OP Sequence

OP: 「Destiny」 by Aimee Blackschleger

「ずっとこの日を待っていた」 (Zutto Kono Niitsu o Matteita)
“I’ve Been Waiting for this Day”

It must be really inconvenient to have glowing clothes. I mean, not just when you’re trying to hide out in a cave. Sure, it probably does wonders for traffic safety, and perhaps you’ll save a tonne on Christmas decorations, but how do you do normal things like… sleep? You’ve got lightbulbs on your neck. Yeah, I know, some people sleep fine with the lights on but you know what? Those people are freaks. An affront to the laws of nature. Humans are diurnal creatures! What are you doing sparkling at night like you are in bizarro Twilight? Do you want to wake up covered in moths? No, if you want to glow all the time then you’ll have to do it the normal way. With radiation.

I suppose to actual reason why the denizens of Phantasy Star Online 2 is that it’s science fiction and it really wants you to know that it’s science fiction and apparently it’s the rule that in the future everything has lights attached for no real reason. That, and spaceships. In particular, the science fiction of PSO2 is almost a retro variety, still possessing a a core of optimism instead of the cynical visions of the future that have come to shape the genre. I mean, multiple races living together in one giant fleet instead of killing each other on sight? Get out of here. This kind of retro quality is not that uncommon in videogames but in anime it’s rather nostalgic, and perhaps this adaptation is even deliberately playing it up. So much so that during all the opening exposition I could almost hear Picard telling me that these were the voyages of the starship Enterprise. So when they went down to the planet I was already picking out the redshirts from amongst minor character. I didn’t actually expect that it’d end up being all of them, which was an effective way to keep us from being too complacent, but then all the dead were replaced by a brand new cast basically on rotation so I guess we’re not supposed to miss those chumps.

What really balances PSO2, though, it’s that it’s also fantasy. It’s got Aryan elves. It’s got giant trees and a girl falling from the sky (this is where I can talk about Miyazaki influencing an entire generation of Japanese media but we can save that for another time). It’s got wizards with cryptic prophecies. And fantasy tends to be able to play a good vs evil struggle with a far straighter face than science fiction does. Sure, there’s hints of conspiracy already but there’s still evil alien things to kill and it doesn’t matter too much whether they’re bug creatures or orcs.

In fact, it’s probably going to be this interplay between science fiction and fantasy that will keep PSO2 interesting. That’s why our three-race combo has mecha people instead of dwarves. And gunblades. COnsidering how much fantasy there is this season already, PSO2 probably needs all the edge it can get. This was actually a solid pilot, especially compared to how much I made fun of it the first time around. Hopefully it’ll have enough to keep up with the competition.


ED Sequence

ED: 「Timeless Fortune」by 有坂美香 (Arisaka Mika)


  1. Haven’t seen this many fresh recruits get slaughtered since Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse and the first season of Shingeki no Kyojin. Oh wait, there was Gundam Thunderbolt too, but the sometimes-inappropriate jazz music detracted from the grittiness, and made their deaths not really memorable as a result.

    I myself was surprised at the near-total party kill, but in hindsight, I shouldn’t have been. Even veterans would have been hard-pressed to fend off a surprise attack by numerically superior enemies; with recruits who’ve just literally signed up, it’s just impossible. Despite having fighting skills, their lack of familiarity and experience resulted in poor to nonexistent teamwork, panicking, and zero combat effectiveness. Aside from Ash and the trainer, I didn’t see any kills from the anyone in their squad. :O

    Amusingly, I recognized some of the characters because they also appeared in the earlier PSO2 anime (which is based on Episode 4 of the game, while this series apparently will cover episodes 1-3).

    Magnus Tancred
  2. Hi Passerby, I noticed you covered Saekano.

    I recently finished rewatching Kokoro Connect and found myself liking much more than I remember. Given my recent enjoyment of Kokoro Connect, would you recommend Saekano? If I go by MAL or Anilist ratings, I would not invest my time on it since it’s quite long.

    1. I’m super biased since I loved Saekano, and I really want to tell you, ‘Yes!’ without reservation. But it does depend on the kind of show you enjoy, of course. I would say that Saekano is a more subtle kind of show than Kokoro Connect. While both shows set out to mix up the usual romantic comedy formula, Saekano doesn’t have any supernatural hijinks and goes into it with a more critical perspective. A lot of it is about deconstructing and reconstructing fanservice harem comedy archetypes. If you like character studies, like meta comedy, and like a level of narrative wit where all that character development comes together in a meaningful way then give Saekano a go.

      1. Thank you for your feedback. I will definitely start watching it soon.

        I was also looking at Fate/Zero and Flip Flappers but I have have now decided to watch Saekano after your recommendation. ^_^

  3. In particular, the science fiction of PSO2 is almost a retro variety, still possessing a a core of optimism instead of the cynical visions of the future that have come to shape the genre. I mean, multiple races living together in one giant fleet instead of killing each other on sight? Get out of here.

    I get the feeling. It’s the same reason I got hooked to the PSP games. Those were based on the Universe setting rather than the Online one: a star system with different planets inhabited by different races rather than a Macross-style colonization fleet (and it was four races instead of three; add the beastmen to the human-robot-space elf mix). But the spirit was the same.

    It’s ironic; dark subversions of sci-fi have become so prevalent in the genre in the last decades (whenever someone mentions “this story is set in the future”, I bet the first reaction of many is “ah, yeah, a dystopia”) that things like Phantasy Star may look subversive in comparison.

    Of course, sci-fi optimism doesn’t mean that it’s Lollipop Lane in Happy-Land. I also didn’t expect so many deaths (some of them very brutal, in fact), but I think it was a good choice. It balances out that old-school sci-fi optimism and, at the same time, sets this episode apart from the first episode of the previous series. Not the same stakes when it looks as if the sci-fi setting is just a video game where the protagonists seem perfectly safe.

    1. This is what basicly happens at the start of the game. As long as they don’t cut off too many things (like the obvious tutorials), it should be easy to follow.

      No need to watch the previous anime too. That anime was a WTF moment when I was playing the game.

  4. @core of optimism

    The first PSO game was pretty dark, especially what happened to Pioneer 1 and some of its more notable residents. They also disturbed something that should never have been disturbed, through no fault of their own. Dark Falz!


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