Follow TV Tropes


Animation / The Haunted House: The Secret of the Ghost Ball

Go To

Siblings Hari and Doori live in the haunted Shinbi Apartments. One day, they meet and befriend the goblin who feeds off the magical energy there, Shinbi. Despite his warnings, they steal and eat the goblin taffy, granting them the ability to see ghosts. They agree to help Shinbi drive away ghosts from the apartment, so that it stays occupied and he can continue feeding off the energy generated. Shinbi gives them each a Ghost Ball, allowing them to summon spirits they've defeated to help them.

Using their Ghost Balls, Hari and Doori protect their neighbors and classmates from evil spirits and help ghosts cross over to the other side.


This show provides examples of:

  • 13 Is Unlucky: Not nearly as common on the show as Four Is Death, but a couple of ghosts can trace their origins to people who died on the 13th floor of Shinbi Apartment.
  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: Not usually, but the Speeding Bus Ghost is computer generated, as are most of the other moving vehicles in that episode.
  • A Birthday, Not a Break: The season finale, in which Shinbi is abducted and nearly sacrificed by Kanglim, takes place on Shinbi's 103rd birthday, interrupting the surprise party the heroes had planned for him.
  • Actually, That's My Assistant: Trying to get the vampire king's ring back from Gaeun, the vampires replace the principal at the school with an old man claiming to be the king of the vampires, Joachim. It's actually Joachim's assistant, Balow. The real Joachim is the young boy pretending to be Doori's friend. The purpose of the ruse was to get the heroes to use up their magic so they would be helpless by the time he chose to reveal himself.
  • Advertisement:
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Nearly every episode is titled this way.
  • Adult Fear: So, so much.
    • Many of the ghosts have backstories involving car crashes, children wandering off and drowning, losing your family, and other sobering, real world tragedies in contrast to the colorful cast and otherwise playful tone of the series.
    • The Koos' father's chronic unemployment and constantly failing job interviews is something any father would fear.
    • Doori's obsession with losing weight in episode 3, and fretting over not losing any more pounds even after his wish to the Phantom Torso has already left him skin and bones, is disturbingly reminiscent of anorexia nervosa, a real life mental condition in which people believe themselves to be fat and starve themselves, potentially to death, in an attempt to lose weight.
    • Ethra uses a smartphone to communicate with children and asks to meet with them alone so she can attack them... so she's basically the supernatural version of an internet child predator.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Kanglim has quite a following despite being cold and indifferent with no regard for the feelings of the girls who confess to him. Even Hari finds herself attracted to him in spite of disliking him for his personality, and she and her friends acknowledge that he only gets away with treating people as he does because he's attractive.
  • And I Must Scream: It would seem that at least a few, if not most or even all, ghosts spend at least some amount of time in this state, between the time of their death and the point where they have enough power to actually start manifesting ghost phenomena. We're explicitly shown this for two of the ghosts, but considering that most ghosts take several years between their deaths before they actually start acting out, it's likely that it applies to them too. For reference, the two that we actually see this for are...
    • The spirit that would eventually become the Wicked Doll Ghost is shown via flashback to have spent several years in this sort of state, trapped inside the teddy bear he wanted to give his daughter, watching as she regularly visited the site of his death, and the only thing he could do was mentally scream for her to please notice that he was still there.
    • Heron also, after he died and his spirit possessed the family's vacuum robot, his mother decided she couldn't bear to live in their old apartment with her memories of him and she moved out. We see the vacuum robot shoved in a trash can as she leaves, with its eyes glowing and the boy trying to call out for her to come back.
  • As You Know: Hari and Doori's introduction to Shinbi is never actually shown, and instead is explained to the audience via this type of conversation.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Hyunwoo is totally obsessed with monsters and the supernatural, and he steals Shinbi's goblin taffy in episode 2 because he wants to be able to see ghosts. It doesn't take long at all for him to regret this decision, and he quickly decides that ghosts are his least favorite thing in the world. He's still totally obsessed with them, though.
