OP Sequence

OP: 「絶世スターゲイト」 (Zessei Sutāgeito) by 蒼井翔太 (Aoi Shouta)

「「はじめまして」から始まるRPG」 (‘Hajimemashite’ kara Hajimaru RPG )
“The RPG That Begins with, ‘Nice to Meet You'”

Make no mistake: despite what you may have inferred from the spacecraft and the hard light technology, this Phantasy Star Online 2 The Animation is a fantasy anime. And the fantasy (spelt with a ph- if you want to be edgy) is this: in an alternate present, or maybe a future where people stubbornly refuse to upgrade from Windows 7, Phantasy Star Online 2 is actually a global phenomenon enjoyed by the cool and trendy everywhere. It’s universally popular! People play it on their ride. People play it side by side. People play it while they spam. People play it, Sam I Am!

If you’ve ever wondered what a marketing executive’s wet dream looks likes, now you know. You’re welcome.

Now, anime is but another popular medium, and has been used to sell all sorts of things. It’s routinely used to promote cities. To promote cars. To promote tabloid news apps. Promoting a videogame is nothing new. Cartoons have been used to sell toys before product placement was even invented. Pokemon is somehow still running with a protagonist who is somehow still 10. PSO2A simply replaces children’s card games or whatever with an MMORPG. But isn’t it refreshing how incredibly transparent it is about everything? You know those fabulous, popular, wholesome role-model teenagers who play this fabulous, popular, wholesome game? You know which school they go to? Seiga Academy! Get it? Get it?! They sure wink at the audience hard. ‘Oh no, please, pay total attention to the man behind the curtain’. Hey, what’s the product we’re pushing again? Oh, right, Phantasy Star Online 2. Remember, Phantasy Star Online 2! PHANTASY STAR ONLINE 2!!!.

We need a new Best of Anime category this year. For shamelessness. Go for gold, PSO2A!

Some may criticise this pilot for its generic premise, forgettable characters, clunky exposition, and a cold open that does more to distract than to tantalise. But those people are anime viewers who judge their shows on things like quality or enjoyment. I’m an anime blogger, and in particular an anime blogger who hasn’t gotten enough sleep lately and really needs to cut down on his word count so he can hit the hay. In this state, I rate my anime on exactly one metric: ease to write about. Watch this: hey, I wrote a post on a show called Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu. See the various good things I wrote about it? For PSO2A, it’s not that.

Ah, that was easy. Uncanny parallels are the best. What a great show PSO2A is.

But really, to talk straight for exactly one paragraph, a generic premise does not immediately sink a show in the pilot. I am, I must note, not a Phantasy Star Online fan (just a sci-fi fan and a videogames fan in general), and it’s entirely possible that those who are will find great excitement in watching a version of a game that probably looks better than what they play. And from the OP, I’m guessing there will be cameo opportunities from some familiar faces. Even for the anime only viewer, there’s a few hints in this pilot that point to a bigger plot. There’s our protagonist having turned blue in the cold open, for starters, the highly improbably coincidence of rolling all random and getting a character who looks exactly like you, and the student council president implying that the game is much more Serious Business than what she’s letting on. And there will be a Mysterious Transfer Student next episode and she brings with her some curious virtual thing, so we may have the ‘this game is no game!’ revelation at some point. No doubt they’ll reveal that there’s more to this anime in the next few episodes.

But, again, I’m short for time, so I’ve already completely figured out this show. It’s the classic yarn about a young man who does not share the same hobby as his peers and, rather than accepting differences in tastes and being happy as an individual, realises that he was just being a smug hipster, learns the errors of his ways, and comes to love that one videogame everyone else apparently plays because it’s—trust us—totally awesome. The moral of the story, for all the boys and girls watching at home: play our game! Ah, what a heartwarming tale. I think I have something in my eye.


ED Sequence

ED: 「レアドロ☆KOI☆こい!ワンモア!」 (Readoro☆Koi☆Koi!Wanmoa! (I dunno, don’t ask me)) by 諏訪彩花, M・A・O (Suwa Ayaka, Ichimichi Mao)



    1. That is actually the default model for a male human in-game. It’s funny how he click randomize and ended up with 90-100% of the parameters on default. Never happened to me, and I’ve used that button hundreds of times.

      It’s probably a standard character for the Japanese. Black short hair plus a sword. I’ve seen tons of them.

  1. I think it’s obvious that the school wishes to ban the game, and Senpai is out there trying to prove that playing PSO2 doesn’t have a negative effect on a student’s academic results. Why? Probably because she likes the game? Why? Because the plot demands it.

    We need more Senpai. Let’s ditch the MC.

