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.
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.
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.
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.
In the end, Ghost Hunt has some creative individual story arcs, but it suffers from frustrating predictability, sub-par characters, and awkward comedy. As a result, this is a tough series to actively recommend.
A lot of people seem to like this one, and to some extent I can understand why. The individual story arcs were entertaining enough, after all, for me to finish the entire series. At the same time, however, there are too many flaws to simply ignore.
Let’s start by making clear what this show is and is not. Whatever the title may imply about the genres, you must be aware that it is not mainly a horror title with some girly romance but in the contrary it is girly romance with some horror. If you expect to find super creepy stuff in it, you are not going to find them. If you are not fans of pretty boys and airhead girls in love with said pretty boys, you are not going to like this anime very much.
Now that we clarified this, I can freely say that Ghost Hunt is your standard shoujo formula, combined with something else for flavour. It has been done many times and it usually creates a far more enjoyable and memorable overall, just because it is not just shoujo. Plain girly romances tend to get boring very fast. And thus, just like Vampire Knight had vampires, Library Wars had libraries and Chihayafuru had Chihara… err, card games I mean, Ghost Hunt uses ghosts to flavour its setting.
The animation is done by J.C. Staff, the studio famous for its low in context and high on shallow fan service shows. Their budgets are usually good but their shows are most of the times softporn garbage nobody even cares to keep around or watch a second time. In this particular case though they had a much different approach. The production values are NOT that eye-catchy and there is some context to pay attention besides oversexualized underage girls. It is a very uncommon work for their standards. The direction is done by Mano Akira, a guy who only did this and the very dull second season of Gunslinger girl. Definitely not a promising name.
So, as you begin to watch, you basically get average to good production values, an unimpressive director, and a girly romance with some ghosts in the background. What do you think will happen? Hmmm…
The overall artwork is nothing impressive and the characters are rather cop-out figures of shoujo clichés. There isn’t much fluent animation but at least there is consistency in the figures and no sudden quality drops or deformities. The saving grace lies in the uses of visual effects, in a way that doesn’t pass as overdone or dull. They are used properly to bring out whatever emotions you are supposed to feel in a situation (fear, anxiety, laughter) and they are doing it right.
The sound part is nothing impressive in terms of voice acting or most cases of BGM. It feels like it’s there for the sake of being there and the actors aren’t doing an exceptional job but I can’t blame them for the roles they were given. What really stands out are the opening and ending themes. They are gorgeous! So dynamic and attractive to the point they make you think you are going to watch an action-horror movie by Tim Barton or something. To be honest, they don’t exactly fit with the show as the plotlines are hardly THAT exciting but whatever, I liked them a lot.
The story is a bit of a let down if you fancy on-going scenarios. It is just stand-alone mini arcs where the teenager heroes seek for the solution to some creepy mystery. Although there is a solid ending to each one of them, the very loose arcing is what makes the whole thing lacking an actual built up towards something specific. Basically, there is no actual progress outside an arc and the final episode is just the ending of another case. Nothing solid to prevent a sequel from popping up.
The characters are ok if you like shoujo casts but definitely don’t stand out in any particular way. You get your standard airhead female and your standard snotty pretty boy allying with a few other rather eccentric people with a speciality in the supernatural and head to solve weird cases. And that is pretty much all you get since aside from their quirky behaviours, they never develop to anything further than they appear to be. This is also the result of the style of narration, as you basically get stand alone arcs and no actual build up towards a goal and to allow some actual change about them. They are fun to see them act alright but nothing past that.
I don’t find much value in this show. Although the shoujo/ghost combo is indeed helping to make it memorable, at the same time there is very little to gain from watching it a second time. You already know the answers to each mystery and the characters don’t develop in any way so you are not motivated to do so.
So, did I enjoy this anime? Yes, but only in very specific areas. I really liked the use of darkness and visual effects, I really liked the opening and ending themes, and the characters were fun to look at on a standard level. But that’s all of it; I wasn’t really amazed about anything in terms of animation, BGM, characters or stories. It is an ok show for anyone who can stand shoujo clichés but hardly amazing or something you will remember in a few years.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 6/10
Analysis: General Artwork 1/2, Character Figures 1/2, Backgrounds 1/2, Animation 1/2, Visual Effects 2/2
SOUND SECTION: 7/10
Analysis: Voice Acting 2/3, Music Themes 3/4, Sound Effects 2/3
STORY SECTION: 4/10
Analysis: Premise 1/2, Pacing 1/2, Complexity 1/2, Plausibility 1/2, Conclusion 0/2
CHARACTER SECTION: 4/10
Analysis: Presence 1/2, Personality 2/2, Backdrop 1/2, Development 0/2, Catharsis 0/2
VALUE SECTION: 2/10
Analysis: Historical Value 0/3, Rewatchability 0/3, Memorability 2/4
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 1/10
Analysis: Art 0/1, Sound 1/2, Story 0/3, Characters 0/4
OVERALL : 4/10
So... Ghost Hunt. I started this anime on a nice october afternoon (who cares right?) whilst searching for nice animes to watch in preparation for Haloween. Having seen this under the #horror tag, I tought I'd give this one a try.
