Posted on 4 April 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews, Ghost Hound


If you’re looking for a standard anime with a standard storyline, then you should stay well away from Ghost Hound. This is one series that tries to be different, and it’s at the same time after Shion no Ou my favourite series to have aired during the past Autumn Season. It does feature a bunch of fourteen/fifteen year old boys, but this series manages to use them to their full extend.

One of the major themes of Ghost Hound is psychology. You can see that the creators are very knowledgeable about the subject, because this series really delves into the details of this subject. All main characters have run into their own kinds of traumas due to various things that happened in their childhood, and everyone has reacted to this differently. Ghost Hound shows how these people can be cured, and how just a small push in the wrong direction can lead to disaster.

There’s another thing that really sets this series apart from most others: it’s been directed by the director of Serial Experiments Lain, and it shows. Apart from that series, there is no other anime I can think of that puts more focus on its sound effects than Ghost Hound. The result is an continuously tight atmosphere as the events slowly develop.

And yes, this is a slow series, but don’t make the mistake that nothing happens. In fact, every episode builds up for the next one, and it keeps you on your toes, because you’ll never know when a sudden plot-twist might arrive. In this series, it’s not the destination that matters, but the road at which you get there. Because of this, the ending ended up being a tad rushed, but thankfully entertaining enough to keep interesting.

I didn’t have much series to look forward to at the previous Autumn Season, but this one really stood out, and it’s along with Shion no Ou my top-recommendation amongst the shows that aired back then. Don’t worry that it’ll start off slow, it’ll pick up its pace quickly enough and deliver a great storyline, an interesting cast of characters that develops very natural-like and a feast for the senses.

Posted on with categories: Ghost Hound


It’s strange. This episode was far from perfect. Like expected after the previous episode, a lot of things indeed had to be crammed in one episode. We still don’t know where Masayuki’s mother went (either that, or it was mentioned somewhere in a previous episode and I didn’t pick it up), and just happily reappeared again at the end of this episode. Makoto’s mother also didn’t show up at all, and this episode yet introduced all kinds of new concepts. Compared to the extremely solid series, this episode wasn’t careful in its building up at all. So why did I like this episode so much?

I think that there are a couple of different endings a series can choose. Endings often used in comedies and light-hearted series are the “life goes on”-ending, the “there is no ending”. There’s also the “aftermath ending”, where nothing exciting happens and instead the series closes off with a quiet episode. Then there are the series who want to end with a bang, and they can usually be divided into three categories.

In the least exciting of the three, the final episode just takes the end of the semi-final episode and wraps up all the threads that were still left hanging from it. Most of the series from the past fall and winter-season belong in this category, and while it’s nice and all, I don’t really see such an ending as anything special. Shion no Ou is one of the few series who actually made such an ending really work, but that series was awesome to begin with.

In the second category, the creators basically solve all of the problems in the semi-final episode, apart from one major thing. Think of it as, the evil emperor’s plans have all been destroyed, and now all that’s left is to defeat the evil emperor himself. These endings are usually very solid ones, take Clannad’s ending, or one of my favourites: Bokura no. These endings, however, also have a tendency to get quite boring if you’re not into the series.

And then the third, which is my personal favourite but also an incredibly double-edged sword: introduce new things in the final episode. And this is exactly where Ghost Hound’s ending belongs. There were only four series for the past season who did this, I think: Mokke, Ghost Hound, Hakaba Kitarou and Wellber no Monogatari. While Wellber’s ending was a string of bad ideas, the other three contained some of my favourite endings of the past season, simply because you really won’t know what to expect. A lot of my favourite endings are also of this type (Ooedo Rocket, The Third, Night Head Genesis, Noein), and now I finally see the resemblances.

But yeah, endings like these can also go horribly wrong, simply because there’s so much that happens in just one episode. Ghost Hound barely avoided this, and thankfully it more than made up for this by resolving more than I thought it would. Hirata gets a very nice closure, and in the end, it didn’t leave a bad taste behind.

Strangely enough, my favourite character in this episode ended up Michio. He was really fun to watch as he tried to use the ghosts of the deceased bioids to get rid of the strange typhoon. The old guy in the woods got a very interesting role as observer, along with a bunch of psychics who were alarmed by Noriko’s actions. And of course Tarou looked awesome in his priestess-outfit.

