Phantom Quest Corp. Anime Review
Well, Legion pretty much nailed this series, but I think I can say a bit more without being excessively generous. Phantom Quest Corp. may not be particularly ground breaking, original, or spectacular but I think it's better than good--verging on excellent--for the simple reason that, even though no part of it really jumps out and hits you between the eyes, this is an anime which, in my opinion, really has no compromises on its quality.
Think about it for a second. Even most of the greatest anime have their flaws (with limited exceptions--I consider Rurouni Kenshin: the Remembrance and Millennium Actress to be completely flawless). Evangelion could be somewhat nonsensical, the animation suffered in the later stages and the ending left you scratching your head. Escaflowne felt a little rushed in the last few stages and the ending was a little weak. Ninja Scroll had a crap plot. Even Spirited Away had some problems (read my review of that for more details). I'm not being critical, I'm just pointing out that flawless anime are very hard to come by. And no, Phantom Quest Corp isn't perfect either but, light entertainment though it be, I really can't think of anything worth complaining about. It may have accomplished this by not taking any risks, but in the end it worked out as plain damn good anime.
The plots are all different and are interesting, genuinely funny, cheerfully entertaining and at times surprisingly serious (well, they are battling the undead you know). The characters are much the same as the plots--although not deep, they're amusing, have creative designs and are genuinely likable. The animation is very good, especially considering its age and although it isn't quite up to the standard of today's computer-aided animation it still looks nicely appealing. The action scenes are actually a high point--above average, especially in the climax of 4th episode, and the various monsters Ayana and her allies have to deal with are an interesting bunch inspired by a variety of sources and well-realized. The soundtrack provides nice accompaniment, especially the wonderfully jazzy opening--while I don't know what it means in Japanese, the English version appears to be advertising for Phantom Quest Corp itself, without dropping a single note.
The voice acting is solid if unexceptional in Japanese, but the English dub is surpassingly good as well. The cast sound as if they both knew what they were doing and actually cared (a lot of dubs from this period were characterized by voice actors who sounded as though they'd rather be somewhere else) and both Ayana and Lt. Karino gave particularly good performances. Even Mamoru (definitely the easiest voice to mess up) came out sounding all right. Add the fact that the opening and endings come in both languages as well and you have one of the better dubs from the mid-'90s period.
In short, the only complaint you could really have with Phantom Quest Corp is if it simply "isn't your thing," in which case it couldn't be improved enough for you anyway. It doesn't even feel you leaving unsatisfied, as was the problem with so many other short OAVs from the early to mid-'90s, since the stories are all self-contained and conclusive. Add in the fact that you can get all 4 episodes on a single cheap DVD and you have an supernatural comedy anime well worth picking up if you have no other urgent priorities. Recommended.