Case Number 02046: Small Claims Court

GHOST SWEEPER MIKAMI

Manga Video // 1994 // 60 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Mike Pinsky (Retired) // July 19th, 2002

The Charge

"I love the taste of your worthless blood!" -- Nobunaga

The Case

When there's something strange in your Tokyo neighborhood, who you gonna call?

Hopefully not Ghost Sweeper Mikami. After all, this would-be demon hunter dresses like a hooker and obsesses over money, while her motley team of ghostbusters flounders around barely able to avoid being swamped by monsters. Case in point: when a magical lance (worth lots of money, as Mikami tells us repeatedly) warps in from the past, along with a samurai ghost who hires Mikami's crew to kill a dreaded demon called the Nosferatu, it takes Mikami little more than five minutes to accidentally resurrect that very demon. The demon takes the form of the tyrant shogun Nobunaga Oda (a popular figure of evil in Japanese pop culture) and starts trashing the city. When the Vatican offers $50 million to stop the monster, a host of wacky exorcists line up -- and Mikami races into action. As one of her assistants shouts during the battle, "You think this is cool, you should see it in widescreen!"

But he would be wrong. This widescreen feature film (the aspect ratio is unspecified, but I'll guess 1.85:1), based on a Japanese television show and comic series, runs only about an hour. It aims for comedy rather than thrills, which given the cheap quality of the animation is probably a good idea. Unfortunately, the gags are often obvious (Mikami loves money, sidekick Tadao is horny, and so on) or just plain incongruous (can you take a villain as a serious threat if he wears pointy-toed jester shoes?), and the plot feels disjointed. A lot of the character interactions depend on viewers' familiarity with the original series, since the supporting cast drops in and out almost arbitrarily. And the stylized art design is more suited to a flat page than animation.

Manga Video's treatment of this DVD does not help much either. As usual, the Japanese audio track is presented in an underwhelming 2.0 mix (the disc even labels it as mono!), while the 5.1 English dub is terrible. Most of the original music has been removed in favor of insipid techno and the dialogue pushed forward and far too loud. The only extras are some brief character profiles, to help keep the large number of characters straight, and a small art gallery. Overall, unless you are a big fan of this series, you are likely to be disappointed by Ghost Sweeper Mikami. When ghosts trouble your neighborhood, call somebody else.

Review content copyright © 2002 Mike Pinsky; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 40

Perp Profile
Studio: Manga Video
Video Formats:
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Japanese)

Subtitles:
* English

Running Time: 60 Minutes
Release Year: 1994
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Character Profiles
* Art Gallery

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0106010/combined