Ghost Stories is a series I’ve considered looking into, but in the end determined it wouldn’t be of any interest to me. My to-watch list is simply too long to go outside my “safety zone” of what I know I’ll like, unless I have good word that I’ll like the series.
If ADV Films would open up their digital download service (seriously, anyone putting the episodes online will do so before ADV Films even releases an episode, or will use the DVD), I’d be more willing to spend some dollars here and there to try out a series. However, with things they way they are, and my to-watch list (of already purchased DVDs) slowly fluctuating as I watch and buy and watch and buy, there’s just nothing to get me to investigate such a series.
That is, unless ADV Films gives me the first DVD for free. I’m guessing Ghost Stories might be having a little trouble selling compared to their other series, as they give away the first DVD for free with some orders. At least this should be better than whichever seller (I think it was ADV Films) decided Debutante Detective Corps (rated as “Suggested 13+”) would be a nice addition for someone buying all general audience appropriate DVDs. I might watch it one day, just because it’s there, but I’m biased against a cast of characters with chest sizes too large to be compliant with the laws of gravity. I just don’t imagine there’d be anything of interest there for me. Ghost Stories, on the other hand, could be worth a look. So, I gave it a viewing.
I normally buy by the thinpack, so if an anime doesn’t grab my attention by the end of the first DVD, if it would take at least until second DVD for me to really get into it, then it’s no problem. With Ghost Stories, on the other hand, I have only the first DVD. If it doesn’t grab my attention, I won’t be buying any more. And depending on the price of the series, if there’s no box set I might not buy any more. Also, the length of the series matters. This one being 20 episodes, that’s not bad.
I’ve read bad things about ADV’s dub of this series, so for viewing it, I’ve chosen to go with the Japanese version. I’m not really up to date on American pop culture, so I’d probably miss a lot of added jokes in the English dub.
The general plot to Ghost Story begins with a teenager girl with her younger brother and father moving in with her grandparents after her mother died. With them is a cat who appeared after their mother died, and have been with them since. At the grandparents’ house, the girl meets the neighbor’s kid, a boy about her age. She re-meets him at an old close school next to her new school the next day, as well as a boy who knows about paranormal activity. Add in a purple-haired girl who met the main character’s mother in the hospital, and a recently-freed ghost whom the main character’s mother and grandmother had fought against, then finish with the cast of characters accidentally sealing the ghost within the cat, and the story is set in motion. The ghost is ready to release other sealed spirits, and the teenagers (and one younger brother) know no one will believe their tale. They’ll be on their own in a fight against ghosts to save their cat.
There’s nothing unique about the designs for the characters. They look fairly plain, and there’s really nothing memorable by the end of the first episode. The episode introduces the characters, and gives the current story and backstory, or at least enough to say what’s going on without giving it all away. The first episode by itself was so-so, I suppose, but nothing that makes me want to see another episode. With three more episodes on the DVD, however, I continued on.
While getting screenshots for the first episode, I did decide to go with the English dub to check out bits and pieces. Here’s a sampling from when the father is moving into his in-laws old house, and his father is commenting on it. The subtitles for the Japanese read, “You don’t need to live with your late wife’s family. You can live with us.” And ADV’s dub? He says, “Why you wanna live in your dead wife’s old house is beyond me. It’s sick! You’re sick!” From there he uses some language I wouldn’t repeat, and I’ve read it only gets more and more out of control in the dub as it moves toward the final episode of the series. Maybe some people like that kind of dialogue, but if the dub was my first impression of the series, it would turn me off from it right away, not even five minutes into the episode. Ouch! No comment by me on the teacher saying “Go home, you sillies” with a Richard Simmons voice.
Ignoring the English dub (which I believe is a humongous step backwards for anime dubbing, and it saddens me that ADV Films was behind it, especially so recently as 2005), I decided to move on to episode two. It didn’t really go anywhere, but things did get better by episode three, and episode four wasn’t half bad. However, the series still didn’t captivate me. I still didn’t care what happened to the characters. Even the opening and ending theme songs failed to stand out.
For me, this is a series to skip. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t buy a box set (if there is one). Now, how do I offload this DVD?