    Problem Child
    1. After the defeat of his first mission, you saw her with her own handheld and on screen it was her Avatar.. Did he do not look some similar?

      But yes, it could be to prove that to much Onlinegames worse your grades at school.

      1. Please tell me that someone is going to take a baseball bat to Glasses-Guy’s glasses.
        If someone is continually pushing their *&%£ing glasses back up, they’re too sweaty to be near girls, let alone in the same room.
        REALLY annoying. I can’t begin to describe how much so…

  2. I actually play the game and I must say, this episode fell short of my already low expectations. So far the only fun thing is figuring out the parts of Rina’s in game character. That didn’t take too long, and there are already clones running around in the actual game. For now cameos wouldn’t really matter, since they are after all just NPCs. There’s no added depth and not seeing them would actually be weird.

    There is one thing I found interesting. Even though I like the art style and Rina’s character design, they managed to get me fed up with her just from the presentation alone. First time ever that my views of a character changed from positive to negative in such a short period of time. It’s usually the other way round.

    I will check out the next episode. If there’s a hint that this will tie up to the in game story, then I’m interested. But currently, I’m not even sure I’ll be able to follow the three episode rule.

    ps. Didn’t even notice Sonic until I clicked on the “Get it?” link. Even missed it while looking at the thumbnails. XD

      1. I only saw one possible link. Haven’t checked if she’s the same person, but I don’t see anyone from the PV in the anime’s website. I’ll wait for the next episode to see if there are more prospective hints.

  3. I play the game and manage to understand all story up to now and anticipate to future content
    So I will only said this
    “Anime drop a lot of future content hint” and if it like that then this is obviously no simple “teenager play game”

    unless SEGA said “LOL LOL It fan service only”

  4. So to recap; instead of taking the obvious route and, I dunno, just animate the story of the game or something, they decide to…animate a guy playing the game. A really boring one, in a world full of boring people (except for Ms. Student President, whose name might as well be Mary Sue) where everyone is obsessed with the game in a thinly veiled marketing campaign.

    To quote the Angry Video Game Nerd: “What were they thinking?!”

    I can’t even describe how dumb this show is, and how illogical its plot is. Just…wow, man. I’m almost impressed by the incompetency at display here. Almost. What a complete and utter mess.

    1. The story of the game would’ve had potential, and probably have been fun. This is just dumb, the student council needs psychological help, and the biggest crisis will be MC’s grades falling and someone coming along to tell everyone they can’t game on campus anymore. The horror.

      1. Exactly. The game has a decent story all written and ready for them to adapt…and then they go and make up a painfully contrived and generic premise that has absolutely nothing to do with it.

        The heavy-handedness with which they’re trying to push the game on the audience is almost refreshing.

        I’d probably be more pissed if I wasn’t a PSO2 player myself. I actually started back when the JP server first opened…then quit because it was too hard then returned later when it had much more content. Only to get region blocked shortly after thanks to the SEA server opening.

    2. My thoughts exactly. I can’t talk about Phantasy Star Online, but I have played Phantasy Star Portable and this series is a complete waste of potential.

      Instead of a fantasy/sci-fi story about different races living in a colonization fleet and fighting an evil space enemy (yeah, sounds a lot like Macross, doesn’t it?), the episode is a barely disguised commercial of the product. Sigh.

  5. I played PSO on the DC, imported the GC versions and today enjoy PSO2. Or “till today, enjoyed”…

    I’m utterly appalled by the very *idea* of this show.

    Will be forgetting it exists and hope it never pops back up here, thanks!

    (Animating any of the game stories would have been a viable-ish way to try to anime-promote, but this?!? Worse, the next major content update strongly appears to be just a tie-in to this awful show (i.e., we’re in a fantasy part of SPACE with made-up planets and will next be going to …. ?ack? current-ish EARTH! noooooooooooo. The shameless self-promotion! It BURNS! Apologies for the purist-rage… even the prospect of fighting two-headed mega-train bosses can’t put out this fire! But I should have known it was coming when SEGA got PSO2 mentioned in an unrelated series a few seasons ago…)

  6. I’m sorry, I’m with Passerby. This is AMAZING, in a hilariously ironic sort of way. I feel for anyone that expected some sort of good sci-fi/fantasy anime, because this clearly is not it, but it is so weirdly straightforward about being a shameless plug that I can’t stay mad at it.

    I’m not saying I’ll watch the whole thing (though I will watch the next episode) but this is the weirdest attempt at marketing I’ve ever seen. It’s just a guy, playing the game. That’s not a show. It’s not even a commercial.

