Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Ghost Hound: The Complete Collection

Ghost Hound: The Complete CollectionAnime studio Production I.G. is one of Japan's premiere anime studios. Known for their work on series and films such as the "Ghost in the Shell" films, "Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade", "Evangelion: Death and Rebirth" and "The End of Evangelion", "Blue Seed", "FLCL", "xxxHolic" to name a few, the studio is known for their animation quality, exquisite art backgrounds and their work is known worldwide.

Masamune Shirow is also known worldwide as his manga works "Ghost in the Shell", "Appleseed", "Black Magic M-66', "Dominion Tank Police", to name a few, have received an anime adaptation and also hailed by fans for the intelligent and creative writing that is involved with his work.

And both Production I.G. and Shirow have had a wonderful collaboration especially with the success of the "Ghost in the Shell" animated films and the TV series "Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex".

So, in 2007, when Production I.G. celebrated their 20th Anniversary in 2007, the studio collaborated with Shirow again for a series known as "Shinreigari/Ghost Hound". A dark, unsettling, humorous and addicting series which premiered on Japan's WOWOW at 11:30 p.m.

As Shirow provided the original concept and design (which he did back in 1987), Production I.G. took the concept and design and the series was well received in Japan.

Ryutaro Nakamura ("Legends of Crystania", "Kino's Journey", "Sakura Wars") directed the series, while Chiaki J. Konaka ("Eureka Seven", Kino's Travels", "Armitage III", "Air Gear") provided the screenplay. Character design is by Mariko Oka ("Hell Girl"), art direction is by Hiromasa Ogura ("Appleseed", "Ghost in the Shell" movies, "Last Exile", "Samurai 7') and music is by TENG.


"Ghost Hound" is presented in 1080i High Definition (note: There was an error on the packaging that mentions the anime series in 1080p but it is in fact 1080i). Production I.G. literally went all out in making sure their 20th anniversary anime series looks incredible. The artistic backgrounds are just amazingly detailed and it's quite obvious that it was a priority to capture the look and feel of the mountainous region and the town of Suiten by making sure each background scenery looked amazing, especially the detail on the buildings. Animation was also well done and in many ways, character designer Mariko Oka's work on "Hell Girl" is quite apparent in the look and feel of the characters.

As for the picture quality, I did notice some jaggies at times but aside from that, I felt that "Ghost Hound" looks very good in HD. Granted, it's before my usual feeling that Blu-ray series look better after 2008, but this 2007 anime series looks great. Blacks are nice and deep, colors are vibrant and for the most part, fans of the series will notice how much more detail there is in "Ghost Hound" compared to the original DVD release. Also, it is important to note that this is a TV series and not a film and typically, I don't expect too much from PQ in a TV series compared to an OVA or a film but Production I.G. has done a wonderful job with this series.


"Ghost Hound Complete Collection" sounds fantastic in lossless audio. Presented in English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, this series is probably the first non-action anime series that didn't involve massive battles or action sequences in which the audio sounds spectacular and actually enhances the dark and brooding feel of the anime series.

The first episode alone shows you how the anime series really takes advantage of the soundscape by making various sounds such as light flickering, bugs flying around to the screams of a person and literally, there were times when I was watching this and the sounds really made this series creepy. Well-done!

As for my preference between the English dub and original Japanese voice acting. I watched the series with both English and Japanese dialogue and enjoyed both. Granted, the only thing about the English dub is that Makoto does have a lower, much more manlier voice for a young teenager at times. But in a way, I did enjoy the English voice acting for this series and felt that the ADR on the American did a great job on casting for this series. Japanese voice acting was of course awesome and the seiyuu's did a fantastic job capturing the more emotional moments of the series.

Subtitles are provided in English.


"Ghost Hound Complete Collection" comes with the textless opening and closing themes.


I have to admit that I have a personal bias towards Masamune Shirow works. Ever since I first read his manga series "Orion", I have been hooked on his works because not only are they intelligently written, Shirow knows how to add layers to his characters and is very good at character development. But although he only provided the overall concept, credit has to go to Production I.G. for going all out in creating this TV series. Granted, it's a series to celebrate Production I.G.'s 20th anniversary but you can't help but appreciate how much went into the series story-wise, animation wise, artistic backgrounds and audio.

I guess my overall impression after watching "Ghost Hound Complete Collection" is that this is the first TV anime series on Blu-ray that I absolutely loved. Not only was I hooked and could not stop watching, it was a series that just captivated me from beginning to end. There are way too many anime TV series on Blu-ray that have too many filler episodes or storylines that are primarily episode-based and most often at times, series in which the storyline picks up at the second half. For "Ghost Hound", it's an engrossing anime series from beginning to end.