And really, what was up with that sudden landslide that destroyed the Oogami house? I guess that the spirits must have been pretty angry at Noriko. ^_^;;

The thing about this episode was also that it lets the viewer figure out what happened, and gets away with it pretty well. Either that or I didn’t pay attention during the previous episode in which everything about that typhoon got explained. Makoto suddenly summoned his ghost hound in front of a bunch of goons, at first sight this may have come from nowhere, but I guess that with the typhoon, certain spirits that would have been invisible otherwise appeared for everyone to see.

The same goes for that green-haired guy. I’m still surprised that he featured such little screen time. He was just there, never said anything, stole the completed bioid and threw it in the lake. After that, he’s gone! With no traces left behind. Did that guy work for Noriko as well, or did he have his own plans in the end?

And in the end, Tarou has managed to figure out what happened to his sister’s spirit. Miyako wasn’t the reincarnation of her at all, it indeed seems that the two just looked alike. Instead, she has been inside Tarou all this time. This episode also ended on an interesting note, with a picture being taken, just like what happened with Makoto’s parents.

Posted on 28 March 2008 with categories: Ghost Hound


This episode was a rather strange one for a Ghost Hound-episode. It’s probably one of the quietest ones of the entire series, which is very strange with just one episode to go, and it ended with plans to dress Tarou as a girl. I’m seriously wondering what the creators have in store for us for the final episode, especially now that Tarou is going to cross-dress on such a short-notice. As much as I’d love to see Tarou in a dress, will that episode be more than just “beat Noriko save Miyako”? Well, that’ll all depend on what the side-characters will be doing.

I wonder whether this series will answer all the questions it left behind, though. Two particular ones that I’m still waiting for are why Makoto’s father committed suicide, and how Hirata’s visions of Tarou’s dreams have affected him. I’d love to see a lot of this guy in the aftermath, because his development still feels rather incomplete.

There were also a lot of hormones in this episode. So in the end, while Tarou is into younger girls, Masayuki fancies grown-up women. Ah well, at least it’s different from the usual high-school girls. I don’t know who found it a good idea to not include any girl between the ages of 13 and 17 in this series, but this guy should be praised.

Here’s also a surprising discovery: Makoto can’t have out-of-body experiences anymore. Now that he mentioned himself, he’s indeed right. The last thing we saw of Makoto’s Ghost Hound-form is somewhere around ten episodes ago. You’d think he’d go more and more out of control, but for the past two episodes, he’s been calmer and laid-back than ever. After what happened to his mother, and meeting Tarou really saved this guy, and for the past few episodes, I think that he just needed some time for himself.

We also learn that Makoto’s father used to play guitar, just like Makoto did. As it turns out, he left his guitar in the possession of Tarou’s father, which makes for quite a nice scene.

About half of the shows this season have ended now, and I’m quite surprised at how some series significantly improved in quality for their final episodes (Mokke, Clannad, Spice and Wolf all had excellent final episodes. Ironically, all three of them are slow ones), others just closed off their series nicely without any bad feelings (Shion no Ou, Shigofumi, Hakaba Kitarou), others went out with a fizz (Kimikiss, Kekkaishi, Dragonaut, Wellber), and there is of course Suteki Tantei Labyrinth, where the final episode was at the same time one of the cheesiest ones.

Still, I haven’t really been able to find what I’m really looking for in an ending: originality, and series that try to be different. I’ve seen a lot of great final episodes this season, but no real outstanding endings. If there’s one series left this season that still can deliver such an ending, it’s this series. I’m not putting up my hopes too high, but in the next episode, it’s really time for the creators to make all the building-up of the previous 21 episodes come together.

Posted on 21 March 2008 with categories: Ghost Hound


There are two episodes left, and we finally know the intentions of the “bad guys” of this series. Heh, it’s about time. There are basically two “villains”, each completely unrelated from the other. The first one is Noriko. In this episode, she basically talks Miyako’s mother into taking care of her while her father remains in the hospital, which gives me a lot of reasons to believe that she was the one who stabbed him in the first place.

