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31 Days of Horror: GHOST STORIES

Folklore, particularly the spiritual kind, is a strong tradition in Japan and most of Asia. Even for most adults in Japan, spirits are one of their biggest fears and is a typically accepted belief. However, it doesn’t just start through film or books, but starts early on in school. Each school in the country weaves their own tale of spectral forces hard at work beginning as early as middle school. Every student in the school knows the tale, although they vary from student to student, and are firmly believed in by most wandering the halls. These stories are passed from generation to generation of student, school to school, and live on strongly through the years.

2000’s anime series Ghost Stories approaches that exact subject in a kid-friendly comedic supernatural-horror kind of way. As the years go by, more and more anime fans overlook the previously popular series and it’s high-time it regains its moment in the sun.

Story

When teenager Satsuki Miyanoshita and her younger brother move back to their mother’s hometown after her untimely death, the siblings inadvertently investigate the old school next to theirs that was once their mother’s stomping grounds as they chase down the family cat. Once inside, however, the duo meet up with a couple of hormonal teenage boys, an uber religious girl, and a couple of spirits and a jokester demon. After escaping the haunted old school and gaining a demon-possessed cat, the newly formed spectral hunting team decide to rid the school grounds of the malevolent spirits once and for all.

Each episode tells of a different spirit hunt for the team. Brimming with comedy and scares, the series is one of the best ghost-centered anime ever made. As the team wanders the school grounds hunting down troublesome spirits, each episode gives a glimpse of some recognizable Japanese ghost tales, as well as some newly spun variations. Addictive and sure to make any ghost enthusiast / anime fan binge watch on a weekend off.

Scares & Gore

Although it’s definitely made for a younger audience, it certainly achieves the creepiness factor it was going for. Despite certain attempts falling a little flat, the stories themselves can be pretty dark and eerie. As for gore, you won’t get much of it here and the little that’s seen is relatively tame. I mean, the title is Ghost Stories and it pretty much serves only that purpose. However, that’s not saying it doesn’t do so well, just that if you’re looking for a more adult-themed horror anime, you may want to look other places such as Another, Shiki, or Tokyo Ghoul. In the case that you’re looking for ghosts or a milder form of horror, this is absolutely a worthwhile watch.

Overall

Ghost Stories is easily one of the greatest horror anime available. Even though it’s certainly aimed for a younger audience, it surely won’t disappoint any older supernatural-horror fans. On top of that, it holds up well for being nearly 15 years old and doesn’t feel like it’ll lose any steam as the years go by.

Perfectly paced and immensely entertaining, Ghost Stories is an absolute delight. The added awesomeness of getting a glimpse at spiritual folklore tradition from Japan is all the more interesting for fans of ghost lore. An underappreciated classic sure to please most anime and supernatural-horror fans alike.

Extra: Although the English dubbing isn’t that phenomenal, all the nuances and nods made for American audiences re-render it enough to create two variations of the same feature. It’s odd and interesting, creating a whole other experience for fans of the original format. However, it is best to watch in its original form over the heavily altered Western adaptation.

4 out of 5 stars

4 out of 5 stars

Cover image via

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Categories: Anime Reviews

Author:Jen

Founder, Editor-in-Chief at Another Castle | Twitter: @ComradeJen

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