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