- Alt. Name
- Musaigen no Phantom World
- Release Date
- Winter 2016
- No. of Episodes
- Kyoto Animation
- Light Novel
Myriad Colors Phantom World is a 2016 Action anime series from one of the most beloved Japanese animation studios, Kyoto Animation. Many studio fans will be more familiar with their other productions, like A Silent Voice, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, and Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! Sometimes, when an anime season has a few top-rated series premiering, some truly great shows get lost in the mix. This facet is why many anime fans may not have heard of this series when brought up, and to their shock, once they find out what studio was behind the creation. Although not everything that gets lost in the shuffle is a hidden gem, there may be an underlying reason why no one has mentioned this series. Either way, with Kyoto behind it, it must be good.
Phantoms are supernatural entities, much like ghosts – or youkai – that was believed to be just a superstition until recently. However, when a virus that infects the brain spreads throughout society, people’s perception of the world starts to change. These preconized notions of mythical beings are revealed to have been living alongside humanity from the beginning of time. This strange virus has also affected those of the next generation significantly, allowing them to develop special abilities that they can use to fight against dangerous phantoms.
Haruhiko Ichijou and Mai Kawakami are granted such power as Haruhiko wields the ability to summon and seal phantoms through drawings. At the same time, Mai permeates the power of the elements into martial arts. Together, alongside their friendly spirit Ruru, they specialize in their set of skills to form Team E of Hosea Academy, dedicated to dealing with these often mischievous beings. Can Team E handle the everyday troubles caused by these mischievous phantoms in a world where the real and the once thought surreal seem to have intertwined with one another?
While the story on paper may seem dull or tedious, this series has a decent amount of action, surprisingly, and more than one may expect. For a series with both Comedy and Fantasy elements throughout, they can comfortably use each genre’s right amount without over or underdoing one over the other. If one is trying to get into the action genre without diving headfirst and potentially becoming overwhelmed, this would be a positive attempt to figure out a starting point. Especially when one isn’t into fighting robots or cheesy card games type shows.
Unfortunately, this series had a few more negatives than one would hope for, but sometimes it must be admitted when certain areas are poorly executed. For instance, for a series that has elements of comedy, the comedic portions are very lackluster. That’s not saying that there wasn’t a decent amount, by far the opposite. But when a series tries so hard to be funny with gags that aren’t humorless for its potential audience, that’s when a series has a problem.
Another issue within the story that ties into this problem was that the pacing was terrible for a good portion. When it comes to any action series and mostly for any series, no matter the genre, the pacing is everything! This series doesn’t have the worst pacing, but it also doesn’t have an okay one, and without decent pacing, everything this series tries to accomplish with each of its genre elements almost instantly falls flat. This poor attempt resulted in a mediocre plot, and unwell formulated comedy, careless use of its fantasy, almost leaving the viewer clueless as to what they’re watching.
While the lack of a story could be the series Achilles’ heel, one of the series positives is its art style. Myriad Colors Phantom World is beautifully crafted, and that’s nothing but expected, especially when coming from Kyoto. Though looking at the series as a separate entity from the studio, it’s a bit bland and average compared to other series that premiered around the same time. With its sharp edges and dark tonal color schemes mixed with its bright and colorful characters, equally, create a popping style that is sure to please one’s apatite. Though this style is prominently used as cheaper run anime series, Myriad Colors Phantom World uses this towards its advantage. However, it simply wasn’t enough to make it past expectations from the dozens of other series within the Kyoto Animations mid-2010s catalog.
Though the art style was as expected, this production team was rather unexpected and significant. The opening sequence was created individually and didn’t use generic scenes from within the series. It also showcased a little about the unknown characters, an excellent small addition to the series. After the first few episodes, the viewer will notice where a majority of the budget went towards the phantom powers. While the opening and closing segments are individualized, these powers seem to be mass-produced, meaning some are very similar. Now, this isn’t bad, but one would think that if every person is uniquely gifted with these powers, then why do they seem to be styled the same way? The only different one is the main characters, drawing-phantom-thermos, which is unique yet somewhat unoriginal?
With a series basing itself off of supernatural phantom powers, one would think the cast of characters would be impressive, right? When it comes to characters within this series, anyone outside of the six and arguably seven main characters, everyone else is easily nonexistent. Which is a remarkable feat to accomplish given that this series is based in a high school, and somehow none of the main characters rarely ever talk to anyone outside of their group or get any screen time. For instance, our main character, Haruhiko Ichijo, a first-year high school student whose power consists of summoning or sealing phantoms by drawing them in a sketchbook. His character archetype is best summed up as the random facts kid in every school, sometimes annoying but loves to read.
On the other hand, the female lead is best summed up as potential eye candy towards the viewers. Mai Kawakami, a second-year high school student, specializes in close combat and channels elemental powers by using her body. Outside of her hot-headed and somewhat violent personality, her biggest asset is her rather large breasts, which are unimportant and only used as fan service.
We have a rather intriguing character whose only used as a lackluster comedy ploy, Reina Izumi. Better identified as the eater—followed by the transfer student, Koito Minase, whose ability is a powerful voice sound attack, which can stun or seal phantoms. While her character is the one viewers may want to know more about, the story doesn’t delve much more profound than the shallow end of the kiddie pool within this character’s development. Which on its own is not so bad, but when compared to an eater, she’s the most interesting of the bunch.
`Throughout the entirety of the series, the viewer will get plenty of the anime equivalent of Tinker Bell, Ruru, a friendly phantom in the form of a small fairy. She’s always near Haruhiko, and they share a strong friendship that’s stronger than anything. However, the most interesting random piece of information about this character is that her actual name is Rururaruri Rurararirararururirirari Rirararururararururararirari.
Completing this series multiple times continuously left questions not only with myself but also towards any potential viewer. These questions will range from “what did I just watch?” to “that can’t be it, right?” and the latter will result at the beginning of a headache that will take a few hours to disperse. Yet, this series could not capture the charm, or even the emotional connection one may expect from Kyoto Animation. This was a pure waste of time and a shame for any animation company, no matter what studio created this third rate series. But what is truly shocking about this production was that leading up to this series Kyoto only made one series for all of 2015, so it’s not like they had little time to refine anything.
In addition to the significant problems this series had, I can’t imagine anyone being moderately interested in this series. It tries to be action-focused but ends up being a third rate run of the mill. It tries to have comedic elements and fails so often that it would be kicked out of the comedy club, but the unneeded loli character makes it even worse. She added little to anything to the overall plot, and upon a simple google search, found that she was an original creation. This ploy sums up this mediocre series pretty well; it’s so bad that this series needed to add and sexualize a shy fourth-grade student. Cheap and tacky, which has nothing but shame within itself and towards the studio behind this pathetic series.
Cody Senpai is the creator of BakaNow, an anime review website that specializes in spoiler-free reviews for everyone. He is an avid anime watcher who has traveled to Japan numerous times to not only experience the culture and history but also to build friendships with people through a common interest. He is an avid animation fanatic from birth and even went on to major in communication to help share the importance of the stories we love to watch and listen to. Cody lives in Denver, Colorado and loves to do anything adventurous.