Cover of the first volume of the original light novel featuring Mai Taniyama (center) and Kazuya Shibuya (top)
|Written by||Fuyumi Ono|
|Imprint||X Bunko Teens Heart|
|Original run||1989 – 1992|
|Ghost Hunt Series|
|Written by||Fuyumi Ono|
|Imprint||X Bunko White Heart|
|Original run||March 1994 – April 1994|
|Written by||Shiho Inada|
|Original run||July 7, 1998 – September 30, 2010|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Rei Mano|
|Network||TV Tokyo, TV Aichi, TV Osaka, TVQ Kyushu Broadcasting Co., Ltd.|
|Original run||October 3, 2006 – March 27, 2007|
|Akumu no Sumu Ie: Ghost Hunt|
|Written by||Shiho Inada|
|Original run||2012 – ongoing|
Ghost Hunt (ゴーストハント Gōsuto Hanto?), originally titled Akuryō Series (悪霊シリーズ?), is a light novel series written by Fuyumi Ono. It follows the adventures of the Shibuya Psychic Research Center as they investigate mysterious occurrences all over Japan with a team of other spiritualists and clever assistants. Although the last novel was published in 1994, the story was left incomplete. Speculation arose to the continuation of the series when the creator Fuyumi Ono stated in an interview that she was resuming work on a "girls' horror story" that she began long ago, even though Ono's statement has never been officially confirmed to be in reference to Ghost Hunt.
The novels were adapted into a radio drama for Akuryō Series in 1997. A manga adaptation written and illustrated by Shiho Inada began serialization in Nakayoshi in the July 7, 1998 issue where it is still on-going. The individual chapters have been collected and published in eleven tankōbon volumes by Kodansha. It is licensed for English-language release, under the name Ghost Hunt in North America by Del Rey Manga and in the United Kingdom by Tanoshimi. An anime adaptation of the manga was created by J.C.Staff and premiered on October 3, 2006 in Japan on TV Tokyo where it ran for twenty-five episodes until its conclusion. The anime is licensed for English release on Region 1 DVD by Funimation Entertainment, which also used the name Ghost Hunt.
Ghost Hunt follows the ghost hunting adventures of Mai Taniyama, a first-year high school student who becomes involved with the Shibuya Psychic Research center (SPR) and its young manager, Kazuya Shibuya. Mai nicknames Kazuya Shibuya "Naru" because of his narcissistic (narushisuto) attitude, and the nickname is generally adopted by all those who come to eventually work with SPR: Buddhist monk Houshou Takigawa; shrine maiden Ayako Matsuzaki; celebrity teen psychic Masako Hara; and Catholic priest John Brown.
Ghost Hunt also explores the paranormal abilities of the characters, particularly focusing on Mai's "latent psychic abilities," demonstrated by her dreaming about information relevant to their cases. She is often joined in her dreams by someone whom she assumes to be Naru, who acts as a spirit guide, but who is later revealed to be someone quite unexpected.
- Mai Taniyama (谷山 麻衣 Taniyama Mai?) is a 16 year-old first-year high school student who becomes involved with the Shibuya Psychic Research (SPR) after she accidentally breaks an expensive video camera that was being used by the SPR in an investigation of an old building at her school. In the same incident, she is saved from a falling bookcase by Lin Koujo, who is injured instead; to repay her debt, she fills in for Lin to assist SPR's manager Kazuya Shibuya.[note 1] After the conclusion of the first case, she is offered a paycheck for her work and a part-time position at the SPR. As the series progresses, it is revealed that Mai has ESP abilities, which include postcognitive dreams and clairvoyance. Mai also demonstrates an instance of astral projection, when she gives Masako a key to comfort her after she is kidnapped by a monster. As she is still unfamiliar with her newly discovered powers, Mai is often not confident in her abilities and often does not disclose the full details of her dreams, where someone that resembles Naru frequently appears and guides her. The other members of the SPR teach her some useful techniques, which she utilizes in the series. She develops feelings for Naru as well as the other 'Naru' who appears in her dreams. In the anime television series, Mai Taniyama is voiced by Kaori Nazuka in Japanese and Cherami Leigh in English.
