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  • Genre : Sports!, comedy, drama
  • Episodes: 24
  • Studio: MAPPA

Tsukamoto is a sports anime protagonist, short, unskilled and inexperienced in soccer but brimming with good will and enthusiasm and willing to do everything it takes to advance the standard sports anime plotline help his team get to nationals (Japan must have a national competition in something every single day of the year…maybe Canada does too, I’m ill-informed). With the help of his new friend stereotypical pretty boy Kazama, and his token archetypes teammates, Tsukimoto will do the exact same thing as every other sports anime protagonist discover his love of the game and finally find a place where he belongs.

Be honest with me, should I just give up trying to come up with witty post names?

I have some rather questionable ambitions. To my credit, most are legal. One of these, is to watch every single sports anime that comes my way and that’s how Days got on my list. High praise, I know. Days seems to have been mostly ignored and garnered generally tepid reception among the few people that did give it a chance, which is too bad because Days is surprisingly more enjoyable that it has any right to be.

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for the record, I’m ok with it

Sure, technically speaking there’s nothing spectacular going on here. The designs are nice, your classic team full of pretty boys (noone’s complaining) and varied enough to be interesting but the already somewhat pared down aesthetic becomes laughably minimalist as soon as a scene requires any distance or movement.

And movement is by far the weakest part of this series. Seeing as this is a sports anime about soccer, you would reasonably expect a lot of running around and dynamic action sequences. These tend to be quite demanding on a production though and Days employs every possible trick in the book to avoid actual animation. By this I mean, closeups on faces with lightly moving hair instead of full body/ full field shots, strangely frozen extras or having the camera move over static frames. All of these are pretty obvious but for my money, much preferable to actual bad animation. Just don’t expect to get swept away by onscreen action.

This is an animated gif

Maybe partly due to this lack of animation, the story focuses much more on feels than mechanics. Yes, it gives us some soccer fundamentals, but unlike a lot of animes in this genre, it doesn’t go into much details about the history, strategies and game theory of soccer. Days chooses to concentrate instead on the social and character building aspects of team sports. I actually quite enjoyed this departure and found that I had become surprisingly attached to the admittedly stock characters, very quickly.

In a mere 24 episodes, a trifling for a sports anime, I actually developed some type connection to most team members and half the rivals. No, this show doesn’t have the masterful characterization of Haikyuu!! but then again very few shows do. I do believe that Days establishes its characters better than the norm and uses personality driven plots to make the most of what it has.

I can tell you about every one of these guys

Although in many ways Tsukamoto is the prototypical sports anime protagonist (is that too many “pro” words in a sentence?) He does stray from the mold in one important aspect. Tsuki has parents, rather “A” parent, and his relationship with his mother is both important and character defining. Tsuki’s backstory is considerably more tragic than expected but it’s handled with a certain optimistic nonchalance that’s both refreshing and endearing. The emphasis on Tsuki’s relationship with his handicapped mother and how this has shaped him as a person was rather unique and I wish they had delved into it even deeper. This said, all their shared moments, were sweet and occasionally deeply moving. It hammered home the “hero” aspect in one of the most effective ways I’ve yet to see.

Also here’s a random quote from the show. I’m just throwing it in because I quite liked it and it gives you a feeling for the joyful optimism embodied by Days:

“Maybe life isn’t about counting all the things you’ve lost”.

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I have a similar relationship to my phone

This said, there are some pretty obvious problems with the narrative as well. Kazama is adorable but oddly shallow for what is essentially the deuteragonist. His character never feels fully developed despite a few episodes dedicated to his background.

Also, in part as a product of the short runtime and blind optimism of the series, conflicts are minor and almost instantly resolved. There really isn’t much in way of dramatic tension here.

 A lot of the problems with the show seem to stem from the fact that this was essentially a pilot season. It ends on a cliffhanger with a very hopeful (as in all things) “see you next season” screen. I would be willing to bet that the writers left much of the development and drama for potential upcoming seasons and treated this as a largely superficial straight forward introduction.

Please to meet you too

I’m not sure if this was a miscalculation on the part of the production team or if we are in fact ever going to get a second season. The fact is, for all of the shortcomings I mentioned above, I enjoyed Days a whole lot. The visceral impact was undeniable and although I may not have been on the edge of my seat breathlessly waiting for the next goal, I found that I was really looking forward to spending more time with the Seiseki team and the series effectively sold me on reading the manga.

