The first of the summer shows to wrap up the season is 10-episode long Phantom of the Idol. This light hearted series follows Yuuya Niyodo, one half of two-man idol group ZINGS. There’s just a couple of twists: Niyodo doesn’t actually want to be an idol, and makes that abundantly clear every time he opens his mouth. He’s also haunted by the spirit of a former idol named Asahi Mogami, renown for her open hearted approach to life. Together, they strike a deal to give them each what they want, a goal that follows through to the end of the story with consistent, yet forgettable, charm.
One of the silliest aspects of this anime is the lively depiction of Niyodo’s fans, represented by three women who just can’t get enough of him. From the beginning, they’ve loved his personality in all its taciturn glory. Their energy and excitement in anything and everything Niyodo and ZINGS related follows them from concert venues to fan events and even to the restaurants where they meet up. They reminisce, gossip, titter, and imagine in the most encouraging way possible. The funniest part is that the object of their affection is Niyodo, a man who self-professes complete disinterest in all things idol-related, including his fans. Normally this unrequited fandom might come across as sad, pathetic even, but their mutual joy saves these gatherings from such a bleak description.
Another invaluable part of the show is the phantom. Asahi Mogami died recently at the height of her fame as an idol with legendary skills in dancing, singing, and fan interaction. Her reluctance to move on results in her meeting Niyodo who for some unknown reason can see her when nobody else can. They strike a deal that allows Mogami to perform idol duties to her heart’s content whenever Niyodo can’t be bothered. Her substitution provides huge swings in personality from Niyodo’s usual fatigue to Mogami’s boundless energy. Aptly nicknamed “God-mode Niyodo” whenever Mogami takes over, Niyodo’s mood swings are not only noticed by his fans—they’re adored. The one instance of someone disliking Niyodo’s shifts is rival idol Hikaru Setouchi of Cgrass, but even in that case, he reveals a deep admiration for Niyodo and continues his fandom through their confrontation and to the end of the series.
As fun as these past weeks have been, the focus of Phantom of the Idol has remained the same from the start: our idols and their audience. The show never forgets that and the tone remains much the same from start to finish. The biggest difference between then and now is Niyodo’s realization that he does care, even if just a little, about everyone who supports him. This is where reception to the final episode may vary from viewer to viewer. We end in the 10th week with a full concert, complete with speeches, songs, and flashbacks. This is truly a finale for the ZINGS fans, though I would argue that it works less well for the actual anime viewers. I would have been satisfied with half as much of the performance and more focus on Asahi Mogami who ends up feeling shoehorned into a “happy” ending together forever with Niyodo. He even makes a comment regarding her satisfaction and possible passing into the afterlife, which would have made for a fitting ending where they each grow as individuals and go their ways; instead, she assures him that she intends to remain by his side and continue their deal. While I definitely get the tone the show is going for, I still felt disappointed.
So as much fun as I had over the course of the series and affection I still have for its characters, Phantom of the Idol is a passing fancy I only recommend to those looking for a sweet and short story with zero complications. The art style worked fine for the simple writing, even if I could have gone without the full CG dances.
Rating: 0 dango
Watch Phantom of the Idol on HIDIVE.
- 0 dango – average and forgettable.
- 1 dango – very good in its category.
- 2 dango – excellent show that is worth a try.
- 3 dango – exceptional show one must watch.