I.... Have honestly no words for this show (Well, that's a load of bull, I have an entire article here describing it). This show is just.. so baffling. I don't think that words alone can perfectly describe what kind of show that we are going to be talking about to die. But damn it, I have to at least try my hardest. So, let us talk about a little twenty episode anime series, Ghost Stories and what makes it so..... Different from your usual anime.
Ghost Stories, like I said, is an twenty episode anime that was created by Pierrot and Aniplex studios. Pierrot worked on Yu Yu Hakusho and Naruto, and in most reason years, Tokyo Ghoul. Aniplex, you definitely know, anime fans, has worked on Fullmetal Alchemist, Ruroni Kenshin, Black Butler, and Persona 4: The Animation. Ghost Stories follows our main heroine, Satsuki Miyanoshita, an elementary school student who arrives into town with her father and younger brother, Keiichirou. She soon makes friends with Momoko Koigakubo, a 6th grader, Hajime Aoyama, her next-door neighbor, and Reo Kakinoki, a boy interested in the paranormal, and Satsuki's pet cat who Kaya, who's body is taken over by an evil entity known as Amanojaku. The story is as follows. Satsuki and her family move back into the home town of her deceased mother, and after she and her friends enter a house owned by an evil ghost, she, not only, finds a book from her mother that is used to defeat the ghosts, but she also happens to use the book and saves herself and her friends. And all I can say at that point is that I really hope you liked the first episode... Because at that point, it's just a repeat of Ghost starts ruining everyone's day, the gang checks out what's going on, they screw around for a bit, their mental lobe kicks in to remind them that they have this crazy exorcising book, they use it, ghost is defeated, and then we all have a good life. Ha ha ha- Fuck off.
Now, of course, I'm sure that a bland sort of story can stay supported if the characters are interesting. I mean, I hated the gameplay of Alan Wake, but the characters did keep me going (The story was good though, but that's not the point). So, how good are the characters in Ghost Stories... Oh boy. I mean, I don't hate any of the characters. They all seem to do a good job at......... existing, but they all are just basic anime background characters you've seen before. Brave protagonist, reliable ally, best friend, coward, younger sibling, and cold character who softens up as the story goes on. They aren't hated (I think). The problem with these characters is how boring they are. They are just the most basic, cookie cutter characters you could think of. It's as simple as it gets. They don't try to give them any character development, any tough situations, any backstory, or, god forbid, something that antagonizes them when they try to move forward. Yeah, the ghosts are pretty challenging... for a time. But once they got the book in their hands, suddenly, all the ghosts are just cannon fodder and just a barrier for them to take down so they can wait for the next barrier in the next episode. After a while, it hit me. Like a bat being swung at me by the local mafia, it struck me in the face super hard around the tenth episode. This show's goddamn boring.
Well, I mean, it can't all be bad... Right? How are the ghosts. A horror story can be as awful as it wants as long as the monster looks and has a unique reason for existing, so what is it? What is their reason for being here. Well, they are upset because of urbanization in the area, and in a way to get revenge, they want to kill everyone in town... You're making it hard for me to like you, Ghost Stories. You're making it real hard. Alright, so let's list some of the ghosts and see if we can find one- Just one- good ghost. So other than Amanojaku, we've got Akane, a ghost who kills you at sunset when you hear her voice. Okay. Babasare can bend reality and has already used it to kill two kids. Okay, that's pretty good. There's the Headless Biker- Next! The Human-Faced Dog- Next! The Taxi Driver... He actually looks pretty freaky, good on him. Lord Ohma, who, I guess, is the main antagonist. He looks more like a demon than a ghost if you ask me. Mary, a doll, which has NEVER been done in a horror story before. Creepy dolls are just very underused creatures when it comes to horror. Shirotabi, a demonic... bunny. Yeah, we're going to those levels. The Piano Ghost is pretty interesting, in a way. The ghost of Beethoven who will kill you if you hear his song four times, and he will use any object, instrument or not, to make you listen. It's kinda interesting. Then there's Akagami-Aogami, a ghost who lives in the toilets and- ......... Alright, I think that's a good stopping point. Some of these monsters are just bland or generic looking in some cases. Some have neat ways to kill people, while some are just.... eh. I like that they are using Japanese mythology and folklore and putting them in these stories, but you couldn't have added some extra meat on those thin bones. I do like the monster designs in the end credits though. They look very detailed and kinda creepy. Too bad it got ruined when you remember the credits song is actually titled Sexy, Sexy. Yes, a song called Sexy Sexy is in an anime about elementary school students killing ghosts... God, that's fucking hot. But, no, really, it's random and awful.
Okay, so maybe Ghost Stories isn't.... Good. It's very bland and basic and it will bore you by a few episodes, and that's if your lucky not to get tired of this anime by the first episode. So it's safe to say that watching Ghost Stories subbed isn't a great idea... But, that's only subbed. What about... the dub. I didn't want to review the dubbed version of Ghost Stories since the only the subbed one is in the genre of horror, and not the dubbed, but it would be a crime if I didn't talk about the dub when mentioning Ghost Stories. But first, story time. So back in the year 2001 when Ghost Stories finished airing, and with other anime out at the time such as Fruits Basket, Boogiepop Phantom, Digimon, and not even including anime like Pokemon and One Piece, you can imagine how successful Ghost Stories was. Oh, no. This anime bombed harder than me on a math test after my Red Bull wore off. It was a mess, but they still sent it over to America and basically told them, "You know what? Fuck it. You do whatever you want. Just don't change the character's names or how the ghosts are defeated". And thus, we got a the greatest dub in... probably of all time. Now, before we talk about it, let me ask you. Have you ever seen an abridged series? You know, those anime that are said to be abridged, but really are just filled with jokes that people add in? Well, that is exactly what the dub of Ghost Stories is. It is a disgraceful, disrespectful, bastardization of the original work... So naturally, it's better than the subbed version. Satsuki becomes this mean-spirited bitch of a character. Hajime is arrogant and perverted. Reo, now named Leo, is now Jewish. And Momoko... Oh god, Momoko. She went from just a generic brave girl into a religious extremist who hates any other religion or race and always talks about the graces of God. It's amazing and I love it. If you really want to watch Ghost Stories, I recommend the dub. And I know that some anime fans will say that the sub is better than the dub, but what would you prefer? A mediocre story with okay characters and monster designs, or an exaggerated, insane, nonsensical story with characters that constantly break the fourth wall, always talk shit about each other, and just say some incredibly screwed up but hilarious things? I'll gladly take the insane gibberish shouting racists over stale toast with mouths any day.
So yeah, Ghost Stories isn't the best anime ever. It's got a meh cast of characters, meh monsters, meh story, and a meh reason to continue watching. Ghost Stories is very meh, and being that boring is something that could easily kill a show. But thank god the dub stepped in and kept Ghost Stories into the public view. Ghost Stories is probably one of the funniest anime out there, and all it took was poor sales and letting America do whatever it wanted. And to think, I could have finally gotten to that Uzumaki review.... but trust me, this was more worth my time. Take care.