Phantom Quest Corps: Perfect Collection
Christian Nutt rates it:
Well, as I mentioned in my last review (the painfully mediocre Hyper Doll) the early-to-mid nineties were a wonderland (or is that wasteland?) of OVA series – a trend that continued, basically, until Neon Genesis Evangelion brought short, serious anime TV series into fashion. Some of them turned out to be enduring classics – Please Save My Earth, Dragon Half – and others turned out to be pretty garbagey. Then there's everything in-between. That's basically where Phantom Quest Corp. (aka Yuugen Kaisha, or alternately the questionable Romanization the show sports, "You-Gen-Kai-Sya") fits in.
The show tells the story of a company with the sole purpose of investigating (and eradicating) supernatural occurrences. The company is comprised of chronic late-sleeper Ayaka Kisaragi and boy genius Mamoru Shimesu, who for some (unexplained) reason lives in Ayaka's house and handles the business side of things instead of going to elementary school. Ayaka's competition is in the form of hard-boiled, middle-aged government supernatural investigator Karino, whom she has a love-hate relationship with.
Over the course of the four episodes on the disc (the entirety of Phantom Quest Corp.) you'll see the dynamic of Ayaka's life as she balances work, fun, and a vain attempt to operate her business at a profit. There are at least a couple of truly entertaining stories on the disc. One involves an archaeological student and her dead boyfriend's attempt to protect her from the advances of a lecherous executive. The student is played by Aya "Sailor Mercury" Hisakawa, which is a nice bonus for fans of that show (if not, think Miki Kaoru from Utena, or Arimi Suzuki from Marmalade Boy. Is she a super-shoujo actress or am I a super shoujo fan? I digress...) There's also a cute one about a vampire trying to mend his ways. All in all, it's lighthearted entertainment. The show only bogs down in its predictable humor.
Performances (besides the aforementioned Ms. Hisakawa) are nice in this one. Rica Matsumoto plays the main character, a name I've heard before but doesn't mean a lot to me. She's pretty good. Evangelion fans will be happy to see Mitsuishi "Misato" Kotono (also Sailor Moon's titular character) and Kouichi "Kaji" Yamadera (known also as Cowboy Bebop's Spike Spiegel) in roles as Nanami Rokugou (a pyrokenetic teenager) and the cop Karino respectively. The English cast does an entertaining job with their roles as well. I swear that Mike must've given me this review job so I'd get over my irrational hatred of dubs. He's such a philanthropist! [Eds. note: I think you mean phlebotomist, Christian.]
The show doesn't have any truly standout elements, and the series frequently reuses many of the same old jokes and characterizations that we've seen dozens of times. Despite that, the story is interesting enough that you won't be yawning your way through the disc. My biggest peeve has to be with the opening and ending themes, which be it in English or Japanese are just long, boring, and unoriginal. It's no big deal, really. The real reason I find so little to complain about, is that this disc costs about $12-13 at your average e-tailer (with an MSRP of $14.98.) There's absolutely no way that I can say this disc is not worth $12. 140 minutes of solid, if unoriginal, entertainment is definitely not worth complaining about. While I can't rate it that high in the grand scheme of things, I certainly wouldn't stop anyone from checking it out.
Added: Wednesday, October 08, 2003
Related Link: Pioneer Animation