Keiji Soga goes out at night hoping to catch the "spectres": floating, fiery orbs that have been sighted in the sky. He encounters a swarm of them and follows them to a shrine, where he is confronted by a ghostly-looking man with a sword. The man chases Keiji, attempting to kill him because Keiji knows about the spectres' existence. Keiji tries to escape the man by jumping over a wall, but realizes too late that it's the edge of a cliff.
Keiji awakens to find that he somehow survived the fall and was brought home to his family. He is told that his grandfather, a prominent local politician, had died the night before while Keiji was out. Keiji realizes that the "spectres" appeared around the time his grandfather would have died. He overhears his father talking with aides and agreeing not to release news of the death due to the crisis it would cause for their party.
A mysterious man arrives with business involving Keiji's family and the party. It is clear that he has been hired to do something for them. They leave him alone to get on with his "work"; as they usher Keiji out, he realizes the man is the same one who had chased him off the cliff the previous night. He climbs up to the attic where he can spy on the man, watching him perform a strange ritual: he stabs a hole in the body of Keiji's grandfather, and then summons the spectres, which enter through the hole and bring him back to life. Keiji's grandfather returns to the political scene with no one aware that he had died.
The following day, Keiji is out when he sees one of the spectres. He is compelled to follow it back to the shrine, where the mysterious man is waiting for him. He says that Keiji has the eyes of a "reanimator" like him; someone who can see and channel the spectres. The man explains that spectres are pieces of life essence, which a reanimator can use to revive the dead; Keiji will have the same power once his abilities are fully developed. Keiji refuses to ever bring the dead back to life, believing that it violates the natural order of the universe. However, the man wants to make sure that Keiji never has the chance to: the sword is necessary for reanimation, and if Keiji lives, he will eventually kill the man to take the sword from him.
The man tells Keiji that he had been hired many times to revive members of the Soga family, including Keiji's mother and younger brother after they died during the birth. He had even brought back Keiji himself, who died after falling off the cliff. The man tries to kill Keiji but a bolt of spectral light shoots forth from Keiji's mouth, disarming the man. Keiji grabs the sword but is told that if he kills the man, the magic will be undone and all the people he revived will be dead forever. Keiji kills him anyway, causing the spectres to depart from the bodies of everyone who had been revived; they immediately collapse into rotting corpses, including Keiji's grandfather who had been giving a speech in front of his party.
Possessed by the sword, Keiji vows to carry out its will as the next reanimator.