What would you do if you can see ghosts and spirits? No, don’t call Ghostbusters. They only exist in the movies. Well, I don’t know if we and more importantly myself would be living in constant fear and freaking out 24/7. You see dead people everywhere as well as ghostly figures popping out before your eyes. Thank goodness there is no sort of viruses that will trigger some sort of area in the brain that would allow humans to see such phantoms. Because that is the setting of Musaigen No Phantom World. Now that humans can see such beings, it is only fair that some of them too have developed powers to fight and seal mischievous and harmful ones. And so this is the story about a group of high school students with such special powers as they deal with such issues while trying to go about with their daily lives. I assure you that your lives will definitely never be the same if you can see and interact with ghosts and spirits.
Haruhiko Ichijou rushes to Hosea Academy so that he could help his fellow classmate, Mai Kawakami as she is fighting a demon Phantom. Once Haruhiko finishes sketching the Phantom, it becomes sealed inside it. Back in the Neural Error Corrections Room, their teacher, Arisu Himeno tells them today’s effort earned them zero bucks because they partly destroyed the school. Reparation costs, I suppose. Don’t worry. They just need to find more similar jobs. Because of this inconvenience, Mai wonders if they should recruit more members into their team. Haruhiko narrates his favourite hobby of reading. He has read every book in his school’s library. His school covers from elementary to high school and there are some transfer students with powers like them entering midway. Haruhiko and his little friendly Phantom genie, Ruru are on their way home but his usual taken path becomes unfamiliar. Was there a graveyard before? Noticing there are Phantoms nearby, Haruhiko is sees a girl nearby in trouble. But before he could do anything, Reina Izumi sucks all the Phantoms into her mouth like a giant vacuum. Haruhiko is very impressed and would like her to join their club as she is wearing the same school uniform. Perhaps she got a little scared enthusiasm. Maybe she needs a little time. As she tries to leave, she trips. As he tries to save her, from his angle, it could turn into some dating simulation cliché, Haruhiko’s hands is in danger of grabbing her boobs. Luckily he twists and turns but the momentum has his face planted in her butt. She gives him a judo throw.
Haruhiko still won’t give up on asking her to join his club since her Phantom Eater ability is useful. He tries to appease her by treating her lunch but look at how big an eater she is! She has that black hole stomach that every girl would want! Haruhiko begins by explaining what Phantoms are. Due to an accident by a company called Alayashiki 10 years ago, a virus that affects the brain got out. It has something to do with affecting brain functions and this made people allow to perceive Phantoms. You know, ghosts, spirits, etc. Most are harmless (like Ruru) but others can cause harm and thus clubs like these are formed to expunge them. Although their services don’t get paid in cash, it is in goods. Haruhiko invites Reina to watch how they do it. Just in time since Mai received a request from Himeno. Electric pole Phantoms doing limbo rock? As explained, these Phantoms are born from the anger of tools built and abandoned by humans. Haruhiko’s wide knowledge may be appealing but it is trivial and nothing to do to help the situation. It is suggested to do limbo rock with them to honour them. Remember, you can’t touch anything or you’ll be zapped. Clearing the first one seems easy. Then the pole gets lower. Only Mai is left. Although the electric pole breaks from all the bending, the one thing that preventing Mai from clearing this is her boobs! And using the logic that boobs bounce, Mai uses her great timing to bounce them when they are at its low point to limbo over. The Phantoms are satisfied and wants to be sealed. Haruhiko forgot his sketchbook but luckily they have Reina to eat them up. The poles return to normal. Though they feel pity, they wonder if they would serve humans again if they are reborn as trees.
Haruhiko narrates about his sketching abilities that allow to seal or summon Phantoms. With Reina around, his sealing isn’t needed anymore so he decides to concentrate on his summoning. Haruhiko and Reina try to approach Koito Minase as requested by Himeno. She is a very talented power user and a candidate for the Phantom Control Agency (PCA). However she likes working alone and when Himeno tried to invite her to join the club, she of course turned it down. There is a request that an old security robot has turned into a Phantom and causing trouble at the abandoned Alayashiki factory. Koito is going there alone but Himeno would like her to see the value of cooperation. Of course Koito is not too happy Haruhiko, Mai and Reina re assisting her. The robots keep multiplying so they think they have to destroy its real body. Then there is some theory about noises and inverse phase signal to cancel it out. All of them cooperate to put an end to the menace. But Koito isn’t appreciative of their efforts despite they try to make friends with her. Ruru has taken back some weird controller from the factory. It looks like it has some error code on its screen but when Haruhiko messes with it, the screen goes blank. Spoiled? Run out of batteries?
