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Blade of the Phantom Master Review

Have you ever watched a movie because the description sounded cool? In December 2007, an anime was made that sounded interesting, but it really wasn't. 

Directing this 87 minute animation/action/fantasy is Joji Shimura. 

Some of the voice cast is: Jason Douglas as Munsu, Nancy Novotny as Sando/Chun Hyan, Blake Shepard as Jyun, Laurie Gallardo as Mari and Brian Jepson as Yuite. 

Munsu was given a task by the king of the Jushin empire to search the land for corrupt government officials and bring justice to the country's citizens. Even though the king has fallen and the empire torn apart, Munsu still walks the land searching for injustice...

Well, thanks (again) to random surfing I tripped over something new. Since I had never heard of this one before I decided to do some digging on it. Come to find out the anime is based on the manga called Shin Angyo Onshi, created by Youn In-Wan. The manga has 17 volumes and its original run was from 2001-2007. The manga ran in both Japan (as Shin Angyo Onshi) and in South Korea (as Shinamhaengosa.)

Apparently, the anime was the first of its kind collaboration between Japan and South Korea. Japanese studio Oriental Light and Korean studio Character Plan got together and created the film adaptation of the manga called Phantom Master: Dark Hero from the Ruined Empire. Eventually, the film was later re-released by Funimation Entertainment on DVD as Blade of the Phantom Master

The screenplay was written by Mitsuru Hongo and Joji Shimura and is based on the manga created by Youn In-Wan. The story was ok, but it didn't feel complete. From the start of the story until the end, I felt like I had walked into the middle of what was going on and was missing out on something. After the main characters meet up (which is pretty quick) we are thrown into the mystery section of the story, which I thought was good. Downside, we don't get much character development and the two main characters the story follows aren't that interesting. The story had room to do more with the characters, but doesn't use it. Upside, we get some backstory on the main characters, which was cool.

The playthrough was ok, but not great. It starts off strong but then things slow down and it had trouble holding my attention. Most of the scenes in between the fights scenes were boring. One of the cool (and underused) things about the fight scenes was when Munsu summoned the Phantom Soldiers to fight for him. I say underused because they didn't stay around long during a fight. Even though the Phantom Soldiers were a "secret weapon" they were basically hack n' slash tools of justice, but it seemed like they couldn't hold their own against anything really strong. 

The animation looks really good and everything flowed smoothly. I liked the character designs and the fight scenes were pretty cool to watch. There are some bloody scenes, but not a lot of goriness going on. 

The whole reason I caught this one was because of the description. "A nameless hero in command of a secret human weapon arises from the ashes of the fallen Jushin empire to defend the people from zombies, cannibals and beasts." The description makes this one sound pretty cool. However, the story is seriously light on beasts and cannibals. Yes there are zombies, but not the viscous want to eat your face kind, more like the woe is me I'm undead kind.

Overall, skip this one and move on to something else in the anime world.

It's rated NR (not rated) but has violence and language. 

2 stars