Astig talaga ang Ghostfighter.
I first watched the series waaaaaaaaaay back in first year high school -- that was around a dozen years ago. Every wednesday night, I'd steal away from my friends and go home early to catch an episode in IBC 13.
Of course, I wouldn't be caught dead watching a cartoon at such an age, but one Thursday, in between classes, I was amazed to hear every guy in my class talking neither about x-rated tapes nor Ultimate Fighting Champion episodes -- instead, they were animatedly discussing Hiei's lightning-fast swordsmanship that ends a fight seconds after it began. Suddenly, it was ok to come out of the closet -- after a season of pretending we're all too old for our childhood pleasures, watching cartoons was cool again.
The series ended, of course, as all good things in this earth are wont to do. But the show's popularity was so much that the program was shown again. I was a freshie in college at this time, and again, I was surprised with the show's widespread appeal. One time in our Art Studies (was this Humanities 2?) class, our teacher assigned us to attend an art gallery opening scheduled at 7 in the evening. After a breath of hesitation, the class declined and asked for a different schedule or activity. The reason? Ghostfighter's timeslot was set at 7 in the evening. Incredulous, the kindly old professor had to ask again if we -- the whole class -- were actually saying no to an assignment because of a TV show; she couldn't believe a bunch of college scholars were risking a '5' for a cartoon show.
Dubbed in Filipino, Ghostfighter is known for its humorous cracks and notable characters. I could tell you all about the various sagas of the show or how they developed each character, but that would lessen the magic. I was so into the Ghostfighter's story that a girlfriend even drew for me an image of Dennis, the human form of the dreaded Youko Kurama.
Ghostfighter (in Japan, Yu Yu Hakusho) is about the adventures of Eugene (Yusuke Urameshi), a 14 yr-old misunderstood boy, who is generally known as the toughest kid in town. Due to some unexpected twist of fate, Eugene dies, becomes a Spirit Detective, becomes the apprentice/heir of a spirit wave master, leads his team to the Dark Tournament, dies again and thus triggers the hidden-demon dna in his body and organizes the first Tournament (in place of elections) to determine who will become the leader of Makai (demon world). Not bad for a delinquent teenager who fears, more than anything else in the world, the slap of his girlfriend Kayko.
GMA 7 recently re-launched Ghostfighter -- making it the show's fourth (or is it 5th?) run on Philippine airwaves. What caught my attention, however, is what I saw in the report from AC Nielsen about the program ratings. I found, to my pleasant surprise, that Ghostfighter was at the 3rd place on the top 10 daily programs -- only behind Eat Bulaga and Daisy Siete, besting Wowowee, Komiks, and various drama shows. It is also the no.1 Anime today, in terms of ratings. I'd show you the charts but I'm afraid Nielsen might sue me for publishing it in the Internet. 12 years, 5 series reruns, scores of other anime shows later, it seems that the Rekai Tantei still kicks ass.
Now, i wonder if there's a DVD of the series in Makati Cinema Square...