GS Mikami article published in Animerica Extra Vol. 3, No. 8, July 2000
This article was written by and is copyrighted to Patricia Duffield and may not be reproduced in part or whole without permission.

Much as I would like to say with indignation and surprise "What!? You haven't heard of GS Mikami?", I recognize the U.S. fan following for this hilarious horror series is still sadly small. Having recently ended at 39 volumes, GS Mikami Gokuraku Daisakusen!! (Ghost Sweeper Mikami Great Battle Paradise!!*) has been one of Shonen Sunday's top selling titles for years. Naturally there was a TV series, a movie, various CDs, video games and lots of other goodies. The show --just GS Mikami-- ran for a respectable 45 episodes from April, 1993 to March, 1994, offering audiences animated interpretations of these reliably comedic tales of the occult.

You might guess from the title that the main character is a Ghost Sweeper (exorcist) named Mikami, but it is the thoughts of her part-time assistant, Tadao Yokoshima, which are usually used for narration. Though Yokoshima is perpetually impoverished, he helps out for a meager 250Y/hr (about $2.25/hr) just so he can work with a beautiful babe. A notorious coward, Yokoshima spends much of the action scenes screaming and/or running in terror, but he makes a pretty good porter, hauling Mikami's pack wherever they go. Reiko Mikami is not only sexy but fearless, as anyone who works with hideous supernatural horrors really ought to be. Her primary motivations are money and the acquisition of magic items. Since she's a world-class Sweeper, her fees are usually astronomical and she tends to succeed in getting what she wants. She's smart, resourceful, and never gives up. Mikami's other assistant is Okinu, the spirit of a kind- hearted girl from the 17th century who is likely the sanest character in the series.

Mikami's primary Ghost Sweeping rival is Emi Ogasawara whose beauty and greed rival her own. Emi is infatuated with Pete*, a benevolent half-vampire who is the pupil of Father Karasu, a powerful excommunicated man of God who was once Mikami's mentor. Other Sweeper friends include the geriatric mad-scientist, Dr. Chaos, and his resourceful robot, Maria. Possibly the funniest recurring character is Meiko Rokudo (second o long), a cute young Sweeper who adores ‘Reiko-chan'. Meiko is accompanied by 12 guardian spirits, each representing a different creature of the Chinese zodiac. These spirits are her faithful companions and respond to her any need. What makes this all so funny is that Meiko is a delicate, high- strung, easily ruffled young woman, so her spirits tend to burst into this world with humorous regularity. Rounding off this cast of crazies is Yakuchin, the diminutive proprietor of a shop which specializes in everyday and one of a kind occult needs.

Creator Takeshi Shiina is a big comics and sci-fi fan. There are lots of cameos and allusions to various stories, especially from other Shogakukan titles. Shiina's ability to stretch his characters' expressions to the max is remarkable; Yokoshima's terror and Mikami's gleeful greed are nothing short of hysterical. The author uses a diverse array of situations for his stories, from classics like genies in bottles to more contemporary subjects like other-worldly video games. Any topic is fair game for Shiina. Combine all this with his knack for slap-stick, and the end product is an action-packed series that's seriously funny.

GS Mikami is a fairly episodic story, especially at the beginning. So once you're familiar with the characters (as I hope you are now) you can enjoy almost any issue or episode of this amusing occult series. Outrageous humor, a cast of lunatics and plenty of supernatural butt- kicking. If this combination interests you, go get yourself some GS Mikami!

 

*Or however you'd like to translate it!

Some people spell Pete's name Peet, because it's ‘pi-to-' in Japanese, but since his brother's named Brad (burado-), I figured an Anglo name fit.

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