From the beginning, Myriad Colors Phantom World presents itself to be something that’s not meant to be taken seriously. The show harbors a copious amount of overused tropes and cheeky moments of fanservice. While the fanservice often tries and succeeds in being fresh and original (like boob limbo), the tropes are only made somewhat less trope-y by a blunt act of self-awareness, an example being Haruhiko spouting exposition and Ruru acknowledging that he’s going on and on about something the characters should already know, therefore solving the problem of boring exposition by pointing out that it’s boring exposition, rather than just changing it to be more engaging.
The way Myriad Colors Phantom World introduces its characters is fairly simple, giving each girl an episode where they deal with some sort of Phantom that inadvertently reveals an inner struggle that is resolved happily and lightly referenced from here on out with no actual significance in the long haul. In the end all you really need to know about these characters are their quirks and powers. Other than that, they will be used in whatever way any future situations see fit.
After the group is fully formed the show becomes a Phantom of the Week wacky sitcom. This gives it an opportunity to explore a variety of themes without being confined by a cohesive narrative. This is what Phantom World excels at, as it doesn’t seem to know what it wants or where it’s going with the overarching plot. Episodes range from charming to bombastically funny to genuinely heartwarming. This all keeps to an episode structure that Phantom World can’t seem to stray away from, where every episode needs to end with an action-y climax caused by some sort of Phantom, no matter how out of place it may be.
The show goes on like this until the last two episodes, because cliffhangers are absolutely essential to creating a worthwhile finale (sarcasm). This is where the show finally falls off the tightrope it has been treading on since the very beginning, the fine line between derivative and self-aware derivative. Without spoilers, Phantom World ends in an incredibly generic, final fight way, and it’s very disappointing considering the much more enjoyable approach the show had been taking three episodes ago.
As for the characters, they’re all fairly likable with the exception of Haruhiko, our main male protagonist who is a bland, nice guy know it all that until the very end only serves as an exposition device that nobody likes. Minase is established as a group member pretty poorly, as the show acknowledges later on by Mai saying “You know, I hadn’t even noticed that you’d joined our team.” That being said, she’s a cool loner type character that is exceptionally skilled in the field of Phantom hunting, all while being socially awkward! Then there’s Izumi, who eats a lot and is cute. Oh, and Kurumi who is also cute and has a teddy bear. Finally, there’s Mai, who is a spunky athletic student with big boobs.
The Things It Does Well
Myriad Colors Phantom World knows how generic it is and openly admits it rather than trying to subvert it, which sometimes results in moments of genuine originality and humor. And despite its generic plot, the show always remains visually engaging, with excellent action sequences and stunning scenery, the clipping was done in a way that never let a still frame sit for too long. At its best, Myriad Colors Phantom World is a legitimately funny sitcom with a mostly likeable cast in a world with very little rules to abide by, creating an endless amount of possible wacky misadventures.
The Things It Doesn’t Do Well
While Phantom World does try to give attention to every trope it uses, some just come through as utterly generic and uninteresting, like in the final episode. The show doesn’t seem to know where it’s going and emotional plot points feel incredibly phoned in. It even toys with the idea of a harem, but just like many of its other tropes, the show fails to fully commit, leaving nothing but a few laughs and a feeling of wasted time. At its worst, Myriad Colors Phantom World is a generic magical action show that pretends to not be generic by showing it’s aware of how generic it is and doing it anyway.
And with that, my time with Myriad Colors Phantom World is over. I enjoyed most of it, and had a lot of fun reviewing it week by week. Now that that’s over however, I’m going to need a new simulcast to episodically review, and so I’ll ask you, my oh so cherished reader, for suggestions. Right now I’m thinking between Mayoiga, Kizunaiver and Joker Game, so which one would you like to see? Feel free to suggest something else too, so long as it’s simulcasting this spring. Write it in the comments below, and thank you so much for reading.