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Summer ghost, common sense media reviewers.
Suicide, bullying in moving coming-of-age anime.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Anime from Japan.
Movie centers on three teens who join forces to fi
Parents need to know that Summer Ghost is a 2022 anime in which three teens search for the ghost of a teen girl rumored to have committed suicide. Suicide is a dominant theme of this short anime, and in one scene, a character attempts suicide by jumping off of a building. What's later revealed is that the…
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Violence & Scariness
Movie centers on three teens who join forces to find and interact with the ghost of a teen girl who is believed to have committed suicide. Suicide attempt by jumping off a building. Talk of suicide, characters have suicidal thoughts. Later, the movie reveals that the teen girl (the "Summer Ghost") didn't commit suicide, but was hit and killed by a car, and the driver of the vehicle buried her alive in a suitcase. In one scene, bullies dump water on a teen girl. Talk of being bullied at school.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Summer Ghost is a 2022 anime in which three teens search for the ghost of a teen girl rumored to have committed suicide. Suicide is a dominant theme of this short anime, and in one scene, a character attempts suicide by jumping off of a building. What's later revealed is that the teen girl didn't commit suicide, but was hit and killed by a car and the driver of the vehicle buried her alive in a suitcase. Bullying in one scene -- bullies dump water on a teen girl. Talk of being bullied at school. Infrequent mild language such as "damn" and "hell." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails .
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What's the Story?
In SUMMER GHOST, Tomoya (David Errigo Jr.), Aoi (Kyla Carter), and Ryo (Clifford Chapin) are three teens getting out of school for summer vacation. At a diner, they agree to search for a "summer ghost" named Ayane Sato, a teen girl who is believed to have committed suicide after being bullied in school. The three go off to a field, and through spells and fireworks, they manage to reach Ayane, and as they talk with her over the course of the summer, they see the similarities between her problems and their problems. Their quest to meet Ayane takes a startling turn after Ayane reveals the way in which she really died, and now the three must find a way to reveal the truth.
Is It Any Good?
This is a moving short anime that uses magical realism to explore difficult topics. Summer Ghost tells the story of three teens on a quest during summer vacation to track down the ghost of a teen girl rumored to have committed suicide after being bullied in school. It's a sad movie that takes an even darker twist later in the movie, and while it will most certainly be a difficult watch for those who are traumatized by the topics the movie addresses, it remains a powerful coming-of-age movie.
The fact that it's only 40 minutes helps to keep the movie focused and consistent. Whereas other anime would be likely to pad a story like this with an extra hour (at least) of endless side stories, back stories, and world creation, this story is told economically, and is therefore one not easily forgotten, and not only because of the story and its themes.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about anime movies like Summer Ghost . How is this similar to and different from other anime movies you've seen?
This movie addresses topics like bullying and suicide. While it's a story rooted in magical realism, does the movie effectively address these difficult topics?
How is this similar to and different from other coming-of-age stories you have read or seen?
- On DVD or streaming : November 1, 2022
- Cast : Kyla Carter , Clifford Chapin , David Errigo Jr.
- Director : Loundraw
- Studio : GKIDS
- Genre : Anime
- Topics : High School , Middle School , Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time : 40 minutes
- MPAA rating : NR
- Last updated : August 2, 2023
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2021, Fantasy/Drama, 40m
Where to watch Summer Ghost
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High school students Tomoya, Aoi and Ryo become friends through the internet and plan to meet the summer ghost, the spirit of a young woman who appears with the lighting of fireworks.
Genre: Fantasy, Drama, Anime
Original Language: Japanese
Director: loundraw , Cherami Leigh , Stephanie Sheh
Production Co: Avex Inc.
Cast & Crew
Ryo Kobayashi Voice
David Errigo Jr.
Tomoya Sugisaki Voice
Aoi Harukawa Voice
Megan Taylor Harvey
Ayane Sato Voice
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Summer Ghost Blu-ray Review
- November 23, 2022
Loundraw Explores Death
Summer Ghost is a poignantly animated tale of supernatural drama about three teenagers drawn towards death. Illustrator loundraw, whose work has been adapted into anime before by others, makes his own directorial debut with the short feature. The gifted artistic talent shows immense promise as a major force in anime direction with this accomplished, if brief, film.
Three teenagers are drawn together by the claims of an urban legend – supposedly lighting fireworks at an abandoned airfield will call the “summer ghost,” a spirit haunting the area who will answer their questions. Tomoya, Aoi, and Ryo are surprised when they find out the legend is true. A ghost named Ayane appears, leading them on a mysterious exploration of death and ultimately life. Summer Ghost is a melancholic story of youths confronting death and how they deal with it.