As Haruhiko practises his summoning sketch, he explains about Parole. They are like chants that make their special powers easier to use. That is why when you see our heroes needing to unleash their power but start saying some hefty mumbo-jumbo before that, this is the reason. They get a request from the girl’s dorm that a strange UFO watches them while they are changing by the window and starts changing pictures. Reina reconfirms about the goods reward. Since it doesn’t necessarily certain goods or items, she would like to have an all-you-can-eat buffet. Nothing much happens as they wait so they think it will only happen when they change. Time to throw Haruhiko out of the room. True enough, here comes the UFO. In the pandemonium to try and catch it, Haruhiko has been thrown out many times. He then decides to put his summoning to use. Think Marchosias is a ferocious demon dog? My, what a cute little puppy! After a few more moments of havoc, Marchosias catches it and Reina completes the sealing. As Haruhiko’s finger was cut from all that, Reina felt she was responsible for this little injury. She sucks on it and his cut entirely disappears. She doesn’t know if this is another ability of hers. Completing how odd everything turns out is Koito coming all the way here just to thank them and not that they are also impressive. Eh? What?
Haruhiko and his team are on their way for another mission. He narrates their team is ranked the lowest and thus is often not taken seriously. They are at a bridge whereby people have complained about Phantoms bugging them. There, a pair of Phantom sisters start attacking Mai as they seem to have unfinished business with her. Mai lost so Haruhiko summons Marchosias to distract the Phantoms while they take Mai away for a tactical retreat. The Phantom sisters tell Mai to return when she is better trained as they will be waiting. It is suggested that Mai needs another fighting partner as strong as her. Haruhiko and Reina try training with her but I don’t think the results will show that fast. Haruhiko explains the different types of memories and wonders if he can copy Mai’s memories to save time. Theoretically it sounds possible (something like cloud computing) but practically it says otherwise. Himeno overheard them and finds it interesting to test it out. Her plan is to have Mai and Haruhiko at an amusement park where Mai had lots of good memories. The theory is that in order to share memories, it is good to visit memorable places. Yeah, but it looks like they are on a date and Reina is not too happy about it. Mai seems to be having a lot of fun (and bringing back a lot of fond childhood memories) but not Haruhiko.
They wander to that bridge again as Mai starts remembering more although not very clearly. She was here before and played with a couple of kids. But the Phantom sisters pop up to attack. The hand to hand combat begins. During the slip up, Mai and Haruhiko’s head crash into each other. And that is how their memories transferred. But Haruhiko is able to peek more into Mai’s memories. He realizes Mai has met these sisters before. The Phantom sisters are not pleased that Mai has forgotten about them. They explain that this is where they met when Mai was on a school trip. They were training but Mai often bullied them and they became victims of her relentless violence. Therefore they have been training ever since to avenge that. Mai doesn’t remember it happened this way so Haruhiko explains about people altering memories to suit themselves. The fight continues and Haruhiko is able to do martial arts moves on par with Mai. Cool! Too bad he lacks the stamina and tires out. Then they both combine their attacks like the move they just saw in the movie to defeat the sisters. They will carry on training more and shall return to challenge her again. With Haruhiko stuck with some of Mai’s memories, the temptation to beat him up to get amnesia is strong. Don’t worry, he will lose them in a few days. Just don’t say embarrassing things… If only Ruru didn’t ask… Reina feels sad seeing how close Mai and Haruhiko are like a happy family and wonders if she can be as close as them.
Reina gets her buffet reward and eats all she can! Oh my. How many plates has she ordered?! I think the chef is scared of her. On her way back as she waits for the bus home, she steps into a strange bus and wanders through a strange place before coming home. She has this warm and fuzzy feeling while wandering. When she tells her friends the next day, Koito knows she has become possessed by Phantoms as she was there to witness it. Of course Haruhiko and Mai agree to help her and as they wait for the Phantom bus, it appears but Reina is hypnotized and gets onboard. Only Haruhiko was quick enough to get on before it disappears. Haruhiko sees Reina returning to her happy rabbit family! When he tries to snap her out, everyone is happy their ‘big brother’ is back! Before Haruhiko knows it, he becomes hypnotized and gets along with this family. When the hypnosis is over, they find themselves back in reality in front of Reina’s house. Her strict father isn’t happy she is back this late and a guy accompanying her. Reina will explain later and tells Haruhiko to leave. Next day, Reina tells her friends as she deduces such things have happened maybe because she hasn’t told her parents about the club yet. Although they know about her powers, they do not like Phantoms and want her to stay away from it. She is afraid telling them of this club as they will not approve it. This leads the Reina explaining she had an older sister. Mai reminds her a lot about her. Her parents’ behaviour is the reason why she left home. So perhaps the Phantoms are taking advantage of her feelings and making her experience these things.
The friends try to ride the bus again. Reina and Haruhiko are hypnotized as expected. Mai gets onboard and sees the happy family. Trying to snap them out, the family believe their ‘elder sister’ his returned and start giving her a big hug. And before you know it, Mai too becomes part of the happy family. When Haruhiko takes a dump, he is freed from the spell. Realizing that many folklores have toilets as secret portals to another world, he brings Reina here but she is still hypnotized. To break her out, he hugs her and receives a judo throw. Head in toilet bowl? Reina explains the sight of a warm family could be what she years for. She was hoping her sister would patch up with her parents. But this realization means her bunny parents have no choice but to leave. They offer her a choice to come with them and they can be a real family or she could return to her original world. Reina wants to go with them but Haruhiko’s persuasion that her real sister might come home and everyone else waiting for her has Reina crying in bitter frustration as she decides to stay back. The bunny parents thank her for being their family even if it is for a short time. Next day, Reina apologizes to her friends for the trouble. She talked to her parents and they approved of her joining the club. It gives her encouragement to talk to them more often. Reina narrates despite she is glad returning to her real home, she believes her other home exists somewhere beyond the sunset and wishes she could sometimes see her Phantom parents again.
