Okay, so I’ve been trying to avoid comparing Phantom World to The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya for weeks now, but I can’t avoid it anymore. With a focus on character centric vignettes, Phantom World does not seem like it’ll be going for an overall story arc, but is building up some great characters and inventive situations for them to go through.
This episode is another one of those inventive situations. With a discussion about Schrodinger’s Box opening up the episode, we’re treated to a cat themed adventure as our main cast – now definitely including Koito and Kurumi – investigates the cat transformations that students at their school are going through.
It’s a simplistic story, but like other ones that this series has undertaken, it’s put together with a sense of sincerity and creativity, making it far more than the basic premise it’s based upon. Through each of the character’s, save for RuRu, feline like actions, which includes a pretty amusing scene where the scent of cat food appeals to each of them, as well as the peaceful resolution to the situation this series manages to avoid some of the more blasé tropes of the genre.
Actually, it’s the finale to this monster-of-the-week situation that really draws out what makes this series enjoyable, and brings back the Yo-kai Watch: Teen Edition feeling that some other episodes have brought about. Rather than relying on sealing the phantom, a really cool Studio Ghibli-esque cat/mansion hybrid, Reina and Kurumi manage to communicate with it and end the feline transformations of all the students without any real conflict.
It’s a brilliant move, and one that allows the solution to be something different than just Haruhiko’s knowledge, or violence. With this being the fourth episode in the series to rely on non-violent methods to solve the issue, it really helps the series stand out from other entries in its genre. For all the clichés that this series adheres to, the excellent use of alternative solutions is definitely not one of them.
Other than that, the animation team at KyoAni really deserves praise for this episode. While other episodes have been far from slouches in the animation department, this one just adds to the high level of work they’re putting out with this series. The way the characters subtly shift into more feline like expressions and actions throughout the episode is wonderfully animated, and the final confrontation with the phantom at the climax is really cool as well.
My only issue with the episode is a few scenes that felt like the team was trying too hard to emulate Shaft and their work on the Monogatari franchise. As the characters are travelling through the mansion, there’re multiple moments that scream a Shaft influence.
The fact that we’re still not receiving any sort of plot can be seen as a sticking point though. This is mainly due to the little hints at the computer device that Haruhiko picked up back in episode two supposedly being meant to provide a larger plot. If it weren’t for that object, this series could definitely be succeeding in a similar manner to KyoAni’s own Haruhi Suzumiya work.
Overall though, Myriad Colors Phantom World is proving that maybe we don’t need an overarching plot to carry this one. If the team behind the series can keep pumping out interesting and creative episodes like this, I’ll be A-Okay with that. Add in the wonderful animation, and this one has been far better than it started out.
Episode 7 Rating: 8.5/10
Phantom World streams new episodes Wednesdays exclusively on Crunchyroll.