Musaigen no Phantom World – 01 (First Impressions)

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The Winter 2015 season gets off to a whimsical, colorful start with Musaigen no Phantom World, the first episode of which called to mind everything from Haruhi Suzumiya and Charlotte to Chu2Koi and Amaburi. So immediately, then, we have a bit of an issue: this show reminds me of a lot of good shit.

The challenge then, will be to differentiate itself and make its case as a show worth watching for more than the trademarked lovely KyoAni eye candy (though I’ll admit, on Hump Day that might be sufficient anyway). And amidst its familiar setting, themes, character types, animation and dialolgue styles, MPW’s first episode still managed to distinguish itself.

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First, it makes a point to play off our expectations vis-a-vis fanservice. Atletic, busty female lead Kawakami Mai is more concerned with getting the job done than showing a little skin here and there. Shy, impressionable first-year Izumi Reina‘s boob looks ripe for grabbing, but male lead Ichijo Haruhiko manages to course-correct just in time, but thanks to “aid” from his pixie sidekick Ruru, still ends up in a bad position. Finally, Mai has a practical reason for bouncing her boobs up and down: it’s the only way to succeed in a limbo contest.

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Second, all three characters have their positive qualities. Ruru is adorable, obv., but she’s also quite savvy, serving as both a foil and an ally in Haruhiko’s exploits. Mai’s can-do attitude and fighting spirit is tempered by the need to occasionally sigh over dire financial straits (while scolding Haruhiko for sighing along with her). Reina, also frikkin’ cute as all get-out, also sucks stuff up like Kirby, which was very unexpected.

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The phantom-hunting team also gels quickly but believably. All three are competent in very specialized areas, but if one of the three wasn’t present for the utility pole phantom limbo-off, they would not have been able to achieve victory. Haruhiko’s freakish book smarts let the group know what they’re dealing with, Mai’s freakish athleticism appeases the phantoms, and then Reina eats ’em up. Even Reina is sold enough on how good a team the trio makes that she casts aside her initial uncertainty about joining.

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With such good chemistry coming off this trio, one wonders what MPW has in store for the fourth, a rose-haired, perpetually headphones-donning girl who looks like a lone wolf uninterested in teamwork.

So yes, I’m sufficiently charmed by MPW to keep going with it. There was a bit of an infodump rather inelegantly thrown in, and it looks no better or worse than the shows I listed up top, but there’s plenty to like and plenty to tune in to learn.

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Author: magicalchurlsukui

Preston Yamazuka is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

3 thoughts on “Musaigen no Phantom World – 01 (First Impressions)”

  1. If anything, I’m getting a lot of Chu2Koi vibes from this series, except for the fact that chuunibyou is apparently a chemically induced brain alteration. I think the series will get better as long as it calms down on the info dump and fan service.

  2. I quite enjoyed this. The slightly naf, not quite together team struggling to improve trope worked well here due to somewhat wacky monsters such as limbo dancing telegraph poles, now you see them, now you don’t troublesome spirits, and likable, well designed characters. It’s of course helped immensely by the quality design and animation of Kyoto Animation. The only grating moment was the info dump. Still if you are going to put an info dump in. the first episode would be the best place to put it. I’m thinking this show will get better as it goes along as we become more familiar with the characters and the world they inhabit. Oh, and there will two or three new team members introduced in the next couple of episodes by the look of it too. This plot reveal by credits always irks me. Whilst it is probably a matter of budgeting, I’d much rather see new characters in the credits after they have been revealed in the story line, rather than having them spoiled like that.

    1. Yeah, I agree it’s always a better move for a show to either have a special OP and ED that doesn’t spoil future intros, or forgo them completely.

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