The first part of Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom didn't quite live up to the promise of the hype, but it was intriguing enough to keep me tuned in for the second release. If you want to read my review for the first release, please feel free to head over here to take a look at it. This review will contain spoilers that pertained to the first half of the show though I'll try to keep things to a minimum here.
Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom takes place in a present timeline where a global reaching crime syndicate known as Inferno has taken over the underworld. It's a conglomerate of multiple gangs and mafia families and it has really become one of the most powerful players in the field. Those who stand up to Inferno are met with swift justice from the Phantom, the syndicate's elite assassin.
At the start of the first half, the Phantom for Inferno was Ein, a young girl whose past was erased and her personality was killed to make her an obedient killing machine. Inferno attempted to do the same thing with a young man named Reiji when he unwittingly encounters Ein while she's out on a job. His survival instincts impressed the powers that be and soon enough his memory was erased and he was turned into a Phantom as well. Together Reiji and Ein became an unstoppable team, but there was more at play than one could have anticipated.
Reiji was taken under the wing of a woman named Claudia and soon enough a rift formed between he and Ein, since she remained loyal to her master, Scythe. The first half of the show ended with a dramatic confrontation between Reiji and Scythe, and Ein got herself into the crossfire. Reiji was also taken down by bullets and the two were presumed dead until the show jumps ahead by a few months and we see Reiji working as the top assassin in Inferno.
In the second installment Reiji takes on an apprentice of sorts in the form of a young girl. There are flashes to the training he had with Ein, but this girl has more personality and is arguably more "normal" than the Phantoms we've come to know. It's an interesting dynamic and we get to see a different side of Reiji than we did in the first collection. His personality starts to come through more and more, but once Ein is back in the picture the show's direction becomes lost a little bit.
I don't want to give too many details away, since this volume brings about the conclusion, but I will say that the show heads into some predictable territory. Whereas the first half of the show seemed to do stuff that you weren't expecting, having a bland, anticipated kind of ending was a disappointment. The characters still don't stand out much either, but they at least exhibit a little more personality in this installment.
Ultimately Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom is worth renting if you're interested in the concept, but it's not exactly a smooth ride by any stretch of the imagination. The show has its moments where the material truly stands out and it rises above the rest, but these elements are fleeting at best and the show is downright dry and lifeless in the end.
Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom is presented on DVD with its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio and has been enhanced for anamorphic playback. The show looks decent, but not outstanding. The animation is rather low budget most of the time and the overall palette is rather bland and depression, though I suppose that matches the tone of the show. The image contains grain and the occasional compression artifact, but for the most part it's relatively stable with a nice resolution.
The show comes with a 5.1 English dub and 2.0 stereo Japanese track as well. I gave both tracks a listen and for the most part they each performed well enough. I actually found myself leaning towards the English track for this one, which is something of a rarity. Even so the casts performances are a bit lifeless, though Pittman delivers on his character for the most part and Colleen Clinkenbeard brings a sultry tone to the character of Claudia. Oh, and the soundtrack for the show is downright awful, I'm sorry to say.
For bonus features in this second installment the DVDs contain clean animations, trailers, and an original commercial for the show. The box is also designed to fit in with the packaging of the first release.
Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom has an interesting enough premise, and in many respects it harkens back to material such as Leon: The Professional. Unfortunately it never manages to maintain that level of style or cool, and the narrative suffers as a result. The action is good enough and the climaxes are satisfying, but the build-up and consistency are problems. This one is worth renting/watching, but it's not exactly worth buying into.
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