Myriad Colors Phantom World
Episode 13

by Theron Martin,

How would you rate episode 13 of
Myriad Colors Phantom World ?

Series which devote several episodes to one-shot stories before finally getting down to the main plot are hardly unusual in anime. Nor is using one-shots to further develop and/or establish characters and/or their relationships to others. Myriad Colors Phantom World has now officially taken that practice to an extreme, with faint hints of a plot point in episode 2 only finally leading to an actual plot in the last two episodes. To put it another way, the series turns out to consist of roughly three episodes of actual plot development, eight episodes of character vignettes, and a couple of episodes where it's just goofing around. (The hot springs episode definitely falls into the latter category.) Not really a good balance for a series that, as it turns out, actually was trying to tell a story after all.

Based on the way that the last two episodes play out, the main points of all of those vignettes were to firmly unite Haruhiko and his harem the girls together as a team and gradually expand the scope of Haruhiko's power. It accomplished both tasks reasonably well, which provides the set-up for the final story push. Any thought that Haruhiko might be the weakest of the lot goes out the window with the revelation that, at their most optimal, Haruhiko's trapping and summoning abilities could allow him to control virtually any Phantom that he has encountered or has data on – and in the hands of Enigma, that means controlling all Phantoms. That means Enigma could essentially use Haruhiko's power to rule the world, hence creating a dramatic escalation of the stakes to a level far beyond what the series has shown or even suggested before. All that Enigma needs is data on Phantoms, which can be found at the Alayashiki facility where Haruhiko's mother (who has not woken up since Enigma left her body) is being treated. That gives Haruhiko and crew a motive to stand and fight despite getting soundly thrashed by her last time.

But what can the powerless Haruhiko do? While the girls hold Enigma off, he can regain his power, of course! Speculation has been running for a while now that Ruru might be a manifestation of Haruhiko's ability, but apparently it's not quite that simple; she is effectively a split personality aspect of Haruhiko made manifest as a Phantom. Given his summoning talent, that actually makes a lot of sense, but the most important application of it here is that Ruru has also unknowingly had his ability all along, and so Haruhiko can reacquire it by kissing her. When he does, his power finally manifests at full strength; Marcosias is no longer a cuddly little winged dog but instead a full-sized hell hound and Chthulhu is now a fierce-looking battle octopus (if you can imagine such a thing). The result is a nicely-animated climactic battle scene where Haruhiko takes the lead but the girls definitely help, too.

The final episode also has two other aspects. One is Haruhiko's real reconciliation with his mother, which comes in two stages: a before-climax one where he meets his current stepfather and an after-battle one where he finally speaks to his mother for real. For as little time and effort as the series put into setting up that reconciliation, it actually achieves a surprising amount of impact. The other aspect is the revelation that Alayashiki was up to dirty business concerning Phantoms, after all. I had suspected that it might play out that Enigma was a product of Alayashiki doing some dastardly experimentation, and that does prove true; no wonder she's pissed at humanity! The Haruhiko Crew discover this after Albrecht also proves to be a whiz at both fixing the interface to Alayashiki servers and hacking (to Haruhiko's dismay). Seems like a bit of deus ex machina there, since nothing before has justified Albrecht being able to do this, but whatever.

The phrase “tacked on” comes to mind when contemplating this whole late plot movement, and I think that's an apt description. Though it has kinda-sorta been set up throughout the whole series, it is also incongruous with the rest of the series in tone and weight. The relationship which Haruhiko has at the end with both his mother and the girls (including Ruru) is much more satisfying. Hence while the series may be a bit of a disappointment overall by KyoAni standards, neither it is it a train wreck.

Rating: B-

Myriad Colors Phantom World is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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