    • The deals we see being made with the Shadow Ghost prove to be this as the "something precious to me" he takes in exchange for giving one of Hari's classmates bigger and brighter eyes is her beloved dog and Doori ends up trading away Hari for losing weight.
  • Berserk Button: Shinbi gets incredibly irritated by the Koo kids calling him a dwarf. He also gets very angry at being summoned for frivolous reasons, and not being given the respect he believes he deserves as a powerful magical goblin.
  • Big Eater: Shinbi and Doori.
  • Bigger on the Inside:
    • In the first episode, the Drowned Water Ghost pulls Doori into his bathtub. The camera follows him in and then pulls back, revealing a much larger area inside than should actually exist. Hari goes inside the building's water tank later to face the ghosts, and once she hits the water she ends up in a space several times more spacious than the tank.
    • The Speeding Bus Ghost is much bigger on the inside, forcing Hari to run quite a ways while looking for her brother. She even comments on it.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Mess for Doori at your own risk because Hari is fiercely protective on him, a protectiveness that extends to her friends and to a certain extent, the rest of the kids around her.
    • The Black Pearl Ghost turned out to be Gaeun's loving and protective older sister who became a ghost to protect Gaeun from bullies.
  • Bland-Name Product: In episode 9, Hyunwoo wants a handheld game console, the 5DS, which also happens to look exactly like a Playstation Portable.
  • Blatant Lies: Shinbi gets caught eating Doori's chips and tries to get out of it by insisting that goblins don't eat. This despite one of his defining traits being his Big Eater status.
  • Bully Hunter: Hari hates bullies and ended up gaining Gaeun's friendship standing up for her.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Nearly every instance of Shinbi using magic, as well as many of Kanglim's attacks. Averted with the ghosts that Hari and Doori summon, though.
  • Cool Big Sis: Hari to Doori; while she teases him, it's almost always with affection, she's always supportive when he needs it and she never seems annoyed to have to spend time with him.
  • Cowardly Lion:
    • Shinbi, who was so afraid of ghosts that he recruited two random human children to deal with them in his place, but who is still willing to step up when things get bad.
    • Hyunwoo also. In one notable example, he starts off "The Spine-Chilling Story of the Skeleton Ghost" literally begging for his life from the "ghosts" at a summer camp courage test, but when Hari gets attacked by the Skeleton Ghost he's brave enough to attack it head on in order to save her. He's also willing to pull a You Shall Not Pass! against the minions of the actual devil in the season finale.
  • Creepy Doll: The Wicked Doll Ghost is a creepy looking plush bear that also happens to be possessed by the spirit of a dead father who wanted to give the bear to his daughter, and who steals souls in order to remain on Earth.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: The religion of the series is presented like this. There's The Master, an all-powerful booming voice and pair of disembodied hands that lives in Fluffy Cloud Heaven. There's Underground Nation, who was banished by The Master to a Fire and Brimstone Hell. Also, there's Shinbi who is a servant of The Master sent to Earth to battle Underground Nation, meaning that goblins are apparently angels.
  • Deal with the Devil: Several different ghosts like to do this.
    • Phantom Torso has the power to reshape peoples' bodies. He'll magically alter your body in any way you want, in exchange for the body and soul of the person you love most, which he uses to try and make a new body for himself.
    • Keyclaws the evil maze ghost was summoned to Shinbi Apartments by a greedy rich man who had to flee the country because of a war and was forced to leave his treasure behind, so he summoned an evil ghost to protect it for him. It's implied that Keyclaws saw to his death before he could return for it. Keyclaws continues to make more deals with mortals, allowing them to challenge him to puzzles and mazes for the treasure. He also cheats worse than a five year old playing Monopoly, and attempts to steal your soul even after you win; the only way to banish Keyclaws is to defeat every challenge and then willingly leave the treasure behind. As Hari points out, the treasure itself is actually just one more trap.
