The monolingual release for Ghost Sweeper Mikami is about what you’d expect for a show of this age with the stereo mix encoded at 224kbps. The series doesn’t have a lot to work with and it doesn’t stretch any boundaries in the slightest as it deals with a very center channel based kind of mix. The mix of dialogue, music and action all comes across at relatively the same level so nothing is drowned out by other elements. The dialogue avoids getting too high and scratchy so it comes across pretty cleanly and without any problems. Placement and depth are non-existent here since it’s not called for by the material and wasn’t high on the list of things to do back when it came out. It’s a decent mix and about what you’d expect and the results here showcase it clearly and without problems.
Originally airing in 1993 and 1994, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The eleven episodes are split across two volumes with five on the first and six on the second. Ghost Sweeper definitely has something of a small budget look about it as it felt more like a mid 1980’s series than a mid 1990’s series and it shows. The traditional animation holds up well overall here but it’s a very grainy picture overall, which is what it’s looked like from the start. That brings in a fair bit of noise throughout the show, much more noticeable with some of the problem colors such as dark night time blues or certain soft greens, and that gives the show a very lively look sometimes. With a bitrate around the middle and under five at times, they probably couldn’t eke out much more than what we get here based on the quality of the source material. It’s not bad, and it’s what any Ghost Sweeper fan would expect if they’ve seen the show before, but it’s not as good as a show from the mid 90’s could be.
The cover design for this collection is a fun piece that lets the primary trio shine once again while letting their personalities play out in a straightforward way. With the darkened image for the partial background of having Reiko and Okinu come in through an archway with some light behind them, we get to see them all full of smiles which is welcome. Even more fun is that Yokoshima is in the foreground along the bottom in his usual abused position where he looks like he really took a couple of good hits and is just hoping to avoid more by laying there. The logo does the best with what they have by using the large GS piece and doing the full name next to it, but I find the GS segment to really be far too distracting, to the point where it’d look better without it and just doing the full name larger. The back cover has a rather good layout to it with a circle that goes around most of it which is made up of shots from the show. Within it we get the cute tagline and a rather detailed summary of the overall premise of the show. Under it we get a small parchment listing the extras and then the usual production credits for both sides of the production and a good, clean and easy to read technical grid that makes all the discs features very easy to check. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu for this release is kind of unusual in that it sets itself up as an old style TV screen which has the navigation through the menu, though it’s primarily just the episode numbers for individual access and the special features submenu below it. What’s behind it in the screen itself is a partial view of a pentagram and what I think are stars being stretched out in a classic comic book style. All of it is done via a purple filter and it really doesn’t seem to fit the show in the slightest, which is disappointing considering we got such a nice cover for it overall. The layout is quick and easy to use and with little here it’s even less of a problem since you’re just hitting the episodes and going at it.
The only extras are clean versions of the opening and closing sequences on the first disc.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Ghost Sweeper Mikami draws to a close with the final eleven episodes of episodic adventures that puts the whole cast through another round of wackiness. The show has been a bit of a difficult one to watch at times because it definitely comes from a different time and a lot of it feels difficult to watch at this point in time. What it does do is what many series did in the 80’s and 90’s, and it does it well, as it goes for the simple comedy with familiar characters that never really change throughout the shows run. With its basis in manga, providing for weekly installments of easy to jump into fun, the anime adaptation basically does the same but it’s a bit hard to pull off after awhile. Lasting forty-five episodes is pretty good for any show, but some that did similar went for a lot longer.
The first part of this set plays to the holidays of the time as it kicks off with a Christmas episode that’s actually amusing to some degree. Santa Claus essentially crashes into Reiko’s place and ends up with a bad back, which forces them into taking on his duties for the night since it was Reiko’s barrier that caused it. They’re not particularly interested, but the promise of reaching into his bag of goodies and getting something that they’ve always wanted entices them. They have fun dealing with all the adventures, including getting the reindeer to really help them, and seeing Santa relax at the house with some beer only adds to all of it. It’s a simple and predictable episode, but it has its charms.
The New Years episode is a good bit of fun as it brings in the entire supporting cast for a little adventure down a cave where a once in a thousand year mystery reveals itself. It’s a nice way to bring everyone in briefly and let them have fun while and it even brings Lady Himiko back into the series briefly. The Yakuchin gags are the best here as he manipulates the situation for fun and profit. Another good episode involves Okinu being dragged into a domestic dispute of sorts when an elderly gentleman spirit has her take over the body of a rough and tumble gang girl granddaughter of his while he tries to talk some sense into her as a spirit herself, along with Reiko. The real fun is in watching Okinu possessing a body for the first time and experiencing the physical world in a way she hasn’t for ages.
Generally, I’m pretty mixed when it comes to stories involving Dr. Chaos, but there’s a good two part story in here that has him wanting to build a sister for Maria, but he has to use Maria as collateral with Reiko in order to get the funds to do so. That has Maria working for Reiko for awhile, which at first really excites Yokoshima until he realizes who the new young assistant is, and then puts him in a panic because she does an immense amount of work that threatens his own job. Where the show goes with the new robot though is the real fun as Teresa turns out to have a domination complex where she wants to rule the world but realizes she has to start with eliminating Maria. The action between the two is solid in a classic kind of way and just works really nicely for a two part storyline that makes Maria a likable character.
Another two part storyline involves Reiko helping out a young woman who has a form of possession going on. When she goes to exorcise her, it ends up revealing the Nightmare spirit, a humanoid horse that that dwells in the mind and causes all sorts of nightmares, as would be obvious. The exorcism doesn’t go quite to plan as Nightmare takes over Reiko instead, which has Okinu and Yokoshima having to journey inside her mind with the help of Meiko as a bit of a guide. The pervy side of it has Yokoshima hoping to discover all her secrets, but we don’t really get any. We do get a voiceless leopard incarnation of Reiko that tries to help guide them along and generally to abuse Yokoshima. It’s a fun little piece that lets the dreamscape serve as the location and Meiko has a lot of fun with it.
Ghost Sweeper Mikami ends well with a nice standalone episode that has the gang sucked into a shinsengumi style film where the soul of the film is under attack from a spirit, so they interact with it as if its real. Drawing in the majority of the supporting cast for brief roles, it a nice little sendoff for the series that lets everyone get a moment of screen time while still focusing on the core group, as well as letting some of the shinsengumi like Okita display how their being distorted by the spirit. As an ending episode, it’s not bad, not great, but certainly sums up the series in a way with how it doesn’t have any lasting impact with things. This is a show that definitely works better in small doses and is one that I’m still really surprised got picked up. While not a favorite, it’s good to finally see what all the fuss was about for a show that was very popular back in the 90’s and I’m glad we’ve got more than just the movie that was licensed an age ago. Sentai did a good job with what they had here and for fans of older shows, this is what a lot of TV shows were like and definitely a great little bit of nostalgia.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: C+
Packaging Grade: B-
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Running Time: 275 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480p MPEG-2
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.