Sep 25, 2013
ggultra2764 (All reviews)
Phantom explores a scenario of teenage Zwei brainwashed, wiped of his memories and forced into becoming an assassin for the crime syndicate known as Inferno. The series starts off exploring the "what if" scenario of a teen being conditioned into an emotionless tool with the harsh training that he is subjected to by another brainwashed teen assassin named Ein. As the series progresses and Zwei becomes immersed in the criminal underworld of Inferno, he finds himself dealing with deception, rival crime syndicates, morality and coming to learn of his lost past. There is a good amount of focus on Zwei's character in his situation as he finds himself increasingly coming into conflict with his morality and the situation he is forced into due to Inferno's influence. Ein also gets her focus as the influence of Zwei leads her to have doubts over the loyalty programmed into her by her "creator", Scythe Master, and the bond between the two becomes a major focus in later episodes as both come to rely on one another in the dark world they were forced into and it is these developments that are the major strength of the series.

Another solid element was during the middle of the show's run when Zwei befriends and raises an orphaned girl named Cal in a scenario similar to the 1994 crime thriller film, The Professional. Some shocking events that develop during the later points of this arc lead to a surprising plot twist that develops into the final episodes of the series that further complicate Zwei and Ein's situation with Inferno. The ending that results in the end of the series is bittersweet, but fitting considering the dark path that the two leads were seemingly forced on tragically.

Outside of Zwei, Ein and Cal though, depth and development on other characters in Phantom are a bit of a mixed bag. Claudia and Lizzie are given some background with their characters that reveal the former's motives for her involvement in Inferno, but not enough was explored with them for me to care for their characters. Several gangs focused on at certain points in the series with some prominent figures of them get solid focus on their personalities and motives, one of which has an influential role that can be seen throughout Phantom's second half. Others like Scythe Master, Wisemal and Phantom's leader Raymond McGuire don't get much in the way of development or depth with Wisemal and McGuire existing only to explore Inferno's power structure and Scythe Master being the cliched grandeur and corrupted scientist.

Another weakness of the series for me was that there are occasions where Phantom can get a bit overbearing in showing off the dark elements of its storytelling. The series likes to be quite blatant at points in depicting the thoughts of its characters as they are reflected in spoken monologues and blatant onscreen symbols of the characters such as Scythe Master taking nude pictures of Ein while she is surrounded and embraced by mannequins to show how she is nothing but a thing to him. Also while the soundtrack to the series is pleasing on the ears with its dramatic and tense pieces, some choices of insert musical tracks are occasional mood killers during the title's dramatic scenes with their overbearing melodies.

Visually, Phantom is artistically pleasing with vast and highly detailed scenic shots of various landscapes like cities and deserts, with similar efforts also being applied to the designs of characters. Action scenes are clearly the highlight of Phantom's visual presentation with many instances of fluid movement and great choreography displayed during battles with knives, firearms and hand-to-hand. Vehicles within the series are animated in CG which move as fluidly as characters in battle scenes, yet isn't smoothly integrated with the regular animation.

While having some issues, Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom is still a solid action-drama worth looking into that delves into the developments faced by Zwei and Ein as they come to grips with the moral implications of their deeds and defy the criminal syndicate that forced them onto their dark and tragic struggles.