Saturday, January 19, 2013

Review: Ghost Hunt (2006-2007)

Ghost Hunt (2006-2007) is a Japanese supernatural anime based in contemporary Japan. It contains 25 episodes.

Mai Taniyama, a freshman high school student, and her friends like to tell ghost stories. Mai's life will change forever when she meets 17-year-old Kazuya Shibuya, a young man sent by Shibuya Psychic Research Center (SPR) to investigate paranormal activity at her supposedly haunted school. When Mai gets caught in a dangerous situation, she is rescued by Kazuya's assistant, Lin. When the assistant becomes incapacitated, Kazuya hires Mai to become his assistant as payment for the damaged cameras and injuring his assistant.

 Ghost Hunt follows the ghost hunting adventures of Mai Taniyama and her young manager, Kazuya Shibuya. Mai nicknames Kazuya Shibuya "Naru" because of his cynical and narcissistic attitude. Eventually, the nickname is adopted by all those who volunteer to work with SPR: a Buddhist monk, Houshou Takigawa; a shrine maiden, Ayako Matsuzaki; a famous psychic, Masako Hara; and a Catholic priest, John Brown.

 Over the course of the series, Ghost Hunt focuses on the paranormal abilities of the characters, particularly Mai's "latent psychic abilities." She can sense and dream about flashbacks and clues relevant to their cases. In her dreams, someone whom she assumes to be Naru acts as a spirit guide. Additionally, the other members of the SPR teach her some useful defensive and offensive spell techniques. Finally, she develops feelings for Naru as well as the other 'Naru' who appears in her dreams. In the end, the group members learn a powerful secret about Naru.  

Ghost Hunt was a fun paranormal anime show to watch. I am generally not particularly amazed by contemporary ghost stories, but the plot and character development was excellent. A case usually lasted 3-4 episodes. The characters, especially Mai and Kazuya, grew on you over time. The spirits found in each the case were different, so the suspense was unpredictable (a good plot device!). The members of SPR learned how to work together as a team using their strengths. Kazuya has a surprising action scene in the last episode, so I won't spoil the ending. Unfortunately, the anime feels incomplete because the story continues in the manga. If you want to know about Mai and Kazyua's relationship, check out the manga edition. Overall, I highly recommend this anime. 

It is available to rent and buy on DVD.

Opening Song: "Main Theme" by Toshio Masuda

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