the plot-lines down for pretty much all of these cases are the poorly written mysteries. If you like mystery stories that leave clues for you to pick up and try and piece them together to work out the conclusion then this one is not for you, all the focus goes towards telling you the back story of the ghost which is hardly exciting when you know it's all going to be disregarded as soon as the next mystery rolls along and isn't all that memorable anyway. On top of that every case resolves by the main detective revealing information that was never there for the audience or the other characters for that matter to be able to solve the case before. This essentially gives the rest of the characters no real purpose to the story unless the ghost goes berserk and they need to get blasted by one of the other characters... magic powers.
Yes there are magic powers in this show and it pretty much ruins everything good the show DID have going for it in the first place. In the first case there was a very nice balance of scientific and computer based ghost catching methods in harmony with increments of supernatural abilities coming into play which made it feel like a show such as Most Haunted if there actually were any ghosts to catch. However as the cases go on the scientific methods of catching ghosts gets less and less and the magic powers become more and more relevant until it gets downright ridiculous. By the last case the cast are basically DBZ fighting zombies and there's no sense of mystery and using logic which is what the show set up it would be about originally so it just becomes a train-wreck of shark jumps.
Fans of long running shows will probably not enjoy the structure of the series. The fact each arc is 3-5 episodes long and have no effect on any future events pretty much means your watching an episodic show where the episodes are dragged out ridiculously, so essentially to all non-episodic fans, you will probably find the pacing to be tortuously slow.
The romance between the two main characters is awful, it's all done in this dream sequence where the female protagonist Mai sees her love interest Naru in a different light to what he's like in real life and she starts to fall in love with him through that? Are we're expected to believe that this is enough to build a romance from? No, just no, you need to show characters getting closer through common ground, mutual respect and care for one another, not through contrived dream sequences.
On top of that the series ends openly with no catharsis to the characters or any conclusion to this retarded excuse for a romance, probably to leave the romantic mystery open for a second season which thank god never happened. It would have been much better for it to have been self contained and offering some sort of conclusion but given how little there was building up to anything I guess there's no reason to be terribly disappointed.
Characters (2): The characters don't seem too bad at first but there are major problems. First of all the main character Mai is handled very badly, too idealistic all the time which gets very annoying and essentially sounds like she's preaching morals to the audience. She is also completely insignificant to every mystery except for maybe the last two and the only reason she's involved with the Shibuya Psychic Research Center in the first place is because of an accident that caused her to owe the main detective guy money, so she has no motivation at all besides paying off her debt, it's on the same level as Haruhi from Ouran High School Host Club where she broke the vase except that was satirical, this is meant to be taken seriously! Also what's this, a backdrop attempt where we find out Mai has no parents, oh wait, only mentioned once and never referred to again, doesn't do her character any justice, not important to any event. One of the worst main characters EVER!
The main detective in the show Naru is way too calm no matter how threatening the supernatural situation is, all decision making is too easy for him and there's never any conflict. It doesn't help that Mai's insignificance makes you think he should be the main character since he's the man solving the mysteries, an indication of bad writing but it doesn't matter anyway because his attitude towards everything just leaves him as a one dimensional and boring character except for when that lame dream sequence bullshit happens.
Every other character has their moments of being enjoyable and sometimes funny which is the only reason the character score isn't at rock bottom but they still suffer through having no character development throughout the show. By its conclusion there's no change to them as people as to what you see in episode 1. The only thing that changes is that they get along better with each other as the series goes on but that doesn't make them any more interesting as individuals.
They did attempt to develop the cold harsh guy Lin but it was ridiculous. He explains to Mai the reason he hates her is because of a deep seeded hatred he has towards the Japanese because of the conflict they've had with China and then he gets one friendship speech from Mai and he immediately 180 degrees mood swings to being alight with her, that's not character development, that's forced bullshit writing.
The funny monk character gets revealed to be a rock star on the side at the beginning of one of the episodes (because monk and rock star go hand in hand right?) but then IT'S NEVER REFERRED TO AGAIN! What was the point in revealing that information if it doesn't serve his character any purpose in the story?
Art and Animation (6): Despite being technically better than the story and the characters this is where the mix of horror mystery and shoujo falling flat on its face shows best. You take one look at the way these characters are drawn and try and imagine how you can get any scary looking ghosts or other creatures out of this style? It's impossible, even with a ton of blood over their faces that still doesn't make their Shoujo eyes and generic faces any more threatening on screen. I will admit though that the background art can be very unsettling at times due to the great use of lighting and colour, the case involving the bloody labyrinth in particular was the only case that had me on edge just because of how unpleasant it was to be in that room so kudos to that much at least.
The animation is hit and miss, some scenes had good animation like the shattering glass from the second one and the action scenes were actually very fluid for the most part despite being shark jumping but then there's others where the characters move in key frames and is very choppy. The use of transitions was also very cheap and there's too many scenes where boxes pop up with the characters faces talking as if the animators didn't want to have to draw another angle from whatever the first shot was and keep to the scene. Also what was up with the animation for the opening for the first half of the show? A bunch of balls flying around fading out to a fog effect after a while? Was that the best you could do? Apparently not! In the second half of the show they actually came up with something more creative, nothing special but more interesting than orbs flying around which basically proves that they knew they'd fucked up the previous animation for the opening, which leads us nicely into-
Sound (8): Probably the best aspect of the show, the opening and ending themes are fantastic, had the animation been better to accompany it I would call it one of my favourites. The BGM is also very good albeit not to memorable, there's only a handful of tracks that stand out and the music that is supposed to be scary is just too overblown as if it was trying to compensate for the Shoujo looking ghosts. As you can probably guess, it didn't work.
