Ghost Sweeper Mikami: The Great Paradise Battle!! (GS美神 極楽大作戦!! Gōsuto Suīpā Mikami Gokuraku Daisakusen!!?) is a comedic horror manga series by Takashi Shiina. It was published by the weekly manga magazine Shōnen Sunday from 1991 to 1999. In 1993, it won the Shogakukan Manga Award for shōnen. The series explores some folk religion themes such as possession, exorcism, shamanism, Yurei, and Yōkai.
The series was adapted as a 45-episode anime television series by Toei Animation called Ghost Sweeper Mikami (GS美神 Gōsuto Suīpā Mikami?) which ran on TV Asahi and the Asahi Broadcasting Corporation from 1993–1994, covering most parts of the first nine volumes of the Manga (total 39 volumes). The anime lead to the release of a movie, which had been the only existence of Mikami in the United States (released by Manga Video). The TV series has been licensed by Sentai Filmworks.
Overdevelopment and crowding in Japan has forced many of its indigenous spirits and ghosts to lose their homes. Due to problems caused by the homeless spirits, a new profession was created, the Ghost Sweepers (GS). Private exorcists for hire; they serve only the highest bidder to survive in the cutthroat corporate world. Among this, the Mikami GS Company, led by Reiko Mikami and her two assistants, the teenage boy Tadao Yokoshima and the ghost girl Okinu, is said to be the best.
The manga setup is scenario-to-scenario, with many plots intertwining classic Japanese culture and modern day realities, with occasional references to Western influences. In between these plots are some longer story arcs where new characters are introduced and the existing characters are further developed. There is no one ongoing storyline, therefore the plots are character-driven and serve to gradually develop characters, especially the main protagonists.
- Heaven (極楽 Gokuraku?, also known as Paradise)
- A place for those with a good karma, those who enter heaven will be reborn.
- Demon realm (魔界 Makai?)
- The world of demons, ruled by Satan. Only in their world, demons can use the full potential of their power. On the other hand, any other creature in Makai would die like fish out of water.
- Demons are divided in low, middle and upper class depending on their strength. Because of the cold war going on between demons and gods, this race has been divided into a militarist and a pacifist faction.
- They are in many ways similar to the demons. They have a similar hierarchy, with the difference that the gods embody the "good", while demons represent "evil".
- Monster (妖怪 Yōkai?)
- Manifestation of negative energy (commonly in the shape of abonimations). Yōkai and demons are not the same though. To demons, yōkai are as despicable as to the humans or gods. The aura which a Yōkai emits is called Yōki.
- Spirit (霊 Rei?)
- Manifestation of a soul (or multiple souls) from the dead (animals, humans).
- Spirit stone (精霊石 Seireiseki?)
- Holy stones imbued with spiritual energy. It can be released explosively, erasing any common spirits in a certain surrounding area or hindering stronger spirits. Because of the rare occurrence, its price lies at 15 billion yen.
- Divine staff (心痛恨 Shintsūkon?)
- A (most of the time telescopic) staff weapon engraved with spells, which channels the energy of the user and concentrates it within itself. Thus it's an excellent close combat weapon against evil spirits and demons. (The concentrated energy makes it also very tough against attacks from spirits and demons, even though it isn't very tough physically since it is still a telescopic weapon)
- Talisman (御札 Ofuda?, also known as "Seal")
- Strips out of enchanted paper. Depending on the quality of the paper and the symbols written on it, the magic enchanted on it can be very strong.
Mikami GS Agency
- Reiko Mikami (美神 令子 Mikami Reiko?)
- The president and owner of the ghost sweeping agency Mikami GS, a strong-willed first class Ghost Sweeper, 20 years old. She was initially trained by the pastor father Karasu, but unlike her mentor, she was not satisfied with a life of poverty. Although she is wealthy from the success of her exorcism business, she is stingy when it comes to paying her employees, and often gouges her clients for a higher fee.
- With Her motto being "the current profit comes first", her motivation is not to help the people in need, but to earn the big money and to chase after the thrill. Her biggest weaknesses are small children, cockroaches and the thought of not being able to earn money.
- Even though she would never admit it, she does show feelings towards Yokoshima with the progress of the manga. The two are revealed to have been connected together in a previous life.
- Tadao Yokoshima (横島 忠夫 Yokoshima Tadao?)
- A high school student, started working as the assistant of Mikami at the age of 15. He is totally enthralled by Mikami, and often tells himself that he only keeps his dangerous job because of Mikami's charm. His official wages per hour is 250 yen, later increased to 255 yen. He appears at first to have dormant spiritual abilities and later on in the manga, with the help of Shoryuki, Yokoshima does gain various abilities of his own. Recently, he has shown a much more mature and serious side of himself, brought on by the advent of real romantic sentiment between him and Luciola.
