Oct 4, 2014
Sorrowful (All reviews)
This anime is disgustingly underrated. Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom is an adaption of the visual novel, Phantom of the Inferno by Gen Urobuchi. The show contains much of Gen’s dark and twisted depiction of reality. Characters are subjected to cruel fates, true despair, and most importantly the anime shows that "hope" is merely an elusive and fleeting illusion in our (in)humane world. The main focus of the anime is the idea of the perfect assassin. It is about crafting the mindset an assassin needs; how assassins are mere inhumane tools for psychopathic people. Requiem for the Phantom crafts a palpable sense of despair and anguish in people.

In our world, there are a plethora of gangs, mafias, and terrorist organizations. At the center of the story, the mysterious uprising organization, Inferno assassinates targets mercilessly with their invincible secret weapon, "Phantom". Inferno's goal? Bring forth a new era. What does that even mean?

The main character, Reiji Azuma (though it's never revealed if that's even his true name) wakes up in an unknown building in the middle of nowhere with absolutely no memory of anything, and out of nowhere gets attacked by an assassin. That's when his killer survival instinct kicks in, and he flashes potential as a legendary assassin. The mysterious assassin who's later revealed as "Ein", a emotionless teenage girl, and her mad scientist master, "Master Scythe", decide to brainwash and train Reiji into an assassin for their organization, Inferno. Given the name "Zwei," this once peaceful boy is now a puppet of Inferno. Drawn into a world of darkness, 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. As the plot thickens and darkens, Zwei and Ein seem to build a bond of love/friendship as they yearn for the truth of reality.

The character development in this anime started with unlimited potential, but later it became rather barren. At first, the shadows behind Inferno were interesting to look out for. What is their motif for murder? What's this "new era" that they envision? Then our main characters, Zwei and Ein... They are 2 of the greatest, ambiguous characters in all anime. What's their identity? Nobody remembers who they are, so do they truly exist? If they are killing others in order to survive, doesn't that make them evil? Throughout the entire anime, the dilemma presented here for Zwei and Ein, was intriguing and deep. They have absolutely no attachments to anything in the world but their own lives. If they do not comply with Inferno’s orders, they will be killed. If they fail at their duty, they will be killed. Their own survival instincts prevent them even from attempting suicide. So, it truly becomes a struggle for maintaining one’s humanity in the face of impossible odds. Unfortunately, not all characters got the development they should of gotten, and some VERY stupid "character" things happened. Lizzie (Reiji's boss) and Claudia, two members of Inferno, show up quite frequently in the anime, playing a role in Reiji's decisions on how to live. But, the anime never shows us their motif, what they personally want, and how they became who they are. In fact, Lizzie was completely dropped after a few episodes, she just disappears... Scythe Master shows up at the beginning of the anime as the main psychopathic antagonist of the anime. He is behind the creation of phantoms, and plotting of the ruthless murders other people. But, why is he doing this? We don't know. That is the biggest flaw. The main antagonist should have a back story and a motif, but nope; completely random. Another flaw that I really was upset about was the coming of age for Cal Devins, the 3rd main character in the anime. Cal was a little girl (looks like 8) that tried to hire Zwei thinking he was a killer for justice, by using money she had unknowingly stolen from Inferno. When Inferno tried to kill Cal, Zwei hid and protected her (humanistic side), but through tragic events, they were separated. Then there was a 3 year time-skip and suddenly Cal, who was a little innocent girl turned into a super smoking hot 18-year old chick that is the new Phantom of Inferno, after Zwei and Ein run away from the organization to live in peace and find their real identity. Furthermore, Cal got no background development, such a disappointment. Really in general, until the last about third of the anime, the main characters really didn't get much development at all, they could have done MUCH better.

The soundtrack in the anime was mediocre, BUT it fit the anime perfectly. All the soundtracks were sinister, and mysterious fitting in perfectly with the overall dark mood of the anime. Unfortunately for the lack of a variety of soundtracks, the anime seems to repeat the same soundtracks over and over... and over again, so it gets kind of repetitive and it loses it's suspense. I think in one episode, Canzone of Death (best soundtrack in anime) was repeated 4 times in a span of 15 minutes; that's how you ware out a song. Anyways, the opening and endings for Requiem for the Phantom were certainly unique and once again, fit in perfectly with the mood of the anime. The opening, Karma is such a neat piece of opening. The lyrics described the start and repetition of life, the aimless wanderings in search for the truth, bringing forth inner peace, and finally reaching the end. The art is same as any other dark anime really... Nothing special, but nothing bad about the art. I will mention that I liked the portayal of the precise, keen movements and senses of the Phantoms.

So, is Requiem for the Phantom worth watching? Look at the score; YES! Requiem for the Phantom stays true to itself until the very end the end. It does not opt out for any easy answers, or simplify the darkness of reality, and it manages to maintain a sense of class. The ending is truly of the saddest, most well-planned ending of all time. The ending was ambiguous, yet still had sense of finality to the work as a whole. I enjoyed it, I cried throughout, I felt a pinches of pain, and I learned a life lesson. Requiem for the Phantom is a meaningful anime, and certainly an anime that I'd recommend to anyone that can withstand watching an anime with no comedy relief, just pure darkness.