Posted by psgels on 30 November 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews




Most studios tend to favor a particular type of series. Sunrise loves mecha, JC Staff often goes with young moe girls, Bee-Train is crazy about series that involve partnerships, Studio Deen has its bishies, Madhouse is there for the dark avant-garde type shows and Hal Film Maker is often into slice of life. Bones though… their shows all are completely different from each other. The only common thread that I can find is that their shows often have action, but that can be said about 50% of all the other studios as well. It’s really one of their strengths, on top of how much effort they nearly always put in their execution. And with this, I bring you Kurau Phantom Memories, a show that is among their top 5 best attempts.

Kurau Phantom Memories follows people with superpowers, but instead of trying to be the epic of the year, it is very much character oriented. It’s as much about the use of superpowers in a corporate society as it is about womanhood. Perhaps the latter is an even bigger theme. And as a result, the creators absolutely nailed the characterization of the lead female character. She’s incredibly well developed, and even though this show can get pretty dark at times, she’s portrayed with an incredible amount of warmth. This show is especially brilliant at balancing its heart-warming and cold-hearted nature with each other, with some magnificent results.

The rest of the cast is also very well written. Characters all act naturally and the main side characters all are significantly developed into interesting characters throughout the series. The side characters that only appear on one or two episodes before leaving meanwhile do a very good job on fleshing out the world of the series, and even they are multi-dimensional as soon as their airtime ends.

The production values play an interesting role here. The animation is perticularly well directed, and even though this show doesn’t have the budget to keep its art consistent, it does know when and where to put effort into its fluidity, leading to some truly excellent and dynamic scenes, on places where it counts. The soundtrack is also just fantastic. It’s not large, but nearly every track that’s there is a feast for the ears and does a brilliant job at enhancing the atmosphere.

The acting does border cheese at times though. The dialogue often is very inspired, but at other times the characters don’t get further beyond uttering each other’s names a number of times. Despite these issues though, ti’s got a strong plot with some real moral dilemmas and situations that really aim to get the best out of the characters.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Really well paced, combines animation, characters and setting seamlessly.
Characters: 9/10 – Kurau is a fantastic main character. In fact, if it wasn’t for the sometimes cheesy acting, this rating would have gotten a 10.
Production-Values: 9/10 – The animation isn’t complicated, but it is very detailed and fluid when it needs to The soundtrack is also brilliant.
Setting: 9/10 – Great concepts behind this world, even though it might not appear so at first. Multiple timeskips also work really well here.

Suggestions:
Witch Hunter Robin
Ultraviolet: Code 044
The Third

10 Responses

  1. DangerMouse says:

    Ooh, awesome, another great older series getting a look. I loved this show.

  2. Nando says:

    One of my favourites. The first episodes remains one of the most haunting openers of any series, even if it does give off a GITS vibe that is slightly misleading. Great series. And great music too, especially Akino Arai’s OP…

  3. Cholisose says:

    I remember trying this show one or two years back. I recall it coming off as *really* cheesy, rather than just cheesy, and that the younger girl’s name was Christmas. I think I saw the English dub of this, which may have been cheesier than the original.
    Perhaps one day I’ll give it another try.

  4. Guest says:

    Wow, this has been in my queue since forever, seeing you will check it out if it gets a 90 from you.

  5. Alec says:

    one of my personal favorites. Heck, I even rewatched this 3-4 months ago. And I also listen to its op and ed songs in a weekly basis

  6. Alec says:

    this review just made me remember what I was planning to do since a long time ago: create a guitar cover of the ED song “Moonlight”

  7. Guest says:

    Whelp, I had time to check out a couple episodes last night.

    I can see why this is difficult for people. The actual story moves at a solid pace, but the individual scenes have that “slow”, “outdated” feel to them. So the pace feels a lot slower than it really is, and that plus the general cheesiness could be offputting (though it’s more old-fashioned earnestness, I think).

    That said even though at one level the stuff in the first few episodes isn’t all that original, there’s something really interesting about the details. Thanks for the tip, looking forward to eventually finishing this one up.

  8. crussader says:

    hey it’s a great blog, btw please let me share a link ^_^ http://www.j-fleece.com/fleecious/galihpradnya thanks

  9. Linda says:

    I watched this after reading your review, and I loved it. So refreshing in this time of moe and pantyflashes. I really appreciate that you take your time reviewing older series like this. I’ve found quite a lot of hidden gems since I started reading this blog. :)

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  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 07:02 AM)
    Oh for fucks sake sword art? You put HIV drama into your show?
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:57 AM)
    Pretty much looking forward to the next two episodes and hope it gets more seasons too.
    I also liked how bleak it was.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:55 AM)
    *how twisty
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:54 AM)
    . I was told to stay away from story six. Story seven was the most developed and ambitious of the selection but I feel mixed on it and didn’t really get into it until midway or so.
    Still I do love weird tales anthology stuff and this all fit the bill for me.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:54 AM)
    The first story even I have to admit was genuinely horrifying, uncomfortable and got under my skin and of the selection it still stands out as having the greatest impact. The second one was good social commentary but doesn’t really give me much I didn’t already know. Stories three and were the most emotionally investing for me. I thoroughly enjoyed who twisty, twisted, truly nasty and cruel story five was and it is my second favourite of the lot.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:54 AM)
    I did however feel that some of the dialogue and acting could have done with some very very slight tweaking in parts/some segments.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:53 AM)
    Okay even though I don’t watch western tv shows all that much I finally properly spent whole day going through black mirror. For the larger part this is creative, unpredictable, well thought out/written, varied, I like the technological end of it, the stories manage to fit into the short film runtime without ever feeling like they needed more time and its clear that Charlie Brooker has a lot to say with this and is very intelligent man, some of it does ring fairly true.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 03:17 AM)
    @Aidan: …Jesus I read that wrong at first and read it as Liam Neeson…
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 02:09 AM)
    @swa, and hearing those lines voiced by Liam O’Brien would be a godsend.
  • swa
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 01:24 AM)
    Even in slow paced intermezzo episodes and with just a couple of lines, still so GARcher.

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