Well… that turned out to be different than I expected.
In any case, I’m very glad to see another series of Ryousuke Takahashi, but this episode was far more light-hearted than I ever expected. I can fully see the idea behind it, though, and this is a great one. The Phantom Arc is all about nostalgia. It plays twenty five years after the original series played, at a time in which it has been twenty-seven years after the original series ended. This episode was all about the side-characters who have all built up their own lives after Chirico left them, and this series shows them as they decide to go back to some of the locations of the TV-series out of nostalgia.
Like the Pailsen Files, these are very interesting and creative ideas as continuations that were produced decades after their original series. It’s a great way to add to your franchise. The disadvantage of course is that there is no way you can watch this OVA without having watched the TV-series. This one is entirely meant for the fans.
As for the actual content, this episode did well in mimicking the light moments of the TV-series, so there’s not much to say about the serious parts. All we saw of Chirico was a bunch of shady silhouettes, and he ended up stealing a mobile armour in order to fight Shaka in a battle to the death. No reasons were given of why he was there, what he was doing there, and why he picked that day of all possible days to do this, that’s left to the rest of the episodes.
I also wonder how everything is supposed to fall into canon, especially with the Brilliant Heretic. This could become a bit strange for the people who haven’t seen that one, as there is a crucial plot twist at the end of Brilliant Heretic that will cause you to really wonder what’s going on in the next number of episodes as soon as Chirico really shows himself.
On the production side of things, I was a bit surprised: this really goes back to the original series. Most of Ryousuke Takahashi’s series are animated with a great attention to detail, but this brings us back to the inconsistency of the 1980s.
Also, the character-development. I really like how down to earth the creators have portrayed them. Through the past twenty five years, the characters have changed subtly. You can really see that Vanilla and Cocona are a married couple now. In the TV series they insulted each other, but to balance that out they were also nice to each other. Here the insults feel harder, and instead of balancing these out with nice comments, they instead just are themselves without any pretension. I wish I could have seen a bit more about their six children, but on the other hand they were just made to show how the two of them spent their past twenty-five years.
At first I thought that this was a bit cheap compared to Ryousuke Takahashi’s other series, but a surprising amount of attention has gotten into these characters right now.
And really, the entire cast of this series is now in their forties or above. When was the last time we got an anime like that?
Rating: ** (Excellent)