Noriko’s intentions were indeed to take over the cult that Makoto’s grandmother started. This episode shows that she too has some connections to the spirit-world, and she apparently knew that Miyako was possessed by some kind of spirit. If she indeed stabbed Miyako’s father, then she would have hit two flies with one blow: first Miyako would be too weak to suppress the spirit that possessed her, and second of all, it would eliminate her father, who obviously would never allow Miyako to be used for some kind of weird cult.

The second villain is the green-haired guy whom we still don’t know a lot about. He shows his true colours in this episode, though. Reika and Masayuki were apparently working on some kind of homunculus. An artificially created living being, which was, if I understood things correctly, was made possible through the strange spirits that Masayuki saw in the lab a few episodes ago. In any case, villain #2 steals this homunculus and dumps it in the dam, so that it can be food for the spirits.

The question: where does Hirata fit in all this? I didn’t quite understand what he told Reika in this episode, and what it signified. It seems that he found out something, but what?

Makoto, meanwhile, is doing fine with his mother. She’s been released from the hospital, but her memory is still a bit jumbled up. It’s interesting how the previous episode made such an impression on him that he’s now fully taking care of her, and protecting her.

Tarou, meanwhile, has it tough. Notice how he’s unable to even utter the word “Miyako”? In the meantime, his mother’s having visions of her dead daughter. Whether she saw the spirit of her dead daughter, or if it was just in her mind, the fact remains that she’s hasn’t been cheerier. And this is the first time I’ve seen her genuinely smile in the entire series.

Oh, and to those who believed that the person in Masayuki’s house who kept gaming was his mother: you were right, and I was wrong. It indeed seems that Masayuki’s mother has disappeared off to somewhere, and her husband doesn’t even seem to care (which is of course rather logical, after he’s been walking after Reika like a young puppy).

Posted on 14 March 2008 with categories: Ghost Hound


What an awesome episode!! Seriously, now that the finale is nearing, this series is more and more coming together. If you thought that the first half of this series was already impressive, you haven’t seen anything yet. This episode was all about the characters and their development, and especially about Makoto.

So basically, this series has taken four children with a trauma or similar mental disorder, but all of them from very different causes and cases. Masayuki has managed to recover. Tarou has been struggling with his feelings, but basically turned out fine. Miyako, however, ends up possessed and Makoto nearly killed off the rest of his entire family indirectly. A big key is the people around them. I think the reason why Masayuki managed to recover was because of the trust he placed in both Makoto and Tarou, and how he ended up saving Michio from his bullies. That’s why he was the only one who didn’t turn into a Ghost Hound. Tarou got better because he could talk to someone who resembled his sister.

Unfortunately, he took this too far, and called Miyako the reincarnation of his sister. This caused the spirits that have been possessing Miyako to grab their chance and posses her for real. Makoto, in the meantime, only had Tarou and Masayuki, and Tarou basically abandoned him when he ran away from his mother. After that, he didn’t have anybody to trust, which is why his mental state turned out so horrible. It’s an interesting message, which basically a mental illness can be cured through careful nurture, but it can very easily escalate into something much worse.

So in this episode, this all comes together. In the end, even though her partner seems to have died, Makoto’s mother doesn’t die. Instead, she loses part of her memory, and returns to her 17-year old version. To make things even better, she now seems to mistake Makoto for his father when he was seventeen!!! Imagine the shock this must be to Makoto, to see the woman he loathed so much talk to him, energetically like nothing ever happened!!

And that’s just the first part of this episode. In the second half, Tarou finds out that Miyako has a very strange smirk on her face after visiting her father, Makoto finds out that Mei used to have a crush on Makoto’s mother’s partner (explaining why she ended up so worried during the last episode), Tarou ends up trailing Miyako, Masayuki finds Makoto and then leaves, Makoto returns to the hospital, only to find Makoto and finally gets put at ease a bit. When he wakes up in his mother’s hospital-room the next day, he finds out that she regained her memory. I ask you, can a Ghost Hound-episode get any more awesome? Well, it’s up to the final three episodes!

Posted on 7 March 2008 with categories: Ghost Hound


Oh my god… the building-up is finally starting to pay off now, and yet this series still continues to build up with just four episodes left. I also must say that this is going to be one very interesting climax. I can’t imagine ANY cliché or stereotype that would fit as an ending for this series. There’s no clichéd antagonist, there’s no real goal where this series centres around. Instead, there are just characters, all with their own issues. The final episodes will probably focus the most around Tarou and Miyako, but how it’ll end… I still have no idea.

