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Ghost Stories: 10 Things You Didn't Know About The Anime's English Dub
The Ghost Stories dub has become a cult classic thanks to its hilariously satirical tone. Here's what fans might not know about its creation.
The combination of anime and comedy is a match that had been made in heaven a long time ago. Almost every mainstream anime series featuring hilarity in some form or the other. However, some shows truly go above and beyond when it comes to delivering a comedic masterpiece. The anime series Ghost Stories is a great example.
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People who watched this series in Japanese will definitely be confused by the satirical tone of the English dub, which is simply bizarre in every sense of the word. The entire script changed, making the show feel more like an Abridged series. The background of this show's infamous English dub is the stuff of legends, with the following pieces of trivia being particularly notable.
10 The Anime Was A Massive Failure In Japan
Ghost Stories might be a cult classic in the West, but that's solely due to the eccentric nature of its dub. The story seems fairly unremarkable on first viewing. Most of the Japanese audience apparently echoed this sentiment, as the series bombed.
Ghost Stories was a massive failure in Japan. In fact, it's quite remarkable that this series managed to secure a dub at all after its lackadaisical performance. In fact, the Japanese airing was so unsuccessful that...
9 Animax Gave Almost Full Creative Freedom To ADV Films
ADV Films — the studio behind the dubs for popular shows like Neon Genesis Evangelion and Elfen Lied — dubbed the failure that was Ghost Stories . Animax was so displeased by the performance of Ghost Stories in Japan that when they gave these rights, they placed almost no creative restrictions when it came to the dub.
They only had two guidelines when producing the dub. The names of the characters should remain the same , and the manner in which ghosts are defeated shouldn't be tampered with. Aside from that, everything was fair game.
8 Animax Pleaded With ADV Films For The Series' Success
Animax was quite desperate to turn Ghost Stories into a hit in the West. It clarified this fact quite clearly with ADV Films when the latter gained the rights to the dub.
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Aside from the two guidelines mentioned above, Animax also mentioned a third point. They wanted ADV Films to do everything in their power to turn Ghost Stories into something entertaining. The cast was more than enthused at this point, but the real turning point of this dub is detailed in the next entry.
7 Steven Foster Lit The Fire That Led To This Legendary Dub
The director of the dub, Steven Foster, was incredibly happy to hear about the nature of Ghost Stories ' localization. Since his studio pretty much had free reign over the script, he decided to create something unique.
This eventually led him to direct one of the most unusual dubs of all time. For one thing, voice actors had a great deal of freedom when deciding on their own lines. Speaking of which...
6 The First Voice Actor To Arrive Got Improvisation Rights
With Foster's vision, the stage was set for Ghost Stories to have a tongue-in-cheek manner of dubbing. In this vein, ADV Films had a rather unique manner of approaching how it went about the dubbing for each given episode.
The tone of the script for each episode was decided by the first voice actor to come to the studio on that day. The other actors would then brainstorm on the script and how it would incorporate this tone into the episode.
5 Almost All The Dialogue Is Ad-Libbed
Given how Ghost Stories didn't have a set script, it goes without saying that a lot of the dialogue in the series is ad-libbed. This is a huge part of what gives the series its unique flavor.
Almost every scene in every episode involves the voice actors exaggerating their personas. They bounce hilarious lines off each other in a bid to make the most meta, side-splittingly hilarious content possible in an anime dub.
4 It's Arguably The Progenitor Of Abridged Anime Series
In the modern anime landscape, the term "abridged" is mainly used in reference to TFS. They popularized this term with their hilarious and legendary Dragon Ball Z Abridged series , which is easily one of the most popular fan-made interpretations of Dragon Ball Z 's story.
However, what most people may not realize is that the concept of an abridged anime series existed long before the golden years of TFS. In fact, Ghost Stories was the first attempt at attempting a hilarious spin on a serious anime story. This makes the dubbed version of this show a landmark achievement in the industry.
3 Audiences Hated The Dub When It Came Out
Of course, not all was sunshine and roses for the Ghost Stories dub when it came out. Most reactionary takes at the time vilified the show for featuring an odd dub that didn't remain faithful to the source material at all.
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It took a while for Ghost Stories to finally find its audience. However, it became a cult classic in the process, and a treat for any fan that wanted to watch a genuinely hilarious anime.
2 Animax Made A More Faithful Dub Later On
Animax did end up giving the go-ahead on a dub that would absolutely butcher the source material. However, they later decided that perhaps a certain group of people would have actually wanted to watch a faithful adaptation of this series .
A few years after the first dub, Animax greenlit a dub that would seriously interpret the events of Ghost Stories. This dub is now so rare that finding a copy of these episodes can prove to be quite a royal pain.
1 Wanting To Incorporate The Infamous Mel Gibson Rant
The Ghost Stories dub was notorious for referencing various events of the time. It turned into an ode to American pop culture in 2004-05. However, people who watch this show will notice that one hilarious moment from this time period doesn't appear in the show: the infamous Mel Gibson rant.
Greg Ayres — the voice of a Jewish character in ADV Films' interpretation of the show — regretted the fact that the Mel Gibson rant happened after production was wrapped up for the dub. Otherwise, this rant would have been a major part of the show's humor.
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From 'Cowboy Bebop' to 'Ghost Stories': Best English-Dubbed Anime Series For Dub Haters
To sub or to dub: that is the question.
The fierce battle between the subs and the dubs has been drawn-out for decades, and quite frankly, it is a battle worth looking into. As South Korean film Parasite (2019)'s director, Bong Joon-ho once said: "Once you overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films," the same postulation applies to anime as well.
Hardcore fans would argue that anime with English subtitles would always be superior to English dubbing due to its Japanese voice acting bearing greater verisimilitude to the characters. Nonetheless, there are quite a number of anime series that arguably boast memorable English dubbings that might even surpass their original Japanese version.
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'Cowboy Bebop' (1998)
Hailed as the paradigm for English dubs, the neo-noir sci-fi adventure series has not only offered audiences an intersperse of genres and music, but a range of noteworthy voice acting performances from the majority of the cast members. Nowadays, not many can picture space cowboy Spike Spiegel without thinking of Steve Blum 's distinctively deep raspy voice.
