Finish with a bang!
Kono Subarashii Seki ni Shukufuku wo!
Another case of a show I initially passed up, but after hearing so much about it I decided to check it out. Best decision ever. Konosuba is by far the funniest show of the winter season and honestly it’s gotta be my Anime of the Season too. Yes I know I said Erased would hold that spot, but Konosuba just kept delivering week after week with the laughs and fun, and I enjoyed the hell outta this show. Erased yes, it’s a great show, extremely thrilling and will keep you on the edge of your seat, but Konosuba, man it’s just such a hilarious show that will make you laugh till your sides hurt. It’s extremely silly, but not too silly which is what I feared going into it. I have a rather low tolerance for silliness, but when done right, like Konosuba did, it’s pure comedy gold.
Aside from being completely hilarious, Konosuba was actually pretty well animated. I haven’t watched many Studio DEEN shows before, but I gotta say Konosuba looked pretty fine. I liked the character designs, Megumin’s magic summoning thing looked really nice, and of course the explosions too looked great. The music was solid too, I like the OP a lot and the ED had a nice charm to it as well. Story wise it’s nothing ground breaking, but it’s executed well and it flows nicely. As for best girl, I know so many people love Megumin, but I gotta say I think I like Darkness a tad bit more. All the girls are pretty good though, but I think Darkness comes out on top, then Megumin and Aqua.
But all and all Konosuba is one show I highly recommend watching as it’s easily among the funniest shows I’ve seen in the past while. Plus with S2 coming in the future, there’s more of a reason tot check this show out and see what all the hype is about. So with that said, I’m giving Konosuba a solid 9.5/10. Anime of the Season, S2 hype!
Kokuaku no Pandora
I don’t even really know what this anime was supposed to be about, I was just watching for the yuri and even that was hard to justify sticking around for all 12 eps. The story was all over the place, nothing really made sense, I’m not sure if it was on purpose but the animation was overall pretty terrible, and nothing about this show is really worth recommending to watch even for fun. It’s just not really worth putting any time into and I kinda wish I had dropped it as by the end it was just dragging out and I felt bored watching it each week. So tally this one up I’ll give Koukaku no Pandora a 4.5/10. Meh.
The usual Monogatari antics just in a more condensed package. If you’re a fan of the series then it’s worth checking out if you want some bonus side story content or just want something Monogatari related to watch. Being that’s it’s an ONA, the quality will be terrible so if there is a BD release then probably wait for that before checking it out otherwise you’ll get eye cancer. Not much else to say about this one, so I’ll score it up. Koyomimonogatari gets a 7/10.
Musaigen no Phantom World
By far the most talked about show of the winter season was the latest from KyoAni, Phantom World. But while this was the most talked about, all the talk about it was purely negative. Why? Well there are a number of reasons why the vast majority of people thought this was the end of KyoAni (not like they don’t say that every time a new show from them is out) but unlike past KyoAni shows this one was much different. How so? Well for once KyoAni wasn’t shying away from using a fair amount of fan service in their show, something they’re not known for, so instantly there was a new reason to hate this studio. The other reasons stemmed from such things as: the story being weak, the characters being bad, the whole show being a display of wasted potential, and even the way Mai’s boobs bounce in the OP. Now while Phantom World is by far not KyoAni’s best, it’s also far from their worst too. Honestly this show gets way too much negativity as when you push aside the “problems” and actually look at what’s happening, you’d be surprised how entertaining it is to watch. Of course practically no one thought to do that, so they just jumped to the conclusion that this show is bad because of those reasons. Is it really though? Well then I guess it’s time we take a look at the matter at hand: is Phantom World as bad as everyone says it is?
For starters let’s take a look at the plot of this show because that’s one of the issues many bring up. Going into this one I actually had extremely low expectations because on paper it sounded like another Kyoukai no Kanata on all accounts, something that legit is a huge failure of a show and why people think it’s so amazing is a question I can never find an answer to. So in a similar fashion we’re dealing with a group of monster (or phantom) hunting students who receive rewards for each phantom they kill. These rewards help boost their club reputation as well as keep dinner on the table each night. Where Kyoukai no Kanata goes though is a much darker path than Phantom World takes. Phantom World sets the stage for how these phantoms came to be, an explanation that is given to us right from the outset, then from there the show begins. Here’s where the first problem arises.
People jump on the point that Phantom World could’ve been a good show bad the story not been ruined by the fan service and such. The thing is though, it should be fairly obvious that Phantom World isn’t supposed to be a story driven show. From the PVs and the first few eps it’s clear as day that this show will not be a usual story driven experience that KyoAni normally does. Is that a problem? Absolutely not. While there is the framework of a story there and near the end there are some very solid eps, the overall vibe of the show isn’t to tell a deep story, rather it’s a fun, light hearted, slice of life, comedy show about the daily lives of these phantom hunting students. Sure there are bits of story dished out here and there to hold things together, but on a whole it’s not here to tell a story but to be fun to watch and give us some laughs each week.
