Twelve Moments in Anime No. 9: Phantom’s Close
I already wrote an enormous post defending the controversial ending of Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~ and won’t be recapping that here. But the closing moments of Phantom‘s finale are some of the most memorable of the year for me not just because I believe it is the right ending for this show’s story, but also because I’m always glad to see studios shake things up a bit, even at the risk of swift and furious anger directed at them. (Spoilers for Phatnom within. Read at your own risk.)
Bee Train had to know killing Reiji — and possibly Ellen — at the end, just when it seems as though both have found their ideal life, would piss off a ton of people. I haven’t finished any Bee Train assassin anime before this (got halfway through Noir before abandoning it, for reasons I cannot recall, and I haven’t watched any of the others), so I don’t know if this kind of ending is common with them (although it is a common type of ending with assassin movies), but the suddenness of the ending really surprised me, even if the end result wasn’t completely shocking. (Although I admit to thinking Ellen would die at the end rather than Reiji.)
Initially, I was one of those incredibly angered by the ending. Reiji and Ellen are far from perfect characters, but they were the most sympathetic in the series, and many rooted for a happy end for the two. But after allowing a bit of breathing room, instead of launching into a rage, I was able to cool my head and admire the brief storm of discussion surrounding it.
Is it a brilliant, mind-blowing ending? Not quite. But it’s true to the story being told, and it made a hell of a lot of people feel very strongly about it, so I have to give it up to Bee Train for having the nuts to go through with it. I salute you for delivering a memorable moment. *salute*