94. Legend of the Phantom Heroes

Staff and Background

This OAV is based on a series of novels by Shou Takeshima, I couldn’t really find out anything about him apart from the fact he died in a motorcycle crash in 1990 and that Dark Warrior is based on another of his works. The OAV was directed by Satoshi Dezaki, the older brother of the more famous Osamu Dezaki. Satoshi’s output is a mixed bag going from the fantastic They Were 11 and Urusei Yatsura Movie 5 to crap like Mad Bull 34 and Onimaru. I think he can be decent but probably needs a really good staff around him to be so.

Story and Characters

Yeah, the story. Ummm, I’ll try and explain this one. Yazawa is an ex-pilot who quit after his plane, a titular Phantom, had issues and crashed into the sea. Sometime later a Phantom is seen flying over and bombing guerrillas in El Salvador and a photographer manages to snap a few pics. Yazawa is contacted by the photographer and goes to El Salvador to confirm that the pictures are indeed of a phantom. Then the CIA bust in and try to kill him for…reasons? They do vaguely explain it at the end but for most of the OAV you are sitting there wondering why the fuck they are trying to kill a dude who looked at a photo. Most of the OAV is about Yazawa evading the CIA with the help of his mates and his girlfriend, who of course gets raped at one point because of course she does. So, if the plot is a paper thin and yet confusing mess what about the characters? Well I have to report that they were there. Ummmm, that is about it. Yazawa is stoic, the bad guy is bad, the friends are present, and the girlfriend is useless. To be honest, not great. Really, if I have to describe Phantom in a sentence it would be: like one of the worse Arnold Schwarzenegger films only without the comedy and without Arnie’s charisma to keep the ship afloat.

Audio and Visuals

The audio wasn’t bad but it wasn’t good either, just generally meh across the board. The art design is not good to be honest. The character designs are all butt ugly outside of Yazawa, who isn’t even that pretty himself, and the general art aesthetic is that fairly drab early 90s thriller look. Kind of like if you took Osamu Dezaki’s Golgo 13 but removed anything of interest visually. The animation is also pretty rough for the most part; the exception of course being the lovingly animated boob fondling and her lustful gasps of orgasmic delight. In all, it looks crap and it has sounds.


Phantom is a mess and not particularly enjoyable. I didn’t hate this OAV but I certainly didn’t enjoy it outside of the odd amusing moment, such as when a dude hid in a bath and then casually parachuted out of a skyscraper. This might be the epitome of a show I just have no feelings about. I’m probably going to forget this even exists.

Final Score: 2F



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