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This time, I might just disappear...
Mystery Skulls Animated is a series of official animated music videos for Mystery Skulls' songs. Alternate terms for it include Mystery Skulls: Ghost and MSA.

Created by Fandom VIP MysteryBen, the first video (released October 26, 2014) follows Vivi, Arthur and their dog Mystery, a trio of paranormal investigators, as they traverse a haunted house and flee from a hostile ghost. The short video and a handful of character profiles provided by MysteryBen quickly developed a thriving fan community, with said video having eight times more views than the original official music video.

On the one-year anniversary of the video's release, MysteryBen announced a plan to create a story arc of about five additional videos starring the same characters seen in Ghost and continue their storyline after the events of the video using other Mystery Skulls songs.

On midnight of April 15, 2016, the second music video of that arc was released, Freaking Out, which introduced a new antagonist and further continued the story of Vivi, Arthur, Mystery, and Lewis after Lewis' death.

On June 7th, 2016, the next video, set to the song "Hellbent", was announced to have started storyboarding, and the length of the story was shortened to about five videos. It was released on October 13th, 2018.

On May 16th 2020, a video was released to coincide with the release of Mystery Skulls' album Now or Never. At the end of the video, the next installment, set to "The Future", was announced and projected for October 2020, ultimately being released on Halloween. In the interim between this and the last video, a short comic, Losing My Mind, was released. The story serves as a prequel set before the events of Ghost, and is illustrated by Melanie Pulsipher.

Story Arc (length subject to change)

  1. Ghost
  2. Freaking Out
  3. Hellbent
  4. The Future
  5. TBA

"Hellbent on troping you":

