In an isolated region of Kyushu lies the town of Suiten. Though seeming small and modest, Suiten is not a picturesque place for a vacation, unless it is from the "Unseen World." Taro, Makoto, and Masayuki, three boys with traumatic pasts, learn to let their souls cross between the two parallel worlds. However, the Unseen World is no mere copy of the real Apparent World. The Unseen World is the home of ghosts, but changes are now allowing the souls of the dead to pass over into the Apparent World, with unpredictable effects. Follow the journey of Taro, Makoto, and Masayuki, as they cross between the two worlds, trying to unravel a great mystery.
I decided to watch the series, because the scriptwriter of Ghost Hound also wrote Serial Experiments: Lain, Texhnolyze and Hellsing, all of which I am quite drawn to (especially SEL). I must say, that this anime is a great job, perfect for a 20th anniversary release.
~ s t o r y ~ 8 / 10 ~
If some of you think: 'Those cute characters and a psychological plot? No way!' I am glad to tell you, that you are wrong. At first, when I saw, that GH is of 22 episodes, I was sure, that it will be verbose and / or tedious (i'm used to
13-episode psychological animes), but I'm glad I tried watching it despite that thoughts. Of course, the plot needs a half of the first episode to take off, but once it does, it doesn't stop (actually, it's going faster and faster to the climax). The anime is a specific type of an illustrated encyclopedia: trauma, mental disorders, possession, out-of-body experiences, mind, brain, afterlife and more - every one of these is shown in a few different points of view, either scientific or spiritual. I gave it an 8, because I just expected something more. The plot is not confusing at all, I mean, there is the puzzle-mode on, but once explained, it becomes perfectly clear. At least some of the aspects...
~ a r t ~ 9 / 10 ~
I love the idea of different angles and showing the action from the characters point of wiew. The landscapes and character projects are quite nice. Some of the ghosts, retrospections or halucinations are drawn really CREEPY. And by creepy I mean, that at night when going to the bathroom you wish not to find anything like that in your room when you come back. They're so random, they give goosebumps. The thing I dislike, is what they did to OBE - but, oh well, it's just an anime, not a science book.
~ s o u n d ~ 9 / 10 ~
Not much of music, but when it's finally playing in the background, it has a feel of GITS's soundtrack. Old japanese music, just without the vocals.
IMO the opening was the worst: it really didn't suit the anime.
~ c h a r a c t e r ~ 1 0 / 1 0 ~
Characters are the metier of Ghost Hound. Nicely designed, with vivid personalities. Everyone will find a bit of himself in some of them.
~ O V E R A L L ~ 9 / 10 ~
Great series with an enjoyable plot, nice art and sound and wonderful, mysterious characters. However, I recommend this anime only for people who like psychological series - others may think of Ghost Hound as a waste of time.
Ghost Hound is a Supernatural, Psychological, Horror, Mystery, Drama series, produced by the critically acclaimed “Production I.G.” studio. Unlike most horror series that feature plenty of shocking, gory moments and psychological dramas that show the absurd, extremes of the human psyche; Ghost Hounds goes for a more technical approach. Sadly this leads to a great series with an incredibly complex story.
It is about four different kids who have suffered from different traumatic events; in their past and now have the ability to traverse this “unseen world”. That’s just the initial plot of the series and as the story begins, you will see a
bunch of stuff and have no idea what on earth is going on. Slowly but surely, little bits of this mysterious and uncanny story are revealed and during this process you’ll be force fed a lot of psychological terminology. Yet it still takes some time for the story to become somewhat interesting. Then you’ll be able to enjoy the series, as it develops into a sensational experience, whilst learning a fair bit of neurology, psychology and Japanese folklore. At the same time it is easy to consider dropping the series, for those who are unable to get into it.
The animation quality of this anime was superb, having an extraordinary amount of detail put into the little-less things and with interesting, surreal surroundings when expressing the unseen world. The characters were well designed and moved fluidly but the pale colour tones did make some look unappealing. At least the rich environments and scenery made up for the short comings.
It was pretty tricky to judge this anime on the quality of the sound, because there wasn’t much there. During the weird apparitions and flashbacks there was a great deal of weird SFX used, to which is perfect for setting the creepy mood. However with barely any music at all, in the end, it just sounded pretty bland.
Overall this is a mildly interesting anime showing the parallels of the psychological and the supernatural however other than the technical aspects of this anime (e.g. animation), this series can be a pretty dull and lifeless experience. With so much terminology to take in, anyone can feel like dropping this at any moment and going for a much easier show to understand. But the series does become fairly interesting to watch later on, when things become clearer and the story finally start to move forward. So before watching this series you’ll have to think to yourself, “Is this the type of series I would enjoy?”
I must say that Ghost Hound is the most complex and technical anime ever made. It's the kind of anime which make you go on the wiki and search for the terminology. As is expected from the staff of Serial Experiment Lain, you have to pay attention to detail or re-watch it to understand what the story is about and the relationship and explanation of it. Ghost Hound, whose idea has gone through 8 years of planning, is indeed a masterpiece. A must see for any hardcore sci-fi fan.
For the first half of the show, Ghost Hound have got everything right, from the creepy soundtrack that formed its designated atmosphere to the countryside setting that we're so fond of in horror anime. The series gave off the same kind of atmosphere that Higurashi and Shiki gave me, which shows how great it was directed. The unique camera angle amplifying the creepy tone of the series to a level where "horror" would be one of the appropriate genre for the series while the colorful and unique representation of the "hidden world" surely did its job to allow the viewers to see
the story in a more frightening way, making them more prone to the dark assumptions that viewers can't help but to make in a series like this.
The pacing was perfect in almost every way, just enough room to maintain a balanced space, captivating the viewers with various thrilling experiences and allowing them to make assumption about what will happen next, whether its the horrifying secrets that the three main characters would find out about their past or the problems that forms around their morbid town. The show does maintain a large cast near the end of the series but all of them were thoroughly developed, what also support this is the three main characters as they were interesting to a certain point where seeing their interaction as they help each other uncover the secret to their past is one of the main focus, for both the series and its viewers.
While the series does maintain a great sense of atmosphere and characters development, its ending fall short to what most viewer would have assumed for it to played out. Near the end of the series, the original plot (Solve Taro's past trauma, who did what and the various morbid discoveries that each character would discover as they delve deeper into the past and the "hidden world"), was left behind to be replaced with two new ones, which unfortunately ruin the ending for me, as these two new plot line have almost nothing to be relevant with the original purpose of the story, sure there were some connection here and there but it was far too fragile to be in truthful relation with the original story, it just felt like the show tried to expand its storytelling limit and failed pretty bad, resulting in the undesirable answer to the whole affair about Taro's kidnapping incident as the viewers only received a happy and simple resolution to the the scary kidnapping that was so well presented that it should have made most viewers expecting something a little bit more shudder worthy.
Overall Ghost Hound was a very well played out series from beginning... to the middle, for the way that the ending was told results in a total lost of the original plot. But don't get me wrong, if you're really into thrillers and the like, this series must be on your "plan to watch" or "completed" list because, ending aside, the series did a great job of presenting itself as a psychological thriller in many ways.
Tropes are everywhere in anime. Perhaps no medium is more dependent on them than this one we love so much, so here are a few thoughts on this seemingly overwhelming subject to serve as a doorway to the complex world of anime tropes.