Ghost Hunt

August 4, 2007

I’m not really a fan of supernatural or ghost stories. That’s because I don’t want to have sleepless nights by scaring myself with tales from the other world. Even Martians taking over Earth isn’t so bad. So what made me decide to watch an anime with a title like Ghost Hunt? Reluctant at first, as usual I saw that 1 word which caught my attention. Yup, comedy. I was really doubting whether the comedy element is for real or not and that was enough to make me curious to watch it. Plus, there are some good looking bishies, so why not.
 
In a way, I could say that I have some mixed feelings about the show. Firstly, there is a comedy element, but it’s not the main driving force of the series and it serves as a short comic relief which won’t amount to anything much. Just as the title suggests, the series is mainly overwhelmed and driven by supernatural, mystery, psychological and horror elements with some drama in it.
 
And you’ll have 25 episodes of it all. At first I was wondering why the producers made it 25 episodes instead of the usual 24 or 26 episodes. Most probably with the way things ended, I’m speculating there is gonna be an OVA to sum and tie things up. Yup, you could guess from my sentence that the ending isn’t really a satisfying one. Furthermore, it’s based on a manga of the same name, and the manga series is still currently running in Japan.
 
So our main protagonist is a cutie 16 year old high school ghost story telling lover girl, Mai Taniyama. She loves telling ghost stories to her buddies so much so like it’s as though it’s like her hobby. But they get a little shock when some strange but good looking guy, Kazuya Shibuya, switched on the light. Because he’s so handsome, I suppose it’s natural for Mai’s friends to swoon over him. Of course, Mai isn’t too fond with him and just leaves.
 
The next time Mai comes to school, she’s passing an old building of the school and happen to notice a camera inside it. Being the curious girl she is, Mai goes in to investigate. And like they say curiosity kills the cat, before Mai could touch the camera, she heard a voice telling her not to touch it. A little surprised, a man quickly rushes in and pushes her away before the place crumbles a little. Unfortunately, that man was injured though Mai herself is lucky to escape from any injuries.
 
Later Mai finds out from Kazuya that the guy who got injured back then was his assistant, Lin Koujo (some striking and uncanny resemblance to Hatori of Fruits Basket). Mai’s surprised at first because she thought it was the other way round. Anyway, since Kazuya ‘blames’ Mai for injuring his assistant, Mai will have to be his temporary assistant until Lin recovers. So what does this Kazuya guy does? He’s a paranormal researcher who tracks and hunts ghosts ans spirits. If he looks too young to have his own company, SPR (Shibuya Psychic Research), then guess again, because this guy is only 17 years old! You must be thinking that he’s obsessed with the supernatural world as he’s quite knowledgeable and knows his work well.
 
Because of Kazuya’s egoistic attitude, Mai nicknames him Naru, which is short for narcissist. And it seems that the elusive Kazuya doesn’t mind of her or anybody else calling him Naru. Does this mean that he agree to it? But whatever it is, from now on, I too will refer to him as Naru, just like everybody else. As the series goes by you’ll notice that Mai starts to harbour romantic feelings for Naru but obviously that guy isn’t interested. And that is the comedy part. Yes, Mai’s wild imaginations of being with Naru and such which causes her to blush and fluster up. Can’t blame her. She’s still a 16 year old high school girl. As the series progresses, she’ll have weird dreams of Naru smiling and helping her, giving subtle hints. No not that kinda of dream *wink wink* mind you. How Mai wish it was so. Plus, if you happen to notice, Naru doesn’t really portray any emotions. Maybe in a job like this, emotions isn’t necessity. Especially fear and panic.
 
Anyway, Mai finds out as she’s being called to the principal’s office that one of the old school building is haunted and that there have been complaints about something supernatural about it. Or so he thinks. Thus, that’s why the principal has called SPR for his services. Not only that, I think the principal’s kiasee or what since he called several spirit exorcist specialists. There is a Buddhist monk Houshou Takigawa AKA Bou-san (doesn’t look like your typical bald monk in saffron robes because he considers this monk thing to be his part time job), a miko priestess Ayako Matsuzaki (who also doesn’t look like one as she proclaims herself to be a self-styled miko priestess), an Australian Catholic priest John Brown who really speaks fluent Japanese (more like for convenience), and a spirit medium Masako Hara who is also a renowned tv celebrity in her field (I was surprised that the voice actress for Masako is Rie Kugimiya who also voiced Shana of Shakugan No Shana. I couldn’t recognize her here). Also present is a classmate of Mai, Kuroda, who claims that she can sense spirits. So we’ve got a bunch of motley crew of exorcists here.
 
Since Kuroda claims that she has been strangled by some ghost and that the school is really haunted, the team of course would go investigate it. So most of the episodes will be divided into several story arcs. Each story arc is called a File ## (that’s actually episode number XX part ##) and of course episodes 1-3 is about the haunted school building and they leave the cliffhanger at the end of the first few episodes, made me curious and excited to know what’s going to happen in the next. Also during the show, there’ll lots and lots of terms and explanations about the supernatural world, types and methods of exorcism. Usually Naru (and sometimes the others) would explain it because Mai doesn’t really understands so he just took the liberty of saying so (and of course to tell viewers lah), which pisses off Mai a little. Ironic for someone who love telling ghost stories to find herself in unfamiliar waters. I suppose there are lots of theories and hypothesis of such occurences rather than a simple ghost story. However since, I’m too dumb and blur to understand what they’re explaining, you could say because of that I don’t understand it all and thus don’t feel or become scared of it. I think that if you really comprehend what they’re saying, it may send shivers down your spine. Bad thing is, it’s a little hard for me to keep up or fully grasp a particular story arc. Bummer. But phew. No sleepless in Subang Jaya.
 