    • Ravanav the hide-and-seek ghost collects souls from mortals in the hope of becoming a human. To do this, it allows humans to summon and challenge it to a game of hide-and-seek, and promises to grant a wish if you can hide from it for one hour. Supposedly at least one person has managed to beat it, but we don't see it happen. It's likely a lie spread by Ravanav itself, as its supernaturally keen senses generally allow it to track anyone within mere minutes, making it unlikely anyone could ever beat it. Also, the wish it supposedly granted for that person was something even Shinbi says he can't do. And, as with Keyclaws, he also attacks to try and eat your soul even if you win.
  • Death of a Child: A lot of the ghosts have this as their backstory, either being the dead child themselves, or in some way related to a dead child.
    • The Drowned Water Ghost is made from a pair of twins, who tried to go swimming in the apartment's water tower and drowned.
    • The Black Pearl Ghost was Gaeun's teenage sister, who fell off a bridge by accident and became a vengeful ghost to protect her little sister from bullies.
    • The No-Face Ghost was a mother whose husband and daughter died in a car accident which also horribly scarred her face. She killed herself to be with her family again, but couldn't find them on the other side and so became an evil ghost.
    • The Marionette Queen was a young girl who died in a plane crash on her way to a ballet performance. Her only desire was to perform Swan Lake, and she started abducting other girls to join her dance troupe.
    • Heron was a sick boy who died when he fell out of bed and accidentally unplugged the machines that were keeping him alive. His wish for a healthy body that could run and play caused him to become a vengeful spirit and he possessed the family's vacuum robot.
    • The Speeding Bus Ghost is formed from the souls of the passengers who died in a bus crash, some of whom are shown to have been children.
  • Double Entendre: When fighting the Phantom Torso, Doori mentions needing to "hit him where it hurts" before summoning the Black Pearl Ghost. She defeats Phantom Torso by using her hair to cover the window, blocking the light from the full moon from reaching him and robbing him of his power... but it's hard not to read a bit more into the fact that Doori chooses a ghost with hair powers to fight a ghost who is completely bald.
  • Dramatic Slip: Hari's legs tend to give out at inopportune times, to a degree that it seems they must be made of balsa wood. This usually ends with her landing in Kanglim's arms. She also gets an inconvenient Twisted Ankle that prevents her from dancing for the Marionette Queen.
  • Eats Babies: Rlim Shaikorth, the white moth ghost, specifically targets children, eats their souls and turns them into eggs for more moth ghosts. Other ghosts usually don't target kids specifically but are more than willing to eat children's souls if they're available.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy:
    • In the episode "The Hair-Raising Tale of the Homunculus", loner Dongjin finds a book on alchemy which explicitly warns that the homunculus will be incredibly jealous toward its creator, and yet is surprised when his little Homjin turns into a psycho Yandere.
    • Hyunwoo is way too quick to mess with ghosts, even with how scared of them he is. He's the one to suggest that Doori make a wish with the Phantom Torso, he's the first to want to seek out Keyclaws' treasure. He also talks everyone into playing Hide-and-Seek with Ravanav, even knowing it will mean putting their souls on the line... because he failed a math test and wants to wish for Ravanav to change it.
  • Expy: A mysterious and aloof boy shows up to act as a rival to the female protagonist, and fights against supernatural enemies while wearing ceremonial robes and wielding a sword. Is this Kanglim, or Li Syaoran?
  • Fallen Angel: Underground Nation, who is basically Satan. He was an angel, who started gathering power without God's permission, because he believed Humans Are Bastards and wanted to kill them all.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Implied to be the fate of ghosts who are sealed by Kanglim, as opposed to those who are purified and allowed to go on to Heaven by Hari. Naturally, only the most unsympathetic ghosts in the series get this treatment.
  • Four Is Death: Four is practically an Arc Number for the show. The Koo family lives in apartment 444, on the fourth floor of Shinbi Apartments. The maze ghost Keyclaws exists in a pocket dimension between the fourth and fifth floor. The Speeding Bus Ghost, especially, is bus number 4444, which arrives twice a day at exactly 4:44 AM and 4:44 PM.
