It’s funny how an anime can have buzz about it that’s totally uninteresting but be a great show. It’s obvious that when people are saying bad things about a show, you might want to think twice before watching. However other times people say great things about a show but they just don’t sound like anything that would catch your attention. An example of this is the slightly less talked about Ghost Hunt. The few times I’ve heard people talk about it, they have called it great (all 3 reviews on MAL gave it a 10) citing the fun characters and good horror. however, I know what kind of characters some people consider fun, and I’m no fan of horror at all. however when I was bored and went to Shin for recommendations, he got me watching the show, and it was great – but for totally different reasons.
While the characters are indeed a fun element of Ghost Hunt, they are nothing special, and while the show certainly has great scary moments, the horror isn’t really the center stage. Plot-wise, what makes the show interesting is the scientific approach to ghost hunting as you would see on live-action shows like America’s Most Haunted. The realistic edge not only makes it scarier, but makes the mysteries more interesting.
However this doesn’t even take into account the show’s two best points that most seemed to overlook. First, there is an incredible musical score. The opening song is a delightfully dark orchestrated piece torn from the likes of Nightmare Before Christmas, and the songs throughout the show have a chilly, dark, ambient sound that set a great mood. The OST makes excellent background music, and I wouldn’t mind listening to it in the dark for creepiness factor. But a hundred time more important that is the show’s great visuals and, you guessed it, directing. I was shocked that one of those MAL reviews actually called the visuals ‘plain!’ J.C.Staff seemed to have a pretty decent budget on this one as art and animation are both crisp, and there are some cool recurring visual techniques such as the screen being broken into moving blocks or the main character’s trippy dream sequences in every episode or so. There are even some Shinbo-esque single-color shots and sideways pans (though I admit, these tend to look awkward in this show) that make me wonder if there was some influence there.
I really wish these things would be brought to my attention sooner, as this has happened quite a few times where I go in expecting a regular show and am surprised at the cool art and directing. It’s a shame that more people besides myself don’t pay attention to these things.