Reviews: Ghost Hound and Shion no Ou

Since I was watching these two around the same time, I think I’ll attempt them together too. To be honest, I thought that this particular season (Autumn 2007) wasn’t particularly interesting, but I have to say that these two were actually pretty good for the most part – though I’ve kept one and not the other…

The only other time I’ve written of GHOST HOUND (summary) is here, waaaaay back at the start of that season. Whlist it never quite became my first priority (I think Gundam 00 was at that stage), it generally remained high on my interest rating. It’s actually a bit of an odd and somewhat creepy premise. Suiten, a small town in Kyushu, is famous for an unsolved abduction that resulted in the death of a young girl. Years later, even after her younger brother has entered high school, her family has yet to fully recover from the trauma, whilst the family of the main suspect – who passed away – is also torn apart, leaving a resentful son. When a transfer student pokes his nose into their lives, the three boys begin to have supernatural experiences that eventually lead them to unexpected connections and answers.

Story-wise, this was probably one of the more unconventional titles of the year. Just like one might expect from an unsolved mystery, it isn’t really fully explained, although the main suspect is cleared of it. However, the three boys’ investigations also lead them to find the sinister religious organisation behind the abductions and their actions upon this discovery lead to the creation of a bond of friendship that echoes one of their parents’ generation. Perhaps that is one of the main messages of the story: that relationships are things that people create and maintain through common experiences. But I think I appreciate it for being something different. 8/10

p.s. the reason I’ve kept it, however, is perhaps a little strange…it was for the dialect (^^)

Similary, Shion no Ou (summary) was another series that held my interest through some very interesting plot developments, although this one is perhaps far more straightforward (with what I think is an incredibly unbelievable villain). And I’ll admit it, initially, I was just fishing around for another series with Matsukaze Masaya in it (^^;). Anways, Shion’s parents were murdered in front of her eyes when she was a child, leaving her behind as a mute witness gripping a bloodied "king" shogi piece, along with several other strange pieces of evidence. Years later, when Shion rises in prominence in the Shogi world, the killer once again makes his presence felt.

It’ll be hard to talk about this one without giving away the murderer (if this post didn’t already do it anyway). so I won’t. The first few episodes were indeed somewhat of a drag (trust me, a mute main character really isn’t all that interesting, and unlike with Hikaru no Go, I don’t actually know how to play shogi), but from about episode 10, things really picked up. This actually resulted in the ending being something of a letdown for me. Perhaps it’s because I know that the manga still continues whilst the anime made the murder mystery the whole point of the series. It just feels like it’s going on too long, like Hikaru no Go did after volume 17. 7.5/10

About karice
MAG fan, translator, and localization project manager. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

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