Ghost Stories (Gakkou no Kaidan, lit. School Ghost Stories) is a twenty episode anime series created in 2000 by animation studio Pierrot and Aniplex for Fuji Television, loosely based on a book series by Toru Tsunemitsu. It tells the story of Satsuki Miyanoshita, who moves with her family to the hometown of her deceased mother, Kayako. On her first day of school, Satsuki; her brother Keiichirou, a first-grader; their neighbor Hajime Aoyama; Momoko Koigakubo, an older schoolmate; and Leo Kakinoki, a classmate and friend of Hajime's with a penchant for the paranormal visit the Old School Building adjacent to the current school complex and discover that the building is haunted.Soon it's revealed that Satsuki's mother was responsible for sealing several ghosts who haunted not only the school but also the town, and now they are being released by the urbanization taking place in the surrounding area. Kayako left behind a book detailing how to exorcise the ghosts once and for all. In her first confrontation, Satsuki faces a demon called Amanojaku, but in the process Amanojaku is sealed within Satsuki's pet cat, Kaya. Although Amanojaku does not want to help Satsuki at first, the danger soon threatens to envelop the town and it is left up to Satsuki, her friends and Amanojaku to stop the ghosts.The ADV FilmsGag Dub could be the most entertaining aspect of this series, making it So Bad, It's Good. Not to say that people didn't complain about the changes, though. A dub that stayed truer to the original was made by Animax later. The show was recently licensed by Discotek Media for a rerelease in 2014, specifically mentioning that the English dub would be included.Don't confuse this with a certain Coldplay album or the 1964 horror film.
Ghost Stories contains the following tropes:
Absentee Actor: Momoko doesn't appear in episode 15 for any apparent reason.
Adults Are Useless: No kidding. The only adult characters that ever helped the protagonists were a bumbling teacher in episode 18, and a night watchman in episode 16, who turned to be another ghost.
Alien Geometries: The haunted apartment complex of episode 16 could change both its internal and external structure. Taken Up to Eleven when the group thought they were in a residential neighborhood, when they were actually still inside the building.
Animation Bump: The show generally has mediocre animation, but it does have its moments.
Amanojaku: Now that is some really nice animation.
In episode 18 whenever Akane flails around. Extra care was taken to make her movements fluid to invokeUncanny Valley.
And I Must Scream: The DaVinci Wannabe ghost who paints women trapping them inside paintings "FOREVER" neither the woman in the opening, nor any of the other victims are ever freed though it's never specified if the victims are aware inside the paintings.
Arbitrary Skepticism: Usually whenever Leo shares an Urban Legend that ends up being the Monster of the Week, Satsuki and Hajime handwave them off calling them "fairy tales" despite the stories being little different from the crap they dealt with already.
Character Derailment: Lampshaded and then Invoked. Amanojaku in the Gag Dub complains that his sudden Heel-Face Turn in the last episode isn't faithful to his character arc, but then goes along with it in the hope of winning a Golden Globe.
Cheeky Mouth: Always averted with Amanojaku. At other times, it's either a brief Animation Bump or someone (usually either Hajime or Leo) has an especially exaggerated expression.
Cloudcuckoolander: Momoko in both versions. Some of the things she says could not have come from a sane person, she sometimes seems too oblivious to realize what is going on and in one episode she states that the sole reason she has a cell phone is she gets lost easily.
Satsuki: Something about that boy from the other day is bugging me.
Hajime: You mean he was pale, almost transparent with red eyes?
Conspicuous CG: Largely averted as the CG models use textures that complement the hand-drawn backgrounds but the more elaborate CG affects are still obvious due to the technological limitations that prevailed at the time it was made.
Heel Realization: In Episode 5, Dattou stops his evil self from cutting off Keichirou's legs when he realizes how Keichirou reminds him of himself when he was alive.
Heroic Sacrifice: The watchman from episode 16, who in reality was already dead but his soul was still trapped in the building
Also happens with Amanojaku in the last episode. He gets better though.
Hong Kong Dub: Inverted. Not accounting for mouth shape, ADV'sGag Dub matches the characters' mouths perfectly. The original Japanese version, on the other hand, often had lips moving long after a character finished speaking.
Hypocritical Humour: The Gag Dub has a lot of it, especially in episode 4. Like the overly religious Momoko noting that there are some crazy religious people out there when she's one herself. And Leo hates it when people lie in their online profiles, which he does as well.