I have nothing to say about the sound effects, they were fine and did their job well, nothing memorable but far from the worst aspect of the show.
I mostly watch dubbed anime so I can only critique the performances of the English dub and I have to say it was actually very good. The actors and actresses actually represented their characters well and could display emotional range, also during normal talking parts they don't ever sound monotonous. The voice acting unfortunately is not enough to save the terrible writing for these characters but they did their best for the material that was given to them so to dub fans like me, here's another good one! To non-dub fans, here's one that doesn't suck!
Enjoyment (2): This is one of the most boring shows I've watched in my entire life. The plot failed to engage me because of the little focus on what makes a good mystery, the romance was corny, the animation didn't suit what was meant to be the scary moments for the most part and the characters were either annoying or lacked any reason for me to care about them. I enjoyed the music here and there and sometimes it was interesting to look at which again prevents me from putting the score at rock bottom but in terms of script and cast it failed to interest me at all and those are far more important elements.
Overall (3): I know some people like it but honestly Ghost Hunt is a failed experiment, the Shoujo style takes away any potential for the show to be scary and the fact that it has to be a mystery show and a horror show as well as a Shoujo means it can't even take the time to develop a good romance for people who came for that, it fails in both ways. Do yourself a favour and stay away from this shitty anime. Only recommended for people who aren't at all demanding in story and characters, like their romances to be as loose as possible and have no stomach for scary stuff. read more
Case in point: after almost a year working for ghost hunter experts, the main protagonist was told they there were two children of the family being investigated were behaving strangely, and when she meets them, they are constantly repeating about they wish how their relatives would die. While it's obvious to the audience they are possessed, the protagonist is completely oblivious to this possibility until the plot conveniently calls for that moment later on for dramatic effect. Better options would have been to make their possessed personalities less black and white or simply not mention these kids beforehand. Throughout the series contain very poorly implemented scenarios of a) main characters become oblivious to obvious clues, b) withholding key information (i.e., the girl has ESP, gets a vision but doesn't tell anyone about it until the 3rd act) c) unconvincing situations forcing characters to become alone or in danger and d) overtly reliant in chibi style comedy to excuse logic gaps.
The culmination of these effects ultimately makes the main protagonist Mai a every unpleasant character. She's supposed to be the everyday girl, but is stupid while the story needs other plot elements to take shape, super-talented and powerful when when the story calls for a solution, overdramatic to force tension between her and her friends, and is somehow excused from her ignorance because she's supposed to be 'just like us'.
But this is somewhat bearable, since the actual cases they are investigating are truly well fascinating. What made them great was that we cared about the people involved in the cases, we were sympathetic to their plight. Unfortunately, the series gradually moved away into 2-dimensional antagonists and threats in order 'power-up' the main characters.
I was interested enough about the case to bypass the faults in order to find out the resolutions. But really, I just wish they were confident enough in their core story to not have to throw in these cliches to appeal to young kids. I wish the main characters were competent, mature, present their relationships with subtlety, so that I don't have scream at my laptop at that the main culprit is the teacher and not the girl while the characters are wasting my time.
The story for Ghost Hunt is a very fun and interesting one. And at least for me, unique. It takes on an unusual way of telling about ghost hunting, giving you a look into the more scientific and realistic ways ghost hunting actually works.(Ar rather would work if it was real)
It is also told well, the episodes, or cases, are all full of twists that keep you guessing and wondering what's going to happen next. And it never fails to give you a complete and satisfying ending. Not to mention that each case is very different from the others, so there is a lot of variety in what happens in the end.
A 10 on story from me.
Some might say the art is rather plain. While I'll not deny this, I must say for me I thought it worked very well with the series. The simpleness of the art in general makes it easy for them to pick something and have it stand out. So it's very effective in a horror story. And I must say, I did very much like the way they did characters. And the shading on the art also caught my attention for being nice and comfortable.
A 9 on art from me.
As a suspense/horror anime sound is extremely important. I cannot stress this point enough. Having the proper sound effects and score can make or break a series like this. And I must say I thought that Ghost Hunt had both an excellent soundtrack(I listen to my copy of it often)and did an excellent job with the sound effects. Both were well chosen and put into use wonderfully.
A 10 on sound/music from me.
I fell in love with almost all the characters in this show for one reason or another. The funny and sweet Bou-san, and proud and somewhat rude Ayako. They all were well used and their was a large variety f personalities in the show.
I will say that I wish they had given some more background on some of the characters. But it could also be said that not giving away to much information could be a good thing. Especially in Naru's case. The fact we have so little information about him makes his character more interesting and mysterious.
(However more information then in the anime is given in the manga)
A 9 on character form me.
