The decrepit building was condemned long ago, but every time the owners try to tear it down, "accidents" start to happen-people get hurt, sometimes even killed. Mai Taniyama and her classmates have heard the rumors that the creepy old high school is haunted-possibly by ghosts from the Second World War. So one rainy day they gather at the told school to tell ghost stories, hoping to attract one of the suspected spirits.
No ghosts materialize, but Mai and her friends do meet Kazuya Shibuya, the handsome young owner of Shibuya Psychic Research, who's been hired to investigate paranormal activity at the school. Also at the scene are an exorcist, a Buddhist monk, a woman who can speak with the dead, and an outspoken Shinto priestess. Surely one of them will have the talents to solve this mystery!
After becoming a fan of the show, I thought I should check out the manga and as I read, I wasn’t disappointed. The manga and the anime practically start out the same way, though the manga seemed to have a bit more depth to the characters and stories. Sadly though, 10 of the 12 volumes were extremely close to the anime with only a few exceptions. Only the last two were not in the anime which makes me wonder just what they were trying to do. There are two possibilities to the reason why this is, the first is that they wanted people to read
the manga so did not finish the anime and then the second is the one that I think happened, that they ran out of time or money to create the last few episodes. I do suggest though that you do read the manga and maybe even before watching the show because of the fact of only two of the books not being animated.
When we start talking about characters, we have an interesting mix. John Brown is the Exorcist within the church. It’s surprising because he’s only 19 years old and is already ranked higher then a priest. In the anime though, I believe they had said that you have to be ordained as a priest for it to happen. Anyway, the manga has a bit more fun with his character because he’s a foreigner from Australia. This gets into the mindset of Japanese when they see foreigners. When someone speaks really formal or uses a different dialect, they may make fun of that person. John started by talking in a Kyoto dialect when the others asked him not to be so formal. I understand why people wouldn’t get it (hell, I didn’t get it at first either) but it gave a bit more insight to his character. Then there is Masako who is a famous spirit medium with a lot of knowledge under her belt on the spiritual realm. She is kind hearted for the most part but then can also be rather snippety and crude though still keeping her lady-like manner (mostly).
Ayako is a 23 year old shinto priestess who is rather wealthy because she is the daughter of a doctor. She is rather confident and proud though I never actually saw her do much when it came to expelling spirits even though there was at least one occasion that she did. The rest of the time, she seemed to act more like a mother to the group then a priestess. Takigawa is a monk/musician who pretty much acts like a mix of a father figure and an uncle to the group of younger characters. Again, there was not much about him doing stuff in the spiritual acts besides creating barriers and once in a while dispelling evil. He does do a lot more then Ayako though. Then we have Lin and Naru who we really don’t really know much about except they are rather silent most of the time or bossy. And then Mai who might be one of my favorite characters of the manga even though she is a bit clueless. I liked her because it gave the characters a reason to explain what was going on for the reader. If we didn’t have that, them explaining would seem forced.
The artwork is pretty ok though some of the characters really don’t look right. At first, I didn’t like the design of the girls but Mai’s design sort of grew on me. She looks much different then the anime though and so don’t be surprised if you don’t recognize her. I still do not like Masako Hara’s though as she seems way too dolled up compared to the others. The men have pretty much kept the style from the show (Well, from manga to anime actually) and yet Naru seems to show much more emotion then the anime and is a little more realistic. Sadly, the ghostly happenings seem to be lack luster or hard to see and many times the pages are pretty much all white making it hard to understand what is going on. That is the problem with only having white and black ink to show what is going on.
This is a great manga, because of it's balance between typical shoujo elements (romance, chibi moments...) and mystery.
The manga has a episodic format, so if you prefer one smooth story line than this might not be for you. However, each of the story arcs, which is usually covered by several chapters, is very well put together and thought out. The mystery element is strong, where as the horror element is not. Horror can easily make me squeamish, but there's nothing bone chilling in here. There is some blood and random popping up of ghosts (but that is to be expected from the title I think).
Each arc is basically a team of different kinds of 'ghost hunters' trying to solve some sort of ghost related problem and figure out why weird events are taking place.
The art isn't amazing, but it is somewhat likable, and does not in anyway hinder the story. (Expect large shoujo eyes and pretty looking characters).
The characters are very likable, though most of them do lack some depth. Details about these characters seem to be drawn rather reluctantly from the author, but that could just be because it is a work in progress, or because it is in the mystery genre...The protagonists are a high school girl (whose point of view we see the story from), and a young paranormal researcher who has a lot of fancy equipment, his own research center and is very self-centered. Other characters include and an atypical monk and a miko, a young priest, a spiritual medium, and a mysterious assistant.
Okay so Ghost Hunt is by far not perfect in any way but it is definitely one of my favorite mangas. This series has a completely different vibe than any other manga I've read (To be fair I actually haven't read a ton) and the anime adaptation also carries this vibe.
To begin with the team of characters that the story follows all have equally interesting and important roles, even though Mai and Naru are the main two. Mai is personally the most relatable and through her we are able to learn more and more about the world of paranormal investigation.
All of the stories
in the manga are filled with interesting lore from various cultures and extremely creative plots that never once seemed repetitive to me.
The thing that really got me was the idea that the manga got across, especially at the end. The anime is interesting and a good way to pass time but after reading the manga, everything really does come together and the ending is a message that I will never forget.
IMO you could read the manga and then watch the anime if you really wanted to but I watched the anime first. This is what sparked my interest in Ghost Hunt to begin with and led me to the manga. Considering that the anime does not have the last couple of volumes of the manga, I think it's a perfect way to start.
The anime tv series left me rather disappointed in how there were many open questions and lead me to read the manga. The manga answers those questions, however, in my opinion fails to end on a high note. This is my review and is kind of a mix with the anime series.
Ghost Hunt's story is rather segmented and only few episodes are tied together in a series. What I mean is that from one "file"/story to the next, there isn't much of a continuation. The season is structured as File 1 = episodes 1,2,3 (example), and File 2 = episodes 4 and 5 (example).
In the end, the anime season finale ended without answering many questions.
The anime followed the manga very closely and to really conclude the series, I would recommend reading from the start of Volume 8. Most of the questions are resolved in the end but the end result feels like there was no character progression in the end for the protagonist 'Naru'.
The art in the anime is better in my opinion. Although the style feels somewhat dated and may not appeal to all audiences.
Overall, I enjoyed this series very much and would have given it a 9/10 if the series had ended up with better character development. In the end, I would recommend this series/manga to anyone as it is enjoyable and a series that you can read/watch without much thought for the previous chapters/episodes as the story is segmented like that.