Phantom Dream 5 by Natsuki Takaya: B

In this, the final volume of Phantom Dream, the millennium-long battle between the Gekka and Otoya families comes to a close. Before this can happen, we learn all about the villain’s painful background and what really happened 1000 years ago. Unfortunately, the authorial sidebars spoil one major plot twist (it would’ve been nice if there had been a spoiler warning), but luckily fail to ruin the best revelation of all, one which was actually set up three volumes ago. Overall, the conclusion is a satisfying one and I surprised myself by sniffling a few times.

That said, a few things did bother me. As a child, Hira (the villain) was forced to endure many years of imprisonment because of his powers and demonic appearance (that’s him on the cover). At various points, the length of his incarceration is stated as ten years, fifteen years, and nearly ten years. I’m not sure whether this is the fault of the original material or the translation, but it’s a distracting inconsistency. Also, the motivations of an antagonist are unclear; I found it hard to reconcile their past actions with their present ones.

Phantom Dream certainly improved as it progressed; while it was initially hard to see how the same hand could have produced this and the lovely Fruits Basket, by the end the connection is clear. While I didn’t like Takaya’s other early series, Tsubasa: Those with Wings, enough to hang onto it after I’d finished, this one is a keeper.

Review copy provided by the publisher. Review originally published at Manga Recon.

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  1. The big plot twist was crazy. I definitely didn’t see it coming. Though once she explained it…it was a little difficult to grasp, I agree. His motivations were sort of…I don’t know…. But it was interesting how the really evil one was the last person you expected. I loved that.

    • I would’ve enjoyed it more if the sidebars hadn’t spoiled it! 🙂 I did love his comeuppance, however (she says as nonspoilery as possible).


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