  • Adorable Evil Minions: The Dead Beats that follow Lewis around are simple, purple puppet-like ghosts with glowing yellow hearts on their chests and highly expressive little faces. Even when they're trying to be scary, with narrowed eyes and jagged teeth, they come off as cute instead.
  • Aerith and Bob: The names of the cast volley from being relatively normal to Meaningful or Punny Names, so there's things like Lewis having sisters named after spices or Vivi working with a person named Duet and a girl named Chloe.
  • All There in the Manual:
  • Amputation Stops Spread: ??? took over Arthur's arm, signaled by it turning green. As the green crawled up the rest of Arthur's body, Mystery tore the arm off, ceasing the possession, though in exchange the arm now serves as a host to the thing.
  • Animal-Eared Headband: Lewis's little sister Cayenne has a horned headband and Lewis, Vivi, Arthur and Shiromori have been shown wearing cat ear headphones on official merchandise.
  • Animated Armor: Lewis has some suits of armor lining his hallways that he sets to chopping off Arthur's head.
  • Animated Music Video: A whole series of them. Ghost in particular was the first to be commissioned,note  which led to a connected 5 part story.
  • Animation Bump: "Ghost" and "Freaking Out" had decent-quality animation but rather static backgrounds and angles. "Hellbent" started pushing more dynamic shots, more detailed backgrounds, and more fluid movements in-between the usual head-bobbing. This is furthered in "The Future", which in particular has a very fluid fight sequence between Vivi and Shiromori.
  • Anti-Regeneration: In The Future, ice prevents Shiromori from growing back her limbs, though she can break through with enough effort.
  • An Arm and a Leg:
    • Mystery tore off Arthur's possessed arm to stop ??? from possessing him completely, but only after ??? used it and the other bits of Arthur it had gained control of to murder Lewis.
    • Lewis burnt Shiromori's arm to a crisp to retrieve his locket. To his surprise, she regrew it.
  • Art Evolution: Lewis', Arthur's and Vivi's puppets were remade for use in later videos, as Ben admits he didn't make them as well as he could've since "Ghost" was meant to be a one-time thing.
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: When Lewis recovers from Lance's gunshot and begins approaching him, Lance panic fires in a metal truck with his nephew behind his target, and continues shooting as the bullets merely phase through Lewis. The bullets don't ricochet.
  • Battle Discretion Shot: In "The Future", Arthur's uncle Lance futilely tries to rescue his boy by shooting at an increasingly pissed off Lewis. When Lewis loses his patience, the scene cuts before we can see the rest of their confrontation; and when we come back to them the fight is long over and Lance has been thoroughly pummeled.
  • Beat Still, My Heart: Lewis's glowing "heart" beats to the rhythm of the music and rests on the outside of his ribcage. It's revealed to actually be a locket, though it is still integral to his continued existence as his ghostly form can retreat into it and its condition reflects his moods and state.
  • Bedsheet Ghost: The Dead Beats look like purple pointy-headed bedsheet ghosts with glowing beating orange hearts, though their Game Face departs from the aesthetic due to their talon-like hands.
  • Beware of Hitchhiking Ghosts: Rooster accidentally hits Lewis towards the end of "Freaking Out" after he walked into the road; Rooster quickly flees when his steering wheel starts emitting fire, and he and Lil' Sunny become absolutely terrified as Lewis transforms the semi into his own ride and takes off without them.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Lewis is out for Revenge on Arthur for killing him while Shiromori is after Mystery for something that happened in their past. Their goals and motivations are ultimately separate and have little to do with each other, but they end up attacking the Mystery Skulls at the same time. There's also another entity roaming about that's responsible for Lewis' death.
  • Blood from the Mouth: In "The Future", Shiromori slashes at Vivi with her sheers, and the strike makes her throw up blood.
  • Bloodless Carnage:
    • Even though Lewis dies just barely off the edge of the screen, with the spire that tore through his torso and his torn clothes making it into the frame, there is no blood shown, same when Mystery is shown with Arthur's torn-off arm in his mouth shortly after.
    • Subverted in "Hellbent" when Shiromori attacks the Mystery Skulls' van, breaks the front windshield and slashes Mystery with her scissors; it initially seems like it did nothing before a drop of blood drips down from the scratch.
    • Averted in The Future; to distract Shiromori from Vivi, Mystery bites his front paw hard enough to make it gush blood, Vivi vomits up blood after a hit to the stomach by Shiromori, and the hit Mystery takes while trying to protect Vivi makes him bleed out.
