Not to be confused with 91 Days this season
Sports manga and anime are very much aplenty. From back in the 90’s with Slam Dunk, to more recent affairs with Haikyu and Kuroko no Basket, sports has been a prevailing genre in Japanese animation. As such, most series fall in a very predicable pattern of how the show is laid out. It is exceedingly rare when a show goes out of its way to be different, considering that a good amount of sports anime that are popular feel the same after multiple watches. DAYS is the next version of this popular genre, and while feeling mostly the same, its also super refreshing at the same time.
DAYS starts out with Tsukushi Tsukamoto, a frail teen who has never gone out of his way to join any sports or really much of anything in general. Having just entered high school, he gets invited out by a fellow classmate named Jin Kazama to fill in a spot for a local soccer team. Now Tsukushi is one who has few friends, so he accepts immediately and tries his absolute best to play the game. Unfortunately, he fails to the point of smashing his head into the goal post and ripping off a toenail. Despite this, Tsukushi loves the fact that he could be a part of a real team and joins his high school’s soccer team, which is famous for being a strong soccer team in the region.
DAYS so far has followed Tsukushi and his sad attempts to try and become the best soccer player that he can be. It culminates to him having to stay almost overnight to complete the new player’s exercises since he is so terrible at them. Despite his obvious lack of knowledge of the game and not being trained enough for laps, Tsukushi tries his absolute hardest, even running his fellow newbies laps for them in order to not be a hassle to the group. This moves the rest of the newbies, as they can see his determination.
DAYS follows the typical route for sports anime, as the main character doesn’t have much going for him, though even at the beginning you can tell that he will one day become a great asset to the team. What makes DAYS a bit different from other sports shows is that the main character truly conveys that he loves being a part of the team and will do anything to continue being one of the best. Despite being a bit of a crybaby, Tsukushi gets to the point where he can lead the group of first years through a hellish mountain of steps, shocking both his team as well as other groups. The show clearly wants you to feel that Tsukushi loves what he is doing, even though he sucks, and its refreshing to the mind as well as the genre.
The animation of the first two episodes are acceptable, though a bit weak, Characters are expressive, though a bit weak when the action (Mostly running at this point) is at a standstill. Listed at 24 episodes, it doesn’t look as if the budget was too large, considering backgrounds are sparse and static, and characters look blond when they are not a part of the main group of sportsmen. The music in DAYS works well enough, and the main theme also conveys the fact that this is a sports show through and through, picking up the pace in an otherwise okay animation quality. The voice acting works well for a sports anime, with many of the characters yelling and expressing everything that they do loudly. Tuskushi has an especially great VA for this show, as he can go from a frightened boy about to cry to being able to confidently yell at the top of his lungs to motivate his team.
DAYS hasn’t done anything special yet to be different than most sports anime, though the main character and the tone of his actions is enough for me to be excited enough to see the next couple of episodes. This show isn’t for everyone, and if you don’t care about soccer I can’t say that I would recommend the series to you as of yet. However, if you are a typical sports anime watcher, or if you want to give the main character a shot, these two episodes are available on Crunchyroll and I can say to give them a safe shot.
Final Verdict 3/5
Final Rating 3/5