- Kinu Himuro (氷室 キヌ Himuro Kinu?) (Okinu)
- A teenaged female ghost. First encountered by Mikami and Yokoshima as one of two ghosts causing chaos at a mountain hot spring, Mikami ends up "adopting" her when she didn't know how to go to heaven. Eventually, she ends up becoming the secretary and errand girl for Mikami and even develops feelings for Yokoshima. To the other friendly spirits she is consider a Senpai.
- Later in the manga, Okinu does get her life back as her body was never destroyed. She is able to reunite her soul with her body (although weakly) and now lives a life of a normal teenage girl, but temporaly loses her memory. When she recovers her memory, she realizes that she is a natural necromancer for her ability to understand the spirits' pain.
- Shibusaba Artificial Ghost no. 1 (渋鯖 人工幽霊壱号 Shibusaba Jinkou yuurei Ichigo?) (A.Y.) (Manga only)
- An artificial soul created by the occult scientist doctor Shibusaba, it is also the rightful owner of its own house under the name of Shibusaba's son. In search for a strong spiritualist whose spiritual wave matches its own, Mikami has become the house's new owner, and the building serves her as her new agency since then.
- Kazuhiro Karasu (唐巣 和宏 Karasu Kazuhiro?) (Father Karasu)
- A male Catholic priest exorcist who was repelled from the church because of his methods, he used to be both Mikamis' (mother and daughter) mentor, 45 years old. He is said to be one of the best and most powerful exorcists currently active thanks to his training on Myoushinzan, but with the progressing story, he becomes more like an advisor than a ghost sweeper. In one point of the manga it is suggested that he will become the chairman of the GS community one day.
- Pietro de Bloodeau (ピエトロ・ド・ブラドー Pietoro do Buradō?) (Pete)
- A 700-year-old half vampire. He is the son of Count Bloodeau (Pronounced Blado) who is said to be "cousin of the husband of Count Dracula's sister". While he is currently a disciple of Father Karasu, he used to know Karasu years before. He also goes to the same school as Yokoshima, and because of his handsome look, he's very popular with many girls, including Emi Ogasawara. His big dream is to become an occult G man one day, which will be granted at the end of the Manga.
Doctor Chaos' lab
- Doctor Chaos (ドクター・カオス Dokutā Kaosu?)
- An old senile male alchemist / exorcist with a genius level intellect. Being immortal (or at least 1000 years old), he has acquired much knowledge of the supernatural. Unfortunately, he forgets something he already knows if he tries to learn something new, which leads to him constantly rereading his old books and a lot of running gags. Note that Chaos, and by extension Maria, is the Ghost Sweeper whose dire financial straits are most often displayed. While nearly all of the main Ghost Sweepers other than meiko and mikami are implied to be in a very deep financial rut, Chaos and Maria's plight is most often depicted, along with Yokoshima, to the point where in the (Anime) episode where the group had to enter a movie set in edo period Japan, he and Maria were depicted as peasants. He also had to loan Maria out to Mikami as collateral for a loan to build Teresa.
- Maria (マリア?)
- A tough-fighting Gynoid and companion of Dr. Chaos, created from the image of Dr. Chaos's lover in his younger days. She is strong, fast and resistant to damage, hiding all kind of weapons in her body, and is yet a kind-hearted "person" who possesses a soul and the urge to serve mankind, unlike her sister Teresa. Maria acts as Dr. Chaos' main weapon, bodyguard and housekeeper.
- Teresa (テレサ?)
- Voiced by: Maria Kawamura (川村万梨阿)
- The second android Chaos invented, though relying more on modern technology than magic. This might also be the reason she regards the humanity as a failure and even tried to conquer mankind. Through the clash with her sister Maria, she sunk into the ocean and her body has never been found.
Ogasawara GS Agency
- Emi Ogasawara (小笠原 エミ Ogasawara Emi?)
- A dark-skinned female voodoo exorcist, chief competitor to Mikami's ghost sweeping business. According to Mikami, Emi is the strongest voodoo user worth competing with her. Even though it seems they are enemies, they're in fact good friends and partners who can rely on each other in times of emergency. Emi is apparently in love with Pete and uses any opportunity she can get to approach him.
- Unlike Mikami, Emi had a way darker past: she lost both her parents at the age of 10 and made a living as an assassin until the age of 15, at which she gave up this career due to a certain incident.
