Tl;dr: Any possible potential this show had is ruined by the lack of scary scenes, cliched characters, utter dearth of character development and inconclusive ending. If you’re even remotely the critical thinker type, this will not be an enjoyable experience. 4 out of 10 stars.
This show was something that a friend used to really be into circa 2007. I recently remembered it out of nowhere and decided to check it out -- figured a MAL rating of close to 8 couldn’t be that bad, could it. Boy, was I wrong, and HOW.
Let’s start off with the horror aspect. There is none. Out of 25 episodes I was scared for a grand total of two minutes in one episode. Even setting aside the facts that the spooks were intended for a younger audience, the stories themselves weren’t creepy or scary or even absorbing. The only reason things could be considered spooky is cheap jump scares, with the exception of the two minutes I mentioned. The music builds up to scary moments, but is let down by the mediocre visuals. The arcs (cases) last for 4-5 episodes, which is something I don’t mind since it prevents binging.
This is a typical shoujo anime, which means a romance between the lead pair is inevitable. My issue here is that there is no real indicator that the guy even likes the girl or favours her. She has slight ESP and her subconscious chooses to send messages to her in the form of the guy - but that’s in her head. So to be clear, she falls for the guy (pretty quickly, I might add) for no discernible reason, doesn’t bother to differentiate her idea of the guy from the person himself (again, they have little interaction except when she’s ordered around by him) and thinks that because she is attracted to him, it gives her some kind of claim on him. FYI, it doesn’t. Mutual consent is important, girls.
The guy is very pretty and very smart, but I don’t know enough of him beyond that to say anything. He’s seventeen, runs a psychic detective agency, does his own thing, whatever. He’s so unimpressive that I don’t miss his presence at all. It has been hinted at that he is the Quiet Boy with Unfathomable Emotional Depths, but that is never elaborated upon.
As for the protagonist herself, I have to say this - she’s just plain dumb. When you’ve been handling paranormal cases for a while now, hearing a child say they’re sad someone is alive is a pretty good indicator that they’re possessed. She’s supposed to be the “heart” of the team (because girls are emotional, of course!) but that’s not the issue - it’s that she feels bad for everything and everyone and refuses to be practical. She leaves people alone when told not to leave them alone. She does things she’s told not to because of her feelings. At the same time, the guy (who’s her boss in a way) refuses to divulge plans with her for no reason and then expects her to not question him, which puts them at odds. So not only is every outburst of hers irritating to watch, it’s also invalidated by the guy in the end, and she ends up apologizing even though it’s partly his fault. I hate their dynamic; can you tell?
Leaving aside the protagonists, the side characters are likeable enough but it’s pathetic how they don’t develop through two cours. There’s an older (20s) lady who seems somewhat flirtatious (we know she’s a vamp because she wears lipstick) and there’s a younger girl the protagonists’ age who also helps with their cases. I’m happy to add that the protag and this girl don’t hesitate to help each other even though they’re rivals for the main guy’s lurrve, so that’s nice. The character I most like is the monk (who moonlights as a rock star? But leave that aside) since he acts like a responsible adult and looks out for the protagonist. But none of the characters are elaborated on beyond mentioning things in passing and never returning to them. It’s frustrating and disappointing, because the side cast have decent interactions and are fairly likeable.
The worst part of the series, though, is its callous handling of death. The crew don’t seem terribly upset even when the paranormal incidences lead to deaths of their clients; they don’t seem fearful or nervous at the risk to their lives. Along the with open ending of the series (which leads to stuff in the last arc being unexplained), it makes for a very disappointing watch. My chief emotion when it finished was regret at wasting ten hours of my life on this show. That should tell you enough.