Anime: Yuugen Kaisha

Yuugen Kaisha (or You-Gen-Kai-Sha, aka, Phantom Quest Corp.) is a four episode comedy/horror/mystery OVA from Madhouse, which was licensed for release by Geneon in mid 1994. The english dub was released early the following year in two VHS volumes. In December of '98, it was given a re-release on DVD, in Japan, while the english version arrived in November of 2000.

The series follows the exploits of Phantom Quest, an organization lead by Ayaka Kisaragi. They specialize in tracking down and taking out the supernatural - from ghosts, vampires, and every other manner of evil spirit across Tokyo. Their cases are often commissioned to them by U Division's Detective Karino, both to lighten his workload and as a personal favor to Ayaka.

Rather than an overarching narrative, it's more of a sitcom with each episode being its own self-contained adventure which follows a case-by-case format. Though some of the spooks they meet aren't bad, such as an anemic vampire who runs a tea shop, or a ghost who helps out with his girlfriend's museum exhibit.

But the baddies best beware: Phantom Quest is certainly capable and will readily accept any job offer so long as it pays well. In fact, the only opposition that the company faces is the constant onset of debt, thanks to their president.

The series has often been compared to Ghost Sweeper Mikami, due to the similarities in its premise and having been released at roughly the same time (for the record, Ghost Sweeper Mikami debuted a year earlier in April of '93). So if you've seen either one and enjoyed it, you may wanna give the other a try.

This anime provides examples of:

  • Accidental Pervert: Karino, in Incident File 03: Love Me Tender, when he walks in on Mr. Nagasuki and his secretary while they're getting it on in his office!
    *secretary screams from off camera*
    Nagasuki: Get the hell out of here!
    Karino: (closes door, snickering) Hot action.
  • Action Girl: Ayaka. She hunts down spooks and demons, then takes 'em out. Or she has Rokkon excorcise them.
  • Asshole Victim: Subverted, since Nagasuki doesn't actually die (see the Daylight Horror entry).
  • A-Team Firing: It gets lampshaded during Incident File 02: "End of the World" after Karino empties half a clip without hitting the evil doctor, who's less than ten feet away!
    Ayaka: (incredulous) "Where the hell'd you learn how to shoot?!"
    Karino: (shrugs sheepishly) "At the academy!"
  • Bald of Evil: The Hadja, a monk group who challenges Phantom Quest in the fourth episode; their leader, Mukyo, in particular.
  • Barrier Monk: Rokkon, Phantom Quest's staff exorcist.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Makoto, who despite being 12 years old, handles pretty much everything on the administrative end of the business, along with doing his best to keep Ayaka from drinking and spending herself to death.
  • Beware of Hitchhiking Ghosts: Narita.
  • Bottle Fairy: Ayaka. Big time. She's known for getting plastered and punching out cab drivers. Or just getting plastered period. The intro even shows Karino carrying her home while she's drunk, and in case file 01, Bosco refused to take her blood, due to the alcohol content!
  • Breaking and Bloodsucking: Dracula initially preys on Makiko whenever she steps out at night. But, after repeat interference from Ayaka and Bosco, he goes straight to her bedroom. But Karino's timely arrival causes Dracula to flee with Makiko to Tokyo Tower.
  • Broke Episode: The members of Phantom Quest end up part timing just to get by, during incident file 04, thanks to the Hadja stealing all of their clients.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: "Red dragon spirit, capture Star Sword."
  • Catch Phrase: There's three used regularly throughout the series:
    • The first is done by Karino, at the end of each episode: "Ms. Ayaka, are you alright?"
    • Ayaka's is usually to the effect of: "Phantom Quest has solved the case", or "And so, another case has been solved by Phantom Quest."
    • And, finally, there's Mamoru's: "We're deep in the red AGAIN!!"
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Rokkon who, in the fourth incident file, leaps from the third floor of the Hadja's temple, while carrying Karino and Nanami and lands, without injury.
  • Children Raise You: Parodied. Ayaka's sorta responisible, but her recklessness often lands Phantom Quest deep in the red. It doesn't take long to see that it's Mamoru's management skills that keeps the company afloat. Not to mention all the times he has to chastise her for getting drunk, and over sleeping.
  • Christmas Cake: Ayaka sometimes asks Madam Sumei if there's any hope for her love life only to be told her chances of finding happiness are zero. Doesn't help that she gets called an "old lady" by a cafe full of young teen/twenty-something females either.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Mr. Nagasuki is not only is he screwing his secretary on the job, he abuses his position as the museum's curator to try to get Natsuki into bed with him too. Plus, he was later found guilty of embezzling funds from the museum. So that blank check he had paid Ayaka with, was worthless.
  • Covert Pervert: Karino again, in the final episode, where he gets an eyefull when Ayaka loses her top; which earns him a Megaton Punch.
  • Crush Blush:
    • Invoked by Makiko at the end of the first Incident File, when Ayaka notes that Bosco's generosity wasn't the only thing that was "free flowing". Which causes Makiko to smile shyly at her feet and blush, before hiding her face in embarrassment.
    • Ayaka's also prone to it, in regards to Karino. First seen in the fourth Incident File, when he offers her a job at U Division as his assistant, and said he'd put in a good word for her at the admissions desk. She smiles faintly and tells him not to expect any Phantom Quest discounts. Also seen at the end of the episode, when she nearly confesses her feelings for him.
  • Daylight Horror: Narita saves his girlfriend near the end of the third Incident File, by suddenly appearing in the highway; causing Nagasuki to swerve off the road and slam into the guardrail. The impact renders Natsuki unconscious, so Narita deposits her safely along the side of the road. Then turns his full fury on Nagasuki by making him envision being stranded in the desert with the undead rising from the sands to claim him. Which causes Nagasuki to have a full-blown panic attack, 'til he finally foams at the mouth and faints.
  • Daywalking Vampire: Bosco is the only known vampire who's capable of walking around in broad daylight and even runs a teashop during normal business hours. A flashback reveals he did it through controlled exposure to high-powered UV lamps, in order to build resistance to sunlight, until he finally became immune to it.
  • Deadly Doctor: The demonically possessed doctor from Incident File 02: End of World.
  • Declaration of Protection: Bosco and Narita toward Makiko and Natsuki respectively.
    • In the first Incident File, it first appears that Bosco is stalking Makiko. It's eventually revealed that he was protecting her from another vampire, who had recently reincarnated.
    • In Incident File 03, Narita keeps his girlfriend safe from Nagasuki's advances, and takes it upon himself to set up the exhibit for her, after Nagasuki pulls the night crew... and does it all from the afterlife!
  • Demon Slaying: It's their business. It's right there in the company name.
  • Destructive Saviour: Ayaka, and she has the bills to show for it too (like the time she wrecked the observation room of Tokyo Tower).
