Seething Cauldron of Pop Culture Talk

Irascible Analysis of Popular Culture

Review: Ghost Hound

Ghost Hound is a 22 episode anime series directed by Ryutaro Nakamura [Kino’s Journey, Serial Experiments Lain] and written by Konaka Chiaki [Hellsing TV, Armitage III, Big O, Serial Experiments Lain] with some support from Ghost in Shell creator Masamune Shirow. Produced by Production IG. The series tells a layered story about a boy named Taro who is struggling to cope with the loss of his sister during a botched kidnapping more than a decade ago. With the help of a noted psychiatrist, Taro tried to figure out what really happened to him and his sister and uncover the mystery behind a series of strange dreams that he’s been having. As the story unfolds, it’s clear that there’s much more going on in the small, mountain town where he lives with his parents, things that threaten not just his life but the entire country.

Story

Thanks to Nakamura’s talent as a director, the series has an air of intelligence and importance that many series from the past few years sorely lack. The show often walks a fine line between surreal, bizarre, and frightening, often dealing with very strange images, particularly in the dream world that Taro finds himself in. The story unfolds slowly and builds towards and end that, unfortunately, feels a bit rushed and too simple for what came before. This is the series main fault: the finale. Everything leading up to the point was very good, although the second half couldn’t quite match the quality of the first. In particular, the final two episode feel very inconsistent in tone with much of the rest of the series. It’s definitely a series worth watching, but the finale should have been better than it was.

Animation

The soft, rounded faces and wide eyes of the characters is often at odds with the bizarre imagery and unique editing that appears in the series, but that tends more towards serving the purposes of the series rather than hurting it. It’s well animated throughout, except for the last few episodes where the budget seems to drop a bit. I’m not sure if there was meant to be more than 22 episode and it get cut short towards the end or not, but it does kind of feel that way in how the last episode has a few animation errors and an overall rushed feel to the technical quality. Overall though, it’s not an action-packed series with lots of movement, but it looks good for the most part at what it sets out to do.

Sound/Music

This is one area where the series really excels. It’s a bit hard to describe how good the sound work is for the series, but it’s done much better than a lot of other shows I’ve seen. Much of it is tailored to give a haunting and surreal feel to the action on screen, which is definitely appreciated during the first half of the series when it has a much darker tone. The voice actors all fit their parts pretty well, although Taro’s voice can be bit annoying at times. The music is equally well-done, although it often takes a back seat to the sound work, but that’s not a problem because not all series need to have music constantly pounding away.

Final Verdict

A good, sometimes great, series that’s brought down a few notches by a rushed, inconsistent ending. It’s disappointing considering the talent involved, and the quality of the first half to two-thirds of the series. Nevetheless, it’s still a worthwhile series and one for fans of dark, surreal anime series that have a bit more intelligence than most. 8/10

Specs: Ran from October 18, 2007 to April 3, 2008 in Japan. Currently available on DVD in the US from Sentai Filmworks.

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April 18, 2010 - Posted by | Anime, Reviews | , , , , ,

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