Ghost Hunt

The Boring Info The Characters The Songs The Opinion
Taniyama Mai
Shibuya Kazuya
Rin Kōjo
Takigawa Hōshō
Hara Masako
John Brown
Matsuzaki Ayako
Yasuhara Osamu
Main Theme
Ending Theme

The Animoo

Ghost HuntTaniyama Mai is a young girl with a great love for scary stories. During a story-telling time with her two friends, a young boy comes across the classroom they are sitting in, scaring them half to death.

She later finds out that the young boy is Shibuya Kazuya of Shibuya Psychic Research (SPR), a ghost hunter who had been hired by the school principal to investigate the mysterious circumstances concerning the old, former school building which have even resulted in people’s death.

While Mai initially doesn’t care, her curiosity gets the better of her when she passes by the old school building, and she decides to peek inside and notices a camera at the entrance. Even more curious, she enters, but is startled by another young man rushing in, yelling not to touch the camera.

She accidentally hits a set of lockers which threatens to fall over her, but is saved by the young man pushing her aside and getting hit instead. Kazuya enters to reveal that the young man is his assistant, Rin. Because of Rin’s injuries, he cannot work for a while, and Kazuya demands compensation, not only for Rin, but for the extremely expensive camera that was broken. The compensation is not in the form of money, but rather that Mai should become his assistant while Rin is hospitalized.

So while Rin may have pushed Mai out of the way of immediate danger, he unintentionally also pushed her into a whole new world of death and the supernatural; a world of ghosts, evil spirits, and mysteries that she would never otherwise have know of or experienced…

The Boring Info

The anime is 25 episodes long and is based on the manga of the same name. The manga however revealed far more information on the characters, but because this is a mystery anime and I don’t want to spoil the fun, I’ve decided to write spoilers in the character section at with a white font, which means that to read them, you have to highlight them.
Despite the heavy use of terms in the anime, that I doubt that many people know, I’ve decide not to make a term section. This is simply because whenever you come across a new term, Mai is there to “not get it”, and Naru will then explain it “for her sake“. The only term I don’t think he covers is “Onmyōji“, which is a practitioner of Onmyōdō, a mix of natural science and the occult influenced by Buddhism, Shintoism, and Taoism.

The Characters

In snack-sized bits. Click the names for character images.
Taniyama Mai – Mai loves ghost stories, but never expected that she’d be in one (oh yeah, Pirates of the Caribbean reference, how ya like me now? XD), yet that is exactly what happened when she interferes with an investigation by the SPR. After having accidentially caused damage to a camera as well as to Rin, Shibuya’s assistant, Shibuya demands that she take Rin’s place and aid him in his investigations.

After the first case is solved, she’s is employed part-time and would, during cases, have dreams of Shibuya smiling at her and giving her hints about the case at hand. It is revealed that she is in fact an orphan and has been living on her own for quite a while.

[spoiler]It is revealed during the course of the anime that she is an esper, i.e. has the powers of ESP, however, these powers are latent and manifest via her dreams. One thing not revealed in the anime is that the boy in her dreams in fact isn’t Shibuya, but his deceased twin brother.[/spoiler]

Shibuya Kazuya – Shibuya, nicknamed Naru (short for narcissist, narushishisuto) by Mai because of his behavior, is the leader of the team and CEO of Shibuya Psychic Research. He shows great knowledge of the supernatural and relies on his intelligence, his technology, and the abilities of his friends to solve each case. While typically acting cold and, to put it bluntly, like a bastard at times, he cares deeply for his friends.

[spoiler]Shibuya is in fact an extremely powerful telekinetic, though he cannot control the output of his powers properly without his brother, Eugene, who died before the storyline of the anime. His real name is in fact Oliver Davis, who is mentioned a few times in the anime.

His true identity is never stated directly in the anime (it is in the manga), but various hints point to it, such as his inability to read kanji despite appearing Japanese, losing his temper when Mai calls him Naru for the first time, demanding to know where she had heard that name (a nickname for Oliver is “Nol”, which he was called back home, and is pronounced “Naru” in Japanese, so he thought she knew his real identity), his ability to bend a spoon in one of the episodes without exerting any significant physical force and Rin’s outburst when he heard about it, which confirms the presence of his psychic powers, and how quickly he dismisses the fake Oliver Davis, which implies he has knowledge of who the real Oliver is (himself).

