Myriad Colors Phantom World
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 7 of
Myriad Colors Phantom World ?
While Phantom World may not succeed at what it's doing, its creative staff cannot be faulted for lack of effort and creativity. In fact, that could ultimately be the problem with the series: it is so intent on being creative that it does not see a need to bother with an overall story. Hence what we are getting is just a series of vignettes about youths dealing with Phantom-related problems, one which is framed against character development rather than story. Sure, there could still be an overall story coming here; after all, back in the early 2000s it was not at all unusual for a series to piddle around on episodic tales for several episodes before finally getting down to business. (I am particularly thinking of Witch Hunter Robin and Kiddy Grade here, but other examples could probably be named, too.) Even in those cases, though, there was usually at least some faint suggestion of a Bigger Picture. Still none through episode 7 here.
What that means is that we may to step back and reevaluate the series. Yes, it's floundering in an overall storytelling sense, but is an overall story actually consequential here? Do we actually need this to be moving towards some bigger plot? If not then we might have to start looking at it as a more episodic tale; after all, the title “Myriad Colors” does suggest looking at many different aspects of the setting rather than the setting as a whole. Food for thought going forward.
In the case of episode 7 we get an ambitious blending of highbrow and lowbrow concepts. On the high concept side, the underlying theme of the episode involves the Schrödinger's cat paradox as it is applied to a cat-themed Phantom and what Haruhiko and his harem (okay, technically “fellow team members and associates”) experience while investigating said Phantom. On the low concept side, this gives the series an excuse to have everyone gradually start to take on cat-like characteristics as the Phantom in question spreads its influence. At first everyone is prone to taking naps whenever and wherever, holding their hands like cat paws, ordering fish for lunch, and so forth. Eventually, though, everyone but Haruhiko and Ruru also takes on cat ears and tail, and most distressingly, little Kurumi even gradually starts to lose the ability to speak as a human. The missing kitten of one of Kurumi's friends and a long-abandoned dormitory once known as a haven for stray cats also figuring into the story, with the latter essentially becoming the box in Schrödinger's famous thought experiment.
All of this is, of course, played for maximum cutesiness effect, with even stoic Koito getting dragged into the propensity to strike catlike poses or pounce on things. And indeed, it does work on that level, as all of the girls become cloying once they start mimicking cat characteristics and some scenes – like the one depicted in the screen shot or another moment in the scene where the main cast suddenly realize that they're getting excited by the look of cat food – are even actually funny. The exploration of the “haunted” mansion, which composes the second half of the episode, involves some interestingly bizarre imagery but also feels a little rushed; even another minute or two of running time to fully explore what the characters are experiencing might have helped.
This episode is a lot of fun, and it gets some bonus points for being a little smart about it too. Not great fare, but not dull, either.
Myriad Colors Phantom World is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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