Ghost Hunt, an anime series that debuted in 2006, masterfully combines comedy and horror. The titular ghost hunters, who serve as the show's protagonists, are tasked with looking into and eliminating whatever force is responsible for the paranormal activity in about eight cases. Kazuya Shibuya, a 17-year-old who works with Lin Koujo as his assistant, is the group's leader. The events of the first case force Kazuya to collaborate with Mai Taniyama, who initially presents as a typical high school student but is later revealed to possess significant psychic abilities.
Houshou Takigawa (monk), John Brown (priest), Ayako Matsuzaki (miko/shrine maiden), and Masako Hara frequently accompany Kazuya on his missions (medium). Despite the fact that their cases differ, each one is mysterious in its own right. The causes of supernatural activities also vary: sometimes they are caused by ghosts, while other times they are caused by humans fooling people. While the protagonists work on the jobs assigned to them by their clients, they investigate the various powers that exist in both the living and the dead realms. Furthermore, the series delves into a variety of themes that are applicable in the real world.
The series Ghost Hunt follows a group of paranormal investigators
The paranormal exploits of Mai Taniyama, a first-year high school student who joined Kazuya's business, Shibuya Psychic Research, are followed in Ghost Hunt. She recounts her experiences and the lessons she learned from each case as she goes. The series' plot deviates from the structure of a typical anime because each story arc is self-contained and is resolved in a limited number of episodes.
The story opens with Mai and her friends sharing ghost stories and, after a fateful series of events, she finds herself in the company of professional ghost hunters. She helps investigate an abandoned school building that is believed to be haunted. As Mai takes more cases, her "latent psychic abilities" are introduced to viewers. The series explores many aspects of supernatural and paranormal occurrences and is not bound by one particular theme or plot line, which truly makes it unique. There are also real-life references that subtly blend into the story.
The Poltergeist Hypothesis
The very first case that Mai and the others have to solve involves poltergeist activity. By definition, a poltergeist is a type of ghost or spirit that causes physical disturbances, such as breaking household items or creating loud noises, but the reality is much more complex. The word poltergeist originates from the German words poltern ("to make sound") and geist ("ghost" or "spirit"). Hence, the term poltergeist translates to "noisy ghosts" or "loud spirits."
The series explores several aspects of poltergeist activity that have a basis in real-world theories. The first is temperature fluctuation: paranormal investigators cite an increase in temperature as evidence of poltergeist activity. Another is a theory by psychical researcher Frank Podmore, who claimed that poltergeist activities are caused by adolescents, especially girls. In Ghost Hunt, the paranormal activities in the abandoned school building were caused by a first-year high school girl name Kuroda. Although she was unaware of her powers, Kuroda subconsciously used them to manipulate the world around her, causing the ghostly phenomena.
Dracula in Fiction and Reality
The seventh case in the series is titled "The Bloodstained Labyrinth" and is notable for being the only case that the ghost hunters had to leave unresolved. The reason for this, Kazuya explained, was that he is a ghost hunter and cannot hunt monsters. To keep the entity at bay, the owner of the mansion had to build various structures within it, resulting in the labyrinth shown in the series. Kazuya was hired by the previous Prime Minister and, because the case was very high-profile, several ghost hunters from around the world were hired to partake in the investigation.
The protagonists discovered information about a man named Kaneyuki Miyama (later known as Urado) who, as he grew older, developed a fear of death and started murdering as many children as he could find. The similarities between Urado and Vlad Tepes, also known as "Vlad the Impaler," the historical figure who served as the model for Dracula, allowed the ghost hunters to piece together the puzzle.
Vlad Tepes was infamous for killing thousands of people. He would sit in a dining room filled with impaled bodies and dip his food in the blood of his victims -- hence why people consider him the origin behind tales of blood-sucking monsters. The reason he was referred to as Dracula was that it literally means "Son of Dracul." Tepes's father, Vlad II Dracul, was known as "Vlad the Dragon" but the word Dracul had two meanings at the time: it could mean both "dragon" and "devil." Referring to Tepes as Dracula means acknowledging him as "the son of Dracul" as well as "the child of the devil." All this was explained by Kazuya and is backed up by real historical records.
Elizabeth Bathory, Countess of Blood
Urado was inspired not only by Dracula's story but also by Elizabeth Bathory, a Hungarian Countess who died in 1614. She was so obsessed with staying young that she murdered young women and bathed in their blood. During her reign as Countess, she murdered over 600 girls. Urado's methods and ambitions were heavily influenced by Dracula and the Countess.
The bathtubs filled with blood are the most obvious references to these historical figures. There's also a distorted image of Urado's ghost, who had transformed into a monster, soaking in one of these bloody bathtubs. Urado was inspired by these stories and decided to regain his youth using the same methods. Even over a century after Urado had died, he kept killing people in hopes of living as a young person again.