Posted on 30 March 2007 with categories: Anime Reviews, Ghost Hunt


Ghost Hunt is an arc-based anime, focusing on a group of people who exorcise haunted buildings, like mansions, houses and school-buildings. Every arc ranges from one to four episodes, in which some kind of supernatural being has to be taken care of, sometimes resulting in rather bloody scenes. The series clearly did its homework, as it’s able to present the viewer with complex cases, and if offers some quite complex ghosts and exorcism rituals. Interesting premise, but does it deliver?

First, let me say that the best episode of the series is arguably episode five. It’s a masterpiece of fast pacing, tension and great characters. After that, the anime tries, but it never quite manages to reach the same heights of that fifth episode. This is mostly due to the main character of this series: Mai. She’s a normal schoolgirl, who gets recruited for the group in order to handle some of the smaller tasks, like paperwork, fetching coffee, installing cameras, etc.

Mai’s character is quite useless throughout a major part of the anime, apart from some prophetic dreams she has, perhaps. All she does is wander around, talk to people, get scared, and let others do the dangerous work. It’s such a pity, as her character works best when she’s actually in danger and has to fight for herself. But when she keeps getting saved by others, the fun quickly dies. Only two arcs bring an exception to this: the second and the final arc. Because of that, these two arcs showcase the best of the series, and possibly the only arcs which I really enjoyed.

Ghost Hunt also messes up its side-characters a bit. They work good on paperwork, but they aren’t just used to their full extend. In one particular arc, some of them also end up baking cakes, in order to conveniently have them out of the scene for a bit. Attempts are given to give them a bit of background, but apart from one case, these backgrounds are never finished. Speaking of finishing, a lot of questions also are left unanswered after the final episode.

In terms of graphics and music, however, this series shines. Character-designs are crisp and detailed, the use of CG is brilliant and the animation is very acceptable. (Someone also noted that the different characters end up wearing something different for each single day.) The OP and ED are definitely something to remember, some of the monsters and ghosts look very creepy, while the music fits the tension-full series perfectly. And I could go on for a while longer.

About the question whether this anime was worth watching, well, it is. The second arc, the final arc and also the small fifth arc were definitely enjoyable. The other arcs were just decent stories, nothing special.

Posted on with categories: Ghost Hunt

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Short Synopsis: The end of Ghost Hunt. Naru wakes up, his secret is revealed, and the case gets solved.
Good: Matsuzaki was in her element.
Bad: A few important questions remain unanswered.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8/10

You know, for a Ghost Hunt-episode, this wasn’t such a bad one. I quite enjoyed it, actually. Especially Matsuzaki was great to watch. There were a nice amount of climaxes, all of them were worthwhile to see. I also liked how this episode didn’t go into the “worst case scenario” as well, and chose the most natural solution instead.

Still.

Leaving the last part of a manga you’re based on out never is a good idea. xxxHolic was the only anime so far who left an acceptable result, but the fact remains that Ghost Hunt did leave a number of unanswered questions behind. First of all, Naru’s parents. While it’s nearly obvious that it’s that professor, I’d like to see it actually confirmed.

I was glad to see that Matsuzaki’s story felt the most complete after this episode, and therefore, it’s my favourite. Bou-san could have used a bit more explanation why he ended up in both a rock-band and a monk as well. For Mai’s case, we still don’t know how she got her powers, and why it’s Naru that always appears in her dreams. John doesn’t have any background at all, while we still don’t know why Naru is so incredibly friendly towards Masako. Overall, this could have been done much better, so I’m hoping for some kind of OVA to finish all these stories that were left in the final two books who haven’t been animated yet. But that probably won’t happen.

Overall, I expected a lot from Ghost Hunt, but overall, it rather disappointed. Episode five was awesome, but I still have yet to encounter an episode that managed to beat it. It would have been better if a bit more emphasis was put on the side-characters. That’s why I liked this final arc: because it put one of the main characters out of commission for half of its airtime.

