My thirst for gun action animes had grown after watching Hellsing Ultimate and Black Lagoon, and somehow, this particular anime showed up in my recommendations quite frequently. So I gave it a try.
It started off with a Japanese young man where he founds himself in a room. Having completely no idea about his reasons for being there and his identity, he tried to explore where he was. It was only then he was "attacked" by a girl named Ein. It was then shown that he was experimented in an abandoned outlet in the States to test his abilities and skills. Next, he realized that his memories were lost and he was ultimately forced to work for a large mafia company known as Inferno. He was also given a new name called Zwei. Throughout his jobs, psychological thoughts were tested, manipulated and toyed. I liked how it deals with the mind, about how life feels being abandoned and trapped but you're still urging for an escape. That was how the plot goes. Slowly as the plot progressed, we could see Inferno's goals, the aristocrats' battle for power in the group, the struggle for freedom and of course, betrayal. Ein and Zwei also got closer in their relationship to fight for an escape but was hesitated by doubt and premonitions. I really liked how they played with your mind honestly speaking. But that was how it all started. There were risky but nicely planned plot twists albeit some parts were blurry in terms of where the plot wanted to go. It started off slow, but managed to pick up. The first part was a bumpy ride of despair and hope basically speaking. The second part was the separating point between Ein and Zwei. After Zwei acknowledged his true identity, a tragic incident transpired that caused him to switch paths which ultimately he met a young girl by a chance encounter. A new hope was revived and a new progress was revealed. Although there were more depth relating to power, escape and evil, the psychology was dealt greatly. But after another turning point of a tragic misunderstanding, everything that continued right after that was underwhelming. The third part of the plot became unclear due to a huge gap of time. The psychological aspects were suddenly forgotten, and everything was solely for the sake of a longer, useless plot that felt silly. It's an anime that progressed simply when something hopeful comes up, it's ultimately thrown away by another stupid tragedy only to be compensated by another flicker of hope that's fated to be destroyed once more. The reason for that? I'm guessing it's for masochism. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind multiple tragedies to prolong the story, but when you run out of fresh ideas, it's better not to add another twist that doesn't seem like a fine deal, I don't buy it. With the plot getting unsteady towards the end, the authors perhaps decided to add some more bitter icing to their distasteful cake that not only made it taste worse, but it became inedible. The aforementioned ending obliterated the plot's whole progression, the characters' motives and basically makes you feel horrible. Not only that, it served up as an obviously huge plot hole. I won't tell what but you could probably tell how bad it was coming from me. It was messed up so bad that ultimately, it only tells you this: Nothing in this show, including goals and dignity and essence, actually matters. There's no reason why you need to accomplish something. Which is why the plot was, as I said, wrecked terribly.
This anime was made in 2009, but it wouldn't mean that I'll give it some leniency for this. I do have reasons. First off, this anime had considerable amounts of fanservice, even at the second minute of the first episode you already get two "you know what" right in your face. However, nudity was, thankfully, not exaggeratedly conspicuous, but still, I can't seem to find reasons for these occurrences, which means that they were unnecessary. The character designs were pretty much bland and lackluster and not consistent all of the time but the backgrounds of the show were brilliant. Action scenes were great though. However, it was awkward seeing different contrasts that didn't compliment each other which felt somewhat incomplete. On the other hand, this anime had two opening and ending animations. As for the first opening and ending, I'll admit it was pretty damn good. It portrayed the mood of the songs perfectly and it was one of the few animes that seem really artistic. Truly, very well done. But, as for the second opening and ending, it burned my eyes. The second opening looked as if it came from a regular slice-of-life show which absolutely couldn't click with the pessimistic song that was playing along with it. The second ending was very lacking in animation compared to the first one and wasn't much to see. In conclusion, the animation is noticeably inconsistent and occasionally lackadaisical.
The soundtrack was actually really good in my opinion. Every track that played in a particular scenario fitted well. Some were good while others were actually really great. I did notice that there were two or more tracks that were remixed in terms of genre to fit the mood of a scene which I have to admit it was pretty ingenious. Repetitiveness may be an issue but the tracks still complimented every scene, and that's more important. The singular genres were diverse ranging from chant, violin, progressive rock, folk, orchestral and even music box while the fusion ones were pretty unique like techno chant, ambient folk with contemporary piano concerto and happy trance mixed with music box and drum 'n' bass. I'm loving the fusion ones more than the singular ones actually, but there's still room for the soundtrack to reach a top-tier level. As for the two opening and ending themes, they were all fantastic. Ali Project and Kokia done a beautiful job in conveying the anime's theme with neoclassical genres to give it an authentic feel to it. The soundtrack's great, but it's such a shame that the animation couldn't keep up with some of the intense or chaotic tracks.
The characters were probably the anime's strongest point, but it was also its greatest downfall. The development for the main characters were great and thorough as the plot progressed slowly -- showing the bonding between them as they attempt to escape from the relentless struggle of acquiring freedom. Psychological standpoints from the characters (normally the mains) were dealt in a way that seemed realistic enough to be almost ingenious when it comes to decision making. But secondary characters were a bit lacking and unclear in character development. There were glimpses of their past, probably it gave them the drive of persistence, but it was still insufficient enough to determine their motives, which sometimes made their decisions seemed unappeasable towards me despite the actual plot had a major impact on it. But I felt that some characters were probably, no offense, dumb in making decisions. Most of the time during the last five episodes I was saying: "Why the heck do you do that?!" or "How in the world could you even have that sort of mentality?!" Basically, the characters' decisions and motives were disappointingly shallow which gave off to cliche, silly and predictable drama. But at least the anime gave us an advice: Always check your building even if it's blown up.
It started off slow, but managed to pick up its pace just fine in which the show was narrated in an initially unclear form to a clear and transparent understanding of every party striving for their own goal. My only problem with the progression was the third part, and it's always that! It felt tedious and long-winded because it's predictable and not suspenseful. Because of that, the final battle of the show was rushed and didn't seemed to give off a sense of finality that it felt somewhat illogical for it to be rushed due to the plot holes. Even when the main villain was defeated, it didn't feel decisive at all, as if something was lacking. Some major plot holes were obvious enough to be seen with the naked eye that it felt unsatisfactory when it ended, because it wasn't complete. No, it didn't even receive closure. It stopped right before the closure and credits just rolled and that was it. The finale was never shown because something bad was added that was never explained -- which created the biggest plot hole ever.
I had been criticising lots of points of Phantom: Requiem of the Phantom, mainly it was because of the third part of the plot that messed up its original brilliance, which I felt biased already. It was initially enjoyable, I'll admit that. I really enjoyed the music as well. But what creates satisfaction is not how it started, but how it ended. It's the show's ending that's more important than its beginning. And since there isn't a sequel, the plot holes will forever remain in your interpretation. Phantom: Requiem of the Phantom started off strongly and interestingly, but gradually loses its grounds and topples.
And deliberating over the ten traits of the anime: plot, characters, music, animation, artwork, progression, voice acting, setting, opening/ending and my personal enjoyment, my verdict for this is a 6.3/10.