Still, I do wonder: who was it that knocked Miyako’s father off the stairs? The only possible candidate would be his former friend, the guy running for mayor. Something happened in the past between him and Makoto’s father, so perhaps this involved Miyako’s father as well.

And dear god… I never imagined that Makoto’s mother would be so depressed to actually set her own house on fire! Did she survive the thing, or was it a suicide? According to Makoto’s reaction, I’m edging to think that that indeed is the case, even though this goes against one of the big laws of anime (a character is only dead if he or she is confirmed dead).

It’s also interesting how Masayuki and Tarou finally realize that something’s wrong with Makoto, but what was that thing that Masayuki mentioned, that it might be related to Tarou’s kidnappers? In any case, it’s also interesting how the first car they ran into was the one of the female scientist. I think that she knows fully well that it was Masayuki who spied on her last episode, so now the two or them too get a chance to settle their differences.

Also, I wonder… why haven’t we seen Masayuki’s sister for the past few episodes?

Posted on 29 February 2008 with categories: Ghost Hound


Another terrific episode. I’m still surprised at how each episode starts pretty quietly, with usually a bunch of flashbacks, only for a few intense-plot-twists to happen in the second half. There’s nothing wrong with series that alternate between building-up and climax-episodes, but after Kaze no Shoujo Emily, Shion no Ou and Ghost Hound, I have found that I like series that can combine both building-up and climaxes in the same episode, making every single episode worthwhile much more than that, as it really takes skills to make everything come together. You also have every week something to look forward to, as you just know that a series will deliver in this way.

In any case, the major vent in this episode was how Tarou finally got the courage to tell Miyako how he believes that she’s the reincarnation of his sister. Miyako, who had met with her mother, whom she obviously didn’t like, having abandoned her and her father after all, was already in a rather bad mood, so Tarou’s rather blunt statement must have upset her even more. And really, Tarou looked so realistic when he tried to speak his mind to Miyako. I could really feel ho much trouble he had to get his words all together, and how speaking into complete sentences must have been the most difficult task in the world back then.

Surprisingly, there’s hardly anything about Hirata, apart from the fact that his dreams and Tarou’s dreams are starting to merge with each other… Because of this, Tarou now has nightmares where his sister talks her final worlds to the councillor, instead of him, and suddenly she turns into Miyako. I’m finally beginning to see one of the major themes of this series: the influence that your psychological state has on others. Tarou, Masayuki and Makoto are of course extreme examples, but the way they can interact with their environment within their own minds has some great symbolic values.

Oh, and I had to laugh when Ootori caught Masayuki in the act. She’s smarter than she looks, and can form an interesting villain (which I assume she’s going to be, after the previous episode and all).

Posted on 22 February 2008 with categories: Ghost Hound


God, that was intense. I really love how this series has progressed so far, and this is another major episode. Makoto and Tarou finally meet Makoto’s mother, after her new husband introduces them to her. Makoto really was planning to stab her, though it seems that he didn’t realize what kind of mental efforts it would cost to pull off such a stunt, so he runs away. After that, Tarou spends the night at Makoto’s mother’s house, while Makoto himself still didn’t return.

I like how this episode turned Makoto’s mother and her new husband into real characters, and we finally get to know them a bit. Makoto’s mother seems really nice at first sight, and she seems to feel genuinely sorry for abandoning her son right after her original husband committed suicide, but later that night, Tarou sees a whole different side of her, and she seems to be suffering from huge mental problems. Something tells me that they too need to pay the councillor a visit.

Meanwhile, things get just as interesting with Michio and Masayuki. It seems that their attempts to find out the password of Masayuki’s father’s computer failed, and while Michio attempts a few more things, Masayuki falls asleep, and finds out that he too has left the monkey-stage in his out-of-body experiences. He’s also ended up at the research laboratory where his father and the female scientist work.

