I can only imagine the sorts of saucy introspective conversation that’s going on at this moment.
Ghost Hound continues to impress. What it may lack in terms of being a crazy screw-you-up-in-the-head series (while I, personally, don’t think it lacks this, some do), it more than makes up for in terms of characterization. I’ve heard it bandied about that Tarou is a bland character, which isn’t really true. He is a rather bland sort, but I think, more than anything else, it’s because of his status as a victim of post-traumatic stress disorder. What’s worse, his traumatic stress came at a very early age for him, and I can only imagine the shock of being kidnapped and watching your sister die in front of you (or be eaten by a giant black blob-man, whatever actually happened) at such an early age would leave lasting shockwaves throughout your entire personality. It’s entirely possible, then, that what is perceived as Tarou’s blandness is actually how his mind managed to cope with the traumatic event of kidnapping. PTSD affects different people in different ways, and it’s possible that, in order to avoid dealing with the horrors that he’d experienced, he generated a bland, lifeless, apathetic personality to evade having to deal with further trauma. He doesn’t show much emotion in the series, either positive or negative, which, to me, speaks of shock more than poor designing on the behalf of the writers.
Masayuki is a much more colorful personality than Tarou, yet even he still has his own issues. Here, rather than confront his own trauma of leading to the death of a classmate, he instead immerses himself in virtual reality. Similar to Tarou, he’s escaping his past, although unlike Tarou he puts on a good front of being completely calm and at ease with his past. Except, of course, for the early episodes, where he was still terrified of heights, the curing of which being the original purpose the virtual reality games were to serve. There, even the normally calm, suave Masayuki betrays his own inner doubts and fears. He claims to have moved past them, but is that truly the case?
Makoto is still something of an engima at this point, yet episode 14 gave us tantalizing glimpses into his personality. We see him recalling his youth, where he stabs an innocent frog to death, evidently for the sheer fun of it. His fate is locked in to being the successor to his grandmother, and, resentful of this predetermination of his life, turns to a typical rebellious teenager form of rebellion: rock. I think, however, that the end of episode 14 served to explore further his character, seeing his reactions to the proclamation of Miyako as the successor to his grandmother, his subsequent command to the god resident in Miyako (I can’t remember its name at the moment) for his grandmother to die, and then running home to find his grandmother dead. We don’t know that much about him yet, but obviously there’s something unspoken under the surface here.
Despite the merits I see in Ghost Hound’s story and overall mood, without the characters, I don’t think this would be nearly as good a series as it could have been. I’m not a fan of Ghost in the Shell, as I mentioned before, but Ghost Hound is making me reconsider the abilities of Shirow Masamune in the writing department (but not in the artistry department; I’m glad they hired someone different to do the designs for the series). I still don’t know whether or not I’d like other series in this sort of genre, though, but there’s nothing left to do but try them!