  • Brick Joke: The sixteen-wheeler that drives by the Mystery Skulls van in Freaking Out is the same one that Lewis turns into his Pimped-Out Car at the end of the video.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: When Vivi, Arthur and Mystery first enter the mansion in "Ghost", their eyes are visible in the otherwise black darkness, watching as a single magenta flame floats by and starts lighting the candles.
  • Cave Mouth: The cave in which Lewis was murdered had an eerie mouth like opening, with four holes above it that looked like nostrils and glowing eyes due to the green entity in the cave. When Shiromori visits it in "Freaking Out", the glow isn't there, which makes the eye and nostril like holes less noticeable.
  • Claimed by the Supernatural: After Mystery severs the possessed arm from Arthur's body, ??? takes the now possibly decaying arm as its own, an eye forming in the palm to cement its control.
  • Cliffhanger:
    • "Freaking Out" ends with Lewis and Shiromori gunning for Arthur and Mystery, while the latter realize Shiromori is hot on his trail,
    • Hellbent ends with Lewis dropping Arthur off the same ledge that killed the former but immdiately having second thoughts, Vivi is knocked down and about to get stabbed by Shiromori with Mystery going full kitsune to save her, and making good on his Dramatic Gun Cock earlier in the video, the last moment is punctuated by a gunshot, implying Lance hit something.
    • "The Future" ends with Shiromori dead and Mystery potentially dead but definitely possessed, in yokai form, by the same entity that possessed Arthur way back in "Ghost" as it looms over the now reunited Mystery Skulls.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Each character has an associated color: Vivi is blue, Arthur is yellow, Mystery is red, Lewis is purple while alive and pink when dead, green for ??? and white for Shiromori. The color coding also extends to their families, with Lance being yellow, the Yukinos being blue, and the Peppers being a variety of purples and pinks.
  • Cool Guns: Uncle Lance has a double barreled pump-action shotgun based on the Remington 1740 except both barrels are tied to the same trigger. This is something that's technically possible, but would require heavy modifications.
  • Curiosity Killed the Cast: A group of three amateur paranormal investigators and their "dog" enter an eerie Cave Mouth to poke around despite the clear warning on the sign outside and the human skulls littering the cave. One of them ends up dead, another that did not want to go in the cave in the first place loses his arm and has some memory loss, and the third loses a big chunk of her memory.
  • Curse Cut Short: In The Stinger of "The Future", Vivi nearly says "fuck" before Arthur's screams interrupt her.
  • Dagwood Sandwich: As expected from something drawing so heavily from Scooby-Doo, "Ghost" sees Vivi and Mystery take a break from ghost-hunting to help themselves to a pair of these before Lewis and Arthur's chase interrupts them. Mystery's sandwich is so tall it ends up going off-screen.
  • Demonic Possession: During the flashback in "Ghost", ??? possessing Arthur and gains control of his arm. Mystery rips the arm off before it's able to get any further.
  • Disney Villain Death: Inverted; Lewis getting pushed off a cliff to his spiked demise is what causes the rage and desire for vengeance that makes him into a villain after his death.
  • Downer Ending: In "Ghost", Arthur, Vivi, and Mystery escape the mansion safe and sound, but Lewis is left heartbroken, and nobody is able to reconcile his tragic death and put his soul to rest.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: The song "Hellbent" features the sound of a gun cocking. In the Animated version, this is timed to Lance cocking his shotgun before running out to help Arthur.
  • Dramatic Irony: The audience knows that Arthur was possessed when he killed Lewis, and that the ghost the crew encountered was Lewis himself, but both parties are unaware of the respective truths; if they were, they would likely be inclined to reconcile, but Vivi and Arthur are afraid of Lewis and Lewis is out for vengeance. Arthur only gets to see who the ghost really is seconds before Lewis throws him off a cliff. While he ends up fine, there's so much else going on that Arthur isn't able to get the "why" and "how" before they need to flee the semi.
  • Enhanced Punch: Lewis's ghostfire-imbued punch is able to tear Shiromori's head clean off and send it flying.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Deconstructed; Lewis was killed by his possessed and horrified friend, Arthur, and now seeks Arthur's death in revenge.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Rooster's truck explodes after Shiromori collides with it.
