Season aired: Summer 2018
Number of episodes: 12
Genres: Romance, Fantasy
Thoughts: Phantom in the Twilight is a complete guilty pleasure anime. It features four ikemens (vampire, jiangshi, and two werewolves), and a ghost cutie who possesses things to talk. There are also two attractive young girls, and anyone who’s seen the posters knows that it’s an anime for girls to enjoy. Now, that isn’t all to the story. In this case, there is an actual plot instead of a girl floating around between her various love interests, and all the characters have actual personalities rather than clichéd copies of otome boys.
Ton Baileu and her best friend, Shinyao, arrive in London as part of an exchange program. Ton is particularly attracted to the city as her great grandmother was a famous mage who had spent a lot of time in London. When a goblin snatches her luggage on their first day in the new city, Ton wanders into a restaurant where she learns that werewolves, ghosts, vampires, and jiangshi are not just creatures in storybooks.
There’s actually a whole lot of problems with the anime, not that anyone expected differently, but as I already pointed out above, the characters are actually extremely likeable. What I liked the most is that none of the characters fit their stereotypical mythological personalities. Sure, the werewolf and the vampire tend to bicker, but there’s no deep seated hatred or natural enemies involved. In fact, one can easily tell that the two are best friends. The werewolf is not even a love rival to the vampire and at one point just blatantly says that he’s not even interested in Ton. The vampire is also not a brooding, angsty man. In fact, Vlad (as all vampires tend to be named) wears his heart on his sleeve, openly jokes with the rest of his friends, and goes along with Luke, the werewolf’s, more outgoing antics with a sigh and a look of acceptance.
The team also did an incredible job with Ton. In a reverse harem anime, one expects the girl protagonist to be nothing more than a love interest with no real personality other than to choose between her guys. Ton is nothing like that. She’s confident, she’s a huge tomboy, and she speaks for herself. In fact, we as the audience even get to see her prove that she’s actually more powerful than any of the other fantastical creatures around her. When she jumps into action, she doesn’t hesitate. We see her defeat monsters the guys have trouble defeating, and we see her step up to the plate over and over again on her own. She is only held back by the male characters who fear for her physical safety as there is a cost to using her powers. One of my favorite scenes was when Ton, in the middle of arguing with Vlad, openly challenges the vampire to fight her and even says “You can’t beat me,” with utmost confidence.
Spoilers: He doesn’t deny it and even admits that he can’t hold a candle to her power.
I also want to give the anime some points for actually providing a plotline with interesting villains. That being said, the anime couldn’t keep the momentum going. One particular plot point that could’ve been resolved in three episodes was basically stretched out to the end of the series with such obvious attempts to fuel the ongoing conflict that I rolled my eyes more times than I could count. Examples include an excruciatingly slow walking/flying pace, the lack of cellphone usage (just uninstall the evil app), and obvious distractions to the protagonist that she could’ve easily ignored or avoided.
The tone of each episode is also highly inconsistent. Sometimes, nothing really happens for twenty-three minutes, making one wait for the episode to just finish. Other times, it’s very action-packed and interesting, and I simply wish the team could’ve just extended that out for the entire series.
I also wished we could’ve seen Ton in action more. As noted above, Ton is far from the usual female protagonist in reverse harems. She’s actually very useful in fights, and she’s quick to react as well (sometimes with hilarious commentary about the ridiculousness of the situation). When she takes out a weapon, the spotlight is completely on her as we basically watch her crush the enemy in a matter of seconds. It is always the episodes where she personally takes action that draws in the viewer’s attention. Unfortunately, that only happens sparingly within the series itself, and the audience is just left impatiently waiting for Ton to show her badass side once more.
The art and animation also begins to heavily suffer at end of the series, which is also a shame because that’s when the action sequences start to pick up as the villains and protagonists collide. One fight in particular involves martial arts, and the entire animation sequence is just completely disproportionate. In the technical aspects of the anime, the only element that remains consistent is the fantastical and vibrant soundtrack that works well with the city of London and the characters of the story.
In the end, Phantom in Twilight did exceed my expectations of a reverse harem with vampires. However, in comparison to the rest of the anime that aired during the Summer season or during the 2018 year, it’s not worth looking too far into. If it’s just an anime to pass time and you want to enjoy a feisty female protagonist, then by all means take a peek.
I am planning to rate all my anime based on the anime rating system that Japanese anime critics use. I will have 5 categories, each with the top score of 10, and then a final multiplier of 2.
Voice acting: 6
FINAL SCORE: 60