Back to our first story arc, of course our exorcist specialists take turn and try out their several methods to detect if there are any spirits around and did some exorcism. Though Masako says she doesn’t sense any spirits but a persistant Kuroda kept telling her otherwise. There are incidents which may indicate there is something supernatural like the windows shattering but it’s nothing conclusive. Then 1 night when John is doing his holy water prayer exorcism, the ceiling above caved in but luckily Mai warned him in time enough for John to escape. Naru then concludes that since the building is built on top of some underground stream, thus the ground is soft and that explains on why the building partially collapses in the first place. But is it just that? Though the team packs up the next day, Kuroda is still dissatisfied and still persists that there are spirits, since she was attacked by one. By this time, Lin has been released from hospital and joins them. Soon after, several events occur which may indicate that there is indeed a poltergeist activity like opening and closing of doors on its own, banging on the walls and hearing footsteps from above.
 
I don’t reall remember but I guess the team still isn’t bent on giving up just yet. I mean, Naru called the rest and have some sort of a hypnotizing test on them. Later that night, Naru sets up a camera in that haunted building focusing on a chair positioned in the middle of a ring drawn on the floor. The next day, everyone gathered to watch the recording and to their surprised, the chair moved by itself and the ground isn’t vibrating. Naru explains. Okay, this is what I understand. Kuroda is the cause of it all and this poltergeist thing is a man-made type. It seems Kuroda was so crazy for attention unknowingly she had to power to make all those poltergeist-like events. It’s like in denial and because she wanted it to happen so bad, it really did happen. Maybe I should try this when my wish don’t come true. In addition, Naru reveals that Kuroda is the one who also placed certain items to make it as though it was a poltergeist’s activity.
 
Instead of busting Kuroda, Naru decides to just lie to the principal and say that the place indeed has spirits and will do some exorcism. After everything is done and the gang left, that building totally collapses the next day. The underground stream, wear and tear or is it the poltergeist? Whatever it is, nobody’s hurt. Later as Naru thanks Mai for her help, he asks her if she would be interested to join SPR part time as they need extra (wo)man-power. Okay, so perhaps pouring tea is part of the job scope in addition to ghost hunting. Thus, Mai’s days will become more ‘exciting’. I suppose it’s better than telling ghosts stories. Better experience the real thing.
 
So the rest of the episodes is gonna be something like this. There’s some disturbing haunting case which the client can’t tolerate so he/she comes to SPR and seek the services of Naru. Usually Naru takes the case and as the other gang (Bou-san, Ayako, John and Masako) somehow joins in and as the series progresses, you’ll find that they enjoy each other’s company so much so Naru sarcasticly quips that they converge at his place as though it’s like some coffee shop. Well, the more the merrier. Then some character development as we get to know the characters a little better like how Masako may have a thing for Naru and the latter don’t mind because since there’re hints that Masako may be paying Naru’s office rental in an otherwise unaffordable and expensive prime location. Yeah, Mai’s got a competitor and gets jealous everytime she sees Masako sneaking up close to Naru. Also, Lin is more taciturn and speaks only when necessary and hails from Hong Kong and Bou-san is part of some rock group which is his other job.
 
Episodes 4-6 this time takes the gang to some house. The house is supposedly haunted and the spirits views them as a threat and wants the gang to leave. But the real evil spirit may be one of the house inhabitant’s little girl’s doll, Mimi. Yeah, that doll is creepy and that girl treats it like though it’s her friend, talking to her and such. Though I don’t really understand what’s going on, my hair still stood on ends. So that little girl tells Mai how Mimi is trying to protect her from the other ‘evil’ inhabitants. So some strange occurences and ghostly experiences for Mai like how she saw Mimi’s head being decapitated, graffiti appearing on the walls and one of the inhabitants being attacked 1 night.
 
The next day, after John exorcise the spirit out from the doll, Bou-san decides to get rid of Mimi by burning it but at the same time, that little girl who went and play near the pond would’ve drowned if Mai haven’t come and save her. It’s like some sort of punishment for her since she has revealed the existance of Mimi. Now there is a real spirit this time. Yup, no man-made poltergeist. Earlier on, Naru did the same hypnotizing test but the results were negative. This spirit with a dark aura looks like some elderly woman and is asking for her daughter as she appears from inside the house. Scary. Plus, there are other children spirits in this house as well. Sounds scary enough for me.
 
There is a story how she came to be. As usual is a tragic one. Long ago a mother and her child lived in this place. But 1 day her child was abducted and the mother was very distraught and fell into the well, which the living room of the current house is being build over, and currently where the mother spirit is residing all these while. Several months after that incident, the child was found floating face down in that pond. Thus, the vengeful mother spirit wouldn’t hesitate to hurt anyone who wants to hurt her child, which she supposedly thinks is that little girl. Mai nearly got strangled by her but Bou-san’s chanting manage to break the spell.
 
Naru comes up with a plan to drive the mother spirit out by asking Ayako to write some talismans. I don’t remember and understand this part, but after sending the house inhabitants away to temporarily live in some hotel, they manage to draw her out and because that mother spirit is in a rage, Naru threw some talisman with her child’s name on it. With that, she calmed down when that talisman turned into that child of hers. She’s able to find peace and in a way leaves the house and the other children spirits too are free from her graps. Later, Naru explains that the talisman has been included the child’s name, birthdate and other details so as to give characterisitics to represent like that mother spirit’s child. Because of that, the mother spirit was ‘reunited’ with her child and is thus set free. Other than that, the rest of the explanations and terms as usual seemed like gibberish to me. Huh? What the? Come again? So typical of me.
 
