Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom, Part One

Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom

On DVD: 
Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The first Phantom product was a choose your own adventure type novel series that allowed the reader to walk either a very dark path as an assassin for Inferno or to swerve ever so slightly to reach a more romantic plot type. The series became so successful it was given a game treatment much like Dragon’s Lair or Space Ace where you can drop it in your DVD player and go from there or there is also a playable video game version created for the XBOX 360. As success mounted the story was soon turned into an OVA and now this, a 26 part anime series.

When a 15 year old Japanese traveler witnesses the murder of a reporter he runs for his life only to be captured, have his memory erased, and given the ultimatum to join the secretive organization Inferno as one of their assassins, or die. Under the guidance of Ein, Inferno’s top assassin whose earned the title of Phantom, newly named Zwei quickly becomes the number two assassin in the organization, but an internal power struggle puts both killers in harms way. What no one counted on was the partnering of Ein and Zwei (Ein and Zwei are German for One and Two) creating a rift in their programming. Ein, who has spent much of her life as a loner slowly grows confused over feelings that she has for Zwei now that their living undercover as a couple in a rented apartment. Unfortunately their feelings quickly become another strategic piece of the battle within Inferno causing their loyalties to sway ever so slightly putting themselves and one another on opposite sides of the fight.

I had my reservations, especially after being let down by Eden of the East in which another young man with no memory finds himself at the disposal of a secret organization with a  little love story off to the side. It’s safe to say that any shortcomings that series had are not revisited here. The fact of the matter is Phantom is without a doubt not only the best anime series of 2011 so far but possibly one that can go shelved next to some of my all time favorites. The writing here is simply phenomenal. There is no awkward dialogue that sounds as if the voice over actors have gone off the script or the writers are trying to curve any uncomfortableness by throwing in some cute dialogue or actions. There is absolutely no filler in this series. Your given a quick introduction for the first couple of episodes and then the show just takes off giving you a reason to invest yourself in the two main characters, given depth in the dangers of the power struggle within the organization that employ’s them and the immediacy of what it means for Ein and Zwei, and the voice over work here is beyond excellent. The characters here range from calm and dangerous to explosive and violent. This is not a series for kids. There is nudity, profane language, violent death’s (even of children) but everything has its purpose as we follow the story down to the cliff hanger conclusion at the end of this part one installment. I just have to give huge applause to the writers on this series as they have created an expansive world of fleshed out characters that could go toe to toe with just about any Hollywood backed film on the market in this genre. Absolutely an amazing first half.

Bonus Features include the usual textless opening and ending songs and a hilarious feature called Picture Dramas (in original Japanese) putting characters in humorous situations, the first being Scythe Master, Ein and Zwei together trying to teach Zwei how to act while undercover. Hilarious. Finally trailers. My suggestion would be to check out the Summer Wars trailer which is directed by Mamoru Hosoda (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time) which looks epic.


AJ Garcia
Review by AJ Garcia
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