Myriad Colors Phantom World
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 5 of
Myriad Colors Phantom World ?
How would you rate episode 6 of
Myriad Colors Phantom World ?
Phantom World has spent most of its early episodes on character-centered pieces so far, and that does not change with episodes 5 and 6. The former returns to a more intensive focus on Koito, while the latter focuses on Kurumi, the lavender-haired elementary school girl with the stuffed bear.
Episode 5 depicts Koito's determined efforts to go after a Phantom which seems to be targeting the animal hutches at schools, as task that Haruhiko and his team have also been assigned to. Though it should be a relatively easy task for her, she temporarily partly loses her powers as a result of her first skirmish with the Phantom, leading Haruhiko to try to back her up while Reina and Mai independently seek it out. Koito isn't happy about Haruhiko tagging along, and flashbacks show why: the initial manifestation of her power was powerful enough to frighten those around her and cause them to keep their distance, so she is presumably wary of letting anyone else get close because of that. By the end of the episode Haruhiko's unrelenting efforts, and the invaluable assistance of others in bringing down the Phantom, have started to change her mind.
Kurumi also gets involved for the first time in episode 5, where we learn her name and that her power enables her stuffed bear to grow to enormous size and fight for her. She's effective enough that Mai proclaims that she's counting on Kurumi for help in the future, a prospect which unsettles Kurumi enough that in episode 6 she winds up retreating into her own world in her head. In that world she is a tragic princess surrounded by animated stuffed bears who are both friend and foe alike – oh, yes, and she is a magical girl, too, because why wouldn't she be? Haruhiko and Ruru get dragged along for the ride here, too, but this time they play a less active role in helping Kurumi sort out her confidence issues. In the end this one is entirely on Kurumi, and it predictably leads Kurumi to formally joining the gang.
So is any hint of a bigger ongoing plot finally introduced here? Nope, and the pacing suggests that either that isn't a concern at all or this is headed for two cours. Promo material for the series did indicate that the cast would “experience the ups and downs of high school life before a certain incident leads them to the truth of this world,” and the episode content we have had so far could, indeed, be characterized as the “ups and downs” part of that. All that's really missing at this point is a focus episode on Mai, which I would think would be coming up next; after all, there's not a whole lot left to say about the other girls, and Haruhiko is not interesting enough as a focal point for him to carry an episode on his own. At least we will have a well-developed cast when the “certain incident” comes.
Between episodes 5 and 6, the latter makes for by far the better story. As with Reina, the writing strains to make Koito empathetic enough, but it has more impact with Kurumi; she is much younger, after all, and her confidence issues are far more easily relatable. Besides, the fantasy world in Kurumi's head is really pretty cool (in an amusingly ridiculous way) and that episode does open with a shot of Haruhiko doing his thing while adorable baby versions of Mai, Koito, and Reina sit on his desk in the background. Heck, you even get a kid's show-grade mecha of a bear with a salmon in its mouth.
Remarkably, both episodes are entirely clean; the production effort does not even put itself in situations where fan service needs to be dodged, much less actually do it. Production merits otherwise hold up reasonably well, though the series doesn't pull any further complicated visual gimmick like it did with Reina's episode.
Overall, the series is still stuck in cruise control mode as we wait for the game-changing plot element to drop, but at least episode 6 provides a pretty decent individual story to tide us over.
Myriad Colors Phantom World is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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