I loved this series the first time I watched it. And then I went back and watched it again not to long later, and loved it even more that time. Then a third time I watched and yet again loved it more, to the point of starting the manga. For me, that is the mark of a true masterpiece. Especially considering that this show was a mystery, yet I loved it still more every time I watched it despite knowing the ending. This series is truly the result of genius on the production team's part.
A huge 10 on enjoyment from me.
I highly recommend this series to anyone. Any anime viewer, wither they liked mysteries or horror previously or not. This anime is a must see.
A 10 overall. read more
Pretty attractive name for those looking for some horror anime. Well, you might not completely be in the blood/gore/heart attacks section but you'll definitely regret if you choose to leave it.
It is quite a unique anime. The series is not a typical fantasy/thriller horror. It infact, shows 'ghost hunting' by means of technology and modern day equipment and ofcourse, the old purification and chanting ways are included too.
The series does not have a main plot. There are small arcs which usually don't last for more than 3-4 episodes thus not dragging the anime and neither taking away the viewer's attention. Every arc is beautifully executed and more haunting than its predecessor. Ofcourse, most of the time, you'll be hearing the handsome and narcisstic Naru's theories and calculations, but the anime does have its moments. At the begining, you may not be impressed, but then you'll find that you can hardly watch the horror parts with the lights switched off and no one around. I'd started having hallucination when I did that. Every mystery has a back story and side characters and the occasional history of ghost huntings/vampires/curses explained is quite a wonderful addition. Every arc is sure to keep you guessing and hanging at the edge of your seats.
The art was a little problematic. The animation was a little choppy, probably due to budget. But nevertheless, you'll be so thoroughly engrossed in the story that you won't notice it much. The characters are designed well though.
The sounds department takes all the glory for the goosebumps. Those rantings and bashings and screams and wails, the closing doors, the breaking glass, they never failed to give me a cardiac arrest. Excellent job on the sound effects. I'd have given it a 10 had the opening and closing themes been more than just instrumentals but, nevertheless, they suit the mood perfectly.
Characters are another major highlight of the series. There are around 6 main psychics who're on the mystery jobs. Each has their own personality, tastes and fields of profession. The most notable ones being Mai and Naru, you'll love the other characters too. The comical scenes, their interactions with each other and the parts where you go 'wow, they're so cool' are all worth it. Though sometimes you'll wish Mai would just shut up or Naru should stop being an ass. In my opinion, some characters like Lin and Naru as well, should have had a more detailed exploration of their pasts and personalities shown. However, realistic, well designed and extemely likeable characters is a win point for Ghost HUnt.
Every moment is worth it. Every funny scene will not fail to make you laugh out loud. Every horror part will instill you with chills and speed up your heart rate. The chemistry between Naru and Mai will keep you wanting more and more.
An excellent series which I happened to pick randomly and am very glad I did. The ending could have answered a few more questions and relationships could have progressed further, but it's a job well done. Highly recommended if you adore the horror genre as well as some good and serious fun. Just make sure you don't turn off the lights! read more
Ghost Hunt, in a nutshell, tells the story of our main character Mai and her everyday life in her new job of ghost hunter. The anime is actually couples of short stories that aren’t necessarily attached together or directly follows one after another. Looking at the story arcs, if you forget about the silly and forgettable characters relations and their everyday life, these ghost stories are actually quite interesting in the first half. I find it quite interesting that Ghost Hunt actually bases itself on historic event to make these stories more credible. Even if some of those historic even are fictionally, one can actually draw a parallel between other works of fictions or even popular urban legends. Now, I have to say that the first half of the show is what you would actually expect from a supernatural anime involving ghosts. Poltergeists, unexplainable phenomena and a slow pace story is what Ghost Hunt offered at first. Sadly, after the Christmas Arc, which is the best arc of the series, everything went downhill. Somehow, Ghost Hunt thought it would be better if it went into more of an action anime and overly-cliché melodramatic moments. It doesn`t get any better actually. The more you advance, the less mysterious Ghost Hunt feels and it is right at the end that Ghost Hunt killed it for me. Even though the second half was bad, it does not mean the enjoyment is completely gone and one might actually still enjoy the second half as much. All in all, the story started slightly predictable and became something very predictable.
Ghost Hunt does not offer a memorable cast; in fact it is probably the worst aspect of the show. Don`t get me wrong, the characters aren`t actually bad and they pretty much fit the enjoyment of the show. However, these characters aren`t well written are even less original. How often can you see Shibuya`s personality in anime? Quite a few actually, and this goes to the others as well. Beside the lack of being unique, these characters don`t have a complex personality and are often feels empty. The anime tends to develop characters relation, but in the end goes to nothing more than the starting case. That was a bit irritating for me.
The art is actually very fluid and very good. From old shrines, to an abandoned building and passing by to a mansion, the settings and art reminds the viewer that ghost hunt is or wants to be a supernatural anime. Also, while Ghost Hunt is not scary at all, nor that it is very gory, it can actually be very bloody when the moments arrive (even though it is most of the time cheesy). The character design is quite distinct and well made. There is nothing much more to say about it.
The music of Ghost Hunt is the best aspect of the show. Composed by Toshio Masuda who is popular for having composed the music of Naruto (even though his best work remains with Mushishi), the music is a perfect blend of effectiveness and simplicity that never goes over the top. Ghost Hunt Opening Song is one of the few songs that I wouldn`t mind listening to, probably because it is not another irritating j-pop song. Voice acting is very good. I’m not someone who can critics voice acting very well, but I know when they`re bad.