Koito does her missions alone and does not mix with others, keeping her distance and all to herself. So Haruhiko’s friend, Shousuke Morohashi is badmouthing about her but don’t look behind now because there she is! She doesn’t give a f*cks and makes her way. Himeno has a job for Koito. At the rabbit pen, she meets this loli, Kurumi Kumamakura who is on duty tending to it. The Cerberus Phantom pops up to attack. Haruhiko comes to help but only proves to be a nuisance. When Koito saves him, she breaths in its poison gas. Kurumi unleashes her teddy bear Albrecht to fight in its giant size and Mai delivering her usual kick but the Phantom got away. Koito is bent on capturing the Phantom alone despite her voice which her ability is based on is severely affected. They suggest she rests first but she remains stubborn. Himeno suggests a competition. Whoever gets the Phantom first gets the reward. Haruhiko feels guilty and decides to help out Koito, much to her dismay. Mai on the other hand decides to recruit Kurumi as a reserve. Koito’s other ability is to sense Phantoms but as she goes around looking, she couldn’t find any. Next day, both teams coincidentally bump into each other. A potential b*tch showdown between Mai and Koito but it didn’t happen. Koito and Haruhiko find the Phantom and go into action but it escapes once again. Koito will not rest and continue to hunt it down.
So Haruhiko talks to Himeno why Koito is so obsessed with this Phantom. Koito’s ability was discovered when she was quite young. She was tending to an animal pen at school when a Phantom appeared. It was also then her ability was discovered. It was so powerful that her teachers and friends became afraid and her parents were even terrified. So much so she had to be taken away by PCA and that is where she started to shut herself off. It is believed she blamed that Phantom for wrecking her family and friends. Ruru has tailed Koito to the zoo where the Phantom once again appears. Koito engages it and despite her abilities have come back, it is still not strong enough. She takes a beating and could have been done for if not for the rest coming to her aid. They cooperate to take it down before Haruhiko seals it in his sketchbook. Koito looks like she is in pain so Reina uses her healing ability to cure her. Before Koito can go into her usual moody mood, Himeno takes a closer look at the sealed Phantom and realizes this is slightly different than the one that awakened Koito’s abilities. Same kind but not the same creature. Himeno apologizes for the mix-up and this relieves some tension among them. Next morning, Haruhiko is surprised to see Koito outside his home. Even more shocking, she apologizes and thanks him. Never see the day that she would do these, eh? He wants to be friends with her but she is not fond of him pushing his luck.
Kurumi is worried she will be a burden to the team and is unsure if she can do a good job. When she sees Haruhiko, she trips. He grabs her but some portal to another world opens and they fall in. They end up in some fairytale land and Albrecht is missing. Several bears (Care Bears? Gummi Bears?) try to take Kurumi away as she is the last survivor of the Kuma McLaren clan and wants her to marry Prince Salmon from the Higuman clan. Luckily she is saved by Albrecht. She is happy her teddy bear could talk. Albrecht brings her back home as he explains her family has ruled this forest for generations. But the Higuman clan one day invaded and unable to thwart their invasion, the king and queen perished. The other Kuma McLaren bears vow to protect and save her. Albrecht is closest to her since he has been with her since she was born. Before Albrecht goes on his patrol, he gives her a golden rake, a keepsake of her royal family. Haruhiko deduces they are inside Kurumi’s mind. They are here because of some pressure she is facing. Thus she ‘escaped’ here from reality. Haruhiko asks her a few questions about her likes to determine why they are here and all of them have something in related to bears. Albrecht returns with bad news that Salmon and his men are coming to capture her. As they escape, Albrecht gets slightly injured. While hiding in a cave, Salmon returns with a giant mecha. This time Kurumi vows to protect Albrecht. This is her world so she has to fight. First she rejects Salmon’s proposal and then uses the rake to transform into a magical girl princess and beats the hell out of the mecha. Safe to say, Salmon admits defeat and runs away. After Kurumi and Albrecht have a beary hug, they return back to their original world. Returning to their friends, it seems they have another Phantom mission. This time Kurumi is motivated to join them and do her best.