Set in the year 2071 when humanity is no longer restricted to inhabitance on Earth, Cowboy Bebop (1998) witness the lives of a bounty-hunting crew as they chase after criminals for enticing rewards whilst instinctively seeking ways to break free from their respective pasts.
'Space Dandy' (2014)
Another amazing anime that sees humans exploring the infinite realms of the solar system. Space Dandy (2014) can be described as a space opera where audiences follow the main protagonist, who is a forgetful and pompous alien bounty hunter by the name of Dandy, as he gets caught in a string of romantic, adventurous, and comical circumstances whilst discovering rare aliens.
Whilst the English sub offers a handful of comparatively mature jokes, Space Dandy 's English dubbing proves to be superior in terms of how well-matched the personalities of its English voice acting to the elevated chaotic level displayed in the series. To audiences unfamiliar with the Japanese language, the decorative visuals can be also quite taxing to feast one's eye on when you are preoccupied with following the subtitles.
'Black Butler' (2008-2017)
As the supernatural mystery series takes place in 19th-century Victorian-era England, Black Butler (2008-2017) is one of those rare cases where both anime sub and dub each have unique selling points to offer. The English dubbed version boasting a heterogeneity of English accents can be quite an immersive experience for viewers.
Motivated by vengeance against those who had murdered his parents, Black Butler follows a young earl, Ciel Phantomhive, as he forms a contract with a devil named Sebastian Michaelis, who disguises himself as the earl's butler. Together, they unsurprisingly become a perfect match when it comes to solving one mystery after another.
Baccano! (2007) is a supernatural crime mystery series where matters are made complicated due to its various narratives meeting multiple interweaving plots, the Pulp Fiction (1994) of anime.
Revolving around groups of people comprised of thieves, alchemists, the innocent, and the mafia, their seemingly unconnected paths begin to intersect with one another due to the invention of an immortality elixir. The strong English dubbing by the voice actors is consolidated by the incorporation of authentic New York accents, delivering an American feel that better complements the series' fictionalized setting during the Prohibition era.
'Ghost Stories' (2000-2001)
Like Cowboy Bebop , Ghost Stories (2000-2001) exemplifies great English dubbing of anime, but for reasons, you might not expect.
Following a group of friends dealing with miscellaneous supernatural occurrences in their neighborhood, the original Japanese version adopts a more traditional execution of its horror subject. On the contrary, on the basis that the core story and characters' names remain intact, the English dub has become one legendary adaptation that is ludicrously bombarded with ad-libs, forth-wall breaking, and politically-incorrect jokes that pay no heed to the taboos of religion and the LGBTQ+ community.
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'Death Note' (2006-2007)
Centering around a teenager who discovers a mysterious book that grants him the power of killing anyone whose name is written into it, Death Note (2006-2007) is an outstanding psychological mystery anime that has defined the 2000s. Fans are always eager to be spectators to the moral showdown between the astute anti-hero Light Yagami and the eccentric, sweet-tooth detective L.
There are significant changes when it comes to the sub and dub versions. For instance, while Light sounds more cold-hearted and composed in the Japanese rendition, the English voice acting allows the vigilante to be more emotional and renders his psychotic modes quite an entertaining watch. Nevertheless, each interpretation is outstanding in its style and both deserve viewings for different experiences.
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'Black Lagoon' (2006-2011)
Based on Rei Hiroe 's manga of the same title and produced by Studio Madhouse , this action-adventure anime is a must-watch to fans of badass female characters, torrents of gunfights and bloodshed as well as signature 80s action flick style of sardonic humor.
Taking place in the fictional city of Roanapour, where notorious criminals worldwide gather to make illegal transactions or hide from the legal authorities, the English dubbing of Black Lagoon (2006-2011) feels more naturalistic compared to its Japanese counterpart due to the sundry nationalities highlighted in the series. For instance, Americans, Hispanics, and South-East Asians just to name a few.
'Hetalia' Series (2009-2021)
Speaking of diverse nationalities, Hetalia (2009-2021) is a further example demonstrating how different language dubbing can change the initial tone of the series, sometimes for the better.
In addition to providing lesser-known trivia, Hetalia is best known for utilizing satire and light-hearted comedy in representing different countries and historical events. The English dubbing of the series takes advantage of the instantaneous comedic impact of various accents most audiences are familiar with, going the extra mile with its satirical and tongue-in-cheek spirit, whereas the Japanese dubbing makes you focus more on the original jokes written by the webcomic artist Hidekaz Himaruya .
'Samurai Champloo' (2004)
Samurai Champloo (2004) takes place in a historical Edo period in Japan where samurais, hip-hop, and baseball co-exist. Thus, it's not surprising that its English voice-acting rendition does not alienate, but further enhances the polymorphism of the anime's plotline and cements itself as one of the must-watch English dubbed anime.
Seeing the return of Steve Blum as the young, abrasive and arrogant outlaw Mugen, the English voice acting for the rest of the main cast, the calm ronin Jin and the jovial middlewoman Fuu, are also performed exceptionally by Kirk Thornton and Kari Wahlgren in this action-adventure anime series that explores themes such as the acceptance of death and finding one's individuality.
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'Afro Samurai' (2007)
Written and illustrated by manga artist Takashi Okazaki , Afro Samurai (2007) follows the titular character, voiced by none other than the formidable Hollywood veteran Samuel L.Jackson , on his path to avenge his father who was killed by a gunslinger named Justice.
Having never been voiced in Japanese and possessing a musical soundtrack scored by RZA of renowned hip-hop artist group Wu-Tang Clan , Afro Samurai is rough, tough, and very evidently inspired by American pop culture, which explains the insurmountable level of violence, badassery, and pleasure one derives from the action-adventure samurai epic
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News Crunchyroll Reveals English Dub Casts, Staff for Shy, MF Ghost Anime
The first episode of the Shy English dub will launch on October 16.
The English dub cast are:
- Veronica Laux as S hy
- Bryn Apprill as Iko
- Natalie Rose as Spirit
- Nazeeh Tarsha as Shrimpy
- Molly Searcy as Unilord
- Nia Celeste as Daigo
English dub staff includes:
- ADR Director : Helena Walstrom
- ADR Producer: Samantha Herek
- ADR Script Writer: Hayden Daviau
- ADR Mixer: Gino Palencia
- ADR Engineer: Derric Benavides
The anime debuted in Japan on October 2 on TV Tokyo and other networks. Crunchyroll is streaming the anime as it airs.
