0 Items | £0.00

VIEW BASKET

Requiem for the Phantom

Wednesday 5th December 2012


Helen McCarthy on Koichi Mashimo’s spy game

Requiem for the Phantom

A Japanese teenager visiting America witnesses an assassination and is kidnapped. The secret organisation Inferno erases his memory and brainwashes him through a combination of drugs and hypnotherapy, exploiting his natural survival instinct to make him into a deadly weapon. He is the second experimental assassin created by Scythe Master, so he is given the name codename Zwei.

Scythe Master's first subject, Ein, is Zwei's trainer and Inferno's top assassin – the Phantom. Outside her work, she is completely apathetic, but she and Zwei slowly form a relationship that awakens her forgotten past and sends her on the run. Zwei finds his own protégé, Drei, and continues his murderous rise until tragedy turns him rogue. Inferno sets out to reclaim its two lost sheep or slaughter them, setting the stage for a bloody resolution.

Requiem for the PhantomPhantom: Requiem for the Phantom is a TV series by Bee Train, based on the visual novel game Phantom of Inferno from Nitroplus and Kadokawa. The 26-episode series aired in Japan in 2009 after a manga adaptation with art by Masaki Hiragi. It made its English language debut from Funimation in 2010 and has already appeared in two DVD sets, but this is the first time the whole series has been collected in one box. It was preceded by a three-episode video series from Earth Create and KSS in 2004, which does not form part of the box set.

Older fans will doubtless hear the distant echo of Crying Freeman, while acknowledging the influence of Evangelion on the apathetic, manipulated Ein. More recent echoes come from Bee Train's own Noir. But director Koichi Mashimo has been making unexpectedly clever shows since 1986’s Ai City. He's foxy enough to allow the echoes to amplify his work rather than detracting from it. The real-world, near-present scenario and the subtle aura of sexual tension between the protagonists tip the show further towards the adult spectrum, despite their age. Comparisons with The Bourne Identity are not too extravagant: this is a dark, serious drama and doesn't flinch from its own seriousness.

One very striking feature of the series is its pacing. Bee Train's shows are often subtle and multi-layered, but they also inflict rapid, almost choppy cuts on the slow, minimalist evolution of story and character. Their use of flashbacks and recaps can also jar. Although Bee Train started life as a subsidiary of the renowned Production IG, some of the art and animation in their work lacks polish. Madlax and Wild Arms are examples.

That can't be said of Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom, which looks lovely, but the recaps and flashbacks are still annoying. They don't break the mood, but they do force a change of pace and focus at inappropriate moments. The music of Hikaru Nanase comes to the rescue and helps to bridge those unfortunate gaps. It all makes a slightly uneven package, but one with enough goodies inside to be worth exploring to the end.

Requiem for the Phantom, the complete series, is out on UK DVD from Manga Entertainment.

Buy it now

Requiem for the Phantom

MANGA UK GOSSIP

£
was £

FEATURED RELEASE

RELATED BLOG ARTICLES

The Marmite Nature of Haruhi Suzumiya

Matt Kamen weighs the pros and cons
God-like schoolgirl Haruhi Suzumiya may well have a near-religious following, but she’s got just as many atheists denying her merits. Matt Kamen embraces his bipolar disorder to examine the vices and virtues of one of the anime world’s most divisive series!

Horizon on the Middle of Nowhere

Andrew Osmond tries to make sense of Sunrise's mad new anime
As regular subscribers to Manga Entertainment’s podcast and twitter feed will know, there was some confusion about whether Sunrise’s new comedy-fantasy-action-fanservice series was called (deep breath) Horizon on the Middle of Nowhere or Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere. We’re calling it the former in the UK, although releases elsewhere have plumped for the “in” option. Either way, it sounds less weird and Escheresque once you know that Horizon is the name of a pivotal female character in the series. But it reflects the inescapable fact that Horizon is, well, confusing.

RECENT FEATURED POSTS

MIRAI MIZUE AND JAPANESE ART ANIMATION

Jasper Sharp on how wonders will never cease
The tradition of the solitary animator continued past the establishment of an anime industry, with notable luminaries such as Yoji Kuri, Kihachiro Kawamoto and Tadanari Okamoto positioning themselves outside it and creating works that challenged what could be done with the medium, often using other media such as stop-motion and silhouette.

Fairy Tail Music: Idoling!!!

Tom Smith on the music to part nine
Even without the tie-in with anime, Idoling!!! had had a strong presence on television. After all, the group were created by a bunch of media moguls from Fuji TV. They figured out that by appealing to two of Japan’s more dedicated entertainment fangroups, idol fans and TV junkies, that they could be on to a winner.

Eureka Seven Ao

Kicking it old-school, with giant robots
Pacific Rim opened a new gateway to ’bot sagas for youngsters, and for oldsters too. They’ll see del Toro’s film, learn how much he was inspired by Japanese cartoons, and then check out the originals. If they choose Eureka Seven Ao, they’ll find elements also seen in Pacific Rim, embedded in a very different show.

One Piece Music Symphony

The Royal Philharmonic orchestra tackles the One Piece score
Anime composer Kohei Tanaka is to appear at London's Cadogan Hall as Jean Thorel conducts the One Piece Music Symphony with the Royal Philharmonic. Tickets on sale now...!

ANIME AT THE OSCARS 2015

Come on Academy, give Takahata his due
Kaguya has plenty to please Oscar voters. Unlike some of Takahata’s films, it’s extremely accessible to Western viewers. As MyM magazine put it, “You watch Takahata’s film and you can hear the underlying millennium-old tale as if it’s being read to you aloud, at bedtime surely, to your childhood self.”

Valentine's Day in Japan

Daniel Robson pigs out, Japanese-style
I can’t help but think Japan has Valentine’s Day the right way round. And that’s because – miracle of miracles! – in Japan it’s the girls who have to give the boys chocolate.

Karneval

Andrew Osmond rolls up for the fun of the anime fair…
Roll up for Karneval! See cosplay cats, robot sheep, hi-tech airships, battling super-beings, smiling snowmen, mutating monsters and cute boys. Some very cute boys, in fact. Let’s face it, studio Manglobe – which has a CV that zigzags between the gruesome Deadman Wonderland and the cuddliness of The World God Only Knows – has opted to make the pretty youths into the main selling-point.

Gekiga at the Cartoon Museum

Jonathan Clements visits an exhibition of manga’s pioneers
Running upstairs at London’s Cartoon Museum until 29th November, Gekiga: Alternative Manga From Japan charts the evolution of truly adult comics, both in terms of content and style, in the post-war period.

Cosplay: One Piece

Paul Jacques snaps another anime costumer
Jordan Yeo as Trafalgar Law from One Piece, a.k.a. the Surgeon of Death.
Some fantastic Naruto announcements came out of this year's Jump Festa!
Contact Us   |   Refund Policy   |   Delivery Times   |   Privacy statement   |   Terms & Conditions
Please note your card statement will show billing by MVM. Requiem for the Phantom from the UK's best Anime Blog.