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Phantom of the Idol Complete Collection Blu-ray Anime Review

8 min read
Phantom of the Idol is a fun show but it's also a very light and breezy show.

What They Say:
Asahi loved performing so much that she still haunts her old talent agency… even after she died in an accident! Yuya, meanwhile, only became an Idol for the money, and practically sleepwalks through his performances. Just when he’s about to be fired, Yuya encounters Asahi’s ghost and they realize that they’re the solutions to each other’s problems: Asahi can possess Yuya’s body when he’s onstage! Sure, the fact that she was a girl and he’s not does make things a bit strange, and no one knows what to make of Yuya’s “spirited” new performing style. Still, this IS showbiz and if the fans are happy, that’s all that matters!

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this series is fairly standard material here as we get the original Japanese language track in stereo as well as the new English language dub, both of which are encoded using the DTS-HD MA lossless codec. The show is a fairly straightforward piece with a few outlandish moments that push up the sound effects a bit, but mostly it’s a lot of dialogue thrown across the forward soundstage well where it keeps things hopping. Placement is fairly important at times as characters in multiple locations talk at each other and it comes across clearly with a good feeling and no noticeable issues. The sound effects play well across the show and the music is one of the highlights, particularly with the fast-paced opening sequence. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2022, the transfer for this ten-episode TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The show is spread across two discs with eight on the first and two on the second which gives it plenty of space to work with and with only a few extras in the mix as well. Coming from Studio Gokumi, the series is definitely bright and colorful and the appeal is there with the designs and some of the details to it, which all come across cleanly and without any noteworthy problems. There’s a lot of movement throughout the show and it plays well with certain details in some of the more outgoing performance scenes since it wants to highlight them, but it’s still pretty much PG-13 material and it looks good. The colors are bright and solid and the animation is solid throughout, leaving a very pleasing impression overall.

Packaging:
The packaging for this release comes in a standard-sized Blu-ray case that holds both of the discs against the interior walls. The front cover is solid with one of the key visual pieces we had with the performers going all out and from an unexpected angle for it as well. The mix of colors from their designs and the kind of hazy stage color design helps it all to come together well and stand out in a way that a lot of other simple cast covers tend not to. The back cover uses the same overall color layout and has some good character artwork as we get a few more pinks and purples mixed in to provide a blend and touch of contrast. The premise for the show is covered well in the middle with a clear look and easy-to-read text. The extras are laid out clearly and the production credits cover all the key details. The technical grid lists everything clearly and accurately as well. No show-related inserts are included and sadly there’s no reversible cover with more artwork to enjoy.

Menu:
The menus for this release are pretty fun and certainly upbeat with the theme music playing along to it. The use of the key visual artwork for it definitely delivers with some good bright and vivid pieces as we get our leads together set against a distinctyet certainly pop-like set of backgrounds. The color blends work well and the logo is kept off to the side in a good way so that it’s obvious but not dominating. The navigation is where a bit more creativity comes in along the right as it definitely has a kind of bubblegum aspect to it that I like beyond it just being so pink. It has some of the widgets and the feeling of something very 80s pop to me and it connects well with the character designs and colors. It doubles well as the pop-up menu along the right as well and makes for something colorful when you need to move around during playback.

Extras:
The extras for this release are pretty standard fare stuff but always welcome with the original Japanese promos used to highlight the series ahead of its release and the clean opening and closing sequences.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the manga series Kami Kuzu Aidoru, Phantom of the Idol is a ten-episode anime series that arrived in the summer of 2023. The original manga from Hijiki Isoflavone wasn’t exactly unknown here as Kodansha Comics is releasing it in English. The manga began in 2017 and has seven volumes so far as it runs in the josei magazine Monthly Comic Zero Sum so it certainly appeals to a specific audience, one we don’t always see getting attention on the anime side of things. The show made out pretty well with its production – though unusual to be just ten episodes – with Daisei Fukuoka directing it from the scripts by Yasuko Aoki. Fukuoka has an interesting filmography with some varied roles but also directing the two Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope’s Peak High School works and being the series director for Radiant and directing various parts of Yuki Yuna is a Hero.