Masaomi Andō ( Astra Lost in Space , Scum's Wish , School-Live! ) is directing the series at studio 8-Bit ( Blue Lock , Encouragement of Climb ). Kōsaku Taniguchi is the assistant director, Yasuhiro Nakanishi is writing and overseeing the series scripts, Yūichi Tanaka is the main character designer, and Hinako Tsubakiyama is composing the music.
Yen Press is releasing the manga series in English, and it describes the story:
Earth was on the brink of a third World War when super-powered individuals came forth from each country around the globe, ending the conflict and ushering in a new era of relative peace. Among those heroes, Japan is represented by a timid young girl known as “Shy.” She may spend more time worrying about her own shortcomings than she does battling villains, but she'll show the world that despite it all she still has the heart of a hero!
Miki first published Shy in the Weekly Shōnen Champion magazine as a one-shot manga in January 2017, and then began serializing the manga in the same magazine in August 2019. The manga's 21st compiled book volume shipped in Japan on October 6.
The anime's English dub cast includes:
- Kieran Flitton as Kanata
- Trisha Mellon as Ren
- Larry Brantley as Ogata
- Cory Phillips as Aiba
- Chirs Gardner as Tanaka
- Chris Cason as Joyu
- Taylor Murphy as Wakana
- Phil Parsons as Ren's Dad
- Kate Oxley as Mayuko
- Nicholas Markgraf as Yamashita
Staff for the English dub are:
- ADR Director : Jonathan Rigg
- ADR Script Writer: Clayton Browning
- ADR Mixer: James Baker
- ADR Engineer: Jeremy Woods
The anime premiered on October 1 on the Tokyo MX , BS11 , and RKB Mainichi Broadcasting channel. Crunchyroll is streaming the anime as it airs in Japan.
Tomohito Naka ( Initial D Legend 2: Racer , Initial D Legend 3: Dream , Sword Gai: The Animation ) is directing the anime at his studio Felix Film . Kenichi Yamashita ( Ketsuekigata-kun! , Actually, I Am… ) is in charge of the series scripts, and writing them with Akihiko Inari . Naoyuki Onda ( Mobile Suit Gundam Hathaway , Psycho-Pass 3 ) is designing the characters and serving as one of the chief animation directors with Chiyoko Sakamoto . Hiroki Uchida is the 3D director. Masafumi Mima is directing the sound, and Akio Dobashi ( Initial D: Legend films, Sisters of Wellber , Dance in the Vampire Bund ) is composing the music. Yū Serizawa performs the opening theme song "JUNGLE FIRE feat. MOTSU ," and Himika Akaneya performs the ending theme song "Stereo Sunset (Prod. AmPm )."
The series takes place in the 2020s, when self-driving cars are ubiquitous in Japan. The manga centers on Kanata Livington, a Japanese driver who goes back to Japan after graduating at the top of his class at a racing school in England. The series also focuses on the MFG, a racing circuit on public roads that has garnered attention worldwide.
Shigeno ( Initial D ) launched the MF Ghost manga in Kodansha 's Young Magazine in September 2017. The 18th compiled volume shipped in Japan on October 5. Kodansha Comics and Comixology are publishing the manga in English. The manga went on hiatus in November 2022 due to Shigeno's poor health, but returned on February 20. The manga had gone back on hiatus in April, and returned in June, and started its "final battle."
Source: Crunchyroll ( link 2 ) (Liam Dempsey)
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Best English Dubbed Anime Series on Crunchyroll
By Marla Añonuevo
What are the best English dubbed anime series on Crunchyroll? Some anime fans could argue that the dub is better than the sub with certain series. Here is a guide to some of the best English dubbed anime series on Crunchyroll.
Best English dubbed anime series on Crunchyroll
This series has a cult following, especially because of its backstory. Ghost Stories basically flopped in Japan. When it came to the English dub, the only rules they had to follow were: keeping the character names the same, not changing how the ghosts were eliminated, and keeping the general plot. As a result, the English dub became an inappropriate and vulgar comedy, as if it’s abridged. Most of the script is improvised and a lot of the jokes involve pop culture references and breaking the fourth wall. While some of its content could be deemed offensive today, the series remains a classic must-watch.
The official synopsis reads:
“When nearby construction disturbs a spiritual resting place, it’s disgruntled denizens so what any supernatural being would do after a rude awaking – they terrorize the local school.
And that means it’s up to a scruffy band of young ghost hunters to expel their satanic schoolmates before everyone gets sent to permanent detention! Meet Satsuki, her crybaby brother, the resident class stud, the school nerd and “psychical researcher,” a born again beauty, and a resentful, demon-possessed cat in the funniest, scariest school you’ve ever enrolled in.”
If you’re not a huge fan of dubs, watching Samurai Champloo’s English dub might change your mind. The voice acting flows well with the series and the soundtrack is considered one of the best. The series also mixes hip-hop and traditional elements in an enjoyable way. Shinichiro Watanabe, the director of Cowboy Bebop, also directed this series.
The official synopsis states:
“Mugen is a ferocious, animalistic warrior with a fighting style inspired by break-dancing. Jin is a ronin samurai who wanders the countryside alone. They may not be friends, but their paths continually cross. And when ditzy waitress Fuu gets them out of hot water with the local magistrate, they agree to join her search for the samurai who smells like sunflowers.”
Looking for more English dubbed anime? Check out our guide on the best anime on Netflix with English voices dubbed audio .
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Read Like the Wind
A collection of spooky short fiction by Edith Wharton and a historical nonfiction narrative about a woman who claimed to be haunted.
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By Sadie Stein
We all have our forms of escapism.
Whenever something very difficult has happened in my life, I have taken refuge in ghost stories. In the case of bereavement, the reasons seem clear enough; and maybe in every other case too — the possibility of the unexplainable can be a balm when the world itself feels beyond our understanding. October is designated haunting season, but the uncanny is perennial. There are almost too many ghost stories to choose from — Sarah Waters’s “Affinity, ” Marghanita Laski’s“The Victorian Chaise-Longue” and Virago’s peerless collection of ghost stories have all gotten me through a lot — but your time is valuable, so I’ll limit myself here to two of my favorite comfort reads.
