Ghost Sweeper Mikami: The Movie
Hundreds of years ago, the evil and powerful Nosferatu was narrowly defeated. When the Nosferatu returns, the warrior chosen by an ancient lance to defeat him is none other then the greedy and self-absorbed professional ghost sweeper Mikami Reiko. With Japan and the world on the brink of oblivion, can they depend on a woman who is more interested in her profit margin than heroism?
I must admit I was never particularly a fan of the Ghost Sweeper Mikami television series. The main character was thoroughly unlikable, the humor often puerile, and the plot rather repetitive. The movie ended up, in spite of all that, somewhat entertaining. I can't say that I was overwhelmingly impressed by it but it was time that I didn't regret spending. Of course, that was the same weekend I watched Kimera so maybe the contrast makes me think of this title a bit more positively than I perhaps in other circumstances.
Ghost Sweeper Mikami: The Movie both benefits and suffers from trying to take every reoccurring element and character from the somewhat lengthy series and jamming them into the short period of this feature. The advantage of this technique is that many of the characters from the series are rather quirky and amusing in their own right. However, the humor associated with the characters quickly would grow stale (as it did in the series) if they were on the screen for too long. By briefly introducing these characters and giving them only minimal focus, they do create a few amusing and brief scenes that do not end up dragging. For fans of the series, this also ensures that they'll get to see their personal favorite ghost sweeper in action at least once. Since the plot is a fairly straight forward monster hunting feature, there are plenty of ghost sweeping scenes. I also noticed that a lot of the humor was a bit less puerile than in the series. While it still is far from what I would call sophisticated, it was on average, far less obnoxious than I had come to expect from these particular characters.
The disadvantage of this rather full cast is that no one get much time to be developed or to receive much in the way of character work. They are simplistic enough that even people who haven't seen the series can get a good feel for them and their apparent motivations but the lack of attention granted to many of the characters undermines any sort of dramatic tension involved in many of the scenes those characters are involved in. However, honestly, many of the characters in the Ghost Sweeper Mikami universe aren't tremendously developed even in the series nor do they grow particularly a lot, so even if the movie were to focus a bit more tightly on certain characters I have my doubts that the movie would feature anything significantly more impressive in the area of character development.
While character design and art work aren't really that much better than in the series, the animation in several scenes is definitely more fluid. Given that this movie is still a bit older, it may not be all that impressive compared to many more recent titles but they do manage to have several decent and well animated action scenes. Oddly enough, the movie is rather uneven in this regard. Some rather minor battle scenes were well animated while certain major scenes weren't done nearly as well. I can't say that this title is, in anyway, an action masterpiece but it does provide the rare opportunity to see such unusual scenes as friendly vampires, Catholic priests, Japanese ghosts, and a greedy red-headed woman in a mini-skirt with a light saber like weapon battle evil together. Even in anime, that is just something you don't see all the time.
Ghost Sweeper Mikami: The Movie, while far from being a truly quality anime production, does have enough incidental humor and enough decent action scenes that it actually was somewhat entertaining. Fans of the series will undoubtedly be happy to see all their favorite characters appear, even if only briefly. — Jeremy A Beard
Recommended Audience: While it isn't horribly gory, the Nosferatu does drink blood and along with his minions kills more than a few innocent people. Overall, it is best for teen agers and above.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Ghost Sweeper Mikami: The Movie © 1994 Toei
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