  • Everything Dances: All the characters bob to the beat of the music, especially in Lewis's mansion. It becomes less prominent as the series progresses, though things like smaller movements and Lewis' locket still bounce to the beat.
  • Everything Is Big in Texas: Mystery Skulls Animated takes place in Texas; the story is centered around the very tall ghost of a young man who later steals and personalizes a Big Badass Rig to chase down his old girlfriend and his murderer. The disguised kitsune that travels with the two is nearly the size of Vivi herself, and towers over all three of them once ??? gets hold of his body.
  • Evil Hand: Evil arm in Arthur's case; something possessed it in the green cave and killed Lewis, and it's still crawling around after getting separated.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: All the music videos from "Freaking Out" forward take place on the same night, which contain respectively: the explosive resolution to two long-standing grudges, the bequeathing of a family legacy, a near-death experience, an actual death experience, and several intense battles.
  • Family Theme Naming:
    • There's quite a bit of Arthurian Legend surrounding Arthur and his relatives; his family owns Kingsmen Mechanics, his uncle is named Lance(lot), and he has a hamster named Galahad.
    • The Pepper family includes three sisters named Cayenne, Belle, and Paprika.
  • Fire-Breathing Diner: The photo on Arthur's laptop in "Freaking Out" shows him in obvious pain with a trail of smoke emitting from his mouth after drinking a milkshake, Lewis's prankster sister Cayenne laughing under the table with a bottle of hot sauce in her hand.
  • First-Episode Twist: Lewis is the ghost of a former member of the the Mystery Skulls and Vivi's boyfriend, killed by his possessed friend. This was set up as a shocking reveal in the original "Ghost", and serves as a main plot point for the rest of the videos.
  • Fog Feet: The Dead Beats are simple purple ghosts who taper off to a lightly transparent point in lieu of having legs or feet.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • During the line "Fuck, it's you I hate the most", Lewis points towards Arthur. It's later revealed that Arthur murdered him while possessed, the latter Lewis is unaware of.
    • When the group enters the cave, everyone reacts as you'd expect from characters in a Scooby Doo parody... except the Scooby analog, Mystery, who seems to sense that something is very wrong.
    • In "The Future", the biggest indicator that Mystery is about to get possessed by the mysterious entity from "Ghost" is Arthur's mechanical arm, which he got after getting possessed by the same thing and uncontrollably sparked after coming into contact with Lewis' ghost fire, starts sparking when it comes near.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: The human and humanoid cast have four fingers on each hand.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • During a wide shot of the cave in "Ghost", Vivi is barely visible under the cliffside behind some green smoke, indicating she saw Lewis die.
    • In Freaking Out, Arthur's laptop background is a picture of him, Vivi, Mystery, Lewis, and Lewis' family at Pepper Paradiso back before everything went wrong. Vivi's eyes glow as Lewis is being edited out, indicating she, rather than Arthur, is the one doing so, albiet unconsciously.
    • In Hellbent, there are a few moments where the backgrounds flash with full-screen illustrations that give further insight in the characters' histories. They linger long enough that you can get the general idea, but lingering on them will offer further insight, such as the abandoned samurai-helmet and katana when Vivi's ancestor confronts Mystery, presumably left behind by a previous victim of his. The full illustrations were released for the 1 million views milestone here and here.
  • Genius Loci: The entire Haunted House in Ghost is just an extension of Lewis's powers and it fades after Arthur, Vivi and Mystery flee and Lewis retreats into his locket, though scraps of its wallpaper and floor tiling can be seen in the haunted cave when Shiromori visits it in Freaking Out.
  • Ghost Butler: After Vivi, Arthur and Mystery enter the Haunted House in Ghost the doors close behind them. In this case the entire house is just an extension or construct of the vengeful ghost within so presumably he closed the doors even though he was in the basement at the time.
  • Ghostly Glide: Lewis glides along the ground rather than walking or running, though he presumably could if he wanted to since he at one point stamps a foot down when getting ready to pummel Shiromori. He deliberately stops gliding when he walks Arthur to the end of the cliff in "Hellbent".
  • Ghostly Goals: Lewis wants to reconnect with his girlfriend Vivi, a fairly benign goal, and murder his former best friend Arthur for killing him by chucking off a cliff like he was.