Posted on 27 March 2007 with categories: Ghost Hunt

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Short Synopsis: More people die as the sprits are trying to free whatever is trapped inside of Naru.
Bad: Most of the episode was boring…
Good: … but the ending was awesome.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 7.5/10

Most of the episode did not what I’d like it to do, and yet again it reduced Mai to just a bystander, who just stands on one place while the others do the work. Okay, the possessed Kazuyasu in the middle of the episode proved to be at least something for her to do, but overall, the episode felt a bit boring to me. The death of the guy also lacked a bit of impact.

But then the ending came. Boy, that was one powerful cliff-hanger. Okay, I’ll scream if the next episode comes with a dues ex machina, but I’m just feeling that this arc is building up for something. It’s great to see that Mai was actually being hurt, other than just fainting at random places.

That’s also quite a strange use of an op they have there. First, it’s being left out, and then the tune appears at the time of the climax. Heh, quite interesting, and it works as a perfect background-tune for the cliff-hanger.

Posted on 22 March 2007 with categories: Ghost Hunt

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Short Synopsis: Naru still is out for the entire episode, while more people end up injured and wounded. There even was a suicide-attempt.
Good: Great cliff-hanger!
Bad: The evil grin on the spirits looked a bit fake, but this is just a minor detail.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8/10

You know what? I liked this! :D

Seriously, though. Now that Naru-chan is unavailable for this arc, Mai doesn’t have anyone to rely on or to drool over, so she’ll start acting for herself. The first half of the episode already shows this when she finally gives a good description of the dream she had. The things that happened in the dream of the previous episode are checked, and they all appear to be true. Not very exciting, but it’s definitely necessary.

I personally loved the second half. It starts with another one of the family-members being attacked (this time on his arms). The two children show themselves, and then it really becomes apparent that they’re possessed, as they’re actually disappointed that the guy didn’t die. They escape for that time, but Mai runs into them again later when she tries to give everyone a protective charm. They obviously run away, but Mai then finds out that they’ve been trying to kill various members of the household. What happened afterwards was very interesting.

Okay, so Mai made a mistake. Big deal, she almost threw her life away in the haunted school-building. But never has she actually put the lives of others on the line! She tries to catch the two children, but the boy escapes. The spirit then threatens to kill the boy if she doesn’t release them. He’s about to jump, and the only chance for Mai to stop him is by using the trick Bou-san taught her, despite his warnings to never use this on a human being.

The children ended up with some deep cuts in their back. They were lucky to have survived. But not only that. Mai didn’t only hurt the children, she also made the spirits even angrier than they already were. It’ll be very interesting to see how she actually is going to take responsibility for the things she did, as the end of the episode showed some signs that people actually died. In other words, Mai’s carelessness actually indirectly killed a couple of people. Finally she’s getting interesting! Woot!

Posted on 13 March 2007 with categories: Ghost Hunt

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Short Synopsis: The next, and probably final case revolves around a family which has been haunted by one or more spirits for a few generations.
Good: A smaller scale than the previous cases; I liked the back-story of the ghosts.
Bad: Will this final arc really save this series?
Overall Enjoyment Value: 7/10

Ah, last time, I made a prediction that either Naru or Mai would end up in some kind of grave danger. In the end, this turned out to be Naru, when he let a rather malicious ghost possess him. This leaves him put in a forced sleep for the next couple of episodes, and out of the investigation of the case. With this, Mai can only cling to Bou-san, which gives the current arc quite a bit of potential for Mai to show what she’s really made of.

But then again, I’ve been saying that for each arc. And still, they turned out disappointing. Gain, the show isn’t bad, but I keep expecting this show to match the fifth episode, and I’m getting annoyed that this has yet to happen. For some reason, the past few arcs found it a good idea to lower the pacing and give Mai a damsel-in-distress role. And that while the pacing was so addictive in the fifth arc.

