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ANIMEfringe Reviews:
Haunted Junction DVD Collection
By Adam "OMEGA" Arnold

All Holy Student Council President Haruto Hojo wanted was a normal school life. But, when the Saito High School Chairman gives the council its first assignment, to gather all seven spirit badges, that dream is forever broken. Haruto and his fellow council members, Kazumi Ryudoh (a Buddhist with a knack for possessions and an obsession with Miss Hanako) and Mutsumi Asahina (a Shinto Priest in training who has a thing for pretty boys who are age 12 and under), wind up befriending the school spirits and, in turn, a bond is created that can't possibly be broken. Or can it?

Let's take a moment to examine what Haruto thinks is a ‘normal school life with no ghost or weird things': "A normal school life is going to and from school normally. Playing normal, invigorating sports. Falling in love the normal way. Exchanging normal diaries. Dancing normal folk dances. Being dumped normally. Getting over it normally. That is the kind of school life I want to lead!" Nope, nothing wrong there. Maybe it's just the friends he hangs around or the upbringing that his parents gave him.

Through the course of the 12 episodes, almost every aspect of the spirit/human relationship is explored as Haruto grows to accept the spirits and their impact on his life. Haunted Junction is Haruto's story, but through Haruto's two-fold hopes, the viewer can relate to him, because his hopes and dreams change with experience. Nothing stays the same. This simple message is coupled with slapstick comedy that keeps the viewer on their toes, characters that foil Haruto's one-way personality, and a barrel full of spirits that make for some interesting plot possibilities.

So what about the spirits that dwell within Saito High? Well, the Chairman is the ring-leader who brought all the top spirits together under the same roof. He is pretty straightforward and is the only spirit who does not necessarily need to be summoned. Nino-kun, a spirit of the court yard, is probably the most helpful of the bunch because he is a hard-as-rock walking statue and perfect for running errands, carrying people, and even modeling shorts. Then you have the bathroom spirits, Tuxedo Mask-esque Red Mantle who drives the women crazy and the drop-dead-gorgeous Miss Hanako, aka Hanako of the Bathroom, Toilet Hanako, etc.

The anatomy lab duo of Haruo Sato and "Bones" Suzuki are the comical duo who always seem to offer the least help of all the spirts. Needless to say, watch out for their ‘Cossack Dance' because it is just plain useless. Finally, out of all the core spirits, the sweet Mirror Girl and the ‘leggy' Dancing Giant are the most mysterious and are the only ones to receive the least air-time of the bunch. And to top it off, the pool alone has seven wonders, one of which is the man-faced fish which is a dead ringer for Seaman.

When compared to other Bandai Entertainment DVDs, the quality remains solid throughout. As for the DVD extras, the 2-disc set does lack in that department. A main character and spirit encyclopedia and a series of anime previews are all that round out the set. But, the unbeatable price of $39.99 for all 12 episodes on 2 DVDs does make up for the lack of features. Yet, dub lovers will undoubtedly scoff at the fact that the disc lacks a dub language track, because one was not made. This is a small price to pay for 12 episodes filled with witty comedy and removable English subtitles that come in easy-on-the-eyes yellow, white, and green. So, put on your reading glasses, crank up the Dolby, and be prepared to experience the wonders Haunted Junction has to offer.

I think Haruto sums it up best with his catch phrase, "Oh my God!"

Review Info File
Haunted Junction DVD Collection
English Subtitled DVD
Episodes 1-12
300 minutes
Nemu Mukudori
Project HJ
The Ocean Group
Bandai Entertainment
Twelve of the funniest episodes you will ever see, all in one affordable DVD set.

Page 5 - Reviews ANIMEfringe: July 2000 - Page 6 Page 7 - Review 2
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