Pure Asian Entertainment: Film, TV, Anime & Manga
Ghost Hound

Supernatural Suspense Anime

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It's not really about ghosts or hounds...exactly

  • Oct 31, 2010
Plot Summary: Production IG's 20th Anniversary Project, Ghost Hound is set in the modest town of Suiten, located in a desolate region in the island of Kyūshū. The story follows the experiences of three boys who have had traumatic experiences in childhood from which they have learned to transfer their souls to a parallel world known as the "Unseen World". The Unseen World is however undergoing a change, with its ghosts starting to appear in the real world, altering it in unpredictable ways.  - ANN

First I want to get the technical aspects of this series out of the way before I go into detail about the series itself.  Ghost Hound was recommended to me by Netflix based on my viewing activity.  However, I didn't really look at the technical aspects, or reviews before putting it in my queue.  As you probably know, most anime released in the U.S. has the dub track as the default setting and that's what you hear as soon as you start the movie (or series).  Now for the time being, this series can be streamed via Netflix instant play feature, however, it is subtitled only.  I rented the hard copy version (physical DVD) which was also only subs, but the strange thing is this: upon further research I found that there IS a dub.  I'm not sure why Netflix doesn't offer that version.  As far as special features there aren't any aside from a few previews for other anime, and I believe clean opening and closings on at least one disc (but don't quote me on that last part).

So, like the headline says, Ghost Hound isn't really about ghosts or hounds.  In fact, I suspect that the title might very well be metaphorical  That is, the tragic memories of the main characters disturb them to the point that they feel the need to find answers to the questions that have haunted them for years. 

It all starts with Taro Komori who, along with his sister, was kidnapped eleven years prior and held in an abandoned hospital.  The siblings were chained to two separate beds, but were taken care of as far as being given food and water until their kidnapper goes out and is tracked down by the police, and when he tries to escape he's hit by a truck and killed instantly leaving the police to have to search for the kids.  When they finally find them, Taro is alive, but his sister has died due to starvation.  At the beginning of the series, Taro is being seen at school by a psychologists as he keeps having a recurring nightmare where his sister is trying to tell him something but he can't hear her.  Not long after he starts having Out of Body Experiences (OBEs).

Next to come into the picture is Massayuki, who is a transfer student from Tokyo.  His father works for a bio research facility near Suiten.  When Massayuki finds out about the mystery surrounding Taro's family, he gets a little nosy and does some investigating.  Before long he too starts having OBEs as well.  Massayuki and his father have a very strained relationship.  The reason isn't really elaborated on much, but in the second half of the series Massayuki confides in someone that his family used to be a happy one before they relocated.  At first he seems like a (and I really hate this term) 'happy-go-lucky' teen, but later we find out he's got issues. 

Then there's Makoto Ogami.  He's the bad boy of the three.  He's antisocial, angry, and at first he wants the other two boys to believe that he wouldn't think twice about committing murder if he ever felt like it.  Makoto's attitude isn't there for no good reason.  After Taro and his sister were kidnapped, Makoto's father committed suicide, and his mother left him with his grandmother (at least I think she is related to him; who happens to be a priestess). Makoto always wanted to know why his dad killed himself, but no one would tell him, so he came to the conclusion that he must have had a hand in the kidnapping.  This still open wound had made the Komori family and the Ogamis bitter enemies ever since that day eleven years ago, even though Makoto and Taro''s fathers were once childhood friends.

I have to say Ghost Hound is one of the best series I've seen (I know I say that a lot, but I can't find fault with this one at all), and possibly the most overlooked.  It relies heavily on scientific theory and practice and references such notable names as Stephen Hawking  and Carl Jung among many others.  I found the characters instantly likable, even the seemingly minor ones, and the subject matter fascinating.  The imagery fits the series perfectly.  It's not bright or colorful, there aren't any of those standard anime quirks like sweatdrops of face plants, and the animation, while not overly cinematic, captures everything it's supposed to in terms of emotion and overall feel of the series.  Episodes 1-11 focus on setting up the mystery and introducing the characters, while episodes 12-22 start to unravel the real plot answering all of the characters' (and your) burning questions.  And, as melancholy as all this sounds, there are quite a few humorous moments, like whenever Massayuki teases Taro about liking a girl (main character) named Miyako. 

All considered, I highly recommend Ghost Hound.  Don' let the lackluster plot summaries fool you, it's so much deeper than anyone can summarize.  I think it might help to know a little bit about parapsychology and other sciences that focus on how the brain works, although, if you're patient you might not need this information.  Ghost Hound has a rating of TV 14 for good reason.  There's nothing graphic per se, but the subject matter is very dark, so I'd say keep the kids away from this one.  They'd probably be bored anyway.  =)

It's not really about ghosts or hounds...exactly It's not really about ghosts or hounds...exactly It's not really about ghosts or hounds...exactly It's not really about ghosts or hounds...exactly

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June 08, 2012
Sounds interesting. Thank you for the detailed, convincing recommendation. Well done.
June 09, 2012
Thank you very much! I can't recommend this anime enough. As with a lot of anime, the title is somewhat misleading, but Ghost Hound is truly a rarity that is a direct contrast to the apparent decline in quality, well written anime these days. Not only that, but it's short, but not so short that it leaves too many loose ends. If I think about, I can't recall any loose ends at all.
September 19, 2011
Excellent review, this is perhaps one of the finest anime series that no one has ever heard of. A masterful piece of work from the true masters of the genre.  Excellent work.
September 19, 2011
Thanks. I think it's sad how so many other, mindless series get so popular and ones like this get totally over looked. I think I will have to watch this one again, but straight through this time.
September 19, 2011
It is a real shame that so many great series like this one get overlooked, Much Naoki Urasawa's "Monster" and "Darker Than Black or "Spice and Wolf"'. Hey if you really like anime I've got a series that I think you might like, that is if you haven't seen it already, it's called "Night Raid 1931" its really a great anime series, even if the plot is a bit of a jumble.
September 19, 2011
I will keep all of those in mind. I had to stop watching Spice and Wolf temporarily because Netflix doesn't have the second season yet. I have to rent. Buying gets too expensive.
October 31, 2010
WOW that sounds like a really good series, that opening you talk about sounds crazy, sad also about the sister. EXCELLENT review.
October 31, 2010
Yeah. I was surprised actually at how good it is. Originally it reminded me of Paranoia Agent, but not for long. i guess just because of some of the more bizarre events early on.
October 31, 2010
Very informative and detailed review. You certainly grabbed my attention on this one. I am all over this! anime is just so expensive that I tend to wait for reviews from real folks like you and me before buying them. Thanks, Stephanie!
October 31, 2010
Hey thanks! Honestly, this series deserves all the attention it can get. It's not one of those that the general anime public would pick up, but they should! :)
More Ghost Hound reviews
review by . September 19, 2011
posted in ASIANatomy
4 Stars: Come, journey into the dark reaches of the mind and see the world as I now see it
Our world is nothing but a dream, a dark, bleak dream that is inhabited by horrid monsters and timid people who live out there peaceful live in the light fearing the dark and bleak dreams for which the monsters of the night inhabit. They lurk in the shadows of the night waiting for the perfect moment to strike, finally ready to reveal them to you to show you there true nature and when they do the whole foundation of your world trembles beneath you and start to crumble at your feet.  As the …
About the reviewer
Stephanie ()
Ranked #6
I'm one of those people that prefers status quo to randomness and chaos. I have two dogs, a Chihuahua and a German Short-haired Pointer, named Chiqua and Pepper. Chiqua is my constant companion.   … more
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