A series that will appeal to those who love everything about paranormal science and ghost hunting.
What They Say
The appeal of the unknown is undeniable and freshman Mai Taniyama is hooked. This fact, coupled with her burgeoning psychic powers, leads Mai to join the ranks of the Shibuya Psychic Research team. Led by enigmatic Kazuya “Naru” Shibuya, she works alongside a spirit medium and a shrine maiden, an exorcist and a monk to uncover the darkest mysteries of the unseen. Using state-of-the-art technology and their respective spiritual gifts, evil is confronted and vanquished time and again.
Contains episodes 1-25.
The Review: Audio:
Ghost Hunt is a heavy dialogue-based series that will keep you on your feet. Having that dialogue in stereo is pretty much a must have for this series as you do not want to miss what is being spoken. A 192 kbps mix is a good setup for both languages. The downside is that the soundstage is sparingly used in the surround realm. Nearly all of the sound comes from the forward soundstage and very little elsewhere. With this series being more cerebral than action based, it is not surprising that the soundstage is set up in this manner. Don’t let that fool you as the soundstage is appropriately set up and feels very engaging. Overall, the sound is virtually problem free.
Ghost Hunt originally aired in late 2006 and on into early 2007. The series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. As mentioned earlier, this is a cerebrally based series where action sequences are not really required and are sparingly used. It is a nice change of pace as most series I review are action-packed. The sampling bitrates hover around five and come across rather well. You will notice some slight fuzziness in some of the backgrounds. Noise in the footage is quite noticeable in the darker scenes that take place in smaller setups such as hallways and rooms.
The box for this collection is one that I really like in the fact that it packs the four DVDs into one small collection. It is a trend that FUNimation has started not too long ago and is a space saver for those who love to show off their collections. The slip cover for the series shows a rather dashing depiction of Naru. This is all featured on a dark background that uses various shades of black and purple backgrounds. Added highlights include yellow and range. The case feels appropriately done as it matches the theme of the series and the opening animation sequences at the beginning of each episode. The back side of the case is eerily highlighted in green and blue with the silhouette of someone in the background. Drops of blood appear next the text ”the dead have something to say”. Included on the back are your typical screen caps from the series, technical specs, and quotes from various review sites. Two thin pack DVD case come with the collection that have could be reversible if you choose to do so. Each case houses 2 DVDs, which is awesome. The first DVD case opens from the right while the second DVD left. I’m not too sure about this, but it appears that this could be a print error for the insert on the first DVD. Most cases that I have reviewed open from the left. One last thing that I have observed is that several plastic tabs that lock the discs into place seem to have broken off. This may be caused by the tabs from each side interlocking and breaking when opened. Aside from the broken tabs and possible print error, the packaging for this collection is appropriately done.
The menu design for Ghost Hunt is very basic and does not offer a lot of bells and whistles. The design is attractive, yet simple. Each disc a static image with a background that depicts the disc’s contents while displaying the menu options at the bottom of the screen. The theme music for the series loops appropriately while navigating the menus. The submenus load quickly. As usual, the standard issue of FUNimation discs not reading player presets is alive and well with this collection.
The extras are all contained on the second disc for each thinpack. Nothing too memorable here, but you can tell that there was some creativity applied to the design. You get a preview of the Ghost Hunt manga, courtesy of Del Rey, who is releasing it in the US. Next, is some character bios that are pretty much a list of their personalities and traits. Then there are the ghost sightings, which is nothing more than a screen capture of the ghost sightings from each episode. Rounding out the list is your typical clean opening. Nothing paranormal about this collections of extras.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers).
How would you react to unexplained paranormal phenomena? For some, it is their livelihood. Mai Taniyama, had a typical school life until she accidentally fell into the employ of one such individual, Kazuya Shibuya. From the moment of their first encounter, something was different about their relationship. At least it seemed that way from Mai’s perspective. Kazuya, otherwise known as ‘Naru’ for his highly narcissistic nature, is always half cast in shadows and mystery. This is especially true with regard to his feelings toward others.
Ghost Hunt comes from the same named manga. The cast is fairly large, and not all the characters receive the same amount of development. The strength of the series does lie in its development of both the characters as well as their relationships. Beyond the two main characters, there is a Christian priest, Buddhist monk, Miko or Shinto priestess, a medium and Kazuya’s personal assistant. They all come together under the direction of Kazuya, the head of the Shibuya Psychic Research for the investigation of paranormal activities.
The plot is mainly focused on resolving issues within various cases. A mystery or paranormal situation needs to be resolved. What typically ensues is a combination of action, a sprinkle of comedy, light romance, suspense and a dose of horror. The series educates the viewer regarding the paranormal, teaching us as the characters teach Mai. We get to peer into the unknown or the possible that lies behind the thin sheet of our reality. The facts of different cases are examined under the scope of science and psychology. The causes of most problems often rooted in very human fears or desires. But the solutions sought by the souls that continue to not rest may be very inhumane or unmoral.
The format of this anime is different than most as it is more of a cerebral type of story that makes you think. A series of cases are the driving force in this series. How they are solved is by close examination of the evidence and the various discussions that ensue. The dialogue that takes place amongst the characters is key in understanding each case and how they ultimately unfold. Regardless, the cliffhangers for each episode will keep you on the edge of your seat as each mystery unfolds. Another unique aspect of this series is in that it lacks major action sequences. The lack of major action sequences may make one think that the series is dull in its presentation. In actuality, it’s the opposite as action scenes are not needed to make this series excel in what it does best.
The series is entertaining and engaging in its plot development and gradual immersion into the realm of the paranormal. The conclusion of the fist season leaves the door wide open for season two. The season ends with new revelations about several the cast members and their relationships that beg for further information. Plus, it would be nice to see Mai’s abilities continue to develop to maturity. Hopefully season two and more paranormal action will be soon to come, but I’m not psychic …or am I?
Ghost Hunt is an anime that brings a fresh breath to the paranormal or mystery genre. This is a series that is going to require you to think as the plot for each of the cases is as cerebral as the lead character, Naru. The detective format for each case makes this an intriguing series that causes one to focus more on the case than the actual characters. If you are looking for something unique and different than the typical anime series, then Ghost Hunt will definitely satisfy your palette.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Ghost Hunt Manga Pages, Character Case Files, Ghost Sightings, Textless Opening
Content Grade: B+ Audio Grade: B+ Video Grade: A- Packaging Grade: B- Menu Grade: B Extras Grade: B
Released By: Funimation Release Date: September 15th, 2009 MSRP: $59.98 Running Time: 625 Minutes Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2 Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Samsung UN46B6000VF 120Hz LED HDTV, Samsung HT-WS1R/XAA 2.1 Channel Soundbar Speaker System with Wireless Subwoofer, and Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p