What They Say
Ever since she could remember, Saiki Misaki has had the ability to ‘talk’ to ghosts. She works as a special consultant for the city’s secret division that deals with supernatural cases. She also works as a dominatrix at a S&M; club, where she has gained a cult following for her extraordinary ability to tame men’s twisted desires. These special talents, however, forbid her to lead an ordinary life. Everyday she has to deal with overzealous fans/stalkers, and worse, lost spirits in desperate need of help…
All 4 Episodes of the OVA series
The audio presentation for this series brings us the original Japanese language and English dub, both of which were encoded in Dolby Digital with the 5.1 format. The mix for this was done in 5.1 originally and is a rather good mix at that, though it doesn’t have a very active mix to the rear speakers all the way through. It’s used more for key scenes and it works very good for them by adding more ambiance and a general creepy factor as it throws voices, ghostly sounds and other bits of dialogue to there. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions on either language track.
Originally released in 2004, the transfer for this four-part OVA series is presented in its original full-frame aspect ratio. The materials used here are fantastic looking and is essentially problem-free from what we could see. There’s nothing that’s truly problematic during regular playback that distracts. No cross coloration, no aliasing, no color banding or visible macroblocking. This is a very smooth looking and clean show that just stands out with how it looks. There are some areas where the animation itself does look like it took a short cut or two, but the transfer itself just shows that all the more. This looks great.
Using the same artwork as the fourth Japanese cover but with a bit more shadow around the edges, we get something that’s practically screaming hentai as it features Misaki in her Queen Misaki outfit with the whip in the air and the bondage chains all around. Depending on your tastes, this is either a hot cover or one that will offend but whichever it is it’s one that will catch your eye very easily. I love the look of it and the wild nature of her eyes. The back cover has a close-up shot of a naked Misaki obscured by blue drops which has a listing of the discs features and language options. The middle features a simple rundown of the premise of the show and follows it up with some shots from the show and the production information. Much like a lot of Geneon covers the technical information is spread all over. The insert uses the third Japanese volumes artwork and surrounds it with shots from the show and a listing of the features and episode numbers and titles. It opens up into a two-panel spread of the second Japanese cover artwork while the back of it is just a bland piece listing some of the basics of the release.
The menu style once again screams Nightjar with the types of reworking they do to the animation as well as providing the menu in 5.1 sound and we get a nice mix of leather, buckles, and zippers around the edges and a floating scan of various illustrations of Misaki while brief bits of animation play underneath and over it, all set to a short loop of creepy instrumental music. This works really well as it shows a number of different sides to Misaki and hits you in the face with the fanservice – including one far less than subtle crotch shot – but it also plays up the hardcore leather bit beautifully. The layout is very easy to navigate and submenus load quickly.
The extras are a bit minimal here but there are some good things to be found. In addition to the amusing US trailer for the show, we get all four clean opening sequences to the series. Geneon also went a bit further and provided some DVD-ROM content here with printable posters (artwork is visible in most of the menus) as well as some desktop wallpapers. I wish more of these kinds of things were done, especially the wallpapers.
Ghost Talker’s Daydream is based on the manga series Teizokurei Daydream by Saki Okuse and Sankichi Meguro and is done as a four-episode OVA series that takes us into the life of Misaki Saiki, a woman whose life is spent in two very different worlds. Ever since she was a little girl she could see and talk to those who had died but not yet moved on to the other world and that’s always cast her as an outsider. In her adult life, she’s found something in being a dominatrix but she seems to indicate that it’s more for the money than anything else. After all, can you support yourself in any real way if you’re a spiritual medium in a population that’s quickly losing what the term means?
Misaki’s an interesting character as she’s not really happy with either job but has found that’s she’s good at both. Originally she was going to focus just on the spiritual medium part but decided that the extra money was good. Her medium job comes from the government though, as there’s a quiet but well-funded department that deals with the issue of ghosts and spirits among other things within the country. With so many old buildings and lands being carved over, spirits from the past are continually woken up again and rise to cause problems as do those who have recently died but not learned of what’s happened to them. This department sends out a young man named Souichiro to bring Misaki to the assignments and help her as needed.
Souichiro is amusing because he’s pretty much afraid of ghosts and generally cowers outside while Misaki goes in and deals with things. That’s not to say he’s a pushover though because when it comes to flesh and blood thugs, he’s a surprisingly skilled fighter who can give as good as he can take it. This is a rare flash of him though as he spends most of his time worrying about getting Misaki to places and protecting her from trouble. Often the trouble is actually himself but Misaki does have something of a stalker in the form of a high school lad named Mitsuru. He keeps following her around and ditching school so he can take pictures of her in various states of undress.
The first case we see Misaki dealing with leads her to helping out a young woman whose sister and daughter were killed but the police ruled it a double suicide instead. She wants to help her cousin by getting the case properly closed and Misaki is brought in as there are spirits haunting the now emptied apartment. Misaki wasn’t interested in the case at first but the pleading of the dead little girl helps push her over the edge into helping and through flashbacks and confrontations with the little girls father, we see the truth of what happens. What makes this episode more interesting is that it’s used as a launching pad to bring the young woman, Ai, into more regular contact with Misaki as she’s now able to see the dead as well and wants to be like Misaki.
In a way, this is fairly standard material for a show about a spiritual medium outside of the quirk of being a dominatrix. Unlike most other spiritual mediums, Misaki doesn’t really have any powers other than being able to see them and convey messages back and forth. She doesn’t do exorcisms or cast spells or other things that you typically see but rather she just talks to them and provides closure for either side. Her life as a dominatrix also adds an amusing bit of color to her as she’s a pretty gruff person by nature who just wants to be left alone. Through some of the flashbacks to her past, we see what kinds of things happened to her to mold her into the person she is and it’s not surprising. Her ability to see the dead is not something that’s easy to go through life with. And the last thing she wants is to taken on someone like Ai and to show her how to do it, rather she just tells Ai to ignore the dead and move on.
The series is well designed as it provides two stand-alone episodes and then a two-part storyline. What makes the show somewhat difficult to watch is how much of the death and dead revolve around little kids. This never used to make me cringe but it’s amazing what having kids of your own does to some of your perceptions and feelings about such things. The stand-alone tales do a good job of introducing the basic cast and expanding on them as they all interact more and more while the two-part storyline has Misaki going off on vacation only to be followed by everyone as their lives all really revolve around her. Misaki’s vacation is quite comical as she’s visiting every spring and temple she can find that deals with hair growth as she’s not shaven – she’s just naturally hairless and longs for something more. So we get some very amusing scenes with that (“Do I rub it or do I slap it?” – slap – “ow!” – repeat several times) as well as conversations about it.
Ghost Talker’s Daydream is a very good looking love letter to the fans of the manga but unlike a lot of these kinds of love letters, it stands alone by itself very well. In a way, it reminded me heavily of Phantom Quest Corp but with a much more serious feel to it. This series is nice and short, stands alone and comes complete. The characters are certainly interesting and it’s certainly filled with lots of fanservice in creative ways but it also tells some actual stories that build upon each other and doesn’t make you feel like you’re missing something since you haven’t read the source material. More stand-alone kinds of releases like this is something I wish were being produced these days.
Japanese DD 5.1 Language, English DD 5.1 Language, English DTS 5.1 Language, English Subtitles
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: A-
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: A
Extras Grade: B+
Released By: Geneon Entertainment
Release Date: August 23rd, 2005
Running Time: 100 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.