Phantom of Inferno is the first release by the visual novel developer Nitro+, whose games are almost invariably dark, scary, and full of murder. Nitroplus can be considered a blender of ideas, but Phantom in fact has a simple story in comparison to their other games.The story follows the life of a young man who sees something he shouldn't have seen, is captured and brainwashed by a shadowy organization called Inferno and then is given the choice "join or die". He is trained as an assassin by a soft-spoken girl called Ein. Ein is Inferno's top assassin, code-named "Phantom" and controlled by the sinister Scythe Master, who also brainwashed the man. The man is given the name Zwei and begins his work at Inferno.The game was first given an adaptation which tried to sum up the game in 3 OVA episodes. In 2009, a new anime entitled "Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~" was produced by Bee Train with YosukeKuroda writing and supervising the scripts (including a few from the original scenarist himself GenUrobuchi) and directed by Koichi Mashimo. The game has since been remade for the Xbox 360 featuring the anime design created by Bee Train, for October 25, 2012 release.Notably, previews for the original game's second release aired at around the same time as Noir, which led to viewers connecting the two (as they have similarthemes).
Adaptation First: Averted. Although it's very rare and hard to find these days, the original visual novel was released in the U.S. by Hirameki, making it not only one of the very few to be released with an official English translation but also arguably the only one to be released with an English translation before its animated adaptation was.
Anyone Can Die: Played straight, played with, subverted, averted, inverted, whatever. Drei, Scythe Master, Ein, Zwei, Claudia, Lizzie, a LOT of people. Just take your pick.
Badass Normal: Reiji had implausible fighting capabilities before joining Inferno.
Later turned into just plain Bad Ass after the first time skip
Brainwashed: Scythe does this to Ein to keep her loyal. After Claudia's coup d'etat, the process is ceased and reversed on the agents they still have. Scythe himself later decides that not brainwashing his subordinates may actually make them stronger.
Chekhov's Gunman - Back in chapter 2 of the original Visual Novel, there is a small scene where Godoh Daisuke calls and speaks to his niece back in Japan. Considering all of the action that goes on in the chapter, the player will most probably have forgotten about this call by the end of it. Guess who turns out to be a main heroine in chapter 3?
Death by Adaptation / Revised Ending: The anime follows the "Ein" path from the visual novel and features the "Road of the Cerulean Sky" ending from it as its conclusion, with the exception that in this version, Reiji and Ein both die at the very end.
Demoted to Extra: In the OAV, Claudia's role was almost completely slashed so that she only appears briefly in the third episode. Additionally, since the OAV only loosely followed in Visual Novel's first act, Cal's only makes a very brief background cameo during the second episode, and notably she's a brunette rather than a blonde.
Diabolus ex Machina: The last 15 seconds of the anime turned it from Bittersweet Ending to Downer Ending. Since everyone capable of killing Reiji and Ein had already been introduced and defeated, whoever shot Reiji after the credits wouldn't be recognized in a lineup by Chekhov or viewers.
The Visual Novel, on the other hand, plays it completely straight.
Expy: Drei looks exactly like Elise from the Triangle Heart 3: Sweet Songs Forever OVA, and though Elise is much more professional and Drei much more wild, their similarities don't end at using guns, speaking Gratuitous English and wearing purple. Both are introduced after the bulk of the story and are put at odds with the male lead, whom they hate after a traumatic childhood incident involving a bomb planted by the Big Bad, and the female lead, who's just along for the ride.
Cal has some similarities with Mathilda: a teenaged girl trying to hire an assassin to avenge her murdered sibling, beginning to fall in love with said assassin, and learning the art of killing herself.
Fanservice: Ein, Claudia, Drei, Mio, and the Zahlen Schwestern.
Fan Disservice: Scythe Master licking Ein suggestively in the first couple hours of play.
Gaiden Game Phantom: Integration is Phantom of Inferno with hentai.
And an extra ending.
Gainax Ending: In the anime, Reiji is shot dead and Ein lies in the grass smiling. Questions remain, is Ein dead, did Inferno kill Reiji or did Ein? Is Ein dead, did she eat a poison flower? The ending is still hotly debated.
It's not clear if Reiji was actually killed either. We never actually see him get hit, and he has survived bullet wounds in the past.
Genre Shift: Joked around with. The anime's second opening will leave you surprised.
Geographic Flexibility: the anime dub states that everything is occurring around Los Angeles, with the desert scenes likely occurring in the Mojave desert to the east. However, if you look at "LA" (or know anything about it), it doesn't have the following: Honolulu's skyline, New York's Chrysler Building, Miami's shoreline, etc.
This is made even worse when Ein drives what appears to be a Fiat Cinquecento, which was never available in North America.
Possible homages to the Girls With Guns Trilogy also created by the animation studio Bee Train. One example The white dresses worn by the Zahlen Schwestern girls look like the dresses worn by MADLAX and Margaret Burton in the series.
If anything the Girls With Guns Trilogy had Shout Outs to Phantom since it predated the earliest entry, Noir by about a year. There's more than just the Zahlen Schwestern outfits, for example Ein and the three main characters, Kirika, Margaret and Ellis all have no recollection of their past and Reiji is shown to have almost super-human Assassin instincts like Kirika.
Japanese Pronouns: Zwei uses the pronoun 'boku' to refer to himself most of the time before the timeskip. Afterwards, he uses 'ore'.
Karma Houdini: In the anime Raymond McGuire, leader of Inferno, has Reiji assassinated and Ein commits suicide, and even though he's lost Scythe Master and his assassins, still controls Inferno and most of the US criminal underworld.
Mood Whiplash: The first half of Episode 20 in the anime. After such a solemn ending to the last episode, you may question if the anime is playing a joke on you by suddenly switching gears to a high school comedy. However, for the second half of the episode it's just buissness as usual.
Ein and Zwei suffer from this, though often it is part of their cover. It almost seems as if Ein and Zwei are completely seperate people from Eren and Reiji.
Mutually Exclusive Party Members: If you come down to the choice between Ein and Cal at the end of chapter 3, the one Reiji doesn't search for will die by the end.
Not Brainwashed: Drei is the result of Scythe's "thought experiment" to see if keeping her memories and playing on her old grudges will keep her as loyal and efficient as removing her memories altogether would.
Recap Episode: Episode 11. Parts of episode 19 as well, but not as bad as episode 11.
Scars Are Forever: In the anime after Reiji is shot by Scythe at one point, the bullet wounds leave permanent scars over his body. This is most evident in one brief scene where he's sun-tanning on his apartment roof and they're clearly visible over his chest.
Sexy Backless Outfit: Ein's party costume in episode 6 and the dresses of the Zahlen Schwestern, both in the recent anime and in the visual novel.
Shout-Out: The first episode has a few homages to Scarface including the Giant Globe bearing the words The World is Mine.
Reiji and Cal's initial relationship is a notable homage to one between the two protagonists of the film Leon.
Shown Their Work: The original game went into ridiculous levels of detail when it came to the guns. You got lectures.
Why Fandom Can't Have Nice Things: When FUNimation picked the series up for simulcast streaming episode 10 was leaked prematurely causing an indefinite postponement of further North American simulcast streams. The simulcast did eventually return.
You Are Number Six: Ein, Zwei, Drei as well as the individual members of the Zahlen Schwestern in the anime.