One example, is when Satsuki and Momoko are watching a Jogger. before they discover he'd a murderous vengeful ghost
Satsuki: He has a nice ass
Momoko: Satsuki! Thou shalt not lu... ohmygod you're right.
Ill Girl: Momoko used to be very ill in the past, and in fact she met Kayako right before dying because both of them were in the same hospital. Subverted later: she falls extremely sick at some point, but it turns out she was hit with a curse from an angry ghost girl, "courtesy" of Leo. He pretty much has to fall to his knees and beg the ghost for forgiveness to keep her from killing poor Momoko.
Implacable Man: Some of the ghosts qualify. Special mention to Babasare and Mary the Doll, who only stopped chasing the protagonists due to sheer luck.
Inside Shoes: Unintentionally funny in episode 8: The kids are shown wearing theirs in the final scene in the computer lab, meaning they stopped to change their shoes even in a life-or-death emergency.
Killer Rabbit: Shirotabi. Apparently any creature ressurected by that particular ritual comes back as a berserk monster, but this time it just HAD to be a fluffy little rabbit... though keep in mind he gradually turns into likely the most badass looking killer demon rabbit you'd ever see in a cartoon.
Limited Wardrobe: Lampshaded in the Gag Dub when Leo tries to get Hajime to wear a scarf to prevent decapitation. Hajime refuses, pointing out he's comfortably worn the same shirt since the series started.
Lull Destruction: Used frequently in the Gag Dub to turn boring moments into successful humor. A good example is in Episode 15, where Yamime goes "Wheeee!" when floating up the stairs, then casually hums a tune while removing the barricade from the bedroom door.
The Millstone: Leo is occasionally the reason why the gang keeps being chased or cursed by the ghosts. A good example happens in episode 14 where he almost makes a vengeful ghost kill Momoko because he thought it would be a fantastic idea to snap photos where said ghost had died.
Mind Control: One of Ohma's abilities. He tries to kill Satsuki and Keichirou by making Satsuki's classmates attack them with knives.
Mind Screw: The Headless Biker freaks out one of his would-be victims so badly that the poor bastard stabs his own neck so the Headless Biker wouldn't try to cut his head off again.
Modesty Shorts: Satsuki wears them one episode after she gets tired of skirt fliping by Hajime.
Noble Demon: Amanojaku acts as a total Jerk Ass in the beginning but he starts helping Satsuki more and more as the series progresses, even though he still acts like he wants to see her in despair. In one episode he states that he dislikes humans, but hates ghosts who harm people on purpose more.
Not-So-Innocent Whistle: Inserted in the dub, during Shizuko's flashback to Momoko. The taxi driver does it after hitting her with the cab.
Potty Emergency: The whole school goes through it on episode 2, partly due to the sewage system breaking down, partly due to being afraid of Hanako-san in the Toilet. Sakata, though, just casually strolls out of the class and walks to the old school's toilets. He still doesn't get his dump. He gets forced into the toilet by the episode's ghost.
Potty Failure: Keiichirou on episode 2, due to being afraid of going to the old school to pee.
Product Placement: For the Sony Playstation in episode 7. A close-up of an analogue controller while Leo's mom was playing it. The name "SONY" and "PLAYSTATION" are clearly written out, along with the Start and Select buttons, and the symbols on the pad.
Put on a Bus: It happens with the friendlier and more harmless ghosts of the old school building.
Replicant Snatching: Episode 7 was about a group of evil spirits residing in a dimension beyond the mirror who tried to abduct everyone in town and impersonate them once the originals were trapped in the other dimension.
Right on the Tick: In episode 5, there's a ghost who is said to always kill a runner at the sports festival at 4:44. (At least according to the Gag Dub).
Unintentional Period Piece: A fair amount of the humor in the English dub comes in the form of mid-00s American pop cultural and political references. Leo's voice actor once mentioned that if the "Drunk Mel Gibson Jew Rant" had occurred just two weeks earlier, they would've been able to make a joke about him in the final episode.
Urban Legend: The underlying source of all of the ghost stories used in the series.
Weirdness Magnet: Satsuki, to the point that Hajime even lampshades this in episode 11 by saying that if she attracts anything than it is not human.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Satsuki and Keichirou's grandparents. They appear in one very brief scene in episode 1, and then they aren't seen or mentioned in the further episodes. Funny enough since they appear in the series' intro◊ along with the main characters and supporting characters like Sakata and the school principal.
They also appear in the photo album during the flashback/letter reading in episode 12 (about the cursed nurse).
Gag Dub Grandpa did say that he'd move to Vegas when the grandma died, so...