Reviews

Mar 30, 2016
Stark700 (All reviews)
Nearly every year for the past few years, we’ve been getting a new series by Kyoto Animation. The studio alone invites attention as they are a powerhouse studio for high quality production in terms of technical visuals. But when it comes to storytelling, there’s a mixed bag there. Just ask Kyoukai no Kanata. However, this is Myriad Colors Phantom World, a series about a group of teenagers dealing problems with Phantoms, creatures that comes in forms of all different shape and sizes due to imaginative perception. What I like to describe this show is a festival of fan service and nothing more than a punch in the face to fans who thought they were actually expecting some good.

Adapting from the light novel of the same name, it’s noticeable that the series itself has very limited volumes. Prior to the animation adaptation announcement, there was only 1 volume published until they decided to release another volume around Fall 2015. What does this mean? It basically implies that the show follows a lot of original concepts. Light novel adaptations are usually a big hit or miss and this is no exception. As a matter of fact, it’s far from it. Myraid Colors Phantom World has a lot of potential that can be explored. What does it do instead? It executes a messy story with no coherent plot. Rather, it takes advantage of its female characters like the big boobed Mai and advertise them like a walking billboard of Ms. Fanservice.

The first episode isn’t just merely dumb but also trades its potentials for eye candy fan service. Now, I don’t have a big problem with that as it should be expected from a show like this. The real problem is that the show strives on it and ante so aggressively that you’ll soon find yourself wondering what the hell the show is really about. To paraphrase, the show is about an incident that happened 10 years ago that changed how humans perceive the world. And this incident also granted certain humans with special abilities to fight the Phantoms, mystical beings that pollute the world with their presence. The main male protagonist is Haruhiko, a young boy with the ability to seal Phantoms by drawing them into his sketchbook. Joining him on his quest is Mai Kawakami, a girl who can fight using an ability called 'Spirit of the Five Elements' that allows her to channel elemental energy into her fists. The problem with the duo is that their performance have been dreadful so they recruit new members to their team. In essence, the story is about these characters fighting phantoms although there will be times when you’ll be scratching your head because of how farfetched the show attempts to focus on its gimmicks.

As for the other characters, we got Reina Izumi, a girl with a large appetite and ability to seal Phantoms by eating them. Koito Minase, a loner with the ability to use soundwaves and music to fight off Phantoms also gets involved in their affairs. The four main characters are basically established as crusaders to rid the world of Phantoms. As heroic as this sounds, the show is hard to take seriously with their daily misadventures and shenanigans. Almost all the characters suffers from some generic trait that is easily forgettable. Haruhiko is also a very dull male protagonist as it looks like the girls are often the ones dominating the missions and he is more of the supporting player. The show is also structured more based on individual characters for the first half of the series but Haruhiko gets almost no characterization at all. Even Kurumi, a little girl with a cute teddy bear gets her own spotlight episode while Haruhiko is on the sidelines drawing pictures and being nearly irrelevant.

Despite my issue with the storytelling, the creativity of the series is actually quite fun to get attached to. Phantom World takes advantage knowing that and puts characters into imaginative worlds that seems to be inspired by other fantasy fiction. In addition, the show’s Phantoms are all diverse and nothing seems repetitive with what the characters fight on a weekly basis. It also ties to their interpersonal problems at times so there’s more purpose than trying to increase the team’s performance scores. On the other hand, the comedy is generally a miss. The lewd jokes quickly becomes old and repetitive with no sense of purpose other than being what it is. Then, there’s Ruru, a character that adds nothing more than as a comical foil and often suggestive remarks. Many of the other comedic moments deals with the episodes themselves like cat shenanigans, awkward dialogues, and fan service that’s shoved down our throats.

As with most Kyoto Animation series, the visual quality is solid. Ranging from the artistic backgrounds to the imaginative concepts, the studio puts a fair amount of effort to make the show look gloriously good. Character designs are what people will expect from the studio with a high concentration of colors. Then, there’s of course the fan service. The camera really seems to have a fetish or something for Mai because every episode focuses on her body more than her character. Just watch the infamous limbo scene if you’re wondering why. It also seems like her breasts bounces up and down nearly every episode like it’s denting the laws of physics…

Soundtrack is moderate. Nothing more or nothing less is the easy way to say it. The OP song has some decent choreography while the ED song is very playful with the main girls. Character voice mannerism is also moderate although Ruru acts like she is trying to be as irritating as she can be each time she’s on screen. Koito’s cold personality is reflected in her voice and she has an emo-like voice mannerism that’s easily forgettable. I guess that can be said the same for Haruhiko since he’s about as dull as watching paint dry. The battle OST is another story though. That’s actually quite decent.

It’s a silly series in the end. Really, there’s not much to it besides the show being somewhat self-aware and trying to capitalize on its premise. In the end, what it delivers is a less than average story but more of a generic fest of ridiculousness. And if you ask yourself why, it’s probably because the show isn’t met to be taken seriously in the first place. However, it’s still a foolish show to embrace because almost every episode feels like a lazy grab bag of uncharacteristic ideas that’s executed by the characters. There will be some episodes that have better characterization than the others. But for all it’s worth, the show is a joke of itself. And it’s not really funny at all.