By: Kristen Olson
If there ever was an anime in history that America could take and make better, it’s Ghost Stories. (Gakkou no Kaidan)
Once upon a time, there was an American multimedia entertainment company called A.D. Vision (ADV for short). ADV is responsible for bringing such titles as Neon Genesis Evangelion to your DVD player. What you didn’t know, is that they also brought you an obscure gem by the name of Ghost Stories.
Here’s the premise: Kids and ghosts. When young Satsuki finds an old book of spells from her recently deceased mother, she gains the power to fight ghosts that are haunting her new school. With the help of her friends, and of a really wicked devil cat, (bakeneko) she must protect everyone around her or continue to be haunted.
Not the most marketable anime on the market, Ghost Stories apparently tanked in its short run on Japanese television. With a quiet run on the North American market on the horizon, anime television network, Animax, came to ADV Films for English dubbing with three rules and a request: 1. Do not change the names of any character, including the ghosts 2. Do not change the way any ghost is killed as it is based on Asian ghost legends 3. Do not change the meaning of the episode 4. Do whatever else you want to make the show successful
Here’s the result:
ADV's dubbed version retains the basic plot structure and storyline, but alters much of the dialogue into comedy written by ADV screenwriter Steven Foster and ad-libbed by the voice actors. The original Japanese audio and literal subtitle translation are also included on the DVD. The dub received favorable reviews and the original Japanese licensor, Aniplex, approved the changes.
On August 28, 2013 Discotek Media announced that they licensed the series and would release it in 2014 with the ADV dub and the Japanese audio with English subtitles. The entire series was released on a 3 Disc set on March 25, 2014.