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Ontology on the gone!

The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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11/13/2005 Archived Entry: "Anime reveiw: GhostTalker's DayDream"

Ghost Talker's Daydream
English Language version by Geneon

Review by Kelly S. Taylor

If I have learned nothing else from "Ghost Talker's DayDream," it is that you can't judge an anime by its trailer. The trailer for this DVD paints the picture of an arrestingly dark gothic fantasy. I was particularly intrigued by the fact that the main character is a medium who works part-time as a dominatrix. Usually mediums in anime are very spiritual characters. In the same way that people in Western narratives who meet angels are usually nice, (at least somewhat) religious people, Japanese characters who have contact with the spirit world are usually good Buddhists -- calm and responsible. "What could happen," I wondered, "that could cause this person who is in contact with suffering souls to want to inflict pain for a living?"

Well, gentle reader, as you have probably already figured out, I was thinking too much. The reason to make a medium a part-time dominatrix is so you can see her nekkid butt in a leather thong a couple times each episode... Which is another thing -- Although the trailer makes the DVD look like a movie, it's actually a four-part OAV series. So rather than developing one long story, you get four relatively short ones.

When researching this title, I ran across a review that praised "Ghost Talker's DayDream" as being startlingly erotic without resorting to being hentai (a term which loosely translates as "weird and/or perverse.") Startlingly erotic, I'll agree with. Not hentai, though... Not so much. The "comedy" in several episodes centers on the fact that the main character doesn't have any pubic hair -- which apparently is deemed a bonus by the men who buy her panties. To make up for this lack, she has a hair-like creature or weapon that lives wrapped around her thighs.... If that's not hentai, then I don't want to see what really qualifies.

If one can look past the blatantly gratuitous nudity and goofy, cringe-y, hentai humor, there is an okay storyline. Misaki Saiki, our dominatrix/medium, reluctantly works as a special consultant for a secret division of the local government -- when she's not selling her panties to perverts. She is assisted by/burdened with a seemingly mild mannered government agent, a traumatized young girl who also develops the ability to talk to the dead, and a stalker from the S&M club where she works.... Not exactly the Scooby and the Gang, is it? The stories themselves are fairly interesting. In each she is drawn into communication with tortured souls against her will and must bring their murderers to justice so they (and she) can rest. There are tantalizing hints throughout the episodes at the troubled past that has led her into this profession that I assume will be more fully revealed in later in the series.

Not exactly a compliment to say this, but the packaging was my favorite part of this DVD. The cover art is striking. The menu screens are pure gothic decadence. The extras, while not as generous as I'd like, contain some substantive treats such as printable posters and "Ghost Talker" wallpapers for your desktop. If the contents were as delectable as the package they come in, this anime would be a real collector's item.

In the final analysis, I have to say that it wasn't so much that "Ghost Talker" was bad as it was just not as good as I imagined it would be. For me, the humor fell flat, and the overall plot and the bulk of the graphics were not as tight and innovative as I hoped. I am left wishing that instead of continuing the storyline presented in the episodes; "Ghost Talker's" creators on their next outing will just start over and create a movie based on the trailer.

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