Since ancient times long past, this world has been ruled by two tarot cards.
Diablos Tarot—The tarot of the devil that feasts on the souls of living humans and uses that nourishment to bring countless pain and suffering.
Elemental Tarot—The tarot that draws its energy from the power of nature in order to oppose the Diablos Tarot.
Girls chosen from 22 different bloodlines become the wielders of the Elemental Tarot, plunging themselves into this secret battle. To maintain the balance of this world, while carrying unbearable guilt...
Are they executioners? Or saviors? This is the story of the long, long battle fought by girls who cannot escape the fate they bear.
Alright, let's face it. After the ever famous and successful "Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica," a want and increase in demand for dark magical girl shows have been prevalent in the anime community. Now, I'm not going to be comparing this show to Madoka 24/7, because trust me, this show is bad on it's own, but I will be using Madoka as a basis for what a dark magical girl show should try to succeed, and what it shouldn't.
Day Break Illusion is, absolutely, what it shouldn't.
If the promotional art and the opening wasn't a dead giveaway, it should be well-known that this show is going to be pretty dark. And well, it definitely is. The story pretty much revolves on young tarot card users who fight against "Daemonia" - demons created when humans contract with them and eventually succumb into despair after the daemonia pretty much takes over their mind. The Daemonia causes what appears to be natural disasters around it, and its up to the tarot card girls to fight against it.
You know, I wouldn't mind the story. I wouldn't mind it even if it was almost an exact replica of what Madoka did. Here's the thing though -- the story is insanely try-hard. By try-hard, I mean it does so, SO much to try to remind you of how dark it is, of how grim and bloody things get. Let's take how we're flashed back with Akari's dead cousins' bloody corpse at least 5 times throughout the show. Or how when a painter girl becomes jealous that another painter criticized her, she made sure that both her and the boy that the critic liked were KILLED. Or turning the twelve (yes, twelve) year old girl into a wolf demon. Yes, a wolf demon.
I wouldn't mind these story elements either that much if they were, gee, I dunno, foreshadowed? The sudden and grimdark death of Akari's cousin happens within 10 minutes of the first episode. 10 minutes. You hardly know anything about the cousin or why she dies. A revelation that occurs later on that almost guarantees death of major characters just.. happens. Why? To make the plot get gritter and darker. Nothing is ever at least foreshadowed a little bit, not even once. There were no hints whatsoever that a tarot card user could combine with a Daemonia and create some weird demon, nothing.
Basically, the show does whatever it can and goes out of its way to remind you of how dark and edgy and grim it is. You know, I have people that complain about Madoka being dark and edgy, but at least Madoka foreshadowed it. Maybe it had issues with shock value, but just so you know, shock value isn't just tricking the audience. Shock value can be randomly killing off a character in a gorey way in the first episode. Shock value can be deciding at the end of an episode to change one of the characters into a demon wolf. It doesn't matter if the show is already proclaimed as dark, if it happens without foreshadowing, it's shock value.
Now you're probably wondering, well, do the characters at least save the show? Oh, I wish. I really, really wish. Hopeful protagonist, cold girl with dark past, sisterly lesbian, and energetic one. That's really what they all are, and honestly.. they're not that good. Namely our protagonist, Akari. I get it -- I get that she's only twelve years old and couldn't kill things that easily. But you know what? When I see another character go up and kill someone she knew personally and loved to free him out of his misery, I'm going to be annoyed at her actions.
The characters range from cliche to boring to downright DISGUSTING. The main villain, who we know almost nothing about, decides late in the series that he wants to mate (he literally says mate) with Akari. Akari is twelve. Twelve years old. He basically does this sick shit in order to completely destroy her mind and heart so she doesnt care about silly things like consent anymore and, I quote, "becomes a mother."
Playing the rape/sexual card in a story is NEVER a good sign, unless it's absolutely relevant to the plot or was foreshadowed/absolutely needed. But you know what? These girls are twelve/thirteen. We have one girl walk around evil and demonic with her tits literally bouncing out of her chest. We have another one being nearly forced to give into consent with pretty much a demon. Do you see the issue here? I hope so, because none of this is mature, or deep, or good. It's honestly really sick and unnecessary.