To conclude, Ghost Hunt is one of those anime that is a nice find and that you actually watch just for the sake of it. I have to say that while being fairly good, Ghost Hunt does not live itself as one of the greatest anime I have seen and is still very far away from very good. I’d recommend this anime for everyone who is looking for a mystery anime that isn’t complex or very dark.
When i started watching this anime, my first impression was "it doesnt look as promising as the title", as i didnt find it scary at all. With that, I was quite tempted to hold it. But anyway, i cont'ed and much thanks to that, the stories behind just grow on me. Though it is abit draggy at the front, but as the anime progresses, each hunt is more dangerous than the others, with increasing suspense and scary factor.Characters wise, it is quite funny to see them attacking each other verbally, and how they bond togther, not forgetting the little romance in the show. =D
A great show for ppl who are in for horror/scary/ghost genre.
PS: try watching it in the middle of the night, with no lights on. I tried it and nearly scared myself to 'death' at some eps. read more
This is my second time watching the series. The first was around 5 or 6 years ago and back then, I've already decided that it's ONE OF THE MOST ENTERTAINING ANIME that I've watched in my entire life.
I don't usually watch anime series of supernatural genre (although Supernatural is my favorite US TV show) so I only pick those which are really worth my time. Ghost Hunt along with XXXholic remain to be the shows that can give me GENUINE SCARES all the time. I love to watch these shows at night but THEY ARE TOO DAMN SCARY that I can't help but to minimize my VLC screen so the effect wont be that overwhelming..fufufufu..
I don't like gory/bloody scary shows so the tolerable suspense atmosphere of Ghost Hunt suits my taste best. The show gives you the comfortable feeling you long for when you are trying to relax, and gives you an assurance that there is still hope for the ANIME INDUSTRY. The scare, the thrill, the suspense, the rom-com, the youthful aura and the drama - ingredients for a truly enjoyable show which fortunately GHOST HUNT has.
As per the story, it is very simple. A group of supernatural experts gather around to solve supernatural mysteries. So simple yet the cases were nothing but ordinary! The stories of each mystery were delivered in the best scaaarry way possible. The sound and the music amplified the atmosphere to give you a series of pure scare fun and entertainment.
The characters were ALL likable. Naru-chan and Mai, the two main leads, I remember back then how I got crazy for these characters and until now I still feel the same. Also, Mai is one of my favorite heroines ever!!!Aside from these two, all the characters were superb and well-blended with the story. Even though their personalities and abilities were well presented, they do not outshine the cases they worked on. The stories/cases were after all the heart of the series and fortunately these were executed magnificently.
And what a lame scary show it would be if the sound and music were not that effective. Here at Ghost Hunt, you will not only be rewarded with good stories but with A SUPER GREAT MUSICAL EXPERIENCE too. The OP & ED are cool and the BGMs are simply haunting!
The BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT I can say about this show is that it only lasted for 25 episodes. This number is not enough to know the characters better and to solve the biggest mystery of this anime. Having said this, Ghost Hunt is truly an enjoyable series. SCARY+ ENTERTAINING = PURE FUN. You don't need LOGIC to understand and love this series. It just needs your creative mind for it to be appreciated. Although this is kind of an old series, it will always remain to be one of the MOST UNDERRATED SERIES OF ALL TIME. This is waaay better than new titles these days and I can't find a recent series that is a match with Ghost Hunt (recommendation anyone?). It is just sad that it wasn't that popular enough to gain a second season ( or was this the reason??). But anyway, there's still the manga if you want to continue the series, right?
Overall, this series is SUPER RECOMMENDED, especially to those who are bored and looking for some SCARES and THRILLS. Watch this right now, but I suggest to try it at night for a better viewing experience..tee hee!
From someone who easily gets scared,
^_^ read more
The art work was reasonably good all the character models were well drawn and diverse. However, outside the ghost scenes the scenery was a little bland, nothing remarkable here.
The intro song was what initially grabbed me, it was haunting yet enchanting at the same time, but also made the anime way more appealing then it actually was. As for the BGM... to be honest I can't really recall much, but that goes to show you how much of an impression it made on me... very little.
The characters were actually quite appealing with the exception of the female lead and the male lead's sibling. The rest of the cast had very colorful personalities and made you wish that the female lead would just die and be replaced by one of the other female cast members. The female lead's personality could be characterized as foolish, bland, and naive. The male lead's brother could have just as easily been written out. He served no real purpose and was just there to prevent this series from becoming a harem anime.
I guess the enjoyment factor was there for the first 15 episodes then it became a complete bore. The characters weren't engaging enough, and the plot simply wasn't good enough to support the lack of character development.
Overall I would say this is a C grade anime that just isn’t fascinating enough to keep the viewer enthralled.
1) Each episode is full of mystery, i have no idea whats going to happen next, and it's fun to try and unravel the mystery.
2) Some of the scenes are really tense, my heart was pounding so fast- some of it was really scary.
3) I liked how Mai's powers grew throughout the series.
4) Hmmmm...I liked Naru-chan although he was annoying in some episodes.