  7. You know what’s ironic? For a country that’s supposedly steeply rooted in self-restraint and keeping one’s honor, this very ‘show’ that they’ve created is the antithesis to those very concepts. Just what in the mother-flying-fuck happened along the way anyway?

    Nishizawa Mihashi
    1. Japan does have a fairly restrained culture, but I would never argue that they’re restrained when it comes to marketing and commercialization. If anything, they’re more unabashed about cartoons=toys than American companies are. I think Japan invented the ‘they’re literally just playing with the toy/game in the show’ style of cartoon.

  8. All this episode did for me was go update my PSO2 to play it again. So, I guess it did it’s job? I got weird vibes when the opening bit showed the Mining Base Defense Emergency quest for the game along with the awesome music that plays in the game.

    As for if I’ll keep watching I do not know but I sure as hell will be playing it again. Need to get my bouncer to max level and then get Summoner to max level once that comes out on the 27th.

  9. I would disagree with a lot of you here who want to animate the game story
    the “main character” is suppose to be the “Player” whether the player is male of female
    so I don’t want my char to become a stereotype male protagonist in anime

    Honestly you will need a person with PSO2 knowledge to doing the review
    or it will end up as a game advertise review every episode

    1. ehh, I was kind of hoping for something along the lines of Blade and Souls anime. They made a character who is suppose to represent the player character. And the show is more about the character they interact with than about the main character who is generic.

      Personally all I wanted out of this series was some interaction with the best character in the game. Lisa. But this episode doesn’t really show how npc interaction will be handled. So who knows how that will turn out.

    2. I haven’t played the game and I don’t plan to. I just want to watch an entertaining (so far) anime and read Passerby’s thoughts about it, not a review from gamer’s point of view.

  10. LOL that student council members are all pricks, those condescending behaviour gets into my skin and made me want the MC scold them and defend himself, alas he’s just a wimpy MC that doesn’t even think for his own.

    1. Nothing’s been ‘picked up’ yet. See here. And there’s plenty of reasons why someone might be interested in knowing what this show is about. I like to believe our introductions are helpful to anyone who are just browsing the season.

  11. The PSO2 nerd in me is screaming and nitpicking all the things that they’ve been doing wrong with this project since its inception (I literally winced at the first previews).

    But the PSO2 *player* in me is having a blast watching this– because it’s hilarious in how it is simultaneously bland and terrible as a work on its own and just the sheer amount of things they couldn’t even get right.

    The fact that they couldn’t identify what has made the game so popular to begin with and instead decided to indulge Sakai’s (PSO2 producer) noted schoolgirl fetish and love of gunslashes (they play it up as the best and most awesome weapon ever in the show, but in-game it’s useless as a main source of damage and only ever used as a way of quickly recovering MP due to its higher than average recover rate) in ways that make beige look like the most exciting color in the rainbow next to it is so baffling and disappointing that it wraps right around to being a bona fide laugh riot.

  12. Sega has all the time to make a anime of PSO2, yet they refuse to let the WEST play the freaken game?! i played pso2 for a lil bit i loved it and had a lv 40 cast heavy gunner. but in the end i got ip banned for being discovered that i was a westerner on their servers… all i did was type a hello on acident not in party chat and got reported for being a english speaker..

  13. The tragic thing about this anime is that for people who ARE playing PSO2, the next enormous update is actually tied into this anime so they have no choice but to watch it. It’s not really a spoiler but Show Spoiler ▼

    . Could be cool if they can pull it off but… it’s just a terrible show.

  14. To me the good thing about PSO2A is how it can actually relate itself to the PSO2 game, not just a freaking original story line with more freaking original characters. Also if any of you read the PSO2 producer’s blog, he said Show Spoiler ▼

    I do agree this is a business anime and for ppl don’t play pso2 it’s gonna be a very clueless anime but I still want to give it a + on the unique approach.

  15. Ep 02:

    (Finally found time to watch it)

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Part 2 of 3

    Passed, but still in my Yellow range. to much standards

  16. ep 03:

    Show Spoiler ▼

    1. yes, with Part B i think this Anime won a 2nd chance for the ones that droped it with Episode 1. The ramen is now better cooked then at the beginning. I think i stay with this Anime, watching from the sidelines. Also, even for me my MMO experience i gained influenced my RL. perhaps it was there to train my patience for about 6-8 Hours (when we was waiting for an Boss spawn. If was before the Wikipedias was born)

      1. also western name changes

        Show Spoiler ▼

  17. ep 04:

    And we got an Plot Hole…

    I do not want to give out much details, but…

    They are searching an PSO2 Player without knowing how he looks like in Real Life, only 2 of the “Party” knows him. Sure they could search all ARK Cards, But i thing from their searching they are looking for peoples faces…


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