Musaigen no Phantom World is… not so bad
I’m sure you remember when Phantom World’s first episode was aired, everyone was like “KYOANI WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!?” Because well… the fanservice is really on another level.
But despite that, Phantom World honestly isn’t all that bad. In fact, I would even go up a notch and say it’s actually pretty good. People had been ranting about the fanservices but it’s kinda overblown. I’m sure most people would notice by now, but the fanservices lasted only as long as two episodes (or three if we were to include the onsen episode in between). Musaigen no Phantom World only truly “begin” at episode 3 – as an episodic character-driven show which gives ample attention for each character, while at the same time also adhering to the “Phantom of the Week” format the show introduced in earlier episodes.
This is something KyoAni is especially good at, a “show not tell” approach. Instead of just being a standard Phantom of the Week format, I like how almost each episode are all tied to their own main characters. It lets the show stick to the weekly supernatural format they want, and at the same time, provide very subtle character expositions/developments for each character just in the span of one episode. It gives the show a more contextual purpose rather than just being a “weekly supernatural show”.
Subtle character expositions/developments-again, this is something KyoAni is very good at, the aforementioned “show not tell” approach. Episodes like 4 and 11 are greatest examples of this, and show just how good the anime can be at it’s emotional peaks. Additionally, the best thing about this is that despite during the most emotional scenes, they aren’t overly-dramatic either, successfully maintaining the show’s fun, lighthearted atmosphere; and supernatural format all at the same time.
Yet, Phantom World suffers from what most LN anime does too-lengthy expositions which I can really do without. I don’t need explanations on Schrodinger cat, quantum mechanics and the likes, and in my opinion, the intros where Haruhiko, the main character of the show who himself is like the walking epitome of “LN-nonsense knowledge and meta awareness”, babbles on things like these just slightly ruins the show. There are also a few moments of lengthy expositions even within the episodes, which honestly isn’t something I can really fault the show with, as this is more of a problem with the source.
While I applaud the show for also introducing a sort of “big boss” character to the series towards the end, and an overarching plot point which provides a higher stake to the series so that it ends on a more dramatic impact; the anime is really at it’s best during the more slice-of-life, character-driven episodes, where KyoAni was able to showcase their skills with the almost effortless character expositions/developments.
In conclusion, this subtle “show not tell” approach is KyoAni’s greatest strength, and it really shows during episodes like 4 and 11. Unfortunately, Phantom World suffers slightly from adhering to the LN tropes, sometimes a little too faithfully for it’s own good. But despite that, I personally think Phantom World is a good anime-it’s a fun show with some great (but not overly-dramatic) emotional peaks.
If you watched Phantom World as well, what do you think of it?