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, Mar 29. 2015 05:18 AM)
    Oh, awesome, dark horse is releasing volume 10 of black lagoon in April, its been nearly five years since the last complete volume…
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 29. 2015 03:56 AM)
    @Aidan: I think theres something seriously wrong when theres the actually possibility of there being a good PA works anime but we all have our opinions =P
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Mar 29. 2015 03:13 AM)
    @Raggers, I will go into detail when I review it. But I think something is seriously wrong when I get a far more satisfying ending out of shirobako than Death parade.
    Looking forward to writing a review of shirobako too.
  • Raggers
    (Sunday, Mar 29. 2015 02:56 AM)
    @Aidan: it wasn’t bad though. I think it suffered from too high expectations and lack of focus (or overreaching).
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Mar 29. 2015 02:29 AM)
    Well. Death parades ending was quite underwhelming.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Mar 28. 2015 11:21 PM)
    Waiting between releases for this will be a good thing, its the sort of manga you pick up and put down, then go back to with breaks in between.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Mar 28. 2015 11:13 PM)
    13 volumes into dorohedero, I’ve found it good enough to buy now that I’ve caught up with the official English releases. While the plot meaders and is kind of messy, isn’t up to much, I love how crazy the gory action is, the gritty artstyle/world and the black comedy more than well make up for it. It works best when focused on those masked gangster magician guys and also the main character, the others are only alright.
  • Raggers
    (Saturday, Mar 28. 2015 02:19 AM)
    @Aidan: true, but I don’t think the level is anywhere close to a true shounen. And once the basic rules are established it’s strategising and straight out fighting.
    I’d be more inclined to call it seinen with shounen elements than actually shounen.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 09:59 PM)
    Good all action finale to cap off Garo there, went out with a bang, though thing is I have no idea where their going to go with this when the movie, second season comes along, this seems like a pretty good point to finish.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:35 PM)
    I think that just about all the manga serialized in ultra jump feel less seinen than those serialized in other seinen magazines.

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