Musaigen no Phantom World – 04


Spirited away?

This time we get into Reina’s story….

Usagi Drops

…shame it’s not a nekobussu…

If there is one thing I can state, without any hesitancy, that I love about fiction it is how we can explore worlds that are “outside the norm”. If you set your genre right, and trust that you can meet your audience’s expectations, you can shift metaphor around like nothing else and say quite a bit in the process. One of my favorite places to investigate is the idea of the “created family”. As Ichijo was trying to allude to before he was cut off by a rather insensate Ruru, you don’t get to choose the family you’re born into, much less the rules you have to operate under; but this isn’t so with the family you choose….

So the story goes is that Reina is just right for a phantom to come along and abduct her into a terrible world where her friends have to come rescue her. Now, at the outset much of that it true, but a great deal of it isn’t exactly correct. What really clued me in at first was how blase Koito was to the whole affair. She felt like a canary in a coal mine; “oh, that looks like a phantom they can handle, and besides, does it ever look personal”. After that it was a matter of letting it all play out as it needed to.

I love the little touches they put here an there into Reina’s own personal phantom. It’s so personal it still leaves me scratching my head with just how useful and interesting it was. It had a backdoor out in the form of it’s own indoor plumbing, and it let Ichijo in no problem and even found room for Mai to fit in. That’s a feature she would not have known about, but it seemed to have. It never made her late, it didn’t extract a pound of flesh, it was very pleasant even at the end there, giving her a full range of choices; it didn’t do a thing to stop Ichijo from interfering and didn’t hold Mai hostage. A very useful phantom, and one to keep around in a pinch when you think about it.

phantom 4-006

Mai is in there somewhere….

But there is quite enough perceptive to go around this episode and I, for one, thing they let their symbolism do some of the storytelling for them. Reina had cast her parents as the hard and harsh rocks in the middle of her little zen garden. They didn’t hold with phantoms, they forced her big sister out, and are looingk to be pretty paranoid from the outside; a camera like they have outside the house is less for security and more for “don’t even think about bothering us”. They are shown as imposing, but how much of that is actually true, and how much of it is coming from Reina’s imaginings of them? She’s a teenage girl after all…

If anything when she is tempted to follow her bunny parents, they seem to regret her leaving, almost as if they don’t want her to face reality quite yet, as if it would make them sad as well. But they still want what is best for her. It’s Ichijo, emerging from the hard and harsh rocks that drags her back to reality. That’s a hefty bit of symbolism going on, and it still makes leaves me with a feeling, much like the one she had when thinking back to her little dream bunny house, that it’s not over yet.

Yeah, there’s been quite a bit of flack about this show, and I wanted to address it as sufficiently as possible before I moved on. Quite a few have dismissed it as fanservice and harem….but have you even watched the show? It has none of those elements to it at all. Sure it may “tease” fanservice, but that is usually more more in service of poking fun at people, and delivering the punchline to a joke. But if you want to stab yourself with genre tags’ sharp ends be my guest. That will be far fewer idiots in on my end of the conversations in the long run…..

phantom 4-004

So with that out of the way, what did you think? Reina has quite a bit to go still yet, and since Ichijo dropped a bomb about his own family being split up, she might find it in herself to return the favor. I thought they did quite nice on setting up a future arc for the two of them to follow. Along with that, they opened up that she has very complex feelings for Mai, and that Mai is going to become aware of them soon. It could be as simple as projecting her missing sister onto her sempai, or it could be something else. We’ll see as more episodes come out….


All around nerd that enjoys just about any anime genre. I love history, politics, public policy, the sciences, literature, arts...pretty much anything can make me geeky...except sports. Follow me @theskylion
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8 Responses to “Musaigen no Phantom World – 04”

  1. BlackBriar says:

    It’s nothing new in this day and age. The moment a setting has an excess of one gender over the other, it automatically gets written off as a harem/reverse harem. The biggest problem contributing is people are always trying to needlessly shoehorn a romantic aspect whether the feel is natural for the story to have one or not. I’m one who doesn’t believe every series has to be looked at through a romance-tinted glass.

    The “fanservice/ecchi” thing is also a show their idiocy: The moment they see anything provocative, the slightest sight of skin. It’s like walking a minefield.

    Maybe it’s just me but I think Reina’s dilemma would’ve had a greater effect if we had a chance to see the parents who so disapprove of her contact with Phantoms. They were heard but a strict, angry “disembodied voice” can only do so much. Sure there was a shot of Reina in their presence at the end but no help from that if we can’t even see their faces.

    Really not a fan of Koito so far. Yeah, I get she prefers to keep to herself. Still, if she knew so much about that particular type of Phantom, she could at least have been civil enough to give the gang a head’s up instead making them find out the hard way. Especially when she’s had enough sightings of them walking into the danger.

    • skylion says:

      Nah, as disembodied voices, they allow the audience to imprint what they will on them. So, for someone like me, well, I’ve already said in my post what someone who has a teenager would feel about it!!! And now we have your end, which is not a bad reaction either; there isn’t a bad reaction either….

      Koito is purpose built to be a pain in the arse, that is for sure…

  2. BlackBriar says:

    Spammy is at it again.

    Among other things, this is not good. There are rabbit ears here in this episode, therefore count as kemonomimi. Worse, we have an escaped patient with that complex on the loose. 😉

  3. starqo says:

    So Haruhiko and Reina have common ground, with a family member that left because of conflict with other members. But Haruhiko still hopes that one day that his mom will return, and they’ll have a chance to be a family again, and he doesn’t want Reina to live with regret that she might get to see her sister again (besides the unstated fact that he and Mai might not get to see her again). And so she chooses to stay, but not without fond memories of her Phantom parents that could’ve been. Overall, I don’t think she regrets her decision, if the expression she gives Haruhiko near the end is any indication (my personal favorite little scene…I’ve got the goggles on, don’t I? Dang it!).

    I think this might just be my favorite episode so far. It definitely brought the most feelings out of me.

    P.S. When she called Haruhiko “knowledgeable,” was she complimenting him? I can’t tell.

    • skylion says:

      I think the episode is trying to tell us that they both have it rough; and that maybe Ichijo has it a bit, if not more than, harder than she does. But he’s just not going on and on about it. So yeah, she can’t have her idealized end, but she can get something decent if she hold on.

      She might be giving him a backhanded compliment?

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