One day, Haruhiko finds his classmates suddenly asleep in class. Even the teacher! Even the entire school! What’s more, everybody seems to be having fish for lunch. Mai talks about the abandoned cat mansion. The previous owner loved cats but when he died, stray cats came to live there even after it was abandoned. Soon, students sneak in to play with the cats but when some got injured, the place was sealed off and the cats culled. Kurumi has her club members help out her friend to look for her missing cat, Rudolph. It’s a cat, not a reindeer. But as they go look for it, it seems cats’ favourite things start to trigger their behaviour to act like cats. It gets worse the next day because some grow cat ears and tail (it’s not cosplay) and some like Kurumi are beginning to lose their ability to speak normally. Koito believes the cat mansion has something to do with it because she sensed a Phantom there when these coincidences happened. They head into the mansion to look for Rudolph but to no avail. Then the scenes just get weirder. It feels like they’re experiencing LSD. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s just totally weird scenarios. Then they realize this mansion is the Phantom itself and they cannot seal it from the inside. Eventually they are confronted with the manifestation of this Phantom, a cat with a mansion on its back. They believe it is trying to protect its memories of those good ol’ days by recreating livelier memories of the past. This is might what have lured Rudolph here. They understand its lonely feelings because there used to be more cats around but it isn’t the only lonely one. Please release Rudolph. I guess Kurumi’s cat language got through to it. With that, all the cat effects wear out and everyone returns to normal. Before they leave, they clean up the mansion to make it look good as new. You mean only these handful of kids cleaned up the entire mansion? Wow super good job.
Suddenly it is getting hot around the school. That is because there is a hotspring in the middle being occupied by little monkeys and their big monkey boss. Since they are the phenomenon, students must find a way to get rid of it because if classes get postponed, they’ll have to replace them during summer vacation. That’s not alright, right? As we see them try their luck, they all miserably fail. From one who summons a ferocious eagle only to be turned into fried chicken and mermaid girls getting violated and licked by monkeys! It is Mai’s turn but she slips on a cliché banana and got licked too. Kurumi thought she could use Albrecht but he absorbs too much water and is bloated. Can Koito’s voice do the trick? The hotspring is a natural barrier. Mai thought she could beat up monkey boss if she got close enough. So with Haruhiko, they really disguise themselves as a Trojan horse? Didn’t take long before they were exposed. And another lucky lick for Mai. Poor girl. Violated twice in the same day. They need to lure it out so Haruhiko can sketch his entire body and seal it. Reina tries her sex appeal but apparently she doesn’t. Kurumi? She got scared by the monkey’s roar. Does Koito have sex appeal? She looks more like a gangster wanting to pick a fight! After discussing that monkeys are attracted to females with bright red butts, Mai is the only person for the job but she is reluctant. You can’t blame her after what happened. Haruhiko promises to seal it before she gets violated. Of all people, why Haruhiko has to paint her butt? But he finds this ‘canvas’ soft and nice to paint! The bait works but the little monkeys spill paint on his sketchbook. Haruhiko then uses his new ability to summon without sketching but his voice. He calls Cthulu. Erm… An octopus? It is effective enough to save Mai from the dirty monkey’s paws. After they seal it and discuss how to dispose of it, Ruru translates from one of the monkeys that their boss’ wife ran away and he was soaking in the hotspring to heal his heart. So you mean to stop this entire phenomenon, somebody has to marry it? Which one of you girls is willing to sacrifice? Himeno heard it and will help out. You think she would be willing to be the monkey’s bride? Heck, she dresses up Haruhiko as a female monkey and marries him off!!! This guy is screwed all the way to heaven!
Ayumi Kitajima pleads for Mai and friends to help out with her drama club. Due to lack of member, she hopes they can help out and do their best for the regional qualifiers. I don’t know, do you think they should? How does free food sound? They’re in! It is a period play with a little twist of supernatural. The gang are casted and Ayumi herself will play the youkai. During practice, Ayumi becomes a Spartan since they are noobs in acting. No rest till they get it right! And they thought she said everything is going to be fine. With more practice and even visiting the actual site, the day of the play is here. It seemingly goes well till a real Phantom possesses Ayumi. The audience is confused if this is part of the play or special effects but Haruhiko and co decide to continue on. When Ayumi tires out, she reveals her true identity. She is actually a real Phantom and has manipulated their memories as their classmates. She thought if she told them the truth, they wouldn’t help her. She wants to fulfil this final wish of entering the competition which was her regret before passing on. The gang agree to help her achieve that and the confused crowd are so touched thinking this is the real deal and applause. Even the judges too! Some kind of new meta-play? They sure fooled everyone with their ‘acting’. The play resumes and when Ayumi kidnaps Mai (as part of the script), Ayumi’s Phantom powers has the setting turn real. This means the audience is now part of the play as they live out this period drama. The only way to return to normal is to end the play and defeat Ayumi. They do so and the crowd gives a rousing applause to a wonderful play. And it’s over, right? Well apparently now they have to continue helping Ayumi as she is bent on carrying on the momentum and win the Nationals! Yeah, they actually won an award for this play. So no slacking! Keep up with the training! Worse, there’ll be no summer break for them!
