Ghost Mama Sousasen (ゴーストママ捜査線- Ghost Mama Investigation Line) is a crime drama where the main detective is a ghost who tries to help other ghosts free themselves from regrets. The ghost, Uehara Choko, is played by Nakama Yukie, and her son Tonbo, who also plays a primary part in the cases, is played by six-year-old Kimino Yuma. Sawamura Ikki plays her husband, Kohei, and Shida Mirai plays Aoi, her daughter, so the family scenes should feature robust acting.

Nakama Yukie

The story begins with Uehara Choko narrating. While I liked the narration in Naniwa Shounen Tanteidan because is was humorous and gave the perspective of a character on the periphery of events, this narration is mainly exposition.

Tonbo

We find out in the first scene that she’s already dead and that Tonbo is the only one who can see her. The way we find that out is annoying, though, as she gets scared by a cyclist who’s coming right at her, but passes right through her. If we’re really going to respect her as someone clever, this isn’t a very good first impression.

A Bicycle Passes Through HerTonbo Points Out She's Dead

After the credits roll . . .

Ghost Mama Title 1Ghost Mama Title 2

. . . we get a flashback to three months ago when Choko was still alive. Here, we find out that she really is a bit of an airhead (she makes hamburgers for breakfast and forgets to turn on the rice cooker, for instance). She also coddles Tonbo to a degree that’s already annoying.

Tonbo at his entrance ceremony

The Choko-Tonbo pair get a bit of sympathy from the viewer when, at his elementary school entrance ceremony, the little brats – I mean, his classmates – laugh when his name gets called out.

The Brats

Sure, it’s a bit weird that his name means dragonfly, but these kids should get a good slapping from their parents for being so disrespectful on their first day at school. If all the parents are like Choko, though, that’s hardly going to happen. Of course, Choko manages to make an embarrassing scene when her kid gets is insulted like this, but I think she sort of had to do something.

Making a Scene

We then get a post-school scene where Tonbo expresses how much he dislikes his name as his parents try to reassure him. At this point, I’m really getting bored.

Tonbo Ashamed

Then, in a minute later, Choko hears that there’s a bag snatcher running her way, and takes him down in one smooth move.

Bag SnatcherTaking Him Down 1Taking Him Down 2

She gets a round of applause from the locals for this, but of course, she’s got a boss at the precinct who doesn’t appreciate her methods:

The Chief 1The Chief 2

She pacifies him with a picture of her cute son:

Calming the Chief Down 1Calming the Chief Down 2

And now, I’m officially getting sick of her and her son. I’m also starting to realize that, when she finally dies, she won’t be able to talk to other people about how wonderful her son is. You know what that means? That means she’s going to tell us, the viewers, all about him through the narration. If that starts to happen, I’m abandoning this series on the spot.

Anyway, she dies trying to save a kid from a house on fire (I hope that doesn’t come as too much of a surprise, considering how much of a cliché it is).

Fatal Heroism 1Fatal Heroism 2

We then get a long scene with the family distraught over her death. I’m not going to get into the details of the domestic scenes and Choko coming to terms with her death. It was really slow and painfully dull. The problem is simple: it has all been done before.

Should She Stay or Should She Go?

I have to say, though, that once we get to the part where Tonbo starts to be able to see Choko, his character becomes a bit easier to take. By that point, though, we’ve already burned through more than half and hour!

Finally, at around minute 36, we find out that the fire Choko died in might have been arson. I quickly realize that it would be wrong to call this a mystery drama. It’s a crime drama – at least for this episode – which means we never get to wonder about who committed the crimes or how they were done. Or maybe I should just call it a ghost story. Hopefully it’ll turn into more of a mystery series in the next episode.

I ended up ambivalent about the characters. Eventually, Tonbo showed himself to be a likable and clever character, though it took a while. Choko, though, is annoying throughout. While Nakama Yukie-san plays the character well, the character herself is just a fawning mother so far. She’s not a competent detective. For three months as a ghost, she spends the time sticking by her son’s side. In other words, her passion is for her son, and not at all for solving crimes, or she would have hit upon the idea of using her ghostly advantages for the sake of justice a lot sooner.

So, it’s too slow, it’s more a mother-son love-fest than a mystery, and I dislike one of the two main characters. That said, all the plot stuff they had to do – you know, kill the main character and all – is out-of-the-way, so maybe we’ll get a tighter episode next time. I think we’ve definitely gotten the point that Choko loves her son, so hopefully they won’t have to repeat that every other line. I suppose I’ll give it another try as long as subtitles are forthcoming (thanks again to Eric Paroissien), but it’s at the bottom of my priority list.

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