「迷惑UFOをやっつけろ!」 (Meiwaku UFO o Yattsukero!)
“Take out the Annoying UFO!”

It’s a curious thing to be introducing the second episode of an anime. When taste testing anime based on the three episode—the notion that a show has one episode to hook and three to impress—the humble episode 02 is nested in an awkward zone between the big opening number of Episode 01 and the series defining development of Episode 03. Episode 02 is usually the place where an anime can calm down a bit and get around to the groundwork that may have been passed over in episode 01 in favour of the hard sell. For us as viewers, it’s where we check for consistency in quality and get a more rounded view of what the story is actually about.

The second episode of Musaigen no Phantom World maintains the formula of the first, in that it is also an episode of two halves, one more serious than the other. The first was a mostly serious fight, relatively high on the action and effects. And it was about putting down an old security robot at the brain-virus company, which 1) handily demonstrates the technology level of this setting and 2) probably ties to an overarching plot, because corporate conspiracies. The second half was about… exorcising a peeping UFO for some girls who live in a stereotype. It’s the hijinks segment! It’s cool; I don’t get to use ‘defenestration‘ enough in my vocabulary (just don’t try it at home, kids. Glass and face are things that should never mix).

But it should be evident by now that Musaigen no Phantom World is a show of two minds. One is just silly fun—they don’t even try to explain why there’s some UFO after photos of damsels in dis-dress, just that it’s a good excuse for the girls to strip down (and we already have a shower scene earlier so whatever). I don’t particularly mind the silliness (and it certainly didn’t do as much brain damage as the Limbo-breasts of episode 01), but only if they totally play it up. If Musaigen no Phantom World introduced too much sanity into the show, the refuge of audacity collapses. And here’s what I fear: that there is a serious side to this anime. When a protagonist philosophises as much as the one of Musaigen no Phantom World, you just know that the author behind him is just itching to show off his reading. I hope he can continue to resist, because unless he does Musaigen no Phantom World will have to start reconciling Loony Tunes shenanigans with high brow themes, which will just make both look bad against each other. Don’t make us think. Don’t even invite us to think. Nothing good can come out of reactivating those brain cells.

Overall, though, the episode was has calmed down somewhat from the pilot, mostly because Musaigen no Phantom World had a lot of explanation to get through. The nature of phantoms (still not sure if things become retroactively real), summoning powers (I remember you. Weren’t you Cerberus? Or an escapee from Eden of the East?), Paroles (way too long in general. There’s a reason why magical girl anime start skipping transformation sequences)—for what could have been just a goofy comedy, there’s a lot of information it wants to equip it with. Perhaps Musaigen no Phantom World realised how much exposition it was piling on, because it had a self-aware gusto about going full lecture mode. By the way, this seems to be the actual purpose of the fairy mascot thing besides just playing the series’ Jar Jar Binks and occassionally discovering plot coupons. She’s here to be lectured at. Whereas in the novel format it’s easy enough for the first person narrator to talk to the reader in his monologue, it’d probably be better for anime to erect a fourth wall as it does here, thin though it may be. Outside of theatre or theatre-inspired traditions, characters that dive into soliloquy just look crazy.

So we’ve been armed with all this knowledge, but one still has to wonder what Musaigen no Phantom World intends to do with it. As I noted above, juggling its substance with its silly fanservice romp will be Musaigen no Phantom World‘s continual challenge. It’s sowed a lot of seeds for plot right now, despite the general frolicking. There’s the device they stole from that company (which our protagonist very wisely plugged directly into his PC) and thanks to that security robot very conveniently blurting out its purpose right before it died, we know that there’s probably a corporate conspiracy somewhere. Then there’s the family situation of various characters. And of course, let’s not forget some newly discovered healing powers (or are they?). I’m guessing we won’t really be getting in those until the party is fully assembled. Right now, though, I’m still not entirely sure about this show, but whatever one thinks about it one must admit to the level polish it has in all areas. I mean, just look at those backgrounds. I’m all for applauding effort, at the very least. Which is why I continue expecting good things from Musaigen no Phantom World. Serious or silly are both fine—just don’t be half-hearted about it.

43 Comments

    1. Well I’m not sure I’m all that fond of Ruru just yet, but Kyoani does a decent job with anime original characters, I mean Chuunibyou wouldn’t have been as great without theirs.

      Diyedas
    2. Odd. Chuunibyou was full of 2 original characters and they were both major roles. Is it THIS animation team only that included major original characters, or do other KyoAni shows do this?

      starss
      1. Rei in Free was an anime-original character. So were Ai and Sakura in KnK, though they were more secondary characters. It is noteworthy that both of those (plus Chu2koi and Phantom World) were all adapted from KyoAni-owned Light Novel properties. I can’t remember them adding any major original characters to any of their third-party adaptations – there are definitely none in Haruhi or K-On, which are the two original source materials that I’m the most familiar with.

        Jim
    3. Not gonna lie, I’m kind of bummed to hear that. When I saw Ruru flying away at night, I though, “Oh, hey, is she gonna be the Final Boss or something? She’s flying off to sow seeds of chaos, or check on her underlings or w/e, and the whole airhead thing is front, right?” But if she’s an anime original character, then I guess the answer is a big fat NOPE. Bummer.

      She’s probably flying off to get pie, and also arrange more awkward fanservice scenes for next week’s show, I guess.

      s_w
  1. Okay, I see where this series is going (ecchi)… I mean the “finger” scene
    was about as soft-porn as you can get without a chaperon. Hopefully, the
    story will take more of a front seat as the series progresses.