- Tiger Torakichi (タイガー 寅吉 Taiga Torakichi?) (Manga only)
- A Large, muscular man, who has been hired by Emi to defeat Mikami. After failure, he stays as Emi's disciple and assistant. Tiger used to be a woman chaser just like Yokoshima, thus his nickname "molesting tiger", but this habit of his turned into fear of women due to some reason. His ability is to create illusions through his telepathy.
- Meiko Rokudou (六道 冥子 Rokudō Meiko?)
- An innocent-looking but extremely powerful female who directly controls 12 Shikigami, which are named after the Japanese names of the Heavenly Generals (Jyuni Shinshou), legendary Hindu figures who became Buddhists: (Indara, Ajira, Kubira, Basara, Shindara, Sanchira, Haira, Makora, Shôtora, Anchira, Bikara, and Mekira). These are animal in form, caricatures of the symbols that these figures carry, which come from the Chinese counting series Earthly Branches. Normally they are under control, but whenever Meiko becomes distraught, her "pets" destroy anything or anyone within their reach. Unfortunately for all, Meiko is sensitive, weak-willed and easily hurt, therefore the Shikigami are set on the loose very frequently. She is hinted at being a lesbian with feelings for Mikami, who was the only person able to calm Meiko down when she first lost control of her shikigami in public. Although she acts and looks younger than Mikami, she is actually older (her mother was shown to be pregnant with her before Mikami's mother even met her husband).
- The 48th generation of Rokudou (六道 第48代 Rokudō dai yonjuuhachi dai?)
- Voiced by: Nana Yamaguchi (山口奈々)
- The current mistress of the Rokudō mansion, and the former master of the Shikigami, she is still able to control them at will. She used to be both Mikami Michie's and Karasu's mentor, and after retiring from the GS business, she now runs the Rokudou Girl High school, a school for female elite spiritualists.
Occult G Men
- Teruhiko Saijou (西条 輝彦 Saijō Teruhiko?) (Manga only)
- Mikami Michie's only known disciple, 28 years old. He traveled abroad to England in order to enhance his abilities, and is currently working as an occult G man in Japan. He is Mikami Reiko's first love, and even though they have been separated for 10 years, he still has feelings for her. Even though he claims to fight for justice, his methods are sometimes very dirty, making him a hypocrite. He also notices Mikami's not-so-subtle feelings for Yokoshima, and is willing to stoop to some very low levels to try and swing her affections his way.
- Michie Mikami (美神 美智恵 Mikami Michie?) (Manga only)
- Mikami's mother, a first class GS who is in fact one of the strongest GS of all time. Her ability to time travel and absorb lightning might be due to her inherited powers from both her parents, who used to be first class GS. Additionally she absorbed part of her husband's psychic ability and the power of a demon. At the age of 18, she became the apprentice of Karasu for a short period of time. With a very strong sense of justice, she believes that evil will never prevail, which is why she became a ghost sweeper in the first place.
Other members of Yokoshima's Family
- Daishuu Yokoshima (横島 大樹 Yokoshima Daishuu?) (Manga only)
- Yokoshima's father, and a Casanova just like him. But unlike his son, Daishuu is very popular with women. He is shown to have incredible power for a regular person, and even manages to beat up spirits bare handed, which might be an explanation of the origin of Yokoshima's high spiritual power.
- Yuriko Yokoshima (横島 百合子 Yokoshima Yuriko?) (Manga only)
- Yokoshima's mother. She used to work in the same company as Daishuu as his supervisor, but in the end she fell in love with him and married him. This puts her in a similar situation as Mikami currently, who is also showing feelings towards her subordinate.
Other members of Mikami's Family
- Hinome Mikami (美神 ひのめ Mikami Hinome?) (Manga only)
- Mikami Reiko's younger sister, who was given birth after the Ashtaroth incident. She possesses strong pyrokinetic abilities and is most likely to surpass her sister one day. Because her power is uncontrollable, it has to be sealed for as long as she cannot handle it.
- Agatsuma Mikami (美神 公彦 Mikami Agatsuma?) (Manga only)
- Mikami Reiko's father, who is currently employed as a university professor, specialized in doing animal research abroad. Due to an accident, he gained an unmatchable telepathy ability he cannot control, only with Mikami Michie's help, they were able to weaken it so he can live a normal life. The two got married soon afterwards.
- Yukinojou Date (伊達 雪之丞 Date Yukinojō?) (Manga only)
- A strong spiritualist and battle freak with an oedipus complex, thus mistaking everyone for his mother, who passed away when he was still a child. It is implied that he is even poorer than Yokoshima because he always spends his entire money on training and travelling. He first served as Medusa's henchman, but later left their group and became an ally of Yokoshima. His technique is the demonic art "Masoujutsu", where he creates an armor to enhance his basic abilities.
