Light Novel / Myriad Colors Phantom World

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Myriad Colors Phantom World is a Japanese light novel series written by Souichirou Hatano and illustrated by Shirabi. An animated adaptation produced by Kyoto Animation aired from January 7, 2016 and March 31, 2016. The show was directed by Tatsuya Ishihara, with Fumihiko Shimo serving as series composer, and Kazumi Ikeda as character designer and chief animation director.

A mysterious incident 10 years prior changed how humans perceive the world, allowing them to see creatures long thought imaginary. These formerly mythical beings, called Phantoms, come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The incident also imbued certain people with special abilities. Haruhiko Ichijo possesses a special ability allowing him to seal Phantoms by drawing them in a sketchbook. Along with his classmate Mai Kawakami, Haruhiko is a member of the Hosea Academy Neural Error Corrections Club, where students accept jobs handling Phantoms in exchange for useful household goods. Unfortunately for them, Team E (consisting only of Haruhiko and Mai) have the worst performance record out of all teams. In an effort to change this, Haruhiko and Mai set out to find more members to join their team.

Important to note that Myriad Colors Phantom World was just a single volume light novel for a long time since its debut in 2013, with the second volume only coming out at the end of 2015 and the third announced for later in 2016, so it’s pretty justified from Kyo Ani to follow its own original scenarios to fill a 13 episodes Anime (plus one OVA) in this particular case.


Tropes:

  • Accidental Marriage: Done in episode eight to get rid of the phantom after the students learn that his girlfriend ran off with someone else. They then decide to have someone marry him, but unfortunately for Haruhiko, he's the one chosen to be the bride.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Like some other adaptations of modern KyoAni, Amagi Brilliant Park and Hyouka, the studio adapted Phantom World with many of their own original developments, situations and even characters not found in the source material, so it’s more of “based after” rather “adapted from”; the anime series is already reported to go into its own direction right away from the early episodes, not to say they are ignoring all developments from the source material though, some made into the anime.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Ruru and Kurumi are characters that are completely original to the anime and do not exist in the novels. Kurumi represents a child's view in the world of the series and Ruri provides a comic foil to Haruhiko and his friends.
    • To add the series was but a single book in 2013, only becoming a numbered series in 2015 when the second volume dropped in, so the animation has plenty of room to show new situations and characters.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Every one of the girls gets at least one episode that focuses heavily on them, such as Reina attempting to cope with her real family who seemed strict, distant, and uncaring, and is lured towards a phantom family who seemed to love and care for her quite a bit.
  • Adorable Abomination: Haruhiko's summons, despite how they appear in his sketches. Marchosias is supposed to be terror inducing Hellhound that commands thirty Legions of Hell. Cthulhu is supposed to be an Eldritch Abomination whose mere presence causes incurable insanity and rends apart reality. They're instead a puppy with tiny angel wings and a cartoon squid.
    • In Episode 13, Haruhiko manages to summon them in true Eldritch Abomination form against Enigma. Marchosias' form being just like it appears in Haruhiko's sketch.
  • All Part of the Show: The student phantom in episode nine reveals to Haruhiko and the others that she just wanted to put on a good play that could win the contest. While they're discussing this, the audience continues watching. Though they're not sure if said discussion was part of the play or not, they decide that it is convincing and enjoy it quite a bit. Haruhiko and the others then proceed with the rest of the play.
  • Alternate Universe: Aptly named "Another" which is the VERY bleak setting of book 2.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: After Haruhiko's mother returns home in episode twelve, he spends a week catching up with her. The girls get a little suspicious despite them seemingly getting along rather well. After they show up at his house and get invited to dinner, his mother asks him which one of the girls he's going to marry. Haruhiko suffers some High-Pressure Emotion, particularly as she continues prying into the subject, with each girl mentioning something they've done with him in previous episodes.
  • Anachronic Order: The very second novel jumps further in time to show everyone as young adults in their mid-twenties dealing with phantoms, the third volume is reported to go back to its base timeline with everyone in high school. This is because the events of book 2 occur in its own self-contained Alternate Universe.
