I’ll admit, the last few years of looking at most supernatural/suspense anime, there has been little I have been into and when it comes to the psychological aspect of those shows, I’m not going to lie and say that I completely understand most of it I will get confused but at least appreciate the execution of it.
I have heard of Ghost Hound mainly from past reviews but never made the effort of actually watching it and since it’s October and this show has some spooky elements, it’s the perfect time to do so.
In a small town of Suiten, located in a remote mountain region on the island of Kyūshū, reality and the spirit realm collide. Ghosts and paranormal occurrences appear in the real world, spreading through the town. Three high school boys, Tarō, Makoto and Masayuki, who have all had traumatic experiences in their childhood, observe the strange occurrences happening at Suiten. Together, they investigate by entering the spirit realm, or the Unseen World, although no human is supposed to be able to do so. The three boys are granted entrance, only to realize the key to their childhood traumas lies within this Unseen World. The local Shinto priest and his daughter, Miyako, also become involved in the occurrences.
This project is created by Masamune Shirow, the creator of the Ghost in the Shell series for Production I.G. as a part of their 20th anniversary project around 2007 and while I mention this seems like a project that will delve into more psychological aspects, the director and writer team (Ryutaro and Chiaki J. Konaka) were on another show with similar themes of this, that being Serial Experiments Lain.
One of the main characters, Taro Komori, has this childhood trauma of him and his older sister Mizuka being kidnapped 11 years ago. He survived and…. well, you know the picture. Around his family, I get why whenever her name is mentioned, things will get tense especially with the mother. I mean, imagine losing one of your kids and trying to deal with the shit. Anyway, he has been having these OBEs (Out of Body Experiences trying to see the face of the kidnapper and making sense of all these and joining alongside him are Makoto Ogami, the broody and hot-tempered character, also shares a traumatic experience with discovering his father’s corpse after committing suicide and also a lot of resentment to his mother. He refers to her as ‘that woman’ and the other one, Masayuki Nakajima, the newly transferred student and having an interest to the incident and let’s be honest, he comes across as an asshole. One with a smirk that you just want to punch and as for his traumatic experience….. he bullied a kid to jumping off a bridge, committing suicide with the victim leaving a message cursing him.
Yeah, in case you didn’t get the memo, all 3 of these boys share some messed up experience in the past and uses the OBE to travel to the Unseen World and there’s a 4th character, Miyako Komagusu, and she has the ability to see ghosts as she sensed all three of them when they were doing their OBE thing. You do sense that Taro may have a crush on her but nothing much followed up to that.
Oh and there’s something about a religious group being involved in something tying to those traumatic experiences and something with one of the dads having an affair and I couldn’t care that much about the other plots aside from the main one and maybe some stuff with the main 3….well, 4. I’m counting Miyako, too. Knowing that the ones that handled Serial Experiments Lain wrote and directed this, I knew I was getting into territory that I really had to paid attention to some of the major details but sometimes what I’m getting is a lot of science jargon talk and I couldn’t keep up with that.
Animation surely feels like it’s the 2000s and it’s not bad-looking. You have the muted colors, the character designs that certainly got that 2007 look, the….. very weird-looking OBE bodies. Oh, boy. Those designs look like something from that Eiffel 65 song, “Blue (Da Ba Bee)” except less early 90s CG looking. I also want to point out one of those robot security things look like those Tachikomas from Ghost in the Shell.
Music is a major highlight of the show with some of the score’s eerie and haunting vibe with the use of guitar in some of its sequences and some ambient sounds to add in there. Plus, the opening song “Poltergeist” by Mayumi Kojima is a major bop from its jazzy, bohemian sound and it’s always a pleasure having to hear it every time I watch an episode and the ending song “Call My Name” by Yucca isn’t too shabby. In fact, it’s quite good and has that soothing, quiet way of closing out the show.
Let’s get this out of the way now. Yes, this is dubbed by Sentai Filmworks aka Seraphim Digital at the time and it’s the era where you-know-who used to direct dubs but don’t worry, it’s not him, it’s Janice Williams and it’s……well, it’s serviceable. I mean, there is some performances that does get stiff now and then and kinda awkward in some lines but it’s not horrible.
FINAL VERDICT: Ghost Hound did have many good things going about it (The OBE element, the main 4 teenager characters, them digging deep in their traumatic pasts) but it also came with a sprinkling of another plots that doesn’t leave much for me to be fully interested in. I do appreciate it but probably one that I’ll just say I’m glad I’ll checked it out but I have no desire of owning it on physical format. In other words, stream it first before you decide to buy it or not, you will be interested in it one way or another.
GHOST HOUND…. well, it was available to own on DVD & Blu-ray with it first being sub-only but then re-released it with the English dub but it seems like it’s becoming scarce as of this writing. But you can stream it on HiDive.
I’m MAK2.0 aka The Blue Hybrid and if I ever had a OBE, make sure I don’t look like whatever the fuck that was.
GHOST HOUND – animated by Production I.G. / licensed by Sentai Filmworks