Some viewers will probably argue “but the spoon bending was fake, Bou-san caught him red handed“, and for that I must reply that you weren’t paying attention. The second time around, it really was fake, but notice that the spoon is bent in the opposite direction, which means that he couldn’t have used that technique the first time around.

Rin Kōjo – Rin (possibly translated as “Lin”, I actually don’t recall) is Shibuya’s assistant. He is Chinese and a damn tall one I might add. Anywho, he seems to have rather mundane jobs, such as setting up equipment, going through hours of video and audio recordings, checking readings, as well as writing reports and logs which he seems to do in English.

He has a strong hatred for the Japanese people due to the conflicts China and Japan have had in the past (the Sino-Japanese wars, look them up on Wikipedia or something), a hatred he admits is not entirely rational when he directs it at singled-out people, such as Mai.

[spoiler]Rin is very powerful onmyōji, capable of excorsism and spirit summoning among various other things. I say this here because it would have somewhat spoiled cases 1 and 2 if you knew beforehand. He also has four familiars that he doesn’t summon until the last case.

He is a childhood friend of Eugene and Oliver’s, and is helping Oliver find the body of Eugene that had been thrown in a river by a hit-and-run driver and apparently made it all the way to Japan, thus explaining why they are there.

Takigawa Hōshō – Takigawa is trained as a Buddhist monk which is what led to Mai calling him Bou-san (Monk-san), a nickname that stuck with the group. Despite his training, he considers being a monk a side-job while his real profession is that of a bass player in a band.

Takigawa is one of the more potent members of the group when it comes to exorcising spirits from the real world, but what he has in spiritual strength he lacks in finesse and he is unable to remove spirits from objects without breaking them, which is why he has never attempted to exorcise a spirit from a human being.

His “style of exorcism” is reciting Buddhist mantra which are apparently powerful enough to exorcise several spirits at a time. During the course of the anime, he and Mai develop an elder brother-younger sister type relationship.

Hara Masako – Masako is a famous spirit medium with her own TV show. She is able to see spirits and communicate with them, as well as “call on them” (let them communicate with the outside world by possessing her body) via a seance.

She has a crush on Shibuya, but is too shy and well-mannered to confess to him. Because of this, she is also jealous of Mai, since in Masako’s eyes, Mai and Shibuya have a special relationship.

[spoiler]At one point, when Masako makes Shibuya do her a favor, despite him declining when Mai asked, someone (I think it was Ayako) said “maybe she has something on him“. This is actually spot on. Masako knows Shibuya’s true identity.[/spoiler]

John Brown – John hails from Australia and is a Catholic exorcist priest, despite his young age (19 years old). Along with Bou-san, he is one of the more potent members of the group when it comes to excorcissing spirits. While nowhere near as strong as Bou-san, he has far more finesse, and can exorcise spirits from human beings without too much effort and without the person taking any damage.

He exorcises spirits by reciting prayers from the Bible and spraying/splashing holy water. He is the cause of some lingual jokes because he speaks Japanese in a Kansai dialect, which along with his natural accent makes him sound somewhat odd. He also is not always aware of dual meaning of words in Japanese, which sometimes leads to confusion.

Matsuzaki Ayako – Ayako is a “self-styled” Shinto priestess, in the sense that she was not raised at a shrine and is in fact the daughter of a wealthy doctor’s family. Whenever she appears at a “crime scene”, the first thing she says is usually that is the work of elemental earth spirits, a thing that Bou-san makes a joke about later in the anime, when she is running late.

She exorcises spirits by reciting a Shinto prayer, but always falls short which lead the other members to believe that she is useless when it comes to these sort of things. She is however fully capable of making protective charms and use defensive sutra (she even taught one to Mai).

[spoiler]Despite her many failed tempts at exorcisms, she is in fact extremely powerful, but under certain conditions only. She has the power to communicate with the spirits of living trees and use their power to exorcise spirits (this is her condition, she needs to be near living trees).

Her pride prevented her from telling it to the group, as she thought they would just consider it a bad excuse, which is why she waited until she could prove it.