Another school is haunted in episodes 7-10. But this time the spirits are possessing the students and making them do weird stuffs like eating sand (yuck!). To cut things short, it seems that all those students who have experienced ill fortune have 1 thing in common, they all have sat at that same seat location in a particular class. After hearing weirder and weirder misfortunes that befall on those students, the gang decides to split up and look for any clues for any signs of evil spirits within the school compound.
 
Mai learns that there’s a girl in this school, Chiaki Kasai, who is believed to have some ESP powers and can bend spoon. So much so that the school asks her to prove her special powers 1 day in which she did. Because the teachers after witnessing it, told her off not to continue messing around, Kasai got pissed off and puts a curse on the school by saying something like how she’ll curse everyone to death. Though Mai and Naru met her and asks her to demonstrate her powers, she failed and blames it on the the recent events which ‘disrupts’ her focus. Yeah, we see Naru too can bend spoons, surprising Mai a lot, as he tells her not to tell Lin of this. However, not everybody is against Kasai. Her biology teacher, Kei Ubusuna seems to be siding her and protecting her.
 
Though Masako doesn’t feel any spirit presence, the rest did their usual exorsism as a precaution. But when a male teacher whom Kasai cursed earlier on got into a car accident, several girls confronted Kasai and threatened her to stop it all. Later Mai explains some dream of hers (not that I can remember) and the others conclude that it might be some vodoo doll, Naru thinks that there’s a possibility that a special kind of curse vodoo dolls may be used to curse whatever their curse is personified to. Since the spirits here are too weak to kill, someone knew of this and plans to use them for torture, and blame it all on Kasai since she was the one who started putting the curses on everyone. However Mai believes firmly that Kasai isn’t the culprit.
 
Soon they find some paper doll in the desk where the supposedly cursed seat is. Unfortunately, Masako got injured when some mysterious hand pushes her to fall off the stairs. Masako has to be taken to the hospital and with that, everyone is really starting to believe that Kasai is the one that is putting the curse. The rest soon hurriedly try to find any other paper dolls in the school compound. After some more explanations like how Naru mentions that Kasai’s unstable powers may not make her the culprit as this sort of curse requires a lot of expertise, while Mai is finding more of the dolls, she heard a child’s voice and followed it and noticed it to be coming from the sewer hole. But that child seems to be some spirit and is dragging Mai’s feet down! Ah! I’m freaking out. Luckily Naru’s there to grab Mai but since the ladder to the sewer below is rusty, it broke and the 2 plunged below. Being alone with Naru in a dark sewer doesn’t mean a romantic thing for Mai because there’s another spirit appearing! And this time, one with a scythe! Oh what are they gonna do? Naru’s pretty calm but Mai’s in a little panic. As luck would have it, Lin manages to find the 2 and rescues them. Okay, the spirit just disappeared.
 
When they regrouped, Bou-san and Ayako have found all the paper dolls and there is one where Masako, Mai and Naru’s name on it! But Naru soon collapsed due to his injuries and was brought to the hospital. After the rest burned the paper dolls, Mai confronts Kasai but Mai still believes that Kasai is innocent when they get message to meet Naru at the hospital. So it wasn’t Naru’s injuries which made him collapse but anemia which isn’t serious. Everyone gathers in the room Naru’s in and we see Naru’s display of Sherlock Holmes mystery solving analysis. Yup, Naru knows who did it. It’s the bio teacher Ubusuna. Of course Ubusuna wants him to prove it. Naru explains about that cursed desk how the curse is to curse those who sat there and no one specific and to curse a specific person, one needs to know his/her full name. And since Mai firmly believed that it’s not Kasai who did it, which means she suspects someone else, which means Ubusuna feels threatened and hence wrote her name on her paper doll. Furthermore, besides Masako who is a famous tv celebrity, only the principal and Ubusuna knows Naru’s real full name thus the reason his name is on the paper doll too. Kasai then tries to protect her teacher by taking the blame saying that it’s all her fault but Naru tells her not to protect Ubusuna any further.
 
It seems Naru too did some background check on Ubusuna. When Ubusuna was young, she was one of those children with special ESP abilities, more specifically, she was able to bend spoons. Because her powers were unstable, she was caught cheating of her abilities. Soon, Ubusuna admits herself as the culprit. You can say she got upset and hated people who mock or don’t believe in those with ESP powers and decides to curse them. But as Ubusuna is placing the flowers in the vase, Naru saw something else Ubusuna is placing in and asks Lin to stop her and in an instant, it’s revealed that Ubusuna plans to curse Naru again with a doll with his name on it. Busted. Back at SPR’s office, Naru had Mai do some ESP test and incredibly, Mai’s prediction rate is 1000 out of 1000! Misses, that is. Yeah, she didn’t get 1 right at all. Though she doesn’t have any of those super abilitites, Naru thinks that Mai’s clairvoyant dreams and intuition may be her latent ESP powers, in which she’s able to sense trouble against people with malicious intent. Plus, we see Naru going to do his spoon bending skill, much to Lin’s protest. Bou-san notices that it’s fake, the way he does it. I can’t remember the explanation, but Naru promised to Lin not to do it again.
 