- Kazuya Shibuya (渋谷 一也 Shibuya Kazuya?) is a 17-year-old paranormal researcher and the manager of the Shibuya Psychic Research center. Mai nicknames him "Naru" for his narcissistic (narushisuto) attitude; this nickname generally comes to be adopted by their colleagues. Initially, it appears that he has no spiritual powers. Though appearing cold and critical in front of his friends, he does care for them deeply and earns their trust and respect. Eventually, it is revealed that Naru is actually the famed paranormal researcher and psychic, Oliver Davis, and that he has very strong psychokinetic abilities, which Masako Hara has witnessed. Although Naru has been taught how to manage his psychic abilities by Lin Koujo, it takes such a large toll on his body that the one time he does use it in the series, he collapses and is hospitalized afterwards. It is also revealed that Naru had a twin brother named Eugene (that Mai sees in her dreams as "dream Naru"), who originally helped Naru to control his abilities. They were nicknamed Gene and Noll; when Mai gives him the nickname Naru ('Na-ru'), he is taken aback because (in Japanese) it sounds similar to Noll ('No-ru'). Naru and his brother were orphans who were later adopted by the Davises, paranormal researchers in England. Naru learns that his brother has died, and using psychometry, is led to Japan. It is discovered that Gene was run over by a car driven by an unknown woman, and his body was thrown into a lake to destroy any evidence of the accident. Mai Taniyama seems to be his most likely love interest, though a relationship between them was never confirmed at the end of the series. The original author Fuyumi Ono stated almost as if apologetically to her fans that she 'does not do happy endings'. In the anime television series, Kazuya Shibuya is voiced by Yuuki Tai in Japanese and Todd Haberkorn in English.
- Lin Kōujo (林 興徐 Rin Kōjo?), originally from Hong Kong, is Naru's solemn and taciturn assistant. He seems to get most of the unpleasant jobs, and works through the night. He appears to be a strong onmyoji and has a wide range of paranormal skills from exorcism to summoning spirits that he has captured and can then control familiars. He acts as Naru's guardian to help him find his brother. It is revealed that the three are childhood friends. It was Lin who taught Kazuya how to control the enormous energy that Kazuya has had since birth. Lin says he dislikes Japanese people because of the past conflicts Japan has had with China. At one time, he told this to Mai and she told him that he should forget the past to move on and if he should hate her, it should be because he hates her as an individual. At this, he stated that a long time ago, someone told him exactly the same words. In the novels, it is revealed that this person was Gene. In the anime television series, Lin Koujo is voiced by Ken Narita in Japanese and J. Michael Tatum in English.
- Hōshō Takigawa (滝川 法生 Takigawa Hōshō?) is a 25-year-old hakkaisou, a Buddhist monk who has left his position at the headquarters of the Koyasan Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism, Mt. Koya. He says he "came down from the mountain" and has grown his hair out, has pierced ears, and wears fashionable clothing. He claims that he left because they did not allow music CDs; his day job is playing bass guitar in a popular local band. He is one of the more powerful and effective members of the group and takes the lead in Naru's absence, as seen in the Cursed House File. The other members of SPR refer to him casually as "Monk". He is also very protective of Mai and acts like an older brother to her, even teaching her some Buddhist warding chants. In the anime television series, Houshou Takigawa is voiced by Kenji Hamada in Japanese and Travis Willingham in English.
- Ayako Matsuzaki (松崎 綾子 Matsuzaki Ayako?) is an outspoken 23-year-old self-styled shrine maiden ("self-styled" because she was not raised in a shrine; in fact, she is the daughter of wealthy doctors who own a community general hospital). She is confident and proud of her abilities, though her attempts to demonstrate them have almost always fallen short. She does teach Mai some defensive sutras and it is later revealed that her powers only work when she is around living trees as she draws power from the spirits in them. As a child, the spirit from a large tree in front of her house taught her much of what she knows now. Being near such trees allows her to purify disquiet spirits through a particular Shinto ritual. This makes her a unique kind of priestess as she performs her rituals not in a shrine but anywhere that has trees nearby. However, she has to let the spirits from the trees to rest for six months after she uses them. In the anime television series, Ayako Matsuzaki is voiced by Masami Suzuki in Japanese and Colleen Clinkenbeard in English.
