Ever since An Incident, humans’ brains have become altered. The part that got altered is apparently the part of your brain that ‘tricks’ you with optical illusions, and now that it’s gone, people can suddenly see all kinds of things they shouldnt have been able to before. These things are called Phantoms, which is a blanket term for ghosts, yokai, monsters and what have you that cavort between dimensions and occasionally cause trouble. In case you haven’t figured out that this is based on a light novel yet, only teenagers with magical powers can defeat them, and those teenagers go to a fancy school. The school has a club for the magic users who use it to defeat phantoms in exchange for payment, using a team system.
The team the show focuses on is composed of Ichijo, whose personality is ‘Protagonist’ and Mai, whose personality is ‘Big Tits’. Despite their abilities (Mai is a fighter cos those flesh globes need to be bouncing as much as possible while Ichijo can seal the phantoms by sketching them) they feel their team isnt strong enough and start looking for a third member, who turns out to be a phantom-eating girl named Reina. (her personality is Ladylike who Eats A Lot).
In this first episode the team take on three Phantom telegraph poles by playing limbo with them, which is as stupid as it sounds.
Also the entire time there’s this god-awful annoying fairy hanging around them that no one ever questions.
The last thing by KyoAni that I watched was Hibike! Euphonium late last year when I binge-watched it to make sure I finished it before the end of the year. I wouldn’t call it a fantastic show but it was quite lovely and fun to watch, and just had this really nice and pleasant feel to it. The whole time I watched it, I was incredibly appreciative of how the schoolgirls actually acted like humans, and found out that this is largely due to it being based on a story written by a woman.
Musaigen no Phantom World is not like that.
Most of this is honestly just embarassing, and if the animation wasnt so good I would never have guessed it was KyoAni. It just doesn’t seem like something they’d bother with at all. At the end of the day this is just another dumb magical teenagers at school show – one thats done better than most other dumb magical teenagers at school shows, sure, but that’s still what it is. But the embarassment is not just the plot that’s dumb and painfully light novelesque, it’s also that annoying fairy who seems like she flew out of a terrible 90s anime, the uninspired character designs (I’m not sure if the young girl with the perked up bunny-ear twintails gets points for originality or loses points for ridiculous hairstlyle design), and the fanservice which is so over the top I was actually more amused than annoyed. 90% of this is courtesy of Mai, who seems to be packing two gigantic globs of jelly under her ugly yellow vest. Obviously they bounce all over the place when she does pretty much anything – even when she’s standing still -, but that’s apparently not enough. Her magic is this hilariously bullshit system based on needing to draw energy from certain organs like her kidneys and lungs, and she does this by straight up groping herself sensually while the other characters look on thinking ‘hoo boy that Mai sure has big tits!’ Half of me is rolling my eyes, but the other half is almost impressed at the lengths this show went to remind you that ‘Mai’s tits are REALLY BIG, you guys! Look! LOOOOOK!’
The infamous limbo scene, and gifs of it, have already circulated all over the internet but if you haven’t seen it, it is layers apon layers of idiocy that is sure to rival that one scene in High School of the Dead with the bullet moving between the flailing tits in Bullet Time in terms of ‘How People Think Boobs Work’ moments in anime. Basically, three telegraph pole tsukumogami (objects that have turned into spirits due to disuse) are playing limbo because…they’re stuck in limbo and that’s how they are expressing their sorrow BADUM TISH, and the only way to appease them is to win a game of limbo with them. Mai has the strongest spine (I have no idea why) and gets the furthest, but hoho! her GIANT TITS! will prevent her from winning! She gets around this hurdle by rapidly heaving her chest up and down so that the momentum will cause her boobs to jump up and down like jelly, eventually lying flat before springing back up again, and she dives under the limbo stick the moment they are flat, because that is absolutely 100% how boobs work. If the scene wasnt as absurdly stupid enough as it was, there’s then this whole sense that we’re meant to feel sad for these goddamn limbo-dancing telegraph poles and touched by them being able to move on and reincarnate as trees. yep.
so uh…points for originality?? At least it made me laugh. This scene aside, the rest of the show was surprisingly bearable as far ‘welp this sure is magical teenagers fighting monsters’ shows go. There’s also a scene where Ichijo is just about to land with his hand on Reina’s boob and then realises while still falling how cliche this is, so grabs his own hand to pull it out of the path of the mammary. It may be a dumb tit show, but hey, at least it’s self aware.
I also feel like, were any other studio doing this it’d be a lot worse than it is. KyoAni may have picked some awful source material but at least they’re animating it well and there’s some really interesting visual choices – I like the bizarre designs of the Phantoms and the way they kind of flicker like they’re glitching in and out of existence. But unless I hear anything particularly good about the rest of this show I really can’t see myself wanting to watch any more of it. So yes, it was bad, but it also made me laugh at how absurd it was, so at least it wasnt boring. But still, really, KyoAni? Really?
Out of 5,