The butchered phantom

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By 2017-12-17

By Shanuka Kadupitiyage
Ceylon Today Features

Writer Gen Urobuchi has achieved a reputation for his brutal treatment towards characters in a script. This disregard for plot armour is substantial enough to make even the most hard-core Game of Thrones fanatic blush. When such talent is signed on to adapt a crime drama where a teenager is kidnapped and brainwashed into being an assassin for a criminal organization, good things can be expected.

Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom is based on the popular visual novel Phantom of Inferno from the developer Nitroplus, who has been known for well-developed stories such as Saya no Uta; another product of Urobuchi and even Steins;Gate. Upon release, the visual novel was well received and was later adapted into the animated series by studio Bee Train in year 2009.

Bee Train is not a well-known studio, mainly because it's lacklustre record of sub-standard productions. Phantom; Requiem for the Phantom suffers from the same flaws the studio is known for. Animation, voice acting and even dialogue is hardly noteworthy. However, attention to music was one of the only two saving graces that makes this title worthy of investing time for.

Regardless of the lacklustre adaptation, Phantom of Inferno is a one of the best visual novels developed by Nitroplus. It consisted of a riveting story of redemption which players can experience a complex story tree with various endings and side stories built within the game, with a wide array of well-developed characters with real depth. Also, character death is rampant in the original material, making the experience even more compelling with a bittersweet catharsis that is rare to find. All in all, the tragedy of the Phantom is one that is enough to deem Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom important for enjoyment. The story is based in a Mafia overrun America, where a criminal organization named 'Inferno' are in the process of taking over all major criminal organizations in the country, which is made possible because of the legendary assassin codenamed 'Phantom'. A Japanese tourist is unlucky enough to witness such an assassination and instead of being killed, is captured and then brainwashed to become the second Phantom. The peace loving tourist now no longer possessing his memories, is then forced to work alongside the legendary Phantom, who is also a brainwashed puppet of the organization; a teenage girl with the given name Ein.

Theatricality is a major part in this animated series; almost to a point of overdoing it. However, Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom isn't a bad series. It is the result of a bad animation studio failing to deliver expectations even when the script and the story are near perfect. However, where everything might be going against Phantom, the sheer enthusiasm that is pushed into the series is enough to keep audiences attached. The relatable supporting characters are a treat to watch and deal a blow at death. Phantom of Inferno is one of the best of the best to experience. However, Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom should only be approached by fans of the visual novel or those who don't have enough time to divulge and play the original material.

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