5) If ya like supernatural, mystery, horror, etc...u will love this.
6) Some parts in episodes are super scary ( well thats what i think) i actually screamed and nearly fell off my chair, but then after the fright i actually find it quite funny.
What I didn't find so hot about the anime:
1) The ending was kind of a let down, mainly because i thought the anime should of carried on for longer as there were still some mysteries left unsolved.
2) Damn it...i really wanted to see Naru and Mai get together :(
3) Mai...she should really try harder...sometimes she lets herself down
The characters are great and the storyline are imaginative, scary and funny. Overall i would recommend this to everyone accept from the faint hearted T.T lol. If you like magical powers, ghosts, fight scenes, mysteries, and a dash of fun humour you would lurrrrrrv this read more
Though our main lead can be annoying, I find the other characters fascinating. They aren't the most fleshed out, but a lot of the little subtleties I find very endearing.
The music is nice, haunting at times, and the show knows that silence is golden during certain scenes.
From what I have heard the story was even more complex in the original books, it's a shame there won't be a second season. read more
Well, let's just say that "Ghost Hunt" is just about the same thing, but 10X's cooler and freakier. I'm so wrapped up just from watching it. >< I wished I didn't see it at night. FRIKIN DOLLS!!! Argh, this is a great series filled with suspense and drama and just watching the first episode you have to now what will happen next. The cast of characters are all so colorful and I enjoy them very much. MOSTLY NARU THE NARCISSIST!!! <3 I love that nickname Mai gave him. ^^ You got to watch this,and when you are done check out the manga.
This anime had potential to be something more however I felt like they took short cuts.
Character development was zero but overall enjoyable.
This show has
1. Supernatural (They fight/slay ghost,spirits and monster)
2. No gore/blood (A little here and there both nothing special)
3. No romance (Nothing heavy except for crushes)
4. Action ( They fight the supernatural)
5. Comedy (Little jokes nothing to take over the main reason of the anime)
Overall 14+ should watch this anime. Anime is good if you are now starting to break through in the anime world. There is nothing special about this anime it is decent. read more
I personally loved the anime,because the music was amazing and set the stage for the exciting/mysterious mood the anime has.
The characters are very memorable and are one of the main things that kept me watching.
The anime develops the characters really well and made me care more when something happened to them during an investigation.
The plot is probably my favorite thing about the show besides the characters,because it took a very interesting and fun spin on ghost hunting,and the story arcs(or"Files")are pretty well spread out,usually covering 3-4 episodes.
The episodes are full of a bunch of suspenseful and shocking moments that will keep making you wonder what's going to happen next.
The anime is definitely creepy,not exactly scary(though there are some slight jumpscares throughout),but there'll still be those moments where you'll find yourself turning on all the lights in your house.
Overall,this is an anime that I would definitely recommend for anyone to watch :) read more
For the most part, Ghost Hunt looks like it was animated on a bare bones budget. There are static images, key frames, and stiff, jerky movement. This is nothing new from JC Staff, a production company who normally only “makes it rain” on a few select titles, like Index, Railgun and Toradora. Ghost Hunt is not one of these titles, but luckily, where JC Staff normally shines is using the art direction to cover up the blandness of their animation. In Ghost Hunt’s case, this is achieved with clever and well-thought out camera angles, distortions wherever they’re needed, and a series of perfectly timed panning shots. The character designs are also very memorable, despite being a little on the generic side.
Remember, I said “For the most part.” In addition to the cheap looking human side of the coin, you also have the hauntings themselves, most of which will take your breath away with their flawless CG design. Their are moments in this show that look like they could have been taken right out of Mushishi, and that’s one of the many comparisons I don’t make lightly. In a lot of cases, it would bother me when a series was this inconsistent with it’s animation quality, but in Ghost Hunt, it kind of works... Rather than a difference in budget sizes, it seems to represent a difference in plains of reality, and while that may or may not have been intentional, it’s exactly how the difference between the human world and the spiritual world SHOULD feel.
The characters, despite their somewhat bland design, are distinct and very likeable. Mai is a normal girl... And I mean normal by actual human standards, not normal by Nami Hito standards. There’s nothing moe or Mary-Suish about her, and that’s a pretty easy pit to sink into. She’s brave, but also naive and prone to making mistakes. She’s aware of when she’s in danger, but often needs help getting out of it, and never seems to make any head-slappingly stupid decisions. She never makes a habit of denying her feelings, either... Which is another unfortunate pit that a lot of anime heroines inhabit.
Kazuya, on the other hand, can be a bit of a problem sometimes. I won’t say he’s a poorly written character... Not completely, anyway... But his flaws seem to overshadow his more positive attributes. He’s silent, he’s cold, and while he needs help dealing with any situation that’s out of the range of his particular skill set, he’s remarkably competent. On his own, he’s not very interesting, and as such, his likeability stems almost exclusively from his interactions with other characters. His prideful and prickly demeanor are only ever palatable when he’s bouncing off of the more charming and open people he associates with, particularly in his reactions with Mai and the famous medium Masako. I mean, would he be nearly as enjoyable a character if Mai hadn’t decided to start calling him Naru the Narcissist?