In terms of the art.. it's... ehh... I mean, the animation honestly is pretty good. The fight scenes, attacks, all of that look pretty nice. But the show is very obviously lolicon-ish. The girl, all of them, look so stick thin and skinny and tiny that when these terrible things happen to them, it feels so out of place and awkward. It feels honestly awkward seeing a scrawny 12 year old girls' eyes turn into tiny dots and scream at the top of her lungs. It looks awkward, and the artstyle makes it feel awkward too. It really feels like it's trying hard to appeal to the lolicons with its artstyle.
Not only that, but the artstyle and character designs in general aren't all that good. The eyes are all really huge, they're usually misplaced too or sliding off the characters face. The bodies in general look really unproportional and just weird, and the hair seems really choppy and cheaply made. Not really an appealing design, at least for me.
If one thing can be said good about Day Break Illusion, it's the soundtrack. I have to admit, aside from Akari's seiyuu, the voices are pretty good and solid. Not to mention the OP and ED themes are pretty great and catchy too. The OST isn't honestly all that stand out, but I can definitely say that the sound is a really concrete part about the show.
And here's where I talk about dark magical girl shows in general. You can skip the next three paragraphs if you don't wanna hear it, I just feel it's kind of needed.
Look, what I believe made Madoka successful in it's darkness wasn't that a girl got her head chopped off or another had to watch her friends die again and again. That's not where I saw success. I saw success in how the show dealt with the psychological breakdown of the things that happened to these characters, and even how their issues could be applied to real life. I feel, personally, that it did an excellent job with showing many different character archetypes in these situations and pretty much breaking them down, showing the affects that it has on them. But that's for another day.
I feel like studios seem to think that if they just add in some death and gore, that it'll be a success. But that's not how it works. It really isn't. I hate to break it to you, but just showing characters die doesn't guarantee success! It really, really doesn't. A solid story, solid characters, good foreshadowing and writing, and a good breakdown of these things are what make it so great. I don't think the show being open about its dark nature is what makes it unpopular either. There are plenty of shows that were shown to be dark from the very beginning that were successful. (Psycho-Pass, Attack on Titan) I'm not calling these objectively good, but they were overall well-received. Essentially, the fault for Day Break Illusion of not being a big hit despite having cute girls in grim situations isn't really because it was already dark from the beginning, but it just does a very bad job at doing what it tries to do, which is, again, be dark.
I guess I enjoy this anime, I mean, it doesn't bore me or put me to sleep like other shows, but the enjoyment is really just mediocre for me. It's enjoyable to watch weekly I guess, but not something that I can say I actually "like" watching, you know? I guess it can be fun for people who like watching anorexic lolis kill things and get killed though.
Overall, Day Break Illusion is a prime example, in my opinion, of how people SHOULDN'T be trying to make dark magical girl shows. Go ahead, make more! It's what people want! But making them so grimdark, adding in things like wanting a 12 year old to give birth to pretty much a demon child, killing off side characters like there's no tomorrow -- that's not what we want. A good story, a solid one with good character that happens to have a darker or more serious twist on the genre, is what would be good, really. But this? Not this, please no this.
Magical girls are about cute girls doing cute magical things, not awkward lolis being slaughtered in blood.read more
Many people consider this to be an almost blatant rip off of Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica.
Which, lets be honest here, it's easy to see; there's malevolent animal beings that seem to not give a rats ass about the people who they work with, physically or emotionally. Lapalace and Kyubey seem really similar in that sense.
There's 4 girls who turn into stronger versions of themselves and fight in an interdimensional space against evil beings, one nice one, one bad ass one, one that's more set in their own goals, etc.
However a few things set them apart.
1: The main character Akari Taiyou willingly accepts her powers, although she seems to be upset by what her actions entail (killing people who've turned into Daemonia - the enemy who takes over people's hearts). Madoka was horribly indecisive about becoming a magical girl until the very end. Not saying either route is a bad one, but it's a good difference.