“Ghosts,” by Edith Wharton
“‘No, I don’t believe in ghosts, but I’m afraid of them,’ is much more than the cheap paradox it seems to many,” Wharton wrote in her preface to this collection. Wharton was not an avowed believer, but like many writers she found the ghost story to be the perfect medium (pun intended) for exploring questions of sexuality, class and consciousness. And given her mastery of all three subjects it should come as no surprise that the stories in this collection are a paradigm not just of the genre but of short fiction generally.
Because it collects stories written between 1902 and 1937, it’s a faithful chronicle of a changing world: Read “The Lady’s Maid’s Bell” — featuring a full staff of servants — followed by “All Souls,’” among the last written in this collection, in which an elderly matron is left alone and helpless (one of the subtlest scary stories ever written, for my money). The relationship between classes is a recurring preoccupation; so is real estate; so is repression. Is my favorite “The Pomegranate Seed,” that amazing exploration of jealousy? Or “Miss Mary Pask,” a meditation on aging? Or maybe the Jamesian “The Eyes”? How to choose?
Read if you like: Any Edith Wharton novel; no Edith Wharton novels; if you love ghost stories; if you hate ghost stories Available from: NYRB Classics — and I do think this is one you’ll want a physical copy of, if only to better read before bed. But many of the stories can be found individually online. And here is a different version , not sequenced by Wharton, containing a number of the same stories.
“The Haunting of Alma Fielding: A True Ghost Story,” by Kate Summerscale
In 1938, a young matron in the London suburbs claimed to be the subject of a dramatic possession; as she recounted to the avid tabloids, her home was suddenly full of flying objects and her person regularly assaulted by violent attacks. She also suddenly had the ability to manifest live insects and pieces of jewelry. The story ultimately garnered the attention of a psychical researcher named Nandor Fodor, who became deeply invested in the case and made the woman, Alma Fielding, the subject of increasingly intrusive and public scientific tests. Was Fielding a fraud or a phenomenon — or was she just very unwell? The same could be asked of her investigator. And who, if anyone, was exploiting whom?
Summerscale, always a deft and humane storyteller, brings this deeply uncomfortable story to life with characteristic élan; the focus of one’s outrage and sympathy shifts from chapter to chapter, and the evocation of a (barely) between-the-wars Britain is vivid.
Read if you like: “Devil in the White City,” “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” Available from: Wherever fine books are sold. I like the Moravian in Bethlehem, Pa., because it’s supposedly haunted
Why don’t you …
See how it all started? I don’t think there’s a book in my library I recommend more than Deborah Blum’s “Ghost Hunters: William James and the Scientific Hunt for Proof of Life After Death.” (In fact, I seem to have loaned out both my copies!) Amid the spiritualism craze of the 19th century, a group of respected scholars, including Henry James’s brother, a titan of American psychology, seriously undertook psychical research — which proved thorny, inconclusive and utterly fascinating.
Hear a bump in the night? For obvious reasons, ghost stories make incredible audiobooks . Vernon Lee — the pen name of Violet Paget — was one of the great Victorian ghost-story scribes (often using the supernatural to encode queer themes), and “A Phantom Lover” is an atmospheric, eerie pleasure.
Get extra credit? One of Edith Wharton’s best ghost stories, “The Looking Glass,” is not in the collection I recommended above, but it is in her book “ The World Over. ” It’s about an aging beauty in thrall to spiritualism, and contains this incredible quote: “There was nothing she wouldn’t do for you, if ever for a minute you could get her to stop thinking of herself … and that’s saying a good deal, for a rich lady. Money’s an armor, you see; and there’s a few cracks in it. But Mrs. Clingsland was a loving nature, if only anybody’d shown her how to love. … Oh, dear, and wouldn’t she have been surprised if you’d told her that! Her that thought she was living up to her chin in love and love-making.”
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Anime / Ghost Stories
Hajime: Drop the Krispy Kremes, Serpico! We need your help here! Satsuki: The-people-in-my-house-look-like-my-father-and-my-brother-after-an-Eyemasters-exam-but-it's-not- Hajime: Yeah-boogita-didggitda-googity-dig-dig-dig-tikikiti! Subtitled as... They're imposters! They wear glasses, but they don't have eyes! — ADV Dub, "The Soul-Stealing Mirror!! Utsushimi"
Ghost Stories ( Gakkō no Kaidan , lit. "School Ghost Stories"), also known as Ghosts at School , is an anime series created in 2000 by Studio Pierrot and Aniplex for Fuji Television . Part of the Gakkou no Kaidan franchise of children's novels and films, the series was directed by Noriyuki Abe, who also directed YuYu Hakusho for Pierrot, and would later go on to helm Bleach , with music by Kaoru Wada .
The series tells the story of Satsuki Miyanoshita, who moves with her family to the hometown of her deceased mother, Kayako. On her first day of school, Satsuki, her brother Keiichirou, a first-grader, their neighbor Hajime Aoyama, Momoko Koigakubo, an older schoolmate, and Leo Kakinoki, a classmate and friend of Hajime's with a penchant for the paranormal, visit the Old School Building adjacent to the current school complex—and discover that the building is haunted.
The kids discover that Satsuki's mother was responsible for sealing away several ghosts who haunted both the school and the surrounding town, and now the ghosts are being released by the urbanization taking place in the surrounding area . Kayako also left her descendants a tool for just such an occasion: a book that details how to exorcise the ghosts once and for all. In her first confrontation, Satsuki faces a demon called Amanojaku—and Amanojaku ends up sealed within Satsuki's pet cat, Kaya. Although Amanojaku does not want to help Satsuki at first, the danger posed by the freed spirits soon threatens to envelop the town. Satsuki, her friends, and Amanojaku eventually agree to work together and stop the threat before the ghosts do any real damage.
In Southeast Asia, a different English dub of the series titled Ghosts at School aired on Animax . This dub stays true to the original Japanese version.
Do not confuse this with a certain Coldplay album, the 1964 horror film , or the 2017 horror film by Andy Nyman.
