Ghost Hunt 6 by Fuyumi Ono and Shiho Inada: B

From the back cover:
The brave investigators of Shibuya Psychic Research must unravel a strange mystery. People are vanishing in a peculiar mansion. Eerie manifestations abound from the moment the team enters the house. Stairways lead to nowhere… windows open, but not to the outside… there are doors in the ceiling… and, scariest of all, something very sinister is awaiting its next victim. As the disappearances escalate one by one, beware and be forewarned: Don’t wander off aloneā€”or you could be next!

This volume was a disappointment after the last two.

In volume five, Inada announced that Ghost Hunt was ending its serialization and would be published directly to tankoubon format instead. Evidently, she saw this as her chance to make more changes in character designs, once again not for the better. Mai’s hair was longer, causing her yet again to look completely different (and just when I was getting used to the first revision to her appearance). Also, each character had a couple of panels where they just looked wrong.

Plotwise, the creepy mansion was an improvement over the repetitive high school stories, and yielded the most gruesome image of the series to date. Unfortunately, it seems that a good plot and good character interaction cannot exist simultaneously with this series, as the latter was fairly clunky at times. The worst example was Mai talking with Masako, a psychic medium on the team, causing another person to note, “Oh, you’re getting along now?” It had never previously been established that they didn’t get along, so when Mai then demanded why Masako despised her, it was entirely out of the blue.

As I had predicted, Yasuhara did indeed return. In this case, he served as a stand-in for Naru so the other could avoid dealing with the media or something. Really, it didn’t make much sense, but since I like Yasuhara, I didn’t quibble. Alas, some other things in the story didn’t make much sense, either, like an explanation of why some measurements of staircases indicated there was a hidden floor somewhere in the mansion. At some point, one just has to accept it and move on, but it bothered me. I’m tempted to lay the blame on Inada rather than a translator, just because of all the other things that were slightly off about this volume.

My last complaint is that while the volume ended on a big cliffhanger, suspense was quickly dispelled by the preview for the next volume, which showed the person in peril to be completely fine. I mean, not that I really expected otherwise, but surely they could’ve chosen other pages for their preview, especially the ones chosen consisted solely of the group watching Lin sit in a chair.

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