This show presents the darkness of reality, a violent world filled with betrayal, madness, deceit and sacrifices. It shows coruption at its finest and the mafia way of living and dying.
It is the story of a man who’s very essence and existence is changed through brute force. It presents the protagonist’s path that leads to the man he will become as well as his struggle to find the man he once was.
The premise of Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom is truly original, with well done plot details and carefully thought actions, it keeps you on the edge of your seat, craving for more of this fine anime. The story starts in America, with one man in his early twenties that can not remember his past nor his identity but has a natural talent for surviving and killing people. He is given a choice, to be killed or to kill in order to live, and with this choice starts our journey along side Ein and Zwei, in the contemporan world of corruption, crime and violence, a world ruled by the crime syndicate called Inferno.
The plot is masterfully written, it has few to no holes, it is almost perfectly paced, it is mostly reality-like and following a rational path. Love is also portayed because the protagonists know they have feelings for each other but their status as assasins makes it hard for them to follow those feelings.
The two protagonists are standing under a constant dilemma.
"What is freedom if you have to kill for it” is one of the questions brought up by the protagonists. If they kill others in order to assure their survival, does that not make them evil? If they do not follow and comply with Inferno’s orders, they will be killed. If they fail at their task, they will be killed. The only way to salvation from their hell is death but their own survival instincts prevent them even from attempting suicide. Thus, their life becomes a constant struggle for maintainig their hummanity in the face of impossible odds.
The characters are very well built, solid but at the same time lacking any real information about their past. Zwei and Ein are two of the greatest ambiguous characters in anime. Ein and Zwei do not care for anything in the world but their own lives.
Ein, the female lead, has no past, she is an incredibly apathetic girl of age between 18 and 22 (my educated guess). Although she may look innocent she is a trained and experimented assasin that blindly follows Scythe Master’s orders. She is described by Scythe Master as having no original thoughts, no ego, no descernable personality, but she later develops a certain degree of free will and a definetly stronger personality that comes with her new name, Ellen, given by Zwei.
Zwei, the male protagonist, is a man, of Japanese origins that is traveling in America. Through Scythe Master’s assasin-processing treatment he becomes a ruthless killer. Zwei later finds his true identity and birth name, Reiji Azuma, and with finding his true identity he remembers his past but decides he can not go back to his fammily after the many murders he commited. Although he is an assasin, he is very diffrent from Ein, Zwei has a strong sense of free will.
Cal is a character that is not very well done, she has no background development. The whole story and execution of Cal, seem out of place and out of pace. She is about 8 years old when Zwei takes her under his care and after the 3 years time-skip, the little girl is portrayed as an 18 years old smoking-hot lady who is the new Pahntom of Inferno and looking to kill Zwei. As soon as Cal is revealed to be the new Phantom she is portrayed as an one man army, which has not happened before in this show. In my oppinion Cal is just a weak character, arrogant and cocky for no reason. In the end, Cal only sought approval and Zwei’s friendship. After Zwei’s and Cal’s gun fight, as she was dying, Zwei said to her, "we made a little mistake that changed our lives forever" and that is so very true.
Another character worth mentioning is Claudia McCunnen, a highly intelligent and cunning female with an important position in Inferno. She will stop at nothing to achieve her goals, unfurtunately, her character is not developed properly.
Someone else worth mentioning worth mentioning is Helmut von Giusepe also known as Skythe Master, he is a doctor of psyhology and neurology that uses his knowledge in his quest to create the perfect assasin. He is the main antagonist of the show and yet his character is not developed well.
The animation is fluid and the action scenes are well coreographed. The character design and overall art is beautfiul being displayed using a sober color palette that perfectly fits the tone of the show.
The sound was nice as well, containing great songs, sort of opera songs during the dramatic and fight scenes. The opening theme was good as well, the ending theme was mediocre.
A 10/10 rating is obvious, I loved the show and there is no need for further explanations.
About the end of the series: it is one of the most well-planned and saddest endings of all anime. The end was ambiguous and opened to speculations and yet it still added finallity to the series as a whole.
Although it is hard to digest and meaningful, the ending is beautiful. In the end, Zwei and Ein are looking up at the sky from a hayfield somewhere in Mongolia, the birth place of Ein, also the place where Zwei will be assasinated moments later.
"I lived a life leaving nothing behind but shuttered dreams and broken promises", "I want to fulfill a promise. That is to make you smile. To find your true smile. One day I will..." is what Zwei said moments before his death.
In the leadup to Zwei’s death it is hinted that he saw his end coming and accepted it, seeing Ein smiling, his final task and promise fulfilled. When Ein sees Zwei’s silent collapse after being shot, she poisons herself by eating the pedal of a flower named Geramium. "I have memories of me being with you/These memories are enough for me" is what Ein said before she fainted away from the screen.
Phantom is a truly amazing show that kept me on the edge of my seat for its duration, having a complex yet solid plot accompanied by delicate yet firm characters and coming in a package with very good animation that works in tandem with the sound.