Netflix’s City of Ghosts uses spirits as a gateway to a city’s history

City of Ghosts is a children’s animated TV show created for Netflix by Los Angeles-born Elizabeth Ito.

The show centers around a bunch of kids who form a Ghost club to solve supernatural mysteries that lead them to learn about the history of their city, LA. The show is presented in a documentary style. Serious investigators have to record their findings after all.

The stories, though fictional, are drawn from real events that shaped the city. It’s an interesting way to look at the supernatural and also to discover an area’s history in a vibrant way.

The ghosts in the series have different personalities that explain their “ghostlike” behavior. What looks like an unsettling haunting, for example, is usually a ghost wanting something simple, such as making tempura properly or someone to listen to their drumming.

Though most of them appear as cute white puffs of smoke, as the series progresses, the audience is treated to variations of the puffy white cloud, as well as cultural spirits who were never human, and who aren’t native to LA.

The show is a charming love letter to LA and the people and cultures and movements who have helped shape it.

It also offers a way of looking at a place that haunted tour operators have known since the industry began: the best way to get to know a place’s history is to talk to its dead.

Screenshot from Netflix webpage


Yvette Natalie U. Tan is a multi-awarded author of horror fiction and the Agriculture section editor of Manila Bulletin.