Phantom Quest Corp. Anime Review
Mysterious Phantom and Spirit Company
US Release By
Ghouls and Ghosts Action/Comedy
4 35-minute episodes
1994-08-25 - 1995-02-25
There are many types of businesses in the world. However Japan has one business that is unlike any other. It deals with the extermination of monsters, demons, ghosts and the like. This company is called You-Gen-Kai-Sya or Phantom Quest Corp. The head of the company is Ayaka Kisaragi. As strange as the concept of Phantom Quest Corp. sounds to other people, the concept of how someone like Ayaka can actually be the head of this company is even more baffling. With her late nights of drinking, karaoke and difficulty getting up in the morning, not to mention her irresponsibility with money, it's surprising that she gets any work done. Somehow, however, she manages to get things done. Somehow...
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Phantom Quest Corp. is a decent, fun little show, but nothing more. It looks like yet another OAV that was created created with fans of the original manga in mind, except it isn't based on one, so it's short on character introductions or background story. However, it's fun, humorous, and well-produced, and the characters are colorful, not to mention significantly older than your average anime teens.
It is straightforward but bound to amuse many and effectively kill a couple satisfying hours. If you like this kind of anime, I'd recommend Phantom Quest Corp.
Full ReviewSwitch to Quick Review
Phantom Quest Corp. is a decent, fun little show, but nothing more. That's how I see it. It looks like yet another OAV that was created created with fans of the original manga in mind, even though it isn't based on one. Don't expect any formal character introductions or background story. You're basically dropped into the everyday lives of the Phantom Quest Corp and then you leave with things basically the same way.
Don't let this turn you off though. Phantom Quest Corp doesn't really make you feel alienated. There's little in the way of unexplained events or complicated character relationships that make you feel like you don't know what's going on. Phantom Quest Corp can be enjoyed well enough for what it is: a decent, fun little show, that provides a good way to kill a couple of hours.
It helps that there's a few good things in the production of the show. One thing is the characters. In retrospect, there's only two with any depth. Ayaka Kisaragi and Karino of the U Division (which is never really explained, but you can infer that it's just a rag-tag police division). What's interesting is that the two of them are older characters, 25-30, as opposed to your run-of-the-mill teenage characters. Ayaka, with her drunken karaoke singing and fondness of sleeping in, provides the bulk of the humour. Although we don't learn much much about Karino, his interaction with Ayaka is frequently entertaining. There are a few minor characters, or rather, employees of Phantom Quest Corp, who provide various comedic moments. Mamoru, a young boy, is the one in charge of Phantom Quest Corp's financial situation and keeping the "office" (Ayaka's house) clean. While you may wonder how a little kid landed this job, you quickly realize it doesn't matter--it kind of adds to the comedy of it. His methods of getting Ayaka out of bed each morning are humorous, involving many hidden alarm clocks which are triggered in different fashions.
This series is episodic, so there are episodic characters. They all do their jobs pretty well, particularly in the third episode (which was my favourite of the bunch). There are a couple characters in the U Division that seem to play an important part in the character of Karino (particularly the angry woman whose name escapes me, but apparently she's Karino's ex-wife). The old man, whose name I also don't know (I don't think either of them were named directly in the anime), may be of some importance as well. Both of them obviously know Ayaka and Mamoru well. Still, there are only a couple brief scenes with them and they contribute very little to the OAVs, so you don't feel too alienated.
The plot was basically summarized in the plot summary (how surprising!). The basic origins are are enough to set the stage, even if we're not told that much. The concept of a company that fights monsters does require an obvious suspension of belief, but it's also a decent idea. I liked how the writers didn't forget that PQC is a company and used their limited budget to create more gags. It also helps that such a unique group of people make up the company.
As for the episodes, for some reason I was given the impression that all four of them formed an ongoing story. However, all four episodes are stand-alone stories and aren't connected to each other in the slightest. Maybe it's just me, but this made Phantom Quest Corp seem really short, even though the episodes clocked in close to half an hour each. The stories themselves are also a tad formulaic. Things start out with Ayaka being woken up in some amusing fashion, then being told about the latest case they have and what it's about. Ayaka goes to the scene of the crime (or what have you) and encounters Karino by coincidence. The middle part is then made up of the two trying to figure things out and getting into a few humourous bits throughout. Then there's a brief action sequence, an even briefer explanation of the episode's plot, and the end, which usually shows that Phantom Quest Corp is in debt once again. I'm probably sounding harsher on the episode's stories then I mean to be. They are done well enough, and are entertaining. Not to mention that exceptions do apply (mostly in the third episode). Plus the humorous situations that I mentioned are pretty funny at times.
Another good point is the actual production. Phantom Quest Corp is nice on a technical level. The character designs aren't really noteworthy, although Karino's distinctive enough and I find Ayaka to be very attractive. The art, in certain areas, is well done. Since these people are combatting spirits and whatnot, we get some interesting and nicely done costumes. The backgrounds, while fine, aren't worth any particular note. The animation is what's really nice, especially considering this is an early '90s OAV. The animation is generally clean and smooth and the brief action sequences mentioned above are very well done and nicely choreographed (especially in the first and last episode).
The acting, in the Japanese, was solid, but not memorable and not much of it is really noteworthy. The only voices worth noting are our two main characters, Ayaka and Karino. Ayaka's actual voice wasn't so memorable, but her line delivery was exasperated at times and quite funny. As for Karino, he had a nice, laid-back tone that went quite well with the character. The rest of the cast, both recurring and episodic, were good, but not noteworthy.
