Our hero Neomo's gonna cover KyoAni's newest title. Uh, is that a good thing this season???
And so with a new coat of paint, this column be back. Gods help me, I’ve pushed the boat out and decided on reviewing 3 shows. I was very surprised at how this season has presented such an interesting array of shows to watch; something I don’t say often.
- I was initially worried that Myriad Colors Phantom World would go down the road where Kyoukai no Kanata went down; strong action-fantasy elements mixed with very silly mismatched comedy. But these last two years have shown that Kyoto Animation is capable of introducing different elements to their atypical moeblob shows; elements that actually work and make a show very successful. I can give Hibike! Euphonium as a clear example, but others like Amagi Brilliant Park and Hyouka have all shown that school comedy isn’t the be-all and end-all for KyoAni. So will this count amongst them? Hell no. I was totally right on the Kyoukai no Kanata road.
- Whilst watching previous said show, there was a lot of back story for the viewers to understand: what were Spirit World Warriors? What were youmu? Why were youmu such a hazard to the world? Why did killing youmu account to having money to eat? Well, this show falls under the same area of needing a back story… Unfortunately. Why do I say unfortunately? Well because I believe that a good amount of successful Kyoto Animation shows does not need a lot of back story, or any at all. Events happen in a school, romance potentially happens, end of show…
- Here in Myriad Colors Phantom World, a bizarre incident in a factory caused a ‘virus’ to be unleashed across the country, making a select number of humans able to interact with a variety of ghosts, spirits and such, all of which have been labelled as rather ominous ‘Phantoms’. Thankfully the vast majority of them are harmless, but a few cause a good deal of harm and damage to society, but it’s okay because there are school clubs across the country that team together to fight and seal them away. And they get paid for it too! Now where have I heard this before? Not entirely from Kyoukai no Kanata, but I can see a little strands of both Madoka Magica (only without the psychological terror and tragedy) and even Men in Black (only without Will Smith). Okay, so that last one is pushing it a little, since a lot of the general public get to see all this butt-kicking our main characters get to do. And I will admit that there is a lot of butt-kicking, especially on Mai’s end.
- With a slight air of the military-schooled Isuzu from Amagi Brilliant Park and the slightly irritant behaviour of Shinka from Chuunibyou, Mai Kawakami is the character of the show; never mind the atypical and rather pointless sealer who uses a sketchbook (bizarrely), Haruhiko Ichijo. I am starting to like the rather shy and retiring Reina as well, with her voracious appetite that helps her through the day (whether it be food or Phantoms……yeah…). It is a bit of a shame because Haruhiko has the potential of being an okay character in this show; instead he is presented here as the ‘bit-on-the-side’.
- Colours are thrust into our eyes from the get-go, strange cubes are replacements for items these select individuals need to interact with to see properly (eg. to switch off an alarm clock, a cube needs to be hit), we’re even given some kind of rather unnecessary Monogatari-style intro (told while breaking the fourth wall) about how human eyes can play tricks on us, by ways of distance, colour, shape and form. Perhaps all of this is some attempt of theirs to impress us further…I don’t know. After watching this episode twice, I turned sceptical of its future immediately; something I have never ever done for a KyoAni show.
- But I don’t want to lose hope on this; I really do not! Except, having watched what can only be described as the worst KyoAni opening episode ever made, I’m not sure what to think. Of course I can understand how the regular studio fans can like the show: a mixture of girls have varying attitudes on life, colours (lots of them and all in ultra-HD), the obligatory school guy who appears to be rather gullible, clumsy, pointless and useless on the outset, the very samey opening and ending themes…the director, Tatsuya Ishihara, did the Studio Key adaptations, Haruhi Suzumiya and even Hibike! Euphonium. Hearing this news is kind of reminiscent of Shirobako‘s director from Musashino Animation; he is universally praised for his first directorial show, but then his next show becomes a harem mess, containing an endless amount of bikini-clad girls with a terrible plot and script and is slaughtered on social media.
- As I say, this show will still please a lot of people, despite my very initial cynicism over episode 1. We get glimpses of two more girls that are set to join Mai, Haruhiko and Phantom Eater Reina. Of course we are all going to have our eyes on Mai, though, and quite possibly Reina too. I mean those Phantom Eater scenes are kinda cool.
- So, has KyoAni reached a ‘low’ (*very bad pun on the limbo scene – watch it and see*) with this? I hope not, because I love the studio too much, and I don’t want them to seriously crash-land on their behinds on the first episode.