Despite the fact that A Chinese Ghost Story is actually a Chinese production (made in Hong Kong in fact), it's always being classified as an anime everywhere online. If you're still in doubt, you can check the DVD release and see that the only language tracks available are Mandarin, Cantonese, and English. Anyhow, I'll be joining the internet bandwagon by placing this review on the anime index.

The first thing I noticed about A Chinese Ghost Story is the youthful look of the characters. Our hero Ning looks like a 18-year old man (although he's actually older than that) -- being the vertically-challenged and roundish-ly drawn character that he is. It's kind of hard to believe that he has a girlfriend and that they are of marrying age already (but then people did marry young in ancient japan). The female characters look slightly older, maybe around their mid-teens. Ning is immediately attracted to the ghost Siu Seen, and Siu Seen in turn gradually falls for Ning... but theirs is a love that's not supposed to be -- and that becomes the main dilemma of this unique story.

Things happen in a frenzied pace, and get a little too chaotic for my taste. In many scenes, the characters run, scream, fight, and jump around all at once. The art and animation are good. Although the character designs are on the cutesy side, vibrantly rendered visuals abound. The Chinese countryside comes alive with backgrounds that are computer generated, reminiscent of video game FMV sequences. The theme songs and music also add a nice touch. They are unmistakably Chinese in style (performed by popular Chinese artists) and tempo, which suits the film perfectly. The English dubbing is pretty decent, albeit in this case the Mandarin track (if watching the DVD) would give you a more authentic experience. A Chinese Ghost Story gives you a brief glimpse of the intricate and interesting world of Chinese mythology. It's a fairly solid title which the whole family can enjoy