In Myriad Colors Phantom World, a viral outbreak alters the brain chemistry of the entire population of the Earth causing them to be able to perceive and interact with mysterious entities known as Phantoms. Additionally, children are now being born with special abilities which give them the capability to deal with those Phantoms that prove to not be harmless – sealing them away so they can’t hurt people.
Our protagonist, Haruhiko Ichijo, is one of these children. Born with the ability to seal Phantoms by drawing them, he actually lives with a friendly Phantom named Ruru and works alongside Mai Kawakami as a member of Hosea Academy’s Phantom Sealing club. This show chronicles their adventures as they uncover more of the truth and origins of phantoms.
Class is in Session
While a lot of shows take place in school, very few feel like they’re trying to teach you something. Myriad Colors Phantom World starts each episode off with a ‘pre-show’ segment in which Haruhiko explains some key concept that they plan to explore during this episode. These concepts are often moderately reputable science theories but are also sometimes cultural or historical concepts, which is actually quite interesting.
In fact, I could really see this show serving as a catalyst for education. Not because what is presented is 100% factually accurate, of course, but rather because the show offers concepts that are good to think about and then presents a story that builds upon that concept. It was kind of fascinating to watch, and I really enjoyed thinking about the concepts presented.
The Phantom Sealing Club
The show is entirely built around this club, with Haruhiko and Mai as two of its members. Naturally, in typically anime fashion, our show starts off with them as two of the lowest ranked members, and gives the opportunity for matters to build from there. Over the course of the series, 3 more members are added: a shy rich girl named Reina Izumi, the anti-social and angsty Koito Minase, and the adorable Kurumi Kumamakura.
These characters are trope-heavy, which took a bit of interest away from the overall story. Each character does have a few twists on the standard tropes, but not enough to really make them feel unique. The one caveat I can give is that the show’s primary focus is not character development, so it doesn’t hurt the story overall. The primary focus is learning more about the world… and the show does a great job of building intrigue around this alternate Earth.
Punching, Screaming, Painting and Swallowing
And when I say it that way, this show sounds like one giant sex act, which is not actually the case. It does have its fanservice moments, but they’re not actually as pronounced as you might expect for what is essentially a harem show. Well, except in the monkey episode. They’re exactly as pronounced as you’d expect there. But that’s not what we’re talking about here…
These four words essentially sum up the show’s core action. Haruhiko’s ability lies in his drawing, Koito’s is soundwave based and she shouts to activate it, and Reina eats phantoms… as in, she opens wide and literally swallows them whole. Mai’s ability is the only one that isn’t really one-dimensional. She draws power out from various parts of her body corresponding to the elements and uses that to get an advantage over phantoms combined with her martial arts. The one fanservice element is that most of her ‘drawing power out’ involves her either hugging herself creepily or rubbing various parts of her body. It’s a little odd, and more than a little off-putting.
Myriad Colors Phantom World feels like someone tried to make an educational anime, but didn’t know what they were talking about. In the end, it’s entertaining and raises a lot of interesting points to think about, but it is left feeling just a little bit shallow. It’s a fun show, and it does progressively improve, but it’s not going to win any awards.