After seeing the first episode of Phantom World, I’ve revised my expectations of it. It looked good in the way that all shows by KyoAni look good in one way or another, but I’m no longer sure it’ll be the best-looking show of the season. The action was nicely animated(I was particularly impressed by how it wasn’t identical to the action in Kyoukai no Kanata) and some of the visual details were pretty interesting, but other than that it didn’t wow me any more than Amagi Brilliant Park did. I doubt there will be any spectacularly impressive moments like the Kumiko running scene in Hibike Euphonium.
Fortunately, it exceeded my expectations when it came to the comedy. I doubt Phantom World will end up being the veritable meme machine that AmaBri was, but I was genuinely entertained by the first episode, and I didn’t even need subtitles to find it funny! Sure, the magic high school and harem tropes are just as trope-y as ever, and the self-awareness is not really something I appreciate nowadays, but the comedic timing and the way the comedy worked with the animation made it all highly entertaining. And it only got better in my head when I realised the show could to some extent be summed up as “anime Ghost Busters”, though I assume that the fact that the characters are in high school means that they’re still only Ghost Busters in training. Also, there’s some business regarding a club or something like that, but I kinda take that for granted at this point, so it’s not really an important aspect of my enjoyment of these kinds of shows.
Verdict: Not wowing me like Eupho, but it might be as entertaining as AmaBri was. Definitely continuing.
Well… This sure was a disappointing first episode. Forget Eupho, this didn’t compare to any good recent show. The opening scene kind of reminded me of Eupho, but then Haruchika diverged and went on to do anything and everything in very boring ways. The wind instrument club is being shut down because it only has 4 members. Who cares? I’ve seen that a thousand times before. The main characters are childhood friends. So what? There’s no chemistry between them. Even the mystery that was teased in the PV ended up being a red herring. Or at least that’s how it seemed after the first episode. I don’t know whether there will be more mysteries in the future, but I don’t particularly care either way. Aside from Chika being moderately funny, Haruchika didn’t really grab my attention in any way.
However! I remember thinking something similar about NagiAsu back when it first started airing, and that turned out to be a pretty good show. NagiAsu’s first episode was better in terms of presenting its themes(Haruchika was somewhat vague on that part), but Haruchika still has time to pull itself together, especially if it ends up being a 2-cour show. I also want to put my faith in Yoshida’s ability to create shows that move me emotionally, and the first episode actually slightly hinted at something like that by having a scene where the characters actually play good music. Call me easily manipulated or whatever, but when characters play a piece of music that has some sort of meaning to them, I usually end up enjoying listening to it. Moments like those are not enough to carry a show, but the fact that Haruchika had something like that at all is a good sign in my opinion.
Verdict: Actually pretty disappointing, but it could get better. Following with cautious optimism.