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Monk: It seems like the origin of the curse wasn't the roku-bu spirits. Naru: It's the Okobusama, isn't it? Mai : H-How did you know? Naru: Because my brain's better than any of yours.
Mai Taniyama, an Ordinary High-School Student, accidentally breaks a camera left in an abandoned school building. The camera later turns out to belong to Kazuya Shibuya, a.k.a. Naru, and in order to repay him for the camera, she must take the place of his injured assistant in Naru's perfectly-legitimate ghost-hunting business.Mai and Naru are accompanied by an Australian Catholic priest, a spirit medium, a Buddhist monk, a self-styled Shinto priestess, and Naru's really tall and really quiet assistant Lin. The series was originally published as a series of novels by The Twelve Kingdoms author Fuyumi Ono; it was later adapted into a manga, and then a 25-episode anime. A manga adaptation of the relatively-unknown sequel "Akumu no Sumu" was recently announced, and is being released on a bimonthly schedule.Not to be confused with Ghost Hunters, the American live-action TV show.
This anime/manga provides examples of:
Accidental Murder: Eugene Davis. During an investigation in Japan, he was run over by a car as he was crossing a road. However, he was still alive. Apparently, what actually killed him was when the female driver panicked and threw his body in a nearby lake, thereby drowning him, all by accident. This results to Naru, who was Gene's younger twin brother, becoming the Angsty Surviving Twin.
Adult Fear: The "The Doll House" File. It turns out that the ghost haunting the house was a distraught mother who committed suicide after her daughter was abducted, and continues to search for her in death, causing the deaths of other children living in the home. It is implied that the abductor may have killed the child, but it is never actually confirmed. Also, the little girl currently living in the home is feared to have drowned, but luckily nothing bad ever happened.
After-Action Patch-Up: There is a scene like this during the Cursed House arc in the manga, it was cut in the anime.
All Myths Are True: Among the main cast are a Shinto Miko, a Buddhist Monk and a Catholic Priest who successfully use rituals from their respective religions to interact with spirits and perform exorcisms.
All There in the Manual: There are several things about Naru that are either vaguely hinted at or not brought up at all in the anime but are explained fully elsewhere.
Anchored Ship: In the last story Mai discovers the loving Naru she's been psychically dating in her dreams is actually the ghost of Naru's twin brother, Gene. After Gene's spirit is laid to rest, Mai confusedly attempts to tell Naru that she likes him, but Naru politely points out that the one she really loved was Gene.
Annoying Younger Sibling: Mai likens both Naru and Masako to this at the beginning of the Forgotten Children arc in the manga.
Badass Adorable: John is one of the most effective of the exorcists in the group and can at least be seen once punching spirits with holy water.
Mai also starts to count.
Badass Normal: Naru never showcases any overt supernatural ability (apart from an academic knowledge of magic) and goes through practically the whole anime solving cases with little more than wits, ego and a healthy amount of scepticism. The trope is subverted in the last episode, in which we find out he has supernatural powers, but using them taxes him so much that it can be very dangerous for him.
Badass Unintentional: Mai, whose main powers are powerful information gathering tools and thus allow her to find the info needed to solve things.
Big Damn Heroes: If we had a 500-yen coin for every time Monk burst through a door and shouted "Naumaku sanmanda bazaradan kan!"... Unusually for this trope, though, it's usually in the middle of the episode, to show that things are getting dangerous. Naru usually takes the lead in the finale.
Bishōnen: Pretty much every main / recurring male character in the series (i.e. Naru, Lin, Takigawa, John, Yasu).
Blood Bath: Based on both the Elizabeth Bathory legend and Vlad the Impaler, one of the scariest villains was a Japanese Lord who bathed in the blood of numerous servants in the hope of extending his life and took up the moniker "Urado" (Vlad).
Naru admits the fact and offhandedly tells her that people in similar situations should help each other out, and that he first found out about the fact that she was an orphan from her high school principal, way before she actually told SPR about it in the Urado case.
Breather Episode: Right between "The After School Hexer" (The second legitimately creepy arc in the series) and "Silent Christmas" (A bit of a Tear Jerker) comes "Ghost Story in the Park!?", the series' only one-episode arc and the only episode to contain almost nothing but comic relief.
Bungled Suicide: Episode 11 features a ghost who failed at killing herself several times, only to die when she tripped and hit her head on her way home.
Burial at Sea: After the resolution of the Forbidden Children arc, Eugene Davis was found in the bottom of the nearby lake. Apparently, his murderer dumped his body there.
Catapult Nightmare: Happens to Mai from time to time, most notably in the Bloodstained Labyrinth arc.
Though this actually manages to work because in Japanese, John does have a funny accent. He speaks with a mixture of Kansai and Australian dialects, which gives his sentences a rather odd, humorous structure.
Gratuitous English: Right away in the first episode, a bunch of "technical terms" pop up in English that Shibuya needs to translate for Mai. Makes you wonder why he didn't just say them in Japanese.
...Because he's Naru?
Justified in that Naru was adopted by a married couple of parapsychologists in England, raised there and actually is the famed Oliver Davis that gets mentioned from time to time. As such, he's probably been speaking mostly English for most of his life.
Hidden Badass: Monk. You start to get a hint of how powerful he is in the last arc of the anime and in the following arc (manga only right now), Naru gets a close look at his vajra and decides that he's been underestimating Monk.
