Posted on 24 November 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews



For most of the series I review, I watch them in their original language. There are exceptions, however, and this is one of them. The original Gakkou no Kaidan is beyond mediocre. The characters are shallow, the stories are stupid and formulaic (there are twenty episodes in total, and it rips off The Ring in at least five of them), depthless, predictable, full of plotholes and every ghost is stopped right at the last possible moment. If I were to review the Japanese version, you could subtract at least 20 to 30 points from the rating.

Interestingly enough, the person in charge of the English Dub thought so too, and decided go with his own version. The result is a hilarious parody chockful of American pop culture and jokes that are so wrong that you’d normally never see in anime. Think sex, drugs and violence here. On top, the characters also love to break the fourth wall whenever something doesn’t make sense in the script. And it actually works!

The lead characters also get transformed from just another standard group of kids without much of a distinct personality, to a group with a retarded dyslexic kid, a drug addict, a closet pervert Jew and an obsessively devoted christian. The funny thing is that despite these seemingly offensive stereotypes, the characters are actually much more colourful and developed than their original versions.

I’ve heard plenty of stories about dubs who completely ruin their original series. However, with everything there are some definite exceptions: with Gakkou no Kaidan, there hardly was anything left to ruin, and the writers for the dub had a clear vision of what they were going to do. It’s an interesting experiment that really brightened up an otherwise horribly dull series, and the humour isn’t like anything you’re ever going to encounter in anime. The only thing that really stands out in the original version is some nice shading and the OP. Talk about catchy.

Storytelling: 9/10
Characters: 8/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 8/10

18 Responses

  1. Issun says:

    Oh man… I remember this one. True story. My first encounter with this anime was at a convention a few years ago and I have to say it was just made for that type of crowd. The whole room was rolling in laughter. The original has its own charm but as was said, it’s got little interest to it. If nothing else, this was a really fun adaption.

  2. roo says:

    Easily best dub ever. Not only for being hilarious beyond all reason, but you can tell the voice actors do a much better job when they’re actually having fun with it.

  3. i says:

    Never heard of it, but this makes me want to try it :P

  4. skyhack says:

    i… THis title is sold in the States as “Ghost Story”.

    THE BLOODSTAINED LAKE!!! AAAAAUUUGHHHHHH!!!

    Sorry about that.

    Best dub ever, by those ADV comic masters. REMEMBER THE SOCK PUPPETS!!!

    I’ll miss ‘em.

  5. Wyrdwad says:

    Yaaaay, you watched it!! Glad you liked it. My favorite episode was still the zombie bunny, but there were so many great moments in this dub. (:

    -Tom

  6. AKI says:

    I watched the original japanese dub years ago but has yet to watch the english dub. where can i download the batch, psgels? you got me interested there for a minute.

  7. Pax says:

    I just searched for the dubbed version and considering i watched a few episodes of the original version and i did not like them one bit, at least the dubbed one is hilarious,but one can do something like this with any other anime,so i don’t see anything worth too much praise,still i definitely prefer this dubbed version.

  8. Janine says:

    I’ll have to check this title out. I’ve been looking for a good English dub that I can listen to will I do my work. Thanks. :D

  9. psgels says:

    AKI: you can get any version that has the dual audio option.

    Pax: sure, you can do this with any other series, but the thing with this dub is that a huge amount of work went into the english dialogue, and the creators really made use of their creative lisence without going TOO over the top. That’s why I gave it this high rating.

  10. Chris says:

    I saw this one on TV, the dub version was way better just for being hilarious with Rush Limbaugh jokes and other little pop culture stuff. The voice actors actually wrote most of the jokes in the script.

  11. totoum says:

    i wondered if someone who wasn’t american would get enough references to fully enjoy this dub and I guess this shows that yes.

    I watched the dub with the subs of the original script.The amazing thing is that in 2-3 episodes,there really isn’t that much changed,which means the original script was so bad it was already quite funny all by itself,of course as episodes pass the actors took more and more liberties.

  12. psgels says:

    Totoum: it still surprises me how many thing the original series tried to play straight, yeah. i admit that there were a bunch of names of which I had no idea who they were, but I had no problem understanding the rest of the jokes.

  13. Wyrdwad says:

    A lot of the names they threw around, especially in the first few episodes, were the names of the dub voice actors themselves. (:

    -Tom

  14. Logopolis says:

    Making a parody dub, and leaving the children who are most likely to appreciate the original to read the subtitles seems somehow the wrong way round to me.

  15. Jim says:

    Somewhere I read an article about how many US movies made in the US didn’t have Japanese subtitles when they showed in Japan. Interpreters were hired and they would give a live interpretation. Often these interpreters would receive top billing.

  16. coyo says:

    Jokes get a bit boring after a while there’s just too much

  17. Acylia says:

    I’m having so much fun with this one. I couldn’t really believe it at first, so I tried watching the original… but DAMN. These dubs are easily the best I’ve ever seen.

  18. konichilingus says:

    Leo! Leo! Leo! Leo! Goddamnit! Goddamnit! Goddamnit! Goddamnit!

    :)) Best dub ever. I usually prefer original japanese voices and english subtitles. But this one, pure genius. I mean how can you make a serious story about a potty ghost? :))

    T’was fun. Highly recommended

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  • gedata
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 10:14 AM)
    @Juno, you aren’t alone.
  • Juno
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 05:37 AM)
    Because as of this moment, my childhood could NOT be happier…
  • Juno
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 05:37 AM)
    I can’t be the only one FREAKING OUT OVER THE NEW JOJO ENDING THEME, right?
  • K-Off
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 05:32 AM)
    And although everyone said already, the launch scene is gorgeous.
  • K-Off
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 05:30 AM)
    @Friend Man, you are something else. The chapter reeled me into the story. I didnt see any faults with it, except for one typo. The scenes are well composited, and like nyan said, the only “faults” are nitpicky things :)
  • Jalapeno Bagel
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 04:21 AM)
    Yeah, I think this falls more into the category of typesetting than anything else and there’s plenty of different ways that can go depending on preference. If the readers don’t have an issue, then it’s fine.
  • Friend
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 04:11 AM)
    A problem ve faced with american comics is that they usually dont contrast the speech bubble with the surroundings too well. That might be a factor, as large bubbles mean more visibility of the text itself.
  • Jalapeno Bagel
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 04:05 AM)
    ah well, I don’t really mean the amount of content, but a negative space thing. it’s easier on the eyes when there’s a bit of space around the bubble for me.
  • Friend
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 04:03 AM)
    Sure, I was tempted to pack in my bubbles, moreso with my weekly form of several pages. But I figured I should take time to develop each moment.
  • Nyangoro
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 04:01 AM)
    It’s a matter of compressed vs decompressed storytelling. Just a result of how the two evolved, I suppose. It makes more sense when you consider the multiversal approach to mainstream American comics in relation to the isolated worlds found in Japanese manga.

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