Ruru laments if she was only bigger, she could finish a bottle of ramune. You’re in luck because this Phantom Witch can grant you any wish with no strings attached. Promise. Ruru wants to be human size but is cautioned she cannot fly and if somebody she knows recognizes her, she’ll revert to her original self. But don’t worry, to hide that, she gives her a pendant. Ruru relishes her new form and becomes a transfer student in Haruhiko’s class as Ramune Natsuno. Shousuke wonders if Natsuno looks like Ruru but Haruhiko brushes it off because Natsuno is cuter than Ruru! Are you supposed to be relieved or mad? Because Ruru is absent minded that she cannot fly, she ends up having accidents and tripping. Haruhiko introduces Natsuno to his club members. Natsuno cooks up a tragic and harsh back story that has everyone fooled! Even Koito! So touching! All lies! That evening, she joins them for the fireworks festival. When she and Haruhiko got separated, she asks about Ruru. Though he has good things to say about her, it is always followed up with something less pleasant. He doesn’t get why Natsuno kicks him. A firework possessed with a Phantom goes berserk. It wants to go out with the biggest bang. Seeing a familiar pendant attached to it, Natsuno confronts Phantom Witch. Apparently she tried to help out but didn’t think it would go berserk. The other girls cannot do much and Haruhiko is taken away by the Phantom. It is going to blow up soon. The only way is to take away its pendant but it is so high up where nobody can reach. Natsuno decides to reveal her identity and become Ruru to save the day. It’s not time to nitpick on her fake back story… Ruru is too weak to pull out the pendant so she convinces the Phantom to blow up at a higher altitude after dropping Haruhiko. He fears the worst as he doesn’t want Ruru to go yet. Then a big explosion. Everyone is so sad. And then Ruru pops up behind Haruhiko. Didn’t think she would go kill herself, right? As relieved as he is that Ruru is still alive, he gets abusive for making them all worried. Then they have a nice time watching the actual fireworks.
Haruhiko finds an old essay he wrote in elementary. Next morning, he turns into a kid! Furthermore, he has no recollection of his current friends. It is like his kid self came to the future. The rest at first are confused if he is Haruhiko but are certain he must be since his belongings are. Haruhiko becomes the star of his own class and a babe magnet since the girls find him oh so cute. Jealous, Shousuke? While the rest investigate his place for a potential Phantom that did this but to no avail, Mai takes care of little Haruhiko. As a kid, he is very honest and of course to adults his words are quite blunt and thus Mai feels irritated. Whether it is her shopping taste or her messy home, at least the kid is being honest. But babysitting Haruhiko is tiring and it is affecting her studies and missions. I’m sure the others don’t have time and effort to take care of him either but they can try help look for a way to bring him back to normal. Ruru thought of stimulating him to turn him back to normal with a Playboy magazine but he gets embarrassed instead. So Mai continues to let him leave him live at her place. Mai comforts him as he is a bit scared of the thunder. They talk about their families and Mai promises to take him to the park tomorrow. There are lots of happy kids playing with their happy families so this makes Haruhiko gloomy. A sand Phantom goes berserk but Mai is too weak to fight it and becomes trapped. Haruhiko is weak too but his desire to save Mai is so great that he turns back into his teen self to summon Cthulu and seal the Phantom. Mai’s shock in seeing him not because he is back but because he is only in a tight underwear. Too bad Haruhiko doesn’t remember his time as a kid. But I’m sure she and everybody is glad to have him back. You know how a pain it is to take care of a kid, right? Mai happen to see Haruhiko’s old essay and reads it. It narrates how he played with his parents at the park. Despite thinking this essay is fake, Mai gets emotional reading this as she believes he became a kid because he wanted his fake essay to be real. His abilities reacted to his mind just like how it did for Kurumi.
Haruhiko’s team continues to seal Phantoms and they’ve become top Phantom hunters before they know it. Just how popular? Koito has her set of fan girls! When a mysterious Phantom attacks power users, Himeno warns her students that this Phantom known as Enigma has the ability to steal one’s power. Once she does, the power user forever loses his/her power. Haruhiko’s team manage to catch Enigma fighting another team. They see how she steals power via kissing. Haruhiko thought he sealed her in his sketchbook but her picture soon disappears. Is this part of the sealing process? Ever since, Enigma has never showed up and then on one hot summer day, Haruhiko gets a call from his estranged mom. He is not happy to meet her since he abandoned him when he was young. But the temptation of his missing childhood was too great to ignore as he welcomes her back in his life. So for a weak Haruhiko relishes bonding with his mom. Ruru is suspicious because could it be a Phantom impersonating as his mom? Haruhiko doesn’t think so since she knows all about his childhood is physically human. Haruhiko spending time with his mom means the girls are not happy they have to work his portion. So wondering how his mom is like, they go visit her. Koito feels strange about her. She can’t pinpoint her feelings. She isn’t a Phantom but has this weird aura coming out from her. Just like any anime mom, she is delighted her son has so many girlfriends and would like to know the girls more since one of them will become her daughter-in-law. Why are they sheepishly telling about his good points? But this is mom’s verdict: She welcomes them all to marry Haruhiko! Harem route! You don’t know how embarrassed Haruhiko is. Mai gets a call from Himeno that Haruhiko’s mom went missing around a week ago. She has also discovered Enigma’s other ability which is to take over the human’s mind. True enough, mom reveals her true colours as Enigma as she beats up the girls. Enigma is intrigued with Haruhiko’s abilities to summon and dive into people’s mind but he sucks at using them. She will take them and use it effectively. After kissing Haruhiko and stealing his abilities, Enigma disconnects from his mom’s body and escapes. They’re not the only ones out. Ruru is also unconscious.