Oh, and while we’re at it, I should probably address this... Yes, I took my name from this anime. I was originally calling myself Narcy as a quick nickname, but my friends/video producers said it was too girly, so I decided to adopt the infamous moniker from this anime instead. Moving on.
If you’ve seen this show in English, then you may be asking “Wait, if Kazuya isn’t that great of a character, then why did I love him so much?” The answer is simple; Todd Haberkorn. The dub was produced by Funimation, and the staff somehow made the far-left-field decision to put a grumpy, mono-toned character in the hands of one of the loudest, most over the top performers in their stable. The result is nothing short of pure gold. Todd’s rubber voice is famous for such ridiculous yet still perfectly pegged roles such as Death the Kidd, Italy, Natsu Dragnheel and Sergeant Frog, but he’s also able to go very low and serious with it, as he did with Ling Yao from FMA Brotherhood. But even in THAT performance, he never went AS low and serious as he did in this one. He sounds every bit the socially inept genius with a chip on his shoulder, and he manages to outshine the original seiyuu by adding an air of superiority and some great sarcastic wit without ever breaking character or changing pitch.
Cherami Leigh is also quite a bit better than her seiyuu, thanks to a set of acting chops that have carried her very far in her career since this show. She has complete control over Mai’s voice, and hits every single note... Whether dramatic, comedic, upbeat or downbeat... Perfectly. It’s a very sincere performance, and while it may not have been the one that made her a star, it makes it very clear why she became one. The rest of the main cast is also spot-on, with Travis Willingham as the laid back, reliable Monk, Colleen Clinkenbeard as the hoity toity yet somewhat maternal Ayako, and J Michael Tatum getting surprisingly scarce lines as Naru’s even more silent bodyguard, Lin, yet still knocking each line out of the park. Cherami’s fellow Strike Witches alumnus Jad Saxton joins her here, and once again, they’re rivals for love!
The only real sour note in the dub is Jason Leibricht’s phony sounding australian accent, but give it a few episodes, and you’ll get used to it. Several other well known names are sprinkled around the cast, including recurring roles from Caitlin Glass, Brina Palencia, and Eric Vale. The writing in the dub is very naturalistic and straightforward, which is odd when you consider the fact that the credited writer keeps changing... Sonny Straight’s episodes can sound a little off, but everybody else did a fine job, especially when Luci Christian and Monica Rial are at the helm. The subbed version is great on it’s own, and perfectly listenable, but in my opinion, the dub is still quite a bit better, and has my easy recommendation.
Unfortunately, the writing is a bit of a mixed bag. The characters do gradually develop from a group of bickering strangers into a tightly-knit family by the end of the series, but the only one who gets any good individual development is Mai. The other researchers, representing the spiritual perspectives of three different religions, seem like they’re only present in every single arc so they can pad out the run time and occasionally become useful to the plot... Which, to be fair, every single one of them does, at least at some point or another. But for the most part, it’s really hard to justify their presence beyond their assorted talents. There are a lot of interactions between them that serve to develop their family dynamic, and while most of them are executed nicely, there are a few that do feel forced or out of place, with one example being a highly emotional discussion of Hong Kong history between Mai and Lin.
As far as the development of the two central characters goes, Mai and Naru go through an interesting parallel... Throughout the series, we slowly become exposed to the true nature of each character, as well as to the supernatural powers that each one possesses. This works very well in Mai’s case, because she’s learning everything while we’re learning it... Her new discoveries and developments are shared with us on the same level. But unlike Mai, Naru already knows what he’s capable of, and yet his abilities develop at a slower pace. Yes, there’s an excuse made for it at the end, but even with that given, it still feels like a deus ex machina whenever he pulls a spell or piece of information out of his ass at just the right time.
Yes, there are issues with the writing and character development, and while they’re not serious issues, they are very noticeable. Luckily, there are two specific things this show does so brilliantly that all other transgressions can be all but ignored. The first one, as you may notice early on, is the music. Toshio Masuda’s compositions are by far the best aspect of this series, as he matches the tone of any given situation with not only tense orchestral tunes, with stings and percussions blazing, but with an electronic track that, in it’s creepiest moments, seems to have been heavily inspired by the undisputed king of horror music, the theremin. Toshio’s the same man who composed Mushishi, and to say it shows would be an understatement. I could honestly say that Ghost Hunt wouldn’t be even half as creepy or heartpounding in it’s terror if it wasn’t for his work.
The other saving grace is the pacing of the series, and there are two sides to this. The first is with the individual story arcs, which are built up very well from beginning to end, if not a little repetitive. You’ll start off with a light hearted summary of where the cast is in their development, and it won’t take too long for a new case to be introduced. You’ll get a brief summary of what the case is, but the devil is in the details, which will be revealed piece by piece throughout. The tension builds, as do the stakes, and Masuda’s music keeps perfectly in tune with this, right up until the climactic conclusion... Which fails to be climactic only once or twice due to Naru’s exposition dumps. There’s foreshadowing throughout each arc, and it can take the form of anything... An odd piece of dialogue, a suspicious camera angle, or even a cleverly placed set piece. The astute viewer will have no problem noticing these, and while it does bring an element of predictability to the show, it never gives away more than it wants to.
