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AKA: 怪盗レーニャ (Kaitou Reinya)
Genre: catgirl comedy
Length: Television series, 12 episodes, 3 minutes each
Distributor: Currently available streaming on crunchyroll.
Content Rating: 10+ (slapstick violence)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended: All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku, Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne, Saint Tail
Notes: Based on the manga of the same name, both based on the catgirl alterego of 6th Generation Morning Musume member Reina Tanaka.

Phantom Thief Reinya


(from ANN) Reinya appears to be an ordinary girl working at a convenience store but she is in fact, the Phantom Thief Reinya. Together with her assistant Chūtarō in their secret hideout right below the local convenience store, Reinya hatches plans to steal various treasures made of gold. They face an incompetent trio of a perverted police inspector, a policewoman who is a natural airhead, and a detective totally infatuated with Reinya, all of them in a police station beside Reinya's convenience store.


First off, I should preface this by saying I love the heck outta Morning Musume. I know, I know, that's sort of an otaku-like thing to say and it's pretty darn embarrassing (though less so given that I know a fair number of female MoMusu fans, so there, I guess?), but I'm a sucker for their ridiculously cherry-blossom-pink bubblegum pop cuteness even despite my own better instincts. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean that I'm willing to excuse material that cashes in on that supergroup's resilient fame if and when it's not great, and Phantom Thief Reinya doesn't even make it halfway to greatness.

Building an entire anime, even a short one, solely around the cuteness of a main character rarely leads to great success, and though Reina Tanaka is plenty adorable as her catgirl thief alter-ego, that hardly makes up for the seemingly endless parade of lame, repetitive jokes we get subjected to here. To illustrate the sheer sophistication of this show's humor: Phantom Thief Reinya is obsessed with stealing anything golden - like food items and other random crap that happens to be gold. Sweet. The chief inspector is ALWAYS distracted when the ditzy policewoman's skirt is lifted by a random electric fan. Awesome. The detective's crush on Reinya's civilian identity, convenience-store-clerk-next-door Reina (and of course no one puts two and two together because these characters probably all failed basic arithmetic) is reduced to an animated GIF of effete posing, angsting, and swooning. Oh, you spoony bard. It's the sort of physical-oriented "humor" that just doesn't work for me at all; I guess I just didn't get the memo that telling the exact same joke twelve times in a row is somehow supposed to make it exponentially funnier.

Like many other three-minute anime, the animation in Phantom Thief Reinya is extremely simplistic, essentially on par with typical Flash animation. On the plus side, characters never look off model - apart from the constantly abused mouse Chutaro, who is often replaced by live-action footage of, say, a towel, or a tennis ball, or clay, just to emphasize how much of a chew toy he is. (Chew toy, Chutaro, get it?) The series never looks bad the way that, say, Sparrow's Hotel does, but it doesn't try too hard either, like Miss Monochrome.

Amusingly, the chief director and storyboarder is credited as "Something Yoshimatsu" - as if Takahiro Yoshimatsu (typically a character designer or animation designer, but also credited for Nyanpire the Animation) didn't want to actually admit to being in charge of this series. The screenwriter, Kenichi Kanemaki (Ai Yori Aoshi, Saber Marionette J) seems to have little to work with and phones this one in, and it's not like the rest of the cast apart from the lead has much work to do anyway, apart from Kosuke Okano (more successful with crimefighting in his younger years as Asuka Jr. in a vastly better "phantom thief show": Saint Tail) who does double duty as Chutaro and the handsome detective who can't seem to figure out that Reina = Reinya. Rounding out the main cast is Arisa Noto (of idol group Stylips) as ditzy Policewoman Nocchi, who really probably should invest in some pants. (Maybe trousers, too.)

The one thing I can say about Phantom Thief Reinya is that, despite its aimless barrage of boring sight gags, this show doesn't actually give me reasons to outright dump it in the one-star zone. There are a few moments that made me smile a bit, mostly thanks to Reina Tanaka herself, and fortunately, being a short series, it's not like you're wasting a whole lot of time on this.

There's no escaping the reality that most three-minute anime are filler, and Phantom Thief Reinya simply reinforces and solidifies that notion.Carlos/Giancarla Ross

Recommended Audience: There is a surprisingly tasteless joke involving what's going on under Policewoman Nocchi's skirt when the Chief Inspector is *overlooking* things that doesn't quite sneak past the radar in one episode; fortunately, there is no nudity depicted onscreen. Lots of slapstick violence, though, some of it weirdly brutal, and almost all of it upon Chutaro. Older children and up.

Version(s) Viewed: Digital source, Japanese with English subtitles.
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Phantom Thief Reinya © 2010 Phantom Thief Reinya Production Committee
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