    Still enjoyable, but I thought the 1st episode was a little better…

    mac65
  2. Okay enough talk, let’s watch some damn fippin’ cartoons.

    I want a library that Haruhiko has!! And he draws so well! And he values knowledge and random bits of trivia. And acts embarassed at fanservice. Arg he’s almost like me! … without the… flocking of epically hawt girls to keep him company. Siiiigh. I do wonder what his parent situation is though…

    A buffet! That is a woman after my own heart.

    I can now safely say that I’ll follow this for the time being. 🙂 I just hope the ending makes the show better.

    starss
  3. When the Girls and this Little Genie, done their Body Stretching, you could see that here are real Anime Professional at work. Just look only Little Genie doing her Leg stretchering and her Body reacts naturally. All little movements of an real human body with his body weight are in the right place. Old Sensei in Shirobako would be proud
    https://randomc.net/image/Shirobako/Shirobako%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2037.jpg

    I bow of this piece of art

    Worldwidedepp
  4. I lost it when Haruhiko managed to summon a badass-looking magical wolf only for it to end up being a cute little puppy. The funny thing is that, like any puppies, it would catch any hurled objects in the air, which it did quite successfully.

    Amiluhur
  5. ive noticed in certain areas of discussion people getting the whole idea of the existence of the phantoms twisted: i see people going on about how the explanation of phantoms is dumb and doesnt make any sense even tho the show tries to make it sound deep and all i can think to myself is “wow..someone must have really missed the point of ep 1 lecture on optical illusions. The reason why haruhiko even brings up the question as to whether phantoms always existed or if they are conjured by our minds is because of optical illusions in the first place. Throughout human civilization, we have claimed to see certain things: angels, demons, ufo’s. The whole idea behind all this is that the human brain is very unreliable; as such, we think we see things that are there but arent.

    Musaigen plays with that idea by basically saying that what if those things we claimed to see throughout civilization were actually phantoms. Now that the virus outbreak has occured, these entities have become more integral to our reality. I think some viewers mistakenly believed that the show was saying that phantoms exist because of our mental states and thought processes when really, it was making the claim that the unreliablity of observation is what brought phantoms into existence. The ambiguity of reality is what creates phantoms; which if one goes deeper with that concept, can also correlate it with the ambiguity of language, another topic the show touches upon through paroles. Language allows communication and records our existence; however, language is ambiguous, as deconstruction would state. This series’ world concepts and world building are actually on point: the disappointing part is (depending on what the viewer expects) is that it chose not to make a killer narrative with these interesting concepts. Instead it decided to build a silly series around such smart ideas, to which depending on your tastes, either turns you off from the show or brings you on board

    sonicsenryaku
    1. she said she did it instinctively…not to mention she was then sucking on his finger for a while so i just assume one of two things: either reina did it because she has this compassionate personality (as we saw in episode 1) or that there is something peculiar about haruhiko’s blood that drew her to it for some reason. With Reina being a phantom eater, maybe there was something alluring about the nature of haruhiko’s blood. Im more inclined to believe that Reina’s actions were just all part of her compassionate, motherly-like personality. People tend to suck their finger whenever they get something akin to a paper cut and so reina was just emulating that action

      sonicsenryaku
      1. Yeah, Reina being compassionate is probably the most likely answer.

        Honestly, I think she’s probably my favorite girl in this show because of that. Really, she comes across as the girl who treats Haruhiko the best (I’d actually go so far as to say she’s the only one who has shown any respect towards him).

        If I were more of a shipper, I’d probably want those two to be a pairing. Sadly, there are two things that make me lose motivation: 1) His treatment in the show makes me feel like the odds of him getting a girlfriend are slim to none; 2) Even if he did get one, she feels like the least likely choice.

        P.S. I found the part of the OP where she kneeled down to look at his drawing as if she found it interesting, as well as his reaction, kind of cute.

        starqo
    2. yea right now reina seems to be the one to interact with haruhiko the most and she’s nice to him; she acts comfortably around him. However, based on the opening, it looks like haruhiko has history with mai

      sonicsenryaku
  6. When the college girls where mentioning about how a “UFO was watching them through the window when changing” I was thinking to myself, “Are you sure it’s not a just drone?”

    ProfChaos
  7. There’s a part of me that says:”*sigh* how boring” and there’s another one that says:”keep watching”. My feeling for Kyoto Animation didn’t change, and I will always boringly love their show!

    Rhoman
  8. The fanservice was very calculated. Not only are there TWO gratuitous shower scenes, hell, she’s staring back at the viewer fer cryin’ out loud.

    I’m sure the finger sucking is a crucial plot point or whatever, but there’s finger sucking, and then there’s finger sucking.

    Well, I’ll keep watching, because it’s still entertaining.

    s_w
      1. Those flaming kicks had me thinking more of Sanji from One Piece, but Chun Li’s good too. 🙂

        Actually, now that I turn on my brain to think about it, shouldn’t Mai have utilized a thunder element to short-circuit those hunks of scrap and… *slaps hand over mouth*

        You know what? Forget it. Fire is cool and hot to look at.

        Ryan Ashfyre
      2. well, this Security Robot design reminds me of some special “Railgun” girl.. But i do not complain, this design is now standard for the most Security Robots in Anime, it differs from 4 Legs to 3 Legs

        Worldwidedepp
  9. oh, on an 2nd tought..
    https://randomc.net/image/Musaigen%20no%20Phantom%20World/Musaigen%20no%20Phantom%20World%20-%2002%20-%20Large%2027.jpg

    Find the error

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Worldwidedepp

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