Posted by psgels on 18 September 2009 with categories: Phantom

Oh boy. It took two calm before the storm episodes to get here, but damn. This was such an awesome episode. The style it was told in was completely different from what I expected, but this episode was SO WORTH THE WAIT. It really reminded me why, despite Tokyo Magnitude, this is my favourite series of the past half year.

With finales like this one, you really expect something over the top: really fast pacing, an epic gunfight or a very long action scene or something. Instead, this episode just played out very sloooowly. The background music was calm and quiet, and instead it very slowly moved to the inevitable: Cal’s death. It was really focused at getting the best out of the characters. Instead, Ein was delivering on the action, while Reiji and Cal’s fight ended in just one shot. The two of them are great marksmen, so it would indeed have been strange if the gunfight would have lasted any longer.

Cal’s eventual motive, to just be noticed, was a nice twist at the end. In the end, the Scythe Master managed to manipulate her, but not to the point at which she would hate Reiji with passion, but rather that she desperately wanted to be noticed by him, instead of Ein. Because of those talks from Scythe Master, she didn’t get convinced that Reiji was a horrible person, but rather she fully believed that Reiji didn’t care about her. That makes all her actions even more irrational than they already were, but I believe that that’s the point this series is trying to make: while we would like to make the best decision 100% of the time, those pesky emotions and especially love tend to get in the way a lot.

The next episode should prove to be an action-packed finale, at this point, it’s easy to think of what to expect. At this point, I can see no way in which the creators are ever going to be able to screw this up anymore. I personally suspect that the creators are going for an ending similar to El Cazador’s: simple, but effective.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

31 Responses

  1. ZACK says:

    Damn! the subs for taking forever and yeah Phantom is awesome redefined!

  2. meow says:

    Awesome, I guess…but damn I’m bummed out now. I knew this was going to happen but…*sigh*. It’s such a bummer that Reiji couldn’t save Cal from Scythe. It’s like she was doomed the minute she fell into his hands. Now I remember why I didn’t want to play this game.

  3. ssj4jw says:

    I thought there were multiple endings in the game.

  4. Perrin4869 says:

    Hm… I didn’t watch the episode yet, I’m waiting for the subs, but it sounds like the outcome is better than I expected… Still not enough to redeem it in my book though. But I guess I’ll save all the bashing and trolling for your review next week :P

  5. meow says:

    Yep, but most, if not all are pretty tragic – with most of the other heroines dying.

    *SPOILERS* Cal’s route has Elen fatally wounded by the Number Sisters. Cal and Reiji survive but wind up becoming assassins again. In Claudia’s, either Reiji kills Claudia to save himself from Inferno or he lets himself get killed by Claudia to let her escape. Forever separated by death. Mio’s has the most survivors cos both Ein and Cal make it out for the moment but Reiji separates from Mio to protect her while he goes to war against the Godoh group and Cal retains her grudge against Reiji. Not a good conclusion imho. Elen’s ending is probably the happiest with a proper conclusion.

    I thought it might have been better if Reiji had somehow disarmed Cal – shooting for her gun arm instead of a fatal point. Perhaps it’s not possible against a gunfighter of Cal’s calibre but still…

    I was thinking of maybe Reiji not resisting at all but from info about the Phantom Integration ending, apparently, if Reiji hesitates – Cal WILL actually kill him – much like she how she killed Lizzie – and wind up wondering why Reiji didn’t shoot her. Very sad.

  6. Camario says:

    There wasn’t really much doubt about what ending they would most likely choose, I think, just arguing over details.

    I’m glad that they seemed to have pulled it off well enough, though I’ll still have to wait for the translation.

    On a purely personal level I’d have appreciated a Cal ending more, even considering what that implied as meow wrote above, but I don’t dislike going with the Ein route either. That’s the good thing about games with multiple endings, you don’t have to like just one.

    Nevertheless, the anime has been a very good adaptation, all things considered. Everything else is going to be pretty much on autopilot now, I’d hope.

