What They Say:
The insanity that surrounds the Mikami Detective agency continues as our intrepid… okay, maybe not intrepid… as our financially motivated band of heroes are back on the case, attempting to solve the supernatural puzzles, occult conundrums and ancient mysteries (some from the early 1990s!) that plague a ghost and demon infested modern Japan. But it’s not all death and destruction and there are the occasional time-outs for loftier goals or as Yokoshima admirably admits: “I’ve always wanted to sing ‘Johnny B Good’ at Nippon Budokan filled with nothing but beautiful naked girls before I die!” Okay, perhaps not such admirable content, but it got ‘naked’ into the synopsis and you have to appreciate his honesty! And honesty is what you get, along with all the usual action, drama and spooktacularly bad jokes and puns in the absolutely certifiable third collection of GHOST SWEEPER MIKAMI!
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 all act in different ways as a certain someone’s animals are about to get them. Reiko, in particular, stands out with her bright smile and ample cleavage as she crawls along but there’s something to be said for Tadao’s panicked expression as well. 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. 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)
With the third of four installments of Ghost Sweeper Mikami, the series is moving along in a pretty predictable fashion, not that that’s a bad thing. With the core cast firmly established and knowing how they operate, you can just enjoy the show for what it is. The characters personalities are certainly simple but that keeps it so that the humor comes naturally and without any real issues. Similar to the previous set, it’s largely filled with single standalone stories but there are a few things in here that go a bit longer. The opening episode is, in fact, the final episode from a story arc that started on the last set involving Reiko doing her best to improve her skills in training only to have the local deity there try and pull one over on her. And you just know that’s not going to go well.
The stories we get here aren’t all that different from what we’ve seen before. One story involves a flying broom that lost its human companion ages ago and is now trying to find her again in its own way, which is causing problems for the museum where it was curated at before. Having Reiko introduce her own broom to her leads to some fun little chase scenes but also some rather amusing broom romance. Another episode deals with people being turned into mannequins which Reiko isn’t all that upset with when she finds out that Emi has been turned into on though she can at least hear her through spiritual telepathy. The case isn’t exactly all that involved but it’s fun to watch the little tricks come out in this one and as people fall to becoming mannequins themselves and have to deal with it.
One of my favorite stories involved here is when they focus on Tadao and the fact that he’s actually in school though he tends to miss a lot of it because of Reiko. With him back in school, things go badly from the start when he ends up with a desk, unlike all the others which in turn sucks him into a ghost world of sorts. This other space has acquired a lot of other students over the years and they’re all listless as there are no teachers and they just want a real class rather than homeroom at this point. The kids in there are a lot of fun to watch since they’re basically normal (outside of the one that’s causing most of the problems) and then to have Reiko arrive and be mistaken for a teacher only takes it further. It’s good fun and seeing the aftermath of it is further evidence that Tadao’s never going to get far in life.
Ghost Sweeper Mikami has a fairly fun set of episodes with the standalone pieces and the conclusion to the arc from the previous set brings things to a fun conclusion as the day is saved by Tadao’s perverted nature. The lengthier stories tend to drag on a bit, such as the one involving a lord of the dragon clan that has come on a mission and those that follow him, but it takes an amusing turn when medusa shows up. With Mikami, you never know where an episode will go with the actual characters involved, even though you know in the end it will all reset back to zero in a way. One storyline actually has Reiko’s entire home destroyed yet she makes enough money to have it built exactly the same way again since it’s obviously what she likes. Experiencing this show is definitely a struggle since it has its moments but it’s so dated in a number of ways that it can hamper the basic enjoyments. If you can set yourself in that mid 90’s mindset, it’s a fun little blast from the past.
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: March 22nd, 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.