  • Giving Someone the Pointer Finger: Lewis points at Arthur to tell him he hates him before chasing him down to kill him.
  • Glamour Failure: Lewis, a ghost, can appear as he did in life... but there's always something wrong with his eyes when he does. They appear as either Hidden Eyes, or as black pits with brightly glowing irises.
  • Go Through Me: Vivi puts herself between Arthur and the ghost when it catches up with them after a long chase. It works, because unknown to Vivi, the ghost is of her boyfriend, whose spirit hadn't been able to find rest after he was murdered.
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
    • The scene where Lewis gets pushed off the cliff skips straight to him already being impaled on the stalagmites below, silhouetted as to not show anything gory.
    • Played with; in "Freaking Out", Lewis punches Shiromori's head off and the camera focuses on her neck tearing apart, but as she's a Plant Person, it's just roots being separated.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: The van's logo has "Mystery Skulls" written in katakana on its byline.
  • Guns Do Not Work That Way: Uncle Lance's shotgun appears to be this trope at first, but it's actually based on a real gun - specifically a Remington 1740, but with one of the triggers and loading ports removed to simplify the animation.
  • Happy Ending Override: Inverted; "Ghost" concludes with Lewis's chances tying up loose ends being met with failure. "Freaking Out" provides Lewis a second chance to find Vivi and get (albeit unjustified) revenge on Arthur.
  • Haunted Fetter: Lewis's heart locket is the only part of him still physical; he can retreat into and out of it at will, it alters itself with his mood or emotions, and others can interact with it.
  • Haunted House: In "Ghost", the group's van breaks down in front of a very fancy mansion haunted by a very dangerous ghost, seemingly built to spilt the three up and leave Arthur on his own. By the end of the video it's revealed that it actually was — the entire mansion is a manifestation of the ghost's powers, and it ceases to exist when the ghost stops willing it to.
  • Heart in the Wrong Place: Lewis' heart is where his left lung would be. Justified, as it's not really his heart, it's a locket.
  • Hero Stole My Bike: Lewis steals a semi-truck from an innocent delivery man near the end of "Freaking Out" so that he can catch up to the Mystery Skulls' van, though at that point he's less of a hero and more of a Anti-Villain Protagonist.
  • I Fell for Hours: Arthur, Vivi and Mystery fall for about 15 seconds past floating furniture and books after a trap door opens underneath them, how Vivi and Mystery land is not shown though they somehow slow down during their decent; Arthur lands in the basement and looks quizzically up as though wondering about the physics ignoring fall he just had and where his friends might have landed.
  • Immediate Sequel: While the time between "Ghost" and "Freaking Out" is ambiguous, the videos following take place immediately after one another, with "The Future" picking up right where "Hellbent" ended.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Lewis got pushed off a cliff and was impaled with a stalagmite when he landed.
  • Internal Reveal: Arthur learns that the ghost that's been chasing them is actually Lewis at the end of "Hellbent".
  • Kill It with Ice: Vivi finally starts getting an edge over Shiromori after unlocking her ice powers, as she's able to freeze her in her tracks and even stop her regeneration abilities for a bit.
  • Late to the Tragedy: In "Freaking Out", Shiromori shows up at the cave where it all went down only to find that everyone involved is long gone, one way or another.
  • Low Clearance: Averted; in Hellbent, Arthur thinks he manages to escape Lewis driving in his semi-truck by going through a tunnel that big rigs cannot pass through, but Lewis manages to bypass it through supernatural means.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Subverted; despite the seemingly wacky Scooby-Doo parody overtones, "Ghost" quickly becomes more and more suited to the lyrics, especially since it represents one of the main characters, who even practically speaks one of the lines.
  • Mêlée à Trois: Lewis and Shiromori have no reason to fight each other; even who they're after is different, they just keep getting in each other's way and have no interest in explaining anything.
  • Mickey Mousing:
    • Everything in the videos move along to the music. It doubles as a Mythology Gag to MysteryBen's earlier Rhythm Heaven works, where characters also bounce along with the music.
    • Averted then played straight in "Hellbent", as the video begins with "Every Note" as an in-universe radio track rather than the Background Music before "Hellbent" takes over the radio and fades into the background track.