Ghost Stories contains the following tropes:
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- 2D Visuals, 3D Effects : This is somewhat averted. The CG models use textures that complement the hand-drawn backgrounds, but the more elaborate CG effects are still obvious due to the technological limitations of its time.
- Adults Are Useless : The only adults who help the protagonists are a night watchman, who turns to be another ghost , in Episode 16 and a bumbling teacher in Episode 18.
- Alien Geometries : The haunted apartment complex of Episode 16 can change both its internal and external structure. The group thinks they are in a residential neighborhood, but are still inside the building .
- And I Must Scream : The Da Vinci wannabe ghost who paints women, trapping them inside the paintings.
- When the nurse in Episode 12 leaves. This is lampshaded in the ADV dub: Amanojaku: Now that is some really nice animation.
- In Episode 18, whenever Akane flails around, extra care is taken to make her movements fluid.
- Arbitrary Skepticism : Whenever Leo shares an urban legend that ends up being the Monster of the Week , Satsuki and Hajime handwave them off, calling them "fairy tales". This is despite the stories being little different from the crap they dealt with already.
- Be Careful What You Wish For : This is the main plot of Episode 3, and it is also explored in Episode 15.
- Beware of Hitchhiking Ghosts : Both variations show up, with a ghostly taxi driver in the first instance and a vengeful ghost attacking taxi drivers in the second.
- Body Horror : Shinobu, after she reveals to Satsuki her (more or less) true form.
- Came Back Wrong : This is the whole premise of Episode 9. A particular ritual can bring the dead back to life, but they will come back as berserk monsters —and somebody just had to go and try it anyway .
- Cheeky Mouth : Always averted with Amanojaku. At other times, it's either a brief Animation Bump or someone, usually either Hajime or Leo, has an especially exaggerated expression.
- Comedic Underwear Exposure : Hajime subjects Satsuki to some skirt flipping in the early episodes; Amanojaku does it again with a gust of wind in the last episode as a way of saying goodbye.
- Utsushimi in episode 7 involves eyeless and zombie-like impostors with always-backwards print on their clothing.
- The cab driver in episode 10 is clearly stuck in the 1970s (the fare prices being unadjusted for 2001 inflation, etc).
- The Yuki-onna in episode 17 wears outdated robes, contrasting with the modern polyester/nylon outfits everyone else her apparent age have. The only one else to be dressed that way is Satsuki's elderly aunt, hinting they are from the same generation. She is also barefoot while everyone else is wearing snow boots.
- Deal with the Devil : Episode 15 is entirely about this.
- Satsuki becomes Claire.
- Hajime becomes Ned.
- Momoko becomes Nicole.
- Leo becomes Paul.
- Keiichirou becomes Ben.
- Kayako becomes Karen.
- Reiichirou, Satsuki and Keiichirou's father, becomes Richard.
- An anatomy doll appears in the second episode, where it's encountered in the hallways of the old school building by Satsuki and Hajime. Instead of running, it does a Ghostly Glide . While trying to escape, Hajime knocks over a broom that hits the anatomy doll and smashes it to pieces. This isn't the end of the doll, as its flayed hand wanders off , but at least it leaves them alone.
- The ending credits depict a Hyakki Yagyou in which an anatomy figure participates. It is drawn to resemble one of the human muscle figures in the De humani corporis fabrica .
- "Everybody Laughs" Ending : Episode 9 has this.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin : Gakkō no Kaidan translates to "School Ghost Stories". This series is about a school haunted by ghosts. It is also a collection of traditional Japanese school ghost stories culled from both folklore and Urban Legend . In the original ADV DVDs, a special feature explains the traditional stories; the Discotek re-release lacks this feature.
- Da Vinci's victims are trapped in paintings.
- This is practically what happened to Shinobu. She was once a normal girl before she was turned into the avatar of a malevolent trickster deity.
- Four Is Death : Some of the earlier episodes use this idea on curses. It's also uses as a solution to a problem in Episode 18.
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You : The outro ends with a ghost hand -presumably Akagami Aogami- reaching at towars the viewers, cracking the screen.
- Game Face : Played with some ghosts, particularly Datsueba, the girl who Leo meets in Episode 8, and Shinobu .
- Haunted Headquarters : The whole series revolves around the haunted old schoolhouse, which the current schoolhouse that the children attend was built right next to.
- Heroic Lineage : Satsuki and Keiichirou are descended from the Kamiyana family, who have apparently been putting evil spirits to sleep for generations, the latest of which was their mother Kyako. Neither seem to have inherited the same prodigious spiritual powers however, but they nevertheless resolve to put the schoolhouse's spirits to sleep.
- The watchman from Episode 16 was already dead , but his soul was still trapped in the building.
- This happens with Amanojaku in the last episode. He gets better , though.
- Implacable Man : Some of the ghosts qualify as this. Special mention to Babasare and the Merry Mary doll, who only stopped chasing the protagonists due to sheer luck.
- Intercourse with You : The ending theme. Believe it or not, this was not one of the changes made in the ADV dub: "Yurashite, yurashite, yurashite, yurashite! SEXY SEXY" note Shake it, shake it, shake it, shake it! SEXY SEXY
- Manipulative Bastard : Shinobu and Yuki .
- Mind Screw : The Headless Biker freaks out one of his would-be victims so badly that the poor bastard stabs his own neck so the Headless Biker wouldn't try to cut his head off again .
- Modesty Shorts : Satsuki wears them in one episode after she gets tired of Hajime flipping her skirt.
- Monster of the Week : This is justified since the series features different ghosts.
- Mood Whiplash : The openings of several episodes cut from a screaming victim to the jaunty opening theme song.
- Murderous Mannequin : Episode 16 deals with a haunted apartment complex. These days, the building is abandoned but for whatever the main spirit residing there throws at trespassers. One of the things the spirit can do is summon an army of rundown mannequins to go after its targets. Keiichirou and Hajime are captured by these mannequins and brought to the roof of the apartment complex.
- Night Parade of One Hundred Demons : In the intro, silhouettes of several Youkai are seen parading down a field, though this never actually happens in the series .
