Comic Books Magazine

Phantom Street Review

Posted on the 18 February 2015 by Kaminomi @OrganizationASG

Phantom Street coverTitle: Phantom Street (Mugengai)
Genre: Romance
Publisher: Enix (JP), Manga Reborn (JP)
Story/Artist: Yusuke Mizusawa
Reviewed: 4 chapters out of 35 translated
Original English Release Date: January 22, 2015

Manga Reborn is literally the hub of titles translated from the 90’s. At least, ones you might have never heard about. Have you ever heard about a manga published by Enix (before they became Square Enix) in 1994 about a shaman masquerading as a puppet maker that fights off evil spirits? That’s what Phantom Street entails — the story of the 17th-generation “Mugen” named Maki who sells his puppets to people, but he also fights off evil spirits on the side. And not surprisingly, it’s currently inconsistent, with some intriguing motivations and lackluster fight scenes.

Yusuke Mizusawa’s Phantom Street is one of the many titles on Manga Reborn where there’s not a lot of info to go on, either on the site (where it provides only the summary) or the standard Google search. Based on what I can tell though, this is the only work Yusuke’s done, and while it certainly seems fairly solid in length, it looks he’s failed in doing other work. A shame since the manga isn’t all too bad. The story revolves around Maki Hyousuke, who’s following in the tradition of his family and taking after the “Mugen” tradition, except as far as we know he might be the weakest — he can only use three of the shaman skills, and he’s not the strongest or sharpest guy in the room either.

Phantom Street Review
Phantom Street Review

Some gruesome moments showcase ideas Phantom Street could go

That makes what I’ve read of Phantom Street slightly compelling as he ends up taking on some odd jobs, with one involving a former crush who’s been deprived of her happiness due to a petty guy, another with a rich old man that’s hidden his true intentions from Maki, and another involving a teacher being possessed by a puppet. In those events, Yuki ends up revealing not only his weaknesses, but his true persona hidden within his skill set. That ultimately is one of the problems with this manga — he has a second persona that appears at the last second and ends the enemy in two or three pages. There’s no explanation so far on who that is. Is it his grandpa, in his condensed state, channeling this darker version of Maki? Doesn’t seem like it. So who is this guy? Would be nice to know early.

It would also be nice if the battles were actually drawn well since the stories represent the characters of humans, and considering how they conclude, a nice, coherent look at Maki fighting a teacher would be great. Instead, they’re all drawn lazily, with no real movement to make it look active. Maybe the more I read it the more that aspect will improve, but I have my doubts. I could be shortchanging this work, as it shows some depth in stories and the characters are ok, but there’s not much interest elsewhere in this manga.

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