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Ghost Stories

DVD Review: Ghost Stories V.1
Ghost Stories: Semester 1 – Freshman Frights
Release Date: October 25, 2005
Released By: ADV Films
DVD SRP: $29.98 – 100 Minutes
Video: Full Screen (Standard) – 1:33:1
Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1 Stereo), Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo) & English Subtitles

WHEN NEARBY CONSTRUCTION DISTURBS A SPIRITUAL RESTING PLACE, IT’S DISGRUNTLED DENIZENS DO WHAT ANY SUPERNATURAL BEING WOULD DO AFTER A RUDE AWAKENING – THEY TERRORIZE THE LOCAL SCHOOL.

And that mean’s it’s up to a scruffy band of young ghost busters to expel their satanic schoolmates before everyone gets sent to permanent detention! So join Satsuki, her crybaby brother, the resident class stud, the school nerd and “psychical researcher”, a born again beauty, and a resentful, demon-possessed cat in the funniest, scariest school you’ve ever enrolled in.

DVD Features:
• Clean Opening/Closing
• Ghost Profiles
• ADV Trailers

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INTRODUCTION
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Ghost Stories follows a group of local teens who find that their abandoned old school is full of ghosts and demons. From episode to episode there is a different character they must defeat until all the ghosts have been destroyed and their town can rest in peace free from the evil spirits.

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STORY – Rating: 8 (out of 10)
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There is something about Ghost Stories which is really enjoyable. I didn’t know exactly what to expect going into this series as it had a premise that sounded as though it could either be really good fun or a really bad mess. Luckily, this is a series that pretty much any anime fan could find something worth enjoying about it. The characters are funny and interesting. The dialog is witty and good humored (or bad humored… depends on who you ask) and each episode maintains a delicate balance of creep factor and laughs. While the first episode starts the series off as being a generally cute show by the end of the episode the move has been made and the ghosts begin to appear to their full extent for the next three episodes. One episode in particular had me laughing and shivering at the same time: There’s a piano playing ghost who will kill you simply by playing a certain classical piece three times over! Talk about creepy. Both young kids (although no one under 10 should see this) and adults will find things to enjoy about Ghost Stories. It’s a fun filled ride worth taking.

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ANIMATION – Rating: 8 (out of 10)
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The animation is far from amazing but it looks nice and given the type of show this is I think it’s worth praising. The character designs need particular props as they were absolutely wonderful. Each person was distinct and their written personalities matched their looks. The backgrounds, paints, and other aspects used in making Ghost Stories were effective also. Some of the work done in this series even comes off as artsy. That certainly wasn’t expected but It added a new aspect to the show.

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AUDIO – Rating: 9 (out of 10)
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While there are unfortunately no 5.1 Surround Sound tracks to be found there are still some high quality 2.0 audio tracks for both English and Japanese languages. The Voice Actors did commendable jobs at portraying their characters. There is no serious reasons for someone to complain about the audio.

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EXTRAS – Rating: 4 (out of 10)
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ADV Films has offered some nice extras on this release. There isn’t much and I would have liked more but perhaps there are some nice treats for viewers when the next volume comes out. There’s a Clean Opening, Clean Closing, Ghost Profiles (which were worth looking at despite not being as good as some other bonuses would have been), and ADV Trailers to top it all off.

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OVERALL
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This is an easy show to recommend. It’s genuinely good fun and lighthearted entertainment. There are some scary parts but it’s all kept to a minimum and people of all ages who enjoy anime will get a kick out of this. Everyone should hurry up and enroll! This is one school you don’t want to miss.