So I went into this with high hopes as it is one of those magical anime where crazy shit happened when it was passed to American publication. The story is rumoured that after Ghost Stories had released in Japan it wasn’t doing great, they needed some money fast so after much pondering (one assumes), divine wisdom struck and the studio then decided to license it for overseas. However this is also quite costly so to save money and appeal to a broader audience they allowed the publisher ADV Films to basically do whatever the hell they liked… Seriously. Change the whole script, let the voice actors ad lib, whatever they liked. Of course this sounds like possibly a liberating experience, I mean it is difficult for dub publications to match words to the mouth movements and keep the meaning. But no it was like giving some kids some sherbet and asking them to do a test. In short it became a complete parody of the whole show, which is both good and bad.
So what is the actually show about? Well the story follows a girl named Satsuki, who has just moved back to the place her mother grew up, along with her father and younger brother Keiichirou. Her mother died sometime before the show starts but she still plays a prominent role in Satsuki’s life as she used to be some sort of ghost exorcist but didn’t have the foresight to predict that putting a dangerous ghost in a painting/well/pot plant may cause problems in the future if someone were to interfere with them. Thanks mom.
Along the way she meets Hajime, her neighbour and crush bait, Reo the paranormal dork friend and Momoko the creepy mystic chick who offers a direct line back to her mum. What I want to know is why this particular town has so many ghosts, I mean you can’t move without tripping over one. It could also be that there’s some building work going on and you know those builders, going in, wrecking the place, making affordable housing. Those jerks.
So the series follows their wacky adventures after finding Satsuki’s mum’s ghost diary in the old school-house, having to reseal every ghost her mother sealed before. This also links back to the cat… so they had a strange cat show up on the day of her mother’s funeral which in the end led her to the book, this cat ends up getting possessed by the first ghost they meet and he becomes an unhelpful asshole for the rest of the series.
Now I’ll be honest, I haven’t finished this series because it just became too annoying to do so and yes it’s because of the dub. Now I know some people rave about this legendary dub like it’s the greatest thing ever crafted but for me it got stale pretty quickly. That isn’t to say it’s not funny because I did get a good few laughs out of it but it just becomes so grating after a while. Satsuki’s younger brother basically garbles when he’s frightened so you can’t understand him which I get they were making fun of the child trope but it just gets annoying. Momoko is a born again Christian so mentions Jesus every two seconds and Reo is a Jew so we get all the Jewish stereo types. It basically reminds me of South Park or Family Guy humour, they’re trying to push boundaries by making sexist, racist, homophobic jokes as well as just general shock comedy. Now I will be fair, I watched 5 episodes in quick succession, this is not the show where you should do that. If I had watched one a week I would probably be far more favourable to it.
Now there is some enjoyment to be had, just hearing some of the shocking things coming out of an innocent anime child’s mouth is pretty funny. They also break the fourth wall and make fun of anime tropes. What was sad for me was that actually as the series went on I kinda became interested in the story, the ghosts were ok and were pretty brutal, ready to kill people rather than just scare them so it injected some horror in there. But because this is all for the gags it just lost all momentum, naturally the characters show little to no progression because that’s not what the dub was working towards. Unfortunately the original script is supposed to be bland and uninteresting but I still might go back and give it a try.
Basically the whole anime dub watched like an abridged series, if you like that sort of comedy you will love this. I have to hand it to the voice actors because they did do a good job. My main issue is that this type of comedy has been done to death recently, I can imagine when this first came out it was hilarious and completely unheard of especially in anime. But yeah so much of the internet is filled with this sort of stuff that it makes it just very predictable after a while.
If you are like me and can occasionally enjoy this sort of humour, watch an episode every few days to keep it fresh and shockingly funny rather than stale and lame. If you are easily offended then don’t watch it at all xD