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Ghost Hunt

Akuryou ga Ippai!?
(Evil Spirits Everywhere!?)

Authors: Inada Shiho and Ono Fuyumi
Publisher: Kodansha Comics (Nakayoshi)
Volume Information: Vol. 1 ISBN 4-06-178894-9
Date of Publication: 1998.07.06
Length: 203 pgs
Format: Original Japanese
Difficulty: Moderate - with yomigana


manga jacket

Taniyama Mai along with some friends decide to sneak into school late one night and tell ghost stories hoping that by doing so they'll be able to attract one of the school ghosts to manifest itself. Choosing one of the classrooms rumoured to be haunted, they each take turns telling a ghost story, and at the end of the stories, they all count off. Much to their shock and horror an extra person has suddenly been added to their group! However, the extra person isn't a ghost, but rather a very good looking teenager one year older than themselves. Despite her friends excitement, Mai doesn't trust the all too handsome, smiling Shibuya Kazuya. Something about his demeanor strikes her as being very false.

Much to Mai's surprise however, Shibuya isn't a transfer student at all. Rather he has been asked to investigate the old school building for possible paranormal activity. Each time the school tries to do repairs or tear down the old building, accidents start to happen and people get hurt, sometimes killed. Could it be like Kuroda says, that there are some old ghosts from the second world war who are upset at the idea of their home being torn down? Or could more mundane machinations be at work...?

capsule review:

[ hunt_01b.jpg ]

[ hunt_01c.jpg ]

Based on the novel of the same name, this first story of Ghost Hunt follows the novel quite closely, albeit in a less-detailed manner. Rather, as a manga, it draws more heavily on the visual realm compared to its novel counterpart. The story itself takes an interesting view on paranormal and psychic phenomena and attempts to study such phenomena in a scientific manner. While the concepts introduced in this first novel are fairly mundane and elementary (types of ghosts, poltergeists, different types of cameras and equipment etc.), it does make for a slightly educational(?) read as well.

The characters themselves are rather interesting, from the catfights between the people called in to investigate the school building, to their own personal demeanors. The characters are well thought out, generally realistic and interesting. Mai's character is perhaps the most clearly defined, while Shibuya's is more intriguingly unclear. From highly learned about the paranormal, to his dislike of dealing with the unlearned, to his extreme narcissism, his character takes on a cold sarcastic personality. And yet, there are hints of more to his character than just that.

John Brown's character on the otherhand is not particularly well developed but has some interesting quirks. From his extremely strange use of Kyoto dialect and unusual pronunciations, his dialogue occasionally makes for some very amusing reading. But for this very reason as well as because of the vocabulary involved in the paranormal field, the Japanese use in this manga becomes that much more difficult.

The artwork in this manga is an interesting mix between good detail combined with a slightly rougher drawing style. While the drawing style is neither particularly light or clean, it is sufficient and the characters are fairly easy to differentiate from one another. Of the various art styles seen for the Akuryou series (novels, CD dramas and manga), I have to admit that my personal favourite is the CD drama style for Kazuya's character, while the final novels are best for Mai's character. However, despite this personal inclination, the manga's design captures the feel and personality of the characters well.

More than the artwork however, what keeps readers interested is the story and plot development. Being both interesting and unforeseeable, yet well paced, it keeps readers interested until the very end. All in all a worthwhile read for those looking for a paranormal manga series.
- JYN, 2001.11.19

café rating (original japanese):


4 stars

[4 / 5] - Well developed characters combined with an intriguing and unpredictable plot keeps readers well entertained.


3 stars
[3 / 5] - Not the cleanest art style, but with good detail overall. Character design suits the characters well.


[ N/A ] - Based on the original Japanese release.

Overall Rating:

4 star
[4 / 5] - For those looking for a heavier more substantial series with occasional humour to lighten matters, this series makes for an intriguing read.

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Page last modified 2001.11.19