Episode 11 is a light-hearted one-episoder. One of Mai’s friends comes visiting SPR to request for an investigation at a park whereby couples get mysteriously splashed by water on their heads. And it’s not even drizzling. Naru turns her down as usual. Soon Masako comes in and asks for the same thing because some production crew she’s indebted to is filming there. Though Naru’s reluctant at first, after some talk about repaying people, Naru agrees, surprising Mai. Yeah, more of Mai’s jealousy here. Since everyone’s there at the park, they decided to pair up as couples to see for themselves. Naru ends up with Masako (Mai must be green with envy), Ayako with John and finally Mai and Bou-san. So as they go about, Mai and Bou-san got splashed prompting everyone else to rush to where they are.
 
Masako sense a presence of a spirit but passes out. When Masako comes to, she suddenly becomes possessed! Hohohohoho! So funny and cute to see Masako laughing like that. In short, that spirit who possessed Masako is a young girl who recently committed suicide because her boyfriend was two-timing her. Not only that, when she confronted him, he splashed her face with water. Well, she didn’t die by the usual hanging or poisoning. In fact she tried but failed miserably. She died in a more freaky way whereby she knocked her head on the pavement when a cat appeared and that surprise causes her to lose her balance before meeting her demise. Though she tried to scare her boyfriend, but he’s such a blur case, her scare tactics didn’t work and thus decides to take out her revenge by splashing water on couples.
 
Of course Mai is angry and disgusted with that lady’s boyfriend and with the others, collaborates with her to get back at her boyfriend. So when her ex-boyfriend appears at the park, they all scared him by telling him that there’s a spirit haunting him. Then the final blow came when ex-girlfriend splashed some water on his head, freaking him out totally as he runs away. With that, she is satisfied and now can move on to the next world. This kind of case also got. Back at the SPR’s office, Masako is asking Naru out for tea as Mai is bloody confident that he’ll reject it. He didn’t. Her heart’s on fire now. Before Masako left, she tells Mai that she and Naru has been on several ‘dates’. Now that’s adding fuel to the fire. To quell Mai’s jealousy, Bou-san offers for them to go on a date as well. But John and Ayako wants to tag along as the quartet heads out together for their ‘date’.
 
It’s Christmas Eve in episodes 12-13. No, there are no ghosts of Christmas past, present and future here. It seems John has requested Naru and the rest to investigate some haunting case at a church, which also serves as a shelter for ‘abandoned’ children. I mean, it’s like a daycare centre but only more permanent as their parents are usually away and have no time to look after them. While the gang plays with those kids and the kids are thrilled with tv celebrity Masako, the priest told them about a case whereby 1 of the children becomes possessed while holding a stick and there would be echoes of a stick hitting sound. And that possessed kid has been missing since morning. Not the kind of Christmas everyone would wish for.
 
Mai eventually finds that kid in hiding and the rest rushed over there. To everyone’s surprise, that kid suddenly hugs Lin and calls him his father. Is it for real? Nope. Lin just resembles his father a lot. Yeah, he’s very clingy. So some flashback about a kid named Kenji who was lost 30 years ago when his father left him at the church, Kenji prayed and hoped everyday that his dad would 1 day return and bring him back. While waiting for his dad, Kenji played hide and seek with his other friends there and it seems because Kenji was so good in hiding he has become a master in it as nobody has ever found him before. So 1 night while they’re playing, Kenji went missing. They tried searching for him but it was futile. So the stick sound is used when the kids got lost as a form of communication to tell their location.
 
Lin doesn’t like the idea of the boy clinging to him as John prepares to exorcise him. At first, John seems successful. Only catch is, the spirit has now possessed Mai! Uh-huh, a possessed Mai smiling happily at Lin as though nothing happened. So the rest tries to do some investigation and comes out with possible theories how Kenji got lost. Naru concludes that probably the game will end only if Kenji is found and the gang enlists the help of the children to ‘find’ him. Though their search comes up empty handed, the gang notices something. Since the children are small, they only search things that are at their eye level or within their reachable distance. Which means, they don’t look higher. So they rush out to search for higher places and found Mai clinging on to a tree. Yeah, she looks like a koala bear. While the possessed Mai looked happy to have been found, Naru tells him the truth like how Lin isn’t his dad and asks him to tell him where he’s really been hiding all along.
 
Mai looks up to the building and as everyone looked in her direction, upon closer examination, they saw the skeletal remains of a boy high on top of the statue at the church’s entrance. A short flashback reveals that Kenji went to hide up there but since the scaffolding of that area which was under construction at that time collapsed, Kenji was trapped up there and no one could hear him. Soon Kenji leaves Mai and Mai is back to her normal self. All just in time for Christmas.
 
Another high school being terrorized with supernatural events in episodes 14-17. This time, the students are being bitten by a ghostly purple dog and the teachers, especially the disciplinary teacher Matsuyama, are denying it because they don’t believe in ghosts. One of the students of this school, Osamu Yasuhara, helps the gang in their investigations. As usual, they did their usual investigation and exorcism and during 1 of their rounds, they heard a commotion coming from 1 of the classroom to find that purple dog charging at the students before disappearing. Now that Matsuyama has seen it with his own eyes, he can’t deny its existance anymore. Yup, that teacher turned into a coward now. Though Masako says she could sense the presence of several spirits in the school, she says she cannot see them. We also here that the hauntings may have started from a student named Sakauchi who has died already. Something like some sort of revenge as he believes in ghost hunting but the teachers aren’t too fond of it.
 
