Days is pretty much the story of two characters playing soccer together. One is supremely talented and the other has never played before and isn’t all that fit. That said, apparently all it takes is heart and effort because this is a feel good kind of story.
I think if I had to describe this series as a colour that colour would be beige. It is all pretty average but works.
You can read my full series review here.
Days Episode 1
I’ll admit it, I read nothing about this anime and didn’t do any further investigating after watching the episode.
It’s a sport anime so it isn’t my usual thing but I watched the first episode of Days out of curiosity (plus I’ve had one or two surprises even though the vast majority of shows in this genre just don’t work for me). I was pleasantly surprised.
Our two main characters contrast quite nicely (though there seems little reason why they are interacting) and the pace of this episode was quite well done. It didn’t feel like an extended commercial for soccer (football). Don’t know how many episodes I’ll watch but this definitely made me want to at least try one more so well done.
Days is available on Crunchyroll.
Days Episode 2
There is something really sweet about the main character in Days and that’s about the only draw this show still has for me. I kind of want to see him succeed and they have just the right ratio of failure and idiocy to success to string you along and make you keep watching.
That said, the short cuts in animation and storytelling make this episode of Days significantly less compelling than it might be. Why animate all the guys running up a hill when you can pan over still images of guys who might be running up a hill? Plus, there’s only so many running scenes and people huffing and puffing after running you can take in an episode.
Days Episode 3
Well, they finally played an actual game of soccer and it went as well as can be expected for Tsukushi.
Despite the usual training camp setting, the boys with clashing with boys from other schools, and the random moments of philosophy thrown in that you usually get with sports anime, this one is still kind of winning me over because I just can’t help but smile. I’m actively disliking the genre but the characters and the general uplifting feeling I’m getting while watching this is making it pleasant.
This was close to dropped after episode 2 but I kind of feel like I’m committed now as I do genuinely want to see where this team goes (even though it is probably the same place every anime team goes).
Days Episode 4
I’m fully committed to this show now. I love Tsukamoto as a character. Yeah, he is incredibly lame and overly earnest and all of those other things but somehow he is carrying it off well and making me really want to see him succeed. The other members of the soccer club are also interesting and the introduction to the girls in his class this episode was entertaining.
This episode of Days is full of clichés and the ending is predictable but it is a very nice ride to get there. I also like that Kazama is still present in this episode but has definitely taken a back seat. Tsukamoto isn’t being endlessly protected by his presence anymore but they haven’t just made him disappear from the story.
Days Episode 5
The first half of this Days episode is slow but helps build things up to the tournament. We kind of get introduced to a new character but it doesn’t really feel like he is going to be sticking around and he was more of a stepping stone in the whole plot. I could be wrong though.
There are a few cringe worthy moments as Tsukamoto cheers from the side-lines and as usual he misconstrues a lot of what is happening around him, but by the end that seems to have washed away and we’re back to just being kind of sweet. All and all, a satisfying episode but not quite as charming as the previous one.
I still think it is weird that I actually care about the outcome of a soccer game but this anime has done a great job of making me want to see the team succeed.
Days Episode 6
There isn’t that much more to say this week than any other. Tsukamoto continues to learn various parts of playing soccer, we have a firmly established rivalry between two school soccer captains, and we get to see how one of the seniors on the team is having a hard time playing with an amateur.
I actually kind of enjoyed the futsal game with the rival school captain and liked how we saw Tsukamoto internalising some of what he was watching from the other players. All and all, it continues its move forward and work hard philosophy. This episode was pleasant and enjoyable but not a lot else.
Days Episode 7
We finally met a mean-spirited soccer team. It seems insane that none of the players ended up with serious injuries after a match like that but otherwise this was actually really fun to watch.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed that, despite Tsukamoto’s short comings, most people have been supportive, but it meant there was little tension in each episode. Having an actual conflict to overcome was a nice change of pace. Plus, the captain finally took the field which may not have been the smartest move but was certainly entertaining.
And early in the episode, Kazama finally has a revelation of value. Overall, this maintains its feel good kind of mood with an overloaded message about teamwork and trying your hardest.
Days Episode 8
Sport takes a bit of a back seat as we spend a lot of this episode with Tsukamoto and his mother. This episode of Days is adorable as we have a chance to really see how joining a team has affected Tsukamoto’s entire life and outlook. Then of course we get right back into prep for the finals as the team get pumped up and ready to go.
From a plot point of view, this Days episode is all set up and reflection, but it’s the good kind that feels like it is going to make the payoff worth the effort and not the kind that feels like they were trying to stretch the run time unnecessarily. Looking forward to the match next week.
Days Episode 9
The final game is on and we finally get to see some of the better players actually playing well. That said, that’s about all we get other than a few flashbacks and a heartfelt message that was kind of obvious from the get go. There’s also some good rivalry between the teams. It isn’t that one team is full of jerks tearing down our favourites, it’s that both teams are competitive and in it to win.