The English dub is also good, almost right up there with the Japanese version. Since this is an early dub, that's really saying something. Ayaka and Karino were about as appealing as their Japanese counterparts. The rest of the characters varied, but none were outright bad. For example, the boyfriend in episode three wasn't as expressive as he was originally, but passably acted. However, the sleazy boss from the same episode had a smooth, confident, sly voice that definitely outdid the Japanese actor. My only real complaint was that the first two episode's scripts were a little weird at times. The lines were acted fine, but there were a few instances where I thought, "hey, wait, that's not proper English." Thankfully the latter two episodes didn't have that problem.
There's not much to say about the music. The opening and ending themes (sung in Japanese and English) are catchy enough, and there's some good, slightly jazzy BGM in there, but that's about it.
There's not a whole lot to say about Phantom Quest Corp. However, it's fun, humorous, and well-produced. It's no sleeper hit and it won't really make you think. Nevertheless, it is bound to amuse many and effectively kill a couple satisfying hours. If you like this kind of anime, I'd recommend PQC.
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Haunted Junction is a similar story and formula and is a little better considering it's length and completed plot. This show is said to be very similar to Ghost Sweeper Mikami.
Notes and Trivia
The original title is a play on words. "Yuugen Kaisha" (written 有限会社) is a common term meaning "Limited Company." However, while the title of this series is pronounced the same, the characters used to write it (幽幻怪社) have a completely different meaning, coming across as something along the general lines of "Mysterious Phantom and Spirit Company."
Although Phantom Quest Corp. is not based on anything, and there is no Japanese comic adaptation, Pioneer did create a comic for the American market in 1997 as part of their ill-fated attempt to capitalize on the popularity of some of their series in the US. The story was by Jose Calderon and the art by Dave Cooper, but only a single issue was ever completed. It isn't expensive, if you can track down a copy.
There was, however, a novel written by Mami Watanabe (who did the screenplay of the series), published in 1995 (after the anime was completed) as part of the long-running Fujimi Fantasia Library series, which consists of light fantasy novels targeted at young adults.
Geneon also has a US-release soundtrack (in addition to the Japan-only soundtrack CD), Best of Phantom Quest Corp., that includes English and Japanese versions of the opening and end themes, and a cross-section of background music.
US DVD Review
While nothing special, this is a pretty decent disc. The best thing about it is that it has all four episodes on it and retails at US$15. While the content isn't anything to wow over, I'd recommend picking up Phantom Quest Corp since it's not a bad show and very reasonably priced on DVD. Getting back on track, the video is clean, with nice looking colors, but it was a little noisy during the first two episodes. As for the audio, in Japanese it was fine but the English track had an annoying high-pitch noise in the first episode. It's hard to hear and easy to ignore though. As for extras, there's creditless opening and ending sequences and an image gallery which shows overlaid translations of signs and whatnot that appeared throughout the DVD in their original Japanese writing. Finally, there's a very sweet Easter Egg (or Digital Omake if you prefer).
Appropriately rated 13+ by Pioneer.
Violence: 2 - Nothing major, maybe a bit in the last episode.
Nudity: 2 - A brief flash in the first and last episode.
Sex/Mature Themes: 2 - Just a few jokes, one of which was brought about from the brief flash of nudity in episode 4.
Language: 1 - Nothing major.
Staff & Cast
Original Japanese Cast
Ayaka Kisaragi: Rica Matsumoto
Kozo Karino: Koichi Yamadera
Mamoru Shimesu: Kazu Iruka
Suimei: Naoko Watanabe
Nanami Rokugo: Kotono Mitsuishi
Rokkon: Yusaku Yara
Yujiro Ishibara: Naoki Tatsuta
Ruriko Asakaga: Yoko Kawanami
Master: Hideyuki Tanaka
Makiko Mizuhara: Yuko Koyama
Vampire: Tomokazu Seki
Clerk: Sakura Tange
Hospital Director: Takehiro Murozono
Sano: Yuki Machi
Mr. Sano: Mizue Otsuka
Natsuki Ogawa: Aya Hisakawa
Higashi Narita: Yuji Mitsuya
Toru Nagasuki: Kaneto Shiozawa
Secretary: Yuri Amano
Staff A: Takashi Nagato
Staff B: Kunihiko Yasui
Yujiro Ishibara: Naoki Tatsuta
Ruriko Asakaga: Yoko Kawanami
Mukyo: Toshihiko Seki
Hostess: Miki Nagasawa
Monk A: Hiroki Takahashi
Monk B: Takayasu Usui
English Dub Cast
Ayaka Kisaragi: Wendee Lee
Kozo Karino: James Clay
Mamoru Shimesu: Gloria Gines
Suimei: Jetta E. Bumpy
Nanami Rokugo: Melissa Charles
Yujiro Ishibara: ?
Ruriko Asakaga: Mimi Woods
Makiko Mizuhara: Julie Kliewer
Hospital Director: ?
Mr. Sano: ?
Natsuki Ogawa: Debbie DeRosa
Higashi Narita: Jonathan Charles
Toru Nagasuki: David Lucas
Staff A: ?
Staff B: ?
Yujiro Ishibara: ?
Ruriko Asakaga: ?
Mukyo: Richard Hayworth
Monk A: ?
Monk B: ?
Lena Banas, Bambi Darro, Christophe de Groot, A.C. Doyle, Dougary Grant, Arnie Hanks, Rudy Luzion, Marlon Mann, Dan Martin, Robert Matthews, Bob Pappenbrook, Joe Romersa