There’s a satisfying accomplishment to the story and characters… which elevates Summer Ghost
The unique short feature is capably animated by loundraw’s new Flat Studio, featuring his original designs. Relatively brief for theatrical anime in Japan at forty minutes, there’s enough meat on Summer Ghost’s bones to sink your teeth into while leaving viewers a tad disappointed there isn’t more. If it wasn’t a one-off, you’d think it was the packed debut episode of a hot new anime series.
It’s hard dismissing the comparisons of Summer Ghost to Voices of a Distant Star , the acclaimed animated short film which got future superstar director Makoto Shinkai first noticed in animation. Like Shinkai, loundraw announces his presence as a director with Summer Ghost in a major way. This is the debut of an animator with a bright future ahead. There’s a satisfying accomplishment to the story and characters, not to mention an eye for intriguing visuals and beautiful artwork, which elevates Summer Ghost into very exciting territory.
Standing on its own, Summer Ghost’s limitations prevent it from the masterwork it could have been. Forty minutes is just enough time to introduce the main characters and tell a coherent narrative. There’s little room left for sub-plots or complex backstories. Flashy animation has to compensate for somewhat trite character development, needing a full-length feature for further development. The basics, including likable characters and a catchy central premise, are all there for a true masterpiece.
GKIDS has their anime Blu-ray presentations down to a science by this point and loundraw’s lush drawing style breathes life into the 1.78:1 presentation. The main feature runs a tick shy of forty minutes, receiving an AVC encode on a BD-50. Summer Ghost maybe lacks the ultimate polish of the biggest theatrical anime but makes up for it with inspired creativity and interesting artistic choices.
The 1080p video reflects a director making his animated debut, heavy on lens flares and other lighting effects borrowed from such household names as Makoto Shinkai. Fully animated by loundraw’s new Flat Studio, they are still a way’s away from the finished output of bigger players in the industry like Studio Ghibli or Madhouse.
There’s a pastoral quality to Summer Ghost’s animation combined with an ambition that reaches beyond ordinary anime. loundraw’s unique approach to drawing and color shine throughout Summer Ghost . This is vivid picture quality perfect for Blu-ray.
Japanese and English 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtracks perform comparable jobs, delivering clean vocals and mild surround mixes. The Japanese dub is probably your best bet but the English cast does a fine job with the melancholy material.
There isn’t an abundance of discrete audio beyond a low-key piano score and gentle music slightly swelling across the entire soundstage in select scenes. Dynamics are fairly rewarding and the low end is better than expected.
Summer Ghost’s Japanese audio has Chiaki Kobayashi as Tomoya Sugisaki, Miyuri Shimabukuro as Aoi Harukawa, Nobunaga Shimazaki as Ryō Kobayashi, and Rina Kawaei as Ayane Satō. The English dub features David Errigo Jr. as Tomoya and Megan Taylor Harvey as Ayane.
Optional English, English SDH, and Spanish subtitles play in a white font. It should be noted the English subtitles translates the Japanese audio. A hidden English subtitle track plays for on-screen Japanese text if English audio is chosen.
Making up for the main feature running a brief forty minutes, an extensive documentary focusing on Summer Ghost’s development process offers loads of insight into this unique project.
Early pressings include a glossy slipcover. The disc is marked Region A.
To You Before Dawn Documentary (78:53 in HD; Japanese 2.0 Dolby Digital w/ English subtitles) – Primarily consisting of interviews and production meeting footage shot as the project was developing, this full-blown documentary explores many nuances of the animation process and Japanese dub recording. Director loundraw explains his approach to the art and story while producer Ryu Ishii paints a broader picture of the entire production. Nicely done, it’s one of the best behind-the-scenes anime documentaries I’ve seen.
Feature Animatic (37:12 in HD; Japanese 2.0 Dolby Digital w/ English subtitles) – Early art for Summer Ghost is shown for the entire feature movie.
Interview with loundraw (13:36 in HD) – The director and primary animator discusses his creative choices making Summer Ghost , everything from his conscious use of pale colors to the necessary cutting of ten minutes from the short film. loundraw even digs into the meaning behind his curious name.
Full disclosure : This Blu-ray was provided by the label. This has not affected the review’s editorial process. For information on how we handle all review material, please visit our about us page.
An engaging anime short film from gifted illustrator loundraw produced by his new studio which hints at greatness in the future.