Of course Mai gets into 1 of her usual weird dreams as she see several spirits and there’s ahuge purple aura spirit called will-o-the-wisp, consuming the other spirits there. Besides that short comic relief that Yasuhara says how he love Bou-san and Naru, freaking the rest out before finding out it was a joke (because Bou-san asks if Yasuhara liked Mai), Bou-san teaches Mai several chant lines to protect herself from spirits. I donno. I can’t seem to remember it but Mai is a quick learner and could remember that whole line without Bou-san having to repeat himself. Then the purple dog attacks again. Only this time, it is larger and is injuring the students before disappearing. Mai then collapse and has a vision that Sakauchi’s spirit has been devoured! When Mai comes to, the rest comes to a conclusion that the spirits are consuming each other to be stronger. Survival of the fittest. Dog eat dog world. But the team is left in stitches as the events that has happened don’t really sum up and there’s more to it than meets the eye.
 
Later that night, Mai heads to the biology lab to retrieve a tape when the lab door suddenly closes and locks. Mai’s torchlight goes out and the room shakes before the glass breaks and smell of formalin reeks the place. Mai faints again and has that dream of the spirits consuming each other and other stuffs relating to Sakauchi. Mai regains her consciousness in the infirmary when she hears Naru’s voice calling out to her. As the rest left to continue their work, Ayako stays by Mai’s side. Ayako teaches Mai another chant lines and Mai seems to remember them at 1 go. Soon another round of weird dream of Naru telling Mai that the will-o-the-wisp is awakening soon after consuming many spirits. Mai saw John and Yasuhara heading to that will-o-the-wisp in her dream, as she snaps out of it and informs Ayako about it. As Ayako left to warn them, Mai experiences another weird supernatural event. A blue spirit appears in the next bed as Mai chants her protective lines she learned from Bou-san and Ayako but the spirit pushes her off the bed. The ground then collapsed leaving Mai trapped. Luckily Mai is saved by Naru who arrived just in time to shield her.
 
The next day, the principal wants them to stop whatever they’re doing but I suppose the gang isn’t just gonna give up. So more explanations which I don’t understand, like something to do with a bunch of insects eating each other in a barrel and the the strongest one will be used to curse the victim. Then some whatever curse game the entire school was playing called kokkuri. I don’t remember how this curse game works but the gang notices it to be different from the usual. Lin then says the curse could be used to kill someone but good thing that it’s only amateurs (the students) who are doing it because a person with Lin’s calibre could kill someone outright. They soon discover that the next person to die in that kokkuri is Matsuyama as his name is written on it. However, Matsuyama still doesn’t believe in supernatural stuff after witnessing that close one himself as he still blames it on Naru and co.
 
So what I understand is that the only way to avoid Matsuyama from death is to return the curse to the 1 who cursed him. Sakauchi may be the 1 who sets the curse but the curse has been passed on by the other students and it’s hard to determine which student has pass the curse to him. Furthermore, Sakauchi is already dead. So Naru propose that in order to save Matsuyama, the whole student may be sacrificed. This pisses Mai off very much. So are they gonna save 1 guy in exchange of several innocent school students or let this bastard meet his maker. Either way, somebody has to die. Mai storms out feeling very angry towards Naru’s attitude.
 
The next day all the students gather in the school hall as Lin prepares for the ritual. Mai tries to stop Lin but is prevented from doing so from the others. Mai gets emotional and calls Naru a murderer. Bou-san comforts and reasons with Mai on Naru’s action and to trust him, which Mai accepts somehow. Once the ritual is done, everyone comes out of the hall and Mai saw lots of broken wooden dolls with the student’s names on the floor. It looks like Naru had used these dolls to represent the real person to break the curse. Thus the dolls took the ‘death impact’. Mai felt guilty for jumping to conclusions but asks why put in on several students than on just 1 person. Naru replies that he had a better chance to sustain the curse as it is spread out rather than being concentrate on just 1. With that, the curse is broken and the gang notched up another case successfully solved.
 
It seems Yasuhara somehow joins the motley ghost hunt crew because in episodes 18-21, he agrees to help out by impersonating himself as Naru whereas Naru becomes his assistant called Narumi. Also joining the team is Naru and Lin’s ‘master’, an eccentric young woman named Madoka Mori. Furthermore, Madoka is the one who requested for Naru to take on this case. This story is arc to me is quite confusing because there are lots and lots and lots of explanations which caused me to be even blur-er than a cataract vision. This is what I know. Naru is doing this because this case involves some political figure, thus Naru plans to stay out of the limelight. Of course, the place is a bloody huge mansion. How huge is it? Let me give you an idea. The construction to extend the mansion is endless. So much so that everytime a construction finish, a new one begins. What’s so bad about that? The rooms and hallways are build outwards, meaning that there are rooms within room within rooms and God who knows how many rooms and secret spaces in this mansion. It’s like a maze and you could easily get lost. In addition, because it involves some big shot, the person who contacted the ghost hunt members, Ohashi, has brought in several other supernatural specialists to help in this case. The more reason why Naru wants to maintain a low profile.
 
So we have a legendary English psychic guy, Dr Oliver Davis, from the National Defense are Professor Chie and her assistant Naoko, and an obnoxious pyschic researcher Minami and his worker Hideo. So everybody gets down to work. Since it’s gonna take several days of course everybody has to stay at the mansion. Mai has another dream. More of a nightmare. Dark creepy toilet, bloodstained tiles, blood soaked bathtub. It’s like she’s in an American Horror movie. Good thing it’s just a nightmare. The next day, Chie asks everyone’s help to summon some spirits. During the ritual, Naoko suddenly started to write furiously as the room shakes. It seems most of the words say "Save Me" and there is 1 where it says "I don’t want to die".
 
