Sunday, May 14, 2017

Anime Review : Musaigen no Phantom World

Musaigen no Phantom World

“KyoAni frankly never learn from their mistake”

What is Musaigen?

Musaigen no PhantowWorld, or Myriad colors phantom world, as it is translated, follows the story of Haruhiko ichijou and his activity in the phantom-laden world with her friends as they try to uncover a plot.

Or so it says...

Like i said before, i am one of those people that actually ‘likes’ KyoAni works. I don’t follow their works because i heard it was good or their character are flashy, I follow and love their work because it’s KyoAni, the Japanese version of Pixar. KyoAni works always focuses on story, character development, and art, as well as their masterwork on background and camera arts. That is what I love from KyoAni.

Unfortunately, Musaigen failed to deliver. There's just something about KyoAni and their apparent attempt on creating action anime, and those tend to fail big time. I am not speaking without evidences myself though. Take a hard long look at Kyoukai no Kanata, or Beyond the Boundary, and try to see if there is anything redeemable from that anime? It failed big time and was a disappointing series, despite the fact that the main character somehow drives those who have glasses-fetish insane. There is also the case of Munto, which is a horrible anime series by the way. According to statistics shown by, it has the lowest buy-rate of any KyoAni's work. And that was one of their first attempt at creating their original project. It was disappointing and perhaps, that was the plug that made them think twice before both making action anime and creating an original anime. Though Tamako Market, another one of their original project, is fairly decent, and the follow-up movie is really phenomenal if i do say so myself.

But we're here not to talk about KyoAni in general, but regarding the Musaigen no Phantom World. So, why does i call it bad? Let's review several aspects.

Yes, the pattern of KyoAni animation is there, the camera arts, the background, the music, and etc. But, this anime failed horribly. And it even delves into something KyoAni has dared to do in the past, Fanservice, with Mai [The heroine] is the subject to all that.

Mai is a busty girl, whose boobs seems to bounce around, even while talking and loves to molest herself before doing battle and the shot seems to love her bust and waist. It is a good thing KyoAni dropped almost all of these aspect that kills this anime halfway in the series, but the damage has already been done. By that time, those who actually enjoy KyoAni work has already given up on this fanservice-laden anime [maybe] and those who loves fanservice will constantly asks “Where is the fanservice?”

Still need a better explanation for why a girl gropes herself to acquire strength
Well, despite all that, there’s still the camera arts. One example is when Kurumi is eavesdropping the gang’s conversation and the shot suddenly shifts to a nearby singular flower, this could indicate that she is happy or something else, but, then again that is the shot that makes KyoAni works a KyoAni works. The musical score does fantastic job and the background fits the series pretty well and looks pretty well-drawn.

However, the real problem is within the plot.

Needless to say, the actual plot finally started rolling in around episode 12. And what are they doing for the whole 10 episode? It’s either playing around like a slice of life comedy anime or just focusing on character development. This is not acceptable for an anime who, at it’s announcement, label  itself as an action-fantasy anime and in the back tagline, there’s even”uncover secret plot”. Those plots are actually rolling and playing for 2 entire episode, episode 12 to 13 and that is it.

And the antagonist who just appeared on two last episodes is also strange. She just appeared, stated her business and her reason for doing all of this before finally the group defeats her or so. It felt rushed and since her rushed appearance seemingly came out of nowhere, i thought most people would not feel anything toward her. In my opinion, had she appear from episode 5 or so, even if it is just on the ending or just a glimpse of her, at least we won't be surprised by her sudden reveal as the main antagonist later.

Though, a praise on the plot should be given on a simple gadget that Haruhiko obtained earlier in the series. Through all those grueling comedy episodes and good character development stories, Haruhiko can sometimes be seen fiddling with the said gadget. This shows that the series is actually trying to move forward, but is held back until the last moment.

This antagonist appears from seemingly out of nowhere.

This is the gadget that Haruhiko keeps fiddling with in several episodes. Thumbs up to the series for not forgetting this little gadget, even though it is filled with many ludicrous moment.
I’d say this should have been at least 20 to 24 episode, so there would be enough plot to satisfy the story and fills the void that is left within the last episode. Sure the episode does not end in cliffhanger, but I dare you, that’s not the end of the problem for Haruhiko and the others. Was a single strong enemy that suddenly appear is enough to conclude the series? I don’t think so.

However, there is also this problem of making 20-24 episode anime. We see here that the filler episode is their attempt to fill-in the gap that was created by the current trend of 12-13 episode anime, imagine if they are forced to create a 24 episode anime. I think it would be even more disastrous.