  7. hashi says:

    An excellent episode of an excellent show. My current infatuation with Takagaki Ayahi as a seiyuu makes me an Ein fan, but in any case, I found Cal an unsatisfying mate for Reiji: Sawashiro Miyuki’s voicing of the young Cal always gave me the feeling there was something wrong with her, a sort of desperate artificiality. Really great seiyuu work from Miyukicchi there. Not that her work as the older Cal wasn’t great, too. There is a triumvirate of top female seiyuus here: Koshimizu Ami as Mio was at least as good as the other two. As a seiyuu fan, this show is heaven for me. Irino Miyu proved something to me, too.

  8. meow says:

    Haha. Speaking of seiyuu, did Cal’s seiyuu do a side role in episode 10 of Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 as Yuuki’s school friend Itsuki-kun? There was a ring of familiarity when I heard Itsuki talking.

    I think I agree that the young Cal voice had an stressed quality to it but I thought it was pretty in-character. I think it’s pretty challenging to play two such unbelievably varying sides to the same character. Cal’s physical and character transformation in only 2 years is almost unbelievable. Was she also trying to portray a foreigner (ie. non-japanese) speaking Japanese? I’m glad they didn’t make Cal speak english though. ^^ (*remembering certain painful scenes from Black Lagoon*)

  9. Mentar says:

    Actually, in the Cal ending (which certainly is happier than the Ein ending chosen here) Elen isn’t mortally wounded by the Zahlenschwestern (who were taken care of by Reiji and Cal), but from the Godoh group, when she was covering Cal/Reiji’s retreat. The reason why this ending is happier is simple: Cal’s death is incredibly tragic, she ultimately self-destructed. It accomplished nothing, and only results in loss and grief. Elen’s death in Cal’s ending on the other hand is victorious: She managed to protect the one she loved until he was safe. Her death accomplished something, and she goes out a heroine.

    Choosing the canonic Elen path underlines the main motif of Phantom: The Underworld is cruel, terrible and nasty. You’ll only find death and heartbreak there. And I’m glad that they managed to preserve all the impact from the game and did NOT go for some happy-fluffier harem ending.

  10. Reltair says:

    If Reiji is so good, why doesn’t he just shoot the pistol out of Cal’s hand? =/

  11. jho says:

    I’m totally with Mentar. After Reiji and Elen both survived what seemed sure deaths, even with the dark undertones of this series, I thought that all the introduced protagonists would survive. I was totally blown away by this episode. It was one of the best episodes I’ve watched in a very long time, and it was precisely because the creators did not shy away from tragedy (which is what made Naruto such an amazing shonan manga with the deaths of Asuma & Jiraiya, and likewise what made it so lame when it chose a dbz do-over when Pain gave the village’s lives back).

  12. z says:

    The whole episode felt methodical and almost pre-determined yet was still very compelling to watch. Reiji/Cal’s (shared?) vision prior to the duel was especially powerful.

    Elen character has had the most lasting depth for me and in light of the way they represented her this episode (and how the series opens) I think the creators have turned the series into something of a character study of her.

  13. meow says:

    Mentar, you make a really good point about Cal’s death being an illustration of the dark and cruel nature of the mafia underworld. However, I still come away with a strong feeling that this is just not the best way to resolve Cal’s situation. Rewatch episode 16. Cal should have meant alot to Reiji. There had to have been some way to save her. It just seems too cruel a twist of fate for a kid like Cal to fall into Scythe’s hands in the first place, only to be moulded as a tool to torment Reiji and to have Reiji take her out so easily. Right according to Scythe’s plan – which just sucks. I felt that Reiji gave up too soon.

    I also disagree with your position that Ein’s death seems more heroic, by comparison. Ein was a powerful combatant with incredible survival abilities. She took a chest shot close to the heart and dropped into the water and still survived. She survived for a very long time after Lizzie shot her too, and I believe, would have eventually treated herself even if Reiji hadn’t shown up again afterwards. To me, it felt like she let herself get taken out of the picture to give room for Reiji to be with Cal, sacrificing her own future and happiness and dreams to find her home for Reiji’s sake. Worse, Reiji and Cal go back to a life of bloodshed, with an uncertain future.

