Recently I've seen plenty of good shows, but none have kept me hooked from the get-go. None, that is, until I fired up Phantom ~Requiem of the Phantom~ and polished off every one of the twenty-six episodes in a week (not bad considering how little I have actually been at home recently). Early nights were cast aside and my much needed beauty sleep forgotten, as I felt the urge to continue the journey with the characters and find out what happens next.
Trained by an unlikely waif-like killer, Reiji is an innocent bystander who is forced to unleash his untapped potential to become another of the warped teacher, Scythe Masters', murderers. Called the Phantom, Ein is a young, agile girl with an natural instinct for bloodshed and thus a valuable comodity amongst the mafia. The relationship between the trio is somewhat twisted; Scythe plays a two-faced father - first nurturing and then disposing of his two deadly protege, whilst Ein and Zwei (Reiji's new code name) obey their paternal figurehead unquestioningly. Seeing the poor, naive boy dragged into a mercenary world that is so far flung from his own gives a sense of sympath for his predicament, and the trials he faces as he aims to become the best in his field are utterly engrossing.
The slick fighting scenes are what most people will remember the show for, but the hint of romance and relationships are what I found attractive. Unfortunately, the final third of the show takes place in a traditional Japanese high school, almost as if the writers felt the urge to draw as diverse of a crowd as possible whilst continuing to tell a dark and violent tale. The abrupt departure from the brutal streets of New York left me initially confused, especially with timeline jumps that left some characters untouched, whilst others aged very quickly. Ignoring this minor continuity issue, the ending sparks some debate amongst anime fans; many complain about the surprise twist, but I found it a moving way to top off a very well told story.
Overall, Phantom successfully weaves an intriguing tale of misplaced loyalties and betrayal, topping it off with lashings of action. With three distinct changes of pace and setting, the flow of the story seems to drag in places as the underworld politics become a little excessive as the main focus in the middle section. However, the increase in action towards the mid-point of the show more than makes up for these short-lived moments of mediocrity; twists and turns aplenty from the underlying gangster tale sees various groups of mafia facing off against yakuza to keep the show feeling fresh. At the risk of upsetting any Pacino puritans, the gangster's rise and struggle for power is almost as tasty and epic as Scarface.
Wow. Just wow. Be prepared to have your socks knocked off by the visual smorgasbord that reveres both characters and scenery alike. The small things about the cast are undoubtedly special; from the slick movement of the hair during a shrug, to a character simply blinking, it is all seamless and much more realistic than anything I have seen before. Whilst the background artwork features impressive shots like a slow-motion helicopter ride over a night-time city, the foreground presents CG vehicles blended in seamlessly with a busy street. As is the norm with such impressive visual shows like this, the middle of Phantom seems to be less accomplished than the opening. Although forgivable and still watchable, it prevents me from bestowing a perfect mark upon the animation.
The tones of Ali Project are unmistakable in the ED (also recognisable for the Rozen Maiden and .Hack//Roots themes). Awash with rich Lilium-esque tones, the OP is both an aural and visual treat. Claudia's musical theme recalls back to the languid tones of 90's porn, which is fitting considering the size of the woman's bust. Reiji is also awarded his own tune part way through the series; a frequently played quirky rap song that would probably be dreadful on the radio fits perfectly with a sudden release of tension built up in the first half of the show. Musically equivalent to a soliloquy, the incidental soundtrack rewards the attentive listener with a wide range of emotionally stirring tones.
Playing a real love/hate game with the viewers’ emotions, the cast of Phantom is likable for the most part, but they all suffer from glaring human flaws. Then again, this gives each character a believably realistic edge that sets them apart from the recent deluge of the flat and predictable personalities in other recent shows. Ein’s cold and robotic nature occasionally slips to reveal a shy girl who spends her life looking for stability. It is a shame her complex side is spoilt by the inevitable need to clothe herself in revealing dresses and swimsuits. The unfortunate exploitation of the female form also plagues Claudia and newly blossoming Cal. Ignoring the minor ecchi lapses, each girl undergoes some serious development, and quickly leaps into a league of their own. For his part, Reiji plays an unlikely hero perfectly, dragged into a world so different from the one he knows and learning to adapt and finally excel in his new career as a trained assassin. His quiet understanding and protective nature resonate in stark contrast to the transformation into a heartless killer.
Just like its name, Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~ is a convoluted mess. It’s only by a great feat of skill, or luck, that it avoids being a complete disaster.
The story is quite simply, all over the place. Jumping from mediocre action scenes to the tedium of daily life under the main characters (being enslaved to a criminal syndicate doesn’t really lead to much excitement outside the workplace) to the inner workings and politics behind Inferno. Individually these elements would have a hard time cracking mediocre. Unsurprisingly, when thrown together they’re not any better. To make matters worse, the constant shifting gives birth to pacing about as smooth and consistent as a mountain.
Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~’s sole strength and base of consistency lies in its animation. The animation manages to remain a fair bit above average for the vast majority of the series, although it does falter in places. Generally, the characters and backgrounds look nice, even if they are a bit uninspired. Top it off with a little C.G.I. and you’ve got some nice visuals.
