Posted on 1 February 2008 with categories: Ghost Hound

With a title of “For the Snark was a Boojum, you see”, this episode had to be different from all the others. And indeed, this one gives a totally new twist to the story. You don’t want to miss this episode. The strangest part is that the first three quarters play entirely inside Tarou’s head. It’s here where he meets Snark, a strange Ghost-like creature who seems to live there. And Boojum… well, let’s say that that guy is still missing, but if we were to believe the title, then it seems that this Snark was a Boojum as well. Let’s hope that the future episodes explain what the heck this means…

In any case, Tarou travels from his last memories with his sister to an old hospital full of deceased people, to Snark’s room, where all kinds of memories of him are stored. You have to love the creativity that the creators have put into the different sections of the guy’s mind. He also visits a certain room that Kei (I think that’s her name) forbad him to go into, and it seems that this is some kind of special fermentation-place where spirits also like to visit. Tarou then faints a bit. I really liked this part, because it shows exactly what the previous episodes have been building up for: Tarou, getting more and more familiar with the spirit-world and his ghost-form.

The episode is more than just that, though. In his explorations, Tarou also saw that Miyako had caught a really bad cold, so he decides to visit her, along with Masayuki, Oogami and Michio. It’s here where Tarou tells Takahito about the things that Miyako said when she was possessed, and Takahito immediately orders them to leave, looking worried. It seems that he knew exactly what these sentences meant. To make things even better: when they descend the stairs of the shrine, none other than Noriko (Makoto’s grandmother’s household) stands there, waiting for him. Makoto of course gets angry and runs away, and everyone follows him, but Michio looks back, and suddenly sees a really evil grin from Noriko’s face. I never expected that even she had some kind of secret. This can turn out really interesting, and you just have to see that evil smile for yourself. :P

Posted on 24 January 2008 with categories: Ghost Hound

Finally, after yet another week of hiatus, Ghost Hound now seems to be back for real. This episode yet again continues the trend of seamlessly integrating the building-up scenes with the important ones. And that’s really why I love this series. At first sight, it may seem like nothing happens, and yet the plot has been continuously pushed forward by every single episode.

The major event for this episode was Miyako, freaking out in front of Tarou. Only now, I realize that the girl in the storm in the OP was her, without her braids, and only now I realize that her problem is that she often gets possessed by ghosts. I couldn’t exactly pick up what she said back then, but it’s interesting how she freaked out, just at the time when Tarou mentioned his sister, and from what I understood, she was possessed by one of the local gods. It’s quite freaky how this was done. Most series in the same position go all GAR or emo, though this was handled quite naturally.

On further news, we finally learn what happened to Miyako’s mother: she’s in Tokyo. It seems that she divorced from Miyako’s father, and Miyako decided to stay with him. I’m surprised that Ghost Hound is one of the few series where parents can actually be divorced, even though this happens quite often in the real world. But yeah, most lazy anime solve this by never showing the parents of their protagonists, so I guess it’s only natural.

Miyako’s father also runs into the councillor during this episode, and it looks like Miyako will get some sessions in the future as well. It’ll be interesting to see what he’ll discover, especially now that he’s been seeing more and more hallucinations himself. The female scientist (god, I’m going to have to start to learn these people’s names…) also manages to see Makoto in Ghost-Hound-mode, at the start of the episode. Masayuki’s father, meanwhile, is being investigated by a strange photographer, so it really seems that the guy is working himself into trouble.

Makoto, meanwhile, confronts his grandmother about his father’s death. Another conversation I didn’t quite get, but it seems that Makoto is suspecting that the same thing might happen to either him or Tarou. We also now see that Makoto’s grandmother really desires his attention, though the way she acts now, she’s never going to get it. I think that she neglected him so much over the years, that she only noticed how much she needs him once she started getting seriously ill. And yeah, now it’s a bit too late to apologize to a guy like him.

Posted on 11 January 2008 with categories: Ghost Hound

Ah, finally Ghost Hound is back after its holiday-hiatus, and it did a good job of reminding me why it turned into one of my favourite series for the fall-season. It’s so delightfully down to earth, and doesn’t try to force anything. This episode also made things even better when it finally provides lots of answers. And of course, even more questions. ^^;

First of all: the mouse finally appears! Turns out to be an experimental rat from the female scientist (name?), she uses it in this episode in an experiment where she connects the brain to a little robot, making the robot move, based on the rat’s though-patterns. Quite interesting, though I wonder whether it’ll play any future role for this series. Speaking of this doctor, the end of the episode sees her making out with Masayuki’s father. Now that I mention it, we haven’t seen the guy’s mother, have we? Perhaps that would explain why Masayuki hates his father so much, because he forcefully separated him from his mother when he divorced.