The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 36 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots grabbed directly from the Blu-ray:
Christopher Zabel has moderated the AVSForum's Picture Quality Tiers for the last decade. A videophile with a real passion for genre films and quality filmmaking, personal favorites include everything from Fight Club to 2001: A Space Odyssey. A firm believer in physical media, his ever-growing film collection has begun threatening the space-time continuum with its enormous mass.
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‘Summer Ghost’ Blu-Ray Review – A Deeply Poignant Debut From A Burgeoning Talent
- By Dillon Gonzales
- November 2, 2022
- No Comments
An urban legend says that lighting fireworks at an abandoned airfield will beckon the “summer ghost,” a spirit that can answer any question. Three teenagers, Tomoya, Aoi, and Ryo, each have their own reason to show up one day. When a ghost named Ayane appears, she reveals she is only visible to those “who are about to touch their death.” Compelled by the ghost and her message, Tomoya begins regularly visiting the airfield to uncover the true purpose of her visits.
Inspired by one of his own drawings, the directorial debut from the celebrated illustrator, loundraw, brings his lush visual sensibility to a supernatural drama about the pains of growing up, and the importance of living life to the fullest.
For thoughts on Summer Ghost, please check out our discussion on The Video Attic:
Summer Ghost comes to Blu-Ray from GKIDS and Shout! Factory with a gorgeous 1080p transfer in its original aspect ratio. The animation style utilized for this narrative is bursting with character and nuance. Every frame is almost like a work of art that you would want to frame and hang on your wall. The colors alone are perfectly saturated with dazzling and deep hues delighting the senses. Black levels are deep with no trace of compression artifacts or digital anomalies.
This might be a directorial debut, but it is clear that loundraw has a keen sense of design, and the team he has assembled has really brought his vision to life in a formidable manner. Each environment is filled with little bits of character that make the world more fully realized. The character designs are wonderfully rendered as they each make a distinct impact. The transfer handles every change in environment with impeccable stability including no jagged lines or color bleeding. It is always a treat to see animation in high definition.
The Blu-Ray comes with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless track presented here in its original Japanese, along with an English language dub. The film is presented with optional English, English SDH and Spanish subtitles. Dialogue comes through clearly and without issue while working in tandem with competing elements. The lovely score delivers more raw emotion to the story as it envelops the audience through the surround sound presentation. The environmental detail in the surround channels is complex as the sounds of nature transport you into this narrative. This is a relatively reserved story, but the sounds make the most of their placement for some added texture to the world. GKIDS delivers a quality audio experience with this title.
- To You Before Dawn Documentary: A terrific 79-minute documentary which gives you an extensive deep dive into the creative process including fly-on-the-wall production meetings, interviews with the creative team, character and animation development, voice recordings, performance of the score and more. You not only get the technical details that will interest anime enthusiasts, but also more personal moments where you see individuals striving to collaborate with one another.
- Feature Animatic: A 37-minute version of the film in rough animatic form is presented here where you can experience how the animation developed to what we see on screen.
- Interview with loundraw: A nearly 14-minute interview with the director in which he discusses the background of his moniker, the development of Sumer Ghost , the thematic meaning behind the story, the characters that resonate with him the most, the experience of directing for the first time, why he chose to make a short film instead of a feature-length story and more.
Summer Ghost may not register as highly with some audiences due to being a short film rather than a full-length feature, but to dismiss it on length alone would mean you are missing out on a deeply emotional tale. First time director loundraw surrounds himself with top-tier talent to bring his vision to life which explores some deeply poignant subject matter with grace and nuance. The animation itself is stunning, and the characters are firmly defined in a way that keeps you invested from beginning to end. GKIDS and Shout! Factory have released a Blu-Ray with a terrific A/V presentation and an assortment of special features that make up for the brevity of the short film. Anime fans should not pass up this introduction to a great new talent who is making very positive first steps in the medium. Recommended
Summer Ghost is currently available to purchase on Blu-Ray.
Note: Images presented in this review are not reflective of the image quality of the Blu-Ray.
Disclaimer: GKIDS and Shout! Factory have supplied a copy of this disc free of charge for review purposes. All opinions in this review are the honest reactions of the author.
Dillon is most comfortable sitting around in a theatre all day watching both big budget and independent movies.
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An urban legend says that lighting fireworks at an abandoned airfield will beckon the "summer ghost," a spirit that can answer any question. Three teenagers, Tomoya, Aoi, and Ryo, each have their own reason to show up one day. When a ghost named Ayane appears, she reveals she is only visible to those "who are about to touch their death." Compelled by the ghost and her message, Tomoya begins regularly visiting the airfield to uncover the true purpose of her visits.
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