  • And Knowing Is Half the Battle: Most episodes start off with a brief lesson from Haruhiko and Ruru. The only exceptions are Episode 11 and 13.
  • Badass Adorable / Cute Bruiser: Mai is way smaller than most of the phantoms she goes up against but she's still able to damage them with devastating punches and kicks.
    • Played with in the case of Haruhihiko's phantom summons. Marchosias is adorable but normally just gets swatted out of the way. On the other hand, every time Haruhiko summons Cthulhu, despite it looking like a deformed, cartoon squid, it kicks serious ass. Even dealing a damaging blow to Enigma - Reminding all of us that no matter how it looks, it's still, y'know, Cthulhu
    • Albrecht is a cute teddy bear who can get much larger and smack them around.
  • Belly Dancer: Ruru's main costume is straight out of the Arabian Nights, albeit with a lot more leg shown. A piece of official art also shows Reima and Mai wearing her costume.
  • Big Bad: Touka Kashima, and by extension, Alayashiki. Almost all of the mess happening in the Light Novels can be directly or indirectly traced to what they did.
    • Enigma is the closest to one in the anime.
  • Big Eater: Reina. She can not only eat Phantoms, but also consumes a staggering amount of normal food on a regular basis. It is this reason her parents do not give her an allowance, despite being rich.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Done in the beginning of episode twelve, when Ruru and Haruhiko mention that stories written by humans could very well be phantom-ized. He then mentions that since folktales aren't copyrighted, such as Snow White, they can freely mention them.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: A heroic variant. In Episode 3, Mai is challenged to a battle by two Phantoms who seem to recognize her, although she has no idea who they are. It turns out that when they were children, a rambunctious Mai had play-fought the two Phantoms and caused them great distress; they'd then spent the last ten years training for a rematch. Unusually, Mai does remember the incident, but not the play-fighting bit (see Self-Serving Memory); she also doesn't make the connection with the Phantoms until the end of the episode.
  • Butt-Monkey: Haruhiko gets screwed over in some way at least Once an Episode, on average.
  • Cat Girl: Many of the students get cat ears and a tail when the cat mansion Phantom spreads its influence over the school. This affects Mai, Reina, Koito, and Kurumi as well. For some reason, Haruhiko is spared.
    • Haruhiko Suggests that people with more growth hormone in their system Cat-ify faster, such as those who are younger, sleep a lot, or are on sports teams. At the beginning it's mentioned that he stays up late reading, and thus doesn't get enough sleep, so it can be reasoned that he has less growth hormone in his system and was thus Cat-ifying slower than everyone else
  • Cat Smile: Worn by the main characters and most of the school population when under the influence of the cat mansion Phantom.
  • Cliffhanger: Episode twelve ends on one, after the Monster of the Week attacks Haruhiko, stealing his powers, then escaping from his mother's body. Ruru is also knocked unconscious even though she wasn't directly attacked, suggesting she has a link to him.
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: Haruhiko tries to catch Reina when she starts to fall down a flight of stairs, but ends up almost groping her boob. He changes position at the last second, but ends up with an up-close view of Reina's blue and white striped undies. The viewer doesn't get to see it, but Haruhiko sure does.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Enigma dishes one out to the main girls in episode thirteen. She is then on the receiving end of one when Haruhiko recovers his powers.
  • Cute Bookworm: Haruhiko. His bedroom resembles a small library, being filled floor to ceiling with books of all types. He's also read all of the books in the school library and frequents the public library.
  • Damsel in Distress: Mai fills this role in the play during episode nine. Due to not being allowed to fight back, she barely phones it in.
  • Darker and Edgier: The entirety of Book 2. What makes it worse is that this happens without any build-up or foreshadowing. It turns out it was the work of a Jerkass God-level phantom who created an Alternate Universe just to screw with Haruhiko.
  • Delaying Action: Haruhiko's group attempts this in episode thirteen to buy some time for the Alayashiki employees to evacuate civilians from the research center she was attacking.