Although Haruhiko is okay, he only lost his power but his mom is still in coma. Enigma continues to wreak havoc on humans and stealing their power. Haruhiko is then met by his mom’s current husband. He is told mom always wanted to see him but the guilt made her feel she had no right. Back home, it is shocking when Ruru becomes polite and nice. Is this really her? Koito has been part of the team to track down Enigma but to no avail. She feels like the higher ups have been hiding something. She remembers the controller Haruhiko has and realizes it is actually a communication device to access Alayashiki servers. She needs information there. If Haruhiko can’t fix it, who can? Albrecht! He lost to a teddy bear?! It is revealed Enigma is an enhanced Phantom. Apparently Alayashiki has been collecting data from the students and using it to create artificial Phantoms to be used as test subjects, low cost labours or military. After all, Phantoms are not governed by laws. However Enigma became too powerful to handle and soon developed its own conscious. She then looks down on humans and starting to rebel. Isn’t this like Age of Ultron? Alayashiki plans to ignore this. There is also a special report regarding Haruhiko and Ruru. They get message that Enigma is attacking the facility where Haruhiko’s mom is. He plans to do this alone but his girls won’t allow him to be the hero. Himeno picks them up there as she reveals Enigma’s goal to control all Phantoms and dominate humans. I knew it. It sounded like Age of Ultron.
The girls take on Enigma together but they are no match. Not even close. So Haruhiko tries to go in with a fistfight? He failed by the way. Enigma transforms into his mom’s shape and will defeat him in this form. In a pinch, Himeno discloses a big secret that Haruhiko can get back his power again. Ruru is actually born from him and she has observed she is a manifestation of his freewheeling personality therefore she would have the same inherent abilities. To get the power back, they must kiss. Just that? No time to think about it. Quickly! Just in time before Enigma sends a nasty slash their way. Haruhiko uses his summoning so Enigma also matches that. However Haruhiko tells her that humans have the ability to grow. This time Marchosias and Cthulu are now big ferocious monsters! Pokemon evolved?! This is how they should be! They easily destroy Enigma’s Phantoms. With Enigma weakened, everyone cooperates to bring her down and Haruhiko seals her for good. Everything returns to normal. Those who lost their power got them back. Haruhiko’s mom wakes up and they have an emotional reunion. Ruru is also back to her old silly ways and Alayashiki underwent scrutiny after this incident. Haruhiko and his girls continue to hunt Phantoms.
The school is heading for a summer training camp. Haruhiko hates the heat and all till he realizes the motivation that has always been for summer: Girls in swimsuits. Yeah… When they arrive, they are first taken to speak with the inn’s hostess. It seems there is a Phantom terrorizing the place every same time of the year, the reason why the place lacks visitors. It always did something so dreadful that the hostess cannot say. Thus this training camp is actually for them to help exorcise the Phantom. In exchange, they have lodging, food and everything free! Free all you can you eat buffet. Heard that, Reina? Free sweets. Heard that, Koito? Free hotspring. Heard that, Mai? Free bears. Heard that, Kuru-, wait, what?! As they go around finding the Phantom, since nothing happens, they decide to go have the usual fun. That night as they watch the stars, Haruhiko listens to Mai as she talks how appreciative she is to have friends around. Next day is the day of reckoning. Because everyone in swimsuits! The moment we have all been waiting for. Apparently it is also the moment the horny Phantom has been waiting for. Uhm, doesn’t this Phantom look like a dick? So the most dreadful thing it does is shooting some sort of mist and weird polka dot censors form over certain parts of their body? Although everyone still has their swimsuits on, the illusion of this censor makes it look like they’re naked. And thus this ‘paralyzes’ the girls. Haruhiko uses his familiars to get the job done. But the Phantom only gets mad and shoots more mist. This time it ‘upgrades’ into white censors! Yeah, it looks even worse although they still have their swimsuits on. Some of the guys want to give in to this surrender of living the rest of their lives with ‘white belts’ but Shousuke lectures them about the beauty of swimsuits. It is the same twisted logic why strippers are not naked at first. But I guess this doesn’t help since the guys get owned. Haruhiko gets an idea of using teamwork (isn’t this how most exorcism was done?) so he has Koito surround it with fire and Mai splash it with water to reduce its size. Then Kurumi uses Albrecht to throw it to land before Reina swallows it. I don’t even what Haruhiko did to help or why he had to go into the sea to sketch since eventually Reina took care for everything. I suppose it is for this last bit because his swimming trunks fell off and without the censors, his girls see his Full Monty and freak out. Summer ruined.
What You See Is What You Get
I am not saying that this is entirely a bad series but this one is entirely my fault because since it deals with sci-fi and mostly supernatural stuffs, sometimes I feel that you have to be quite well read and have a decent amount of knowledge to grasp some of the certain terms. You know dumb people like me. If I don’t really understand what is going on, chances are I won’t understand the bigger picture and it inhibits my enjoyment of the overall show. Therefore despite I find that some of the sci-fi and supernatural terms touched upon (although very lightly) to be quite interesting, my inability to comprehend it overall makes it confusing at times for me and I just gave up thinking and just go with the flow.
