Written by Bananaowns
Images courtesy of Kyoto Animation
I am still acquiring a lot of knowledge about the various animation studios and their respective histories. I am not too familiar with the works of Kyoto Animation. I have watched Sound! Euphonium and am aware of other works such as The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and Clannad, but that’s about it. This winter season saw a work from Kyoto Animation that has had a rather mixed response. Of course I am talking about Myriad Colors Phantom World. I am Bananaowns and this is an Otaku Youth Anime Review.
Story & Characters
The setting involves a freak accident that alters the brain chemistry of every person in the world, allowing them to view beings called Phantoms. Some children born after the outbreak have developed special powers that allow them to battle or seal phantoms. Since it’s an anime, the story focuses on a group of high school students with these special abilities. What follows is a story that does not really possess an overarching plot. With the exception of the last couple of episodes, most of the episodes are one off stories that are character focused. So anyone looking for a very story based show will surely be disappointed.
As for the quality of the character based episodes, it’s rather hit or miss. The early half of the season is rather weak. Besides an episode focused on Reina, these early episodes are uninteresting. The latter half actually manages to have a significant jump in quality. For the most part, these latter episodes manage to use the characters very effectively.
Typically, I separate the story and characters into two segments, but in this case, the characters do not really warrant a separate discussion. For the most part, they aren’t really anything special. Haruhiko is an uninteresting protagonist, except for the three or so episodes that focus on his backstory. Mai is my favorite character due to her fiery personality and combat abilities. She also has one of the better standalone episodes that make character stand out especially well. As for the rest, Reina is decent, Koito is the typical anti-social type, and Kurumi is the typical younger character. The phantom, Ruru, is an annoying mascot type character for most of the series. She does get some focus that fleshes out her character quite a bit. Overall, the characters in this show are mediocre. The anime doesn’t really know how to use them until the latter half of the series.
Animation & Sound
If there is one thing that this series has going for it, it’s with the presentation. The animation is absolutely gorgeous. The fight scenes are animated with a superb level of fluidity. The character design is also on point as well. I really love the uniforms and the casual outfits worn by the characters. Besides Haruhiko, every character manages to stand out immensely with their design. Koito has an interesting quirk with headphones. Mai similarly has an interesting design with the ponytail, blue ribbon and the yellow sweater. As for the sound, it’s mostly great. The voice acting is actually pretty good considering the uninteresting aspects of the story. The sound effects are also very well done. I actually enjoyed the music. There is an electronic bend to it, but it fit perfectly with the extra-dimensional motif of the show. Overall, the animation and sound could be considered the main reasons to watch this show.
This show had some great moments, but it took a very long time to reach these. The story and characters are mostly uninteresting until the show reaches the second half of the season. However, the animation is quite good and the sound design is good as well. I don’t think that I can recommend this anime to others. I give it my first ever Don’t Watch rating. While I admit that it was a guilty pleasure of mine during the season, I don’t think I can recommend this in the same vein as other shows that I have reviewed. For those that are still interested, note that the series does get significantly better towards the end. I just am unsure that it’s really worth the investment to reach these episodes. I’ll be back next week for another anime feature.