I remember the first time I saw Ghost Stories was on TV on a channel called Animax. It was a long time ago, but I still remember that I enjoyed it. And now I wanted to see it again. I saw a dub version and I thought ,,Ok, I’m taking it”. But what I got is something totally different. So frankly this is a double review, or something. Basically I’m gonna say something about the original (that is no dub and only sub) but for most part I will talk about the English dub from ADV. They rewrote the script basically and made… well first let’s talk about the good parts.
In terms of scary atmosphere, Ghost Stories is as I remember it: dark and tense. Of course seeing it now is a bit different since I grew up a bit and some things don’t terrify me, but I still find it scary at times. The plot is about a girl who moves in her dead mother’s home town with her father and little brother. The day she moves in she meets her neighbor and 2 other kids and they go into an old abandoned school where her mother studied. There they find out that the place is haunted and they find an old diary written by her mother in which she tells how to seal away ghosts. Later they find out that due to a nearby construction, many objects used to seal away ghosts were destroyed and now they have to seal them again. So basically the plot is about these kids sealing ghosts each episode. So yeah, you can tell there are a lot of ghosts. Some are original, yet some are inspired, but in the end they are always something new and different.
The cast is just some kids going to school, yet everyone has a distinct personality: one is a nerd, one is pervert, one is a psychic, one is a cry baby and one is… the main hero. So while the good guys cast is nothing truly great, the villain cast is what makes you watch this.
The graphics are old, but appropriate, and most importantly is that they make sense. Character models are well done, and the ghost models are particularly disturbing. Music is great, always puts you in the right mood, and the sound effects of a spook creeping behind you has a good impact on you.
What ruined it for me was the FUCKING ADV DUB. They basically rewrote the ENTIRE SCRIPT! The only thing they left is the basic plot structure and storyline. Everything else was rewritten. Why? To make it into a fucking comedy. Only they didn’t make it into a comedy, they made it a fucking joke. First, they changed character background like having our main hero’s mother being a lesbian, or the vocation of Momoko was changed from a psychic to that of an evangelical, Pentecostal Christian. I don’t even know what Pentecostal means, yet we have such a character. Why? Do you think such a character is funny? I don’t. At one point I thought she will start a crusade against… everything in existence. Also they made the nerd to be a Jew and they make fun of him a lot. Yeah, these guys from ADV are racists. To give an example ,,He’ll probably go to Hell anyway cause he’s Jewish” or ,,Run as if a big black guy is chasing you”. I arrest my case. Also, even if this is an English dub, sometimes they don’t make sense. Instead of words you hear some weird animal raping noise. I think it for comic relief, like there is one little kid they want to make him look retarded, he goes like this sometimes ,,Whew ha waw bjele hewlef hawawdaw… bwhahahaha”. I’m like ,,WHAT THE FUCK?”. Is this funny? Hearing a kid act like a moron? Of course this is the same kid that says ,,Oh where is the secret room with the bitches to fuck, I want to get laid” The kid is an 8 year old for Christ sake. Also they have them say thing like ,,Did you smoke it all, you son of a bitch” or ,,Where is the booze”. What am I watching, Ghost Stories or South Park? Also they make a lot of references to modern pop culture and television shows. But the most weird and awkward moments were these… I can’t believe I heard them… so they discover that the true ghost was a portrait of some guy that look like Beethoven and Mozart, but the main hero says… I still can’t believe she said it… ,,A portrait of Antonio Banderas?” What? Are you saying that fuck-face looks like Antonio Banderas? He doesn’t even come close to Antonio. In fact Banderas is the last thing which crossed my mind when I looked at that picture. But what steals the cake is this: a teacher telling a story with a life lesson in it. Want to hear it? I bet you do, so here it is ,,After the guy got married, when he fucked his wife he released only inside”. That’s the story. It doesn’t get more retarded than this.
To be fair, there are some good jokes which brought a smile and occasionally laughter to my face, but overall this dub ruins the mood. It’s like they would make a dub of Death Note where all they say are fart jokes. If you want an anime with an eerie atmosphere and some good ghost stories, then check this one out, but in original. But if you want some retarded humor that may give you a few laughs, then try the ADV dub, cause I promise you this… you haven’t seen nothing like it.