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.
I cannot help but draw a parallel between GunGrave and Phantom. However, doing so also highlights that the story lacks the gut-wrenching punch of its predecessor, and so fails to reach breathtaking heights of excellence. That said, the show will definitely impress with gorgeous visuals, haunting melodies and fascinating plotline. Grab a drink, put your phone on silent and get ready to immerse yourself in an easily marathonable show.
Okay, first I am going to say (Excuse my language...) the ending to this show was fucked up!!! Now to the recap from the beginning. The description basically tells you how he came to be an assassin which was because he had his memories erased and was chosen to live in this twisted kill or be killed world. The girl who trains him, Ein (Means the #1 in I think german) has already been devoid of emotion and is training him to be a heartless killer as well. Zwei/Reiji has a pretty easy time sliding into that lifestyle despite his hate for killing.
As the story progresses, you sense them getting closer to each other as well as other women getting close to Reiji (Like that slut Claudia or whatever her name is -.-) but this is just a small part of a huge plot unfolding. If you don't watch this show from beginning to end, you'll stop understanding the story. Reiji tries to escape with Ein but ends up failing, but gives her the name "Eren" because he said that she is not just a number and her new name is to represent her new future. Unfortunately, (SPOILER TIME) we see Eren die... But, Reiji was the one who killed her?!?!? (If you wanna find out why and how that happened you gotta watch the show ;))
After all that shit happened, (excuse my language again, I'm really pissed right now) Reiji continues with his life as a phantom but this time working for Ms. Claudia Big Boobs!! Along the way you discover that a woman was killed and she is the big sister to Cal. (this new character will be a major part to this show so I suggest not skipping through her scenes) Cal is taken in by Reiji since she has no where else to go, and eventually shows some potential to be a phantom. Unfortunately, Reiji doesn't wish to pull anyone into his lifestyle of endless killing so he only lets her do little parts in his jobs. But one day... He spots a girl walking away from a murder scene. *Spoiler* ITS EREN?!?! Confused and terrified of this new development there are many occurances where they spot each other but none too serious.
They come face to face in the old training facility but they don't kill each other. Oh! did I mention that Cal is killed in a fire at his apartment?? Cuz that shit happens -.-. So, in another attempt to get away Reiji escapes with Eren. The show continues in the next episodes as skipping to two years after that incident after a recap of everything that happened with Cal.
I'm gonna get to the good part for you guys... Cal is still alive and she got bustier, hotter, and a lot better with a gun. YEP, you might have guessed it... She's the new phantom and she's here for revenge on Reiji. The reason why though, you'll have to find out *wink*. I'm going to stop here so you can enjoy the ending to this show without spoilers, but if you waaant a spoiler, read the text in the next paragraph that is in bold. And its my opinion of the ending as well as the recap! And if you watched this show and don't understand the ending, look at my text below or Wiki it!
Okay, the ending was fucked up! Not only is Cal killed by Reiji because its a fight to the death, but we find out that they leave and find out where Eren is from (yay!) but after that, Reiji is killed by an unknown sniper but they hint in the events leading up to it, that he already knew he was gonna be killed and excepted it because he felt he completed his last mission. What about his girlfriend who is waiting for him back home?!?! OOOH and thats not it... If you watch it until past the credits, you see Eren laying out on the grass and one of the petals to the flower missing. I didn't understand that at first so I did some research... Turns out, Eren committed suicide by eating the flower petal of a poisonous plant...Boom. And that is why the ending was FUCKED UP!! I cried my eyes out about 8 times.
SIDEBAR: Lemme just say, Lizzie and Cal are my favorite characters in this show because even though Cal was a little crazy when she was older, she was a really sweet girl at first and at some moments when older. I liked Lizzie because she was like comic relief and just an all around kick-ass character.
Again, forgive my language in this review because I really am still pissed off.
The Storyline was actually really unique and interesting. It is for an Adult audience, and although I am still not 100% into them, I can still enjoy them to nearly the full extent. Anime such as Tokyo Ghoul and Psycho Pass helped me with getting used to the more adult mature themes. But then the ending came around, and although some people didn’t mind the ending, I did… Not going to say what happened as that would be spoilers, but it just wasn’t right to end it like that in my opinion.
The Animation was really good and really fit the type of genre and Anime. The Sound was good, but I didn’t really like the style of the opening and ending songs, but that’s just my opinion and based also on the type of music I enjoy.
The Characters are all unique and I found it really hard to connect with them that much, but I did start to connect to the main male character around the halfway point in the Anime. I did feel sorry for the main characters and enjoyed when they were kickass fighting people. There were a few characters that I really despised and wanted to destroy with my own two hands.
Overall it was a really unique storyline, which could have easily been one of my favourites if it wasn’t for the lack of connection to characters and the storyline ending in the way that I didn’t like.
The anime itself is really good but really dark. It will mess with the head and the heart on a very deep and dark level. Other than the last three episodes inwhich everything goes to complete and total shit it is a decent anime, very much like Black Lagoon or others of similar nature.
This is actually a tough one. Sometimes I wasnt even sure myself if i like it or im bored by it.
Let me start with some similarities: it is similar to gungrave(just better), similar with Black Lagoon(just not as good) and has almost nothing in common with Cowboy Bebp and Darker than black.
It is not about killing or adventures, it is about the maffia. The core story is the life of someone who was dragged into a life of crime. Training, rise, fall, on the run, you get the picture. Pretty basic stuff.
Story: Its pretty complex, it works. We have a lot of Machiavelli, a lot of drama and some action scenes(not too spectacular). Some people say the story is all over the place, chaotic. Guys, come on. Its life in the maffia, it is supposed to be chaotic. Friends become enemies and then friends again, this is how it works. The main plot is how does soemone cope with this life. How does it change you? How do you get trough great losses? Can you truly get out? Its actually pretty poetic. Probably the biggest problem is that they try to be a little too poetic/artistic/ironic sometimes. This is why the story seems unrealistic sometimes. Dont expect a high pace. The first few episodes have a high pace, but the next 18 are pretty slow and then we get 2 episodes of action in the end. So if you want action, you wont like this. The actyion scenes are only good, but very short and then 15 minutes of drama. 7.5/10
Characters: Reiji is one of the best written characters i have seen in my life. He is incredibly complex and we get a ton of character evolution. The other characters sometimes feel like pale shadows created to let the number one shine. Ein for example is pretty weak. Not bad, but boring compared to Reiji. Character evolutions are not always good, you will understand what im talking about. 7.5/10
Animation: Watch 3 frames and you get the picture. Great animation, one of the best out there. actino scenes needed a bit more work sometimes. 9/10
Music: Its spot on, a perfect match. They contribute greatly to the overall atmosphere of the anime, but(always a "but", huh). They basically use the same music for the same type of scenes from start to finish. It becomes repetitive. If you watch it in a longer timespan, you probably wont notice it so much, but if you watch it faster(3 days for me), it does become repetitive and annoying. 7/10
Overall: Not a must watch, but not just watchable. It was simply good. I strongly recommend it to Black Lagoon fans. I feel that the most important ascpects of BL are the same here. 7.5/10
Spoiler, big one, dont read this: I feel i should write a bit about the ending. I consider it good. The death of Reiji was somewhat logical and poetic. He couldnt go back to a real life, and finally managed to kepp at least one promise, the most important one. Probably would have been a bit better without the last minute, but the creators obsession with artistic aspects made the ending logical and expected.