  • Friendless Background: Gauen. Everyone bullied her except for her sister, but then her sister died after falling off a bridge, and became a ghost whose Knight Templar Parent tendencies drove away anyone else who might have been Gauen's friend, up until Gauen met Hari and Doori.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Ian, the vampire prince who defected from his kind because he didn't want to prey on innocent humans.
  • Friend to All Children: Hari seems to have a way with child ghosts once they're calm, being gentle and even hugging them when needed.
  • Fusion Dance:
    • Underground Nation, after being cast out of Heaven, became ruler of the underworld by forcefully fusing the eight existing demon lords into his own body, which is where his eight extra heads came from. He can become even more powerful by absorbing other ghosts and monsters as well.
    • The Spider Ghost is made from the ghosts of a deceased woman and her son's pet spider, who fused into one after they fell off a balcony together.
  • Good All Along: The Beloved Bride Flower spends its episode worming its tendrils throughout Shinbi Apartment and trapping the tenants inside of creepy egg sacs. It turns out, the ghost found a structural flaw in the building's support beam that was going to cause the building to collapse soon. It was trapping people in order to keep them safe, and using small amounts of energy from their souls in the meantime to grow so that it could reinforce the support beam with its own body. It's purified in the end, but in doing so the heroes are able to spot the problem and repair it before the building can come down.
  • The Hand Is God: "The Master", a God expy who appears as an enormous light in the sky with a booming voice, with two giant hands that appear when it wants to interact with something.
  • Haunted House: Naturally. The titular haunted house is actually a haunted apartment complex, though: Shinbi Apartments is full of ghosts, and a goblin who feeds on their spiritual energy.
  • Haunted Technology:
    • Ethra, who possessed a smartphone after it was used to take a picture of the Spooky Painting that held her spirit trapped inside.
    • Heron, the spirit of a sick boy who died longing for a healthy body, and possessed his family's vacuum robot.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Kanglim is aloof and indifferent to other's emotions, but he doesn't hesitate to help when he sees someone in trouble.
  • Knight Templar: Many of the dead spirits who became vengeful ghosts had entirely understandable reasons for wanting to stay on Earth, but have since become so obsessed with hatred and their hunger for souls that they've entirely forgotten their original purpose, and may even act against what they originally wanted.
  • Luminescent Blush: Hari gets this way around Kanglim.
  • Mama Bear:
    • Hari, whenever anyone messes with Doori.
    • Also, some of the ghosts are this, taken to the absolute extreme. One notable example is the ghost from The Spectral Sentinel, which is actually Hari and Doori's grandmother, come to save them from an evil ghost that was targeting their family.
  • Minion Master: Several ghosts. Keyclaws has an army of cyclops in its maze to stop people escaping. The Drowned Water Twins can brainwash people with water they've contaminated, and the Skeleton Ghost can do the same with its breath. Homjin can clone itself. Ravanav can call ghosts from inside its own body. Joachim the Vampire King and Ian the true Vampire King also count, naturally. Rlim Shaikorth the white moth turns children's souls into larva minions. Underground Nation has the ability to control other evil ghosts, but prefers to absorb them for power instead.
  • My Greatest Failure: The old man from The Bewitched Bus has one of these. He was a bus driver who was involved in an accident. He was thrown clear and survived with minor injuries, but all of his passengers died when the bus went the rest of the way off the bridge. He blames himself for not being there to open the doors and let them out, and has been chasing after the Speeding Bus Ghost in the hopes of freeing their souls from it.
  • Not So Above It All: Shinbi spends the episode "The Mystifying and Malevolent Maze" berating the humans for their Greed that led them to seek Keyclaw's maze and its treasures. At the end, in the middle of one more lecture, they happen to notice that he swiped a coin from the treasure before they left.