    • The intro to The Future and its stinger also lack any of the series' usual movement, the former for dramatic purposes and the latter because there was no music playing at all.
  • Mime and Music-Only Cartoon: The video is nothing but a cartoon where the characters actually move along to the music, no matter what is going on at the moment. This leads to moments like the ghost chasing the trio after getting splattered with sandwiches and still moving along to the music.
  • The Mirror Shows Your True Self: The gang passes by a trio of mirrors when they fall into a trap door. Vivi's reflection has no eyes, Arthur's is missing his robotic arm, and Mystery's mirror shatters when he looks into it. This is foreshadowing for their backstory, in which Vivi got her memories of Lewis erased, Arthur lost his arm to Demonic Possession and Mystery is not a dog.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The second he drops Arthur in "The Future", Lewis remembers himself falling the same way and his heart locket immediately breaks. When he sees the fully restored image of the gang after Arthur touches it, he breaks down in tears.
  • Mythology Gag: All four of the moving paintings in Ghost are references to previous work by both Ben and Mystery Skulls: they feature the priest from the live version of "Ghost", Miles Edgeworth with Phoenix Wright's spiky hair in reference to The Turntable Turnabout, and a human Rarity and The Wrestler in reference to Ben's Rhythm Is Magic animations.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: ??? is so scary partly because we have no idea what it wants or what it even is.
  • Off with His Head!: Lewis punches Shiromori's head clean off in "Freaking Out". To his surprise, it grows back.
  • Off-Model: Vivi, Arthur, and Lewis look much more rough in the stinger for "The Future" compared to their polished puppets, matching their completely dumbfounded reactions to the possessed Mystery. Arthur then starts screaming and comically distorts into a face straight out of Ed, Edd n Eddy.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • In "Ghost", when ghost Lewis is pointing a finger at him and puts on his hairstyle, Arthur starts running.
  • Lewis realizes he's about to be hit by a truck near the end of "Freaking Out" and freaks, complete with the exact same pose Arthur made after realizing Lewis was still chasing him in "Ghost".
  • Outrun the Fireball: The last scene of the Mystery Skulls escaping the mansion in "Ghost" has them jumping out just in time to escape a huge pink blast of ghost-fire.
  • Our Monsters Are Different: In the lore of Mystery Skulls, each monster or spirit or what-have-you appears to have a funky little heart, which also serves as their weakpoint. After Vivi bats Shiromori's heart out of her chest she appears to be killed as she decomposes into the base of a tree. It can be assumed that a monster or spirit can be revived by their heart as Lewis was revived after Shiromori grabbed his heart. Mystery has also been shown to have a heart at the end of "The Future".
  • Pink Is Erotic: Lewis Pepper is the ex-lover of Vivi Yukino and he seeks to reunite with her despite his undead state. Lewis is depicted with a black and pink design and is unrelenting in his attempts to be with her again. In part 4 of the animation series, Lewis's backstory is accompanied by the song "Hellbent".
    "I've been hellbent, baby
    Hellbent on lovin' you all day long
    Hellbent on drugs 'cause it turned you on
    Don't know what else to do
    I've been hellbent, baby
    Hellbent on makin' you love me, too
    Even though not what I'm supposed to do
    I don't give a damn"
  • Ret-Canon: According to MysteryBen, the Mythology Gag to the live "Ghost" music video in "Ghost" was not the original plan; at the time he began working on the animated video, the live "Ghost" hadn't been created, and the official one was to be MysteryBen's. Since it took a while to finish the music video, Mystery Skulls created their own video to pad out the wait between the video's announcement and its eventual release. MysteryBen decided to return the favor by including the preacher from the video.
  • Retcon: In addition to some general art improvements, the photo in Lewis's locket in "Freaking Out" was altered to hide his living self's eyes, rather than showing his eyes as in "Ghost". This turned out to be more plot-important than initially thought, as when Lewis sees the full picture in "The Future", the locket flickers between his shaded face and his original unshaded design, implying the original change was also in universe.
  • Revenge Myopia: Lewis has come back as a ghost hellbent on getting revenge on Arthur for his murder. Unfortunately, he is unaware that Arthur was possessed at the time and was visibly horrified at Lewis's murder at his own hand. Further complicating matters is Arthur seems to have forgotten Lewis's death and is now desperately seeking his missing friend, completely unaware the ghost they encounted at the mansion was him.