2: The so far "end goal" of Genei wo Kakeru Taiyou is also unique. Instead of saving the entire world and everyone, which is (honestly) played out a bit. Sure, the end goal of Genei/Taiyou is awful, but it's unique and the way the artists play out facial features among other emotional cues is incredible and adds depth to it.
With that out of the way, I'll go on to say why I like this anime.
1: The story is neat. Tarot cards being the basis of their powers is a neat new theme i've personally not run into so far. I also like how violent some of the fights are, even though its between monsters and 12 year olds. The only thing I don't like too much is simply how easily Akari accepts her new role, which may seem hypocritical after I've stated the similarities between this and Madoka Magica, but nevertheless. This show is -almost- as good of an emotional rollercoaster as MM, but it falls just short of greatness as there's no -extremely- sad moments. (yet)
2: The art style. I didn't care for it at first and lets be honest, Seira looks like she was beaten with the ugly stick by a mean daemonia, but it grew on me. I think Akari is adorable, which adds even more emotion to the current horrible setting. Luna and Ginka are relatively unique, I've never seen a power like Ginka's in an anime. And again, the battles are very well animated.
3: The characters are a tad basic but they do their job well. There's the determined bad ass one who simply wants to exterminate, the caring supporter, the defensive character who's always around to help cheer up the group, and the protagonist who seems to be flawless in her love for her friends and family. The enemies/daemonia are very uniquely drawn out, and some of them are the epitome of evil. I've never hated an antagonist as much as Genei wo Kakeru Taiyou's.
4: I can't say too much about the sound. The background music helps to pump up the action during the fight scenes, the characters voices are done well, I find it funny that some of the voice actors also worked on Kodomo no Jikan together. Overall I feel the characters were voiced perfectly.
Overall. I really like this anime and can't wait for the next episode. It truly has me on the edge of my seat.
I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys magical girl genre, action genre, or just looking for a good anime with cute girls fighting evil. read more
At first, I was skeptical about this anime. It received mixed ratings. Some were 9, while others were 4. The ones who rated this anime to be low were mostly those that kept comparing it to Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica. Critique the show, not compare! It's not a perfect anime, but it doesn't mean it cannot be enjoyable.
Story: The first episode took me by surprise,with me thinking that it escalated pretty quickly with very little background to the story. It made me prepare myself for the upcoming episodes, as there were more grim. The tarot cards were a cool component of this anime; I just wished that they described them in more detail, especially with the cards that the 4 girls have. They don't really explain the organization that they work for either.. The battle scenes were nice, they show struggle through pain and blood. Towards the end, I felt like the story sidetracked from there.
Art: The physical appearance of the girls bothered me at first. They're skinny as twigs and some have pretty big breasts for their age. They magically grow long, bushy hair and go from kawaii-eyes to serious, bad-ass eyes. All of the older people look scary to me. The battle scene backgrounds are plain, but at least the battle moves were pretty cool and somewhat unique. The daemonias look creepy and gross, and some of them, I was not sure why they look like that, based on why they suffered.
Sound: The opening and ending are nice. You hear a lot of screaming in this anime, mostly screams of fear or battle cries. They set the mood pretty well as a potential daemonia appears with ominous music.
Character: I feel the category for this anime was the reason why the viewers rated it low. The fortune tellers that Akari knew seemed somewhat irrelevant; the transvestite and big-breasted lady didn't have to exist. I thought the main antagonist was the sidekick, because he was following orders from someone else. What was the point of this!? When he reveals his intentions at the every end, I thought it was a bit silly. The cat and raven are useless talking messengers. Luna annoyed me the most, being overly attached to Akari. The past between her and her sister was cloudy. Basically, most of the characters had cloudy backgrounds; besides Ginka and Seira. I feel like some didn't fulfill their roles either.
Enjoyment: Although it may seem like I'm contradicting myself while negatively criticizing this anime and giving it a high score, I still like it. It could have been something better, but it just lacked things like depth. Despite missing some important components, I still enjoyed it to the point where I wanted to keep watching the next episode. I came to like most characters, enjoyed the battle scenes, and feel for the girls, as they experienced hardships together.