Yasuhara Osamu – Yasuhara is technically not a member of SPR, but a client. He is 3rd year high school student who was introduced in File 6 and was the one who approached SPR and spoke on the principal’s behalf when his school was haunted.

He is at the top of his class and his sharp wits and intelligence became an asset to the team. After the case about he school was solved, he continued to help out SPR, despite not having any powers of his own.

The Songs

Main Theme

Main Theme (no title given in the opening credits) is composed by Masuda Toshioe and was used throughout the series. If you feel like you’ve heard his name before, then I can reveal that he composed all the in-anime music of Naruto.

Anywho, the song is eerie and I like it. It fits great with the anime, and it speeds up your heat rate by a few beats and really gets you pumped for watching an episode.

The animation is actually a two-part animation. The first part is shown up until episode 13, after which part two begins (along with File 6). The video to the right is of part one. I have not been able to find part two online. Part one is essentially just a bunch of spirit balls for the good first half, followed by moving smoke where you can see blurry images of something going on.

It then ends with the camera looking up and a flash of light appearing. Part two starts with that flash of light, and the rest is too hard too explain, but it’s quite eerie and well made, with various shapes that you can “see out of the corner of your eye”, just to bring up your pulse a little.

Ending Theme

Ending Theme (no title giving in the ending credits) is composed by Masuda Toshioe and was used throughout the series. In my opinion, it fits the anime incredibly well.

It has that slightly eerie, but fairytale-ish sound to it that gradually calms you down from having just seen something scary that has your hair standing on end.

The animation is various spirit balls ascending. It is quite beautiful actually, it reminded me of the pyreflies from Final Fantasy X, only without the “rainbow trails” they left behind. The background sky changes 2 times to a lighter hue, whether or not this is symbolic, as in “Life and death goes on, and as time passes by the days will begin to look brighter“, I cannot say. Saying that would likely be reading too much into it, but what do I know?

The Opinion

I have somewhat mixed feelings about Ghost Hunt. I mean, there’s great diversity among the characters, the art is good, and it’s fun to see the mysteries be solved, but it’s just missing that special “umph” for a great deal of time. A good thing about it is that each case only last 3-4 episode, which I think is an excellent amount of time, otherwise, you’d start getting restless and feel like there’s no real progress.

Ghost Hunt is not so much an occult mystery series as it a mystery series that just happens to have a few ghosts and spirits in it, in the sense of, it just isn’t that spooky or “Holy crap, I think I just heard something, where’s the light switch? WHERE IS THE LIGHT SWITCH?!“-nerve wrecking, which I consider a necessity for it to be called an occult mystery series.

Only “File 7: The Blood-soaked Labyrinth” had this, which made it my absolute favorite story arc of the series. I was fucking scared! Sitting in my chair, all the lights turned off, hugging my knees cause God forbid my feet should touch the floor, and my heart was racing, and I was like “HOLY MOTHER OF GOD, WHAT WAS THAT?!” and checking if something was moving in the hallway every 5-10 minutes. Best four episodes ever (18-21).

The other episodes had me more like: “Ohh… yeah okay. Wait, why is th- ooooh, NO, DON’T GO IN THERE!! DON’T GO-ARRRGH!!! See?! SEE?! I told you to not go in there, you idiot. YOU BROUGHT THIS ON YOURSELF, FOO’!!“. As you can see, they were more of a joke than actually scary, but they were extremely good mysteries despite of this.File 8 had the potential to be as scary as File 7, but turned more and more into a bad zombie flick, which I find unfortunate.

All in all, it’s a very good mystery anime, a very good one indeed, but if you want suspense and something that will have your heart racing from fear, this isn’t really it. The horror element is sort of missing, except for the last few episodes, but the characters are very likable to the point that you might start quoting part of a mantra or prayer or whatever (I took “on sunba nisunba un bazara un hatta” to heart XD).

But still, there are a lot of loose ends, and because of this, the story doesn’t feel finished at all (mainly because it isn’t). It would still advise people to watch it though, if nothing else, to become a bit more familiar with Shintoism, Buddhism, and so on, as well as to watch File 7, which is friggin’ awesome.

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