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.

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 ^_^ 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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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 05:51 PM)
    @K-off: Your not wrong, it certainly looks poor but some of the old gonzo animated stuff was far more woeful looking. Stellvia, which was done by xebec was another example of old anime cgi which was quite ugly to look at. Just as I prefer traditional effects in film I also prefer traditional animation techniques to cg.
  • k-off
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 05:42 PM)
    Lately, the use of badly integrated cgi have been making my eyes sore,from the obviously cgi background characters in Asterisk to the overly fluid mech movements in Aldnoah. I still remember the shitty cgi piano hands in Kimi no Uso.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 12:04 AM)
    On the note of good balance between humor and drama- I think BoJack Horseman is an example of a show that executed that almost perfectly in both seasons. You are laughing one minute and amused by the hijinks and silliness and the next minute you are actually moved and shocked by the honest introspection. Too be honest BoJack is more a tragic character then a goofy one, and his struggles are deeper and more existential than they have any business being in a show with anthropomorphic animals.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 11:56 PM)
    The changes in the setting actually made me more excited for season 3 then what I felt the past few weeks, since now the plot needs to move forward from the cliffhanger and hopefully this translates to more cohesion and refocusing on what mad the show great in the first place. I’m pretty sure S3 will also be a blend of episodic and arch story elements tho. Overall a few ups and downs but still a great show.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 11:52 PM)
    The finale also had some of the most overall arch story elements featured in the season. Earth joining the Galactic Federation is a big deal story-wise from now on. Also the use of a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” (not the Nine Inch Nails one clearly) was a nice fitting yet surprising touch. The throwback to Mr. PB after the credits was a good idea, but felt flat in it’s actual execution.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 11:49 PM)
    I thought R&M had a pretty good finale. The episode achieved what was missing from most of season 2, and that was a balance of randomness and meaningful bits. What made Rick Potion #9 and the previous season’s finale and general tone great was a sense of humor that was combined with more sincere drama and character developments; a sort of sweet melancholy.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 09:51 PM)
    @K-off, not having too much trouble with the interface but I still cannot create categories.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 08:56 PM)
    Eh, I’ve updated myself now on the onepunch manga and also the manga for yuruyuri, I can cross the shows off my list now. I forgot to mention onepunchs first episode crammed in the first volume.
    I stopped reading though around chapter 30, it was decent fun for a bit but I’ll be continuing with it in small doses.
  • k-off
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 08:19 PM)
    @Aidan Yeah? Well I at least have to hand it to psgels for continuing to pay for the site. By the way, is WordPress still fucked up on your end, or is it fine now?
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 04:57 PM)
    @;(: Actually that was probably a bad word choice on my part, I meant that the humour in those episodes didn’t always work so well for me.

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