Ghost Stories anime (School Ghost Stories), also known as Ghosts at School, is a Japanese anime series comprising the 20-episode. It was created in 2000 by Pierrot and Aniplex for Fuji Television. The anime show is based on a book series by T?ru Tsunemitsu. However, the anime turned out to be an absolute flop on Japanese TV. The failure of the show made Animax approach ADV Films to create the Ghost Stories English dub.
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Background Of The Funny Dubbing
At the time of the contract signing, Animax did not expect the series to gain immense popularity in the American market. Animax was under dire financial pressure. Hence, at the time of signing the contract, it gave extended creative freedom to ADV Films. In this post, we will discuss how Ghost Stories Anime turned out to be a hilarious gag. Let’s start!
The Plot of The Ghost Stories Anime
The original plot of the Ghost Stories anime was decent. It tells the story of Satsuki Miyanoshita. She moves to the hometown of her deceased mother. On the very first day, she visits an abandoned school building. She was accompanied by Keiichirou, Hajime Aoyama, Momoko Koigakubo, and Leo Kakinoki. They discover that the building is haunted. A cat named Kaya with a mysterious spirit inside her also moves with the four friends.
Soon it gets revealed that Satsuki’s mother was the one who sealed several ghosts. They were haunting the school and the town. As urbanization began in the surrounding area, the spirits are released in the city. However, Satsuki’s mother left behind a book. It had the details on how the ghosts can be exorcised once and for all.
Satsuki faces a demon named Amanojaku in the first place. However, Amanojaku is sealed within Satsuki’s pet cat, Kaya. In the beginning, Amanojaku does not want to help Satsuki. The hovering fear of the ghosts in the town made Satsuki, her friends, and Amanojaku stop the ghosts. Finally, they are able to exorcise the ghost at the end of Ghost Stories anime.
ADV Dub of The Original Anime Script
ADV Films announced a North American DVD release of Ghost Stories on the weekend of 19 August 2005. The dubbing of the original Japanese audio and literal subtitle translation is also included in the ADV version. Later, it released Volume 1 on 22 October 2005.
Again, on 28 August 2013, Discotek Media announced the acquisition of the series license. The decision time for the release of Ghost Stories anime’s new version was 2014. The new version rolled out with the ADV dub and the Japanese audio with English subtitles. The full series was launched on a three-disc set on 25 March 2014.
Terms and Conditions from Animax For ADV Films to Dub the Show
Talking about the terms and conditions of dubbing, there were not many. The financial strain on Animax made it give extended creative freedom to the ADV Films. There were only a few rules to ADV Files to dub the original Japanese horror anime Ghost Stories. However, the main conditions were:
- Making changes to the names of any character, including the ghosts, was restricted.
- The way that ghosts are killed should remain the same.
- After abundant creative freedom, the meaning of the episode should not be changed.
- Above all, Animax included a desperate plea that states, “Do whatever else you want to make the show successful.”
However, Animax was clueless about what they’d signed themselves up for.
Main Highlights of The Dubbing
The dub significantly deviated from the original script. The original script had a deep and horrifying impression. Contrarily, the new version was less serious and weird. It ran along with the basic plot structure and storyline. The new comically written script had offensive Jokes. They include topical pop-culture references, politically incorrect jokes about race, religion, and sexuality.
Furthermore, the low animation quality of the anime was also targeted now and then in the ADV Film version of Ghost Stories anime. In the beginning, the dubbed version of the anime didn’t go well with anime lovers. Yet, it has created a new cult following over time. Steven Foster was the original English scriptwriter of ADV Films. Despite that, most of the dialogs were ad-libbed by the English voice actors.
Tempering Of The Characters
The Animax plea “do whatever you want” somehow triggered ADV Films to take its literal meaning, and they did the same. They transfigure the script from a serious bent to a funny, weird, and offensive script adding undesired sexuality. The protagonist, Satsuki, drops F-bombs and is always concerned about her bra cups. His little brother has a learning disability and turns hysterical. In this situation, only her sister is able to interpret what he is saying. Besides, the love interest of the Satsuki is super arrogant with a sexually offensive sense of humor. The dubbing makes the lead characters look ethically fallen.
Mocking Of The Poor Ghost Stories Anime Quality
ADV Films ridiculed everything in the anime, including the characters and the low anime quality. In the seventh episode of Ghost Stories anime, the voice artists use a plot point “soul-stealing mirror.’ It was used to indicate how frequently the characters go off-model. Furthermore, another offending conversation between the characters goes as below:
Satsuki: What’s going on? What happened to my leg?
Kayako: And your father thinks it’s always cute to cross his eyes in pictures — SEE!? Look, he did it there!
Satsuki: Oh, damn anime! Look into my eyes!
Frequent Fourth Wall Breaks
The dubbed Ghost Stories anime was very unusual and one of its kind. There are frequent fourth wall breaks in the show. The writer never hesitated to let the viewer know what’s forthcoming in a hilarious manner. For instance, the exchange of the words in episode five goes like:
Leo: I mean, have you heard about the sports festival?
Hajime: Yes, the sports festival. That’s what this whole episode is about
Weird End Credit Song
The end credit song “I miss you, I miss you, I need you, I need you… SEXY SEXY!” is too weird for the anime for the children. However, the inappropriate end credits song was created for the Japanese version. Later, translated for the American audiences.
The Ghost Stories Anime dubbed version didn’t go well in the first place. However, the show was one of a kind and will likely never be replicated. What’s your opinion about the Japanese horror Ghost Stories anime? If you want more exciting posts, a regular following of our blog page can help.