Because the most interesting segment of this series is the one at the very start of almost each episode whereby Haruhiko and Ruru briefly tell and explain to us about a certain sci-fi or supernatural term or circumstances that will be used as a theme (subtly or not) for that episode. Whether they are optical illusions, cultural systems, the theory and basis of Schrodinger cat and even the positive attributes of using a hotspring (as though he is promoting the use of one), it is an interesting ‘short lesson’ to hear them inform us about it before the opening credits role. But then again, as interesting as they may seem, it all depends on how well you understand them and like I have said previously, I’m not that smart of a person so there are some which left me scratching my head.
Having a series’ story format that is episodic in nature has its good and bad points. A good point is that there is no convoluted plot to follow and thus avoiding messy and unnecessary plots of plots and the supposedly twist of the story that could sometimes be ever confusing. Unless of course each episode holds some sort of subtle clue that would come together as a big puzzle piece in the end but that’s another story. Each episode can stand alone by itself and once it is done, you don’t have to remember and bring forward clues in the previous episodes to the next. You can just watch the next episode fresh like as though it is a new story. But of course this good format itself is also its bad point since there is the lack of continuity. Sometimes it just feels disconnected and that you are just watching one big random story. Fans who want juicier and deeper stories like if there is something more sinister underlying the appearances of these Phantoms, how people develop those special powers or the true history of Alayashiki might be disappointed that for many of the episodes, the story is just like that and ends like that as far as the series is concerned.
This means that the character development of this series isn’t too deep either. Each of our main characters get at least one episode that is dedicated to them (yes, I even consider that mind boggling Haruhiko turning into a kid as an episode for him). But if you want to find out more about Haruhiko’s past like his childhood time with Mai or Reina’s life under strict parents or Koito and her anti-social behaviour, what you watch here is all that you will ever know. We do have a glimpse of their past but it is not like it will stretch out for episodes like how some long running series show bits of it now and then bits of it in the future and then more bits in future arcs. Even the reason how Ruru became a Phantom friend of Haruhiko is largely unexplained except for that final episode revelation that she is born out of him which feels a bit ridiculous. Because how come Haruhiko doesn’t realize it? Yeah, she just popped out of nowhere and he accepted her just like that. Why did she have a change in character when he lost his power only to return when he got it back? Some sort of disconnection there? In that case shouldn’t she stop existing even? So depending on your stance of loving to see characters develop and grow into, this one does it averagely. Because you don’t feel deep enough to root or support them emotionally and just do so mainly because they are the main characters. And if you are like me who is already having a tough time understanding the plot and terms of the episode, it might be a little harder.
So we have Haruhiko as your typical but not so typical either main character because you know, the only guy surrounded by his other teammates who are all practically girls. If you want to compare all their powers, he is the most useless, right? In other words, he sometimes play the comical joker only second to Ruru because you know, genie girl is too small to have that overall comical effect and thus Haruhiko fills that role in addition to be Ruru’s comedy partner. They try to make him like a little nerd by having his character being a knowledgeable one and sometimes you might find his random bits of trivia interesting, I doubt that it would be beneficial to us and for the girls. But thanks to Shousuke as a typical loser and ‘the other guy’ role, Haruhiko’s main character outlook doesn’t seem all that bad.
And then you have stereotype archetypes in his harem like the brute and busty Mai (for your fanservice excuse), the cute and pretty Reina, the expressionless Koito, the shy loli Kurumi and comic relief-cum-mascot character Ruru. Since Reina admires Mai like her older sister, I cannot help find it funny each time she addresses her as Mai onee-sama. Because I had to listen closely twice just to make sure I was hearing it correctly. You know, I thought I heard “Mayonnaise-sama”! Oh sh*t! At first I thought it was Mai’s nickname or something! Ever since then, each time Reina calls her so, I automatically cannot contain my snigger… Koito started out as anti-social but I didn’t help but notice when did she start joining Haruhiko’s team and doing more missions with them? I also can’t help notice something about Himeno because it is like she has a habit of eavesdropping our characters when they are discussing the strategy or the pinch they are in. Then she makes her entrance while proclaiming to leave it to her before proceeding to suggest something.
I know I said Ruru is the series’ mascot since she is small and cute. But if she is too humanoid for you to be consider cute, then perhaps Albrecht could be the series’ mascot? Unfortunately other than often seen in the cuddly arms of Kurumi, he often fails when Kurumi tosses him into action. If bears aren’t your type of cute mascots, could a certain winged dog and octopus be it? They don’t make often appearances unless during battles so I’m not too sure. Now that they have evolved and power up into their ferocious beings, will they stay this way or will they revert to their cute versions after that? Seeing the episodic nature of this series, the Phantoms sometimes feel like monster-of-the-week.