Still, one thing I genuinely liked about this series was the back-story of the ghosts. If the creators can continue this further through the next episodes, then things can become really interesting. It seems that we’re dealing with a series of ghosts, among which is a couple, who committed some kind of sin and had to get chased out of their village because of this. I’m assuming that they died. So far, we’ve got three ghosts which have been confirmed to posses people. The one who now has hold of Naru, and the two children called Katsuki and Wakako. I assume that the two of them are possessed by the couple. Apart from them, I suspect that one of the other sons also has a spirit inside of him, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the other girl also was possessed. I’d just wish that we’d see a bit more of her.

I’m also glad that this arc is a bit more down-to-earth. Both Ubusuna and Sakauchi tried to curse an entire school, while Urado had almost countless of victims. This makes it rather hard to sympathize with the original victims, but right now the case revolves around a family. Most people who died were members of the family. This arc reminds me a lot of Ayatsuri Sakon, especially the Byakko-arc. Heh, I’d wish that Mai would be as versatile as Sakon. :P

We also got some very obvious signs that Matsuzaki is going to play a big part in this arc. While I don’t like the obviousness, it’s great to see Matsuzaki actually being useful. Before, you could have replaced her with a cardboard box and you still wouldn’t have noticed the difference.

Posted on 5 March 2007 with categories: Ghost Hunt

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Short Synopsis: Before people get the chance to leave, Masako wanders off on her own.
Good: Mai! Finally! Urado; Finally we have an episode with an actual good combination of light and heavy scenes.
Bad: Why wasn’t Masako slaughtered immediately like all other victims?
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8/10

Ah, I’ve been waiting for this. Finally Mai has to be strong, in order to save Masako, who displays a weaker side of hers during this episode. Okay, she had to be saved in the end, but this was a good step in the right direction. I’m really hoping that similar situations will appear in the next episode and the final arc. All that’s left now is add an addictive pacing like in the fifth episode, and I’ll be really happy. :)

And dear god, Urado. He probably was the scariest ghost on Ghost Hunt yet, bathing in the blood of his tens, maybe hundreds of victims. I have no idea how the blood remained fresh after all these years, but the way he looked even beat the evil mother of the second arc. But why the heck didn’t he kill Masako as soon as he kidnapped her? After all, all the other victims were killed as soon as Urado transported them.

The next episode will probably serve as a final chance to flesh out the characters, while the final arc is probably meant to reveal the secret Naru, Masako and Lin share. We already know that Professor Davis is Naru’s father, but there’s more to this than just that. And please let John and Matsuzaki have at least sort of an important role. They’ve been really useless up till now.

Posted on 25 February 2007 with categories: Ghost Hunt

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Short Synopsis: Okay, Mai obviously never really died. She got possessed by a deceased spirit and relived that spirit’s memory. In this episode, the truth gets discovered about the case, now all that’s left is to solve it?
Good: Quite a bit of background info on Naru, Mai looked really freaky at times.
Bad: Why is it always Mai who gets possessed. Take Matsuzaki for a chance.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 7.5/10

Okay, so a little summary. The first owner of the house suffered from a rather heavy illness, which made sure that he didn’t have long to live. Because of this, he got the strange idea that if he bathed in the blood of young people, like his maids and people from a nearby orphanage, he’d regain immortality. He began seeing himself as Urado, or another version of “Burado”, katakana for Vlad, the person Dracula was based on. Obviously, his plan didn’t work, and he died. But not before he killed a rather large amount of people. His son, the next owner, realized this, and desperately tried to hide this by sealing off the original building by continuing and continuing to expand the house, sealing off the bloodstained parts. Urado’s spirit, however, remained inside the hose, and it’s quite a powerful one, as it managed to actually physically teleport persons through solid walls, killing them afterwards.