It’s a reasonable episode but without the outcome of the game clear, it really is just marking time. Looking forward to what happens next week with the team though.
Days Episode 10
Must be the season for protracted final battles. This game continues on (in fact we’ve only just passed the half-way point).
Part of the problem is that they are trying to give each of the players a few moments in the lime light and while this is great for actually giving some of these names and faces a bit of personality, it is stretching this game far longer than I would like and makes this episode of Days feel a little drawn out.
That isn’t saying the game itself hasn’t been exciting. In terms of watching a soccer game, it is interesting enough. Kazama’s self-realisation that he hates losing was definitely entertaining. And I’ll admit, I was probably cheering the wrong thing when Tsukamoto got head butted on the side-lines.
Okay, next week here we come. Will we resolve this game or are we going to stretch it one more week?
Days Episode 11
Alright, when you’re one game of soccer needs a five minute recap at the start of the episode there’s a little bit of a problem with your narrative pacing.
That complaint aside (and it is a big complaint for this Days Episode), I was hooked for the rest of the episode to the point where I was actually surprised when the end credits started. And of course, we don’t know whether he got the last goal or not. I’d like it if he did but given everything else I kind of feel they’ve set it up for another case of Tsukamoto sending the ball flying off the field.
I guess we’ll know next week. The game certainly got more interesting once Tsukamoto took the field though I feel bad for all the other subs on the team because they don’t seem to have been given any field time.
Days Episode 12
So after excessively long game watching, Days decided this week to just jump to after the match and allowed us to see the fallout. Turns out, nobody likes losing. There’s a revelation for us.
That said, I didn’t much mind following the characters around and watching them deal with their loss as well as coming to terms with what it means for them personally. Ubukata and Tsukamoto are particularly adorable in the second half of the episode.
The question then become, what next? Where do we go from losing this match? Hopefully next week will start pointing us in the next direction because this week chose to wallow rather than move us on.
Days Episode 13
There are times when you could almost forget that this anime is supposed to be a show about soccer.
The Days episode this week goes to a festival and then a study session and other than a little bit of running and conversation the sport fades well into the background. That said, at least we are getting some more time with the first year team members which is something we haven’t seen in a long time and realistically as a viewer I was starting to forget who some of the characters were.
This week continues to show us Tsukamoto as he tries to overcome the failure at the tournament and it really is show-casing that even though outwardly things have changed a lot for this character, on the inside he really hasn’t progressed that much but the little progress he has made has been for the better.
Days Episode 14
And we’re off on soccer camp and back into playing games but now our first years are getting a chance to play. This transition is nice and we’re learning a lot more about both the seniors and the first years by seeing them seek their motivation and trying to secure their position in the next tournament.
That said, mid-episode hit a slightly depressing note before they did their usual feel-good turn around. Hopefully next week can continue and we can get some more character development in amongst the kicking the ball around the field. Days continues to be a pretty even note anime. Each Days episode feels much the same as the last and the quality hasn’t noticeably gotten better or worse. It’s a nice consistent watch each week.
Days Episode 15
I’m starting to feel a little bit worn down by Days.
Not surprising really given it was never the kind of anime I’m really interested in. I still do like the characters and I don’t intend to drop this because I do want to see how they develop right until the end but I did find this episode of Days in particular a little tedious.
From the opening gag with the boys finding a bra to Tsukamoto’s excessive emotional outbursts and self-doubt (not really new to the series but this episode it just felt a little too much). Not to mention this episode individually accomplished nothing, though lay the ground work for future developments.
The only real shining part of this episode was finally getting to know Haibara. Up until now he’d very much just been in the background and this episode gave him a bit of a moment though it felt like the writers new we didn’t have a clue who he really was given they had almost every character say his name in about a five minute span (slight exaggeration).
All and all, this series is continuing as it has been going and I know it is only my attention that is starting to waver that made this feel like it was less than previous episodes.
Days Episode 16
After feeling like I’d hit my limit of this last week I was pleasantly surprised by this episode. I complained that Tsukamoto hadn’t really developed and they show us in the game this week that he is finally putting everything together in his own weird way.
I was annoyed by the general lack of tension or anything to really keep you interested and so this week we set up a whole series of rivalries both within the team and with the opposition. So after this episode I’m looking forward to the next one again.
Whether this is an ongoing change or whether this is just the last hurrah before this show falls into the forgettable realms of mediocrity still remains to be seen. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the episode this week and now I want to know how the next game goes.
Days Episode 17
Okay, I was ready to call this series dead in the water after we had over 3 minutes of recap from the previous Days episode before the opening song. 5 minutes in and we only just started with new material. However, that’s when things got better and didn’t stop.
The game this time is actually quite intense and the events at half-time (the end of this episode) leave you wanting more. You also see some of the results of the journey each of these characters have been on throughout this series which is something we’ve been wanting for awhile.