- Potty Emergency : The whole school goes through it in Episode 2—partly due to the sewage system breaking down, partly due to being afraid of Hanako in the toilet. But Sakata casually strolls out of class and walks to the old school's toilets. He ends up forced into the toilet by the episode's ghost.
- Potty Failure : Keiichirou suffers one in Episode 2 due to the fear of going to the old school to pee.
- In Episode 6, Hajime and Keiichirou are seen playing Dark Cloud .
- The PlayStation gets one in Episode 7. A close-up of a controller, shown while Leo's mom is using it, shows the names "SONY" and "PLAYSTATION", the Start and Select buttons, and the symbols on the buttons.
- Put on a Bus : This happens with the friendlier and more harmless ghosts of the old school building.
- Replicant Snatching : Episode 7 is about a group of evil spirits residing in a dimension beyond the mirror; their goal is to abduct everyone in town, imprison them in the mirror dimension, and impersonate the originals.
- Right on the Tick : In Episode 5, the ghost being dealt with is said to always kill a runner at the sports festival at 4:44—because, as mentioned above, Four Is Death .
- Rule of Scary : The premise of the series deals with ghosts.
- Running Gag : Satsuki's accidental panty shots .
- Sealed Evil in a Can : All the ghosts who had been sealed away by Kayako are freed after construction destroys the places where they had been imprisoned.
- Skirts and Ladders : Momoko did not stop to think about this before asking Hajime and Leo to boost her into a high window. From their expressions, neither did the boys.
- Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl : Episodes 14 and 18 feature one.
- Supernatural Hotspot Town : This takes place in an unnamed Japanese town infested with ghosts that the main characters try to stop using a diary written by Satsuki's mother Kayako. These range from a hand in the toilet to a ghostly piano player to a rabbit brought back to life by a dark ritual.
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome : If Satsuki hears cursed music four times, she'll die. Leo solves this by giving her earplugs. Next time she's ambushed with the song, she snaps them into her ears... to realize they do nothing. She hightails it.
- The Taxi : Episode 10 is about a deceased taxi driver.
- Toilet Horror : Episode 2 features the ghosts Hanako-san and Aka Manto (though Hanako is helpful). One of the teachers gets sucked into the underworld through a toilet, and the same thing almost happens to Hajime.
- Tragic Villain : The Railway Ghost and Yuki .
- Urban Legend : This is the underlying source of the ghost stories used in the series.
- What Happened to the Mouse? : Satsuki and Keiichirou's grandparents appear in one very brief scene in Episode 1. Excluding a very brief appearance in the photo album in Episode 12, they are never seen nor mentioned again, despite appearing in the intro alongside the main characters and several other supporting characters.
- Satsuki has this despite being ten years old. The dub mentions it a few times throughout the series, but it is most notable in Episode 3.
- In Episode 14, Momoko, who does not suffer from this, writes off chest pains caused by a curse as just needing a bigger bra. She starts to ask Satsuki if she has one before answering her own question:
- Acquired Situational Narcissism : Leo when he gets the lead role in the school play becomes an egomaniac and expects to win a Tony.
- Satsuki comments that Leo's developed a bigger ego than Chris Patton , while Momoko mentions Greg Ayres .
- Satsuki answers a call with " Milk Chan here", even doing the same voice.
- The entire cast refers to Satsuki's father as " Illich " in one episode.
- In another episode, a ghost is voiced by Vic Mignogna , who is credited as "Obi Frostips". A few episodes later, Hajime mentions a "frosted Vic Mignogna lookalike" who is " Full Metal Disgusting ".
- In Episode 10, where Momoko initially offers the fruit to Keiichirou because it was left over from lunch. The ghost spares the group because Momoko offers it to his grave, and the fruit was his favorite.
- The Doll Temple is explained as a group of "aging homosexuals, mostly in publishing" that gather to play with dolls. In the original version, the temple is explained as being a normal temple. However, some are unwilling to have their dolls cremated with them. Over time, the temple became famous for preserving old dolls. The old priest even remarks that no matter what the time or place, people's attachment to their dolls remain the same.
- When the dolls prepare to attack Satsuki, they begin to list out games they should play. In the dub, they list famous horror movies, but in the original version, they describe ways people mistreat their dolls. Notably, the final two call for "take her right arm", since the toy got their arm pulled off, and "pull it off" since one got their head pulled off.
- In Episode 14, Shizuko's source of bitterness is slightly different in the dub compared to the original version. In the dub, Momoko says that the taxi driver dumped Shizuko's body after he realizes she was dead. In the original version, however, Momoko says Shizuko was near-death and the taxi driver didn't want to take responsibility, thus he left her to die. This explains why Shizuko is so angry as rather than it being an unfortunate nighttime accident, the taxi driver consciously chose to avoid responsibility rather than possibly save her life. Leo choosing to take responsibility for disturbing her (as opposed to Momoko, who in every versions tries to persuade him not to take pictures) probably contributes to the Shizuko's Hazy-Feel Turn and sparing both children's lives.
- The ritual in Episode 15 is changed to be much more humorous, portraying it as a still demonic but also vapid spell that could still just be childish make believe. The original version is more chilling and a more classic Deal with the Devil , outright asking dark powers to grant their wish at the price of their lives. Similarly, their exit spell is a case of Exact Words , where the petitioner tries to get out of their contractual debt by being erased from reality of course.
- Ask a Stupid Question... : From Episode 18: Momoko: Devil cat, did you give us this musical instrument to help us? Amanojaku: No, I just gave it to you because I love the xylophone.
- Bilingual Bonus : The Hispanic nurse in Episode 12 calls Momoko and Satsuki "cabronas" ("bitches").
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs : In Episode 15, Amanojaku stops Satsuki from erasing her own existence under the impression that the ritual would free her from a curse. After hearing that someone put her up to it, Amanojaku suspects that whoever did "is either a ghost or a bitch". When the ghost, Yamime, shows her true form, Amanojaku finally figures it out: "She's a ghost and a bitch!"
- Breaking the Fourth Wall : This happens a lot. The following instance from Episode 5 takes this and blends it together with Medium Awareness : Leo: I mean, have you heard about the sports festival? Hajime: Yes, the sports festival... That's what this whole episode is about . Leo: Okay, let's stop breaking the third wall, they're thinking about cancelling the sports festival!