  • Rewind Gag: The end of "The Future" has the video itself literally pause after the reveal of Murder Mystery, before rewinding to an earlier point (complete with video glitching and coloration errors) to show the moment Mystery's heart gets possessed by ???.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: After a bit of posturing, Shiromori decides to just leave in pursuit of Mystery instead of fighting it out with Lewis.
  • Security Cling: In "Ghost", Arthur catches Mystery and jumps into Vivi's arms when the portraits lean out of their frames to shout at them in the haunted house, and the flashback shows Arthur clinging to Lewis' arm in fear when they first enter the cave.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Before Vivi and Mystery run back into Arthur, they're seen in the mansion's kitchen about to eat two enormous sandwiches, a la Scooby-Doo. You can also see them running in the same style as their inspiration characters during the first hallway scene.
    • The head-bobbing and general rhythmic feel of the whole video is a love letter to Rhythm Heaven.
  • Lewis is wearing Thomas Bangalter's gloves.
  • The way Lewis points accusingly at Arthur during the phrase "Fuck, it's you I hate the most" is identical to Miles Edgeworth's whenever he screams "Objection!". Also, Lewis' human design seems to have been a lot inspired on Miles and one of the haunted pictures has a slight resemblance to the prosecutor. It worths noting that Mystery Ben made previously an animated video featuring Ace Attoney's characters with Mystery Skulls' song "Money"; it was specifically that video that took the group to ask him to animate "Ghost".
  • Uncle Lance, aside from being a shoutout to the Arthurian Mythos by Theme Naming, has his character design as a Whole Costume Reference to Coop from Megas XLR, coincidentally one of Arthur's favorite series.
  • Galahad, Arthur's hamster, is somewhat similar in terms of design to the hamsters from the "Hampster Dance" music video.
  • The fourth haunted painting is of the dancing priest from the live action "Ghost" music video.
  • The scene where Vivi, Arthur and Mystery are falling by floating furniture and books after the Trap Door is a reference to Alice falling down the rabbit hole in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
  • The truck driver who runs over Lewis at the end of "Freaking Out" bears more than a passing resemblance to Dave Lister of Red Dwarf, with a cap, a leather jacket, fingerless gloves, and having dreadlocks tied together at the back of his head.
  • Significant Background Event: The opening of "Freaking Out" shows Arthur's detached, still possessed arm crawling out of the cave before quickly hiding behind some rocks once it senses Shiromori.
  • The Slow Walk: In "The Future", Lewis shrugs off Lance's shots while slowly floating towards him, and while Lance shooting him in the chest again stuns him for a moment, it just makes him angrier.
  • Source Music: The beginning of Hellbent has Arthur play "Every Note" on the van's CD player while driving. When Lewis gets a hold of it, it switches to "Hellbent" before becoming the background music.
  • Spikes of Doom: Lewis was murdered by being shoved off a ledge in an eerie cave onto the abnormally sharp stalagmites below.
  • Spooky Painting: A series of paintings in one of the halls of the Haunted House are among the things that gain glowing eyes when the interior lights up, and when Arthur, Vivi and Mystery make it into their part of the hall they menace the trio before the painting of a duchess tugs on a pull string and sends them tumbling through a Trap Door.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • The ghosts with Lewis who pulsate with the music are called "Dead Beats".
    • Considering his last name, his fire abilities, and his current form, Lewis has become a ghost Pepper.
  • Suddenly Speaking:
    • It may be silent, but the first time we see anyone moving their mouths is when Arthur mutters "Lewis?" before he gets dropped in "Hellbent". The moment is followed up on in "The Future", in which the audience actually gets to hear Arthur say Lewis' name.
    • In the stinger for "The Future", Vivi starts saying "What the fu-?" before Arthur interrupts her with screams of terror.
  • Supernatural Repellent: Vivi and Arthur keep a stash of various things to protect them from the supernatural in their van, including garlic cloves, dream catchers, ofuda and bottles of holy water.
  • Surprise Creepy: "Ghost" starts off as a cute and colorful homage to Scooby-Doo, but turns dark when it's revealed the ghost chasing the gang was a former member that was killed by his possessed friend.
  • Sympathetic Magic: Shiromori uses flowers that match a person's coloring to track them; it appears they are also connected to the person in some way, as Arthur visibly jumped and shivered when Lewis stepped on his.
