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Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~ – The Complete Series (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

February 9, 2012 by  



“Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~ – The Complete Series” is a dark, violent but yet captivating anime series.  For those who have been wanting more deeper, darker anime series on Blu-ray will enjoy the twist and turns and violent nature of this series!

Image courtesy of © 2012 FUNimation Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~ – The Complete Series

ANIME RELEASE DATE: 2009

DURATION: 26 Episodes: (650 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1), Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

Release Date: January 31, 2012

Directed by Koichi Mashimo

Series Composition by Yousuke Kuroda

Music by Hikaru Nanase, Tatsuya Katou

Original Character Design by Kimi Yanguchi

Character Design by Minako Shiba, Mutsumi Sasaki, Tomaki Kado, Yoko Kikuchi, Yoshiaki Tsubata, Yoshimitsu Yamashita

Art Director: Yoshimi Umino

Mechanical Design: Kenji Teraoka

3D Director: Eiji Inomoto

Anime Production by Bee Train

Featuring the following voice talent:

Ayahi Takagaki/Lindsay Seidel as Ein

Miyu Irino/Newton Pittman as Zwei

Akeno Watanabe/Shay Moore as Lizzy Garland

Aya Hisakawa/Colleen Clinkenbeard as Claudia McCunnen

Hideo Ishikawa/Rick Keeling as Issac Wisemel

Isshin Chiba/Kent Williams as Scythe Master

Miyuki Sawashiro/Brittney Karbowsky as Cal Devens

Sōichiro Hoshi/Christopher Bevins as Toru Shiga

Susumu Chiba/J. Michael Tatum as Raymond McGuire

Tomoyuki Shimura/Phil Parsons as Daisuke Godo

A young man with no memories fights to salvage his humanity when he’s forced into a life of murder by a dangerous crime syndicate called Inferno. The organization gives him a new name, Zwei, and molds him into a perfect killing machine, a meticulous instrument of death created to obey his masters’ every deadly command.

Zwei’s not the only puppet controlled by Inferno; Ein is a girl as beautiful as she is brutal and as lethal as she is lost. While mafia violence escalates around them, the two assassins grow closer, and Zwei begins the struggle to reclaim his past and save Ein from a blood-soaked future.

Back in 2000, the visual novel game from Nitroplus known as “Phantom of Inferno” was a big hit and it was a video game that was dark in nature but allowed the player to have the two characters get involved in a romantic drama.

In 2004, a three-episode OVA was created by Earth Create and KSS titled “Phantom: The Animation” and in 2009, the 26-episode TV anime series “Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~” featuring anime production by Bee Train began airing in Japan.   The series was directed by Koichi Mashimo (“.Hack//” series, “Sorcerer Hunters”, “Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE”) and series composition by Yousuke Kuroda (“Infinite Ryvius”, “Honey and Clover”, “Mobile Suit Gundam 00”, “Gungrave”).

And now, the complete series will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment.

“Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom” begins with a young man named Reiji Azuma, a Japanese tourist in America meeting up with a journalist.   Unfortunately,when Reiji arrives to meet with the journalist, he is assassinated by an Inferno assassin.

Reiji tries to elude his pursuer and is able to show his survival instinct to the pursuer and is shot and captured by Inferno.

Having no memory of the assassination that he witnessed, he is given a choice by Inferno.  To join them and become an assassin or be killed.  Wanting to live, he agrees and his new life by the name of Zwei begins.

Zwei goes through a strict training program with Ein, a female assassin who goes by the codename “Phantom”, a codename designated only for the best killer within Inferno.

Zwei was found by a man who goes by the name of Scythe Master and was a test subject for an assassin-processing treatment.  While training Zwei, Zwei tries to ask her about why she kills, what memory she has of the past but for Ein, she has no recollection of her past and doesn’t care.  All she cares is completing her missions which Scythe Master has assigned to her.

While training, the two have to pose as a couple and surely, Zwei’s training goes extremely well, to the point that Ein fears that the abilities he developed in months, took her years and is worried that he may surpass her.

Eventually, Zwei must prove his worth to Inferno, so he is sent on missions to assassinate a man, include a wife and her young child.  Zwei hates the fact that he must kill, but in order to survive, he must do what Inferno tells him.

But behind the scenes of Inferno, Scythe Master appears to be working behind-the-scenes without informing Inferno and because of that, Inferno executive Clauda McCunnen begins getting closer to Zwei in order for him to keep a watch on Ein but also, to make sure she can depend on him in the future.

She also goes as far as giving Zwei information on his true identity and immediately, Zwei finds out that he is Reiji Azuma and that he was formerly a killer from Japan.

Eventually, Inferno finds out about the double cross by Scythe Master and because they know that Ein only follows Scythe Master, they want Zwei to kill her.  While Inferno tries to kill both Ein and Scythe Master, Inferno assassin Lizzie Garland (who is also Claudia’s bodyguard), manages to wound her in a gunfight.

As Scythe Master has escaped, Ein has nowhere to go to but to Zwei’s apartment.  Inferno wants him to kill Ein, but because Zwei has developed feelings for Ein, he makes the decision to protect her and to escape the control of Inferno.

So, Reiji and Ein (who he now has renamed “Elen”) try to escape from Inferno, but because Ein’s programming with Scythe Master is too hard to break, no matter how much Reiji tries to stop Ein from working with Scythe Master, she is unable to break the programming and reunites with him.

Reiji is captured by Inferno and finds out that Scythe Master once again has possession of Ein and now Reiji is determined to break that control by killing Scythe Master.  But can he?

VIDEO:

“Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~ – The Complete Series” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1).  It’s important to note that this is a TV series and not an OVA or film and thus, the series is not too vibrant or colorful and leans more towards the soft side.  With that being said, the series is quite sharp and character designs and objects are well-shaded.  While the art backgrounds tend to be banal with the usual trees, clouds and walls, there are some scenes that are well-designed.

But the animation does tie in nicely with the darker overtones of the entire anime series.  There is definitely a much better level of sharpness and clarity (which one can compare with the accompanying DVD version of the TV series).  But for the most part, picture quality is good.  Didn’t see any artifacts, banding or edge enhancement while watching the series.  Nothing distracting at all.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~ – The Complete Series” is presented in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0.  Because I wanted a better dynamic range while watching this anime series, I went with the English dub as it is in 5.1 lossless.  While I do prefer the original Japanese vocal track, the English dub track is well-done and also has an edge because of its use of the surround channels and LFE.

For an action-based anime series with a lot of gunfire, you want to hear surround usage and thus the English dub soundtrack is where you hear it utilized.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~ – The Complete Series” comes with the following special features:

  • Picture Dramas – (1:17:33) Featuring hilarious and fun animated (and also live puppet) shorts.  There are 12 picture dramas included.
  • Textless Opening Songs for “Karma” and “Senritsu no Kodomotachi”
  • Textless Closing Songs “Jigoku no Mon” and “Transparent”.
  • Trailers – FUNimation Entertainment Trailers

EXTRAS:

“Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~ – The Complete Series” comes with both the Blu-ray and DVD version of the TV series.

“Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~ – The Complete Series” is a dark, violent but yet captivating anime series.  An anime series about the underworld and the use of programmed assassins, what I enjoyed about “Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~ – The Complete Series” is the fact that its protagonist, no matter how deadly (or how crazy) he can become, he just wants to find a way out and live a normal life.

But because he’s stuck within an underworld that relies on assassins, leaving on one’s free will is not going to be easy.  And while the video games allowed the viewer to choose several paths, for the anime series, you never know what’s going to happen because there are so many twists, so much backstabbing that people who you think are friends are actually enemies and truthfully, aside from the viewer following Zwei/Reiji, you just never know about the intentions of any of the other characters.

I suppose, because this is the underworld that these characters live in, it’s life full of violence and deceit and for this anime series, what makes this different from other similar anime series is that these series are typically made to show various levels the protagonist has to go through and taking on various “bosses” or killers.  It’s the banality that you often find in underworld/crime-based anime series.  But for “Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~ – The Complete Series”, each time you think something good is about to happen, something terrible goes wrong.  Each time you want to see some sort of closure or resolution, something bad happens.  Each time you want to find good in the dark hearts of a character, they end up doing something audacious and unfortunately, it backfires on them.

So, I don’t want to classify this series as too dark that it’s depressing because it’s not.  But it is a drama series that reminds me of Korean dramas in the fact that the writers would like to rip your heart out when you think things are going good.  In the case of “Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~ – The Complete Series”, you wonder if these characters will ever find any peace before they are killed.

As for the Blu-ray release, considering this is an anime series from a few years ago, art backgrounds are good with the usual trees, clouds and walls that are detailed.  If anything, character designs and object shading are well-done but it’s the storyline and its dark characters that are the showcase of this series.

There are several special features included, while not long, considering many anime titles on Blu-ray sometimes don’t carry any special features outside of the opening and ending themes, I’m sure anime fans will take what they can get.

Overall, “Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~ – The Complete Series” was a captivating, dark and violent series which will satisfy anime fans who have been clamoring for more darker and violent anime on Blu!  It’s a really twisted anime series but nothing to psychological or creepy, just more frantic, chaotic with its full share of twists and turns.

If you are an anime fan who is wanting a more deeper and darker anime series on Blu-ray, definitely give “Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~ – The Complete Series” a try!

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