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Manga / Ghost Hunt

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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 decided to finish him off, throwing his body in a nearby lake. This results to Naru, who was Gene's younger twin brother, becoming the Angsty Surviving Twin.
  • 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, a Catholic Priest, and an Onmyoji/Taoist priest who successfully use rituals from their respective religions to interact with spirits and perform exorcisms. Natural disposition and energy is shown to be a factor in dealing with spirits, as seen when Naru describes Mai as having latent abilities as an Esper rather than developed abilities as an Esper, so it's likely that their respective religions are just ways of processing that energy in a direct and focused way. On the other hand, spirits for sure exist, and definitely remain in this life because of conflicts before their death that didn't allow them to move on.
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  • 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.
  • Amusing Injuries: Like so
  • Anchored Ship: In the last story, Mai discovers that 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 and perhaps, Masako, really loved was Gene.
    • This further explained as WordOfGod has stated, in a phamplet, that she had originally expected Mai and Naru be canon - meaning Mai eventually gets over Gene. However, the author eventually scrapped that idea, to continue with the sequel and keep the supsense/tension, and decided to do an unhappy ending and leave their relationship as is since she doesn't do "happy endings". At the very least it is confirmed that Mai and Naru do have feelings for eachother
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Mai likens both Naru and Masako to this at the beginning of the Forgotten Children arc in the manga.
  • Asian Rune Chant: Takigawa, aka Bou-san, uses these regularly.
  • 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 after she learns some evil-warding chants.
  • 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.
  • Battle Aura: Naru gets a white one with Dramatic Wind right before destroying a god-possessed statue.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Monk hits this early on for Mai, Ayako follows up soon after as a Cool Big Sis
  • 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). Even more frightening is the part where dozens of young people who wander into his empty mansion disappear, even decades after Urado's death. It's implied that the power of Urado's multiple Human Sacrifices note  has preserved the spirit of Urado, and his two attendants/accomplices, in a constant re-playing loop of kidnapping and sacrifice even after Urado is no longer alive to benefit from it.
  • Bonding over Missing Parents: In the light novels, Mai asks Naru if he employed her because they were both orphans.
    • 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.
  • Celibate Hero: John. He is a Catholic Priest after all.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: A mild case. While the series never quite loses its comedic tone, it does slowly transition from cases like a lonely girl with latent ESP to an angry god that uses tortured spirits as its puppets, actually killing two people during said case.
    • The arc before that may be scarier, as it involved a Humanoid Abomination who Was Once a Man in a haunted house stalking the characters, actually killing 3 people and almost killing Mai and Masako before the arc is over. Also, unlike the angry god which the cast tried to exorcise, this monster cannot be exorcised, and the team didn't even try. It's only destroyed when the whole house was burned to the ground.
  • Character Name Alias: Naru. In the final volume of the manga, SPR discovers that "Shibuya Kazuya" is apparently only an alias for Oliver Davis, a famous British parapsychologist.
  • The Comically Serious: Lin occasionally has brushes with this trope, especially in the Silent Christmas story arc.
  • Conveniently an Orphan: Mai.
  • Cool Big Sis: Ayako begins to develop into this around the second arc.
    • Madoka seems to be this as well.
  • Creepy Child: Creepy ghost children to be precise.
  • Creepy Doll: One arc is called "The Doll House." 'nuff said.
  • Demonic Possession: Several times.
  • The Doll Episode: Yup, there's one.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: On multiple occasions Mai has made an innocent comment that allows Naru and the rest to figure out what they're really up against.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: In the final arc.
  • Expy: C'mon, when you first see Lin tell me you don't think of Hatori Sohma!
  • Fake Nationality: John Brown, an Australian, is voiced by the very American Jason Liebrecht, whose Australian accent is less than stellar.
    • 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.
  • Fiery Redhead: Ayako Matsuzaki.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: The world in general is skeptical of the supernatural despite it being quite demonstrably true. At one point, a teacher claims that ghosts are nonsense moments after seeing a 7 foot ghost dog tearing up a classroom.
  • Furo Scene: Mai has one, but it's very brief and she's only seen from the shoulders up. Ghost Hunt isn't big on Fanservice.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: After Mai wakes up from a particularly terrifying dream, Ayako slaps her across the face to get her to stop screaming.
  • Ghostly Chill
  • 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. Naru can also be seen writing notes on his computer in perfect English.
    • ...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. It's hinted that he's been keeping Mai safe even after he went missing.
    • 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.
  • In-Series Nickname: Naru, given to him by Mai from the Japanese word narushisuto, or narcissist. Can also be an Insult of Endearment.
    • In the manga, Yasuhara actually blames Mai for doing this because it hid the fact that Naru was actually supposed to be Noll, a shortened form of Oliver.
  • Insufferable Genius: Naru.
  • Jerkass: 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, and is usually the one who takes care of the injured members of the team..
  • 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 Manipulation: Some of the spells manage to resemble this. Especially the one fired off by Naru against a god in the last episode.
  • Mind over Matter: The first case of the anime series, was caused because one of the girls was desperate for there to be a haunting and so she subconsciously caused most of the poltergeist activities, not knowing she was a latent psychic.
