For a different perspective on Phantom see bateszi’s review here.
After eight years, three series, six girls, and lots of guns, Bee Train has revolutionized the girls with guns genre by adding… a guy. Men, you too can aspire to be a professional assassin, the last bastion of gender inequality has officially fallen. Joking aside, Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom is a solid effort by Bee Train. Unlike Bee Train’s earlier series Noir and Madlax, Phantom is based on a visual novel. It lacks deep characters but the show was an enjoyable and action packed addition to the girls with guns genre.
Young women with gun skills? Check. Mysterious organization that runs the world? Check. Quasi-religious mysticism? Check. Noir only lasted one season, but if you started watching Madlax and thought it was Noir Season 2 I wouldn’t blame you. Madlax isn’t a complete copy of Noir, it does tread new ground after about 20 episodes or so. And the new material is innovative in its own way. What ultimately holds it back, what has held many other shows back over time, is that it still feels too much like a rehash of what came before, rather than something fresh and entertaining.
I started out intending to write a review of the show Noir, but while researching (okay, I’ll admit using Wikipedia) I discovered Noir’s spirital successors, Madlax and El Cazador de la Bruja. Each show was animated by the studio Bee Train. I thought, great, I can do one big “girls with guns” trilogy review, but when I started watching El Cazador, I knew that it deserved its own review. Unfortunately, the show needed its own review because of what it did wrong, not what it did right.