    And of course, what sucks worse in both endings, is that although Scythe gets his comeuppance, Inferno itself, under McGuire, remains. Even in Ein’s ending, did Reiji and Ein really get away and live happily ever after?
    Or did McGuire eventually take them out, just to tie up loose ends?

    An alternate ending doesn’t necessarily have to be a haremy cute and fluffy. An alternate Ein ending for me would be one where Cal goes back to her old personality, makes peace with Reiji, parts from him and maybe finds another life for herself. She’s a genius at fixing things. She could have been an MIT engineer or a bike mechanic/racer. Or someone who could go back to the slums where she came from and look after other kids like how she used to be, defending them from gangsters. It fits her gunslinger duelist style of killing better than that of an assassin anyway. Too unbelievably happy for your stomach? Think of that scene in the OP, where her cold assassin facade breaks and she sticks out her tongue at the little girl in the lift. Where the heck did that come from?

  14. meow says:

    Sorry. I guess it just winds down to this game being Phantom of Inferno. It isn’t really meant to have happy endings – just like Noir. Never mind. ^^

  15. Mentar says:

    Yep, too unbelievably fluffy-happy. Sorry, I don’t think that these kind of endings would have been satisfactory and fitting for the show. McGuire – sorry, but does anyone seriously care? He’s been a rational underworld boss without true malice.

    In the Cal ending, she and Reiji turn into bounty hunters Bonnie&Clyde style. They’re clearly enjoying themselves, so I have no qualms with it at all. That’s something entirely different to what they are and do now.

    Elen didn’t die on purpose, lord no. Rewatch the ending. She said that in the end, she realized that she DID love Reiji too, after all, and thus learned to hate Cal a bit – but then again, Reiji chose her, so shikata ga nai. She achieved her main goal, which was to keep Reiji alive and protect him, which gives much more a feeling of accomplishment than Cal’s death. I’m sure we should be able to agree on at least that.

  16. someguy says:

    I’d agree with, an alternate ending doesn’t necessarily have to be a haremy cute and fluffy. Excellent episode, but..

    There was not just one way that reiji could of acted. He made a decision to kill Cal. Yes he did care for her and will carry all her hate and Sadness, but he ‘never gave thought’ to act in a way that would benefit cal so she could live. I also felt that Reiji gave up too soon.

    The best way to resolve Cal’s situation for her own sake was not death (imo)Like we saw when reiji shot Cal. Cal reverted even more into her old self. She is able to change. And death from either Reiji or Cal is not the only way for Cal to change.

    Yes I do want to see an ending to show that the underworld is a cruel terrible place. But this.. while done well doesn’t fit right. Also it has destroyed my hope in Reiji character being a kind person who try’s for the best situation. He had a clear head unlike Cal but yet it ended like this.

    I wonder if it really will fully follow the VN to the end, maybe they might include some twists or deaths..

  17. psgels psgels says:

    I think that some of you are forgetting that Reiji is supposed to be a cold-blooded assassin, rather than your average high school student. Yes, he does have good intentions, but remember how he so mercilessly killed off these innocent people in the first arc? Unlike most other people, killing feels much more natural to him, which is probably why he ended up chosing to kill Cal, rather than what any regular person would try to do and talk things out.

  18. Snowolf says:

    I think I kind of knew Cal was going to die in the end, but to die from Reiji’s own hands-damn. That was something I didn’t see coming.

    BTW- this soundtrack is going to be hugely long. They STILL came up with new tracks, and this is the second to last episode. Jeez. But it’s good music.

    I’m glad Cal forgave Reiji. In the end, she was just some pent up teenager who wanted to let her feelings of loneliness and anger toward someone she loved, and poor Reiji was in the way. What bothered me the most was how she looked so much older and said to Reiji that they could be together- SHE WAS LIKE, UM, SEVEN WHEN HE TUTORED HER. So…that was kind of wierd. But overall, this show has been great, and I can’t wait to see what the season finale brings us.