Musaigen is not without it’s moment though. The character development story [One for each character] is the highlight moment of the series, with Mai’s development episode, where she is finally treated as a character with several aspect of that of a mother, is the best. This just shows that KyoAni still haven’t forgotten what it’s about, developing a character. From past to present, KyoAni has flourished in the genre of Slice-of-Life and comedy, which focuses on developing a character [For example :Clannad]. Adding this to Musaigen certainly helps, although only slightly, since the reputation of Musaigen has been tarnished by the fanservice so early in the game, and the slow-moving plot that moves at a snail pace.

Then again, the character development stories help us know the character better and let us get closer to them. We know that Koito has a problem in the past that she needed to get over with, Mai is a loving character with motherly trait despite the fact that she loves to grope herself, Reina has a problem with her family and regarding Kurumi... We will get to that later. Those episode is not emotional, but it fares better than when Musaigen tries to be funny.

Mai is finally treated as a character in her focus episode. And my perception of her was better from that moment on.
Though out of every character development episode, the one I dislike is Kurumi’s one, where it focuses on her being a magical girl and averts trouble in Alice in wonderland-esque kingdom. If this ability gets carried over into an actual ability that she can use, it’s cool and helps build her as a character who can also fight, but it’s not. After the episode ends, she reverts back on using her familiar bear and seemingly forgets all her magical prowess, which is a shame.

Characters were decent enough to be called good. Haruhiko is the main character, and of course, he narrates the story. I don’t like the fact that he keeps talking when other character has clearly told him to shut up, but I think it’s his trait and I think he just loves his voice. Mai is a busty girl, who has a monetary problem and is the main fanservice target in this series. Reina is a rich-girl who is bound to her family and loves to eat. Koito is a stoic girl who uses voice as her power. And Kurumi is a loli who utilizes her bear to battle.

I don’t think I need to elaborate them like that, but I though it was needed to clarify something. These character traits seems somewhat new to me and that earns them a praise from me. If I had to pick one, it had to be either Mai or Koito due to their respective character development episode. And if I had to pick who I dislike, it’s either Ruru or Kurumi, due to their uselessness throughout the series, save for Ruru during the final episode, though i still don't like her by the time the ending of the series rolls.

The background is, as usual of KyoAni’s work, is impressive. There are a lot of color to be seen in the background but the anime doesn’t depend on the background. The musical scores are also good and fitting. However, the real-world that is combined with phantom does not sound imaginary to me at all, if not, I don’t like the concept one bit.

Summing everything up, this is not a bad series, but it is definitely not a good one, especially coming from KyoAni. KyoAni once made an action genre, Kyoukai no Kanata, and like i mentioned above how bad it is? Musaigen fares not further from it, but it’s better. It has strong characters, has strong character development and for good or for bad, has a lot of fanservice. Though the plot moves at a snail-pace and there are several extra-unneeded episodes. Hard to recommend to anyone, but if you loves character-focused episodes, don’t mind thefanservices when watching this. If not for the occasional good moment, I would’ve given the series a two star.

Still, hopefully Violet Evergarden fares much better than this and Kyoukai no Kanata. If Violet Evergarden turns out to be an action-oriented anime, which i presume will not, and it again failed, hopefully KyoAni learned their fateful lesson that they are not just cut-out for adapting an action anime. After all, what Musaigen no Phantom World is good for is not it's action.

Musaigen later becomes a hard-pill to swallow for the KyoAni lovers. It’s good, but it’s not on their regular level of awesomeness
The good : Character-focused episodes are good. Memorable characters [save for several]. The series is well-drawn and polished, all the characters looks alive, even the extras.

The Bad : Too much fanservice. Episode with no character focus or plot is a drag most of the time. Plot moves very slow and begins almost near the season finale. Predictable ending. This is a KyoAni work for god sake.

Highlight moment : Mai’s character development episode.

Last note for the review, the kiss scene between the Enigma and Haruhiko [If you didn’t count it since it was forced, then Ruru and Haruhiko] is actually the FIRST TIME EVER KyoAni has shown a kiss scene with no censor or whatsoever you call it in Haruhi [Kyon kisses Haruhi but the camera is panned away] or Clannad [Kyou kisses Tomoya in the OVA of the afterstory but the camera is panned away again]. The first time they almost done this in Free! But this is the first time they’ve finally done it, and I am disappointed. I hope they make a proper one in the future.

Personal note : I almost finished my second playthrough of Persona 5. Pardon for my lack of update last week, i shall offer no excuse. I will post the aftermath of my second playthrough of Persona 5 upon finishing it. And i have a lot of things to share about it!

FINAL SCORE : 2.5 out of 5. If not for the character development, i would have given it 2, or even 1.

No comments:

Post a Comment