The audio actually serves a fair complement to the series. The voice acting doesn’t leave much room for complaint and the voices generally fit the characters fairly well. The music also manages to get the job done, but isn’t likely to entice or enchant. Comparatively, the audio could easily be a strength of the series, if not for the fact it’s so easily overshadowed. You’re far more likely to be thinking about how annoying you find the character as opposed to how well his voice fits.
The characters are essentially baseless. Having two main characters with no memories doesn’t create a lot of room for any sort of back-story. The sparse bit that the show does supply comes mainly from minor characters and isn’t particularly informative, insightful, or interesting. Complementing this is an essential lack of anything reminiscent of emotional depth or complexity. Perhaps the most effective way of describing the characters is to juxtapose them to a cloud. It looks as if there’s quite a fair bit of substance, but upon closer inspection it’s just a loose collection of various water droplets. It’s nothing more than a blanket of volume that pretends to have mass, doing nothing but going where the wind will take it.
Despite the readily apparent flaws I still found Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~ to be moderately enjoyable. Even though it stumbled the entire length of the race, it still managed to avoid a last-place finish.
If you can deal with characters who are more like pieces simply moving across the board (as opposed to complex and detailed individuals), a disjointed plot, uneven pacing, and the general inconsistencies that the show brings, you could quite possibly derive a fair bit of entertainment from Bee Train’s latest.
Really, really liked this show. Good characters, and story. It was pretty sad at times. I love shows that bring up your emotions. The ending was actually pretty good. It did not make much sense, but you had to figure it out.
This show is depressing. All the characters are in really sad situations, and the show manages to protray their subsequent morally abominable actions without making the characters seem abominable. They all had reasons for acting the way they did, and they were all interesting. Unfortunately, however, one of the characters' changed drastically in the middle of the show, and I don't think her motivations were explored sufficiently; there were tons of scenes with that character acting crazily, yet I felt those scenes merely created drama, rather than adding depth to that character. Spoiler alert: I'm referring to Cal. We hear about her feelings, and we infer the causes of those feelings, but I feel the creators would have been better served showing her motivations in more detail.
Still, the characters, even that one, were sympathetic, and so this show worked as a tragedy; it show made me wonder about the whether the characters' fates were set, whether they had follow the paths they did...this is sign that the presentation of the show was good.
The music was suitably depressing, enhancing the tone of the show well. The script was a bit angsty though; admittedly, the show called for angst, but at times, I felt as though I were being manipulated, rather than witnessing the characters' true thoughts and feelings. At these points, the characters were just too angsty.
Also, the ending of this show left a bad taste in my mouth, as I don't think it properly conveyed emotional or moral closure. I won't go into it here, so not to spoil.
Overall, a good show.
First let me start off by saying that this anime left me with very mixed feelings. On one hand I really liked the story. People complaining about the progressions seem to be complete morons as everytime there was a time skip there was a purpose in it and you could clearly see how the time in between events affected the characters
The real problem with this anime
After a certain time the anime just keeps ditching and introducing new characters. I am never in a position to choose the side of one of the characters, because they seem to have so few ideas about how they are going to fix their problems, aside from shooting everyone there doesn't seem to be a clear goal that the characters ever had in mind, and aside from always having temporary solutions they have no goal or thought about life whatsoever. They just live to see another day or whatever.
In the end I wasn't able to connect with any of the characters, and some of their decisions seemed to blatantly go against their beliefs. They preferred to shoot eachother before even clearing up any misunderstandings and their actions seemed completely contrary to the mindset they should have had.
The story itsself was really interesting and the setting was pretty nice. Aside from the main characters which were mostly just pawns dictated by the decisions of othes it had great progression and showed a really dark side of the mafia. It showed betrayal and mistrust, and how people can set up and use others to get higher up. It was pretty much the only thing that kept me watching
would be about a 7 nowadays I guess. It was decent, even for it's time, but nowhere even comparable to things like Death Note.
Holy fuck that was awfull. I hated every fucking opening and ending that this anime had, and half of the soundtrack was utter garbage. Even during normal moments in the anime they felt the need to play dramatic choir music as if something was about to go down, while they were just talking. I understand that they want some drama, playing this shit literally half of every episode just annoyed the hell out of me and really ruined the feeling for me. If they would have just used some dark'ish sounds in the background it would have made this anime so much better.
This is the first time that the soundtrack actually RUINED an anime for me.
The main characters would have been very interesting if they actually talked or explained some of their ideology and ideas. Unfortunately they were pretty much as predictable as the "Scythe Master" described them to be, and they never seemt to actually get a free will. Aside from one event included in a time skip, their actions were always dictated by others and it never really left for a surprise. The few times the decided to take matters in their own hands they just did unexplicable things that should have went completely againt their ideas. Also a little more background story wouldn't have hurt.
I mainly judge an anime by its story, and it was actually really good. However characters just got introduced and ditched all the time, it was hard to actually care for anyone. Plot wise it was still great and I'd say this still makes it worth.