To me I never felt that Phantom World was a wasted potential show because like I pointed out, it wasn’t ever meant to be a story driven anime. If you want to talk about wasted potential, then take a good look at Kyoukai no Kanata and how big of a fuck up that show was. That’s a show that was story driven from the start, gave us lots of good points then failed to execute properly and because of that it falls flat by the ending before defying all logic and giving us some random happy end regardless of the heroic sacrifice by Mirai. By and large that show is perfect example of wasted potential and is hardly worth all the praise and hype everyone thinks it deserves. Had Phantom World been a story driven show throughout, introduced a ton of interesting aspects then completely failed to follow up on anything then I’d count this as wasted potential show. Rather it set out to be a slice of life/comedy with a loose story to more or less tie it all together. In my books it’s hardly a wasted potential as the story wasn’t ever presented as the main part of the show. I will say that yes Phantom World had the potential of being a very solid story driven anime had that been the goal of it, we saw shades of this during the final eps, but even so I wasn’t ever disappointed with the overall end result of the show. It made clear what it was going to be and I could count on it each week to be an entertaining 24 minutes.
One thing I will point out though as this is easily another point used to criticise the show, is that Phantom World is an episodic and monster of the week show. While normally that’s not a good thing, Phantom World manages to save itself by not becoming a cut and paste show like many seem to. A recent bad example of a monster of the week show is Active Raid. That show is literally the exact same thing happening episode after episode with absolutely no character or plot development. Captain Earth also comes to mind as it had a bad case of that but thankfully saved itself and was able to continue on. Heavy Object stayed extremely static for all 24 eps yet it was rich with entertainment value that you didn’t complain about the lack of everything. The point is, Phantom World didn’t feel repetitive even though it was pretty much the same thing happening each week. They made each phantom different and incorporated one of the main character’s backstory into each fight, so while they were still fighting phantoms each week there were different stories each week to go along with the phantom.
Speaking of characters, where they that bad? No, not really. I mean sure if you’re expecting completely rich with back story and meaning characters then yes you’ll be disappointed, but if your standards aren’t absolute perfection then you’ll like them for what they are. I like having characters with depth, but for this show you should expect the characters to be a bit lighter and not as detailed as characters in a story driven show. While yes all the characters in Phantom World don’t get lots of back story aside from Mai and Haruhiko, each character still brings a level of enjoyment each week and more than anything they’re just fun to watch. The majority of characters in any light hearted comedy show are usually quite cliché, yet we still like them and enjoy watching them each week, that’s pretty much the same case here.
I enjoyed how they incorporated back story for each character into a battle with a phantom. Not only was it a way of showing off each character’s powers, but it gave them a little bit of depth, passable enough to give them a reason as to why they’re there. Reina’s ep was about her overcoming her family troubles, Koito’s ep was about her dealing with demons from her past, Kurumi’s ep was about the relationship between her and Albrecht, Mai also had troubles from her past to overcome and Haruhiko dealt with family issues too. Each phantom brought out a personal challenge for the characters and fighting them in turn helped them overcome this challenge they faced. While at the end of the day you can still call them cliché if you absolutely must, but honestly that excuse has pretty much lost its weight as it’s all but impossible to find an anime that has characters we’ve never seen before. If resorting to using cliché as your main reason to hate characters, plot, or whatever, it’s honestly an extremely shallow conclusion to come to.
Sticking with characters for a moment, how about the use of fan service in this show? By far I can’t remember any previous KyoAni show using this much fan service but should that be a turn off? I don’t really see it as one. Amaburi was a step in a different direction for KyoAni, it featured a healthy amount of fan service, yet I didn’t see this many people complaining about it, so why does Phantom World get this much hate over that? Is it because we see Mai’s boobs bounce in the OP? Is that actually a problem? When you look back at this show is that something that stands out and makes you go “yeah that show is horrible because a character’s boobs bounced in the OP for all of 2 seconds”? I’m sure countless boobs have bounced in OPs before yet this is the first time I’m hearing that it’s a reason to hate a show. Why is that a problem and Reina’s ass mere seconds after isn’t? Is it just a bunch of boob hating or ass loving people ganging up on this show to make that one extremely small detail a huge issue? It seems extremely petty using this detail as a means to hate the whole show and Mai’s character. Is there really a need to nitpick a show to death like that? Maybe we should start hating every show that has boobs bouncing in the OP, I mean it must be a horrible show and that character is probably absolute shit if that happens.
As far as fan service goes after that, it’s actually not as bad as everyone makes it out to be. Yes the limbo scene is very in your face and seemingly unnecessary (although they do give a reason, whether or not you like it is up to you), but this makes me think of something else that I’ve seen in countless anime and general TV shows before. You know it’s not that uncommon for a season or series opener (and finale) to pull out all the stops and shock the audience with some graphic sex scene or lots of violence, then as things progress ease off that and only sprinkle it here and there. Phantom World pretty much follows that exact course as it opens big, really captures the audience then as things move on the fan service isn’t so constant or rammed down your throat. Yes there still is fan service throughout, I’m not denying that, but it’s not a main thing of every ep as everyone seems to think it is. I don’t see Mai’s bouncing boobs as she fights to be fan service, I mean it’s pretty much normal anime physics for something like that to happen. I’d be more upset if it they didn’t bounce around while fighting.
