What They Say:
When it comes to girls, Tadao Yokoshima has to be the unluckiest guy in Japan. Sure, he works with two incredibly beautiful women, but when it comes to the lovely Okinu… Well, she’s actually sort of deceased, which you would think would kind of kill off the odds of scoring. Still, she does work as the company’s secretary, so maybe there’s still a ghost of a chance.
As for Reiko MiIkami, the owner of the paranormal detective agency that keeps Tadao and Okinu busy (if not gainfully employed), while she does have designs on his body it’s to use it as a human shield to take all the supernatural damage their business attracts! The most depressing part of the whole thing is that, if he keeps working for Reiko long enough, Tadao will probably end up in a much better position to date Okinu than he expects! Will Tadao end up a lucky stiff, or will he strike out and keep on living?
Contains episodes 13-23.
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 twelve episodes are split evenly across two volumes with six on each. 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 an action piece as it features the three main characters dealing with spirits that are haunting them as we see the skulls floating about them with energy blasts hitting them. The character artwork looks good but having it set against a red background with the orange-red hair that Reiko has doesn’t look so hot. 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. Mikami looks good here though with her sword out and looking all serious. 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.
Because of the number of episodes that this series run, this set gives us just eleven episodes which bring us up to number twenty-three in the series. With the first series having set up the basics of the show, Ghost Sweeper Mikami essentially runs with the same kinds of gags with every new episode. The fun with the show comes in watching how the characters react to the situations or the outlandish things that they’re put through. While Mikami is in the title, the more it goes on the more that it seems like Tadao is the real star. And because of his perverted nature and continued quest to get with Mikami, that offers up a lot of material on a regular basis.
Over the course of the eleven episodes, we get a pair of two-part episodes while the rest are standalone pieces. The two-part stories work pretty well as the let the stories expand a bit more. One of them involves the gang going off to an island to deal with a vampire who is about to make things very public because of the way he’s turning everyone, so the vampire’s very long-lived son has asked Reiko to come in and help. Along with a few other ghost sweepers including Emi which makes things really awkward for the whole group. When things go big, there’s definitely a lot of fun to be had here as the whole island of possessed vampires get after them. Of course, Tadao gets taken over early on and he’s very, very keen to suck on Reiko.
Another of the good stories that we have here involves Reiko deciding that she has to up her spiritual power level because the threats that they’re facing are getting more powerful. She’s not gotten weaker, but she wants to make sure that she can handle what’s coming down the road. That has her heading off to the mountains where a special training location is that’s been for centuries and she has Tadao come along as her pack horse. Naturally, Tadao gets wrapped up in events as the guide there believes he’s got potential, but seeing his shadow spirit self really dispells that all too easily. The spiritual training side has some good moments to it as Reiko works herself over and deals with some mildly creative opponents, but it’s good to see her taking her job seriously from start to finish, which is a real rarity.
Ghost Sweeper Mikami does go through a number of simple stories here, sometimes involving characters like Emi where they go up against each other and Reiko deals with the Father a bit. The story I think works the best in this set though is when they do a Pied Piper kind of story about someone who can turn people into kids, sucking up their years of experience and putting them in a balloon for safe keeping. Reiko gets snapped up in this early on and she’s absolutely adorable. Her personality is basically that of a child too for the most part, but she can use some telepathy on Tadao to get her point across to get some help. When others get caught up in this as Tadao and Okinu try to save the day, it’s a whole lot of fun. The kiddie versions of these characters make it work in a very good way.
I still find myself of two minds with Ghost Sweeper Mikami. I dislike the way it is so basic overall, which is pretty much par for the course for this kind of series, but it has these moments that work well. It’s the kind of show that has its gags and uses them regularly which is good but in watching the whole set at once, it can cause it to drag more than it would on a weekly basis. The two-part stories work well here and there’s definitely fun to be had here, especially with the gang turned little, that it’s definitely a show for fans. After the first set, you know what you’re getting into with this one as it is more of the same in theme and style so there’re no surprises.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: B-
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B-
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: C
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: January 25th, 2011
Running Time: 275 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1,33:1
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 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.