 Favorite character: Kimishita and Usui

What this show taught me: Apparently I don’t always chose the blonde

I don’t have a drinking problem… I’m actually quite good at it

Suggested drink: Caipirinha

  • Every time Tuski blushes – take a sip
    • Every time anyone else blushes – clap
  • Every time Kazama is cool – raise your glass
  • Every time Tsuki gets hurt – take a sip
  • Every time Kimishita gets angry – take a sip
  • Every time Tsuki cries – get some water
  • Every time Kazama runs with his hands in his pockets – take a sip
  • Every time Tsuki gets blue face – take a sip
  • Every time Kazama defends Tsuki – cheer!
  • Every time Tsuki gets called an idiot – agree
  • Every time someone is shirtless – cluth your pearls
  • Every time Tsuki gets cheered on – join along
  • Every time Kimishita wears his glasses – huh?
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I liked the coach too!

27 thoughts

  1. I am pretty new to the world of manga and anime but you seem to be having a really nice blog on it. I have made sure to follow your blog to read more!

  2. I liked this show quite a bit when I was watching it and that was a big surprise for me, because I’m not much of a sports anime fan.

    Maybe I should get into more sport series at some point.

        1. I have a real soft spot for Ippo and like everyone I think Haikyuu deserves its hype. Slam dunk was great too. I personally love KnB and Ace of Diamond but those may be more niche

  3. I actually started watching its first episode but stopped to do some stuff and never got around to continuing it. Maybe I’ll pick it up again just to see if I’ll enjoy it as much as you do. 🙂

  4. I don’t remember Days. I don’t remember a single moment. Normally, I remember dropping shows early on, but with Days I’m not sure I even tried it out once. Might have. I do remember the title. If it was a guessing game, and you’d have said “Days”, I’d have said, ah that soccer anime, and then drawn a blank. I think I didn’t try it at all. It doesn’t look that forgettable. In fact, I find the character designs pretty nice. They’ve got a sort of comfortable charm. They’re nothing special, but they make you feel right at home (in a sports anime).

    To be honest, sports isn’t my genre. I tend to drop most at some point (so it means something when I make it through three seasons of Haikyuu for example).

    Your ambition is to watch every single sports anime out there? So Scorching Ping Pong Girls is still on the menu? (I had to ask.)

    1. I would say Days is much more likable than actually good but that has an appeal of its own. Of course Scorchin Ping Pong girls is on the docket! Are you kidding! Best anime ever — I assume…

  5. Maybe this is one that deserves another go someday. Did get started and was quite enjoying it, but dropped off somewhere along the way and didn’t get back to it. I remember there were plenty of laughs, even if the soccer playing itself came off a bit clunky – the ‘animated gif’ is accurate 😆

  6. I quite enjoyed Days, probably because they don’t spend forever explaining soccer (football-whatever) to you and there is that larger focus on the emotion of Tsukamoto. I also agree with your criticisms of the story only feeling like an introduction and Kazama’s character going really nowhere in the first season. I actually wouldn’t mind more of this. I’m not the biggest sports anime fan but this was kind of charming in a fairly ordinary kind of way.

    1. I honestly think this has the makings of a great sports anime if it gets a bit more time and budget. I’ve seen quite a few and as far as first seasons go – Days is pretty solid.

  7. Sports anime must be getting super popular. I would’ve never expected that. As soon as I heard the main character was short and not a natural soccer player, I immediately thought about Sho Kazamatsuri from Whistle if he was older. Looks like the story does deviate from that soccer anime though. Great job on the review!

    1. I believe the renaissance of Sports anime can be traced back to the brilliant marketing decision to bishify the cast thereby easily doubling the potential audience. The decision has proved somewhat successful methinks….

  8. Oh my days! Sorry that was a really bad pun, my apologies. To date the only sports anime that I have seen is Yuri on Ice, but I don’t even know if you can technically call that a sports anime. To my defence this time there is a good reason for this: I just hate sports. I get tired thinking of sports, and I don’t watch sports on tv at all. But that said.. I still enjoyed your review for it ( I loved the text beneath the pictures: seriously funny). But I’m sorry to say that I will probably not watch this one in all likelyhood 😊

      1. True, this was super fun.
        I’ll give it a go though, because well it’s sports anime LOL
        Is that REALLY a gif though Rin-san? XD

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