Regarding Naru, it’s never mentioned explicitly, but I think that everyone knows now that his father is the real professor Davis. That’s why he didn’t want to be associated with the fake one. It obviously isn’t fun to see someone pretend to be your famous father. Davis also seems to have assigned Lin to look over Naru, which probably explains why such a talented exorcist is working for someone like him. Another interesting thing is that Naru backed off when Mai mentioned how he doesn’t know what dying means. I don’t know what that means, but could it be that Naru died already at one time? Is that why he keeps showing up in Mai’s dreams? In fact, could he be one of those dolls that Lin made, in a desperate attempt to keep him alive?

Then, the cliff-hanger. It would be awesome if Naru actually were to leave the mansion, along with everyone else. It’d be great to see this problem actually solve itself, like seeing the house being wrecked down, or something similar. But the fact remains, however that Ghost Hunt has never really tried to defy the general rules of anime. All stories in Ghost Hunt so far have had a beginning and a conclusion, with the conclusion solving everything. And there still is the fact that we’ve still got one entire episode left. Mai will probably whine a bit to make Naru solve the case.

Overall, this was quite a nice episode. Lots of things happened to distract from the fact that Mai didn’t really do anything. The hidden room was a great addition, Mai really looked freaky when she was in shock and the fake Davis’s confession was pretty interesting.

One thing I am afraid about is the final arc. If you ignore episode 11, 12 and 13, each arc has been dealing with an increasingly dangerous case. First we had a spirit which liked to destroy just buildings, second we had a spirit who moved around objects and attempted to drown little children. The next curse was aimed at a rather large amount of people. Next up, a school was filled with a huge amount of spirits, all set to kill almost half of the students, while this case now has a bloody serial murderer as a spirit. The next case has to be along the lines of genocide or something. If I had to guess, the final arc will have 5 episodes, since 2 episodes will probably be too little for an arc at this point (although it would be appreciated, see The Third and Night Head Genesis). It has to close the series, so Naru-chan and Mai will probably get together. This can happen in two different ways: Mai gets put in grave danger, while Naru has to save her, or Naru gets put in grave danger, while Mai has to save him. I’m so hoping for the latter.

Oh, and while I told myself not to complain too much about this series for this episode, there still is something I wish to talk about. It’s the side-characters. Why the heck are John and Matsuzaki even in this anime? They’ve got absolutely no role at all. Okay, Matsuzaki comforts Mai at times, while John says something smart once in a while, but that could also have been done by other characters.

Posted on 22 February 2007 with categories: Ghost Hunt

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Short Synopsis: People from the investigation teams start missing, while Mai dies.
Good: That was one disturbing cliff-hanger.
Bad: Obviously, Mai didn’t really die. She really needs to stand up for herself.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 7/10

Seriously, Mai looked so freaky in the end. It would be awesome if she really died, but the fact remains that we’re dealing with episode nineteen here. That’s not the time to kill off your main characters, unfortunately.

My problems with this series continue yet again in this episode. While it’s interesting to see Mai getting pushed over, knocked unconscious, possessed, pulled by her leg, surprised by a falling ceiling, attacked by spirits, nearly eaten by ghouls, stalked by ghosts, attacked by a giant black dog, fainting, having visions, fainting once more, falling inside a well, disappearing, getting deceived by Naru, getting attacked by a windows breaking, getting knocked over by a large bookcase, getting killed, et cetera, well… you get the point, I’d much rather see her actually protecting people from getting pushed over, knocked unconscious, possessed… et cetera. She’s got a great character, but I refuse to believe that all she has to be in this anime is the damsel-in-distress.

One interesting point to note, though: why has Naru-chan stopped showing up in Mai’s visions?

