Phantom Quest Corp

Pioneer

120 minutes
English/Japanese
English Subtitles
11/21/2000

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If there's one thing I hate almost as much as robots, it's vampires. By association I hate most of the other forms of the undead too, but vampires have always been this kind of pissy thorn in my side. I think it's the fact that so many people idolize them, and Anne Rice is a stupid fucking bitch. I can't stand those dumb goth girls whose one fantasy in life is to be taken by someone who's gonna suck their blood and leave them a desiccated husk on the side of the road. Have you ever read those vampire books by Laurell K. Hamilton? They were pretty good until the later ones when she started using the characters to explore her freaky fucked up sexual urges. Screw vampires and screw goth chicks, unless they're hot. We'll reserve a completely different type of screwing for them. I find myself wishing vampires were real just so I could go out and kill them. That'd be a great job, though I can't imagine the benefits are very good.

Ayaka Kisaragi has a different reason for dealing with the undead. It's not so much she hates them as it is that she's got some sort of special powers and a tube of lipstick that turns into an electric laser sword. It's not really explained WHY she has such things but hey, that's what four episode OVAs from the early nineties are for. If they explained them then they'd totally be going against the grain of mediocrity these things suggest

 

Miz Kisaragi is president and chief field officer of Phantom Quest Corporation, the only corporation in Japan not to fall into an categorization, as the opening blurb makes sure to explain to us before each episode. I'm not exactly sure why this is so important, but it sure is forced down our throat for a few seconds every single time. She's also, as every business is in comedy anime, completely broke. The only black she sees is in her morning coffee. I suppose it's funny because no matter how hard they try they always end up at square one. It might have something to do with Ayaka's limitless need for shopping and drinking. Well, they don't really reinforce the shopping thing because, as I said before, it's a four episode OVA. But Ayaka SAYS it's less than she usually spends, and I suppose that makes all the difference.

This is much to the chagrin of the brains behind the operation, child genius Mamoru, I might as well just stop pointing out anime cliches and tell you that you can assume that everything in this show was ripped right out of something else. From the really big exorcist to the sex crazed executive, you'd be hard pressed to find an original character in this entire show.

 

But while the characters are as cliche as they come, the situations they get into have a bit more originality to them. Ayaka and crew come up against suntanning vampires and doctors who've signed pacts with the devil to keep their organ legging operations secret. I can be entirely honest when I say that I have no idea what kind of illegal substances the people who wrote up this show were on. But it must've been some seriously powerful stuff. They take an idea that's been done to death and breathe a fair amount of life into it. It doesn't make the show great, or even really good, but it's not shitty by a long shot.

Phantom Quest Corp is just kind of...there. If you can't tell I'm really having a lot of trouble writing this review. I got to at least four false starts while trying to think of a good way to lead into the show. What I've got I think is pretty good, but it's hard to make the funny when the show you've just watched isn't really good or bad. This thing is smack dab in the middle, it has a joke or two overall that's pretty clever but most of them fall flat. But a flat joke's better than a bobbling pair of naked cartoon breasts, and thankfully there's very few of those to be seen.

 

However, we are treated to a semi-competent, yet underfunded police department called the "U Division", specializing in crimes of the paranormal variety. Chief Ishibara is cool, but only because he's voiced by Mike Reynolds in the dub. The man only has one line for christ's sake! Thankfully the slack is brought up by the sleepy-looking Detective Karino, who's always found with a cigarette in his mouth. Remember what I said about cliches? Karino's actually the most original character in the show just because he's not verbally abused by the rest of the cast for being useless and lazy as police officers often are. I love it when cops are regarded as intelligent investigators and not punching bags for shitty humor.

If evil esoteric buddists and 90 year old psychics are your cup of tea then by all means pick this up. Otherwise I'm not really sure what to say to you. I like Ayaka's character design, but the animation quality gets really shoddy in the fast and furious fight scenes. This would be a pretty good show if I was watching it on TV. I mean, if I could just flip the TV on and Phantom Quest Corp happened to be there I probably wouldn't change the channel. Then again, considering this is part of Pioneer's "super saver" collection it barely costs more than the electricity to watch it would. You could always throw it in when you felt the need for some Mexican sounding jazz because, aside from cliches, that's the one thing this show has in abundance.