In any case, the real meat for this episode was about Makoto’s parents. It all starts when an unidentified corpse shows up in the dammed lake. News like this travels fast, especially with a bunch of psychics like Tarou and Miyako in the neighbourhood, and very soon half of the town is gathered around the site of the murder. One of these people was Makoto’s mother. I actually thought that she died as well, but it seems that they too divorced at some point. Makoto hates her as well.

After seeing this, Miyako’s father (by the way, what happened to his wife?) decided to let the main characters know a few things about his past with Makoto’s parents and the mayor, as they used to be good friends in the past. They too went to visit the old hospital, just like Makoto, Masayuki and Tarou did in episode four. At one point, they found one very strange looking entrance, where Makoto’s father was the only one who entered it. Miyako’s father and the future mayor were too scared to go in, and prevented Makoto’s mother from following her future husband. In the end, Makoto’s father ended up somewhere that made no sense at all, though I didn’t quite catch the exact spot. Still, it has to be quite strange if this is the only thing that Miyuki’s father managed to find weird about the time he spent with the guy as a teenager. Still, he doesn’t know why Makoto’s father committed suicide, but I think that the Mayor can answer those questions.

I liked the small details in this episode as well, like when Masayuki’s bullies returned with their sempai, and this sempai turning out to be the guy from the convenience-store in the previous episode. I also like how he made friends with the fourth guy, and basically involved him with the story. I don’t think anyone would have guessed that the guy would get so much screen-time when he first appeared, and just got bullied by his classmates.

Oh, and it also seems that Tarou can now transform his entire body into his out-of-body experience, instead of the strange babboon-like creatures. I also liked how when Miyuki’s father told is story, Tarou and Makoto (but not Masayuki) got sucked right into the story, as if they were there themselves. It’s interesting how Masayuki didn’t come along with them. After all, he’s probably still in babboon-form in his out-of-body experience, and apart from his little video-game weapons, he hasn’t really tried to search for the borders in these experiences, unlike Tarou, who went to the other side and Makoto, who basically has been running around as a giant ghost hound. The thing also is that we’re only halfway up the series now, so there are still lots of directions that this series can explore.

Posted on 22 December 2007 with categories: Ghost Hound

You have to love the cliff-hangers of this series. For the past episodes, they’ve always brought some kind of new twist. This episode gives a bit of a humorous side to the twists, which works out quite well, if I say so myself, even if it’s a bit mean. ^^;

This episode was mostly building up as usual again. After the previous episode, Tarou gets a new sort of therapy recommended by the councillor: Thought Field Therapy. I’m not yet sure what that means, but we’ll probably find out in the next episode, because Tarou really needs this after being exposed to the figure of the guy who kidnapped him and all. It now also seems that the councillor took the things that happened to him rather seriously, and is still frightened of the strange time-leap he made, two episodes ago.

Also, one of the questions that was raised in the OP has been answered: remember the Fox-like creature? That’s actually Makoto in Ghost Hound-mode. After seeing Tarou, he tried to move into the same form, and succeeded. In the meantime, the bully-side-story still isn’t over, when the bullies have now decided to make Masayuki into their victim. Luckily, Makoto prevented any real casualties in this episode, but things have to go wrong at one point.

Meanwhile, Masayuki finds out about Tarou’s crush on Miyako. Cute moment, by the way. Miyako seems to be really wary of her father, by the way. He just takes out one beer and she notices and gets annoyed. Could this have to do with her schizophrenic side, that was mentioned a few episodes ago?

Overall, I’m liking the quiet moments of this series more and more. It’s interesting enough for me to just see the different characters interacting, and that’s one of the signs of a good anime for me. Let’s see what this series will have in store for us once it enters its second half. Ghost Hound is an excellent recommendation for this season.

Posted on 21 December 2007 with categories: Ghost Hound

Those who are watching Ghost Hound for the plot can rejoice, because a lot of stuff happens in this episode. Everything starts with a bunch of teenagers, who are at night exploring the abandoned building-site where Tarou’s kidnapper died. It then seems that the ghost of this guy has come back to haunt them. Basically the same happens as when Makoto ran into it, but this time it also possesses one of the kids.

Rumours like these obviously travel fast, so Makoto, Tarou and Masayuki hear about this quite quickly. They decide to take a look in ghost-form, and there some very interesting things happen: Tarou freaks out (he does come into contact with his kidnapper, after all), and transforms from ghost-monkey to Ghost…. Hound-like being (now I also understand where the title for this series comes from). Masayuki gets to be the one to shoot the black figure down, when he basically turns out to be able to use the moves from his video-games. Quite cool, if you ask me.