- John Brown (ジョン·ブラウン Jon Buraun?) is a 19-year-old Caucasian Catholic priest from Australia who speaks Japanese with a Kansai (Australian in the English dub) accent. Good-natured and helpful, he helps Mai and Naru however he can. His means of exorcism is spraying holy water while reciting the first passage of John from the New Testament of the Bible. In most cases SPR relies on John's exorcisms whenever a human being is possessed by a spirit. In "The Cursed House" File, it is revealed that John's exorcisms, unlike Hosho's Buddhist Mantras or Ayako's Shinto Kuji, do not cause physical harm when used on a possessed living creature. In the anime television series, John Brown is voiced by Nobuhiko Okamoto in Japanese and Jason Liebrecht in English.
- Masako Hara (原 真砂子 Hara Masako?) is a 16-year-old spirit medium who stars in a popular television show; she has the ability to channel the deceased. Aside from Mai, she is the only one who can sense spirits and their natures. Because she is always wearing a kimono, even while sleeping, she is remarked as resembling a Japanese doll. She has romantic feelings towards Naru and often gets jealous over Naru's treatment of Mai the two girls consider each other rivals. After Mai saves her in the "Blood-stained Labyrinth" File, they reach a shaky truce. In personality, she is often serious and condescending towards Ayako and Mai. However this is most probably because she viewed Ayako and Mai as rivals for Naru. In the novels, it is revealed that Masako knows of Naru's true identity and his psychic powers and has used that secret to extract favors out of Naru himself, despite his reluctance to participate in social events. In the anime television series, Hara Masako is voiced by Rie Kugimiya in Japanese and Jad Saxton in English.
- Osamu Yasuhara (安原 修 Yasuhara Osamu?) is a third-year top-ranked high school student and president of his school's student council. Yasuhara first appears as a client of SPR as a result of unexplainable phenomena occurring at his school. After the case is solved, he continues to help out SPR on other cases, including standing in as "Kazuya Shibuya" at the request of Naru and performing background research off-site while the others are on a case. He has no psychic powers of his own, but his sharp mind and work efficiency make him a great help to the team. In the Cursed House arc, he was called to research the folklore of the surrounding areas and was able to determine the source of all the spirits being manipulated to kill the family. He has an unorthodox sense of humor that usually consists of telling convoluted lies that creep out or irritates the other party. He does it mostly to people who tease or are rude to him. He refers to it as "being a jerk to a jerk". He also does not scare easily as demonstrated when he was not afraid of reversing the curse on him and the rest of the students in his school in the Forbidden Pastimes arc. In the anime television series, Osamu Yasuhara is voiced by Kousuke Okano in Japanese and Eric Vale in English.
- Madoka Mori (森 まどか Mori Madoka?) is an associate and mentor to Naru, who requests the SPR to investigate the mysterious disappearances of two young people at the estate of a former Prime Minister. However, it is revealed that she actually wanted the SPR to expose another investigator at the estate (posing as "Oliver Davis") as an impostor. She aided in the case by researching the house and the inhabitants for SPR. She enjoys frequently teasing Naru and also knows the secret reason for his being in Japan. In the anime television series, Madoka Mori is voiced by Omi Minami in Japanese and Monica Rial in English.
|This section requires expansion. (October 2009)|
|No.||Title||Japanese release date||Japanese ISBN|
|1||There are lots of Evil Spirits?!
|2||There are really lots of Evil Spirits!
|3||Too many Evil Spirits to sleep
|4||A lonely Evil Spirit
|5||I Don't Want to Become an Evil Spirit!
|6||Don't Call me an Evil Spirit
|7||I don't mind Evil Spirits 1
|8||I don't mind Evil Spirits 2
Ghost Hunt Series (White Heart Series)
|No.||Title||Japanese release date||Japanese ISBN|
|1||Nightmare Dwelling 1
|2||Nightmare Dwelling 2
Written and illustrated by Shiho Inada, the manga adaptation premiered in Amie magazine in 1998, then moved to sister publication Nakayoshi. After this, the series moved to being published in volumes only. The series was completed in September 2010 with the twelfth and final volume. The manga is licensed for an English-language release in North America by Del Rey Manga, which has released 11 volumes of the series to date. Ghost Hunt is licensed for release in the United Kingdom by Tanoshimi.
