A Bleak Reality – Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom Anime Review

“Mafia is rife in America where assassinations are a regular occurrence on the streets. Inferno, a mysterious company, is behind most of these dealings through the use of their near-invincible human weapon, “Phantom.”

One day, a Japanese tourist accidentally witnesses Phantom’s latest murder. Desperate to escape, the tourist hides in a secluded building. However, Phantom, revealed to be a young woman named Ein, and the leader of Inferno “Scythe Master” captures the tourist and brainwashes him.

Given the name “Zwei,” this once peaceful tourist is now a puppet of Inferno with no memories. Drawn into a world of lies, deceit, and violence, Zwei must fight to survive, hopefully to one day regain his memories and escape from this world where he is constantly on the brink of death.” – MAL Synopsis

Episodes: 26 – Studio: Bee Train – Dub/Sub – Aired: Spring 2009 – Finished – MAL Rating: 7.98 – Genres: ActionDramaSuspense

This anime is one of those that’s not really talked about that much, but those who do talk about it sing its praises highly. After taking my sweet time these past few weeks watching it, I’d say I’m not as high on it as some may be. It’s still a really interesting watch with mostly high points and a couple of really great characters.

The vibe of the show is very bleak from top to bottom everything about it exudes that vibe. That initially hooked me heavily. That idea of these trained killers carrying out missions for this underground organization while the mc is struggling with it in a way. But what really reeled me in the actions and character growth between the Zwei and Ein, both personally and together. That dynamic plus the great action scenes really carried the first act and a lot of those aspects are missing in the second act which made it a lot weaker as a result. Some time passes, some characters are gone some are introduced. Zwei gets a personality makeover on the surface and his theme song that accompanies it is just chef’s kiss. The new character introduced and her dynamic with the Zwei was great but this act heavily focuses on Inferno and one of its senior members, Claudia, and the moves she makes. I just didn’t care for that aspect pretty much at all. With it being in the forefront it made the second act feel very boring and tiring at times. Thankfully the third act knocked it out of the park. It was sad, depressing, bleak, but also had moments of beauty, hope, and self-realization in a few characters which culminated into a great last arc and a satisfying ending.

The biggest success of this story is to make me feel bad for what in reality are ruthless killers. Especially with the tone of this show. I felt horrible for Zwei throughout the whole show, cause nothing was his fault or because he wanted it to be. There’s constant imagery throughout portraying him as a lifeless puppet dangling from the strings above. It’s the sad situation he finds himself in because he was quite literally in the worst possible place at the wrong time. His reality is really bleak. It was super interesting watching his character progresses and the logical leaps he forces himself to make to justify his existence as the phantom, the way he reacts to the blatant manipulation all around him, and his relationship with some of the characters mainly Eren and Cal. He had to do some really horrible things and to watch him work through that was an experience. I loved it and it was the main driver to keep my interest even when the show was at its low points. Zwei is a great character.

Ein is interesting as-well. First off props to her voice actor, easily the best performance here. The way she can pull off that soulless dry voice and also the happy cheery voice is masterful. But again, I loved to watch her character progress and grow emotionally. Her progress was way more shocking than Zwei and even more welcome in a sense. It was sad seeing someone with no background or memories be used and abused just for the sake of an experiment.

Most of the other characters are alright. My favorite is Cal but I won’t really talk about her for spoiler’s sake. The Inferno members were passable but I didn’t care much for them that same sentiment is expressed for the Scythe Master. He was an alright evil character.

The animation was really damn good. There are more than a handful of great action scenes. The colors where vibrant when they needed to be, and dull when they needed to be. I have nothing but good things to say about it. The music is top-notch. From the amazing opening and ending that have opera backings to the various other opera tracks in the soundtrack. Then also Zwei’s theme song and one of Cal’s themes songs are straight fire. I will say the soundtrack is a 10/10 but it would’ve been an 11/10 if not for one piece that gets played more than it should during the 3rd act that just features a bunch of woman moans. I could’ve done without that completely. Voice acting was meh, it’s easily my biggest complaint. There were some good performances and moments but overall it just felt lacking and a good handful of emotional/impactful moments really didn’t hit as they should have. I contemplated switching to the sub about halfway through but laziness prevailed and I stuck with the dub. Ein’s voice actor definitely killed it though.

So yeah Phantom was a good watch and I can’t help but think if I were to ever rewatch it, definitely subbed, that I would only like it more and find myself liking the aspects that I didn’t care for much on my first watch. As it stands though, everything I did enjoy, I loved. Zwei, Ein, and Cal are amazing characters to me and the writing around them was top-notch. The soundtrack is great and the animation is great. So I see why this anime gets the praise that it does from the people who have actually seen it, it’s really good and worth the watch.

Phantom: Requiem of the Phantom – 8/10

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