When you have the director of Serial Experiment Lain working on this piece of work, as well as the character design of Jigoku Shoujo and the animation prowess of Production I.G, it almost seems obvious that the mix will be rather brilliant. Ghost Hound’s first episode presents us with the male protagonist, a boy who is able to dream travel and see things that are faraway from him. He seems to be haunted by a kidnapping that occurred 11 years ago, and still cannot let it go after seeing a disturbing vision.
What is this show about? Read on to find out!
A vision of trees and a child appeared, with a fly lingering around the lips of the unmoving child. As a pair of eyes seemed to voyeur around the area, it came to sight with a girl who could see the eyes. Eventually, reality was snapped open when Komori woke up. Komori started to record them the vision, as he got ready to go to school. As he walked around, he talked to a woman about fermenting wine and noticed about the perfume that she put on while preparing the wine. She praised him for his keen sense of smell. During dinner, Komori discussed a little about the wine and school with his parents, but it seemed that their relationship was not the closest.
Komori was tired as he did not get enough sleep, as the students noted Ogami, a male student that did not come to school for a while. In class, Komori dozed off as he went into dream travel, seeing some visions of two children who looked abandoned on two desolate beds. As he tried to run away and wonder if it was a dream, one of the boys met his sight. Komori finally woke up, sweating profusely. When it was recess time, a transfer student called Nakajima went to talk to Komori, and disturbed him with random chatter, before inviting Komori to come to his place once in a while to tell him interesting stuff.
Komori was called to the principle’s office, and he was introduced to a new therapist. The therapist asked him how he was feeling, and his ability to dream travel. Komori told him that he recorded what he saw, and the therapist added he would like to listen to what Komori recited. The therapist asked about the effects on the events 11 years ago, only for Komori to look extremely disturbed and shaken. Ogami was also bugged by Nakajima about that event, only for Ogami to shove him aside. Komori asked the therapist whether he would do any hypnosis, but the therapist said hypnosis tended to create a form of falsity to convince the human subconsciously and mentioned about selective memory. In the farm trail, a girl (same one Komori saw) looked at an apparition of a spirit, only for Komori to appear. As he got close, the girl mysteriously left, leaving Komori confused.
Whenever Production I.G is involved in an anime, special mention must be made first about the graphics of the show. The first episode of ghost hound, as expected from Production I.G, is definitely a piece of art. The ability to weave wonderful and beautiful images from the background is one of the animation team’s strengths and it does not fail in that aspect. In terms of character design, I am somewhat on the fence since it seems somewhat familiar with the Jigoku Shoujo art style. I am not a crazily huge fanboy of that art form, but it will suffice.
On the story inside, I saw very little to show the direction of the show. It seems to be establishing the environment of the area, a desolate and idle rural town that does not look at all exciting. However, it seems that a huge event involving the kidnapping of two children 11 years ago had struck a core to some of the children here. The mention of the event and the repercussions was the starting block of what is to come. I do wonder how they will approach the story currently, but I find that the character profile is decent but bland.
We have been introduced to probably most of the main characters now. Komori, a boy who can dream travel and see visions. Ogami, a boy who continues to be haunted by the events of the past. Miyako (I think that’s her name), a girl who can somehow see spirits and saw Komori when he traveled in his dreams. Takajima, the transfer student who seemed a bit too friendly by all means. These four characters, especially Miyako, is a mysterious mix of people binded by the past event. I am wondering how they acquire their powers, and how they could see apparitions and spirits.
On the plot itself, nothing seems to be happening and it can be a bit boring at times while watching this episode. However, it is clear that this show is making a slow start, and provides a background to the overall feel of the town. I must add now that this show is clearly not for everyone, and it might be a slow show for the next 2 or 3 episodes. Nevertheless, the many splash shots of the past event (the kidnapping) makes me wonder how this will affect the main protagonists.
The music is wonderful. I am surprised as this is the first anime that I bother to listen the ED, that says quite a bit about it. I like how there is this wistful feel to it, but considering my lack of ability to decipher the lyrics, I cannot tell more. Anyway, if you ask me whether Ghost Hound deserves all the hype I gave it, probably no. However, if you ask me whether it will fulfill the hype in the future, my answer is still yes. Go watch it and tell me how you feel, ok?