  • Distressed Dude: Karino fills this slot during the fourth episode, "Lover Come Back to Me".
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Karino tries in subtle ways to impress Ayaka and prove she can depend on him, such as incident file 03, where he attempts to tail Nagasuki, thinking Ayaka would be proud of him. Sadly, he blows a tire and gets left by the side of the road. Earlier, he attempts to surprise her with a box of pastries, but drops it on the way. Needless to say, Ayaka was not impressed.
  • Elevator Snare: Karino manages to keep up with the hospital's elevator by running up the stairs for at least four floors.
  • Fed to the Ghosts: Mukyo threatens to do this to Karino, after he's caught investigating his scam operation, by dangling him over a pit filled with all the apparitions the Hadja allegedly excorcised.
  • Fiery Redhead: While Ayaka does have a bit of a temper, she's actually pretty easygoing most of the time. It's more that she's prone to rash behavior and having a hair trigger.
  • Harem Seeker: Ayaka accuses Bosco of being a lecher when she learns that his tea shop specifically caters to late teen-early 20's female clientele. Which he explains isn't the case at all. The reason he caters to that particular age group is because older women are less likely to be virgins; adding virgins had become harder to find in the modern era.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Ayaka Kisaragi.
  • He Knows Too Much: Karino had a hunch that the Hadja were running a scam operation and decides to investigate. But he gets caught snooping around their compound and goes missing soon afterward.
  • Her Heart Will Go On: Natsuki by the end of Incident file 03: Love Me Tender.
  • Heroic BSOD: Nanami has one near the climax of the final case file, when she, Rokkon, and Karino find themselves surrounded and vastly outnumbered by ghosts. She becomes so frightened that her mind goes blank, complete with spiral eyes; making it a rare comedic version of the trope.
  • Ill Boy: Make that "vampire". Because he's trying to reform, Bosco only allows himself to feed 4 times a year, at only 200cc's per quarter. Which has left him anemic and severely weakened. In his brief tussle with Ayaka, he was only able to hold her off for a few seconds, before fainting from exerting himself.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Ayaka's lipstick becomes a friggin' light sabre! It even makes the same sound effect when activated.
  • Interspecies Romance: Makiko and Bosco, by the end of the first episode.
  • In the Name of the Moon: Done by Ayaka, whenever she confronts the villain of the episode; usually to the accompaniment of the show's theme tune.
  • I See Dead People: Just about everybody in the series, though it's mainly Phantom Quest. It's all part of the job.
  • Kick the Dog: Mr. Nagasuki does this repeatedly to Natsuki in his efforts to get her into bed. First by coming onto her, then pulling the night crew from the exhibit when she rejects his advances. He finally threatens to cut off the exhibit's funding unless she "co-operates". Thankfully, she had Phantom Quest to protect her and Narita.
  • Lady in Red: Each episode opens with Ayaka wearing the red dress seen in the page image, which has a low-cut back and a split seam to show off her legs, along with a matching pair of high-heels. It invokes the look of a lounge singernote , and Ayaka certainly has the look, the figure, and the attitude to pull it off - but, she's a detective.
  • Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: Nanami invokes this at the end of the final episode by ushering Rokkon away when she realizes that Ayaka's getting ready to confess her feelings to Karino; complete with Held Gaze and Luminescent Blush.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: Ayaka's a lush, and Karino's a bit of a bumbler, but both of them become hyper-competent when the situation calls for it.
  • Love Redeems: Bosco is a reformed vampire who's trying to kick the habit, so he can be together with Makiko.
  • Maybe Ever After: There's no denying the attraction between Ayaka and Detective Karino, but Ayaka is obstinate and plays hard to get. She's not above flirting with him though. At the end, she starts to confess her feelings for him, 'til her top pops open due to Clothing Damage from her duel with Mukyo. Naturally, he couldn't help but look and gets decked for it. It's unknown whether he still has a shot with her afterwards, or if he's ruined his chances for good.
  • Meaningful Name/Stealth Pun: Both the show's title and the company's name is a play on the words "You-Gen-Kai-Sya" which means "limited liability company"note . However, using different kanji, the word "yugen" means "the occult", which their company specializes in.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Ayaka's a redhead, has a stunning figure for a woman her age, routinely sleeps in the nude, and will often show up for breakfast, in her panties, with her top open. Oh, and she's got legs.
  • Ms. Red Ink: Ayaka is the reason her company stays in debt, due to all the damage claims that get filed against them and her excessive spending habits. At the end of the third Incident File, she blew their entire commission and then some in a single shopping spree. Made worse, since the blank check Mr. Nagasuki had given them was rendered invalid, after he was found guilty of embezzlement. Meaning, Ayaka had racked up a bill they couldn't possibly pay off; landing them deep in the red. Again.
  • Nature Adores a Virgin: Briefly discussed when Bosco explains to Ayaka that it's become difficult for vampires to find virgins in their day and age, given how liberal society had become. The fact that Makiko is not only a virgin, but doesn't drink, smoke, or do drugs, makes her blood especially pure. Which causes her stick out like a walking neon "drink me" sign and is the reason she was being relentlessly pursued by Dracula.
