Phantom of the Idol – Summer 2022 Anime Season First Impressions (Spoiler‑Free)

Welcome back to First Impressions for Summer 2022!

Welcome once more to the Yatta-Tachi Seasonal First Impressions series! In case you’re new or have forgotten, it usually works like this: in the weeks leading up to the start of a new anime season, we run a poll so readers can vote on what new shows they’d like us to cover. We tally up the votes, and the top 3 get their first episodes reviewed by some of our writers. This season, our winners were Phantom of the Idol, Tokyo Mew Mew New, and Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer. Of those three, Phantom of the Idol is the first to air.

Key art for Phantom of the Idol

Yuya is part of the idol duo ZINGS, but his laziness and disdain for fans puts him in danger of getting blacklisted. That is, until he meets Asahi, the ghost of a former idol who’s eager to stage her own comeback by possessing Yuya’s willing body! – HIDIVE

Let’s see what our team of writers had to say!

Daryl Harding

Dead idols coming back to life in bodies that may not be their own. Where have I heard that premise before? No matter, the soul of Phantom of the Idol makes it stand out from that which came before it and it shines brightly on its own, just like Asahi before she got isekai’d into the spiritual realm.

The first episode of Phantom of the Idol is a fun one that defied the expectations I had going into it. It’s very rare to find an anime about male idols that doesn’t feel like its doing its best to pander to the female audience and instead be enjoyed by all, but here is Phantom of the Idol, served up on a sashimi platter to gobble up. 

Being said, overall as a package, Phantom of the Idol was fine. Aside from the interesting premise, the animation was just serviceable and the 3DCG dance scenes looked they had come from the first Love Live! music video from 2010 – actually no, the animation in Phantom of the Idol was worse. 

If Phantom of the Idol can focus less on the concert aspect of the idol series and more on the relationships between the two lead males and their new ghost friend, then this is a series I could likely recommend. I guess I’ll have to wait a few weeks to find out if that’s the case.

Bill Curtis

The body-swap subgenre is a deep and timeless well from which to draw. Your mileage may vary, but to me there’s so much potential for drama, interesting character dynamics, and especially humor in these kinds of stories. They pretty much always hit for me, and Phantom of the Idol, at least as far as the characters and laughs go, is no exception.

This show trades in the kind of deadpan humor that seems to be getting a little more popular in anime recently. A lot of that weight is being pulled by Fumiya Imai, main character Niyodo’s voice actor. The dry, bored-sounding delivery of his comebacks, and his ability to smoothly switch personalities when Asahi is possessing him, holds the show together. He sounds more like a grumpy old man than a bubbly idol boy, and the show is better for it. The other characters are cute and endearing enough, but we haven’t really seen much of them. I hope we do though, especially Niyodo’s trio of working women fans, who honestly were more interesting to me than his other idol cohorts.

The glaring issue with the show is the visuals. The animation and character designs during most of the show are fine. Not particularly eye-catching but they get the job done. But then there’s the song and dance number, which is truly ghastly. It has some of the worst, most incongruous CG I’ve ever seen in an anime and sticks out horribly. And the music can’t save it – the song their stilted dance is set to seems written specifically to be forgotten.

But I like the premise! I’m a sucker for the premise. And it is funny. I’m perfectly willing to give it a chance. I just hope we don’t have to see much more dancing.

You can watch Phantom of the Idol on HIDIVE.

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