In other news, the councillor has started contacting his colleague after what happened last episode, while sounding quite nervously. Masayuki meanwhile finally stands up to the bullies who torment his classmates, only to get beaten himself. Masayuki’s father also suddenly sees ghost-leeches dangerously close near his daughter, who just keeps playing simple video-games. Tarou, meanwhile, gets strange blushes when he’s near Miyako. *hint hint*

Posted on 7 December 2007 with categories: Ghost Hound

Most plot-based series have clearly defined episodes which either focus on building up or pushing the story forward with many climaxes. I like it when a series combines both into one, just like Ghost Hound is currently doing. The majority of the episode focused on fleshing out the characters a bit more, while the episode ended with quite an intriguing plot-twist.

A few months have passed since the previous episode. The hair of the different characters has grown back, Tarou is doing fine, and his mother is now taking therapy as well. It seems that the councillor is aware that there’s something strange with Tarou, though I’m not sure how much he knows. It’s also revealed that the fourth person on the photo with Makoto’s parents is Miyako’s father. This episode, Makoto goes to ask him a few questions about his parents, but he doesn’t get much farther. Tarou in ghost-form, meanwhile makes contact with Miyako again, and for the first time the two of them talk to each other. Miyako also mentions how she sometimes gets possessed by something strange, which probably happened back in episode four.

Tarou also runs into a strange dog-like spirit, and goes to the “other side” that we saw a few episodes ago for the first time. There, it’s really filled with spirits and similar creatures. We also see Miyako’s father at one point in the forest, discovering traces of a campfire (probably belonging to the old man of a few episodes ago), and didn’t look quite happy.

The episode ends with the councillor (I think he’s called Hirata), who waits for his taxi. A huge flash follows, and suddenly he’s thirty minutes further, and the taxi has arrived. In the sky, he can see a big glowing thingie. How did this happen? Did he himself have trouble with his childhood as well? It’s interesting, at the start of the season, I never imagined that his role in the series would be this big.

Posted on 1 December 2007 with categories: Ghost Hound

Boy, MRI-scans. That brings back memories, as I’ve had a few of them myself. I’ve never had them on my brains, though. Basically, the entire first half of the episode is something what you’d call “Brain MRI-scans for Dummies”, and it’s basically one big lecture, which I of course couldn’t understand. ^^; It was interesting to see the councillor return, though and he also showed a new side of him, that was way more interested and away from his distant usual self. Something tells me that he’s beginning to suspect that Tarou has out-of-body experiences, and got interested.

For Masayuki, this episode tells us more about his family. His sister is as big of a gaming-addict as he is, and the doctor we saw introduced in the previous episode turns out to be an acquaintance of his father. What also piqued my interest was how he really uses his games as a way to escape from real life.

Tarou, meanwhile, regained consciousness, but a new sort of experience got introduced for him in this episode, where he can basically see inside his own brains. In there is a strange figure, who somehow reminds Tarou of his sister. This was really a moment that showed that even the calm Tarou hasn’t recovered a full 100% from his experiences, as he does shout at the strange figure that he wants to see his sister.

Meanwhile, we learn a bit more about why Makoto reacted so angrily at the picture we saw last episode. It doesn’t seem that he hates the guy, running for mayor, but instead he hates the fact that people blamed his father’s death as a suicide. He figures that his former friends might know a bit more, and this really seems to be the case for the guy who is running in the elections. Of course, he isn’t going to easily talk, but it’s clear that he too has suffered some kind of trauma because of Makoto’s father. Whether this was the suicide itself, or something more complex is for the next episodes to show us.

The episode also ends with quite a few intriguing events: Makoto walks past an abandoned building and sees some kind of hallucination that looks awfully familiar to the death of Tarou’s kidnapper. Afterwards, Masayuki sees a kid getting bullied, and simply runs away. One thing I really like about this series, aside from the large roots in psychology, is how the dramatic scenes don’t feel forced at al. This shows quite some promise for the future.

Posted on 23 November 2007 with categories: Ghost Hound

One thing that I’ve been wondering about this series: what’s going to be the point? Will it just feature Tarou and the others exploring their fears, or is there going to be some kind of crisis or issue that will be introduced in the second half of this series? I originally thought that as soon as the characters were introduced, random cases about the supernatural and spirit-world would take over this series, but the current episode really showed me that Ghost Hound is about Tarou, Makoto, Masayuki and Miyuki. Where the cyborg-rabbit from the OP comes into picture… I have no idea though.

