Ghost Hunt

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vivafruit's avatar By vivafruit on Oct 29, 2007

Story

In many ways, Ghost Hunt reminds me of Jigoku Shoujo. The two anime each start out with a relatively interesting premise, but ultimately are undone by their absolute unwillingness to take any sort of risks with their story. Instead, both series dutifully trudge along the path of least resistance, and the result is depressingly conventional.

Granted, Ghost Hunt is not nearly as monotonous as Jigoku Shoujo. The series’ several plot arcs are distinguishable enough from each other to not be absolutely mindnumbing, and some of the best arcs are actively engaging. Moreover, Ghost Hunt actually attempts to keep the audience guessing, and provides plot twists that, while predictable, help to keep the show moving.

The best scenes only allow the audience to sense the ghosts indirectly. A ghost in plain sight is seldom scary, but implicit signs of the supernatural (shifting objects, strange noises, falling temperature) can be genuinely creepy. Ghost Hunt realizes this, and uses such tricks to good effect well before the spirits ever fully show themselves in a given story arc.

Still, the series is nonetheless trapped in a very rigid framework, which hurts the narrative considerably. By the end of each story arc, the audience can be completely sure that:

1. Every major character will still be alive.

2. The case will completely solved.

3. Everything will have returned to the way it was at the beginning of the arc.

This kind of story structure has traditionally suffered from poor character development, and Ghost Hunt is no exception. However, an even more devastating consequence is that this almost completely kills the suspenseful mood that the series is going for.

Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni, a superior horror anime in almost every way, is notable for having no such self-imposed restrictions. While both series have arc-based storylines, in Higurashi, anything could happen. Major characters could die, mysteries could be completely explained or remain utterly unsolved, and even the roles certain characters played could shift erratically. The result was riveting.

On the other hand, Ghost Hunt makes no such leaps of creativity, and the conservative approach dampens the excitement almost to the point of being unwatchable. Throw in some sterile, out-of-place humor, and the resulting plot is middling, at best.


Animation

While the colorful, clean, standard anime-style character designs are fine in a vacuum, they don’t mesh well with the supernatural elements and should have probably been toned down. Furthermore, most of the actual ghost character designs are not only disappointing, they’re flat-out lame.

That said, the backgrounds tend to be detailed and nicely drawn, character movement never looks too awkward, and there isn’t much reused animation.


Sound

The OP is a nice little instrumental track very much along the lines of the X-files' theme. Voice acting is fine, and the background music is serviceable, albeit somewhat forgettable.


Characters

As mentioned earlier, the characters in Ghost Hunt are very much a victim of the plot structure. There is almost no character development whatsoever, and the development that is there is irrelevant to the actual storyline. Moreover, what is there to begin with isn’t all that interesting, either; rather, they’re familiar character archetypes with almost no memorable traits.

Granted, some may be willing to forgive the mediocre cast as a necessary evil given the story structure. However, no one is going to actually like the show because of the characters.

6/10 story
6.5/10 animation
7/10 sound
3.5/10 characters
5.5/10 overall
SebasCielStar's avatar By SebasCielStar on Apr 28, 2012

Story: Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, and Destination Truth. If any of these shows interest you, then you'll probably enjoy Ghost Hunt. This show is similar to those in that its cases are solved in arcs or one episode. In fact, it reminds me a lot of Case Closed in that the plot is only shown once in awhile and the majority of the show is solving cases. What I liked best about this show was the nature of the ghost cases. Like reviewer Vivafruit said, they kept you guessing and even if you did manage to figure it out, the show would add in a curve ball to change your mind. The cases also had variety, with some being down right nightmare fuel, to more somber tales depending on what kind of ghosts they were dealing with. However, there are major errors with the anime, the most prominent being that it ends without a definite conclusion. I have a feeling that the show was meant to be longer as the anime foreshadows everything, but reveals nothing. This does not effect the enjoyment levels of the show, but it would have been nice not to be left in a confused "that was it?" kind of state after watching.

The plot itself follows the story of Mai Taniyama and her adventures working as a paranormal investigator under her narcissistic boss Kazuya Shibuya also known by Mai's nickname for him "Naru" (based on his narcissitic behavior). The rest of the cast that helps in the cases are a buddist monk, a young catholic priest, a spiritual medium, and a self-proclaimed priestess. Naru's less than social assistant Lin also enters in as well. Each have their own techinques of solving the cases and while they use them repetitively in the show, the powers do get development in the epic department which was a nice added touch to keep the show interesting. However, the characters themselves do not all receive character development and when the others do, its subtle.

