The series is mainly focused around four main characters – the members of the Seikyou Private Academy’s “Paranormal Investigations Club”, Teiichi Niiya, Yuko Kanoe, Momoe Okonogi, and Kirie Kanoe. As normal as this club may seem however, it holds a ghostly secret. Yuko is no normal student, she is a ghost who died in the school long ago and has no memories of just how she died, which is where Teiichi and the club come in. The Seikyou Private Academy has gone through many changes in all the time it has been around, and this has made it a maze of corridors and stairwells. It is because of these corridors that Teiichi ends up lost and encounters the ghost Yuko. After getting over the shock of being able to see a ghost, our young protagonist agrees to help her recover the lost memories of just how she died by starting a club to explore the schools ghost stories, most of which are directly related to Yuko. And so begins a touching, and at times heart-breaking, tale.
The first few episodes of the series tend to give you a misguided impression of how the whole thing is going to play out. It leads you to believe the series is a comedy, and while yes, it does seem to revolve around comical moments for the most part, this series doesn't really fit the comedy genre as much as it first seems by the time it reaches its conclusion. The first few episodes try hard to give us character development on our small cast, which works, as well as exploring just what it is the Paranormal Investigations Club actually does, which is explore the schools ghost stories which are all related to Yuko somehow (even if she isn’t actually named in them, we quickly find she is normally the cause of them regardless). By the fifth to sixth episode however we’ve learnt mostly everything we need to know about Teiichi, Momoe, and Kirie, as well learning that there is some attraction between Yuko and Teiichi which tends to make Kirie fairly jealous, although this is only touched upon once or twice in Kirie’s case. It’s then, by the sixth episode, that the series rears its head and shows us what it can actually do, as the characters are getting closer to the dreadful truth behind Yuko’s death, and trust me – it is dreadful.
The later episodes tend to drop the level, or completely leave out (also tossing Momoe aside for the most part. Being the only main cast member unable to see Yuko, she is often only comedy relief), the comedy we saw in the early episodes, which personally made me sigh a huge sigh of relief. With the comedy gone you get to appreciate just how much depth there actually is to these characters, what Yuko and Teiichi feel as they get closer and closer to the truth and Yuko’s lost memories. Once we do finally learn the truth, it’s played out across two episodes and amusingly, completely through the eyes of Yuko. Well, Teiichi inside Yuko’s body reliving it all. The way the episodes are dealt with tends to feel quite impressive, and it never misses a moment to toy with your emotions, assuming by this point you actually care about Yuko. Most importantly though, is the fact this all seems so real. The series isn’t set in the future, nor really the present, it seems to be a number of years earlier, and Yuko’s death is years and years earlier than that still. It’s because of this that what happens to Yuko is completely believable, and scary, but oh so real. What happens to her is something you could actually see happening all those years ago, and the fact this is all being seen through Yuko’s eyes gives it much more impact than these kinds of scenes would normally have. These episodes really pull you into the whole thing, and will likely have you in tears and reaching for the tissue box by the end.
The only real downside to this series is having such a small cast of characters. While in the long run it works for the show, it does mean if you don’t care for Teiichi and Yuko there is really nothing to keep you watching. Teiichi is easy enough to like, Yuko however is a completely different story. Personally, I liked her by the time the 7th episode rolled around, however I can see why others wouldn’t. She isn’t really the type of character you want to like to begin with. She seems rude, over confident, and not really very caring. The series doesn’t really do much to counter these impressions until the latter half, where you actually can start to feel for her.
Final Word: The first few episodes don’t really give you the correct impression of the series, which is a shame because people could end up dropping this before giving it a fair chance. Once the comedy lessens and we learn more about Yuko, however, this quickly turns into a well thought-out and interesting series based on a believable tale surrounding Yuko. The last episode however, will have you in tears one way or another.
overall score: 4.5/10
overall score: 4/10
overall score: 4/10