Jan. 8th, 2011

Ghost Hound

Jan. 8th, 2011 08:23 pm
yeloson: (Default)
This series was very weird, but I enjoyed it.

Ghost Hound is an anime about supernatural occurrences in a small Japanese town up in the mountains. The best short description I can give is supernatural psychological suspense... maybe? There's weird spirits, there's unexplained supernatural stuff, and there's lots of small town corruption and drama.

The story follows 4 youth- Taro, Miyako, Makoto, and Masayuki.

Taro and his sister were kidnapped 11 years previous, and she died in the process. Taro's been haunted with nightmares and has been apparently having out of body experiences he thought were dreams as well.

Surprisingly, the series doesn't take the expected route and fall into the Abyss of Manpain- Taro's story is really about actually dealing with his grief and his care for his sister, but in a nuanced and interesting way- it's about growing and dealing with his experience and past.

The story follows the four kids as they get swept up in a combination of small town drama as they dig up their pasts, crazy supernatural stuff, and political games between the adults.

This anime does some things incredibly well.

First, the sound design is amazing. The first third of the series plays with sound in such a way that it makes the creepy insanely creepy without going for cheap jump sounds. The sound focus drops off by the second half (sadly), but is still worth checking out.

Second, the story works really well at giving nearly everyone unclear motivations. No one turns out to be quite what they seem and the reasons for what they do is interesting and have good twists revealed by the end.

Finally, this series does amazing spirit-world journeys- pulling a lot from Jungian symbolism as it goes, and not wasting time to over-explain anything. Not only that, but it avoids predictable expectations- there's no formulas it really follows episode to episode, except to give you a "WTF" cliffhanger at the end of every episode.

The show does have shortfalls- it's very slow moving. Almost nothing really happens until the 4th episode. Not only that, but answers don't start rolling in until the last 4-5 episodes. The ending is also very pat and happy and doesn't really seem to fit in totally with everything previous.

Mostly, the big thing to watch out for is that the kidnapping scenes in the first few episodes are pretty scary and kinda traumatic - I think a combination of the sound, dream-like state, and symbolic imagery makes it... really disturbing. Halfway through the series there's a scene that threatens sexual assault then backs off.

Overall, I found the series pretty interesting, maybe 3.5 or 4 stars out of 5? It avoids so many anime tropes that it definitely was worth the watch for me.

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yeloson

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