Give the first few episodes a try and see what you think.read more
It’s been a while since I last reviewed something, and that’s mostly because there wasn’t anything I finished that I felt like reviewing.
Genei wo Kakeru Taiyou though is one show I wanted to review since episode one.
So I sat down, watched the remaining 5 episodes that I haven’t watched yet and marathoned them.
And what should I say? Meh.
It saddens me that this show clearly had potential but had two main issues that ruined all potential it had.
First - The pacing.
This show was just waaaaaaaaay too rushed. Sometimes they squeezed in so much stuff into one episode it couldn’t build up any impact for the things that happened prior than that,
Second - The Visuals
If you know a bit about studios, you know that AIC is not the greatest anime studio around, but they usually try different things, and focus more on the content than on the presentation. But Genei could really have needed some better visuals. But more to this in the respective categories.
There are actually 2 reviews I want to write for this. One focusing on the show, and the other comparing it to Madoka, because there are a lot of people who think this show mostly exists because of Madoka, and I am one of them.
Lets get started shall we? (spoilers ahead!)
Genei is a magical girl anime, so it’s obviously about magical girls fighting evil using their power.
In Genei our main characters use the power of tarot to fight evil, and each character resembles a certain tarot card.
I am a fan of the tarot system ever since I play Persona 3 so this is a big plus for the show to base its magic system around tarot.
What’s not a big plus was how the first episode was handled.
We are introduced to our main character Akari the “sun” who apparently lost her mother and lives with her aunt and her niece.
While the introduction was done okay, towards the end the pacing problem as described early kicks in. Suddenly she transforms into a magical girl kills a tentacle raping plant and next thing you see; her niece is dead.
And not only that but also no one seems to care.
It doesn’t stop there, fast forwarding you see her adult tarot-girl friends being attacked by yet another demon and e get introduced to the other 3 magical girls during that fight.
All that happened in less than 5 min and left me extremely confused.
What did just happen? Why is her niece dead? Why does no one seem to care? How did she get her powers? Why the fuck is it all so rushed?
Without going into greater detail about what happens later, this is not the only time when they try to fit in a lot of content into one episode.
My conclusion is: This should should have gotten 24+ episodes instead so you can properly build up these things.
More episodes would have been also helpful for explaining all the concepts in the show.
There seems to be some secret organisation, but we never really find out what it is all about, not even by the end.
Also some events that would have made a huge emotional impact on both the characters and the viewers didn’t get enough time, making it sometimes really sketchy or shoehorned in.
Good thing though they filled most plotholes so by the end nothing was really like “how could this happen? why didn’t they do that?”.
So the overall story didn’t suffer too much.
The ending was also pretty solid. No lame cop out but an actual ending with most of what happened being actually important.
This is also a good transition to talk about Madoka.
So what did Madoka do better/worse/different here?
First of all. Both shows were rushed, but in Madoka it didn’t feel as rushed because thanks to Urobuchi we never get details into anything anyways.
Not in Genei. the writers tried to explain everything and make solid explanations to both the magic system and the evil that is threatening the world.
While some powerlevels seemed to be random in Genei, you at least saw why their abilities are what they are.
Also no important character gets killed too early as in Madoka without enough background to make it important.
And of course the ending is no magical reset bullshit.
I personally think that Genei, even though the presentation of the story was lackluster, had an overall better idea than Madoka.
You know, the evil in Genei actually was explained AND HAD A FACE and was not just there so our magical girls can fight something and suffer.
Their magic system was based on something understandable and not LOL RANDOM stuff as in Madoka.
The cast in Genei wasn’t huge but there were quite a lot of characters and all of them seemed somewhat relevant.
Of course the most important were the 4 main girls: Akari, Luna, Seira and Ginka.
And then some major side characters: Meltina & Priscilla, Ariel Valtiel & Etia and the loli trio.
