Kevin hasn't written a profile yet. That's ruddy mysterious...
Phantom ~Requiem of the Phantom~ Eps. 1-4
Date 30 Apr 2009
When I was originally going to do this review, it was going to be based on the first three episodes - The first three or four episodes can give you a good feeling of what you can expect from a series, which for a time seemed quite dull and uneventful. One episode seems to have changed a lot of my perceptions of the series however and goes to show: Never judge an anime by its first episode.
Phantom seems to be the ultimate warning about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. After witnessing an assassination of a reporter, a 15-year old Japanese boy is kidnapped and instead of killed, has his past wiped from his mind and given the choice to either join Inferno or die. Taking the only obvious choice, the newly named Zewi is tutored by the assassin Ein and his life as a Phantom begins.
The first three episodes of this series are by no means bad, but they do lack excitement. We get a glimpse of what the pair of assassins can do, but for the most part we watch as Zewi is trained and sees his humanity slowly slip away, while having his morals pounded out of him by the cold and unfeeling Ein. You get the feeling that you’ve seen this before in the shape of Noir, which isn’t surprising since both anime are from the same animation studio, Bee Train. While it is interesting to watch Zewi slowly slip into being a ruthless killer, we just don’t seem to get a hint of anything more beyond that... that is, until the fourth episode.
This is where we really get to see the pair work. You’ve seen their attention to detail, how they plan, how they choose their targets and pick their moments. The final confrontation could have been some what more exciting, but I’m willing to forgo that this time just for the impressive build-up. Not only that, but we also start to see traces of Ein’s remaining humanity beyond her cold exterior. It all becomes quite intoxicating stuff to watch, making the anticipation of the next episode just that much higher.
As for the animation itself, it is the usual top-notch action you expect from Bee Train. The studio does seem to know how to make gun fights entertaining, while the quality rarely drops. The soundtrack for the most part fits in well with the series so far, managing to fit the atmosphere of the scene nicely. If there is one issue I have with the soundtrack it's the god awful ending theme - A cat being swung around a room before being strung up and horribly butchered is the only way I can think to describe the sound that is coming out of the person’s mouth who is supposedly singing. The opening isn’t that much better, but it fits in with the solemn mood of the series and will appeal to those that enjoyed the opening theme to Elfin Lied.
If you list animes like Noir or the upcoming Darker Than Black as your favourites, then Phantom is going to be right up your street. The story starts to take some interesting, if slightly predictable turns giving rise to some entertaining situations and a deeper look into what could make a killer. It is no Dexter by any stretch of the imagination, but given the lack of any real adult anime beyond the usual level of moe we seem to be drowning in, it’s a good diversion.