Phantom Quest Corp. (Mania.com)
Review Date: Saturday, February 16, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000
Here's yet another self-contained, 1-disc series from Pioneer, and luckily unlike some of their others I could name, Phantom Quest is a series I really liked. In fact, I liked it so much, I'm actually rather annoyed that there were only four episodes of it made. The series just introduces all the main characters through the four episodes and then all of a sudden, it's over! ARGH! No more Ayaka?!?
Well, anyways, shortness aside, Phantom Quest is an older Pioneer back-catalog title, though oddly, the video looks pretty good. There's some artifacting every so often, and some rainbowing....but really, the colors aren't that bad at all. The lines are also pretty bold, so it doesn't look too bad, all things considered. Mind you, it's not Dual or Black Heaven, but foran older back catalog title, I really can't complain overall.
Audio is about the same...pretty good, a little too good during some of Ayaka's karaoke stints. :) No major problems in particular, though there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of special effects noises going on or anything either. The dub isn't great, but it's not bad. Wendee Lee portrays Ayaka Kisaragi, the main character, and does a good job as usual. Some other notable voices would be Melissa Charles as Nanami (Alielle from El Hazard, and Edward from Bebop) and whoever did Jim's voice from Outlaw Star (as usual, I can never remember at least one person each time. Oh well) as Mamoru.
The packaging isn't too bad....a nice picture of Ayaka on the cover in a nice red dress. Whee! :) The back has the typical writeup, credits, extra listing, and a couple pictures, one of which is the cute-but-underused Nanami, the other of Ayaka with a bunch of talisman in her headband. Hmm. Not too bad. The insert has your standard chapter listing, with a nice picture of Ayaka stretching.
The menus are, unfortunately, pretty bad. Not functionally I guess, but when they're in motion, they look fine...but when the motion stops, they all blur up and look, in my opinion, pretty jagged and rough. Weird, but not much to do about it, and since I don't live in the menuing system, it's not a real pain I guess.
Extras are okay, but again, nothing majorly different. There's some character art, and the creditless opening and closing. The opening song is probably my favorite of the two, though they're both pretty cool. This was done back when Pioneer was dubbing songs all over creation, though, so if you listen to the dub you get to sound to some weird Meatloaf-backup-singer woman singing the songs. It's not bad, just kinda weird hearing someone who sounds like she came out of "I Would Do Anything For Love" singing anime songs.
The actual episodes on Phantom Quest Corps. are actually surprisingly fun. I began watching it way back, and after 15 minutes I shut it off and watched something else. When I came back to it, I trudged through the rest of the first episode and was pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable it was. The story centers around Ayaka Kisaragi, the voluptuous, hot, and usually drunken redhead on the cover of the DVD. :) Yeah, three points for her already!
Ayaka is the "president", or perhaps just easier to say leader, of the Phantom Quest Corporation, a Japanese version of something we'd probably call, like, "Ghostbusters" or something. They run around getting rid of all the ghostly, supernatural things.
Unfortunately, we only see them get rid of a very few ghostly things, because the series is too short. Blah. But it's fun. The first episode sees a vampire terrorizing the town, and introduces us to a few of the main characters, namely Ayaka and the little kid who seems to live with her, Mamoru. I have no clue about their relationship, maybe he's adopted.
The second episode introduces us to another cutie, Nanami, eventually. Too bad that once she comes in, she really doesn't play into the rest of the series much, cause she's cute. :) But it's yet another fun episode. The third and fourth episodes tied together a bit more, and had a bit more action than the first two, plus had the dramatic finale.....after which there's ABSOLUTELY NOTHING LEFT.
Argh. I really started to liked Phantom Quest during the 2nd episode, and now there's just no more of it. It's pretty sad, but that's the way it goes. All in all, for the low price, Phantom Quest is a pretty good deal. If you're one of the people who doesn't like really short OVAs that seemed to be cut short prematurely, you might steer clear, or rent it. But if you enjoy short stories and don't mind yearning for more, Phantom Quest would be a nice cheap addition to anyone's collection who enjoys humorous, silly adventure-style series.
Pioneer Elite 610 HDTV, Pioneer Elite DV-C36 DVD Changer, Pioneer Elite VSX-35TX Receiver, Pioneer ISO-drive speaker setup, Monster component cables and digital coax cable
Mania Grade: A-
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B-
Extras Rating: B+
Age Rating: 14 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
Running time: 140
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Phantom Quest Corp