Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom is a 26-episode series that revolves around a mysterious organization that provides services to the underworld in terms of "target removal." The organization is called Inferno and they have special individuals who dispense death in stealth. These individuals are known as Phantoms.
Our first story-arc centers around two people: Ein and Zwei. Yes, that's "one" and "two" in German. Ein is the number one (duh) phantom that has been taken under Inferno's wing and is trained by the Scythe Master to be the greatest killer in the world. Zwei is later drafted into the program where he is trained personally by Ein and molded into a male-version of Ein. Scythe Master and Ein train Zwei in the ways of death and stealth to become (duh) number two. Together they become the most dangerous hit-man-woman combo to walk the Earth. This also makes them a hot commodity. Everyone wants their services and this bodes well for the Inferno Corporation. The one rub that I forgot to mention was that Ein and Zwei have no memories of who or what they were before joining the Inferno Corporation. They are simple vessels that have been molded into fearless killing machines.
Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom collects the entire series in a 6 DVD - 3 Blu-ray set, so FUNimation has got you covered in that regard. Pick your format. It took me quite a bit too get through the series, but not because it was boring or bad by any means. See, I am very picky about my anime as of late. I grew watching the ultra violent more adult oriented "Japanimation" and as I got older my tastes never really adapted to the more kiddy friendly material. When it came time to select some anime to review I had to do some reconnaissance to see if Phantom was something that I would get into or not.
The animation is pretty awesome and I would say that the first story arc of the series is the best overall, because it's extremely solitary and there aren't a lot of characters to follow. Once it gets going then tons of new characters are introduced and it may get a little bit more difficult to keep track of. The series seems to be split into 3 arcs at about 8 episodes or so for each arc. Once we get into the middle, well, that's where things take a turn downhill. The middle portion of Phantom lags big time! There's even one episode that is a "flashback" episode with about 4-5 minutes of original content. I kept saying to myself, "Why are they flashbacking the whole episode?" It picks up the slack when the third and final act starts. And even then it's only slightly above average. I think what really made the first act shine was that it has an almost Bourne Identity thing going in terms of what these ordinary people go through to become elite hit-men/women. I do think that it should have stayed in that world as opposed to going all over the place, because even as the third section ends it still leaves many questions unanswered mainly will there be more? I don't know.
Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom is presented in 1080p 1.78:1 widescreen. I applaud FUNimation for going all out and giving us a true high definition picture for Phantom. There are several titles in their catalog that are just upconverts transferred over to Blu-ray. Thankfully this is not one of them. Contrast is stylishly boosted while retaining a very soft picture during certain scenes of darkness. Colors are bold and sometimes flashy when outside or in a brightly lit environment. I didn't notice severe banding or edge enhancement at all. In fact, Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom is one of the better-looking anime films I have seen in recent memory.
Phantom: Requiem for the PhantomI presented in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0. Considering I wanted the best possible sonic experience minus the lame dubbing, I decided to go with the English 5.1 track. This is a robust audio track if I do say so myself. Dialogue is almost too crystal clear as every word and syllable is perfectly transcribed by the center channel. Bullets fly and whiz by from every corner and the speakers handle it with great precision. The LFE channel also gets in a hefty workout especially during explosions. Too bad the Japanese track was only a 2.0, because I would rather have watched that version instead of the dubbed version, but I gotta go with the higher fidelity track.
Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom has a small sampler of special features, but mostly are tunes featured in the series like the opening and end credit songs. There's a cool "picture drama" feature that plays like a web comic with Japanese dialogue and English subtitles. It's pretty neat and the artwork is fantastic. There are a few commercials for the series, as well, and trailers to other FUNimation releases.
If you're at all curious about Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom I would suggest a rental first before you dive in for a purchase. I do think the animation is above average (it's no Madhouse, though), but be prepared to have your patience tried in the middle portion of the series. The video and audio are solid, but there should have been a bit more substance to the special features, but overall it's not a bad set. I just wished that the second and third sections were as strong as the first. Oh well.