Anime Meta-Review


Haunted Junction


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Title Info

  • seen: 1-12 of 12
  • type: TV
  • grade: watchable
  • source: Bandai
  • form: sub
  • made: unknown
  • Review created: Wed Jun 13 12:01:46 EST 2001
  • mod: Mon Jun 25 14:57:54 EST 2001

Could it be that this anime is the origin of the late night, risque, 13 episode adult oriented series? Admittedly it's only 12 episodes long because, as I hear, it didn't rate that well but even so it was an interesting example of a now standard practice.


Saito High has a major, but somewhat unusual, ghost problem. In fact it is not only literally over-run by ghosts, with 7 mysterious wonders in the school pool alone, but it is also run by ghosts. The head of the school being a spirit himself, complete with an open door to the spirit realm in his very own office. As such the school is also a haven for ghosts, a focus of spiritual power, and the site for the principles collection of occult and haunted objects from all over Japan. One wonders how the normal students survive.

However we never really get to find out, because the three students we get introduced are anything but normal themselves. They're the holy student council, and they're the ones who end up getting dragged in when evil spirits, or the principals latest acquisition, are on the loose. They comprise a Christian ministers son, the marginal leader and most dedicated member, a Buddhist priests son, who's prone to possession, and a Shinto priests daughter who can do a mean but overly physical exorcism. With the assistance of the 7 school spirits, who are characters in their own right, they'll eventually solve even the most serious problem.


Not that they meet many serious problems, because this is firmly on the comic edge of the spectrum. And while it appears that a touch of `spooky' horror was intended it never really gets too far. And it vanishes from the series as the humor and `risque' bits grow in focus. At the same time, while the comedy is alright the attempt to get an `adult' angle on what is essentially fairly simple humor ends up giving a strange feeling to the show. It's as if they've set the stage to be daring, and weird, but haven't quite been able to capitalise on it.

What risque elements are there? Well, lets begin with the lead characters. The Buddhist priests son, who of course dresses in Buddhist robes himself, is consumed with lust for any pretty woman he spies, and boundless lust for one of the school spirits. Meanwhile the Shinto priests daughter, who again wears robes, has a shouta complex and lusts after any 12 year old boy she sees...including one of the school spirits. Meanwhile there's a bishounen male spirit who entrances females and a scantily clad female spirit who does the same to males. It doesn't get explicit, but the combination of religion and lust will offend some...and sadly it probably won't entertain that many. It's not clever enough, or explicit enough for the hentai among us, to justify such an exotic basis.

The biggest mystery of the whole show, however, is the fascination with toilets. There's lots of Japanese folklore references, some quite obscure, in the show but this one is just weird. It seems that well proportioned and scantily clad female toilet spirits are a part of Japanese folklore. I don't even want to think about what this means, or how it originated, but I must admit to being officially weirded out.

Other than that there's another 5 school spirits apart from the two toilet spirits. One is a pair of comedy relief, The principal himself who's an expert on the occult, a young boy who's incredibly knowledgeable, a giant who provides `physical' solutions to problems and a girl who lives in mirrors and ends up having a very marginal role. They're characters in their own right, and can also be summoned by the priests son (since Christianity doesn't have cool occult powers like Shinto and Buddhism) for assistance.

The stories themselves are quite varied. There's lost spirits, evil spirits and challengers to the school spirits themselves. Including two fan service filled episodes where there's a challenge for the position of toilet spirit. The stories tend to be energetic, and have some relatively amusing humor and visual jokes. But really, as I've hinted, it's not really funny enough to be a classic, especially since the humor is quite simple in nature. The risque elements are also not really sufficient in themselves, and don't mesh with the story. It's just not too subtle, and it becomes even less subtle as the show continues. It's quite watchable, but I doubt many will treasure or want to own this.

The series reachs a somewhat hasty (apparently they had plans for more) but reasonably satisfying conclusion in the last two episodes. It's noticeable in that it's far more serious and dark than the rest of the series, although the humor is still present even in the darkest times. It's also clever in that while it gets a bit darker in tone it stays clear of cheap theatrics and conveys its power through some nice character insights and story elements. It actually works quite well, explaining the principals motives even without actually having much support in the preceeding stories.

Part of the reason for the general lack of enthusiasm is that the animation is nothing special. The character drawings are reasonable but variable, at times looking good and at others very much simplified. And when they go super-deformed, which happens quite often, they appear even cruder. Backgrounds are generally simple, effects are minimal and action is often dramatically simplified. The attempts to do physical humor often lack a certain amount of affect as a result. Likewise the simple characters, and average writing, reduce a lot of the verbal humor. It's not that bad, and sufficient for the story, but it is unlikely to impress. The voices were alright but lacked personality and the music was minimal.

Other Reviews

  • Akemi's AnimeWorld review A good, and largely positive, review from Akemi. It found the weirdness inherent in the design enough to make up for some degree of simplicity in the writing. It's a long and detailed review well worth checking out, and the summary is accurate and succinct, "Very weird, very silly, mostly very funny", (3/5).
  • Anime Review review A long and excellent review from the Anime Review with some good points, solid summary and a very fair analysis. It found it to be amusing, liked the serious conclusion and thought that having a relatively `normal' lead was a saving grace. At the same time commenting that the humor and animation does have some limitations.
  • The Anime Critic review Goodness, another solid and perceptive review which also happens to be the most positive one so far. Incidentally it explains why their are good reviews for this title, it seems there's been a `budget' release of the title in America in addition to the original 2 episode per tape release I found. The review is positive, he clearly enjoyed it, but he also mentions that the length is an advantage. Long enough to explore the weirdness but not so long that it starts to dull (4.5/5).
  • Lord Carnage review A relatively short, compared to some of the others, review but very positive. It doesn't come as much of a surprise, to me anyway, to find that the weird foundation, energetic humor and anime in-jokes and self-references appeal to Lord Carnage's sense of humor. He also like seeing a female hentai in an anime series (4/5).


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:19 WST 2009