But the next day, Chie is in a frantic because her assistant Naoko is missing. She couldn’t have left without leaving Chie a word and she checked that there is no signs that Naoko had left the mansion. Even if Naoko was afraid and left for home, Chie says that she’d even tried contacting those places but Naoko wasn’t there. But this shouldn’t deter the ghost hunt team as they continue to look for more clues. While doing so, they found a secret door at the staircase and inside it some portrait and a note with some writing. But I’ll leave it there since I don’t understand what’s going on. Also Madoka who snuck out of the mansion earlier on, snuck back in to tell the gang the fruits of her research. It seems that the owner of this house has hired many cleaners to clean the mansion but he found out 1 of them to be embezzling money from him and thus accusing and firing everyone including his other family members. And the reason for the neverending extension is to keep the spirits from getting out of the mansion. Yup, it’s like to confuse them. Later that night, Mai thinks she’s having another nightmare but it seems real this time. Two guys dragged her off her bed to along the dark and creepy hallways and corridors. Though Mai felt very scared but somehow she couldn’t move or scream for help. It’s like she has been paralyzed more than fear and could only watch in horror as they put her on some surgery table. Mai is then strapped onto it and 1 of them placed a knife on her throat and is gonna slit across! Oh my goodness! Is this the end of Mai?! It’s like coming straight out of an American horror movie.
 
Thank goodness it’s just a nightmare as Mai awakens by Ayako’s slap. But that horror dream was enough to shake up Mai as she’s in tears. You could say she has a near-death experience. By this time, Hideo too has been missing. After Mai calms down, the gang speculates that Naoko may have been reading her own death and that the spirits in this house likes young people. Because of that, Naru instructs Ayako to protect Masako, John and Bou-san for Yasuhara while Lin for Mai. This leaves Naru himself with no protection as he himself doesn’t possess any spirit repelling powers, which Lin protests. Of course there’s some talk between those 2 which reveals more info about themselves (which I couldn’t care less), surprising Mai. Naru tells Lin that he could leave if he’s not happy. Anyway, they got hold of the mansion’s blueprint and notice a huge unknown space in the middle. Plus, there seems to be no access to it. Naru concludes that the construction of building outwards is to keep and lock something in. Then something about the chimneys which they notice there are 12 from the outside view the mansion but only 11 inside it.
 
Later the lights went dim and suddenly the walls were filled with red kanji writings when the light came back on. And after a short ritual, a spirit appeared and it looks like it’s Naoki! Naoki hasn’t realized that she has died already. Naru tries to ask some questions like about that guy in the portrait and where she was the last time as Naoki points to the wall. So more deduction about that guy in the portrait is some guy called Urado. I’m not sure, but it has got to do with some dracula stuffs. Bla bla bla. Urado probably wanted to stay young and healthy (since Urado himself is weak and frail) and believed to have sacrifice young people for this twisted wish of his. So as they check out the mysterious space in the middle the next day, they found a hidden path inside and during their search found a corpse dead. Supposedly the person who went missing several months ago. Since it’s really dark and the walls are really thick, nobody could hear or smell anything coming from inside. Naru breaks the news to Chie but the latter seems to be in a frenzy as she pleads for Dr Davis to help. Then it is revealed that this Dr Davis is a fake and that he’s doing this because Minami instructed him to. So the cat’s out of the bag as he leaves. Yup, he’s speaking in English. I wonder if everyone else understood what he said.
 
Naru then tells his team to pack up and leave because this place cannot be exorcised. That’s because Naru believes that this Urado guy is a monster and not a spirit. Furthermore, Naru’s mission here is complete. Madoka sent Naru here to see whether Dr Davis is a fake or not and since the truth is confirmed, there’s nothing more to proceed on. So a little b*tchiness between a jealous Masako and Mai on Naru. Need I elaborate? But looks like the gang can’t leave yet. Because in just a blink of an eye, Masako went missing. The gang must be thinking the worse as they try to find her. Mai has dreams of a very afraid Masako in that surgery room. Because of that, Mai followed the directions which lead her deep inside the mansion. There seems to be a house with a garden inside that space as Mai went ahead of the rest. Luckily Masako’s still breathing when Mai finds her. It’s a real messy and bloody place. Then some monster comes out of the bathtub, supposedly Urado himself as he tries to attack the 2 ladies. Luckily Lin manages to arrive in time and summon some spirits to ward Urado off. As everyone tries to make their escape, Bou-san kicked an adjacent window which seems to be connected to the outside garden. Safe.
 
Thus in the end Yasuhara told the owner to move out or burn the house down before the gang leaves. A few days later in the newspaper, a small article about the mansion caught fire. Back at SPR’s office, Mai took the opportunity to ask Madoka about Naru’s parents when Madoka answered that both Naru and Lin are actually eloping together. Mai is in shock. Of course, Madoka’s only joking. However, this story arc still left me with some questions like how did Masako got abducted so fast and what really happened to Urado and that mansion in the end. Plus with all those thick walls, how did that monster get around and is he still alive after how many decades. So did that dracula myth really work about staying young and beautiful by soaking in young women’s blood? I suppose being a supernatural genre doesn’t mean it’s all ghosts and spirits as the producers decide to put a monster here. I didn’t really see that coming.
 