This episode doesn’t make this series a must watch again. This show has been fairly hit and miss in terms of tone and pace right from the start and once the novelty of something different (for me at least because I don’t normally follow anything sport related) wore off what I was left with was a fairly generic story about someone who felt they were useless gradually finding out where they belonged and working hard to achieve a goal.
All and all though, this episode was kind of exciting to watch.
Days Episode 18
My opinion about Days as a series is unchanged.
There’s a number of issues with pacing and characterisation going on. This episode, however, I loved. From start to finish I was absolutely engrossed. It helped that the main focus of this episode were the characters on the team we’ve spent the most time with.
It also helped that they continued their development as characters and players that was kicked off last episode. Kimishita and Tsukamoto particularly come out of this episode quite strong and even Kazama has an off-field revelation spurred on by the team manager, Ubukata. It’s a great way to finish off this two part game and it really feels like all of the episodes up to now have had some ort of purpose.
I am starting to think that part of the problem with this team’s lack of consistency is that no-one really gets what the Captain is thinking because he’s a really poor communicator. Great soccer player or not he really isn’t a great leader and that leaves his players at loose ends far too often. That said, compared to some of the other Captains we’ve encountered in this series he isn’t too bad.
Days Episode 19
Days doesn’t do all that much this week and yet kind of does what it needs to. The summer camp ends (and amazingly Tsukamoto and Kazama are just over their conflict so that was a plot thread that went nowhere) and they are now in the preliminaries fighting for a spot at nationals. Events kind of blip past and we don’t spend a lot of time on the field but more watching how the players are getting read to deal with this new challenge.
Of course we spend time watching Tsukamoto freak out and question his own abilities. We end the episode 1 game into the preliminaries with preparations for the next game but of course its pouring rain so there’s our new challenge ready to go. It isn’t that this wasn’t fun to watch but it is definitely a bridging episode so by itself doesn’t amount to much.
Though, if you ever want a lesson on how to have an awkward conversation with a parent, just ask Kazama. He’s nailed this as an art form.
Days Episode 20
Days continues into the tournament and we injure yet more players before the semi-finals. Of course, we only make it into the first couple of minutes of that game before it is episode over.
So what did we do for the rest of the Days episode? Well, we spent a lot of it with the team they are facing in the semi-finals and I still haven’t figured out the point of that choice. Either they are about to win and knock Seiseki out, in which case that’s the end of the road for Seiseki. Or they are about to lose, in which case we won’t really see these guys again so why do we care about them starting up a soccer club?
So yeah, I didn’t see the point of a lot of this episode but generally I’m still enjoying Days and I’m looking forward to the last few episodes this season.
Days Episode 21
The game from the last Days episode continues and we see both sides make some mistakes and we also get to see the team’s first years struggle to deal with the pressure of suddenly being forced into a high pressure game. At the centre though is Tsukamoto who has finally genuinely found a love of the game and not just of being included as part of the team.
For once we see him playing with a smile on his face and not crumbling under the pressure or fear of letting the team down. This is a fantastic step forward for his character and it was great fun to watch. I also liked the commentary from the characters who’ve been sidelined in this match.
All and all, a fun episode in this series but nothing really amazing. Of course ending the episode with a ball flying toward the goal but not knowing if it lands or not is just kind of annoying. We’re 21 episodes in, we don’t need bait to come back next week.
Days Episode 22
After two full episodes of Days the game still isn’t over and I must point out that the animation definitely took a downward turn again this episode. Normally that doesn’t bother me but the sheer number of still images this week, plus some really terrible faces on background characters, kind of ruined the overall tension of whether or not they’d win this game.
I like how the benched players are still being kept involved in the game and are offering their thoughts as we go. I like that most of the players on the team, even those that usually take background roles, have all been involved. However, this week offered a lot more on field bickering for both teams than what we’ve been used to in Days and it was a welcome relief when Usui (as acting Captain) got Seiseki back on track.
Days Episode 23
So this Days episode surprised me as it made me care time and again about the outcome of the game even if it feels this week like it was a foregone conclusion. The ride getting to that final goal was definitely exciting.
Of course, once again, we spent the entire episode watching the game and in honesty I didn’t much care for the other team and those characters so those moments were a little less than satisfying. Looking forward to next week and how this season concludes.
Days Episode 24
Well, if you made it this far through Days you won’t come across anything surprising in this final episode of season 1.
Basically if you have enjoyed the ride to here you will smile, reflect, remember the journey the characters have been on and generally just be happy to be a part of the Seiseki experience. There’s no added depth here, no surprises, no last minute twists in the story.
Days, as it always has been, played this last episode straight focussing on the characters we’ve come to love and then it left us wanting to see how they go in this final game and whether they go to Nationals. Thanks. Season 1 review is available here an I’ve not watched the OVA so don’t know if they go any further or not.
Images from: Days. Dir. K Uda. MAPPA. 2016
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