Musaigen no Phantom World – 09

Lots of combat and a LOLi with a firearm…keep the story easy to follow…

It’s just like the line one of the judge characters said in the middle of the show, it’s a meta-play. But it really does make me wish I knew more about the Bakumatsu period…

Return of the Jidaigeki

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I’m sure it was one of Lucas’ many many influence….

It’s true, just turn the katanas into lightsabers and you pretty much have the orig-trig. Which is, by and large what this episode is running on. OK, not Star Wars, per se, but it is running on the stories that influence us. As Haruhiko says at the beginning, part of being human is having a connection to that crazy fun continuum we call history. I agree with that dissertation in full, but I believe much more strongly in the connections in how we conceive, develop, spread, and change the stories or our lives…both big and small.

That is something that our newest character, Ayumi understands on the most basic of levels. She uses that to develop one interesting potboiler of a script, mixing and matching from sources as she pleases to tell the story she needs. And darn it, I’m not quite as hep to this era and period of history to get all the cuts, either shallow or deep. While that makes me a bit bummed (I’ll be alright…), it doesn’t diminish my enjoyment of the episode at all. This one was way to much fun.

The Shinsengumi Strikes Back

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….along with their non-historical allies, the Ishin-shishi 

Or did I get the sides mixed up for that pun? The Shishi were pro-Imperial rule….So yeah, Ayumi got most of the dramatis personae correct, at least in name? Kurumi (and Albrecht to be sure) plays Sakamoto Ryoma, and Koito plays Okada Izo; both of them members of the anti-Shogunate faction, the Ishin-shishi. While Ruru plays Kondo Isami, Haruhiko plays Hijikata Toshizo, Reina plays Okita Soji., all of them members of the famous/infamous pro-Shogunate Shinsengumi policing force. Of course, the joke’s on Mai as she is relegated to the damsel in distress role of Oume; which is a damn sight better than her historical counterpart got, as she was assassinated along with the fella of Ayumi’s role of Serizawa Kamo.

Kamo had a sticky end, and history likes to argue about how and why he got killed, which is a perfect set up for fiction to come in with sensationalist writing and aplomb. I don’t think any modern culture can get away with not doing that to it’s own history from time to time. In this regard I do think that Ayumi did manage to slip something in there, along with her revelation that she was really a Phantom all along. I may be reading into it, but that line that the phantoms will take advantage of human civil wars to make a hostile take-over is a rather well roasted chestnut in fiction. And maybe it’s foreshadowing for this show? What is more certain to me is how we can use narrative to treat “the other”. We either know nothing about them and fear them, or we trust that their stories, and perhaps their values, are as predictable (as them following her script) as our own. So perhaps she tossed in a cautionary tale upon a cautionary tale just to make it clear…

(The Story Broke All the Walls…

phantom 9 - begining of play

Except the fourth one for a change….Let’s get to some extras….)

Show ▼

 A Nengo Hope?

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The Revenge of the Sun? No?

Sorry, I ran out of cool puns… Suffice it to say I really loved this episode, and KyoAni really knows how to take their themes and run wild with them. Though they appear chiefly episodic at the outset, there is a line running through the whole show and all the individual programs. It’s really about how we tell stories to each other, and this one took the cake and served it up with relish. The animation was top notch, the imitation of the jidai-geki period pieces was so much fun to see unfold. It felt like Ruru couldn’t wait to unleash every over-used one liner ever said in these sorts films, shows, manga, and anime.

With the Shinsengumi, I’m sure it will bring out the Samurai Deeper Kyo, the Rurouni Kenshin, the Gintama fans to say “hey, I know what that is!”. So this is something like where it came from. A great big old transition period ready for the plucking; in my own culture, we wouldn’t have the quite the type of legend we have of the cowboy and the sheriff and the Old West without our own Civil War to set the stage. I mean, Kurumi’s character? He basically started what was that era’s modern Japanese navy, and was very enamored of democracies “all men are created equal”. History and story certainly do connect us in so many ways….


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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13 Responses to “Musaigen no Phantom World – 09”

  1. HannoX says:

    I think Ayumi is a more dictatorial director than Otto Preminger!

    This was a real fun episode and the reveal that Ayumi was the Phantom and why she came to be was something I didn’t see coming. But it made sense. She’s a good character and I’d like to see her again.

    • skylion says:

      On my first viewing Ayumi felt like she was the type to demand 100% of herself and expect nothing less from her crew. But on my second viewing, she started to get all Preminger…a reference that I don’t think the average view/blog reader is going to get. But which I salute!

      She really was made to feel like part of the gang all along wasn’t she? I’m also hoping they can do more with her in future; maybe even some continuity….

      • HannoX says:

        While I realized many might not get the Preminger reference, the bloggers and commentators here are an intelligent and well-informed group so I was sure some would get it.

        • skylion says:

          He’s my favorite Mr. Freeze….

          • HannoX says:

            I’d forgotten he played Mr. Freeze. Besides his directing I remember him playing Nazis and Prussians.

            • skylion says:

              He was one of three actors to: along with George Sanders (best known as the voice of Shere Khan from The Jungle Book, but I am looking forward to hearing Idris Elba), and Eli Wallach (The Ugly from the The Good the Bad and The Ugly). And really I only recall all this cause I have @batman66 in my twitter feed….

    • BlackBriar says:

      They haven’t sealed her, so it’s likely Ayumi will be around until the final episode. If so, she’ll be the second (female) Phantom hanging around the group.

  2. Highway says:

    I like the way the gang’s coming together, and that it’s pretty much doing things as a group. Last episode was a bit more individual focused, this one was entirely ensemble. It’s really an enjoyable show to watch.

  3. BlackBriar says:

    If a series wants to be unapologetically wacky, Phantom World shows it can. That said, anyone this deep in should forget about a plot kicking in and concentrate on wondering what gimmick they’ll use next.

    Honestly, I didn’t expect a student to be an undercover Phantom. Mainly because of my expectations being modified to anticipating Phantoms externally. It should go without saying that it’s best to be wary of types like Ayumi. They’re easy going when not engaging in their activities but can be total slave drivers when they do.

    Still, Reina hasn’t modified her defense mechanism of throwing people who are physically too close to her. After getting to know Haruhiko, you’d think she’d make him an exception. Especially if it comes to accidents.

    • skylion says:

      I think a great many shows are unapologetically wacky, and whether they pass or fail is up to cases. Phantom World manages to pull this off well because, at least to me, it follows a through line, and knows when to take advantage of the quieter moments. Lots of shows sometimes forget that craziness needs a break to give it some meaning.

      Yeah, like HannoX says above, Ayumi being a phantom all along was a trip out of left field, but she was presented in such a way that it felt natural. For instance, they could have gone for this huuuuuuge dramatic moment as a reveal. But…well, they played with it didn’t they, it was a huge dramatic moment, in terms of the play they were putting on. But yeah, if she is a phantom of high school drama club amateur productions, she’ll play ever part right up to the end of the hilt and then some.

      Yeah, that’s why I caption Reina’s reaction as cliche, as that is what it’s getting to be. It’s cute and funny, but is starting to feel like it doesn’t belong any longer. Oh, do they ever make exceptions for accidents?

      • Highway says:

        Well, since the trope is that it’s not a reasoned response, the answer is that it can’t make exceptions. Especially in the case of accidents. It’s more believable to have exceptions due to force of will on the part of the girl.

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