Remember that weird controller Ruru took back from the factory? Throughout the duration of the entire series I kept remembering that it would have some sort of serious implications that would turn around the story. I thought it would be a foreshadowing of something sinister later and even with a few short clips of Haruhiko trying to fix it but to no avail, I thought it was just to troll us all and then maybe they will just forget about it. Who’d knew that it would be a convenient plot for the final episode just to defeat the final boss of the season. I know it is better than coming up with something out of thin air but it made me go, “That was it?”. So the first key to understanding the enemy is hacking into main server? And with all those covered up top secret files, it is no wonder Alayashiki is feigning ignorance. Uh huh. They are the bigger crooks and worse than Phantoms! Yeah, the more dangerous ghosts are humans.
The concept of how we are able to perceive these Phantoms and how they appear to us based on our cultural beliefs and folklores is interesting. But unfortunately that just remains as the setting of the series and it does little to expand on that. Furthermore, it is just strange that now with Phantoms suddenly now part of our lives, it is like everyone is unfazed and continue to live life normally. Sure, it has been 10 years but a ghost is still a ghost. You still freak out each time you see them unless you’re a ghost lover. So sometimes it is just odd to see that when a Phantom battle is going on, some are just brushing it over their shoulders like it is a normal everyday event. Maybe it is. Even stranger is how a virus that could make us see Phantoms that were not even tangible previously and suddenly these same Phantoms are able to do physical damage in the world. So they aren’t just illusions? Did our brains also unlock some sort of sensations as well? Me no understand.
The action and battle scenes are flashy as well as being exaggerative with lots of magical effects if not to certain points, comical. But it does provide some entertainment value. The last episode ramps it up with explosive action courtesy of Enigma making things go boom with her touch. I just don’t understand Mai’s power because in addition to her great martial arts skill, it is like she has some other elemental power in which she uses to help defeat the Phantom which it is based on. I read online that she channels certain elements from certain parts of her body like fire from her heart and water from her kidneys. So imagine to my surprise when I read wood comes from her armpit. WTF???!!! Well, I never noticed and I am sure I am not going to rewatch all the episodes again just to confirm this. But after a while, the battle sequences may look the same since it is usually Mai being the most active facing the Phantom head on with her fists, Koito using her voice to stun the Phantom, Kurumi as and when possible throwing Albrecht into battle as it blows up in size for an Ultraman-like fight and if Haruhiko isn’t summoning his familiars or sealing Phantoms in his sketchbook, then it is all down to Reina swallowing them up as a whole.
The artwork and drawing are very good and pleasing to the eye since the characters and backgrounds are quite livid and bright. There are nice special effects during battle and magic sequences for some oohs and aahs. But if the art style especially the characters do look familiar, it is because Kyoto Animation made this series. So do not be too surprise to see shades of certain characters from other animes under their belt such as Hyouka, Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai, Amagi Brilliant Park, Tamako Market, Hibike! Euphonium and K-ON! This means if you think Haruhiko looks like a certain main character from Hyouka, Koito resembling a certain individual in Hibike! Euphonium, Reina looking a bit like that cutie Youmu from Kyoukai No Kanata and Mai having that uncanny look to a certain girl in Amagi Brilliant Park, this could be the big reason. In fact it is. As for the Phantom designs, they come in all sorts of forms so sometimes they may look as close as humanoids or just plain weird. Another trivial thing I want to point out is when Reina uses her absorbing ability, she becomes cartoonish. Like as though she came out from a Peanuts comic strip. Serious. I thought she became a Charlie Brown character.
Voice acting is decent with Hiro Shimono playing his usual stereotypical main character roles. As Haruhiko, it feels like shades of some of his other anime characters like Akihisa from Baka To Test To Shoukanjuu and Alba from Senyuu. Other recognizable seiyuus for me are Saori Hayami as Reina, Mai Nakahara as Enigma, Ami Koshimizu as Ayumi and surprisingly Kikuko Inoue as Himeno. Well, after the umpteenth time, there would be at least one time I would recognize her since her voice and speech tone never changed drastically for all the characters that she has played in series that I recently watched. And then I would forget her all over again. Rinse and repeat. The other casts are Sumire Uesaka as Mai (Sanae in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai), Maaya Uchida as Koito (Hiyori in Noragami), Misaki Kuno as Kurumi (Hawk in Nanatsu No Taizai), Azusa Tadokoro as Ruru (Fino in Yuushibu) and Daisuke Sakaguchi as Shousuke (Shinpachi in Gintama). The opening theme is Naked Dive by Screen Mode, a rock based with some hip in it. The ending theme is Junshin Always by Azusa Tadokoro, a lively rock outfit that makes you want to get up and dance a little since the girls in the ending credits animation are doing a weird but cute hip shaking dance.
Overall, this is not a bad anime per se but with undeveloped potentials and how they cover up with all the flashy effects and fanservice (including a few lewd jokes or two), it is ether you hate it or love it. Especially those who are wary of Kyoto Animation’s poor track record in recent years that fail to live up to their sky high expectations. For me, it was just mainly the terms that prevented me from giving this series a higher score because I would just mindlessly enjoy cute and pretty girls beating down and sealing Phantoms. So the next time you see such Phantoms materializing, maybe it would be easier just to call Ghostbusters. Or hide under the blankets while repeatedly wishing it will all go away. Like living a real life horror story, eh? Food for thought: Will taking LSD drugs make you see more illusions or make them go away?