「夢の一員になりたい」 (Yume no ichiin ni naritai)
“I Want to be Part of the Dream”
DAYS makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.
The soccer sports anime continues to impress with its second installment. While the show has yet to really flesh out its main characters, it’s done a wonderful job of making me care—I mean really care—about our rosy-cheeked protagonist.
So I’ll jump right into it. People are often too afraid to pursue their passions. They’re held back by trivial fears and worries like if they’re good enough, or how they’ll appear to others. They let external factors get in the way. Tsukamoto, however, gives no shits. He’s willing to put in ridiculous amounts of extra work to even possibly stand side by side with his peers, despite being told that such is impossible. He’s willing to look weak and dumb and whatever, as long as he gets the chance to play soccer with some homies. That’s all he wants, and he doesn’t care what others may think. It’s something that you can’t help but admire and root for.
The episode did a great job of conveying this sentiment not only to the viewer, but also to others in the show. Eventually, all of his teammates (and one in particular) come around to the same feeling, despite some initial trepidations and hostility. It felt vilifying to see our own perceptions of the character reflected on-screen, and for the little guy to get what he wants.
The feeling is magnified ten-fold during the events of the training camp. When Tsukamoto is mocked by other athletes, you can’t help but swell up with malcontent. Seeing his teammates look on with quiet frustration, knowing full well what’s about to go down, felt a encouraging. Like he’s really one of their own now. Witnessing him absolutely ass-blast all the haters during the grueling training exercise felt immensely satisfying. Hard work really pays off kids, follow your dreams and stuff!!
It was also interesting to discover that the Seiseki—the high school team of our main cast—is the top dog of the high school soccer world. This is a peculiar choice given that the main teams of almost every other sports anime start off as the underdogs—as having something to prove. Now, I’m not knocking DAYS for going the opposite route—in fact, I commend this unconventional choice. I can’t wait to see how the show will make this change interesting and engaging.
A few worries though. First off, the show has yet to reveal why Tsukamoto is so motivated in the first place. If Tsukamoto’s internal thoughts and past was more substantially addressed, then perhaps we could get a better sense of why he’s so driven. It would make great strides towards the dimension of his character, and would do nothing but strengthen his likability. I know it’s still pretty early in the show’s run, but any sort of development would be welcome. The sooner the better too, for it’s wiser to really flesh out these characters before placing them in front of the appropriate obstacles.
Secondly, I feel that the show is maybe coming along at too quick of a pace? Maybe it should’ve taken Tsukamoto a little longer for the guy to become accepted by his peers, and a longer even to become a physical threat during the camp with other highly-trained athletes. I realize that we’re just talking about his cardio here, and his soccer skills still need a more than a lot of work. But maybe take a litter longer to flesh out the general team dynamics, and how he fits in amongst everyone? This is just a small, tiny, miniscule, microscopic concern of mine, as I feel the show will do a lot more to develop these characters and their relationships with one another in the coming weeks. Overall some really strong stuff from DAYS, and I really look forward to getting to know these characters some more.