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