While at school, Taniyama Mai and her friends like to exchange ghost stories. Apparently, there is an abandoned school building on their campus that is the center of many ghost stories. During the story, they are interrupted by a mysterious male figure. The person turns out to be Shibuya Kazuya, a 17-year-old who is president of the Shibuya Psychic Research Company. He was called by the principal to investigate the stories surrounding the abandoned school building.
The next day, on the way to school, Mai passes the school building in question. While examining a strange camera she spotted inside, she gets surprised by Kazuya's assistant. Unknowingly interfering with the investigation, Mai breaks the camera and Kazuya's assistant gets injured.
Kazuya forcefully hires Mai in order to pay for the camera and replace his injured assistant. From that point on, Mai begins to learn about the paranormal world and the profession of ghost hunting.
Ghost Hunt is one of those rare gems that I accidentally stumbled across, and I'm so thankful that I did.
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
Ghost Hunt's backstory and setups of how the various supernatural forces operate are well done, as well as the actual mysteries they are involved in. However, what distracted its best qualities are the forced relationships and relying on predictable tropes to advance plot elements. My impression is that Ghost Hunter may have been altered to cater to target audiences by dumbing down the plot and dialog at some points, but when the actual investigation storyline calls for complex explanations and logic, the characters inexplicably gains 200 points in IQ to figure everything out.
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
When looking at the different genres Ghost Hunt takes on I could only think it was doomed on arrival, taking on the supernatural horror mystery genre as well as the Shoujo Romance genre? How can it possibly present both of those properly and simultaneously? The answer is it couldn't.
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
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