  • 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.
  • Multidisciplinary Team: We have a Medium, a Shinto Miko, an Onmyoji, a Catholic priest, a Buddhist Monk, a girl with Psychic Powers, and Naru. It's too many people for it to be the setup to a joke so it got turned into an anime.
  • My Parents Are Dead: Mai: "But, I'm an orphan."
  • Narcissist: Naru. Hence the nickname (The japanese pronounce the word like 'naru-ciccist').
  • Nice Guy: John.
  • No Peripheral Vision: One ghost involving a mysterious bell sound at a school ran into this issue. Specifically, the ghost is the spirit of a young boy who couldn't speak and used to go to that school — he carried a small bell with him if he wanted to get someone's attention. One day while playing hide-and-seek, he climbed up to a high, out of the way cove of the building and got stuck up there, dropping his bell onto the ground in the process and so he was never found. Mai realizes what had happened when the present-day class plays another game of hide-and-seek and observes that all the kids look around the grounds but none of them think to look upwards.
  • 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...
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: Averted. After fending off an attack by a horde of possessed corpses, Monk exclaims "What is this, a zombie movie?"
  • 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. An Imagine Spot in the anime even has him blending in with kindergarteners.
  • Old School Building: The setting for the first story in Mai's school.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Naru. One of the things that first catches Naru's attention about Mai is when she comes up with this nickname - as "Naru" is the closest word a Japanese speaker can pronounce to his real nickname, Noll (short for Oliver). This was intentional on the author's part.
    • Monk
  • Ordinary High-School Student: Mai.
  • Out of Focus: Generally, the series is pretty good about it. However, there are a few moments where you wonder just what character X had to do offscreen for so long.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Lin.
  • Phenotype Stereotype: John Brown, an Australian. Averted with Naru, who is English, but nobody notices.
  • 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: At various times Mai displays precognition, postcognition, clairvoyance, claircognizance, and astral projection. There's also some extremely sensitive instincts that tell her intuitively whether someone intends her harm, and sometimes whether someone can be trusted.
    • In story arc of the manga after the last arc made in the anime, Mai singlehandedly performs a purification.
  • Relationship Voice Actor: The dub voice actors for Monk and Ayako are Roy and Riza, while the dub voice actors for Naru and Mai are Keroro and Natsumi.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Quite a bit with Naru and Mai. Also, there is Ayako and Monk, further ship-teased by Mai identifying them as Team Mom and Team Dad respectively.
    • Invoked by Yasuhara in the episode just after he is introduced. When Monk teasingly insinuates that Yasuhara and Mai like each other, Yasuhara states that he does like Mai—but he likes Naru better, and he likes Monk best of all. He then admits that he's joking. Later on, though, there is actual Ho Yay between them, some of it perpretrated by Monk himself.
    Monk: Yasuhara is among [the students to be cursed]. Do you think I'm not worried, too?
    • During the Cursed House arc, there is a scene in the manga where Yasuhara is trying to treat the large wounds on Monk's back. Monk accuses Yasuhara of being a pervert for trying to take off his shirt. The Ho Yay jokes continue for the rest of the scene.
  • Shown Their Work: When mentioning vampires, Naru mentioned the difference between Bram Stoker's Dracula versus Vlad the Impaler. Even mentions Elizabeth Bathory as the one who is actually associated with blood.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Naru and Gene. It's even stated that the reason Naru cannot use his powers freely is because Gene was not around to help him regulate it.
  • 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!
  • The Stoic: Naru and Lin.
  • Surprisingly Good English: An American investigator in The Bloodstained Labyrinth. You only hear it in the Japanese dub, though.
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: If it's a Japanese-related Ghost story, you can bet this isn't far behind. Ghost Hunt does not disappoint.
  • Student Council President: Yasuhara who also acts as the Sixth Ranger or in this case the eighth.
  • 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.
  • The Summation: Every arc includes a mystery pertaining to the exact nature of its supernatural events. In most cases, these end with Naru explaining exactly what was going on. Often, he does so only after solving the problem, allowing him to be smug about having already taken the correct action without consulting his teammates.
  • Team Dad: Mai likens Monk to this at the beginning of the Forgotten Children manga-arc.
  • 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.
  • Tall, Dark, and Snarky: Naru.
  • Television Serial
  • 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.
  • Tragic V Illain: 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—although it is stated that Tomiko's body was found in the pond some six months after her disappearance. Also, the little girl currently living in the home is feared to have drowned, but luckily nothing bad ever happened.
  • 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.
  • Twin Telepathy: Oliver and Eugene Davis. However, it was mentioned that their Psychic Link got weaker as they grew older.
  • Urban Fantasy: Ghost Hunt stays on a borderline with the genre, but the effects of the spirits and spiritualists on the team bring it close.
  • 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).
  • Workaholic: Naru and Lin.
  • Work Off the Debt: Subverted when Mai eventually learns that the camera she broke was insured. Naru just led her to believe otherwise because he wanted a free gofer.
  • You, Get Me Coffee: Mai's occasionally on the receiving end of this joke. Somewhat justified in the beginning since that's what her job entails and she had no powers to speak of.