Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
Apart from living on the Moon (although that's nothing unusual in the year 2100), Kurau Amami's was your average, cheerful young girl, until the day her father agreed to allow her to visit his work as a birthday treat. He was a scientist, dealing with research into a new kind of energy, so the opportunity to visit the labs was a real reason for excitement, but the visit changed Kurau's life forever. A freak accident leaft her playing host to an alien, energy-based lifeform - the Rynax. With her physical abilities augmented far beyond human norms, but no memories of the time before the Rynax joined with her, Kurau's life became extraordinary. The show then jumps forward 10 years, where we find that Kurau's a mercenary for hire - a job her augmented abilities make her ideally suited for - but she's no closer to finding a way to separate the Rynax from her body...
The key to separating the Rynax from Kurau is her Pair, lying dormant within Kurau - the Rynax had made a deal with Kurau's father that once its Pair had awoken, it would work with him to find a way to separate the three of them into their separate identities - but as the years passed and the Pair remained dormant, Kurau and her father went their separate ways. Now the Pair has awakened, Kurau needs to get in touch with her father again - but there are others who are aware of the Rynax and the abilities it can grant, and Kurau's suddenly finds herself a wanted woman.
The first episode of Kurau: Phantom Memory does a good job of making you think you're getting one kind of show - and then in episode two it goes off in a different direction. You see Kurau's father's reaction to what happens to Kurau, his initial conversations with the Rynax while he tries to get his head around what's happened, his internal struggles to deal with the combined Kurau-Rynax entity behaving more and more like Kurau used to (is it his daughter, or a monster who's subsumed her? How should he feel?), and you begin to see how a story about growing up and identity could begin to flow from that. I saw that possibility as quite an interesting one - so come episode two, where we're suddenly dropped into a story where Kurau's a super-powered bounty-hunter, there was a mental clashing of gears while I tried to adjust to the show's direction.
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