Anime Monday - Ghost Stories

I’m not going to lie. I sat here for quite awhile trying to figure out how to even start this post. Normally I just randomly choose an anime, I talk about it a little, and then go on with my day. It’s typically pretty straight forward, and I don’t have to put too much thought into what I want to cover. Then sometimes something like today happens... I clicked on my RNG, sorted through the list that was created as I looked for something I have seen, and then my eyes stopped on something unexpected. Ghost Stories. Man, I knew this day would come eventually, but I was never actually prepared for it. I mean, how do I even start with this one? What should I even talk about? Why couldn’t it have just been a normal anime!? Yeah, this is not an easy one to cover, but I hope to do my best... And to do that, I feel like we need to start at the beginning. Back to the stories that would not only take Japan by storm, but also be the reason we have many of our top horror movies today.

The Origin of Ghost Stories:

Originally written by Toru Tsunemitsu, “Ghost Stories” is not actually one series, but a collection of horror novels. Each book is a story of it’s own, and typically deals with supernatural beings that must be stopped. These stories became insanely popular in Japan, and would become the inspiration for many other writers and film makers. The series was huge, to say the least, and it’s because of that popularity an anime series based on it was eventually greenlit. It was only natural that something this well known would eventually come to TV as well, but the result wasn’t what one might expect.

The anime version of Ghost Stories follows the story of a group of kids, as they deal with different strange occurrences around their school and town. Every episode introduces a new threat, the kids investigate, and eventually find a way to stop the ghost and save the day. It’s a very episode format, without any real danger, or even a real reason to watch it. It was a shell of the source material, and it failed to appeal to nearly everyone. It was a kids series that kids didn’t want to watch, and it was too dull for an older audience to really give it a second look.

The English Dub:

After the anime completely bombed in Japan, it was picked up in the west by ADV Films — a company that had brought many other “older” anime series to the West. Unlike with most dubs however, ADV was warned about just how badly Ghost Stories did in Japan, and they were given the go ahead to do “whatever” they wanted with the series (with a few exceptions). As long as ADV didn’t change the way monsters/ghosts were defeated, then they were free to change anything else to make it into a story of their own. So, that’s exactly what they did.

The Ghost Stories dub is an example of both a “perfect” dub and also the “worst” possible dub. A lot of people may not agree with what was done to the series when it was translated, while many people will only watch it because of it’s dub. Why? Because the dub is what one might call an “official” abridged series — without the abridge part.

For anyone who is unfamiliar with an “abridged” series, they are something that became popular online during the early days of websites like YouTube. They are series that take anime, trim down the scenes, and apply a comedy fan dub to what is happening. They are complete parodies of the source material, and aren’t afraid to do whatever they want. They aren’t official projects, and they can get away with saying nearly anything. Ghost Stories is exactly the same thing, but in official form.

The dub of Ghost Stories doesn’t hold anything back. Right off the bat there are major changes to the main characters, and the nonstop craziness begins. The main character’s brother is transformed into a mentally disabled child who has a hard time speaking from time to time, another girl was made into a very strict Christian, while another kid is now Jewish, and another simply says whatever is on his mind whenever he wants. The dub isn’t afraid to take these traits to the extreme, and in the process they try to offend as many people as possible. One character is told to run as if he were being chased by a “big black man,” and the little kid is called the R word pretty often. The Christian girl constantly jumps to the “extreme” with everything, the Jewish kid visits Jewish only adult sites, and so on. You never know what to expect every time someone opens their mouth, and that’s exactly what makes the dub so good (yet also horrible). It’s definitely not for people who get offended easily, but it’s great for anyone who wants a parody.

The only down side is that it is an older series, so some of the jokes may be lost on newer fans — such as the “YOU WANNA BE AN AIR FORCE RANGER” scene, which is a direct reference to a certain popular movie. It doesn’t really stop it form being any less funny if the reference goes over your head, but it is definitely better if you get the joke. All things consider though, it’s actually pretty shocking what they were able to get away with some of the things said, but now days a lot of it most likely wouldn’t fly.

It’s a controversy show, but again, that’s why so many people also love it.

Should You Watch It?

That really depends! Going in you need to understand what it is. It’s a basic boring story about kids fighting ghosts. The series itself really isn’t that special at all, and I really can’t recommend the “original” to anyone. The original sub has actually officially been released, so that’s one option when it comes to watching it, and they did go back and do a “proper” dub as well. Both the sub and dub are the complete original experience, without any of the alterations by ADV... But why would you want that?

If you don’t easily get offended, then I would recommend Ghost Stories ADV dub for sure. While the initial episodes do start out a little rough, the following episodes will have you laughing non stop from start to finish. You really never know what to expect next, and you’ll constantly find yourself just staring at the screen in complete disbelief over what was just said. They don’t hold anything back, and that is why either you'll love it, or hate it.

So to answer the question, "is it worth watching," then you have to really consider what you yourself like. If you have a problem with strong language and offensive material, then stay FAR away from this one. If not, then go check it out. It's a rare anime series that deserves to be watched.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post