Based on the novels by the same name, Ghost Hunt takes us into the world of Mai Taniyama a 15-year old orphaned student, who under special circumstances is allowed to work sometimes during school to pay her tuition fees.
The story really begins when Mai meets Kazuya Shibuya (nicknamed Naru by our heroine due to his Narcissistic personality), a boy-genius who heads up a group called SPR (Shibuya Psychic Research) delving into and investigating all things that go bump in the night.
When Mai accidentally breaks a very expensive camera belonging to Kazuya and injuring his assistant Mai ends up filling in.
The mangas progress in small arcs, each telling a new and exciting story about Mai and Naruâ€™s investigations as part of SPR. Whilst this is happening the main characters personalities and back stories are developed nicely allowing for inventive plot twists and relationship building.
The main relationship between Mai and Naru is subtle and progresses nicely, itâ€™s not enough to consume the story and put male readers off, but it grows enough to show that there is some kind of bond developing between the two.
Art wise, this manga starts out completely average. The art is bearable but isnâ€™t that attractive, the heroine Mai isnâ€™t going to have guys swooning and our protagonist Naru probably isnâ€™t going to get as many fan girls as his bishonen competition. However as the series progresses so does Shihoâ€™s art (to an impressive degree) by about 6/7 volumes in the art compliments the engaging story nicely.
The first volume uses a simple but effective story to introduce us to the main characters and set the tone of the series.
The stories always manage to maintain an air of mystery each story completely different to the one before, most involving a different paranormal event each time.
Because the story is told through the eyes of Mai, a newbie to the paranormal field; most of the phrases and phenomena that occur are explained to us using terms that we understand. Whilst this is important and helps us to fully understand the story and what has happened, the explanations are often long and sometimes tedious.
However if you like mystery/ detective novels and can deal with the long explanations, which are dotted throughout the story then this is the series for you.
Story – 7/10 – I would love to give it a higher score as it is one of my favourite mangaâ€™s, but the lack of a proper continuous storyline hinders this. The characters and their backgrounds are a constant addition to the manga and keep the arcs linked. I will say that apart from the occasional side story investigation, so far all of the cases have been extremely interesting and atmospheric. As mentioned above another small let down in the story telling is the long drawn out explanations that are given to Mai and us every time a paranormal situation crops up.
Characters – 6/10 – Again I love all the characters but I am not going to let my biased opinion effect my review. Whilst engaging and the main two characters are developed rather nicely. Some of the other main characters are left to the side lines really and the stories heroine is one of those female characters that is known to annoy many, with her ditzy but feisty personality.
Art – 5/10 – 8/10 – I have given the art 2 overall scores as with this series I really think it is needed. As of volumes 1-6 the art isnâ€™t anything special, it manages to be average but slightly dull at times. From volume 7 on it is as if it is drawn by another artist, but it is not Shiho just improves drastically. From then on the art is pretty and eye-catching and helps the story nicely.