Ghost Hunt 4 by Fuyumi Ono and Shiho Inada: A-

From the back cover:
After a schoolboy’s suicide, the team at Shibuya Psychic Research must unravel mysteries at a local high school. As fires break out in an empty office and a stinky smell sickens an entire classroom, the ghost hunters’ job will take both courage and a strong stomach.

The team also investigates a church with a mysterious spirit that haunts only children, and in a hilarious twist, Mai is possessed and thinks that Lin is her daddy. But laughs quickly turn to concern when Mai hides outside in the cold and cannot be found. Now it’s very important that SPR saves her before she freezes to death!

This was the third case in four volumes to take place in a high school. The circumstances were different, of course, and the prominent involvement of the school’s student body president in the investigation was new, but I do look forward to a change of venue soon.

Mai experienced another precognitive dream and was proven right. Here’s my own attempt at precognition: I predict that the student body president, Yasuhara, is being groomed to take over Mai’s administrative duties as she develops her own abilities and moves into a more hands-on role. We shall see. The fact that he appears in the back cover illustration would tend to lend credence to my theory.

This was the first case in the series so far not to wrap up within one volume. Instead, the latter half of the volume was comprised of a wonderful side story called Silent Christmas, my favorite case so far. It was not, as the back cover blurb claims, at all hilarious. Instead, it was cute and sad, featuring the spirit of a little boy, expert at hide-and-seek, who just wanted to be found. The resolution was nicely creepy and though I should have, in retrospect, probably seen it coming, I didn’t.

Artwise, I finally have grown accustomed to Mai’s new character design. If I were to look back at the first volume now, that would probably be the one to look weird to me. I’m also particularly fond of Lin, Naru’s assistant, though he doesn’t do or say much. Probably because he reminds me of my favorite character in Fruits Basket—Hatori.

So, I’m still waiting for Ghost Hunt to truly bring the creepy, but as long as it keeps bringing stories like Silent Christmas, I’ll be satisfied.

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