- Breast Expansion : In Episode 3, Satsuki tries to get a wish granting ghost to give her huge breasts, but does it wrong so she's "still in a training bra".
- Casting Couch : This is specifically mentioned. According to Leo, this is how Keita beat him out for the lead part in the elementary school play.
- Cluster F-Bomb : There are plenty of F-bombs before Episode 16, but they are bleeped out. Strangely, an utterance of "shit" was bleeped out literally two minutes before Satsuki's F-bomb wasn't. This is most noticable in Episode 15 during a summoning spell: Shinobu: "F[bleep] me, Satan! F[bleep] me, Satan!! F[bleep] ME, SATAN!!!"
- In Episode 2, Momoko mentions that she cast out Hanako in the last episode .
- In Episode 4, Leo gloats that the piano ghost chose to impersonate him on the phone, because he's the best actor in the group, calling back to his suddenly inflated ego in the previous episode when he got to play the lead in the school play.
- In Episode 4, Satsuki is shown to have poor endurance, ruefully noting as she failed to escape from the piano chasing her that she shouldn't have skipped PE class or huffed so much paint. Hajime teases her earlier that episode for not being able to catch him, and in Episode 5 takes over training Keiichirou's fitness training after seeing Satsuki struggling to keep up with her notably unathletic brother. Leo even asks if cankles runs in the family.
- In Episode 7, Hajime recounts a story to a person over the phone about him nailing a midget before being summoned by Satsuki to help Leo. note Satsuki makes a comment that implies Hajime has bragged about it before. Later, in Episode 11, Satskui demands that Hajime "stop having [his] midget girlfriend call" her, believing Merry Mary's phone call was a prank.
- In Episode 15, the girls discuss a cheerleader who had an abortion. This references a throwaway gag in Episode 4 where Leo mentions that the school was at the time preoccupied with two stories: one is the piano ghost, the other is a cheerleader pregnant with twins.
- In Episode 18, Satsuki complains that she needs a makeover (to stop attracting math deficient ghost lesbians). The next episode, Momoko takes her to see her cousin, a stylist.
- Cultural Translation : The dub is filled with references to American culture and politics that obviously were not in the original dub. Practically the only references to the characters actually living in Japan come in the form of jokes lampshading this cultural translation.
- Discriminate and Switch : Mio's farewell to Shirotabi's ghost in Episode 9 has her acknowledge that they can never be together, but it's not because he's a rabbit, but because he's black.
- Donut Mess with a Cop : This is referenced by Hajime: "Drop the Krispy Kremes, Serpico !"
- In Episode 16, the Groundskeeper is actually a ghost that was trapped in the building, so his Heroic Sacrifice is a form of Death Equals Redemption since he was the one who originally built the property and it's implied to have disrupted the nature spirits. The dub has him sacrifice himself humorously because he's underpaid, albeit he does say that he built the apartments as well.
- Yuki's plan in Episode 17 makes more sense in the original version than the dub, where Yuki claims that Miyuki is dead and haunting the area despite earlier saying that Miyuki was going to pick the group up. In the original version, Yuki lies that Miyuki is unreliable, and that she probably failed to pick up the gang because she went out to play. When they interact with the aunt, whose staff is all out for a business trip, hence the lack of anyone else around, the group does not mention Yuki or Miyuki's absence as to avoid tattling. It is only after lunch that Yuki makes the claim that she feels that Miyuki must've drowned earlier that day (as opposed to what is implied to be a few days/weeks ago like in the dub), and the shot of the hat in the water is supposed to be proof of the fact. Miyuki returns later because she was trapped in a blizzard, presumably caused by Yuki.
- In Episode 19, the Headless Biker makes a tiny bit more sense in the original version as it is said that he curses anyone that sees him without wearing a scarf. This is why everyone freaks out even after they put on their scarves as once they've seen him without one, they're vulnerable.
- Early-Installment Weirdness : The first two episodes, save for a couple of gags, are a slightly straight dub with added humor. Episodes 3 and beyond introduce the black comedy and improv the dub would be known for.
- Equal-Opportunity Offender : The dub was said to "make everybody angry".
- Filling the Silence : This is often used to turn boring moments into successful humor. A good example is in Episode 15, where Yamime says "Wheeee!" while floating up the stairs, then casually hums a tune while removing the barricade from the bedroom door.
- At the start of the episode, the wind in the snow storm turns into a quiet crying as we are introduced to the ghost. In the dub, Yuki has a tick where she cries almost at random, especially as she talks about the lake. It's of course revealed later that she's a ghost and those screams probably represent her emotions related to her death .
- When the gang first arrives at the hotel, they are greeted by a ghostly apparition. Leo panics and cries out:
- In the dub, Yuki asks her point blank after lunch if she feels something is wrong. Later on, just as a nearly hypothermic Miyuki arrives, Momoko says she detects evil in their midst. The latter comes off like a Captain Obvious statement, but she's also notably facing Yuki .
- In the original, it is more pronounced, with Momoko clearly sensing something wrong when Yuki first shows them their room (she mumbles "You..." but holds back). Later during lunch, when Yuki asks if she could sense a spirit (claiming that Miyuki died earlier that morning), Momoko says she has felt something spirit related ever since she saw Yuki, which she incorrectly believes is Miyuki's spirit .
- Yuki�s design is also notably different than the others, going barefoot in the snow, not losing her breath while the others are clearly exhausted from running (despite being ahead of them), and wearing a relatively simple set of robes while the others wear conspicuously modern polyester/nylon outfits. Her outfit matches that of Satsuki�s middle-age aunt, hinting that they�re actually around the same age. The ghostly apparition at the start of the episode and when the gang first arrive at the inn also are share this outfit, while Miyuki does not .
- Gag Dub : One of the most famous in anime history, to the point that many mistake it for an abridged series . The story goes that after the series tanked in Japan, the rights were sold to ADV, who were told they could pretty much do whatever they wanted with it as long as the names and basic plot were the same. Taking this idea and running with it, director Steven Foster threw out most of the script and encouraged the cast to improvise based on the lip flaps. Whoever got to record first for a given scene would set the tone and subject for it, and the other cast members had to follow in those footsteps. This unique approach produced random characterizations, fourth wall breaking jokes, tons of take thats , and as much silliness as the cast could manage, similar to what had happened with Samurai Pizza Cats and the Latin American dub of Dotto! Koni-chan .