    I must say that TM 8.0 brings up serious competition. That show hit me in the heart hard like no other show has done before. And that’s really good, for someone like me. So I’m curious to see which will be your number one for the season. :D

  19. NIck says:

    Wow when Cal died I was like DANG Reiji, I hope someone strikes you right in the crotch. I hope Cal pulls an Elen and comes back for more, perhaps she could put Scythe master in an apartment and blow em up, hey he did blow up her and Reiji’s place.

  20. Blue says:

    This really sucks, I wasn’t able to get emotionally or feel AT ALL for Cal after the time skip. The change just bothered me waay to much and spent most of my time trying to think of how someo 14year old? Can become like that in 2 years. Just bothered me

  21. windy says:

    I really liked this episode but I completely agree with what meow said. I also felt that Cal’s death could be avoided somehow. In one shot Reiji ended her life like that, it is nearly unbelievable, when I saw this I got the impression she let him kill her. It was such a tragical death, experiencing so many griefs in her life, I didn’t want to see her dying like that, too cruel and heartless! But well, nevertheless, her death showed us the despicable reality of the mafia underworld and what sort of tragedy their actions could bring about. And what a sorrow! But still, Reiji shouldn’t have! I even would have prefered him to let Cal kill him. But also couldn’t bring myself to imagine Cal’s becoming one again the innocent person she was before : too many uneraisable sins committed. It’s hard to picture her starting a life from scratch.

  22. windy says:

    By the way, can we find the translated version of the visual novel Phantom? I’ve searched for it everywhere but it doesn’t seem to have been released anywhere else besides Japan nor has it been translated yet. So I was wondering how could some of you know about the multiple choices the game can display?

  23. UmbrellaMan says:

    I agree that Cal’s death was tragic and cruel, but the question is would Cal have learned to change her ways? Unlike Ein, she was twisted by hate and jealousy. Would Reiji just talking to her for 10 min have completely erased all her feelings towards him and the world. Not that she couldn’t have eventually gotten “better” (with some serious therapy), but I don’t see it happening in an instant. Anger is a powerful emotion.

  24. Camario says:

    @windy: Phantom of Inferno was officially translated and released in English by the now defunct Hirameki International. Try to do a more comprehensive search.

    The company itself doesn’t exist anymore, unfortunately, but they did legally sell the game a few years ago and some of us have bought it. This isn’t really too hard to confirm.

    @UmbrellaMan: If they had gone with the Cal ending, I think that’s Reiji’s actions there would speak volumes to her.

  25. Snowolf says:

    For future reference guys, when talking about the game, and the “possible endings” that might occur- PLEASE PUT SPOILER MARKS. There are many of us who do not like being spoiled, especially at the very end of the show. I know a couple of you guys did this, but a lot of you didn’t, so just remember next time to do it. :D


  26. Camario says:

    I would agree with that point, but keep in mind that talking about endings that can’t possibly occur anymore (the Cal ending, for example) and about events that have already happened in this same episode (25) shouldn’t really be considered a spoiler.

    Unless you mean not mentioning spoilers in the very first line to prevent them from showing up unmarked in the Recent Comments section over there in the corner, which is something I can also understand.

  27. Troyen says:

    While its true that endings which can’t occur anymore aren’t really spoilers and are probably okay, a few comments have slipped in some unmarked spoilers about the likely ending for the anime. :(

  28. windy says:

    Thanks Camario. I haven’t found it yet but maybe it will be on sales again one of these times.

