Posted by psgels 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 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 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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  • SuperMario
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 12:46 PM)
    @Bam: yeah, that sounds good. I will watch it and tell you how I think (hope my taste is not that weird ^^)
  • SuperMario
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 12:45 PM)
    @Bam: for some weird reasons I prefer Inherent Vice as it as, if the film was better or the plot was tigher I would think Anderson as a more calculated director. This version of Injerent Vice is wild and more crazy that actually make me think more fondly of him.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 12:27 PM)
    @SuperMario: Neighbouring Sounds was great. Judging from what I gathered of your taste, my money’s on you digging it as well.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 12:23 PM)
    @SuperMario: as I said I really liked the tone and the atmosphere and the atmosphere in Inherent Vice, but the overarcing plot is thin and True Dtectige season 2’s level of self-importance. A lot of scenes serve as mere venues for the great actors just cheering the secondary. A.tighter script and a little less directorial indulgence would’ve made it a lot better. Punch-Drunk Love is one such great example.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 12:16 PM)
    @Kaiser: the Master is brilliant, and I liked Boogie Nights, but others have much more love for it than me.
  • SuperMario
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 11:59 AM)
    Btw, in preparation for Cannes, I plan to watch Kleber Mendonça Filho’s previous work Neighbouring Sound. Have any of you watched the movie yet?
  • SuperMario
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 11:31 AM)
    I think P.T Anderson is one of the rare director who doesn’t go wrong with his works. There will be blood and the master as his masterpiece but I do really enjoy the tone of Inherent Vice and Punch drunk love actually keepps getting better for me
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 11:19 AM)
    There was a found footage horror film with a hunter s Thompson inspired character, had a lovecraftian element to, Banshee chapter, utter hokum/nonsense but in an interesting vein.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 11:14 AM)
    Paul Thomas Anderson must be one heck of an director of actors though, given he actually managed to make good use of Adam Sandler…
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 11:10 AM)
    On Wes Anderson I loved how whimsical Moonrise kingdom was and Darjeeling limited had a genuine heart to it.
    Fantastic Mr fox I can take or leave, its pretty much a childrens film. Budapest and life aquatic didn’t jive with med comedically.

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