Phantom Quest Corp.
|Phantom Quest Corp.|
Cover art of Phantom Quest Corp. from the Perfect Collection DVD release distributed by Geneon (Pioneer) Entertainment LLC
|Genre||Comedy, horror, adventure|
|Original video animation|
|Directed by||Koichi Chigira
|Written by||Watanabe Mami
|Released||August 25, 1994 – February 25, 1995|
|Written by||Watanabe Mami|
|Illustrated by||Hitoshi Ueda, Asako Nishida|
|Published by||Fujimi Shobo|
|Magazine||Fantasia Battle Royal|
|Written by||Jose Calderon|
|Illustrated by||Dave Cooper|
Phantom Quest Corp. (幽幻怪社 Yūgen Kaisha?) is a comedy/horror anime produced by Madhouse. It was originally released as a four-episode original video animation (OVA) in Japan between August 25, 1994 and February 25, 1995. An English-dubbed version was released in North America by Pioneer (now Geneon Universal Entertainment) shortly thereafter. The plot of Phantom Quest Corp. revolves around Ayaka Kisaragi, the proprietor of a Shinjuku, Tokyo company dedicated to helping those in need of paranormal aid. The title is a play on words: Yūgen Kaisha (often written as You-Gen-Kai-Sya) means "limited liability company" in Japanese; but when written with different characters, the word yūgen can also mean "the occult." The kanji 怪 means mysterious, but can also be read as Kai. Kaisha is typically written "会社". This further adds to the pun.
In addition to the Phantom Quest Corp. OVA series, two soundtrack albums, a Japanese light novel, and a single-issue English manga also exist. Phantom Quest Corp. has been compared to the concurrent manga and anime Ghost Sweeper Mikami. The animation, comedy, and action sequences in Phantom Quest Corp. has been praised by critics. However, these same reviewers felt it lacked plot depth and character development due to its short length.
Ayaka Kisaragi is a beautiful woman descended from a long line of Japanese exorcists. However, bored with their traditions, she started her own business, Phantom Quest Corp. The headquarters of the company is Ayaka's quaint little family home, nestled between the skyscrapers of Shinjuku, Tokyo. Along with the traditional knowledge she possesses, Ayaka also uses very unconventional weapons while attacking ghosts and demons, including a lipstick case that turns into a laser sword and earrings that explode into spiritual energy. Although she is very competent with her skills, Ayaka's own bad habits (overindulgence in sake, karaoke, and shopping binges) often cut into the company's meager earnings and interfere with paying the various experts whose help she usually depends upon. Also, because of her drinking, she often sleeps in bed late, which her partner and business associate Mamoru Shimesu has to find creative ways of waking her up. Along the way, and with a little help from various spiritual specialists, Ayaka can usually be found battling vampires, poltergeists, and cutthroat competitors bent on driving her out of business.
Phantom Quest Corp. was produced by the animation studio Madhouse. A "draft" of the show was completed on June 30, 1994. This "File 0" episode is little more than a promotional item for the anime. Phantom Quest Corp. was originally released as a four-episode original video animation (OVA) in Japan between August 25, 1994 and February 25, 1995. Pioneer (now Geneon Universal Entertainment) released an English-dubbed version of the series in VHS & LaserDisc format in North America in two volumes on April 27, 1995 and June 27, 1995. The entire series was released on DVD in Japan on December 22, 1998 and in North America on November 21, 2000. Morio Asaka, one of the anime's three directors, has stated that if Madhouse had continued with the series with more than four episodes, he would have liked to have seen an expansion on the romantic relationship between Ayaka and Lieutenant Karino.
The opening theme, "That's Yūgen Kaisha" (THAT'S 幽幻怪社?), and the closing theme, "Mahiru no Tokai" (真昼の都会?, lit. City at Noon), are sung by Rica Matsumoto, the Japanese voice actress for the protagonist Ayaka. English versions of the themes, titled "Blue Devil Blues" and "Dancin' with a Demon" respectively, are sung by an uncredited vocalist. A 12-song CD soundtrack for the OVA series was released in Japan by Pioneer LDC on August 25, 1994; it contains the themes, some background music, and a few drama tracks. A separate 11-track album, "Best of Phantom Quest Corp.", was released on March 25, 1997 in North America; it contains both English and Japanese vocal songs and some instrumental tracks.