  29. windy says:

    I’ve found the game and played two different routes : Claudia’s ( the ending made a huge impact on me!) and Cal’s routes. I just loved the game even better than the anime, the main characters’ personalities were better expressed through their reported feelings, thoughts and most of all their facial expressions and tone of voice. Even if overall, the series did manage to stick to the dark and gloomy mood of the VN, the only flaw that I found in this series is that some of the characters are lacking something that made them so extraordinary and touching in the game. Cal’s character when she just met Reiji wasn’t so calm and steady : she was kinda mischievous ( I particularly liked when she joked about Reiji being older than herself! Or when she was so reluctant to let Reiji buy her new stuff )and full of energy, talked non-stop and her character stood out from the very beginning, in the series, I just found her some interest after nurtured those feelings of revenge toward Reiji and so forth. Before that she was just a simple girl among so many others, that’s a pity! In the VN she starts being a particular character at the moment she starts speaking to Reiji. Claudia also went through some changes, her soft voice and eyes devoid of any guilt in the VN made her seem so innocent and nice, just as a mask concealing her own true self, her own soul drown in sins( though it’s never said in the series, it was her who killed Romero, her own brother!). But on the whole, I think this anime adaptation was very close to its original source. Reiji and Elen are the characters that experienced the less changes and Cal’s grown-up version was really close to the original, it’s just that in the series the change in her behaviour clashed too much with her prior behavior, whereas in the game , well, she was so mischievous a child that her transformation wasn’t so wierd!

  30. windy says:

    I meant above: when Cal ” joked about Reiji being younger than herself”, I accidently wrote ” older”, gomen!

  31. someguy says:

    Nice points windy :) They they did portray Cal a little different, I still think that Cal’s character before the timeskip in the anime was Great. A bit different but still I didn’t mind how they portrayed her.

    Though she is more mischievous she was also more innocent in the VN, I think in the anime they tried to make her a little bit more grown up. In the VN she always asked Reiji ‘ are you mad?’

    Also Reiji’s character was a little different in Chapter 2, he is more of a nice guy towards Cal and is more thoughtfull in the anime the whole time, while in the VN he is kind but at times was also more cold, like when he was traing Cal to shoot in the VN he was more forcefull in his words. While in the anime he was more asking Cal.

    Still I find it strange that in Chapter 2 anime Reiji comes across as more thoughfull (alot more kind) like with the pocket watch. In the VN Reiji Bought it on the spot when Cal was saying she liked it. While in the anime Reiji saw Cal looking at it and Bought it without her noticing and gave it to her later.

    Which in the anime makes it even harder to think that Reiji didn’t notice anything or help Cal at all after the timeskip in the anime. And shot to kill her before any other type of actions.

    Agree that the VN is alot better. Though the anime did a good job. Overall is wasn’t as good. If I want to watch/read the Phantom story I would reconmand playing through the VN, and then you might want to watch the anime.

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  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:45 AM)
    It takes a true magnificence to propose such a grand question as: What dot life?!
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:42 AM)
    @Kaiser: the show does vary in quality, but for the first season they generally crank up the insanity with every episode until a very remarkable season finale where Xavier faces his worst enemy.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:40 AM)
    @Bam: Oh in symphogears case, I certainly laughed but I wasn’t supposed to.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:39 AM)
    @Bam: While it didn’t always work, that first episode of renegade angel was amusing, I particularly liked the part where he went on about Aids being invented.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:22 AM)
    and don’t be fooled by the simple graphics, the crudeness is completely intentional.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:21 AM)
    @Kaiser: as far as Xavier goes I implore you to download and watch the first episode to get the gist of it. That show is the pinnacle of absurdist and meta humor. It’s strangely adored within the animation circles, getting very high praise from the industry, but it’s very dense and bizarre so people either love or hate it. If you’re anything like me it might become one of your most beloved shows.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:17 AM)
    @kaiser: If Symphogear gets as bad as Valvrave then we’re talkin. Few companies make entertaining trash like Sunrise does.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 04:54 AM)
    *At first I thought it would be like nanoha
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 04:49 AM)
    I read a comment stating that season 3 of symphogear got so bad that it came off as along the lines of “worse than a Mari Okada melodrama”.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 04:36 AM)
    @Bam: That renegade angel thing looks off the wall, haven’t seen an episode but my thoughts from looking up the show is “I’m not quite sure if this is a good/bad thing lol”

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