After three weeks of pure monster-of-the-week adventures, with little to no plot or characterization, Myriad Colors Phantom World finally gave its best plot line so far.
Focusing on Reina and her family issues, this episode went full force in utilizing the pre-existing character traits of our trifecta of leads, all the while telling a heartfelt character piece.
With her strict parents hovering over her at all times, and Reina feeling uncomfortable over her inability to reveal her involvement with her club to her parents, she finds herself whisked away on a phantom bus; returning home only a short while later with no real recollection of where she was or what had happened.
Due to Koito, who hadn’t been seen since episode two, noticing the bus, Haruhiko and Mai become clued into the phantom nature of the situation. From there the story hits many familiar beats for any sort of family story, with the phantoms appearing as the ideal family for Reina. It even ends in a highly familiar way, with Reina already coming to terms with her desire to stay in the real world, and the phantoms peacefully disappearing.
It was still very much a monster-of-the-week adventure, but unlike episodes two and three, this episode evoked that “Yo-kai Watch: Teen Edition” feeling that I had while watching the first episode; all the while telling an engaging story. The fact that the characterization present in this episode was top notch was just an added bonus to the cake.
Unlike episode three, which focused entirely on Mai and her less than savoury past as a bully, this episode managed to make the previously directionless Reina a truly empathetic character. Her parents were so strict that her older sister, a biker, left home and Reina found herself drowning. They explain that this is why she latches onto Mai, and it makes her situation over the past few episodes a more melancholy.
Reina’s not the only one to get some nice characterization in this episode. Haruhiko also manages to expand his background slightly, with some reveals about his own family situation. And while the team still has yet to fully gel, Haruhiko is definitely going to be the heart of it in the long run.
The animation this episode was still in top form and the audio was quite nice. Both Hiro Shimono and Saori Hayami gave standout performances that really helped sell the drama of the story; although I could have done without the extremely pointed “onii-san” scene from her.
Overall this was probably the best episode of Phantom World so far, and just an all-around quality episode to watch. Hopefully this stronger form of storytelling sticks for the rest of the series, but it’s best to keep expectations in check with this one.
Episode 4 Rating: 7.5/10
Myriad Colors Phantom World streams new episodes Wednesdays exclusively on Crunchyroll.