Wednesday, January 27, 2016

10 Second Anime - Musaigen no Phantom World - Episode 4

Reina's family situation influences her dealings with a phantom abduction.

Episode 4 - "Fake Family"


Mai got her own episode last week, so why not Reina this week? I'll tell you why not. We need to assemble the harem first and then they get to go on adventures exploring their back stories during the training camp and swimsuit episodes. I'm just worried we won't have enough time for PLOT before we get to the overarching plot.

I suppose this anime is really wedded to the structure of Haruhiko explaining stuff in a prologue, but that makes sense if he's explaining some phantom world thing. It felt like a waste of time to have him in Mayan dress talk about families. Ruru was as frustrated as I was.

There were three mythological things to watch out for with this episode's particular phantoms. First, we had the "spirited away" phenomenon where supernatural beings lure children away from their homes. Second, we had the concept of not eating anything in another world so as to anchor a person there, which comes from Persephone eating pomegranate seeds in the Underworld forcing her to become Hades' wife. The third one is about the twilight hour when the realms of day and night are mixed, making spirits easier to see. This was also a good excuse by KyoAni to show off their lighting and background animation skills. A fourth might be Haruhiko's notion that bathrooms are natural gates between worlds. I was not aware of that one, but I will concede that bad things do happen in bathrooms...

Reina Meat Master

Nice! Reina got to use her coupon for all-you-can-eat barbecue. Of course, it was not so nice for the restaurant when a bottomless pit sits down to eat. Ruru asked the right question, "Where does all of it go?" As a storytelling device, this scene was a great setup to show Reina's difficult relationship with her parents, which had only been hinted at before.

Reina's Big Sisters

It turned out that Mai reminded Reina of her actual big sister, hence the "Onee-sama" title. Did Reina tell a little white lie in the first episode to avoid having to explain how her big sister rebelled against her strict parents? At least we got confirmation that her parents were very wealthy, but perhaps a little creepy with that surveillance camera.

Phantom World Pyon

Because this episode concentrated on Reina, we weren't going to be getting the usual action fanservice that we got with Mai. This was pure moe moe kyuun all the way through. I dug that when the kids got possessed, their artwork changed to a pastel chalk texture.

Moe moe kyuun! Mai couldn't resist the cuteness overload. Well, she also couldn't resist a rice omelet serving from Ruru. That omelet even had "おかえり" (okaeri - welcome back) written in ketchup on it, like a maid café would do it. Don't fight the moe!

Reina's Charm Point

It's made pretty clear in the opening credits what the audience is supposed to look at when Reina is on screen, so this episode gave us a healthy dose of her zettai ryouiki.

Mai can make cute reaction faces too. She doesn't have to rely on her busty action charm point, but I still missed them, er, it.

Useless Male Hero

It's a pretty standard convention that one of the male characters in a comedy will be the usual target for slapstick violence. Poor Haruhiko has had to carry the whole load as the only male lead in a harem comedy. Well, his reward is the harem, so I don't feel too badly for him.

Reina's Happy Ending

Kaito was actually in this episode, but she was mainly there to remind us that she'll be joining the harem soon. She also perceptively noted that the main group didn't need her help to banish the harmless phantoms.

The bunny phantoms really did want Reina to be happy, so they didn't fight her actual wish to have a reunited family in the real world. The ending was a bit bittersweet, because we saw confirmation that the bunnies were exorcised. Like how the utility poles returned to their actual state, we saw the stone pillars as broken rocks at Reina's house. I wonder if they were pieces from that closed gate that Reina's father controlled so tightly. Whatever the case, Reina's phantom family was gone, but they let her have a chance at having a close family again the real world.

This was a nice bookend to Mai's episode last week, but I'm getting a little impatient. We need to see the teddy bear girl. We need to see Kaito give in to the power of silliness inherent to Haruhiko's group. We need to find out what this neural error virus actually does. Let's get going. 

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