  • Not So Stoic: Kanglim breaks down in episode 24, showing more emotion than he did in all previous episodes combined.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: They combine a lot of the aspects of eastern and western ghost tropes. Those with powerful grudges become freaky monsters with bizarre powers, similar to eastern ghosts. When put to rest and allowed to pass on, they become see-through versions of their human selves, similar to western ghosts. It also seems to be a catch-all term for supernatural creatures as some ghosts - like the Phantom Torso and Ethra - seem to have always been what they are now. Underground Nation is a Fallen Angel, but also considered a ghost, as is the homunculus Homjin. Notably, however, vampires are NOT ghosts.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: Shinbi the goblin is like a tiny oni, even wielding a kanabo-like tool. He can also grant wishes, and is actually a servant of God sent to Earth specifically to defeat Underground Nation, meaning he's something akin to an angel too.
  • Painful Rhyme: Kanglim's magic spell to banish evil ghosts rhymes the word "without" with "out." The theme song also rhymes "souls" with "souls."
  • Pet the Dog: Episode 15 sees Kanglim by himself seeking after a monster known as the Iron Beast. After watching him behave like a total jerk to everyone up to this point, it's surprising to see him behave with genuine compassion to the people of the town being terrorized by the ghost. He also finally admits his feelings for Hari, which gives him the strength to defeat the monster that, up to that point, had been winning against him.
  • Playing with Fire: Kanglim's signature attack, Signal Fire, uses Paper Talismans enchanted to burst into flames to attack enemies. He can also apply them to his weapon to make it a Flaming Sword.
  • Please Don't Leave Me: A common response to someone getting to see their now-ghostly relative, including Gaeun with her sister and the Spider Ghost's son.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Joachim, the leader of the vampires in Ian's absence, is over 1,000 years old, despite looking like a child.
  • Red Herring: The episode "Malediction Malfunction" goes out of its way early on to make the audience think the Monster of the Week is inside of a Spooky Painting Mr. Koo bought at the flea market. It's actually in their cleaning robot.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Compassionate, high-energy Hari is the red oni to Kanglim's cold, reserved blue oni.
  • Robot War: In "The Malediction Malfunction", Hyunwoo mentions he has a toy robot collection, not because he likes playing with them, but because he believes one of these is going to happen and he wants the robots to think he's one of the good humans.
  • Romantic Vampire Boy: Ian the Friendly Neighborhood Vampire falls in love with Gauen. The title assigned to him at the end of his first episode is "Gauen's Knight, IAN".
  • Sealed Inside a Person-Shaped Can: Underground Nation was defeated by Kanglim's mother, who sealed him inside her own body and then sealed herself to a tree as a last-ditch effort to stop him from destroying the Earth. This is the reason Kanglim is collecting ghosts, to use for a ritual to banish the Big Bad for good.
  • Show Within a Show: Papa Dog, a popular animated show and comic book series which both the Koo kids seem to like.
  • Sleep Cute: Shinbi and Doori cuddling in episode 24. Aww.
  • Slender Man Standin: At the beginning of "Invasion of the Iron Beast" Kanglim is seen fighting a tall, lanky humanoid ghost in a formal suit.
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl:
    • Black Pearl Ghost, who gets bonus points for also having Prehensile Hair. She spent all the time since her death hiding in her sister's hair in order to protect her.
    • Ethra, the ghost who hides in cell phones. Her face-covering hair conceals the fact that she's also a cyclops whose eye looks like a smartphone screen embedded in her face.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality:
    • Gauen is outwardly cool and reserved, but sweet and loyal once you get to know her.
    • Kanglim turns out to be one as well. Though still somewhat guarded even around Hari, it's shown that he does actually care, but is under too much stress to open up.
  • Theme Twin Naming: The Drowned Water Ghost was made from two twins, named Jongsoo and Jongmin.
  • Transformation of the Possessed: Ghost possession usually does this. Effects range from eyes changing color, to protruding veins and discolored skin. The Roaming Ghost's possession victim even changes from having an average build, to being obese.
  • Vitriolic Best Friends: Shinbi, Hari, Doori, and Hyunwoo are this. They're always teasing each other and Shinbi frequently steals Hari and Doori's food and otherwise annoys them, but they're always there for each other.
  • Weight Woe: Doori becomes insecure about being overweight in episode 3.
  • Your Soul is Mine!: This is what most ghosts want, because absorbing the energy from human souls is what allows them to remain in the living world after their time has expired.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: