Pacing isn’t something I’m likely to notice in a show that I’m watching weekly. There’s a certain amount of repeated footage and dialogue that one expects in anime – as a cost-cutting measure if for no other reason. But in all sincerity, Kurau Phantom Memory, Volume 2, is one of the best-paced volumes of anime that I have ever watched.
Volume 2 starts in an oddly dissonant spot in the narrative. Kurau and Christmas are on the run from the GPO, but we see them sort of settled in again while Kurau fights off the aftereffects of her most recent fight. Despite the brief illusion of comfort, it becomes instantly apparent that their lives cannot and will not ever be quiet and settled again. They are still on the run, whether they – or we – like it or not.
Doug continues to be a Good GuyTM and helps Kurau and Christmas find haven for a short time in an obscure village. Kurau’s father’s former partner’s obsession with capturing Rynasapiens, and the GPO’s desire to suppress Kurau and Christmas almost ends in tragedy, but they manage to flee, just ahead of their pursuers. We learn that Kurau is getting stronger, as her desire to protect Christmas grows.
We see Kurau’s father, a sad old man who has to deny his daughter’s existence, and learn Ayaka’s painful backstory. Christmas’s own Rynasapien powers begin to awaken. And we learn that Kurau’s body appears to be functioning as a gateway for the Rynasapiens to return to their own world.
All of this is told in rapid-fire, incredibly well-paced episodes. With an excellent soundtrack and sticky opening and closing themes.
Extras are a “File Case” full of interesting staff and cast notes (and now I wonder if Vol. 1 should have had one of those, too…. Since this was “File 2”.) I still like the new art for the DVD cover – it lightens up a pretty heavy, dark piece of art.
Kurau and Christmas appear – to me at least – to have settled into a sisterly relationship. For the moment I don’t get any Yuri vibe from them. The cover art is probably the Yuriest thing about this volume, really. But I know some will see it regardless – after all, they do stand next to each other quite a lot. ^_^
Art – 8
Story – 8
Characters – 8
Music – 7
Yuri – 1
Service – 1
Overall – 8
I can’t help but be amused at my enjoyment of this anime…I am very cognizant of my previous reaction to the series’ end. I’ve been informed by “Friend of Yuri” and sponsor for today’s review, Ted (and btw, thanks Ted!!) that that he’s reluctant to get me the last volume given the fact that he already knows how much I hated it the first time. I sympathize. I’m reluctant to get it for myself, too.