  • Not a Morning Person: Ayaka Kisaragi. See the Bottle Fairy entry above.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: Mamoru is completely unfazed by Ayaka's habit of sleeping in the nude, and shows neither interest or embarrassment when he enters her room to wake her up each morning; nor is he bothered by how she shows up for breakfast.
  • Occult Detective: U Division's Detective Karino, who commisions jobs to Phantom Quest. Ayaka and Madam Sumei count as well.
    • Paranormal Investigation: It's right there, in the company name and their job description. If it has anything to do with paranormal, or supernatural activity, Phantom Quest and U Division will take the assignment.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Narita was part of an archeological team that was sent on a desert expedition to find ruins of a fabled Egyptian kingdom. The rest of the team eventually gave up, leaving him to continue the search on his own. Narita died mere moments after finally discovering the ruins, so his spirit lingered. His girlfriend, Natsuki Ogawa, was working on the exhibit for it, since it'd been their joint projectnote . So he helps her set it up, while keeping her safe from Mr. Nagasuki's advances. Once the exhibit finally opens for public viewing, and he'd made certain Natsuki was no longer in danger, he departs for the afterlife.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Bosco is anemic, but capable of walking around in broad daylight, though he wear sunglasses to shield his eyes (he switches to a tinted pair of pince nez while he's indoors).
    • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Literally. The guy runs a tea shop for cute teens and 20 somethings that specifically caters to all-female clientelenote . Plus, he's been following Makiko at night to protect her from another vampire who'd recently reincarnated.
  • Perma Stubble: Karino constantly sports a few chin hairs.
  • Perpetual Poverty: While Phantom Quest always solves the case, they always end up in the red due to Ayaka's recklessness and spending habits.
  • Playing with Fire: Nanami's special ability. Too bad she has trouble controlling it, especially when she's frightened.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: U Division is understaffed, with a grand total of three employees. One of whom, is an elderly man who seems to be passing time until retirement (or death), the other's a spinster with a Hair-Trigger Temper, and Karino, whose desk is shown to be buried under a mountain of paperwork. Which explains why he outsources his extra assignments to Phantom Quest.
  • Redheaded Heroine: Ayaka, as seen in the page image.
  • Removed Achilles Heel: As seen in the Daywalking Vampire entry, Bosco eventually became immune to sunlight (along with crosses and garlic) through controlled exposure to them.
  • Rica Matsumoto: Ayaka's Japanese seiyu.
  • Rooftop Confrontation: Near the end of the fourth Incident File ("Lover Come Back to Me"), Ayaka gets cornered on the roof of the Hadja's temple. Which culminates in a showdown between her and Mukyo, in one of the most well animated and choreographed sword fights in the series.
  • Ship Tease: Ayaka with Karino, gets deep-sixed in the end though. Or was it...?
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man:
    • Ayaka realizes she isn't getting any younger and wants to find that 'special someone'. She's aware of Karino's feelings for her and flirts with him on occasion. But she still plays hard to get by feigning disinterest. Though she nearly confesses her feelings for him at the end of the final episode.
    • Makiko also qualifies. Though she wasn't actively looking for love, she finds it anyway when she falls for with Bosco at the end of the first Incident File.
  • Sleeping with the Boss: In Incident File 03, Mr. Nagasuki gets caught in the act of having sex with his secretary, when Detective Karino drops by his office to question him. Nagasuki and his secretary are later shown in bed together, at his condo.
  • So Long, Suckers!: Ayaka does this to Madam Sumei, when it comes time to pay for her services.
  • Stalker with a Crush: A rare instance where it's justified. Though Bosco is love with Makiko, he wasn't stalking her. It turned out that he was protecting her from Dracula, who had recently reincarnated and was repeatedly victimizing her.
  • Taking You with Me: Mukyo attempts this, after his defeat, by grabbing Ayaka's leg then pitching himself off the roof with his dying breath. He ends up in a tree. Ayaka, however, ends up in Karino's arms when he breaks her fall by catching her.
  • Trenchcoat Brigade: Karino is rarely seen without his trenchcoat and always sports a few chin hairs. Plus, he has a habit of smoking during stakeouts, or when he's thinking. But he isn't the hard-boiled type (see below).
  • Unlucky Everydude: What's a guy to do, when he's swamped with work at a department with only three people? Easy: Karino commissions some of it to Phantom Quest, as a personal favor to Ayaka, to help with her company. While also trying to win her over by proving how reliable he can be.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Between Ayaka and Detective Karino, with shades of Belligerent Sexual Tension.
  • Wendee Lee: Ayaka's English dub voice.
  • Who You Gonna Call?: As previously mentioned, Phantom Quest will take any case involving paranormal activity, or the supernatural (so long as it pays well). Incidentally, the show's intro doubles as their ad and is even sung by Ayaka's VA!
  • Willfully Weak: Bosco is anemic, due to only allowing himself to feed four times a year, which has also deprived him of the strength he'd possess as a vampire. And he's perfectly fine with that, since he'd much rather have Makiko.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Played with over the course of the series. It almost happens at the end of the final episode... then Karino mucks it up. See the Maybe Ever After entry above.


Alternative Title(s):

Phantom Quest Corp