Idol shows are a dime a dozen to be sure and we’ve certainly watched and wrote about a great number of them over the years and the last decade or so in particular because they were everywhere. Phantom of the idol plays to a lot of the same kinds of things to a degree but approaches it from a different angle. And the ten-episode count helps in its own way as well as it doesn’t feel like it’s padding things out too much or overstaying its welcome. Like a lot of idol things, the music is what’s often the draw for many but that’s almost a blank for me as I’m far past my phase of really being into Japanese pop/idol music. I can appreciate it and enjoy it, but it’s not where my music tastes lie. But what we get here is pretty solid and the twist that we get with how it’s performed is what drives things.

The focus is on the idol group ZINGS which is made up of two men, Kazuki Yoshino and Yuya Niyodo. Kazuki is good at this and enjoys it but his struggle is in that Yuya is just doing this as an easy cash grab and it’s become something that he’s gotten quite lazy with. It’s not his passion so it’s just an elaborate kind of grift of sorts and his heart isn’t in it. Which is hard for Kazuki to deal with because, obviously, an idol unit of one isn’t exactly an idol unit. We see how this is all building and coming to a head but a twist enters that saves things but places it all in a strange position. Yuya ends up allowing the ghost of an idol who died a year or so ago, Asahi Mogami, to take over his body from time to time in order to handle the performances. Asahi’s one of those very open and loving types and when she starts operating through him, well, it’s certainly a very different change for the performer.

We’ve seen any number of films and stories working this base concept and the personality swings that we get out of Yuya certainly messes with everyone that knows him. When he can shift from utterly unmotivated to wildly cheerful, you know that he’d be accused of being on something and getting looked at. But it’s also leading to a revival of sorts for the two young men and Kazuki can bring himself to complain and wonder only so much. The behind-the-scenes stuff doesn’t take on too much resonance overall but it is there and there’s some mild stuff regarding it from others on the scene that works nicely. The real fun of this kind of body-swap of sorts comes with the fans of ZINGS and of Yuya in particular. He’s become wildly popular with women since his swings have come in and there are a few fans that we see regularly that follow him that are pretty big into who he is when Asahi is inhabiting him. It’s a lot of fun to watch and on some level, I think Yuya really enjoys watching it as well. The whole idol thing is just more work than he’s interested in and the deal he makes with Asahi is an interesting one that serves both of them well. Again, it’s not something they did into deeply but it’s functionally fun and the reactions and performances drive a lot of the enjoyment.

In Summary:
Phantom of the Idol is a fun show but it’s also a very light and breezy show. And those definitely have their place and we need those every season because sometimes you just want to enjoy something without it being too deep. And this is not a deep show. But it is a fun one to watch Yuya’s evolution throughout this, to see Asahi get some of her chance at being in the spotlight to some degree but also just to perform like she’s always wanted to is a lot of fun. It’s got an ease and confidence about it that lest it work as wel as it does but it doesn’t have the weight to stand up to any kind of long or deep scrutiny. It’s just not that kind of show. But it’s an absolute delight episode to episode and watching the goofiness of the fans and their excitement play out. While Yuya has a kind of weary and tired feel about him, there’s a lot of joy and positivity to be had here to make it a lot of fun and a nice change of pace from so many other idol shows.

Features:
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Japanese Promos, Clean Opening Animation, Clean Closing Animation

Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: A-

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: October 31st, 2024
MSRP: $49.98
Running Time: 250 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

© Isofurabon Hijiki / Ichijinsha / “Kamikuzu ☆ Idol” Production Committee
© Isofurabon Hijiki / Ichijinsha / “Kamikuzu ☆ Idol” Production Committee
© Isofurabon Hijiki / Ichijinsha / “Kamikuzu ☆ Idol” Production Committee

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