- Girl on Girl Is Hot : invoked Kayako is portrayed as being gay/bisexual. This is made even weirder in Episode 13 when, after Satsuki goes back in time and meets her, the latter writes in her ghost diary that she found the former attractive , which really creeps Satsuki out .
- Gratuitous Japanese : This is invoked mostly in the later episodes. "NANIIIIII?"
- Hong Kong Dub : Inverted . If you forget about mouth shape, the dub matches the characters' lip flaps perfectly. The original Japanese version, on the other hand, often had lips moving long after a character finished speaking.
- Hypocritical Heartwarming : "Shut up, cat! And, listen, you don't know Leo well enough to be mean to him, just us!"
- Hypocritical Humour : The dub has tons of it throughout the series. For example, Momoko mentions that there are some crazy religious people out there when she's one herself.
- Interspecies Romance : There's one in Episode 9 between the ghost of Shirotabi and Mio. The latter breaks up with the former not because he's a rabbit, but because he's black .
- Lampshade Hanging : The ADV dub does this whenever it pokes fun at the animation errors: Satsuki: "Oh wow convulsion that was weird. Okay..." Satsuki: "What's going on? What happened to my leg?" Kayako: "And your father always thinks it's cute to cross his eyes in pictures. See? See? He... look, look he did it there!" Satsuki: "Oh, damn anime! Look what's happened to my eyes!" Amanojaku: "God, you are four of the ugliest fucking kids I have ever had the misfortune of laying my eyes on, I can't wait for this bitch to kill you."
- Limited Wardrobe : This is lampshaded when Leo tries to make Hajime wear a scarf as a way of preventing decapitation. Hajime refuses, then points out how Leo has comfortably worn the same shirt since the series started.
- Lip Lock : This one is deliberately invoked in Episode 5: Leo: (running at the camera in a panic) Oh-my-god-what-the-hell-is-happening-here-these-are-the-fastest-lip-flaps-I've-ever-had-to-sync!!!
- Lost in Translation : Inverted when it explains the xylophone; its keys play the musical notes often used to end broadcasts in Japan : Leo: The script so far isn't making sense to anyone working on this show so here's what we got... I think.
- Mature Work, Child Protagonists : The ADV dub provides an unusual example. The series has ghost hunting preteens as the main protagonists, and the original Japanese version is aimed at children, with no particularly inappropriate content for young audiences. The ADV dub, on the other hand, is clearly adult-oriented; it frequently references and satirizes early-to-mid-2000s pop culture and politics, and features a lot of crass and dark humor, which is either highly inappropriate for kids or would just go over their heads.
- Some scenes features the cast laughing during dramatic moments.
- Some episodes end this way when the cast reacts and/or says something that contradicts what's actually happening onscreen.
- Not-So-Innocent Whistle : This is inserted in the dub during Shizuko's flashback to Momoko. The taxi driver does it after hitting her with the cab.
- Parental Incest : Episode 13: Satsuki: [My mother] thought I was attractive. That is so...grossing me out.
- Real Life Writes the Plot : The ADV dub was recorded around the time when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and displaced practically the entire city, resulting in many residents taking refuge in Houston, where the dub was being recorded. The end result was a large number of very scathing jokes against the George W. Bush administration that reflected the feelings of anger many New Orleans residents felt towards the administration's diffident response to the disaster.
- The dub makes a few of these by way of commenting on the quality of the script and animation , often invoking random Japanese words and anime trends.
- References of Christian Slater's career.
- A prostitute by the name of "Cinnamon" is referenced a few times, with the implication that the male adults keep sleeping with her and getting an STD/AIDS scare.
- Sassy Black Woman : Tomomi's grandmother is portrayed as one.
- Scary Black Man : Hajime makes this comment in Episode 5 in an attempt to motivate Keiichirou while he's training for the sports festival: Hajime: "THINK OF A BIG BLACK MAN CHASING YOU!"
- Satsuki and Momoko diss Chris Patton and Greg Ayres , Hajime and Leo's voice actors, respectively, in Episode 3.
- In Episode 12, Keiichirou complains that Satsuki "snores like Rob Mungle", Amanojaku's voice actor.
- She's a Man in Japan : This is Played for Laughs . In the original Japanese version of Episode 19, Momoko's hairstylist cousin Maki is a woman. In the dub, however, Maki is portrayed as a Camp Gay man.
- Sibling Murder : Implied . It seems that Satsuki and Keiichirou used to have a sister named Karen.
- Sound-Effect Bleep : In place until Episode 16.
- Space Whale Aesop : An Aesop about paying child support on time is tacked on the "Everybody Laughs" Ending of Episode 9.
- Suddenly Shouting : "Oh, Satsuki, let's sing! Jesus loves me—COME ON, YOU KNOW THE WORDS!"
- Take That! : There are so many it could have its own page as it would be easier to list targets that aren't acceptable. This is just one example: Leo: I'm all alone, forgotten, like a black family in Bush America.
- Thinly-Veiled Dub Country Change : The series still takes place in Japan, but with all the constant references to American politics, pop culture and celebrities, the only thing that's still Japanese in the dub are the characters' names. There is even one gag where Hajime comes across a road sign and fails to read it because it's in Japanese.
- This is lampshaded several times, but most explicitly in Episode 7:
- In Episode 9: Hajime: Of all the places to run, why did we end up here [in the old schoolhouse]? Leo: Because it was the only place and we're terminally stupid.
- Tradesnark� : ADV's DVD release has a dubtitle track that does this with Keiichirou's random noises, usually rendered as "[Keiichirou Sob�]."
- Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour : It can be hard remembering that all the main characters are in elementary school, what with their constant swearing, references to sex, and off-color jokes. Background dialog implies all the kids are like this, such as one student mentioning another having an abortion .
- You Meddling Kids : Referenced directly when Hajime exclaims, "And you would've gotten away with it too, if not for us meddling kids. I've been waiting five volumes to make that joke!"
Yes, this was the official dub. No, you can't unhear it.
Example of: Ching Chong
Ghost Stories E...
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- Isolated Pages
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