- Mari Ichimonji (一文字 魔理 Ichimonji Mari?) (Manga only)
- Student of the Rodudou Girls' school class 1-B, Okinu's classmate and the first friend Okinu made on her first school day. Used to be a delinquent girl, who has always been looking up to Yumi, even though they don't get along well. She's the brute strength type of fighter.
- Kaori Yumi (弓 かおり Yumi Kaori?) (Manga only)
- The class representative of 1-B, a very serious person. Because of her tough training as a child, she's developed a strong urge for success, at cost of her classmates.
- Megumi Marin (魔鈴 めぐみ Marin Megumi?) (Manga only)
- Keeper of the restaurant Marin and an ingenious witch. A very honest and direct person, which is why she doesn't get along with Mikami. She used to study medieval arts in England together with Saijou, recovering long lost spells. At night, she works as an exorcist, who doesn't rely on heavy equipments like the rest of the GS, instead she sticks to her "Principle of balance and tidiness", on which Mikami seriously doubts.
- Tamamo (玉藻 Tamamo?) (Manga Only)
- Formerly known as "Kinmō hakumen kyuubi no yōko", she used to be a nine-tailed demon fox living in the royal palace during the yuujō period. After her (unjustified) execution, she has now been reborn as a fox girl simply known as Tamamo. Though she cannot remember much of her past life, she still possesses various abilities of her fox self. To help her integrate into human society, Mikami has adopted her.
- Shiro Inuzuka (犬塚 シロ Inuzuka Shiro?) (Manga only)
- A young girl of the Jinrō(wolf people) tribe, though at times she acts more like a dog than a wolf, she is energetic and cheerful. Impressed by Yokoshima's "Hand of Glory", she became his apprentice, in order to avenge her father's death. After her revenge, she stayed as Yokoshima's disciple (always refers to him as "sensei"), and is planning to become a GS one day. After the main event, Shiro came back to the agency and is now officially a part of Mikami GS agency.
- Shoryuki (小竜姫?)
- Voiced by: Wakana Yamazaki(山崎和佳奈)
- Lit. "little Dragon Princess", a female warrior of the dragon god race, who owns a training center in spiritual martial arts on top of a sacred mountain, Myoushinzan. She helped in unlocking Yokoshima's latent spiritual skills and increasing Mikami's power to her limits. Even though her power is immense, she cannot fight outside of her mountain for longer than 3 minutes, creating a parody of the live action show "Ultraman" as Yokoshima stated in one chapter.
- Seitentaisei (斉天大聖?) (Manga only)
- Shoryuki's master and the ruler of the sky. As the protector god of Hinduism "Hanuman", he is one of the most powerful gods in existence. He helped in further developing Mikami's, Yokoshima's and Yukinojou's abilities.
- Hyakume (ヒャクメ?) (Manga only)
- A dragon goddess, and Shoryuki's friend. With her 100 visual organs, nothing can escape her eyes (or so she claims), yet her enemies manages to fool her vision more than once. She is the inspector of the god realm, responsible for investigations.
- Medosa (メドーサ Medōsa?)
- Voiced by: Kawanami Yoko (川浪葉子)
- A renegade of the Dragon god's race and one of the top 5 wanted criminal on the black list, who vowed herself to Ashtaroth. She possesses equally strong powers as Shoryuki (or even stronger, since Shoryuki lost to her twice), and is able to summon her familiars called "Big Eaters" at will. She dies during the siege on the moon by Yokoshima and Mikami's hand.
- Ashtaroth (アシュタロス?) (Manga only)
- One of the few top class arch demon of Makai, on the same level as Satan himself. He is the main villain of this manga, and Mikami's arch nemesis. Ashtaroth's plan was to control the world using the "Cosmo Processor", which lets him gain control over the boundaries of life and death, freely arranging the molecular structure of everything. When Mikami and co. destroyed the device, the raging Ashtaroth tried to destroyed the human world, but in the end he lost against Yokoshima's true power. It is later revealed that Ashtaroth was only trying to defy his fate as a 'villain' and was seeking for death, but was unable to because of the balance problem.
- Mephisto Pheles (メフィスト・フェレス?) (Manga only)
- Mikami Reiko's past life, a low class demon Ashtaroth created. She fell in love with the mystic Takashima (Yokoshima's past life), and stole Ashtaroth's energy crystal. After Takashima's death, she has become human, resulting the energy crystal to be bound to her soul and inherited to Mikami Reiko.
