Freshman [1990]

The title of the comedy-adventure Ghost Stories (broadcast, 2000) was originally Gakkou no Kaidan: "Ghost Stories in School." When Satsuki moves to a new neighborhood with her widowed father and little brother Keichiro, she learns that ghosts infest the abandoned school next to the one she attends. Satsuki saves herself, her brother, and her new friends, Hajime, Leo, and Momoko, from the ghosts with the help of an old spell book of her mother's--but not before a powerful spirit possesses the family cat. The translation is very self-consciously hip, with the characters taking cheap shots at Hollywood stars, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Scientology. Nerdy "psychical researcher" Leo is supposed to be Jewish, while Momoko is an obnoxious, born-again Christian--two "types" not usually encountered in anime. Although the storylines overlap somewhat, Ghost Stories lacks the good-natured slapstick of Haunted Junction. (Rated TV PG, suitable for ages 15 and older: violence, toilet humor, ethnic stereotypes) --Charles Solomon

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