RogerBW's Blog

Musaigen no Phantom World 07 January 2017

2016 contemporary fantasy novel adaptation in 13 episodes: Anidb, vt "Myriad Colors Phantom World". Phantoms, weird magical creatures created by the human subconscious, are everywhere; Haruhiko and his school friends seal them away when they cause trouble.

This could have been a schoolkids-powers-harem series straight out of the standard mould, but it mostly gets away from that; yes, Haruhiko's fellow Phantom-hunters are all girls, but only one of them seems to be even slightly interested in him, and that's mostly shown by the traditional anime device of punching him at every opportunity. Similarly, there's some thoroughgoing fanservice in the first couple of episodes (a character activates a power by fondling her breasts), but this is quickly forgotten once the suckers in the audience have been baited in and the actual story can get going.

Phantoms may be the enemy, and hugely powerful, but they aren't intrinsically bad; they're just obsessed with a single thing, and that makes normal life impossible. The school kids have powers of their own, disruptive sound waves or the ability to consume anything, but this isn't a story of power versus power: it's mostly investigative, working out how, where, when and against whom the powers should be employed, and once that's done the actual fight usually goes pretty smoothly. At least once they have the right answers.

Animation is good, backgrounds are excellent, and while the plots may generally be a bit on the simplistic side they're still well written and played. Yeah, all right, there's an amusement park episode and a hot springs episode and so on, and the writers don't do as much with them as they might, but it's still good workmanlike stuff, albeit with an underdeveloped premise.

The final arc is rather compressed, taking up only two episodes: no sooner do we learn about the super-powered Phantom than the final fight has started. And a Chekov's Gun established in the first episode is made practically irrelevant when it's finally fired.

Not worth going to any trouble to seek out, but has its moments, and it's not as terrible as it looked from the first episodes.

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