325 minutes each
$64.98 USA limited Edition, $59.98 USA Standard Edition
Superhuman assassins running amok are nothing new to anime. However given the right atmosphere and an intriguingly layered story, one can over look the fact that it’s a plot device that has been done to death.
Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom is a product Bee Train, the studio responsible for fan favorites Noir and .Hack//Sign. The studio is the second to take a stab at the franchise, with an OVA being released years ago. As a whole, the series is based on a visual novel game and was even distributed in America a short while ago. Despite its initial adaptation, it’s not unheard of for a franchise to be given the anime treatment after an OVA. The anime adapts the novel’s story into a 26 episode plot that allows for more development than the OVA permitted.
As is custom with their current crop of releases, Funimation has halved the series and released it in two installments of 13 episodes a piece.
Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom revolves around a pair of assassins with special abilities that put them at the top of their profession. Unfortunately, both have their own sets of trials and tribulations that have to overcome. The first of the duo is Ein, code named Phantom, a young woman working for an organization called Inferno that is working to establish a new era of crime in the United States. In doing so, they employ assassins that are tasked with taking out the competition.
Alongside her is Zwei, a young Japanese man whose amnesia leaves him with little clue as to who he is and how he found himself in the company of master assassins. As it turns out, Zwei shows a natural knack for killing and displays extraordinary instincts on the battle field. Despite this, he still requires training and is thus paired with Ein.
Both are suited for one another as they both lack emotion and make for perfect killing machines and neither has any memories to draw from. Their typical job is handed down from their boss, Scythe Master, and usually requires them to hunt down a crime boss, sometimes several at a time, and dispose of them in the span of a night. Doing so is all part of the mafia’s grander plan to bring about a new golden age of crime with Inferno ruling over it.
As the show progresses, Zwei regains his memories and resolves to take down Scythe Master, pitting him against Ein in the process. The both clash and nothing is resolved as the first set reaches its conclusion. Part 2 shows Zwei, now named Reiji, taking on both the Phantom alias as-well-as a pupil of his own. Ein is missing and thought to be dead though viewers would probably guess otherwise and it’s not long before she re-enters the picture, once again hunting Reiji under Scythe Master’s orders.
Things become somewhat convoluted when multiple plot threads entwine with each other in an effort ot add more drama. The problem though is there was more than enough emotion to be had between Reiji and Ein as the two are forced to square off against one another. Involving a new apprentice and the mafia only serves to distract from the conflict between the two.
The show is also rather predictable, with little to no real surprises to keep viewers on the edge of their seats. This wouldn’t be so much of a problem if the plot didn’t move at a snail’s pace. There are also elements to the series that just feel forced and manic, such as the shifts in time and location and the eventual conflict between Reiji and his own apprentice.
The final product is a reflection of Bee Train as a studio. As with a majority of their series, they hit the ground running, stumble across a roadblock around the midway point, and limp to a finish. Its rather frustrating given how many exceptional ideas they’ve produced, only to squander them needlessly.
In a nice change from the norm, both sets house a separate disc of extras that include a good deal of picture drama episodes meant for comedy. Upon first viewing them, one will notice they lack a dub track which just screams laziness. There are commercials and textless songs.
Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom is a typical Bee Train series. There is a compelling concept behind the production, allowing the series to start strong but unfortunately it fizzles halfway through and never recovers. The show worked it maintained a simple premise of assassins without memories pitted against one another, before it fell off a cliff with all the needless additions. As per usual with Bee Train, it’s a strong initial effort with a weak follow through.
Miami area residents can purchase Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom Parts 1 and 2 from local Best Buy and FYE stores.