Let's start this review by saying that if you wanted to see an horror anime, and are not interested in romance whatoever you should not even think of watching it. But, if you enjoy (or can sit trough) some cheesy romance I strongly suggest that you give this one a try.
The story behing Ghost Hunt is not very surprising. It consists of 8 different arcs (called ''cases'') that each follows a different case (aha!) investigated by our ghost seeking team. All of these arcs follow the same rigid pattern, episode by episode.
1. There is a new case impling some new paranormal happening that needs some investigation.
2. The case has been exposed and there is some new evidence of what it might be.
4. The evidence led the team to determine what is happening, and an end is put to it.
Can you see where this is going ? Yes indeed. This is very constrictive and not very surprising. I found myself often quite bored when it came to the conclusion of the different arcs, mostly because it was all the same.
Also, some humorous parts were not so bad, when some were very, very bad. I guess that everything depends on what your humour is like...
Appart from this, the diferent cases in themselves were pretty nice and interesting, going from sad to straight out creepy (trust me, the ''Bloodstained Labyrinth'' episodes gave me the chills).
The overall animation has a nice and soft shoujo style, nothing very unusual or intersting. The animation isn't bad and doesn't lack fluidity. What I liked the most about it was that the horror scenes had a very nice tone to them and where very well designed. Overall, the animation let the cenario come trough and didn't interfere with it in any way, which is good.
As much as I tried to listen to it, I totally hated the OP. I couldn't bring myself to listen to it more than once. The song is a nice instrumental track that fits the theme very well, but it is way too repetitive for my taste. (And, even if this doesn't fit the ''sound'' category, there is no OP sequence at all. And... well... it bothered me.) The background music is somewhat forgettable, being there just for the sake of being there and nothing more. Sounds effects where good, bu it is actually hard to mess the sound effects...
Even if the combination of every (or almost every) character made the anime enjoyable, each character alone would not stand more than a minute under a more detailed analysis. There is no character development at all, some minor changes trough the entire series, but nothing major that would justify everything that happenend. Instead, we are presented some new things that are accounted as ''development'' but seem to come out of nowhere and are supposed to help the anime progress... which it does, but not much because of these things.
But, let's face it, the way the plot is structured may have caused the characters to be like this, since there is no room for character development. If you are expecting some serious character development (which I hope not, after having read the synopsis), don't bother.
Tough, I would like to point out that, contrary to classical shoujo, the main protagonist is not that much of an airhead, which I found quite refreshing.
Overall, I really enjoyed Ghost Hunt, mostly because of the nice horror scenes and the variety of the cases presented. It is a nice and relaxing show to watch, entertaining enough to watch the entire series.
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 gets 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.You want proof? Look at the first scene when our aussie friend 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 reminds me of the first 2 seasons 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. Its 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.
Warning, if you do not like intelligent stories and characters this is not for you. Though that may sound a bit like a contradiction given the nature of the story aka the paranormal. Not all 'ghosts' they find are exactly real or without some kind of logical explanation, but that is part of where the 'intelligent' side of the series comes from. You might not expect a paranormal investigator to be so good at debunking anything non physical or supernatural but he is. He is in a sense a cross between Harry Houdini, who actually did this for many years and was very good at it, and Sherlock Holmes, who had a quick and sharp investigative mind. Kazuya however also finds something a bit more than just a naive, flustered, bored, foolish, and eagerly adventurous girl in Mai when he accepts her aid. She may have something more than a passing modest interest connection to the supernatural herself. And his friends who are all gifted with religious priest powers or supernatural gifts themsevles are great additions even if the mystery proves to be nothing but exaggerated fears of natural logically explained coincidences or even tricks. Whatever the cause natural or supernatural, Kazuya and his team of close friends are sure to find it. Kazuya maybe obsessed himself and almost too dispationately cold that you might start to suspect him to be a strong candidate to have some form of Autism, which I can not deny the very strong possibility. Each episode is one part of 2 to 5 or more of one case which makes this series more like a series of movies than a simple anime tv show. That provides more time for development of plots and characters whether they are even regular recurring characters, major characters or not.
If you like any type of mystery, ghost story, or general supernatural tales, this is the series for you. It is sharp, witty, intellectual, up beat, and dotted with plenty of amusing little demonstrations of the individuality of each character. I would not only rate it as a top ghost themed, and mystery themed anime, but as a top anime of any genre.