Overall, while I was kept on the edge of my seat during the exciting cases, I left the show with the feeling of wanting more. Had the shown been longer and given more time to develop the character's relationships and backgrounds, I think I would have given this section higher than a 7. But the mysteries the gang takes on are more than enough reason to stick with the show.

Animation: The animation was great for this kind of show. Some backgrounds were dark with shades of purple, blue, red, and black to put you in the atmosphere of fear when the ghosts were around. During the daytime settings of the show, the animation was bright and colorful and the backgrounds were well designed. For the characters, I like the fact that their clothes and hair styles matched their personality and were apt to changing. But the characters themselves did look a bit unoriginal. I felt like they could have come out of any other anime out there. Still, the fluid animation, the numerous creepy styles of the ghosts, and the frequent dark backgrounds led me to give this section a high score.

Sound: The background music did heighten the scary feel of the scenes but on their own are unmemorable. The opening was interesting in that there are no lyrics or charcters shown. All you see is dark changing colors and haunting music. The colors also moved to the music as they changed. The dub was pretty good and I only had problems with Mai's voice as it could get annoying. (It is an improvement over her japanese voice though). I do have to give special mention to the side characters' voices as they were done really well and made me connect to them even if they were only present for their specific arc.

Characters: There just wasn't enough time to develop the characters enough. Relationships and back stories are for the most part left out, which leads to the lack of development. However, the characters themselves are interesting to follow. Mai is a kinda annoying but curious protaganist that really wants to help each of her clients. Naru is a cold and detached individual but has his heart in the right place and does show that he cares for his team of investigators. The other characters felt more like protective siblings and while that's not a bad thing, I wish there was more to them. Some forms of development felt like it was going backwards as was character would change and then go back to being the way they were in the next episode. So while these characters had intriguing personalities, there should have been more to there development.

Overall: The creepy and mysterious tone, mostly likable characters, and good animation led me to really enjoy this show. It does have its faults but it is not in any way terrible. Any fan of ghosts, detective shows, or the paranormal should check this show out.

7/10 story
7.5/10 animation
6/10 sound
6/10 characters
7/10 overall
angelsreviews's avatar By angelsreviews on Jul 18, 2013

This show is pretty interesting, and has a rather creepy, hunting feeling. It’s like Case Closed was mixed with supernatural horror. It’s really interesting and sometimes the logic out ways supernatural things and the other way around. It keeps you on your toes because they will give you a reason, then fall back from it when something else happens.

The characters do seem a bit like the normal stereotypes but yet they do surprise you. You don’t get much from the people early on but as the story keeps going, you learn much more. Mai Taniyama is rather smart, but she has a rather odd personality sometimes. She sometimes gets a bit annoying but always has a good heart. She cares a lot for those that she works with even if she fights with them. Shibuya is a rather interesting character in that he doesn’t normally let people see what he is thinking until the very end. Though he never shows his emotions, he does care for people. John Brown is an interesting priest that is actually rather young. He shows his emotions pretty well but you don’t see much of him in that aspect. Takigawa is the Buddhist monk who is a bit of a smart ass but he does bring up a lot of valuable points. Matsuzaki is the Shinto miko who wasn’t taught in a shrine. Almost all the times she has actually done her things, it seems to not work. Hara is a spirit medium though she never really shows much of anything. All of these characters give very valuable insight on each of the different ways in exercising and figuring out things. It’s also very interesting to see how all of them get along.

One of my favorite characters in the show actually showed up near the end of the show sadly, Osamu Yasuhara. I love his unorthodox sense of humor and he is a great counterpart to Shibuya’s quiet demeanor. He even stands in for Shibuya in at least one case and I can tell there is a love triangle is forming with Mai between the two.

It’s really hard to talk about the show because a lot of things that I say could be considered spoilers. The show has many different arcs that span about 3 or 4 episodes long revolving a case. Now episode 12 and 13 are a very special heartwarming arc so warning, it may make you cry. Other then that, the show is rather gory and can become intensely horrific in both story line and images.

The animation is rather nice, bright when it needs to be and then it turns a bit dark whenever ghosts are around. It’s like the ‘ghosts’ place a filter over the show. Other then that, there isn’t really much difference from all the other animations. It’s pretty good and I didn’t really see anything that really stands out as a mishap in the artwork. I love how the characters clothing does change.

The opening feels like we are going into the twilight zone or Doctor Who of anime, giving me a couple chills up my spine. It doesn’t have the pop voice, only the instrumental and a women going ahhhh every once in a while. That’s what sets it apart from any other anime opening. The ending is also rather different, mostly sweet and sad but again with no voices. The English voices are rather good, setting a nice mood between the characters. Shibuya is knowledgeable and has a rather good mono tone to him. Mai on the other hand has a rather good narrator voice and has a lot of emotion when she speaks. It’s not like the high pitch voices most women get in anime but more of a normal tone.

