First Impressions Digest – Prince of Stride: Alternative, Musaigen no Phantom World

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No matter how famous the studio may be, an absence of creative ambition and commitment is always going to be a problem.


Prince of Stride: Alternative – 01

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I’m not too bothered that P.o.S. (let’s be kind and let that unfortunate acronym slide on by) didn’t do anything for me.  I’m not the intended audience, for starters – this is an otome game adaptation, and I’ve yet to find one of those that interested me in the slightest.

It does kind of suck that Madhouse’s only new show this season is a throwaway like this, but it’s not the end of the world.  These sort of shows are the toll that must be paid to produce stuff like Kiseijuu and Death Parade, and I’m fine with that.  It’s usually pretty clear from the production values when Madhouse is mailing it in – the gap between the shows they care about and the ones they just want to make a few Yen on is almost always quite obvious.

The show itself isn’t the worst of its type, but there wasn’t anything that struck me as especially notable about it.  This story of a Parkour-like sports called “Stride”, the boys who play it, and the audience-insert girl is pretty standard.  The guys are all 100% stock character tropes and the girl a complete snooze, and all the big-name seiyuu are in roles they could (and perhaps are) do in their sleep.  A bore, for me anyway – but Madhouse will make up for it sooner or later.  They always do.

Musaigen no Phantom World – 01

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Today just happened to end up as premiere day for three big-time studios in Madhouse, P.A. Works and Kyoto Animation, but what struck me about Musaigen no Phantom World is just how little hype there’s been for this show as opposed to the usual KyoAni series.  And to be honest, after watching the premiere it’s easy to see why.

It’s not as though this show is terrible or anything, but it just doesn’t seem to be trying very hard.  In that way it has a lot in common with Prince of Stride, and it’s about as forgettable.  This is very safe, very textbook KyoAni material – the character designs, the music, the themes, the casting.  If you’re a big fan that might be enough to satisfy, but as a KyoAni agnostic it doesn’t come close to doing so for me.  KyoAni has a certain way of doing things – right down to the staff and usually the cast they use – and unless there’s a real spark of originality in the material things can get pretty same-y (as they do here).

If there’s anything that distinguishes Musaigen from most Kyoto Animation series, it’s that this one is a bit more transparent in the way it uses fanservice.  But mostly we have the usual elements – the put-upon male lead, the small army of elfin yet usually busty genki harem girls, the fantasy element (in this case a future where illusion and reality are difficult to tell apart), the broad physical comedy.  It’s a formula that’s been a proven commercial winner so I guess it’s easy to see why the studio rarely strays from it much – though there have been a few cracks in that successful facade in the last couple of years.

But even if the end result isn’t outstanding, KyoAni really needs to stretch their boundaries at least a little, as they did in Hibike! Euphonium, or the end result is really lifeless.  Pretty, but lifeless – which is a pretty good description of Musaigen no Phantom World.

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5 comments

  1. g

    I'm a little disappointed with PoS: A ;). Like yeah, I've known it's a otome game but I thought maybe they add some spin to it or the otome part won't be prevalent so much, because the idea for a sport was nice (street running + parkour). Unfortunately, it didn't do to me anything either and left me cold and I am the Tagret Audience. So they did something wrong or I'm too old for this (probably it's the second reason).

    Some images and scenes very nice but they didn't mash up together well. And interactions between characters were little cringe worthy. When the girl almost cried when they clap their hands I rolled my eyes "Gurl, chiiill, please…"

    And her dream… she isn't very ambitious, is she? It would be better if the club was gender mix, because why not, it's a fiction. Or at last she would be a special snow flake (once a better option) and be gifted with running or agile and good with parkour part and be on the team but she would have to much personality then – as an otome heroine it's impossible, it's just like with a main guy in LN harem adaptations.

  2. m

    "It's usually pretty clear from the production values when Madhouse is mailing it in" It,s not always a necessary thing, there is always the schelude factor or when a series is done and this series actually have a lot of things againts it. The thing is that is actually in a very bad point, just right after a beast like OPM and before what they are working as a big thing to the future, any series could break just with that. So i don,t think that production values are always a definitive proof of slacking. There are times that there is just a matter of bad luck or mommentum. And about this series itself maybe i feel it as a filler series and i much more interested about to know what is their new NTV series, but i don,t feel stride as an "off" series to me .Maybe the production values are kinda lacking but i really think that the reason is more a matter of the circunstances than a lack of effort by the staff, because i find the direction good and I think that the color desing and art direction is actually amazing.(Both things that by the way i found kinda weak in OPM, despite better production values.)I kinda wish that this same series could be based on a better written manga instead from a otome and done in a better time, because there are things that i really like from this series. Even if i am more interested about their future proyects, i don,t really see this series as a something they have to feel sorry for doing. The problem is what is not. But i don,t see any big problem with what is.

  3. K

    POSA was stock otome, but I liked the direction and some scenes had a great composition, beyond that seems too stock.

    Phantom made me laugh,I don't know why but it did. Perhaps my ironclad rule of skipping every single "light novel magical harem high school" anime has given me some rest that let me appreciate this one. I don't think is a "masterpiece" or even "good" but if it keeps making me laugh I will keep watching.

  4. g

    POS may be generic with its characters but I liked the execution and style of the show.

  5. T

    At least POS female lead isn't Amnesia or Diabolik Lovers level bad. Which is, IMO, quite an accomplishment as a Reverse Harem. Neither is she the second coming of Haruhi Fujioka or Shirayuki. It's a shame to say that, for Otome Games, this is rather unique – and I am wondering how a "medicorely written" but not antagonizingly awful reverse harem protagonist would actually look like.

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