Akari: Is as mentioned our main character and she resembles the sun. She is kind, warm hearted and also tries to do her best to reduce harm.
At first she doesn’t want to fight the Demons but later, out of pressure, does so even by herself.
She is not the greatest main character of all time, but she had a solid personality which also resembled her tarot very well. I really liked how important that was for their personality and how they later build it in into the story even more, with her personal drama.
Luna: Is out shy, calm girl who has a lady-crush on Akari which later turns out to be Yuri. Later on her character gets developed quite a bit and I ended up liking her more than I usually do for those shy, clam girls. While not my favorite character she is definitely up there. Oh yeah she is the Moon, this works well with her relationship to Akari, as she is kinda the opposite to her. Again I really like how they’ve handled the tarot system in this anime.
Seira: Is our cold hearted, kuudere character. She is the star and I had the most trouble identifying her with the star tarot. Maybe I don’t know enough about tarot to understand what it means to be the star, but I just couldn’t really pinpoint what her relation was supposed to be.
her development was also done well as for all the characters so far, and for everyone who is into kuuderes she is also a good character. I personally couldn’t connect to her that much.
Ginka. My personal favorite. She was temperance, being the balanced one. And so was her roll in the show. I think that was the reason I liked her the best, not only did she have the best character design, but also the least polarized personality. She was not super nice all the time, but also not cold or shy. She was, like Akari and Luna - a good representation of her tarot.
They did something dumb though towards the end which is a spoiler that I will not include here but I personally thought it was an asspull. If you finished the show you will know what I mean.
The rest of the characters all were not super developed but a good addition.
And this again leads me to the transition to Madoka.
Characters in Madoka were just plain lazy. Most of them got a sloppy background and had almost no development.
That’s especially true for Madoka and Homura. And of course Mami…
If I would compare the characters I’d say:
Madoka = Akari (obviously)
Mami = Luna
Homura = Seira
Kyouko = Ginka (to some extend)
Sayaka = No one really, maybe Luna but only to some extend
Madoka in Madoka was utterly useless and not much of a protagonist. She rarely solved any problems, and in the end just did the gigantic asspull of an ending.
Akari, while also in a same fragile, nice position as Madoka at least developed later and DID THINGS. She actually fought and solved issues without relying on everyone else all the time.
Akari > Madoka
Mami was just cannon fodder had almost no character and overall is my least favorite character (if I can even call her that) in Madoka. Luna on the other hand moved on later, had a development and a background.
She supported Akari and had an overall bigger emotional relation to her than Mami had to any of the characters.
Luna > Mami
Homura was a bit a mix of Luna and Seira if you’d compare them and I think that if you take Luna out of the equation, she was a more interesting character than Seira but had again no development. Her background was also really sloppy.
I mean we see why Luna loves Akari, but why is Homura so fucking gay for Madoka? Why would she do all that just for Madoka, their connection was super sloppy and just forced drama.
Overall I say Homura > Seira
but Homura < Luna
Kyouko was a terrible character and her development was rushed and made no sense. Inconsistent character and overall one of the worst in Madoka.
Ginka > Kyouko
The only good character in Madoka was Sayaka, because she actually had a personal drama, a development and her ending was tragic because time was invested in her story.
The other thing that I thought was way better in Genei was how outside characters were handled.
Geneis sidecharacters always did something to progress the plot, to calm the characters down, to help them change. While in Madoka most characters didn’t even have parents. You never say the parents of anyone but Madoka.
I mean what was Homura? Was she a hobo orphan? Didn’t she have family? What’s up with that?
You saw Sayaka at home but I can’t remember her talking to her family just once.
Only Madoka had a mother. And of course the entire world was completely empty in Madoka.
There were rarely any side character just that one girl in school who stole Sayakas crush and some nobodies who were possessed by the witches.
Lastly is Kyuubey. While I liked Kyuubey, his or her master plan was just fucking retarded. At least the villains in Genei made sense. I mean the evil plan of Cerebrum was not amazing. But it was waaay better than whatever bullshit Urobuchi came up with for Kyuubey.
