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Ghost Sweeper Mikami : Why Do I like it ?

Posted 05-01-2010 at 11:49 AM by San Juan Wolf


A few weeks ago I have concluded my reading of Shiina Takashi's 1990's manga series "Ghost Sweeper Mikami" . I began reading it on 30th January of this year , aka the day chapter 341 was uploaded to Onemanga . I read a chapter daily till 350 and then went back and started reading from the begining . I aimed to get a bit of the backstory , as you may have guessed , I read the series from the close end with no prior knowledge simply because I was looking for something new to read .

However , things did not go as expected . First I expected a lot more back story where there was almost none , so to speak . And second , slowly but surely my quest changed from "reading a bit at the begining" to "read up to 340 and then continue from 351 onwards" .

And I did . I realy grew to like the series , and in fact kept checking the onemanga page daily to see if it was stil being updated . Hell , I didn't notice at first that on that dark 20th of March the series was completed .

I was very down beat by finishing the series . As some have noted the series realy doesn't have a proper ending and the last chapters are wasted on things of no great importance or interest . The very last chapter is a nice side track on Emi's backstory but seems a bit out of place as a last chapter .

However , this series , when observed from a distance , doesn't apear to be anything spectacular . Very few places on the internet exist where it even gets discused , even before it's first english scan was completed . Of course the lack of a fanbase prior to Nerieru scanlating efforts may be because nobody in the english speaking world properly knew of the series . The anime only covered a handfull of episodes before stoping due to failure (With anime as sucessfull as OP for example , as competition , no wonder) , largely atributed to the first part of the series being mostly concerned with short filler like asignments . The only time that GS Mikami presented itself to the english speaking public before was the movie , and even that is not well remembered .

The series is simply not stellar when one looks at it : The protagonist , Ghost Sweeper Mikami Reiko is mostly unsympathetic and bitchy and her asistant Yokoshima is a classic over the top perv and near molester . Lots of the time you would want to sympathise with him , hell you even think you should , but then he does something outstandingly stupid , perverted or both and all sympathy comes flyin' out the window . At such moments we are suposed to laugh and find them comedic , but we do not . The only realy sympathetic character out of the main cast is Ghost (later returning to life) Okinu . However , she is very bland , gets little screentime and doesn't get developed a iota . Even when she comes back to life and becomes a necromancer , the result is not what you would expect ie. her getting actualy a little stronger and a little more serious , but this does not happen .

As for the plot of GS Mikami , well , like I hinted at previously , there is almost none . Hundreds of chapters are just one shot things where even great potential gets wasted . There is a chapter with the over used amnesia trope being used on Yokoshima , and while that could have lead up to a sweet , short and funny arc , instead it's wasted for the sake of a gag .

Another instance is where there is a multi parter (usualy a two parter) , but the whole first chapter is devoted to the set up , while the second is the resolution . Example : the fox demon Tamamo seemingly gets sick and a powerfull samurai warior must be defeated to obtain the medicine . The samurai is defeated next chapter due to Yokoshima distracting him by stripping . I wish I was kidding .

Things aren't aided with some of the plots being just damn ridiculous . There is a multi parter that is all about high school girls in sqimsuits battling random fish demons . You'd think there would be some actual fights or something but no . And the resolution of that arc is just comic relief esque .

On the topic of recuring characters : there are many , but in the end , they usualy never realy do anything for most of the series or they come in far to late to get any screentime . This is particularly painfull with the aforementioned Tamamo or Okinu's high school friends , who just don't get to do anything at all even if we would want them to . They apear , become friends , fight on the beach in swimsuits and then have a christmass adventure in a paralel dimension together (the dimension being a cake) . That's it . As for characters like Tiger or Pete , they contribute little to nothing even if they are there the whole time .

And finaly , about antagonists : most of them generaly suck . The only big villian in the whole series , Astaroth , looks like a ballet dancer/Kiss wannabe and he's practicaly the only male enemy . Most of the enemies in the series are defeated within one to two chapters , even if they could make for interesting villians ie. the demon who eats characters from inside movies which leads Mikami and co on an adventure into the middle of a real movie.....that lasts one chapter .

Finaly , to note that Shiina can't write fights seems a little biased , though truth be told , the series always evades any form of actual sword fighting whenever the danger arises (even against an actualy dangerous foe who uses a sword as his main weapon)

The biggest problem with the series is that it is oozing with potential that is left untaped . Aside from numerous random things , like the two sole chapters in which the Pixy apears . The only interesting part of that is that we get to see Mikami get kissed by a woman . Then she never apears or is mentioned again .

.................................................. ...........

And yet , looking past all these faults , I actualy realy like it and in fact , as mentioned , was prety let down by it ending (well it ended for me over 10 years after it actualy ended but you get the idea ) . This is because that while all these negatives may be true , this series is , truth be told , a very nice play to stay at . One just wants to see more of the characters , even if they don't realy do much . Even if the enemies are crap , it stil is fun watching Mikami do her thing . And in a sense , while nothing realy changes , there is very little to complain about as far as story twists go , so at least nobody can acuse Shiina of "trolling" .

All in all it's a wonderfull experience simply because of how laid back the series is mostly . I just realised that this actualy reminds me of my praise of Slayers . That gets a special place in my heart because of when I watched it (a long long time ago and far far away to paraphrase mangastream) , but it also may in part for the same reasons I like Ghost Sweeper Mikami .

Note that I went out and played the game on the SNES . The only thing that remains for me now is either see up horrible quality anime episodes of chapters I have already read and that aren't hugely interesting , or to see the movie . I am planing on doing the latter , but I am purposefully holding out on it , due to it being the last GS Mikami related novelty out there .
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GSM is awesome. I had a ball reading it myself.
Posted 11-06-2010 at 04:20 PM by God Movement God Movement is offline
 
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