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

A look back at the history of Kazuki Takahashi's Yu-Gi-Oh!

Matt Kamen takes a look back at the history of Yu-Gi-oh. Are you ready to duel?
Would you believe Yu-Gi-Oh has been around for almost 15 years? Kazuki Takahashi’s original manga first appeared in the pages of Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump anthology way back in 1996, and having gone through several different iterations since, is still running today. Its original hero was Yugi Mutou, a young boy possessing an ancient artifact known as the Millennium Puzzle. Early chapters saw a darker personality possessing Yugi, inflicting punishments on wrong-doers in the form of various cruelly ironic games. This idea was soon dropped, and the far better known Duel Monsters card game soon dominated the series, with Yugi and friends battling holographic creatures for over-the-top odds. Though the original concept received an anime adaptation courtesy of Toei, most western viewers are familiar with the later 224-episode presentation of Duel Monsters, which ended in 2004.

Yu-gi-oh: Duel Monsters

Andrew Osmond on the world-beating media mix
It’s notable that, despite what you might think looking at the franchise now, Yu-Gi-Oh! was not conceived as a card game tie-in, any more than Totoro was made to sell soft toys (though both benefitted hugely from the spin-offs). When it began, the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga was rather different from the anime which most people know.

RECENT FEATURED POSTS

Bleach Music: Diggy Mo'

Tom Smith on the hip-hop star of Bleach 13
Forget everything that you think you know about hip hop. Diggy MO’ and his boys at SOUL’d OUT throw the genre on its head.

Naruto's World of "Jutsu"

Rayna Denison sneaks into the background of ninja anime
What is it about Japanese martial arts that these shows celebrate? In the case of Naruto, and now the second series, Naruto Shippuden, it is the “mysterious” art of ninjutsu that comes in for exploration and explosion.

Fairy Tail: Phoenix Priestess

Anime’s answer to the summer blockbusters
This is the perfect summer blockbuster movie, as well as a textbook example of how to do a spin-off feature just right. Modern-day Hollywood could learn a lot from Phoenix Priestess, even as it sticks to lessons from an older version of the American Dream Factory.

The Wind Rises

Andrew Osmond on the controversy of Miyazaki's last feature
As Miyazaki’s film itself makes clear, Horikoshi was a cog in Japan’s military machine at the time of the country’s most aggressive expansion. This was when Japan was moving into China, proclaiming what it called the “Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere,” which really meant Japanese imperialist supremacy in East Asia.

Cosplay Winners

Paul Jacques' pictures from the best of London's Comicon...
It's taken a while to shift through the paperwork and read all your indecipherable handwriting, but we've finally managed to sift through the London Comicon cosplay pictures and pick out our winners from a fantastic bunch. And with no further ado...

High School DxD vs RIN

Andrew Osmond says if you liked that, you might like this…
“Sometimes you are thrown complete curveballs. So you will think that you are watching a series about a bunch of schoolchildren fighting aliens... and then one of them will stick their finger up another one's bum..."

Princess Mononoke

Andrew Osmond celebrates Miyazaki’s green movie on Blu-ray
In Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke, the hero is a warrior youth in a mythical, medieval “Japan” not yet a nation; rather it’s a fantasy bordering on Middle-Earth and the Wild West.

Code Geass vs Death Note

If you liked that, you might like this
At heart, Death Note and Code Geass tell the same story. A teenage Tokyo schoolboy with a towering intellect, railing against the world, is given fantastic powers by a supernatural agency. He finds he can manipulate people like puppets and kill with ease. His power is bound by rules and restrictions, yet still seems godlike.

Cosplay: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Paul Jacques rounds up the best dressed fans
Amy Sun is in the pink as Ultimate Madoka from Puella Magi Madoka Magica.

Satoshi Kon Exhibition

The late animator celebrated in a Tokyo museum.
The Suginami Animation museum’s current exhibit should be of particular interest to British fans. It’s a showcase of the art of Satoshi Kon, who built an international reputation as a truly adult, often bitingly satirical anime director before his tragically early death in 2010
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.