Myriad Colors Phantom World
Episode 9

by Theron Martin,

How would you rate episode 9 of
Myriad Colors Phantom World ?

Another episode, another one-off story about a Phantom using some kind of unusual gimmick. And while it is an interesting gimmick with an unexpected twist, it nonetheless just reinforces the notion that the series is not really trying to make an overall plot. As I said last time, this does appear to be what the series is, so nothing more should really be expected at this point except an anthology of Phantom-related tales. (And yes, that means how Haruhiko gets back to the school after being married off to a monkey last episode is not explained.) Hence I am no longer going to evaluate the series on what it is doing as a whole but only on each episode as a stand-along effort.

Evaluated that way, this is a middle-of-the-pack episode. The theme this time is period drama, and the gimmick to get the gang into a period drama is a stage play that the sole remaining member of the Drama Club wants to put on. She recruits Haruhiko and his gang for an original tale about the famous Ikedaya Incident (the battle where the Shinsengumi truly established their reputation by arresting or killing many Imperial-aligned ronin), where the twist is that yokai are actually secretly trying to pit sides against each other so that they can take over Kyoto in the process. Koito agrees to participate because she senses the presence of the Phantom, but not until they actually take the play to competition does the gang discover the truth: the Drama Club member is the actual Phantom, one borne of the regrets of past Drama Club members who were unable for a decade to get past drama competition prelims.

Yeah, I definitely didn't see that one coming. The audience and judges interpret the revelation as metadrama, though, so Haruhiko and crew decides to just play along, even as their surroundings shift to 1860s Kyoto and the judges, audience members, and technical staff all get melded into the scene as common citizens. Eventually an equivalent to the historical raid on the Ikedaya Inn occurs, which results in one of the better sustained action sequences that the series has shown to date; Ruru, who has her own part, even gets to do a little actual fighting. One definite factor in making this a more fluid battle is that the pacing limits spouted incantations to just one key dramatic moment, but the way Kurumi “fights” in conjunction with Alfred is rather neat, too. The action climax gives a big infusion of energy into an episode that, despite the twist, had been short on it. Seeing some of the characters who appeared prominently last episode get used again was also a welcome touch.

So at this point the expectation for the series is no longer “when is the plot going to get rolling?” and instead “what gimmick is the series going to play around with next?” The high-quality Kyoto Animation artistic effort is still sustaining the series, which is a big factor in keeping it out of the totally-forgettable realm, as one again the creativity going into the themes is being wasted on lackluster follow-through.

Rating: B-

Myriad Colors Phantom World is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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