8/10 story
7/10 animation
9/10 sound
9/10 characters
8/10 overall
WolfBane382's avatar By WolfBane382 on Jul 26, 2010

Story: I stared watching this b/c I had saw it was meantion right along side xxxHolic ((which is another anime I really like)) I was looking for new stuff to watch so I gave it it a shot and fell in love with it. The story from what I've seen so far reminds me a lot of the Travle Channle shows Ghost Adventures and Most Haunted. I love how everyone trys to get more involed with each case they do.

Animation: I like any type really so I'm not all that picky when it comes to animation.

Sound: The music think was very inspired by both music from Twilight Zone and X Files. I can hear hints of it threwout the eps ((Yes I am a total tv fantic))If this ever gets made into a soundtrack I would love to get my hands on it.

Characters:

Mai: Though a bit loud, she is funny and deeply cares about others a lot. Light hearted and she seemes to have a bit of a crush on Naru too.

Naru: Stuck up, full of him self, a little mean and slightly rude. Though very smart in his feld he does seem to keep his nicer careing part of him very boxed in.

John: Very kind and loveing. Even at a young age he manges to pull off being a member of the clargey very well.

Monk: Rocker, funny, and he too is light hearted and sometimes care free. If I had to pick a guy to hang around it would be him.

Lin: Very quite, keeps to him self, appers to be a total loner. Though he sits at a lab top all day and works threw out the night. However you do get the felling that he is strong onmyoji.

Ayako: Rich, and a little bit of a snob. Though she is a pristess and can perform rutials it only works if she around tress that still have their "sprits" within them. This is how she was able to cleans the sprits in the last episode. 

Massako: Medum, seer of sprits, and apprent sponcer of SPR. Though it is apprent that she too has a bit of a crush on Naru she does help everyone out with her abitles.

 Osamu: Loal, smart, someone you can count on. Hes very friendly and looks liek a person whom you can always count on to be there, no matter what the case maybe.

Over All: Heheheh Its like a total turn around from xxHolic which I find to be really funny due to the fact the three main english dubbed voice actors from that anime are in this one. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that in this anime poor Watanuki is now the boss and owner of a ghost hunting compney and actually doesn't have them drawn to him this time around. The once powerful witch Yūko is now a Shrine Madin who can't really seem to get any type of cleaseing done right. Dōmeki is sitting at a labtop all day doing nothing but typeing most of the time, and Himawari is no longer bad luck but is actually a latin psyhic.

Thank you for takeing the time to read my 1st review

WB

10/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
noname0302's avatar By noname0302 on Jul 23, 2014

This anime is great!

Lets start with the looks. The drawing is really, really good. You will love it, if you like this style. It actually remind me of Sword art online. The most important thing: the female characters actually look humanoid and not like two balloons on a stick. Everything looks great.

The characters. Almost every character is pretty complex and well done. We have a lot of character evolution and everyone get really useful at some point. They act pretty smart all the way. The main character is really calculating and smart, reminds me of Lelouch. Mei, while pretty useless at first, gradually becomes a pro. And lets not forget about the humor. They all have great humor and are really likeable charcaters. You want proof? Look at the first scene when our aussie frind makes his entrance. Hilarious.

The sounds: two words: perfect match.

The story. Some stories are a bit weaker than the others, but they are all great. Each of them is 3-4 episodes long. Each of them is really different. The first mini-story is a pretty good introduction and we gradually get more serious and dangerous. The story with the kid who got lost playing hide and seek is actually really disturbing. Even if the whole thing is more or less child-friendly, the cases are actually pretty damn hardcore. 

If you ever watched the "Supernatural" TV-show and liked it, I strongly recommend watching this. It remind me of the first 2 season of the show. 

One of the best series I ever watched, with 1 huge flaw. Its basically missing an ending right now. I honestly dont understand why didnt they continue the series, at least for a couple of episodes, just so we can find out the background story of Naru. Missing an ending is a huge flaw, and thats why my overall score is not consistent with the others. 

The other small problem is the weak intro. Basically nothing happens, it doesnt change, stays the same for all the episodes. It was good to establish atmosphere at  first, but gets boring really fast. 

I consider this really, really underrated. It actually is in my top 6 behind Death Note, Code Geass, Sword art online and on the same level as FMA Brotherhood and Log horizon. It a horror, its a comedy, its about friendships, its about psychopathic murderers, dead children, etc.. It has everything. 

I really hope that some day they will give it at least one more season. 

A must watch! Have fun! 

PS: dont look at the poster for the series on IMDB. Only looking at that will basically destroy the last plot-twist. 

10/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
9/10 overall