Sure, I still have some questions that relate to certain characters or even some plotlines (especially the ominous black figure) but I was still content with the overall series. As for the Blu-ray release, I know there are some people who are going to be upset that this is not a 1080p release but a 1080i release. Also, that the series does not come with many special features but the textless opening and closing themes. Personally, when a series only have these two to give for special features, sometimes I just hope they can include audio commentary and it would have been nice if there audio commentary included. But I suppose that is me being picky and wanting to see more special features on anime on BD especially for a 20th anniversary project from Production I.G., if anything, I was expecting some time of featurette or the making of the series.

Overall, for those wanting an anime series on Blu-ray that features a fantastic storyline, great character development, animation and background art, awesome loss audio and more..."Ghost Hound Complete Collection" is highly recommended!

Ghost Hound is one of those animes that really plays with your mind. The itial story grows out of a kidnapping that happened quite a while from when we start, with one of our main three characters seeing his sister die and not being a ble to recall exactly wghat she said at her moment of passing. To make matters more bizarre, he sees his kidnapper as this dark brooding figure and not as a man. This has kept him from sleeping and from wanting to dream because it reminds him of a failure in the past. Two more characters are added and then the story gets really odd because it talks about the reasons why some of these things could have happened, why the person looks the way he looks, and several oddities. At first I didn't see the connection in all of it ut, slowly, it all came together beautifully.

As far as anime sometimes goes, you really don't get quality like this. Just the oddity itself reminds me of somethings that a Boogiepop Phantom had and other things that even odder anime series had, but that isn't all. The show also has a way of drwing people in, sometimes seeing like an weird dream and sometime looking tangible, making for a good layered beast that is really connective when you get down to it.

It does use a lot of heavy concepts in it, too, with the brain being one of its focal points. A lot of the stuff it covers sounds like Psychology 101,102 in some college classes, plus it deals with out-of-body experiences, curses, and a lot of other things. It seemed like a mixture of the modern and the older traditional world, coming together for something remarkable.

I really found it interesting.

If you have time to devote to this and want something that is consuming, you should check this out. It isn't one of those series where you can miss pieces you have to watch the whole beast develop. If you do this it is worth its weight and then some, too, making for one of the better experiences that I have had on this front in a while.

Buy Ghost Hound: The Complete Collection Now

I originally watched this series on Netflix, and couldn't stop watching it. After it was taken off of Netflix, I checked, and it is not there either; I decided that I needed to purchase this great series.


The audio is pretty good; I have a 5.1 surround system, and the audio is done well.

Video Quality

The quality is also very good, nothing out of this world, but good nonetheless.


This is the main reason to get this series. The story combines three (and ultimately a fourth) protagonists who have each had some kind of traumatic experience in their past. They eventually discover how to have Out-of-body Experiences at will (OBE), and they proceed to explore the spirit realm, and try to get over their troubled pasts.

Each episode has a theme, usually based on some sort of psychological issue/concept, and the portion of the story usually has something to do with the overall theme. The story overall is pretty dark, it has to do with death, suicide, and other pretty adult themes. Each episode is entertaining, and covers a lot of different topics in psychology that I personally have never heard of, so I feel like I was learning something new, while at the same time being told a very engaging story that explores the specific topics.

It's definitely a very unique anime series, and you just want to keep watching it until the end. I really wish this was still on Netflix, because it is now quite expensive (I paid $52 for it, which I thought was pretty steep, and now it's over $80 new at the time of this review, but third party sellers are still selling it new for around what I paid for it), so readers of this review will not be able to preview the series before shelling out quite a bit. Personally, I think this series is worth $50, but I was able to use credit card reward points to get it for free; I definitely loved the series enough to spend most of my rewards on this, because I really don't want to lose access to this.

If you have some Amazon gift cards or credit card rewards, love deep concepts, dark anime, and supernatural themes, this series is a great one to own. If you have any chance to watch it before purchasing, I would advise you to do so, but if not, I don't think you will regret the purchase if you anything I've said in this review appeals to you.

Read Best Reviews of Ghost Hound: The Complete Collection Here

I love animes that make you think. It's not a lot of action so don't buy expecting Bleach. It's more psychological. Creepy, great animation. Actually suspenseful for once. Other recommendations along this note: Another, Death Note, Mirai Nikki, Monster, Shiki, Serial Experiments: Lain (probably too confusing for some), Mushishi, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. I am constantly on the hunt to find animes that give me the same feeling Ghost Hound did. One of my top picks. This is worth owning as it's worth rewatching.

Want Ghost Hound: The Complete Collection Discount?

This is becoming perhaps one of my favorite anime series. Everything about it draws you into its world, from the drawing style, the intricate story line and characters, to the merger of philosophy, modern findings within neuroscience (think Phantoms in the Brain), the notion of Biocentrism, to its use of Japanese style horror. And that's just for starters. Everything is here to ponder in a medium that, for lack of a better phrase, feels like utter perfection.

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