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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 one Ayaka Kisaragi. They specialize in tracking down and taking out the supernatural - from ghosts, vampires, and every other manner of evil spirit across Tokyo. Which 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: Mr. Nagasuki. Subverted, since he doesn't actually die, but Narita scared him bad enough that he nearly had a heart attack; causing him to foam at the mouth and faint.
  • 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 roughly eight 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 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.
  • Covert Pervert: Karino again, in the final episode, where he gets an eyefull when Ayaka loses her top; which earns him a Megaton Punch.
  • 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: Ayaka's not-so-bad, most of the time, but she's known for her rash behavior and having a hair trigger temper.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 and Karino.
  • Love Redeems: A flashback reveals that Bosco repeatedly exposed himself to crosses, garlic, high powered UV lamps to build resistance (eventually immunity) to sunlight, and even tried to give up blood which he found he couldn't, so he limits himself to feeding only four times a year, while taking supplement tablets inbetween, all so he could be with Makiko.
    • The downside, however, is it's caused him to become anemic and lose much of the power he'd have, as a vampire, if he fed regularly. Even so, he's perfectly content that way, so long as he can be with her.
  • 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.
  • Nature Adores a Virgin: Discussed in-series, when Bosco explains to Ayaka that it's become harder 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, doesn't 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. The guy can cover the nightshift, in case your workmen bail on you, and can knock 'em back like a pro when he's done.
  • Our Vampires Are Different:
    • Bosco is anemic due to limiting himself to feeding only four times a year and is 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 trendy tea shop for attractive teens and 20 somethingsnote . 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 seems to be this, with a grand total of three employees. One apparently sitting around passing time until retirement or death, a lady with a Hair-Trigger Temper, and Karino, who's...a bit shabby.
  • Removed Achilles Heel: As seen in the Love Redeems entry, Bosco eventually became immune to sunlight, garlic and crosses through controlled exposure to them.
  • Rica Matsumoto: Ayaka's Japanese seiyu
  • 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 desperately wants to find that 'special someone'. She knows Detective Karino is in love with her and often goes out of his way to try to prove she can depend on him, which she likes about him, even though he screws up a lot of the time. But she doesn't make it easy for him.
    • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.

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alternative title(s): Phantom Quest Corp; Yuugen Kaisha
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