The other side is with the structure of the series itself, and the order of the story arcs resting within it. Yes, there are a few arcs in the first half that feel tame compared to what comes later, but that’s the beauty of it... Every single arc, with the exception of one filler episode, just gets better and better. They progressively become more creepy, more tense, less predictable, more disturbing, and with ever-increasing stakes, leading up to what most viewers consider the crowning jewel of the series... the penultimate arc, The Bloodstained Labyrinth, which takes a lot of acknowledged inspiration from the real life legends of Vlad Tepesh, Countess Bathory and the Winchester manor. It’s easy to see why this arc is as popular as it is, considering how hardcore and well-established the enemy is, but I’d have to confess a strong preference to the final arc, The Cursed House. The consequences are similar, but the stakes are much higher, and it carries a much heavy lean towards Japanese folklore than it’s predecessor.
Unfortunately, this arc has the bad luck of being the final one, so it carries a substantial amount of the blame for one of Ghost Hunt’s biggest problems, which would be it’s lack of a satisfying conclusion. Or, you know, any kind of conclusion. Several plot threads are just left dangling there, with the relationship between Mai and Naru... as well as the true nature of their respective powers... being no small part of it. It doesn’t necessarily end on a bad note, but it leaves you hungry for a sequel that hasn’t yet been confirmed after seven years of waiting. It’s a ‘read the manga’ type of ending, but since the translated manga’s out of print and I hate streaming them, that’s a problem for me.
Ghost Hunt offers a very unique experience for horror fans... It contains all the thrill and suspense of a normal paranormal investigation show, but since it actually ADMITS that it’s scripted, it’s able to offer solid scares and a solid story without ever feeling like it’s wasting your time. It has several weak points, particularly in it’s writing and character development, but the execution and art direction are strong enough to make up for it many times over. It’s positive aspects far outweigh the negative ones, but for the most part, you can watch this series with your brain on or off and still have a great time with it. I give Ghost Hunt an 8/10, and a strong recommendation to pick it up if you’re looking for an outstanding horror title to entertain you throughout the spookiest time of year. read more
The show consists of loosely connected supernatural cases follows Mai Taniyama, a high school girl who works part time for paranormal investigator Kazuya Shibuya, better known as "Naru" (telling you why would ruin some of the fun), and several associates of theirs in the paranormal investigation business. Every story arc starts simply enough: Naru, Mai, and the others have a case brought to them; they begin to investigate and speculate the circumstances of the case. The real fun starts when strange, and often dangerous supernatural occurrences begin to happen. And it is not just because weird things are happening, although that certainly is a big factor. Much of the fun comes from watching the characters try to make sense of what is happening. Each of the characters comes with their own theories steeped in mythology and paranormal studies. This gives the show certain unpredictability, and a quality reminiscent to a who-done-it mystery; only involving supernatural forces rather than people. The person watching is trying just as hard to figure out what is going on as the characters in the show.
Ghost Hunt also has a nice balance of the comical and the macabre. The show's comedy is mostly dependent on character gags: Naru's aloof personality and narcissism are often played for laughs, Mai's crush on him and her somewhat air-headed personality are played for laughs, and all the characters have silly quirks to giggle at. It is a simple but effective approach; executed with spunk, enthusiasm, and some solid comedic timing. The comedy is mostly there to fill up the show's downtime between all the creepy and mysterious stuff, but it is entertaining all on its own. The creepier parts of the show are done just as competently. Wrathful spirits, ominous prophetic dreams, and deadly curses are a plenty; though admittedly they are more spooky than terrifying. However, there are some genuinely air-raising moments especially in the latter episodes. The "Bloodstained Labyrinth" in particular has a horrifying sequence in which it seems a central character is about to be killed, and an equally as scarey sequence in its finale.
The characters are a fun bunch, but kind of lax in their characterization. They all certainly have distinct character traits, but their personalities fall into a similar pattern to many other anime, and don't feel completely developed.Unfortunately, this is especially true for Naru, a character so surrounded by mystery that he should be more interesting than he is. The problem is that he isn't developed to his full potential, you get the feeling that there is a lot under his cold exterior, but you never see as much of it as you want. There is a warmer, friendlier version of him that appears in Mai's prophetic dreams, but this isn't as explored as it needs to be either. Majority of the cast lacks in complexity, falling into archetypes such as the laid-back monk Houshou Takigawa being the big brother figure of the group, and Masako being a love rival to Mai for Naru; though they are all quite likeable. The characters do work quite well as an ensemble connected by their relationships with Mai, who is a deserving lead, being the most developed and likeable of the cast.
Ghost Hunt was produced by J.C. Staff, and is a respectable effort from the studio. Character designs are a bit on the generic side, but that isn't too much of a detriment as they prove to be just fine for the show and stay on model. The background is similarly good, perhaps even better because they often support the show's spooky atmosphere very well. The soundtrack is suitable in both the light comedic moments and the more intriguing scenes as the mystery unfolds. However, it is the most effective during the show's creepy moments, especially the screeching violins that play when things are at their most intense. There isn't really unconventional in the show's technical execution, but its tried-and-true method is done very well.
