How long would you stay if you suspected your new apartment was haunted? A week? Six months? Two hundred pages?
Misao, her husband Teppei, and their small daughter move into a gorgeous new apartment building. The price is suspiciously low, because the building is located right next to a cemetery, temple, and crematorium. Also suspicious: half the new apartments are empty, and the ones that are occupied are rapidly losing their tenants.
The first day they move in, the family’s parakeet dies, and the little girl keeps talking about how the ghost of the bird visits her to tell her there are bad spirits in the building. Warning sign number one! From there, though, things slow waaaaaaaay down. There are bad feelings in the basement, some mysterious noises, Misao does some research into the building and the cemetery, and she and Teppei talk a lot about “we should leave/don’t be ridiculous, it’s just your imagination.”
I think I might be too American for this kind of tale. The slow and atmospheric vibe is nice, but nothing HAPPENS. And when the haunting becomes obvious, it’s still pretty minor (locked doors that shouldn’t be locked and handprints on the glass). Some Serious Shit happens at the very end, and then it just slows down again and peters out with a non-ending. I liked Misao, but I need more ghosts in my ghost stories. This was mostly a lot of talking, with not enough explanation.