Light novel and manga
A Phantom Quest Corp. light novel written by screenwriter Watanabe Mami and illustrated by artists Hitoshi Ueda and Asako Nishida was published in the Fujimi Shobo magazine Fantasia Battle Royal in September 1995. A single-issue English manga of Phantom Quest Corp. was released by Pioneer in North America in March 1997. It was written by Jose Calderon and illustrated by Dave Cooper. The plot involves Ayaka and her associates travelling to New York for the "International Paranormal Investigator Convention", where they take on new case involving a jaded salaryman who has stumbled upon an ancient codex and becomes a powerful sorcerer.
|Character||Japanese voice actor||English voice actor|
|Ayaka Kisaragi||Rica Matsumoto||Wendee Lee (as "Wendee Day")|
|Mamoru Shimesu||Kazue Ikura||Brianne Siddall (as "Jetta E. Bumpy")|
|Suimei||Naoko Watanabe||Gloria Gines|
|Lieutenant Kozo Karino||Kōichi Yamadera||James Clay|
|Natsuke Ogawa||Aya Hisakawa||Debbie Derosa|
|Nanami Rokugo||Kotono Mitsuishi||Melissa Charles|
Phantom Quest Corp. has been almost universally compared to Ghost Sweeper Mikami, a franchise with a nearly identical premise that was released slightly earlier. Anime journalist John Oppliger is convinced that Madhouse based Phantom Quest Corp. on the latter series, noting stark similarities between the protagonists of the two works. Christopher Macdonald of the Anime News Network felt the art of Phantom Quest Corp. was subpar for a Madhouse release, but was impressed by the animation, stating, "Fight scenes and other scenes involving high-speed movement are absolutely astounding in animation quality". Macdonald also enjoyed the comedy found in the series, but disliked the lack of character development and how each episode's plot stands on its own without an actual story arc. Mania.com's Chris Beveridge and Raphael See of THEM Anime Reviews agreeably noted that there are several enjoyable moments throughout the OVA despite this seemingly generic quality. They made similar positive comments regarding its visual attributes, with Beveridge calling the final battle in the fourth episode "just great both in choreography and animation". She likened the series to a mix between Ghostbusters, The X-Files, and Sledge Hammer!.
- Drazen, Patrick (2003). Anime Explosion!: The What? Why? & Wow! of Japanese Animation. Berkely, CA: Stone Bridge Press. p. 160.
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- "Phantom Quest Corp 1 [VHS]". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2010-10-10.
- "Phantom Quest Corp 2 [VHS]". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2010-10-10.
- "幽幻怪社 [DVD]" [Phantom Quest Corp [DVD]] (in Japanese). Amazon.com. Retrieved 2010-09-24.
- "Phantom Quest Corp - Perfect Collection". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2010-09-24.
- Ho, David (2001). "Focus Panel: Asaka Morio & Kojima Masayuki". EX.org. Retrieved 2010-10-23.
- McCarter, Charles. "Best of Phantom Quest Corp.". EX.org. Retrieved 2010-10-10.
- 幽幻怪社・音楽篇 (in Japanese). Amazon.com. Retrieved 2010-10-09.
- Nadeau, Tiffani (July 31, 2005). "Phantom Quest Corp; The Best of Phantom Quest Corp.". Mania.com. Retrieved 2010-10-09.
- 幽幻怪社 [Phantom Quest Corp.] (in Japanese). Suruga-ya. Retrieved 2010-10-09.
- Johnson, Mark L. "PHANTOM QUEST CORP. - Number 1 "The Howling Book"". Ex.org. Retrieved 2010-10-10.
- "GCD :: Issue :: Phantom Quest Corp. #1". Grand Comics Database. Retrieved 2010-10-09.
- Macdonald, Christopher. "Phantom Quest Corp. - Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2010-10-09.
- Beveride, Chris (November 21, 2000). "Phantom Quest Corp.". Mania.com. Retrieved 2010-10-09.
- See, Raphael. "Phantom Quest Corp.". THEM Anime Reviews. Retrieved 2010-10-23.