An anime adaptation of the manga was created by J.C.Staff. It premiered on October 3, 2006 in Japan on TV Tokyo where it ran for twenty-five episodes until its conclusion. The anime is licensed for English release on Region 1 DVD by Funimation Entertainment, which released the entire series across two 2-disc volumes, and later in a single box set.
Live action film
In November 2013, production companies Twins Japan and Kadokawa Shoten announced that a live action film adaptation of Ghost Hunt was in production. The film will be directed by Yoshitaka Yamaguchi with Atsuyuki Shimoda and Shotaro Oikawa writing the screenplay. Shinichiro Inoue will serve as executive producer, and Adrian Chaw will serve as co-executive producer. The film will star Maya Fukuzawa as Mai Taniyama, Mizuki Yamamoto as Masako Hara, and Yosuke Kamamura as Hōshō Takigawa. Additional casting has yet to be announced. The film is slated for a summer 2014 release.
Pop Culture Shock's Michelle Smith criticises the Ghost Hunt manga for its "noticeable slide in quality" after volume five, attributing this to "the end of Ghost Hunt's serialization in Nakayoshi and the beginning of direct-to-tankōban releases". Mania.com's Eduardo M. Chavez criticises the main protagonist, Naru, for not taking "action on initial calls for distress. He then changes his mind, takes the case while always providing a perspective that is contrary to the work that he is actually assigning his staff." He also criticises the repetitive nature of the manga, saying, "every bit of paranormal, psychic and occult culture is dissected to death often repeating a few times a book".
IGN's D. F. Smith commends the first half of the Ghost Hunt anime for not falling "into a predictable rhythm". He criticises the second half of the anime for falling "into a predictable rhythm". He also compares the success of the manga to the anime, saying, "these plotlines probably worked a lot better in their original form, when they were the basis for novellas or short novels that you could sit down and read in the space of a train ride or two. They don't work as well when they're a TV show that you have to give your full attention for an hour and a half's worth of your evening." ActiveAnime's Sandra Scholes commends the anime for having "the feel of a well-known supernatural TV series with its roots deep in Japanese mythology and history." Anime News Network's Theron Martin commends the anime for its "excellent pacing, offers good entertainment value, sometimes genuinely intense and horrifying" however, he criticises it for "lax characterizations" and oversimplifying some things. DVD Talk's John Sinnott compares the anime to Case Closed with a supernatural twist.
- It is later revealed that the camera that Mai broke was covered by insurance, and that Shibuya was happy for the help
- Martin, Theron (2008-12-03). "Ghost Hunt Season One Part One - Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2014-07-26.
- "Ghost Hunt Manga to End in Japan After 12 Volumes". Retrieved 2011-02-23.
- "Funimation Adds Ghost Hunt Anime by 12 Kingdoms Author". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2007-10-31.
- Smith, Michelle (October 31, 2008). "Your Definitive Guide to Ghost Hunt". Pop Culture Shock. Archived from the original on 2010-07-04. Retrieved 2009-07-21.
- M. Chavez, Eduardo (September 6, 2006). "Ghost Hunt Vol. #04". Mania.com. Retrieved 2009-07-21.
- Smith, D. F. (December 15, 2008). "Ghost Hunt — Part 02". IGN. Retrieved 2009-07-21.
- Scholes, Sandra (July 2, 2009). "Ghost Hunt Series 1 Part 2 (Advance Review)". ActiveAnime. Retrieved 2009-07-21.
- Martin, Theron (December 20, 2008). "Ghost Hunt DVD — Season 1 Part 2". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2009-07-21.
- Sinnott, John (October 7, 2008). "Ghost Hunt: Season 1, Part 1". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2009-07-21.
- Martin, Theron (May 17, 2006). "Ghost Hunt G.novel 2". Anime News Network.
- Roberts, Paul Dale. "Ghost Hunt v1". Manga Life. Archived from the original on June 14, 2006.
- Polley, Dan (November 10, 2007). "Ghost Hunt v9". Manga Life. Archived from the original on November 11, 2007.
- Official Kodansha Ghost Hunt website (Japanese)
- Ghost Hunt (manga) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia
- Official TV Tokyo Ghost Hunt anime website (Japanese)
- Official Funimation Ghost Hunt anime website
- Ghost Hunt (anime) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia