Visual Novel: Phantom of Inferno
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 Yosuke Kuroda
writing and supervising the scripts (including a few from the original scenarist himself 
) 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. This release was later ported on PC.
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 similar themes
This work provides examples of:
- Accidental Athlete: Drei
- 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
- Bait-and-Switch Credits: The second opening plays with this. The actual footage makes things look like a slice of life series, but the intentional Soundtrack Dissonance from the song by Ali Project suggests that things aren't nearly as peaceful as they seem.
- Bloodier and Gorier: The OVA features several messy deaths of the Boom, Headshot variety.
- Bodyguard Crush: Zwei and Cal, Mio and Shiga.
- 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.
- Brainwashed and Crazy
- Break the Cutie: Arguably the entire premise of the series. In fact, this is the BigBad Scythe's Job when he's in Stasi, the East German secret police.
- 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?
- Cool Guns: And how!
- Dark Action Girl: Drei.
- 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.
- Depraved Bisexual: In Phantom: Integration, Drei is one temporarily.
- 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.
- Downer Ending (Anime): In literally the last minute of the show, Reiji is shot & killed by a disguised assassin in a passing hay wagon, and Ein commits suicide by consuming a poisonous Oxytropis leaf.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: The anime's ending was going this way...but see Downer Ending above! Augh!
- 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.
- Ein in the anime series is a near replica of Kirika from Noir, right down to her mannerisms.
- Falling Chandelier of Doom: One of the Zahlen Schwestern gets this treatment.
- Fanservice: Ein, Claudia, Drei, Mio, and the Zahlen Schwestern.
- Fan Disservice: Scythe Master licking Ein suggestively in the first couple hours of play. Also Drei violently tearing off Mio's clothes.
- Gaiden Game Phantom: Integration is Phantom of Inferno with hentai.
- 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.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: See Fan Disservice for the example. It fits two tropes (Hirameki released the game as 13+).
- 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.
- Girls with Guns
- The Gunslinger: Ein and Drei.
- Homage: Cal recites lines from films such as Dirty Harry and Taxi Driver as she is learning to fire a gun.
- 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.
- "I Know What We Can Do" Cut: Scythe's plan in episode 6.
- 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.
- Kill 'em All: Of all the named main characters, only Mio and Karma Houdini Raymond McGuire are still standing at the end.
- Lighter and Softer / Denser and Wackier: The Picture Dramas, which frequently portray Reiji as both the Only Sane Man and a major Butt Monkey, Ein as The Comically Serious, and Scythe as a Large Ham with the entire cast discussing rather mundane things most of the time rather than anything crime or assassin related but still treating everything as Serious Business. Several of the shorts even portray Reiji and Ein as live action puppets.
- Mafia Princess: Mio. Even she doesn't know about it.
- 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.
- Not Quite Dead: Over and over and over...
- The Ojou: Mio.
- Ominous Music Box Tune: Drei's music box.
- 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. Eren also has a scar where she was shot by Lizzie.
- 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.
- The first episode has a few homages to Scarface (1983) 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.
- Slasher Smile: Reiji near the end of episode 10.
- Sleep Cute: Cal and Reiji in the second anime, oddly replacing a sex scene.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Is it Elen or Eren?
- The Syndicate: Inferno.
- Vague Age: The only apparent reason to why Drei grew up and Ein/Zwei didn't.
- Video Game Remake: Remade for Xbox 360 featureing the new character designs created in the anime series ~Requiem for the Phantom~ as well as the voice cast.
- Viva Las Vegas: One episode has Ein carry out a hit at the Paris hotel.
- White Mask of Doom: Worn by assassins.
- You Are Number Six: Ein, Zwei, Drei as well as the individual members of the Zahlen Schwestern in the anime.