First Look: Phantom in the Twilight

Anime Original by Liden Films
Streaming on Crunchyroll

Premise

Ton and her friend Shinyao move from China to London to study abroad but immediately get their luggage stolen. While chasing the thief, Ton enters a mysterious café run by a vampire, a werewolf, and some dude with a massive gatling gun.

Jel’s verdict: Nothing New

There’s really nothing new here that we haven’t seen in a million other otome game adaptations… yes, I know it’s not based on a game but it’s essentially the same concept: plucky heroine stumbles into some supernatural hijinks and ends up surrounded by attractive, super powered boys. About the only interesting thing is this is a joint production between a Chinese company and Happy Elements (the makers of Last Period, of all things) so the main characters are actually Chinese and not from Japan. If you do the math, that means there are two Chinese girls in London and everyone is speaking Japanese. Sure, why not.

I don’t have much else to say here other than it’s cool the main girl gets some magic chain weapon thing and I’m glad she is the more assertive type of otome heroine, so let me make a few broader, meta comments: First, I don’t think I’ve acknowledged this yet so let me say now we are officially over saturated with shows about cute guys running cafés. Please find a new setup. Second, I think it might be time we retire the term “reverse harem” and just call these harem shows. I haven’t done the math, but I feel like there are now just as many shows about a girls surrounded by hot guys as there are shows about guys surrounded by cute girls. I’m not saying that’s good or bad, just saying it’s a thing So, hooray equality, I guess???

Oh and one more thing: there’s a vampire named Vlad Garfunkel in this show. So at least I got one good laugh out of this.

Artemis’ verdict: Could Be Worse. Probably.

Actually, given some of the crap that’s already come out this season, I know it could be worse. That doesn’t make Phantom in the Twilight any better a show though, and this first episode occasionally forced me to ask myself some pretty deep questions. Questions like “who funded this?” and “why?” Granted, the source material could be considerably better for all I know, so I suppose I’d better not hastily judge the entire- OH WAIT IT’S AN ANIME ORIGINAL NEVER MIND. From beginning to end, this is just plain bad storytelling – unoriginal, bogged down in exposition, very cheaply animated, and even the male character designs are completely uninspiring. I emphasize the male character designs here because a) they look a lot more lazily drawn than do the two main girl characters, and b) as a reverse-harem (I think?) vampire (I think?) show, shouldn’t those at least be somewhat appealing? At one point in the episode, I briefly entertained the notion that the whole thing might actually be a parody, so bad it was intentional. Then I realised this was giving the show too much credit, and that it really was just that awful.

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