The first part of the “Ghost Hunt” anime series will grab your attention with intriguing scientific investigations of curses, ghosts and supernatural phenomena.
The story begins when the main character, Mai Taniyama, finds a teenage boy investigating the building next to her high school for ghosts and powerful psychic beings.
The boy, Kazuya Shibuya, heads the Shibuya Psychic Research Center. His assistants include an electrical equipment specialist, a Buddhist monk, a Shinto priestess, an Australian Catholic exorcist and a spirit medium on a popular television show. Each character has a special power to suppress the power of demons and spirits.
Shibuya determines the occult phenomena taking place using carefully deduction and keen technology. His crew uses everything at their disposal, from thermal temperature readers to hidden cameras and microphones.
This series most likely won’t scare the bejeezus out of you in the beginning. However, as the Shibuya Psychic Research Center discovers more ghastly figures to purify or exorcise, the series turns into a frightening, fascinating X-Files-style mystery. Mai even discovers her own psychic powers as she investigate with her new friends.
The series hits an emotional peak with the third case, “The After School Hexer.” Their biggest enemy curses the students and teachers around a high school with voodoo doll-style hexes known as hitogata. When the doll with the victim’s name is destroyed, the person suffers fatally. Mai and Shibuya run into some precarious near-death situations, even falling into a sewer.
“Ghost Hunt” makes for a great alternative to the boring American prime time whodunits. The anime features some unexpected comedy episodes, including a gut-busting romantic episode in the park. An airheaded ghost possesses the spirit medium’s body and starts cuddling next to the nonchalant Shibuya.
The series isn’t perfect. The opening and ending credit sequences are disappointing, with cheap orchestral music and lame computer-generated images.
The characters are undeveloped and somewhat goofy. We don’t completely understand why all these spiritual people are working for Shibuya in the first place. People will also wonder how the Lord’s prayer and “holy water” would actually weaken the powers of ghosts. Fortunately, the anime is more based on religious and ghoulish mythology, so we expect to see some fantasy stories in the show.
“Ghost Hunt” is a surprisingly enjoyable show. Although Shibuya acts like a cold fish for the entire series, Mai and Shibuya make a lovely team. I’m looking forward to watching more mystery stories in this anime.
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