On the bright side Phantom World excels in the usual KyoAni goodness, that being in the art and sound department. As expected KyoAni does not fail in making this a pretty anime to look at. Sure it’s nowhere near the absolutely gorgeous visuals of Hibike! Euphonium, but it’s still very nice just the same. The battle scenes stand out for me as the bright visuals and fluid movements always made for a winning combo. The character designs were nice too, nothing new but they did their part well. KyoAni never fails at crafting some very cute looking girls, be them main characters or even side characters you only see once. Over to the sound Phantom World delivered here as well with a great cast and fitting music. The ED was by far my favorite out of it all, but the OST was very nice too. In terms of the cast, I had no issues with any of the voices; everyone sounded good for their part. KyoAni usually always does a good job in this area.
So really then if we look back at the question posed at the outset, is Phantom World as bad as everyone says it is, I think the answer will vary from person to person but for me I didn’t think it was worth the hate everyone was giving it. It’s not perfect, that much should be obvious, but in general it gets way too much hate for reasons that debatably aren’t worth getting that bent out of shape for. Depending on how you want to view this anime, subjective or objective, you’ll get very different answers. For the most part I’d say I lean towards having a subjective view, looking at it objectively though I can see the problems with it but even so they seem to warrant unneeded amounts of hate. If I want to get upset about an anime Phantom World will most likely not come up in that discussion as there are many other anime out there that have legit story issues, tons of wasted potential, and characters flatter than <insert a flat character>’s chest. Phantom World may be a flawed anime but on a whole it’s not something I’d classify as a straight up bad anime as many view it as.
I hope I’ve covered all the points I set out to talk about, I probably missed something along the way but most of it looks to be there. All in all Phantom World set out be a different style of KyoAni show and in the end it still will be something I look back on in a positive light, compared to some of their other actual not so good shows. So to give this a rating, I’d have to say Musaigen no Phantom World gets a solid 8/10. As always, KyoAni finds a way.
Ooya-san wa Shishunki!
Another strange 2 minute show, Ooya-san wasn’t really a highlight for me as I actually forgot I was even watching it most weeks. It’s a couple minutes that go by so quickly that I would go a couple days after it aired before remembering I needed to download the new ep. Being only 2 minutes it’s not going to have a story really, rather a few random events that happen each week that are more of less tied together. Honestly I felt slightly uncomfortable watching this show at some points as it was just one of those loli shows that feels weird to me. Cute and fluffy shows like Kinmoza or Gochiusa don’t make me feel bad, but this on the other hand did at times. One kinda cool thing about this show is that there is a cameo from the cast from Komori-san wa Kotowarenai. Anyways I don’t really have much to say about this show, if it’s your style then check it out otherwise it’s not something I can recommend. Scoring it up, 4/10. Meh.
I wasn’t really sure what to think of this anime going into it, but after ep 1 I got a good sense of what it would be about. Honestly there were a number of things that flew over my head just because I’m not a girl and don’t keep a running knowledge of feminine hygiene on hand, so yes I did feel confused by some parts of this show for those reasons. Aside from that, Galko-chan was a funny show that got me laughing with all it’s crazy humor and weird jokes. Normally I’m not down for things like this, but at 7 mintues per ep I can tolerate that. If this was anything longer I might not have stuck around till the end. It’s rare that a short anime will be any good, but for the most part Galko-chan did a fairly solid job at delivering each week with it’s girls talk and silliness. Would I recommend it…? Hmm yeah I guess, it’s an alright short show, but it was just slightly confusing at times with all the girls talk. I was thinking maybe this would be some kinda Yuyushiki like show with a bunch of girls talking about stuff, but Yuyushiki wasn’t so heavy on the feminine hygiene, at least not that I can remember. Anyways, Galko-chan was among the better short shows and worth checking out of you’re looking for something to watch in between other shows. Scoring it up I’ll give Oshiete! Galko-chan a 7/10. Gyarurururun~!
Well that was certainly late, sorry about that. I’ll make sure this season’s wrap up posts aren’t nearly as late, this is honestly unacceptable and I really shouldn’t have left it for so long.
Anyways, if you watched any of the above mentioned shows, what did you think of them? Let me know in the comments below!
As always, thanks for reading and I’ll see you in another post!
Do you have an anime blog, site, Tumblr or Facebook page? Want to exchange links? Stop by the Link Exchange page and leave a comment, I’ll add you to the growing list!
Want to blog about anime too? We’re always looking for talented writers who want to share their passion about all things anime and manga related. If you want to be a writer on Anime Corps, leave an email and we can chat. Check the Contact page for our email.
I’m always on Twitter tweeting about all kinds of stuff. If you’ve got a Twitter account, why not follow me?