Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Ghost Hunt (2006-2007)

Streaming Service: Crunchyroll
Series Name/Year: Ghost Hunt (2006-2007)
Genre: Animation, drama, horror, mystery, comedy
Average Episode Length:  24 min (1 Season, 25 eps.)
Rating: TV-14
Directors: Fuyumi Ono, Akira Mano
Writers: Luci Christian, Jack LaRouche, Andrew Rye, Sonny Strait, Shiho Inada, Fuyumi Ono
Japanese CastYuuki Tai, Kaori Nazuka, Kenji Hamada, Rie Kugimiya, Nobuhiko Okamoto, Masami Suzuki, Ken Narita, Kousuke Okano, Miyuki Sawashiro
English Cast -  Todd Haberkorn, Cherami Leigh, Travis Willingham, Jad Saxton, Jason Liebrecht, Colleen Clinkenbeard, J. Michael Tatum, Eric Vale, Kent Williams, Caitlin Glass
CrunchyRoll Blurb: Mai’s fascination with the unknown leads her to join the Shibuya Psychic Research team. Using her growing psychic abilities, Mai will work with a spirit medium, a shrine maiden, an exorcist, and a monk to uncover the darkest mysteries of the unseen.
Cat’s Point of View:
After the scorching summer we’ve just had, it’s such a relief to finally be getting some weather that feels generally like fall. It’s almost mid-October and the anticipation for the thrills and chills of the season is only building by the day. I decided to shake things up a little in my quest for some lesser-known spooky anime and took a meandering journey through some of the titles that Crunchyroll obtained through their merger with Funimation. One such anime title looked like it would be exactly what I was seeking – Ghost Hunt.
Considering how long ago Ghost Hunt was released, I was surprised that I hadn’t heard of it before – and, at the same time, not so much. I’ve loved anime as a genre ever since I was first introduced to it back in high school, but I know I haven’t even seen a 10th of the titles out there. I digress…
One of the factors that encouraged me to watch this series was my enjoyment of ghost-hunting and paranormal related shows. I’ve seen most of what A&E, SYFY, Discovery, the Travel Channel, and a few others (I’ve forgotten the acronyms) have to offer along the supernatural niche of reality TV. I also find myself playing a lot of spooky ghost hunting games with my friends via Steam and Discord. All of this only fueled my desire to give this series a chance and had me crossing my fingers that it was as good as I hoped.
I thoroughly enjoyed Ghost Hunt. By the end of the 25th episode, I was lamenting that there was only one season.
Lets get a little further into it, shall we? 
In the very beginning I admit I had a few doubts, but once things took off it was undeniable that I was hooked by this story. While the narrative comes primarily from the perspective of Mai Taniyama, a high school student; each character had their own time to shine along the way. I appreciated that the young girl’s infatuation didn’t bog everything down as much as I thought it might, once there were hints that there might be some romantic tension between some of the characters. Ghost Hunt deftly skirted that topic without feeling dismissive of it. I’ve since read that the manga’s creator had an idea of how characters would end up in that regard but never addressed it because she wasn’t trying to write a romance.
Ghost Hunt decidedly stays true to its titular premise from beginning to end. I adored its use of technology – some still in use today in real-world paranormal research - and the efforts made by the team to debunk hauntings before declaring something supernatural was actually afoot. The calculated skepticism as well as open-minded teamwork were refreshing.
At this point, once I’ve mentioned an anime has been adapted from manga I need to give my usual disclosure. I haven’t read the manga for this series, so I can’t personally attest to whether or not this adaptation stays true to the page. I haven’t, however, run into any negative reviews through my cursory research that would indicate otherwise. You’re welcome to check that out for yourself. There is more to the manga, apparently, that wasn’t included in the series – but likely not enough for a 2nd season to be created. I did search around to see if there were any talks about a second series and found nothing to support that idea anywhere, in spite of generally glowing reviews for the anime and fans’ wishes for more. Given that Ghost Hunt aired over 15 years ago, the chances are decidedly slim.
Back to the story!
The ambiance throughout Ghost Hunt was on point. Each case gave the group new challenges and didn’t feel like a ‘rinse and repeat’ as so many procedural-type shows fall prey to. The animation style was right in my preferred comfort zone for aesthetics and everything flowed smoothly. I snickered to myself that one of the characters reminded me of Sebastian from Black Butler (2008-2011). I was surprised to learn that the same voice actor for the English dubbed version also voiced the character in Ghost Hunt - J. Michael Tatum (RWBY: Ice Queendom, Vinland Saga, My Hero Academia). Funny enough, while the similarities in the characters may be purely coincidence, the Ghost Hunt series actually came first! 
On a more somber note, while this series is rated PG-13 or TV-14, it would be best for parents to strongly consider before allowing young viewers to watch this series. While there were no explicit scenes of a sexual nature nor were there many depictions of graphic violence, there were many bloody visuals and the discussion of characters having “unalived themselves,” as today’s phrasing goes. There are spooky spirits and characters get hurt. Considering this series is about a team of ghost hunters, there are many depictions and discussions of death, as well. This is all on the more tame end of the spectrum, but touches on the topics all the same.
If you have the opportunity and a couple days to run through these 25 short episodes, I wouldn’t hesitate to encourage you to do so. 
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 7.4/10
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 5/5
Series Trailer:

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