The final story arc in episodes 22-25 sees SPR being approached by a young man, Akifumi, who brings his niece to the office and shows them some creepy and horrendous bruises on her body. So the team (except John and Masako) are brought to a remote house on a remote island and we hear some story how it all started long ago. Must be in the family’s genes because after their great grandpa died, the rest of the family members followed to 1 by 1. One of the inhabitants, Ejiro, isn’t to fond of the ghost team’s presence and launches a verbally scathing attack on them. Furthermore, they’re being told that there were other supernatural specialists who came before them but they all died too. Other strange phenomenan include 2 of the children, Takako and Tazuki became inseparable and would whisper only among themselves. Then Ejiro as though he’s being possessed (which I think is a fact) suddenly gets into a fit and tries to kill somebody with a kitchen knife. Luckily Lin manages to knock him out. Naru asks if anyone of them could do an appropriate exorcism and Ayako says she could but couldn’t guarantee anything. While doing so, a purple fox spirit emerges and went charge right through Naru’s body before disappearing into the wall.
 
Naru seems uncomfortable and later Bou-san saw Naru trying to strangle Ayako. Looks like Naru’s being possessed! Again Lin knocks out Naru unconscious and states that it’s lucky for Ayako to be alive since that fox spirit isn’t used to using Naru’s body yet. So throughout most of the remaining episodes, Naru will be in a comatose state, which mean our leading guy is temporarily out of commission. Thus indirectly, you’ll notice Bou-san taking over the analysis, calling the shots and such. Mai has another weird dream later with Naru having killed somebody with a knife and telling Mai how she has betrayed him. Then Naru brings Mai along as they run away from some angry mobs. They’re reunited with the other ghost hunt members and are surrounded by the mob with no way out. Then a change of scene whereby Naru shows Mai a path towards a cave at the bottom of the cliff whereby all the spirits who died are gathering at an altar/shrine. There are even animal spirits there.
 
When John and Masako finally arrive, they’re horrified to find out what has happened to Naru. Furthermore, Masako can sense the spirit but isn’t sure what kind of spirit it is as something is obstructing her from sensing its true form. Mai then asks Akifumi about the cave and the shrine in it and Akifumi brings the team there. While on their way there, they saw 5 stones near a cliff which Akifumi explains to be some tomb and also there are 2 stones tied together with a rope symbolizing a man and a woman. Then some legend about a fisherman and a princess who fell in love with each other but some rich man wanted to marry the princess. So the fisherman and princess decided to elope with the former sending some letter but it was intercepted by the rich man. When the fisherman knew about it, he confronted the rich guy and killed him right in front of the princess’s eyes. Then as the 2 are being surrounded by the rich man’s family, cornered and no where to run, they both jumped off the cliff. So more in-depth analyzing and explanations about the stones which I don’t remember and understand.
 
Finally Akifumi brings the gang into the cave and they saw in the shrine a wooden piece which resembles a posture of Buddha’s hand. So that’s called Ebisu something like in the old days people worshipped it because they believed anything washed up ashore from the see is a blessing. Back at the house, another family member, Yasou, seems to have cut his wrists and the place is all bloodied! After Yasou is sent to the hospital, Takako and Tazuki asks Mai if Yasou’s dead, which Mai replied negative and the kids’ facial expression turned into a disappointing one. Though Bou-san suggests to do some exorcism with some talisman, the children’s mom, Youko, furiously refuses it as she thinks it’s cruel. Mai tries to find out to see if Takako and Tazuki is possessed by bluffing them Yasou has died. With that the 2 seemed happy as Mai grabbed them. Tazuki manages to break free and threatens Mai to release Takako or else he’ll kill and throw himself into the ocean below. Then an old lady’s voice can be heard saying how it’s a blessing to die by drowning and that everyone is going to die as Tazuki rushes towards the cliff. Mai in a dilemma then recite her chant lines which causes the spirits in the 2 kids to flee but it caused them to collapse and when they’re back to normal, they’re both crying. Bou-san chides Mai for her recklessness and tells her to be sure of the situation first and not to let it happen again. As Tazuki and Takako are being treated for their wounds, Youko comes in and yells at them to take off the talisman. In the mean time, another family member, Nanao, is gonna commit suicide by jumping off the cliff.
 
While the gang manage to exorcise a spirit from Youko when she started to get violent, it seems Youko has no recollection of what has happened nor who the ghost hunt team is. Soon they realize Nanao is missing and went looking for her, only to find her corpse at the bottom of the cliff. Masako gets into a ritual and becomes temporarily possessed by Nanao’s spirit. Nanao mentions that she was being pushed down but didn’t know who before she starts becoming hysterical and leaves Masako’s body. Mai then had a dream about the spirits in the cave recycling itself like as though they’re being reincarnated or something. But then the main house caught fire as everyone rushes back. To their horror, they saw another family member, Kazuyasu, violently slashing the walls with a sword. They realize it’s just a ploy to wake Naru up. Lin uses his spirits to repel Kazuyasu. Then at the cliffs, Kazuyasu as quite close to the edge and Lin seems a little injured. Mai realized that he may be the one who pushed Nanao down and before everyone knows it, Kazuyasu says how everyone will die before killing himself by jumping off the cliff.
 