Art and Animation
Lets face it. Genei looked bad.
The overall art wasn’t bad but the animation was sometimes really sloppy. Especially when the animal companions were talking. They just opened their mouth and sound came out. It just looked really awkward.
They also used a lot of animation multiple times.
And sometimes movements or facial expressions looked awkward.
It was only brief moments when the show looked pretty decent, but was overshadowed by a lack of good artistic work.
I mean what’s with those character designs? It’s okay to have lolis look like that, but the adults as well? They looked like midgets! Gigantic heads, short bodies and those weird faces with way too big eyes? Holy Moly!
Backgrounds sometimes looked not even bad especially in that Parallel Realm thingy, and some demon designs were cool as well. Special effects were not bad either but also not great.
I make the comparison to Madoka brief.
Akiyuki fucking Shinbo.
Without him, Madoka wouldn’t be that popular. Well okay the soundtrack but that later.
Madoka had just way better art and animation. While I didn’t like the character designs in Madoka either they were still better. And the backgrounds were really cool as well.
But without him I doubt that Madoka would have been that well received.
And with him for Genei, the show would have been received much better as well.
I skip voice acting as it was good as for most shows and go straight to the opening and ending song.
Man did I love the opening song. That song is so catchy and my favorite of the Summer season.
The ending song was pretty good as well but not so much to my taste.
The rest of the soundtrack was pretty good as well. Even if the art and animation wasn’t great the soundtrack was pretty good.
But all rather pale compared to Yuki Kajiuras epic soundtrack for Madoka.
The other part why Madoka was so popular has to do with how amazing Yuki Kajiura is.
But I don’t wanna talk to much about it, because I think the soundtrack for Genei was pretty good as well, and fit the show pretty good.
I was kinda excited for the show to be honest. And I hoped it to be better.
Some episodes were pretty lame I think, while others were good or even great.
My personal favorite was Lunas story in episode 9. It showed how well the villain can manipulate and had overall good pacing and writing.
While I always cringed a bit at the artwork and animation, the soundtrack (especially the opening) kept me well entertained. And by the end I was pretty happy with how the show went.
Still sad because I know it could have been better with more time and better art, but still got some enjoyment out of it.
That said, I did enjoy Madoka in my first watch more. But the second time I realized some issues, and later I understood the major flaws of it.
Art and Animation 3/10 (bad)
Artstyle +0 (While not everything was bad, it was far from great)
Quality -1 (reused animation and awkward faces sometimes)
Background +0 (meh backgrounds)
Character Designs -1 (just no. Don’t do that)
Visual Effects 0 (okay but nothing special.)
Voice Acting +0 (good but not outstanding)
Opening and Ending +1 (opening YAY, ending was good as well)
Soundtrack +1 (pretty good soundtrack overall)
Sound Effects 0 (effective but not outstanding)
Story or Content 6/10
Premise and Setting +1 (good premise, especially like the tarot card idea)
Pacing -1 (downfall of the show, too rushed)
Complexity 0 (not everything was explained but I blame the episode count)
Plausibility 0 (plotholes were mostly filled)
Conclusion +1 (satisfying ending)
Personality +0 (all made sense to their tarot, but still too simple)
Behavior and Chemistry +0 (pretty good but not enough for a point)
Development and Progression +1 (everyone got developed!)
Motivation and Backdrop 0 (while all got a background, the rushed nature didn’t leave enough space for it)
Likability 0 (good characters but not very memorable)
Art and Animation -1 (talked about it. Bleh)
Sound +1 (likeable)
Story and Content 0 (if not rushed it would have been good)
Characters 0 (same here)
Value +0 (will not remember this too much though)
Genei the “Madoka” clone proved itself to be much more than just a copy. While it has major flaws in both presentation and execution. I think it had much more potential than Madoka.
And in the end Madoka is only better in my eyes because of the production value and good execution.
This issue of AiRL takes us out of Tokyo to beautiful Osaka! So many anime are set in or have scenes in this area. Hold tight as we embark on a whirlwind tour of both the city itself and its surrounding wards!