Posted on 15 February 2007 with categories: Ghost Hunt

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Short Synopsis: The new case: some ghosts have been hunting a very strange old mansion.
Good: Lots of characters this time. Should provide a nice twist.
Bad: MAI! Stop wandering around and actually start doing things for yourself!
Overall Enjoyment Value: 6.5/10

The next arc, and finally it looks like we’ve got another major arc which happens outside of a school-building. Right now, it seems that we’re dealing with two ghosts: a man and a woman. From the looks of it, they were heavily tortured before they died. Because of this, their spirits remained, even though they died. Right now, they’ve been kidnapping random people who entered the house. It seems that the mansion is in the possession of the former prime-minister. If not, than he’s at least involved in quite an important way, seeing that he’s the client.

Yasuhara pretends to be Naru-chan this time, since there seem to have been more psychics invited for research, some of which he doesn’t want to get involved with. I wonder who they might bee, as he never mentions them directly. But if I had to guess, it’s the British professor Davis who came over to Japan especially for this, along with his two rather incompetent assistants. Davis is just too perfect, while his assistants are just too stupid.

Lots of character-background also appeared this episode, right out of the blue. Suddenly, we learn the identity of the person who taught Naru-chan all about ghost hunting, Lin appears to be Chinese and Mai doesn’t have any parents left, so she’s living on her own. You’d wonder how she sustained herself before she broke Naru-chan’s camera.

So far, I’m not really expecting anything from this arc. Sure, the huge amount of characters is interesting, but I’m getting really pissed off at Mai now. She really needs to act for herself, and take initiative. Like mentioned before, it’s what made the fifth episode great and the other episodes lacking.

Posted on 12 February 2007 with categories: Ghost Hunt

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Short Synopsis: There are two possible options: let Matsuyama die, or send the curse back to the students who originally casted it, dividing its power.
Good: Mai was pretty touching.
Bad: Yet again, despite this arc being very good, it still doesn’t match up to the fifth episode.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 6.5/10

This episode was all about Mai. Finding the solution the curse took a step back from what’s really important. The only way to save Matsuyama is to reflect the curse to the students who casted it. It may divide the power of the curse, their lives still are in danger. Mai didn’t agree with this, and she was determined to let the whole world know about it. She even labelled Naru-chan as a murderer, and she wouldn’t even acknowledge that Matsuyama, another human being, would die if the curse wasn’t reverted. The episode ends with a romance-element. It seems that Naru-chan and Mai are getting closer and closer.

Still, I’m getting more and more annoyed with this series. Like mentioned above, I’ve been waiting for something to equal the fifth episode. But so far, the best thing that happened was the ending of episode 13. That doesn’t mean that the previous arcs have been bad, it’s just that they all missed something. The question is: what? Could it be the fact that a high school is the wrong place for a setting for this? While it’s true that I dislike anime which spend too much time inside a high-school, I don’t think that’s all.

Come to think of it, I’m starting to believe that Mai’s the reason to blame. She was very interesting in the second arc. She did things herself, she took initiatives, she wasn’t scared to voice her opinion, and all in all, she acted really professional. But what did we get in the latest arcs? In arc 3, she kept whining and whining about how she feels that Kasai isn’t the real culprit. Apart from that, she walks around the school a bit, and that’s ALL she does. Oh, and she faints once, to get saved by Naru. To make matters worse, what did she really do in the sixth arc? She faints a few times, she walks around the school aimlessly YET AGAIN. She has a few visions, tells everybody about them. This episode, she kept whining about her own morals, and even got herself almost killed, ONLY TO BE SAVED by Bou-san.

I really don’t like what’s happening here. Mai is turning into the helpless Damsel in Distress, who can only whine, and tell others what to do. While I praised the second arc because of its professionalism, the current arcs have been focusing way too much on Mai’s feelings. Not only that, she was way less helpless back in episode five. It’s probably because of Ayami. Because this girl had been entrusted to Mai, she was actually forced to protect someone, instead of being protected. And THAT’s exactly where she shines, and fails miserably respectively.

I now totally understand why the end of the thirteenth episode was so good: Mai disappeared. Because of that, the show focused on factors other than herself.

Dammit, I hate it when a main character ruins an anime.

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