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Ghost Sweeper Mikami

director: Atsutoshi Umezawa

60 minutes (PG) 1994
Manga DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 3/10
reviewed by John Percival
Mikami is the leader of one of Japan's most successful ghost-busting agencies. Together with her special team of exorcists, she is prepared to do battle with any supernatural foe, but only if the price is right! This mercenary attitude lands them in trouble with an ancient spirit who enlists them into the fight with its reincarnated nemesis, the vampire lord Nosferatu. As the evil vampire is soon turning the citizens of Tokyo into mindless zombies, Mikami and the rest of the team are forced to put in some serious overtime and save the world.

As this story is as mindless as the Tokyo zombies I really do not know what they were thinking with this effort. A real problem is that this 60-minute DVD is set at the end of the Ghost Sweeper Mikami series, so for a newcomer to the title like me, there is absolutely no introduction to what the going on. This makes this story looked rushed and half-baked. Mikami's team, although annoying, consists of a vampire, a priest, some strange floaty girl, and a stupid boy, but we know nothing about them and in fact their participation in the story is negligible. Plus we have no idea about Mikami herself, who is she? Why is she so money-obsessed and why does she always fight evil in high heels, an extremely short, tight dress and pearl necklace? The dress part could raise some interest if the animation was not so scratchy. It looks like a cross between Pokemon and Rhubarb And Custard.

The whole use of humour and demon killing is so derivative of the Slayer genre that is that there is nothing original here. Even in the manga/anime world this has been done many times before and better each time. Great examples like Devil Man or Blood: The Last Vampire show the true art and strength of Japanese animation. Perhaps if this had been released along with the rest of the series in its entirety, painting a broader picture then the story would have been much more accessible. In its current state it is like watching the last episode of Buffy with no knowledge of what has happened before. Yeah, the fights are interesting but without any character development there is little to maintain the interest. Basically this disc is best avoided in favour of the many better examples of Japanese animation.

Extras on the disc include are some character bios in vain attempt to fill in some gaps and pointless photo gallery and mandatory string of manga previews, which is more a shopping list of the good stuff to watch.
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