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Ghost Hunt Review

October 29, 2007

story 6/10

Ghost Hunt screenshot

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 6.5/10

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 7/10

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 3.5/10

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.

overall 5.5/10

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.

Anime Info

Mai Taniyama is a first year high school student who lives a carefree life telling ghost stories with her friends. One day, she meets Kazuya Shibuya, the head of Shibuya Psychic Research (SPR); and together, she tags along to help him investigate paranormal activities in a haunted school building. His assistant Lin was hurt during an incident to protect Mai from danger, so what more can Mai do than to take the job as Shibuya's assistant? Along with a team of other ghost hunters, they will uncover the mystery of a strange case coming their way, while Mai starts to discover her own abilities.

my anime:

not rated

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Uzair avatar Uzair
Mar 1, 2011

I too, think that the story, charcter designs and animation of ghost hunt was really amazing. I dont know why u gave such low score to such a decent and fabulous anime. But still, everyone has there own perceptions and choices:) But i would disagree with the score uve given. For me, Ghost hunt is one of the best anime with great charecter progression and story line. And animation score being 6.5 aint enough for it. One of the plus in the animation that is rare in anime  is the charecters had different dresses in different episodes and they all suited them. Apart from that, the designs and animation very much supported the theme. And there was a balanced emotional element etc. plus the horror was good enogh for me. Maybe because i dont count blood spilling being an element of horror.

xCoComi avatar xCoComi
Nov 8, 2010

Hmm , i see what u mean but I dont really agree , i think the story line was really amazing and i remember it well , to be honest ive watched this anime TWICE just cuz it somehow left and impression on me , also i know i speak for many ppl when i say ep 21 was scary O3O XD

but really i love reading ur reviews^W^

rijstevlaai avatar rijstevlaai
Aug 23, 2010

weird, this is one of the first anime I've watched, and it's one that's memorable for me, while I've watched definately better shows. It's not very refreshing, but it's good at what it wants to project to the audience.

And the OP en ED just rocked. One of the few I've always kept watching.

captaincrunch avatar captaincrunch
Oct 24, 2009

I have to completely agree with this review.  I thought this show was watchable, but hardly memorable. Mediocre at best.

Michiaki avatar Michiaki
Aug 27, 2009

[By the end of each story arc, the audience can be completely sure that: ...2. The case will completely solved. - Quote]

If each case was completely solved, then answer me this: in the episode arc The Cursed House, who was the 6th stone? In episode 23 Monk and the young man talk about there being only 5 stones, yet they call it the Six Stones of the Cape. The young man states that "there used to be 6 but one them fell into the sea.." They then go on to talk about the fox possibly being this third spirit, but they never really fully explain this by the end. If anyone thinks otherwise, feel free to correct me! :D

Meh, I dunno, I really enjoyed this series. I would have given it atleast a 7 overall for the Naru the Narcisist joke :P

Great anime opening too! Almost twilight zone-ish! It's one of my favorite opening themes.

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