Thursday, July 28, 2011

Requiem for the Phantom Review

Requiem for the Phantom is based off of a Visual Novel by the same name, featuring three assassins who each struggle with their identities as dealers of death. The anime fleshes out the different philosophies these three have in dealing with their darkness, and shows the relative success of each person.

The Good
The plot of this show is nothing particularly special, it's fairly typical, and for the cynical they know exactly where this show is going from the very start. If you're not so cynical you get a chance to interact with the characters themselves. I found that, once I'd accept where I thought the anime was going, that the characters were appealing. Zwei (the "main" assassin) keeps his voice of conscience throughout the entire of the anime, a fact that intrigued and repulsed me. Here was someone who genuinely hated the fact that he was killing, and yet had no way of stopping, and so sunk into despair. He attempts to give up his conscience like the other assassins and totally fails to do so. Ein and Drei are very interesting in their own rights as well, as each of them represent a different archetype of why people do the evil that they do. Story

Truth be told, it's hard to pinpoint why I liked the story as much as I did. Nothing was very original, but it all worked in it's proper place when it needed to, and while the show did what was expected it did its job so well that I could only applaud.

The Music
While the openings and endings are nothing special, the actual music in the anime is very good. Themes are present and evolved throughout the storyline, making for an interesting and (at times) beautiful soundtrack. The later episodes have especially good music, and are almost worth watching just to see how the music is used. I say almost because the later part of the show is where it gets especially good.

The Bad

This Anime's a Bit Slow
I'll admit I wasn't very enthralled of the first 11 episodes, but it wasn't the type of "eh, this is OK" that leads to boredom and giving up on the show. I wanted to see what they were gonna do with the ground they were laying, so I stuck around. And while I was sorta rewarded for my patience (see below), the fact remains: the first 11 episodes are strictly build up for the latter half of the show.

Clip Shows
Why in God's green creation are there two clip shows in this anime? They're the bane of any anime watcher's existence, and I really do despise them. That being said, you can't skip these clip shows, because they slightly change things up and show you occasional bits of original footage, and then horribly twist the story at the very end with some original footage, so you have to watch what's essentially the entire show in twenty five minutes with some additions to get the major plot twist that you need to understand the rest of the show. While I like the idea of going over another character's perspective and doing it quickly re-using footage just automatically turns off my brain as I wait for them to do something new. GAH!

The End
Contrary to how it sounds, I really liked this show. It set out everything it was set up to do, did a damn fine job of having good characters and music, and had a rather meaningful story.

Until the last minute and a half of the anime. Dead serious, last minute and a half they manage to take everything and (from a Western viewers' standpoint) completely destroy everything they did. Now, before people who have watched the ending and liked it tell me that I'm being too close-minded because I obviously don't appreciate other cultures, I say... well.. what is there to say? You're right in this instance. I don't. I'm not saying that American and Catholicism and mom's apple pie are the only things to consider, but the ending just put a sour taste in my mouth that I really can't deny, and actually goes against the Visual Novel that it's based upon (if reports are right, that is).

No, I"m not giving it away. It's just that dumb of an ending, all cultural difference counted in!

I'd say watch the anime, but just ignore the last minute and a half.