The next part was a tad hard to understand, but it seems like the female scientist has manipulated Makoto’s father so that he’ll do whatever she wants. He seemed like a little lap dog at times. For some reason, there also seem to be ghosts floating around certain areas of the research centre, ad they start to attack Masayuki at one point, showing him strange signs I didn’t understand. In the end, none other than Michio saves him. I still don’t quite understand what triggered Michio to have out-of-body experiences as well, though if I had to guess then hanging out with Masayuki was probably the reason.

Posted on 15 February 2008 with categories: Ghost Hound


There was even more talking than usual this episode, which put me in a rather disadvantage. I’d guess that apart from Saiunkoku Monogatari, Ghost Hound is the hardest to understand of the anime I currently watch raw, though so far this hasn’t caused that much problems. This also was a clear build-up episode, after the major events of the last one, though this is the first time where I felt that I missed some important information about what happened to Makoto and his mother, after his grandmother died and all.

He basically runs into Tarou in the bus, and the two of them spend the episode together as first Tarou heads to Kei to apologize for what he did to her experiment, a few episodes ago (it seems that this experiment failed because of his meddling), and afterwards they meet up with the new partner of Makoto’s mother, and for some reason Makoto decided to bring along a knife for this. Things will probably get clearer the next episode, when we see what he actually planned to do with it.

In the meantime, Michio and Masayuki are on their own investigation, to figure out what Masayuki’s father is up to. It turns out that Michio’s skills are quite useful, and at the end of the episode he probably found out the password to Masayuki’s father’s laptop. They also contact the mysterious journalist. I thought that I remember someone in the comments who noted that he might be Tarou’s father, but the two of them are different people. He’s been investigating Makoto’s family, especially how Noriko has been inviting random people to come over.

The real treat of this episode was Hirata, though. It was a really interesting way to reveal the things that Tarou’s sister said to him, right before she died. Instead of Tarou, gradually finding out by recalling his memories, it was Hirata-sensei’s semi-out-of-body experiences that brought him in a part of Tarou’s memory, and he could understand her perfectly fine. What she basically said back then was meant to comfort him. She told him not to cry and survive, as she probably thought that she’d end up dying. In any case, it was pretty interesting to see Hirata freak out like that.

Posted on 8 February 2008 with categories: Ghost Hound


Apologies for the lateness on this entry. I’ve both been busy, and some wise-guy on Share thought that it was a good idea to disguise a random music-file as the latest Ghost Hound episode. In any case, if you were waiting for the major plot-twists, then this episode is not to be missed, because the plot-twists at the end of this episode were more exciting than ever. The building-up is really starting to pay off, and I don’t know about others, but the creators have managed to fully draw me into the atmosphere of this season.

I think I’ve said it before, but what I really like about Ghost Hound is how it manages to put building-up and major climaxes in the same episodes, compared to most other series, which basically have to make use of entire arcs to just build up enough for one climax that takes a few episodes. Because of that, I just know that a Ghost Hound episode will end up satisfying, because it took so much time in the beginning of its run to carefully place all of the pieces.

In any case, to give a short summary of things that happened: Miyako finally has some therapy from Hirata-sensei. Hirata-sensei seems to be quite a famous academic in Tokyo, which seems to point out how important he believes that Tarou’s case is. Meanwhile, Masayuki finds out that the woman who has been dating his father is the female scientist. Michio (who has really warmed up now that the bullies are gone, by the way), reveals in a library book something about the “Kotosaka no Kami”, they seem to be some kind of gods or spirits.

For the counselling, Miyako gets put under hypnosis. Then, Tarou sees his sister’s image in the unconscious Miyako. It could be very well possible that right now, the spirit of Tarou’s sister has possessed Miyako. In any case, the spirit takes over her again, even worse than last time. Luckily, Komori makes sure that she forgets everything that happened. On the way back, Noriko yet again turns up, and starts going after Miyako this time. It also turns out: Makoto’s grandmother died.

These were some really interesting developments. I wonder what’s going to happen to Makoto now. Is he going to start living with his mother? Or will Noriko still take care of him? Speaking of the devil, what the heck is she up to? She was seen making several phone-calls as well, when Makoto’s grandmother called out for her help.

I’m also not yet sure whether Tarou’s sister is really the spirit that took hold of Miyako, but if this was the case, then it would explain a lot. Of course, the reason why Tarou is so interested in her could just as well be because she resembles his sister so much. :P

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