This episode shows a bit of development for all four major characters. We start where we left off in the previous episode, with the old guy who can see spirits as well. He appears to be friendly, but the conversation quickly ends when he mentions that if you remain out of your body for too long, you won’t be able to turn back. If this was a series like Dennou Coil, I would have expected that in the future, someone won’t be able to turn back, but with Ghost Hound, I have no idea whether this was meant to flesh out the spirit-world a bit more, or some sneaky way of foreshadowing.

In this episode, Masayuki tries to confront his own fears by climbing over the edge of his school’s roof. He’s okay for a short while, but becomes terrified after a gust of wind hits him. The result of this we’ll see in the next episode.

Meanwhile, we get introduced to some people who were befriended to Makoto’s mother, who I assume is dead now as well. One noteworthy person is currently running in the election for major. This episode also shows that Makoto doesn’t like this guy, though I’m not sure why yet. It could be your usual Makoto, or something of which we haven’t heard yet. Meanwhile, his grandmother has health-problems.

Tarou, meanwhile, has had some very bad nights of sleep, and ends up fainting in front of Miyuki on the stairs towards the shrine. He gets taken to the hospital, where he is examined. The main doctor seems to be an old acquaintance of Miyuki’s father. Miyuki, when she finds out about this, gets strangely enough angry and leaves. Obviously, there’s enough potential left for our characters, and I suspect that the first half of this series will continue to develop them. But what will happen after that? I have no idea.

Posted on 16 November 2007 with categories: Ghost Hound

I’m quite interested to find out the direction in which Ghost Hound is heading. The episodes have been progressing quite naturally, and while I thought that the previous episode concluded the introduction for this series, this episode made me think that this series is still quite busy introducing its concepts. Reminds me of Ergo Proxy, that one also took ten episodes before it got to its “proxy-of-the-week”-plot.

This episode again was mostly building-up, but despite this it was an excellent one. I like anime that don’t just shine in their climaxes, but remain interesting throughout their entire airtime. The episode starts with the day after the last episode, and it’s interesting how Tarou, Masayuki and Makoto reacted differently to their hairs being cut off at the previous episode. Tarou didn’t care, Masayuki bought a really big hat, and Makoto found it a good time to go to a barber to just cut all of his hair short.

The three of them all get a bit more development as well. Makoto seems to hate his family, which consists out of his mother (or was that some kind of maid?) and grandmother, of which the latter is some kind of spiritual figure in the village. I don’t think that the three of them have really recovered from the murder of Makoto’s father, and they grew apart after it. This is quite similar to Tarou, especially his mother still can’t forget about her dead daughter, and that is causing quite some problems in his household. It’s not like how they keep fighting, like with Makoto, but Tarou and his parents keep hiding their worries. In this episode, we also see Tarou claim that he’s the most scared of upsetting his mother, because she already is so incredibly fragile.

Masayuki’s background is still one big mystery, but now we know too that his parents are about to divorce, and they had a fight this episode. He’s chosen to not worry about that too much, and it seems like he doesn’t want to have to do anything with it. It’s also still a mystery what Miyako’s powers are. Does she allow our threesome to experience out-of-body experiences? Did she have some kind of traumatic experience in the past too (notice how she lacks a mother).

Posted on 9 November 2007 with categories: Ghost Hound

I think that this episode marks the end of the introduction for this series, and next episode should really start this series off. I’m also glad to see that Ghost Hound has been getting better and better with every episode, and I loved the things that happened in the current one. The horror-elements really work.

The one who surprised me the most was Masayuki. Due to the phobia-exposure, all three of the main characters have an out-of-body experience, and you could see how Oogami and Tarou were used to it, while the experience was entirely new for Masayuki, and this showed. Once he loses his control over the situation, he freaks out and doesn’t know what to do, but follow the others. His personality seemed to have developed in quite an unstable way, though this could also be because he suffered from his trauma only a few months before, instead o Oogami and Tarou, who’ve had their horrible experiences since childhood, and have learned to live with their fears a bit.

There were a few moments in the animation where the animators took a bit more than they could chew. The breathing-scenes may have looked god on paper, they looked kind-of fake to me. The rest of the animation for this episode was nice and crisp, though, but perhaps the CG was a bit intrusive here and there.

I also wonder why Masayuki was so scared to get his hair cut off, at the end of the episode as a cleansing ritual. He could be just scared of all the things that happened to him, or is there something to his background that has yet to be revealed? I loved Miyako at that moment, though, when she scolded the guy. Her role can become quite interesting for the future episodes. She also reminds me of Jigoku Shoujo: not Enma Ai, but Tsugumi. The only difference between the two of them would be that she’s way more serious and less playful. Apart from that, though: she lacks a mother, has out-of-body-experiences and knows what happens at locations, miles away from hers, while she does, she freaks out and gets comforted by her father, and the two do have similar character-designs as well.

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