Yasuhara comes back with some info about the place. Not that I understand but it goes something like this. Long ago there were 3 mystic men with powers to repel some evil spirits in the place in exchange for that Ebisu. But the villagers got greedy and killed them at the cliffs so that they could steal Ebisu but Ebisu that time was a golden hand, then reverted back to a wood piece. Because of that, the place is cursed due to the mystic men’s revenge. But Bou-san mentions another possibilty about the 6th group. Something about some group of men travelling to several spiritual sites. Then there was some rebellion and the people cornered the masterminds of the rebellion and killed then at the 6th group site, just like in Mai’s dreams. Because of that, supernatural events occured ever since. Thus some ritual to appease the spirits is done or else strange happenings will occur like bruises on the neck would appear. While the gang are contemplating which of the stories is the culprit, the light just went out and the glass shatters. Hey! It’s zombies this time and they’re like a bunch of them trying to enter and attack the team. Just like an American horror movie, huh. They’re trying to fend off the zombies from reaching Naru and the gang seems to be overwhelmed by them. Mai wishes how Naru would come save them all.
 
But during the attack, the are some spirits which penetrated Mai and Bou-san. Though Mai felt pain but there don’t seem to be any physical wound. Soon the spirits and zombies back down and the gang use this oppostunity to rest a little. Bou-san notices that the culprit may be 3 mystic men as he can hear some monk chant in the background back then and how they manipulated other spirits to attack them. For once Ayako stepped up to do her exorcism this time. Yeah, the rest didn’t have much confidence in her, but Ayako has a trick up her sleeves. Ayako starts her ritual at the 3 tombstones which causes the trees to start swaying and then spirits and zombies started appearing before the 3 mystic men spirits were being repelled by the ring of a bell in Ayako’s hands. Ayako explains the using of tree spirits in cleansing and since its resources is limited, 1 can only use it once in every 6 months to allow the tree spirits to recover its powers.
 
Back at the house, Naru has awaken. Of course Naru is back to his old sarcastic self and takes over all the explanations and analysis. Like as though he knows them all while he’s sleeping. So Naru mentions something about Ebisu, how Ebisu felt people staying there should continue worshipping it or else it would bring trouble. The gang enters the cave and they felt like it’s like a living thing as they could hear its ‘heartbeat’ and breathing. The cave entrance soon closed and round white spirits appear as everyone tries to repel them. Bou-san tries to take out the root of the cause, which is Ebisu as he charges there with his religious knife. But some powerful barrier repelled him and sent him flying away. Yeah, they’re taking on a God this time. John and Yasuhara took their turns but met with the same fate. Then I don’t understand this part because Naru mocks them by saying is that all they’ve got. Mai gets pissed off and chides Naru for his pride thing and tells him to do it by himself. With that, Naru unleashes his whatever super power energy blast destroying Ebisu. Everybody’s in shock as the cave returns back to normal. I donno. But I felt that Naru’s super power ability seems far fetched. Like it was out of convenience. As they walk out of the cave, Naru collapses.
 
The scene changes as we see Naru in ICU and Lin explaining to Mai how Naru possess such strong power since young. But since his body’s unable to handle the immense power, it could be very life threatening. Thus Lin taught Naru some techniques to soften the impact. Mai realized that Naru back then did that even though he knew it would endanger his life was because of her provocation that hurt his pride. Yeah, it won’t be cool to get mocked by a school girl. Naru wakes up several days later and is still in his sarcastic and usual mood. Naru asks for Mai to pour him some tea in which a jealous Masako says she wants to help as well as she and Mai tussle each other for the flask to serve Naru. Oops, they spilled it. But Mai seems happy because they’re all together and doesn’t want the days like these to end.
 
Overall, I felt that the ending could’ve been better but since they made it like that, I suppose they’ve already made provisions for OVA or a sequel. At least the gang solved every case and I could say that it ends well, though there are some parts which I felt they didn’t tie up properly. Or is it rather that because of my blurness I wasn’t able to comprehend most of it. And because of that, sometimes I find certain points far fetched. Partly because perhaps I don’t really believe in this kind of things.
 
The thing about this series is that both the opening and ending themes are instrumental. Probably to give a sense of supernatural and eerie-ness. Yeah, it would be downright funny and weird if it’s a pop or rock song. Somebody singing about ghosts and spirits. That wouldn’t be fitting. Though the opening instrumental theme is more lively, the ending one is downright creepy as it’s like an eerie ballad. Furthermore, you could see those spirits floating and wondering what’s it all about. The next episode preview isn’t anything much with Mai just narrating the title of the next episode. Nothing more than that. So much so that it feels unnecessary in the first place.
 
As mentioned, the drawing, art and animation is made to appeal to all those bishie fans alike. The voice acting seems pretty decent to me. Since each story arc involves different characters, the cast list is a long one, though I happen to notice that some of the voice actor and actresses of minor character’s to be the same the person in different story arcs. Hey, you wouldn’t notice it, right? I didn’t. The producers too try to maintain that eerie and mysterious feel in each episode but I notice that as each episode goes by, I felt less and less of that. Maybe I’ve become ‘immune’ to it and in a way have come to expect the unexpected. Yeah, after all those ghostly experiences, Mai too becomes ‘immune’. This girl has seen a lot, if you know what I mean.
 
Even after watching finish the series, it didn’t make me that all interested in supernatural stuffs. You could say that I didn’t really learn anything and is still in the blur zone. I will still try to keep myself at a distance when it comes to supernatural stuffs as a precaution not to have sleepless nights. Whether you believe in the existance of ghosts and spirits or not is totally up to you in person. I’m pretty sure that there are more scary things in this world than this right? ;)
 
So if your neighbourhood is experiencing any hauntings or supernatural phenomena, don’t call Ghostbusters because they’re already outdated. Don’t call your Feng Shui master because he’s just lining up his pockets. Instead, you have a cast of good looking, colourful and varied supernatural specialists. I wonder if I should call them to solve that whatever creaking sound I always hear while I’m sleeping. Then again, it may be the wind or just my imagination. But who knows…