"Ghost Stories" Vol. 1: It's Okay If You're a Muslim, a Christian, or a Jew...

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Chad Bonin

a.k.a. Knux Five
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Satsuki's the new girl in a new town, one with an inhabited, good school right next to a deserted and haunted one. When she, her potentially retarded brother, the Jew, the stud, and the born-again Christian chick accidentally go into the wrong school, they get wrapped up in a world of ghastly evils. Can Satsuki and the gang stop the spirits being awakened by local construction, or will they just follow Satsuki's grandfather's advice and move to Vegas?

<a href="http://news.toonzone.net/images/2005-09/ghoststoriesdvd.jpg"><img src="http://news.toonzone.net/images/2005-09/t-ghoststoriesdvd.jpg" border="0" align="right"></a>I love controversies (see:the fact that people hate the Naruto dub without hearing it and the fact that a mess of episodes have been skipped/cut/combined in the One Piece adaptation, among others). Ghost Stories is, by all accounts, a rather boring series in Japan. So it's kind of confusing to me why ADV would pick it up, outside of hearing that it's made by Aniplex, the people behind the immensely popular Fullmetal Alchemist.

But I shouldn't have worried. The dubbing crew decided to take the Duel Masters Season 2 route with the series, forgoing a direct dub in favor of completely changed, supposedly ad-libbed lines.

The cast of the show boils down to the tough older sister who wants a bigger chest, the little brother who wets his pants and eventually becomes nonsensical when talking, the manly stud who wants to fondle the aforementioned bigger chest one day, the blatantly Jewish nerd with a penchant for psychic studies, and the born-again Christian that falls in the "hot, but too damn religious for me" category. Add in a snarky black cat possessed by a pissed-off demon, and you've got a bizarre little cast (in English).

On their first day of class, the gang is unintentionally united sneaking into the deserted school. Running around in bad Scooby-Doo fashion, they accidentally find a link to Satsuki's mom, her diary, and a way to contain a newly-released demon who is on their tails. While the mom's diary should be explained later, we're given a reason why the pet cat is now threatening their lives: once they exorcised the demon, his spirit went into the closest container, the cat that showed up the day of Satsuki's mother's funeral.

Following that, the toilets attack. No, seriously. And afterwards, a play becomes too real for the cast. See, I know you've already lost interest in the plot. I did, and the dub jokes in the show quickly overwhelmed any interest in what was going on.

I'll be frank; if you're easily offended, stay away. This is the first anime I've ever seen with references to "Jews for Jesus" and Scientology. Some of the stuff is incredibly hilarious no matter how offensive, especially the whole sidetrack about how all principals look like lesbians. The greatest laugh-out-loud moments come from the teachers, and they include, "I shoulda just pissed in the break room sink. Nobody woulda noticed," and "All right class, open your books to page whatever."

The humor seems to come slow in the first episode, but once it hits, it manages to stay consistently funny. It's not like Family Guy where you'll be dying of laughter every second. This is most likely due to the fact the VAs aren't comedians, and what is funny to them may not be funny to you. The premise of the dub and the controversy surrounding it make me want to see some more, much more than I would have wanted to from a straight translation.
 

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