Phantom Yuusha Densetsu is a short film OVA from the early 90s. It was produced by Magic Bus. That’s right, the same producer as Dragoon & one of the studios that worked on Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu. I have to say, that’s immediately not promising but maybe this one has the quality those two lacked. Probably not, but it’s possible.
We open with our protagonist, I don’t give a shit what his name is, being contacted by his also boring friend about a Phantom jet sighting in El Salvador. Since Don’t Care, is an ex JASDF pilot, he seems like the ideal choice to examine it for a report. Because you definitely need first hand jet flying experience to report on a jet sighting. It’s not like Journalism experience is useful for that. In any case, Don’t Care agrees to go with his friend’s camera man and things quickly turn bad as he finds himself entwined in a conspiracy where multiple government agents want him dead.
The biggest issue with this film is that, like the stratagems of Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu, it suffers from a lot of blatant idiocy. Having an ex pilot with no Journalism experience go to do investigative journalism is pretty stupid. A government agency surreptitiously selling one of their jets without erasing their markings is really stupid. The antagonists capturing the hero they’re trying to kill, having him drugged and at their mercy and then not killing him is just egregiously stupid. It might be acceptable in a piece of media for children, but this is pretty blatantly for adults. Keep in mind, this film lasts for just under an hour and manages to have all these substantial plot holes.
There’s also an underlying plot about the CIA trying to stop everyone from finding out they’re interfering with El Salvador. Which I don’t get. Granted, I’m not an expert in American politics, but I know that the US has a long, long history of mucking about with Central American countries. Would there really be that much of an outrage from the citizens because they were caught doing it yet again?
The characters barely have personalities worth mentioning. Don’t care is one of those intense macho heroes with no real personality. The villains are just sleazy and evil for no adequately explored reason. The girlfriend is there to show her tits, be assaulted and die to give Don’t Care some motivation. She’s the only female character too, unless you count the naked woman who shows up for five seconds. So, the character writing is just shit.
This isn’t one of those anime that hasn’t aged that well. That would imply that it was passable or even good for its time. It wasn’t. Even for the early 90s, this animation is bad. They use a lot of tricks to try to make it seem like there’s more movement than there actually is, but even with the strobe effect and such, it’s really painfully obvious that there was very little effort put into the animation. The movements are very minimum and janky when they do happen. The characters just look very boring in terms of design and the sex scenes are really bad. Not because of the crass nature thereof, the poor animation work and generally rubbish art just make for really bad sex scenes.
The acting isn’t very good. It doesn’t even rise to mediocrity. The actors may be fine under other circumstances but this is one of those works where the lack of character depth combined with poor direction really makes for poor performances. The music is just dull but still the best aspect of the work.
There is none. Truthfully, I prefer not to see ho-yay in a work this bad any way. Because they never do it well.
Areas of Improvement:
- Develop your plot. A lot of these problems could be handled with some actual effort. For example, have our main character be an actual journalist, maybe one who used to be a pilot. Then it would make sense for him to be sent. You could also have him find documentation about where they got their Phantoms from, thereby eliminating the tell-tale markings. And have him captured, being taken to a remote spot for clandestine elimination and just wake up and escape.
- Character complexity. You don’t need as many characters as this has as long as you actual give yours some compelling traits.
- Have an animation budget higher than half the budget of an old Scooby Doo episode. Because this just looks terrible.
This one deserves to languish in obscurity. It’s pretty damn horrendous. Every major plot point is riddled with stupidity induced holes. It looks bad, sounds bad and the characters are trash. I’m giving this one a 1/10. It’s awful.