Synopsis- The decrepit building was condemned long ago, but every time the owners try to tear it down, “accidents” start to happen-people get hurt, sometimes even killed. Mai Taniyama and her classmates have heard the rumors that the creepy old high school is haunted-possibly by ghosts from the Second World War. So one rainy day they gather at the told school to tell ghost stories, hoping to attract one of the suspected spirits.
No ghosts materialize, but Mai and her friends do meet Kazuya Shibuya, the handsome young owner of Shibuya Psychic Research, who’s been hired to investigate paranormal activity at the school. Also at the scene are an exorcist, a Buddhist monk, a woman who can speak with the dead, and an outspoken Shinto priestess. Surely one of them will have the talents to solve this mystery!
I don’t think I have enough words to describe what Ghost Hunt is to me. Presumably, one of the most detailed dabble into supernatural to this day, Ghost Hunt is a wonderful fusion of the science and supernatural. Ghost Hunt is far from perfect, in fact it is filled with truckload of faults and failures, but it will always have a special place in my heart.
Maybe it’s my fascination towards the supernatural, maybe its the passion apparent in the author’s work, the hard work and day and night of research.
Originally released as a Light Novel by Ono Fuyumi under the name Akuryo, Ghost Hunt managed to garner a Manga and anime adaptation due to its popularity. Due to the fact the Akyuro series is still under translation, I would review the manga instead, though arguably the light novel has more details and lovely moments, and tidbits the manga misses out on.
Ghost Hunt starts on a relatively simple, and even a cliche shoujo premise. Boy meets girl, ends up doing something stupid out of curiosity and ends up having to pay the price by working for him. It sounds more like a romantic comedy than a school girl’s horror story- Sensei’s words- but what sets Ghost Hunt apart is its opening where girls gather round for after school horror story and surprisingly enough, while they might not scare you, they do send a chill up your spine.
From then on it heads long into list of cases with scientific twist to them. Ghost Hunt doesn’t make up scary ghost 101 facts as it goes. It is clear the information found in Ghost Hunt is work of actual research on phenomenon and all psychic abilities and while some events are explained with research found from all over the world by actual scientific researchers, others are ordinary events mistaken as ghost haunting and compelling reasons on why they are thought so. There are times when the characters goes on to explain phenomenon for multiple pages which might be boring for normal readers but fascinating for Ghost enthusiasts.
Consisting of twelve volumes, while Ghost Hunt doesn’t dedicate much time to individual characters, the huge cast of characters are well made out. There isn’t much room for development or information about the characters, just tidbits thrown here and there, which leaves room for lot of imagination. You get the idea of who they are personality wise, but different aspects aren’t explored- understandable since this is primarily a mystery genre. (Also, if you read the light novels, there are one shots dedicated to many characters which explains their life better.)
The fiction is primarily from Mai’s perspective, a sixteen year old high school student. Mai, a complete rookie when it comes to the supernatural ends up becoming Kazuya Shibuya’s assistant, a seventeen year old Ghost Hunter.
Mai is outspoken, loud and hot headed, which makes her a refreshing female lead than most Shoujo Manga.
Kazuya Shibuya is- how should I put it? He feels like Sherlock, just a little less moody. I can’t help but wonder whenever I look at Kazuya if he Sensei modeled him after Sherlock Holmes.
Like I mentioned before, Ghost Hunt doesn’t have much room for personal relationships, but Mai and Kazuya’s interactions, and their feelings and all the read between the lines moments is one of my favorite thing about Ghost Hunt.
Since Ghost Hunt is about spirits, a lot of emotions are put into the cases too.
Also, for a series that’s mainly about Ghost Hunting, it’s final volume is full of unexpected revelations and twist, the sort to make you go, how did I miss it?
All in all, if you aren’t into the supernatural, Ghost Hunt might be the place to look.