Ghost Hunt's story arcs connect together sort of like an overarching story, but never get that kind of cohesion. As a result it feels somewhat incomplete, although it ends on a fairly satisfying note. That and the simple characterizations does harm the show a little. However, these flaws are easily overshadowed because that show is just so much spooky fun. The story arcs are generally well constructed, and the show does a remarkable job juggling tonally between creepy and funny. All in all, this is one of the better, and doubtless one of the most fun, supernatural mystery shows out there. read more
When I started watching Ghost Hunt, I really didn't know what to expect. Up until then, I hadn't seen a series that could literally "scare" me. Other so-called horror series like Elfen Lied or Hellsing never even made me budge. I'm not saying those aren't good series ( Elfen is one of my favorites), but they didn't really live up to the horror part.
The characters very pretty good. John was really funny at times, Monk was the cool guy, and Mai was kind of annoying; but they did their job at keeping the show really entertaining.
Favorite character is Monk. I remember the lady with the broom-like spiritual incantation-stuff really bored / annoyed me. She was way too cocky, and while her silly prayers never seemed to do anything, she was still acting all high and mighty. I really hate that kind of characters in anime, as they bore me to death. They're more dull and annoying than the I Rate Gamer. Well, maybe not really that annoying, but still...
My only complaint (and a big one) would be that the series ended like utter crap. No real solid ending, just a funny picture of the group waiting for Kazuya to get better.Pretty inconclusive if you'd ask me. I've been waiting for a sequel for years, hoping they'd make the ending clearer with it, but it's not really coming out, is it...
=-= Art =-=
I don't remember much about the art, the drawing style, effects and the likes because I've seen Ghost Hunt more than two years ago. But, seeing how the series is pretty recent, I don't think there are major issues to be addressed here. It wasn't bad and it wasn't outstanding. It just was.
If there were any major flaws in the "art department" I'm sure I would've remembered them. I loved the eerie backgrounds in the episode with the creepy, bloody hallway. That was the one that really scared me.
I also liked it when there was a scary moment, and they'd show up each character's face in picture-in-picture -like squares. That was pretty cool.
But the fact that there are almost no scans of Ghost Hunt on the web doesn't really help either. Sadly, It's one of those series that there are zero to five wallpapers, and one to twenty scans. You can't really find many Ghost Hunt resources and stuff on the internet. :-L
=-= Sound =-=
The intro...one of the best intros I've ever seen. It didn't show any of the characters, as most series do in their openings. The music in it was freaky as sh*t, the weird floating lights, the faceless hooded silhouette that was gradually approaching the screen, with a fiery background and GHOSTS FLOATING EVERYWHERE, THE DARK AND WEIRD RUINS, THE WHITE FLASHES, THE CREVASSE, THE SCARY ORCHESTRA-LIKE MUSIC AND EVERYTHING ! How can it get more awesome and freaky than that? When I was watching the tenth episode or so ( don't really remember that well. it was about halfway in the series anyway), the opening started and, my cousin, was in the same room with me and she said : "what's with the freaky music?".
John's accent owned, by the way. The japanese voicing was generally good, except for Kazuya sounding like a smart a** know-it-all. He was a tad annoying at times; reminded me of Rei from NGE; the difference being that Rei isn't annoying. I can't say anything about the english dub, though; I don't watch any dubbed anime.
Also, just because of the awesome opening, I'm gonna ignore the fact that the ending sucked :d
=-= Overall =-=
It may be because horror series (and generally horror stuff) are my favorites, or because of the simple, to the point name of it, but Ghost Hunt was one of the most enjoyable and appealing series to me.
I watched it on the dvd-player so I there was plenty of space for me to get under the blanket, close my eyes and sing some Mika with my ears plugged when I got scared. Just kidding :)) it wasn't that scary. OR...was it? O.O
I appreciated the fact that there were no "classic-sucky-style ghosts". You know, those white silhouettes that looked like my grandma with a white sheet covering her. They portrayed poltergeists, ghost-dogs, restless spirits, a possessed doll and all that stuff in a way that you could tell was fantasy, but wasn't that far from reality either. Something like those documentaries you see on Discovery about "the other world". And I have to say I enjoy those a lot.
Anyway, great series,great soundtrack, good characters and crappy ending. read more
What it is on the surface: school kids and random weirdos fighting and hunting ghosts. What it really is: interesting, creepy, charming character driven work that slowly builds up tension to the last few episodes.
Mai is a girl who accidentally breaks the camera equipment of Kazuya--a ghost hunting mystic. Kazuya uses this as an opportunity to hire her as a gopher for his paranormal research agency who consults various mystics and spiritual mediums (from a monk who's hardly ascetic to a priestess who seems a total fraud).
The story takes an interesting revisionist view of the paranormal--attempting to debunk the existence of ghosts by scientific means to the existence real, and scary paranormal occurences (usually inspired by true events in Japanese and European history) which is also where the show gets its mixed spirituality from.
It starts out mundane and harmless enough and keeps raising the stakes as the threat and ghosts become real and honestly the atmosphere and audio actually make the show have a very nervous and scary feel to it--without ever having to rely on gore or violence. There's a good blend of comedy and clashing personalities and Mai and Kazuya are good characters--even if the supporting cast is not that original, although they are all given a chance to shine and a human element in the final few episodes.
A few filler episodes and stumbles here and there take away from a perfect score, but this is still worth watching. read more