Kurau Phantom Memory – Anime Review

The Essentials

Kurau: Phantom MemoryName: Kurau: Phantom Memory
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action, Drama
Episodes: 24
Released: June 24, 2004 – December 15, 2004
Based On: N/A
Director: Yasuhiro Irie
Produced By: BONES, Media Factory
US Distribution By: ADV Films

Major Japanese Cast

Kurau Amami: Ayako Kawasumi
Christmas: Misa Kobayashi
Doug: Tomoyuki Shimura
Ayaka Stieger: Yuko Kaida
Dr. Hajime Amami: Mitsuru Ogata
Inspector Wong: Tohru Furusawa

Major English Cast

Kurau Amami: Monica Rial
Christmas: Jessica Boone
Doug: Jason Douglas
Ayaka Stieger: Tiffany Grant
Dr. Hajime Amami: John Gremillion
Inspector Wong: Illich Guardiola

Scores

Animation: 9/10 (x 4 = 36 pts)
Story: 10/10 (x 4 = 40 pts)
Music: 9/10 (x 4 = 36 pts)
Coherence/Story Arc: 9/10 (x 2 = 18 pts)
English Dubs: 9/10 (x1 = 9 pts)
Gut Score: 9/10 (x 5 = 45 pts)

Total: 184/200 (92%)

Review

100 Years in the future, the human race has been able to survive several wars over natural resources and have eventually been able to research several new, amazing energy sources. One of the new ground-breaking energy sources is called Rynax, which Dr. Amami is researching. Dr. Amami brings his daughter, Kurau, to his lab on her birthday to watch his experiments when one of the experiments go horribly wrong: a bright yellow light hits Kurau, disintegrating her, only to reassemble her soon afterwards.

However, instead of his daughter, the body is inhabited by the Rynax, who turn out being living organisms and not just a source of energy. On top of this, a second Rynax resides within Kurau, severely injured by the incident. This leaves the Rynax who controls Kurau sad since Rynax always live in pairs – with one half of the pair becoming highly distressed if the other half isn’t present. The Rynax which controls Kurau starts acting more and more like the real Kurau, however, and pledges to Dr. Amami to give him back his real daughter unharmed if they can find out a way to safety extract the Rynax from her.

Move into the future 10 years and Kurau is employed as a private special agent, using super-human abilities that she’s gained by being a Rynax to easily complete tasks that others might find impossible. However, soon Kurau’s view on life suddenly changes when her Rynax pair is suddenly well enough to leave Kurau and forms it’s own body – a copy of a younger version of Kurau, and Kurau feels that she has the duty to protect her.

Kurau then suddenly finds herself and her pair, who she names Christmas, on the run from the GPO – the global police force – who wants to capture Kurau and Christmas in order to study them and their Rynax energy. This ultimately leads to Kurau uncovering a conspiracy that goes to the very heart of the GPO and it’s research into and plans for the Rynax.

Kurau: Phantom Memory is very impressive in many ways. The story stays compelling through the entire 24 episodes as Kurau and Christmas weave and bob through plot twists and arcs in their search, both for the mystery of the Rynax, but also into why the GPO is after them. This includes Kurau getting in contact with her father, Dr. Amami, again – who has by now been sold out by one of his power-hungry underlings who wants to use the power of the Rynax for his own, and in extension, the GPO’s gain.

Even though Kurau is primary an action/adventure show, there is almost a kind of slice-of-life or otherwise personal aspect to the show in how many of the characters interact with each other, especially, but limited to, the interaction between Kurau and Christmas. There is also Doug, who keeps in contact with his son Ted. There is Ayako, who still has the mystery of her parent’s murder when she was younger on her mind.  There is the relationship between Kurau and her father, and even between some minor characters who only show up for an episode or two. That’s not to say the action elements aren’t also impressively well done throughout the series either. The action sequences vary quite widely, never leaving one feeling that you’ve seen the same thing before in the series.

On the technical aspects, the animation and music are excellent and the dubbing is on the better side of things as well. Perhaps the only real negative thing I can think of is that it sometimes started getting a bit monotonous with Kurau and Christmas in “run away from the GPO” mode for probably at least 2 volumes solid, but there were still enough interesting stories within this stretch that it wasn’t anything big.

Overall, Kurau: Phantom Memory is a series which quite a few anime fans could and probably will enjoy.

First Watched: June 2007 – March 2008
Do I Own: No
Do I Recommend: Yes

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