  • Demonic Possession: Enigma is capable of this, as seen in episode twelve, after she possesses Haruhiko's mother in order to get closer to him. Once the girls find out it's her, she then sucks away his powers and leaves his mother's body behind to escape.
  • Destination Defenestration: Comedic variant. Haruhiko gets repeatedly tossed out the window while trying to subdue a perverted UFO Phantom at a woman's college residence.
  • Disney Death: In Episode 10, Ruru apparently lets herself get blown up by fireworks, and Haruhiko and the rest all cry for her. She ultimately survives.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Used against the phantom in episode eight in an attempt to lure it out of the pool so it could be sealed away. While Reina's and Koito's attempts aren't very successful, Mai ends up managing to lure it out.
  • Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: Koito sports some after some fangirls approach her and ask to take a picture with her in episode twelve. She displays them again with the other main girls while fighting the sunflower phantom, and finding out his Weaksauce Weakness of only being able to face the sun after they move behind him.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Enigma doesn't make it easy for Haruhiko and his group to take down. Fortunately they manage to find a way.
  • Easily Forgiven: Haruhiko forgives his mother and keeps in touch in the end, it is shown she was suffering and holding dear a memento that reminded her of him and wanted to reunite. Although meeting Haruhiko again after all those years was purely orchestrated by Enigma while taking over her body in order to get Haruhiko’s powers. While his mother wanted to meeting him again, it might not have happened without Enigma’s influence,or ever.
  • Eating the Enemy: With her Vacuum Mouth ability, she can eat Phantoms that she can overpower.
  • Eleventh Hour Superpower: Haruhiko manages to regain his powers in episode thirteen after his instructor gives him The Reveal that Ruru is a manifestation of some of his suppressed feelings, and that kissing her could restore them. Not only does he regain his powers back, but they grow even stronger. He is able to summon Marchosias and Cthulhu in the forms he originally drew them as, instead of the cute cartoonish forms they had for much of the show.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Princess Kurumi in the land of Bears.
  • Fanservice: The anime may be even more fanservicey than Amagi Brilliant Park, at least in terms of the gratuitous Gainaxing which was not in Amagi despite having well-endowed characters jumping in bikinis at one point. Now it seems like the animators at Kyoani have decided to animate Mai's breasts jiggling as much as possible, maybe as an attempt to make up for the lack of it in Amagi?
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Food Chains: Eating the food provided by the Phantom rabbit family brings Haruhiko and Mai under the illusion's control.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Haruhiko had actually met Touko Kashima before, while he was a child but he no longer remembers her. Touko however, does.
  • From Bad to Worse: Episode 12 brings in the existence of a Phantom called Enigma who can steal people's special abilities and can't seem to be sealed. Haruhiko's mother shows up, only for it to be revealed Enigma's possessing her, and the episode ends with Haruhiko's powers stolen, while him, his mom and Ruri are all unconscious and in bad condition.
  • Full-Contact Magic: Mai's ability allows her to channel elemental powers through her body and she specializes in martial arts.
  • Gainaxing:
    • Mai is the last contestant in a limbo contest against some utility pole phantoms. Unfortunately, she's also in danger of losing because her large breasts won't fit under the rope. To get under the rope she starts bouncing her breasts so that when they reach their lowest point she slips under the rope. Note that this would really only work in real life if 1) she wasn't wearing a bra and 2) her breasts were made of jello.
    • Mai's breasts subtly bounce quite a bit almost every other time as well.
  • Genki Girl: Ruru is full of energy!
  • Genre Savvy: When he tries to rescue Reina on their first encounter, Haruhiko realises that he might commit the classical accidental boob grab. He tries to avert that trope by turning away from her, using his back to cushion her fall. Then Ruru butts in and helps her to land... by pulling her so that she's sitting on his face.
  • Gentle Giant: The cat mansion Phantom. When Kurumi and Reina ask the Phantom to return the lost kitten, it graciously grants their request.
  • Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: Engima does this in episode twelve. While possessing Haruhiko's mother, she seems like a typical over doting parent. However, once Mai is warned by their advisor over the phone about Enigma's ability to possess people, she then shows up right behind Mai in the hallway and attacks the group after her secret is revealed.
  • Graceful Loser: Enigma. As she vanishes, she is thankful for the time she spent with Haruhiko as his mother.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Played for Laughs in episode twelve. After Haruhiko's group becomes proficient phantom hunters, all of the girls suddenly become very popular, but not him. He then whines about it, prompting Ruru to gently pat him on the head for all his hard work. He immediately complains that Ruru's pity makes him feel even worse.
  • Hero Killer: Downplayed. Though Enigma doesn't actually kill anyone, she is a Power Parasite and can steal ability user's powers. The victims are severely weakened and have to be hospitalized.
  • High-Pressure Emotion: Haruhiko's reaction when his mother asks him which girl he's going to marry. He tries to brush it off, but she keeps pressing the subject, getting every girl to mention something they like about him, or something they did together with him.
  • Jerkass Gods: The aptly-named "Him", who is the Anthropomorphic Representation of Humanity's belief in the divine. The events of Book 2 even happening is because he wanted to give him a Secret Test of Character by dropping a copy of Haruhiko into the bleakest situation possible, and see if the said copy breaks under the strain.
  • Literal Split Personality: Riira for Haruhiko, from book 2 onward.
  • Magical Incantation: Called 'Paroles', these chants are often used by those possessing special abilities. Paroles make it easier for ability users to utilize their powers.
  • Male Gaze: The camera loves to focus on Mai's breasts. It will also occasionally focus on various parts of the other girls, such as Reina's legs.
  • Mass Super-Empowering Event: 10 years ago, a terrorist bomb hit a facility owned by a company called Alayashiki. This released a virus that affected the brain into the population, causing changes in brain function. This allowed people to perceive Phantoms. Some infants also developed special powers, which allowed them to fight Phantoms.
  • Motor Mouth: Haruhiko goes on a completely random tangent about a Roman naturalist and manticores after witnessing Reina consume some Phantoms. This doesn't exactly endear him to Reina, who is understandably freaked out.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: Some of the phantoms encountered by the main characters are actually friendly, such as Ruru and Albrecht, both of whom assist them with the more hostile phantoms. Others are otherwise neutral, such as the phantom in episode nine who merely wanted to put on a good play, albeit taking it to Serious Business levels at times.
  • The Peeping Tom: A Phantom resembling a small UFO hangs around a woman's college residence and peeps on girls as they change.
  • Perpetual Poverty: Reina and Mai. Reina doesn't get any allowance, but eats like a black hole, meaning that she's always low on cash. Mai mentions that she's living alone and needs to rely on the prizes earned from Neural Error Corrections Club jobs.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: When Haruhiko summons Marchosias, he gets a small winged puppy instead of a large wolf. Despite that, Marchosias is still capable of fighting a much larger Chimera Phantom.
  • Pointy Ears: More human-like Phantoms have these, including Ruru and the two martial-artist Phantoms.
  • Pokémon Speak: Cthulhu speaks using syllables of its name.
  • Power Parasite: Enigma, the Monster of the Week seen in episode twelve, is able to steal ability user's powers by kissing them and sucking it away. She is then able to utilize said powers herself. Haruhiko's abilities are stolen from him at the end of the episode after they find out his mother was possessed by Enigma to get closer to him.
    • Ruppa from the Light Novels, is this as well. Fitting, as Enigma is based on Ruppa.
  • Rapid-Fire Typing: Done in episode thirteen to gain access to the Alayashiki servers. However, it's not Haruhiko who does this, but Albrecht, oddly enough.
  • Rasputinian Death: Enigma manages to shrug off most of the attacks from the girls. However, despite some pretty powerful attacks from Haruhiko's two pets, it still takes the effort of the entire group to give him enough time to seal her away.
  • Reality Ensues: In episode 3, Haruhiko gains Mai's martial arts skills by sharing her memories. Unfortunately, Haruhiko can't actually execute these new skills because he lacks the stamina and strength to do so.