- Dogura Magura (土偶羅魔具羅?) (Manga only)
- A living Dogū, and one of Ashtaroth's loyal servants. He is the one who created Luciola, Vespa and Papilio.
- Luciola (ルシオラ?) (Manga only)
- All three of Ashtaroth's servants have been granted with incredibly strong powers as compensation for their short lifespan. Luciola is the oldest of the three demon sisters, her origin is a firefly, thus her name luciola. Even though she is dedicated to fulfill Ashtaroth's will, she falls in love with Yokoshima and is willing to sacrifice everything, including her life, for his sake. Her unique ability is to control the light to create illusions.
- Vespa (ベスパ?) (Manga only)
- Luciola's younger sister, her origin is a wasp. She is the kind of direct and sincere person, thus her fighting style is solely based on brute strength and speed to compensate her lack of special abilities. It is implied that she is in love with Ashtaroth. After his death, she joined the demon army.
- Papilio (パピリオ?) (Manga only)
- The youngest of the three sisters, her origin is a butterfly. Being the youngest, she is very playful, and likes to raise pets. Her ability is to create a barrier with her familiars. After Ashtaroth's fall, she has become a disciple of Shoryuki.
- Valkyrie (ワルキューレ?) (Manga only)
- Siegfried (ジークフリート?) (Manga only)
- Yakuchin (厄珍?)
- He is the owner of a store that deals with many magical items. He is very greedy and will often overprice his wares if he has the chance.
- Aiko (愛子 Aiko?)
- Voiced by: Miki Ito (伊藤美紀)
- A yōkai of an old desk housing in Yokoshima's school, her only interest lies in getting to know the school life. Her catchphrase is "the spring of youth". In one chapter of the Manga it's being implied that she's secretly in love with Yokoshima, who has a natural charm towards everything supernatural.
- Kobato Hanato (花戸 小鳩 Hanato Kobato?) (Manga only)
- Due to the Binboukami's (god of poverty's) influence, she and her mother have been suffering poverty their entire life. With the help of Yokoshima however, they managed to turn the Binboukami into a god of luck, ending their demise. She also has feelings for Yokoshima, and is even willing to marry him.
- Because Mikami represents an adult woman, her eyes are not drawn with as wide irises as are other female anime characters, so that the series can contain endless attempts by her male assistant to try and grope her without this being confused with groping a teenager or pre-teen.
- According to the author's note; Mikami name was based on the Asian inflation and the goddess of beauty Venus and Yokoshima is a play of word 'wicked' in Japanese.
- Main characters Mikami, Yokoshima and Okinu appear in an omake page in Zettai Karen Children, with Yokoshima and Kaoru (from the mentioned series) being just as perverted as each other, much to Mikami's annoyance.
- According to the author's statement, he originally intended to finish this Manga after volume 20 with the resurrection of Okinu (who is by the way his favorite character in this Manga).
- Despite the fact that the author created enough suspense for a sequel, with the possibility of a next generation GS team, he finished this Manga at volume 39 with no sign of ever making a sequel. According to the author's note in the final volume, the reason is that he doesn't want to draw the same manga his entire life despite its popularity.
- The author seems to be a fan of Street Fighter, as there are several cameos from the series including Chun Li at the beach, Dhalsim at a race, and Pete performing a "Vampire Shoryuken". Terry Bogard of Fatal Fury and King of Fighters also makes an appearance in chapter 94.
- In the UK, Manga Video took the bizarre decision to release only the last few episodes of the series.
- The anime was broadcasted in mostly all Latin America in the late 1990s and it was a smash hit in countries like Mexico (aired on Televisa) and Chile (aired on the channels Chilevisión and Etc...TV), however, the manga has yet to be released in Latin America. The series were so popular in the Chilean Otaku scene that Tadao Yokoshima is known as a generic perverted character for mostly all things in the mainstream Otaku community (example: If you are peeking a girl's underwear, you are a "Yokoshima"). The series was also broadcast in India on the newly started AXN.
- In Asia, GS Mikami used to be a very popular shōnen Manga with a large fanbase, and even nowadays the fans are still referring to it as an archetype of the supernatural-comedy genre.
- In the United States, Sentai Filmworks has announced that they have licensed the Ghost Sweeper Mikami anime, presenting it via Video on demand on the Anime Network starting December 2, 2010.
- 'Ghost Sweeper Mikami Feature (movie) (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Ha'nts and Critters, a review of Ghost Sweeper Mikami, Vampire Wars, and Psychic Wars.
- Animerica reviewko:고스트 스위퍼 미카미-극락대작전