The Summer of 2016 has been dubbed as the summer of soccer*, and for good reason. Copa America was hosted in the United States and brought together some of the best teams in the Americas. Euro 2016 is taking place on the other side of the pond in France, and includes some of the best squads in Europe. So it’s only fitting that the soccer anime Days has been slotted into the summer 2016 anime schedule.
Tsukushi is a timid high school freshman who is invited to a game of futsal by Jin, one of his classmates who is in a bind and needs someone to come along for a game. During the game Tsukushi shows plenty of heart, but not much talent. The only thing he has going for him is his willingness to run despite the fact that he can’t stop hurting himself.
Regardless of the pain endured Tsukushi decides that he wants to try out for the high school soccer team. Jin knows that it will be nearly impossible for a novice to make the team, but decides to tag along anyway. As expected Tsukushi bombs out fairly quickly during a set of shuttle runs, only to later request that the captain stay back and watch him as he completes a set of 100 shuttle runs once everyone else has gone home. Once again displaying his never give up attitude.
The show feels very similar in tone to Eyeshield 21, especially with its main character being a quiet kid who will seemingly be brought out of his shell by a sport he enjoys, and that isn’t a bad thing. The only disappointment was that the soccer on display was rather brief and not that inspiring.
If the show is to succeed it will need a strong cast of characters to complement Tsukushi, especially if the sports aspect is only going to be used sparingly.
*Relax, purists. I’m fully aware that the sport is referred to as football, but viewers in the US know it as soccer and the show also refers to it as soccer.