  • Real Place Background: The anime makes heavy use of locales in the Japanese town of Kamakura. The main characters travel with the Shōnan Monorail, and Shōnan-Enoshima Station appears throughout. The stairs to Reina's house are also modeled after the stairs of Gokurakuji temple.
  • The Reveal: Two are shown in episode thirteen. The first is when Haruhiko meets his mother's new husband, who mentions that she wanted to visit but felt she didn't have any right to after leaving him. The second is when his advisor speculates that Ruru was formed from some of his repressed emotions and memories. So in a way, she's like his twin sister, which she playfully exploits at the end of the episode.
  • Self-Serving Memory: Mai remembered being very shy and withdrawn as a child. She also remembered meeting two young Phantoms and happily playing with them. When she meets the Phantoms 10 years later, they reveal that their meeting was not as happy as Mai remembered. Mai was actually a very rambunctious child and had great fun wrestling the two Phantoms, causing them great distress. This caused the young Phantoms to swear revenge and spend the next 10 years training to get revenge on Mai.
  • Serious Business: The theater club president, who later turns out to be a phantom that just wanted to put on a good play so that their school could win one award after losing for years.
  • Shipper on Deck: Haruhiko's mother in episode twelve doesn't beat around the bush at the dinner table, and immediately asks him which of the girls in his group he's going to marry. While he suffers a High-Pressure Emotion breakdown, each of the girls seem quite excited by that prospect.
  • Spoiler Opening: The opening reveals Haruhiko as a summoner, and the creatures he can summon, by showing Marchosias and Cthulhu after he makes a Pokémon Trainer style pose.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Ruru is in nearly every scene...even though she isn't in the original novels at all.
  • Summon Magic: Haruhiko can summon Phantoms by drawing them and speaking the appropriate incantation. Unfortunately, he's not very good at it and often summons something harmless instead.
  • Superpower Lottery: Touko Kashima won it, big time.
  • Took a Level in Badass: At the start of the series, Team E (comprised of Haruhiko and Mai at the time) had the lowest scores in Phantom Hunting, once Reina, Kurumi and Koito join the team, they now have the highest scores in Phantom Hunting.
  • Transferable Memory: Haruhiko muses on the nature of human memory and whether it would be possible to share them with others. Later, Haruhiko and Mai are able to share her memories, allowing Haruhiko to gain her martial arts abilities (but not the stamina or strength to actually execute them).
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Enigma, the Monster of the Week that shows up in episode twelve. She is the first villain that isn't defeated by the end of the episode, and proves to be more than a match for multiple ability users. Koito also mentions that Enigma not showing up in any phantom database makes her uneasy as well, as they have no data on her other than she's a Power Parasite.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The sunflower phantom in episode twelve. The girls have some trouble with him at first, until Koito mentions that he can only face towards the sun. As they get behind him, he is unable to do anything and is then easily defeated.
  • Wham Episode: Episode twelve, in which things aren't cleared up by the end of the episode as was done in every other one up to this point. Instead the Monster of the Week manages to escape Haruhiko's group, and unfortunately stole his powers as well.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Haruhiko is understandably upset when his mother suddenly shows back up in episode twelve, having abandoned him years earlier. However, he tries not to let that fact get in the way of attempting to reunite with her after all these years. Unfortunately it turns out to be Engima, who possessed his mother's body in order to get closer to him so she could steal his powers.
  • Widget Series: The first episode has the main characters play electric limbo with Youkai, and things just get stranger from there.
  • Yandere: Dear lord, Touka and Ruppa, for Haruhiko, the former more than the latter.
  • You Didn't Ask: In episode 13 it is revealed that Albrecht (the stuffed bear) is a world class hacker and has the equivalent of a doctorate in electronics engineering. He fixes in minutes the weird device Haruhiko has been futzing with for half the series, and then promptly breaks through the internet security of Alayashiki just as fast.
  • Youkai: Can now be seen as Phantoms.

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