Many of Ayako's rituals seem ineffectual early in the series; but in the final episode she performs a massive cleansing that frees the multitudes of angry spirits that have been trapped where they are. Ayako's limitations are justified in that she requires live trees to perform her cleansing ritual, which are less prevalent in the city. This is a legitimate handicap when you consider that Shinto is a religion that revolves around nature. Even if the requirements are met, however, the specific trees require a six month rest period before they can be used again.
Idiot Ball: Justified in that this is Mai's first year as a spiritualist and she gets better as time goes by, but she has a real trouble remembering that she doesn't have "just dreams" while on cases and thus sometimes decides something vitally important isn't worth saying. Actually, this might be an Aversion of Instant Expertise that is so often seen in fiction.
I Just Want to Be Special: One character's desire for people to notice them winds up creating a poltergeist and injuring several characters.
Jerk Ass: Mr. Matsuyama, a teacher at Rokuryo High School, is intolerably unpleasant. He also is undisturbed by the idea of dozens of students dying so long as he lives.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Naru is critical, harsh and is rather arbitrary in his decisions, but it is very clear that he generally has the safety of his friends first in mind.
Ayako probably qualifies as well. She's rude or condescending several times, and seems to enjoy provoking the other members of the team. However, she also has several moments of being sincerely sweet and caring.
Kansai Regional Accent: Father Brown speaks in Kansai-ben because he spent his first few years in Japan in the Kansai area and thought it was standard Japanese. In the English dub, he just has an Australian accent.
Ki Attacks: Some of the spells manage to resemble this. Especially the one fired off by Naru against a god in the last episode.
Mood Whiplash: At times it can move from a serious, almost frightening, paranormal story to a romantic comedy and back so fast you wonder what just happened.
Not a Morning Person: Naru. He slept his way through most of vol. 8 and 9 as he was being possessed by a spirit. Lin knocked him out with a few good ol' spells. The characters were fully aware that he was going to be in a bad mood when he woke up and they dreaded having to go face to face with him. Lin and Masako will never be the same...
Odd Couple: In Episode 11 the group plays rock, paper, scissors to decide who is paired up as fake couples. John and Ayako get grouped together as a couple and its rather amusing how Ayako assures him she'll "Play Nice."
Older Than They Look: John. When Mai met the nineteen-year-old priest, she initially assumed him to be as young as twelve.
Power at a Price: Naru appears to have no paranormal powers, but in actuality, he's an extremely strong psychic with dangerously powerful psychokinetic abilities that can easily be lethal to others. Unfortunately, Naru's SO powerful that a human body can't take the stress of wielding that much psychic energy. The one time he displays his psychokinesis to a noticeable degree (to destroy a god-possessed statue), Naru ends up collapsing from temporary respiratory and heart failure.
Power Nullifier: Ayako Matsuzaki seems like she's a fake spiritualist for the first 25 episodes until she exorcises eight malevolent ghosts at once. Turns out all her power comes from her affinity for trees and all their previous cases were indoors, or the trees were "dead" trees.
The Power of Love: How Mai purifies the teacher and dead children in the cursed school.
Psychic Powers: Mai displays precognition, postcognition, clairvoyance and astral projection.
In story arc of the manga after the last arc made in the anime, Mai singlehandedly performs a purification.
Sneeze Cut: Two during the Ghost Story in the Park episode, both focused on Lin.
Sorting Algorithm of Evil: From a psychic, to ghosts, to a super ghost that grew more powerful by feeding on other ghosts, to a spirit so twisted that's moved beyond a mere ghost and became some sort of demonic monster, to finally a freaking god!
Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: One of the more refreshing things about this series is how deadpan serious everyone is about their particular forms of mysticism and what they're dealing with.
Team Dad: Mai likens Monk to this at the beginning of the Forgotten Children manga-arc. as they're getting Naru discharged from the hospital after the Cursed House.
Team Mom: Mai likens Ayako to this at the beginning of the Forgotten Children manga-arc.
Tempting Fate: Near the end of episode 10, Mai muses about how it would kind of suck to have psychic powers, and that she's glad she's just an ordinary high school student. Turns out she's an Ordinary High-School Student, all right.
Town with a Dark Secret: In volume 7 of the light novels it turns out that the local villages and newspapers have been covering up the disappearances (and deaths) of multiple children and didn't bother warning the group of that fact when they asked them to investigate.
Tsundere: Mai shows hints of this. Though she leans toward the Dere side of things.
Naru's mentor Madoka seems to have shades of this though she also leans towards Dere.
Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Naru never tells anyone what he's planning, especially late in a case, despite consistent pestering from the others. On the rare occasion he does divulge what's on his mind, he's always wrong.
Violence Detector: Mai consistently has dreams which explain the natures of the various hauntings and the histories of those who have suffered, making it possible to solve them later.
What the Hell, Hero?: Mai is not pleased to discover that Naru is willing to turn a death curse onto six hundred relatively innocent students (hoping that the curse would dilute itself and "merely" severely injure them rather than kill them. Maybe) just to guarantee the life of one Jerkass teacher — his justification being that, unwittingly or not, they still invoked a powerful death curse. Naru instead takes a third option and diverts the death curse to six hundred hitogatas of innocent students, leaving everyone unharmed.
Who You Gonna Call?: The Shibuya Psychic Research Center is basically the Ghost Hunters (of Sci-fi channel fame).