  • A Taste of Their Own Medicine: Lewis's revenge plan for Arthur is to reenact the events of his death, with Arthur as the unwitting victim. He follows his victim into a cave covered in stalagmites, just like Arthur did. He catches said victim by surprise and throws him off a cliff to a spiky death, just like Arthur did... and watches his friend fall wondering why he betrayed him, just like Arthur did. He then proceeds to immediately and terribly regret his actions, just like Arthur did. He then starts dissolving the illusion, though it ends up being moot since Lance shoots him and dispels it completely.
  • Transformation of the Possessed:
    • Upon being possessed by ??? in "Ghost", Arthur's arm turns green before spreading to one half of his body, making that side's sclera turn black and eyes turn glowing green as his now sharper teeth form into a crazed grin before Mystery tears off his arm.
    • A much more dramatic example occurs when it fully possesses Mystery in The Future. It's unclear how much is the effects of the possession and how much is Mystery's true, nine-tailed form influencing things, but 'Murder Mystery' (as named in concept art) is several times taller than the Mystery Skulls, with a jet-black coloration accented in the same bright green as before, nine brightly-coloured tails, a third eye (and all three eyes are different colors), and a collar tag that says !? instead of ?.
  • Trap Door: After Arthur grabs Mystery and jumps into Vivi's arms in reaction to the paintings around them coming to life, one of the paintings smirks and tugs on a pull-string, dropping the trio through the hidden trap door they were standing on.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Because of Arthur taking the opportunity to run, Lewis and Vivi lose their moment to reconcile, breaking Lewis' heart (literally). As a result, Lewis becomes enraged and cuts loose with his power.
  • Villain Protagonist:
    • Ghost takes place from Lewis's perspective, as he tries to get revenge on Arthur for his part in his death.
    • In Freaking Out, the story focuses on Shiromori tracking down Mystery and Lewis still seeking vengeance on Arthur.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: "Ghost" is a bright and colorful Scooby-Doo-esque cartoon, but the backstory involves a man getting possessed and pushing his friend to his death before the arm that did it gets ripped off.
  • V-Sign:
    • Belle can be seen giving the camera a cheerful v sign on the photo set as Arthur's laptop background.
    • The true picture in Lewis' locket shows Arthur giving dual peace signs to the camera.
  • We Used to Be Friends: After returning as a ghost, Lewis only feels rage towards his former friend and (unintentional) murderer, Arthur, and seeks to kill him in revenge.
  • Wham Line: One at the end of Hellbent which is seen but not heard (at least until the release of ''The Future'') - the moment Arthur realises the identity of the ghost chasing them and trying to kill him, and as suggested in Freaking Out, that Lewis was even dead to begin with.
    Arthur: Lewis?
  • Wham Shot:
    • After the camera zooms into a painting Mystery notices, showing events before the video, the one driving the van is a human Lewis.
    • The Reveal that Lewis was killed by a possessed Arthur turns the first half of the animation from a funny Shout-Out to a complete tragedy.
    • In "Freaking Out", there's a shot of Arthur's computer showing different locations (including his uncle's auto shop). There are multiple pictures of Lewis; some of them are crossed out, while one picture (along with one of ghost Lewis) has question marks next to it. This seems to indicate that not only did Arthur not recognize Lewis as a ghost, he doesn't even know Lewis is dead.
    • Shiromori seeing a warrior maiden who looks a lot like Vivi in place of her, implying her beef with Mystery stems back much farther than originally thought, and includes his owners.
    • Shortly into "The Future", Arthur gets hold of Lewis' locket and looks inside, before feeling something's up with the picture. It then fades to reveal the moment the picture was from wasn't just Lewis and Vivi, it was all four of them.
    • After a rollback to before Mystery's transformation, "The Future" ends on Mystery's battered heart as it slowly stops beating, before its holes fill with green and a familiar hand grabs onto it.


Video Example(s):


Vivi Meets Mushi

Situation looking dire and Mystery telling her to run, Vivi suddenly finds herself in a wintry forest, face to face with her ancestor Mushi, who offers her hand. Vivi takes it, unlocking her latent ice magic and giving her a fighting chance against Shiromori.

How well does it match the trope?

4.9 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / BackupFromOtherworld

Media sources: