According to the internet, the defining characteristic of Day Break Illusion is that it is a poorly conceived clone of Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica. After deciding to view the show for what it is rather than merely compare it back to its “parent” series, the show turned out to be one with a bit of potential ruined by poor execution from beginning to end.
Day Break Illusion / Genei wo Kakeru Taiyou follows Taiyou Akari, a girl interested in fortune telling via tarot cards. After a traumatizing event that gives her special powers related to the Sun arcana, Akari must join others who fight the Daemonia, evil creatures who exploit the emotional weaknesses of humans and wreak havoc.
Oh boy. The story is the weakest part of this anime, for countless reasons.
Some of the obvious issues arise early on, such as a monster-of-the-week approach that fails to add anything substantial to the overarching plot line. While important details and concepts are brought up, they are mentioned in battles that have no absolutely tension to them and involve newly introduced throwaway characters who have no impact on later episodes – the information would feel far more important if introduced via something actually related to the greater narrative.
In addition to this, there are a few plot twists where controversial new information is presented, and while it seems that this info could greatly alter the progression of the story, it is soon completely pointless. Combined with an excess of deus ex machinas, lack of foreshadowing, and generally poor explanations of what is actually going on, these assumedly problematic twists are rendered null and void within an episode or two.
The majority of the plot twists serve only to strengthen the notion that this is a “dark” magical girl anime – for better or worse, it’s impossible to miss that fact. Of course, as a result of stuffing the characters into suffering for the sake of suffering, these situations feel completely contrived and add nothing substantial to the story, especially when they quickly become irrelevant.
As a result of a story that threw random unexplained twists in all directions, the ending leaves several unanswered questions, a few in particular that should not have been left in the open.
And, another issue with the story, which I would consider the greatest – the writers (sort of) play the “rape card.”
To put it simply, this should never have happened. Besides the fact that this was said to a 12 year old girl, he followed it up by saying he would break down her mind through mental torture in order to gain her consent. To a 12-year old girl. This should not have been a thing. Why was it included? Because the viewers need to be reminded that this is a “dark” magical girl anime.
To sum this all up, a fairly average concept was ruined by amateurish writing decisions. Rather than creating an interesting story, the writers were preoccupied with attempts to shock the viewers with the despair inflicted on the main characters.
Compared to the story, the characters were a welcome addition to this anime – that’s not to say that they’re anything special though.
The one thing that helped the characters through the story was their conflict with one of the recurring themes – throughout, it is stated that the characters are bound to their fates. In spite of this, the main cast commonly choose to make decisions on their own, ignoring what their pre-determined fate is supposed to be. The main exception to this is actually the ending, which ignores the majority of what happened in the story.
In terms of character development, only two of the characters are worth mentioning. Akari (orange hair), the main character, is forced to decide whether or not to get involved with the Daemonia conflict, and her path towards making a decision is the majority of her development in the series. Seira (blue/purple hair) has the most realistic character development, having her viewpoint and reasoning for fighting altered by the events she was directly involved in.
Outside of the main four magical girls, the other characters don’t matter very much. While there is a fairly large cast, most of the others are involved in only a single episode, and the rest are there to fill in background space or advance the story through exposition or pointless chatter.
In general, the visuals for this anime are okay. The animation is merely adequate, although it does remain consistent from episode to episode, and the short fights do look good. Similarly, the background art is nothing special – it merely fills the background with about the quality you would expect. On the other hand, when the characters are fighting the Daemonia, the backgrounds are monochromatic and relatively plain, and while this could be argued as a stylistic choice, it is simply very bland.
While the background art and animation are fairly average, the character design is an entirely different story.
Outside of the main characters, who look decent most of the time (when their heads remain a consistent size), the other characters look awful for the most part. Characters’ heads are gigantic, their necks are thin, and the rest of their bodies look as if they lack the strength to support their enormous noggins. The only character whose design actually looks good is Akari in her magical girl form, mostly because her long hair fills in a lot of the space around her twig body. It looks as if the character designer couldn’t decide on whether to go the popular “moe” route or do something more original, but the result was disastrous either way.
While the opening from LiSA was very good, the ending theme, by Okamoto Natsumi, is nothing particularly noteworthy. The soundtrack for this anime is excellent, as the music is always appropriate to the situation, is never too repetitive, and is generally interesting enough to deserve a standalone listen.
The voice-acting is about average – it’s nothing special, and it’s nothing painful. At some points, certain characters’ voices can be a bit grating, but it’s never for extended periods of time or repeated too often.
While Day Break Illusion was never a painful experience, it was definitely dull at times. The story was never thoroughly engaging, courtesy of half of the episodes adding barely anything to the main narrative and most of the conflicts being completely unpredictable or even related to the main characters.
Once the story reached the homestretch, it became impossible to take it seriously after so many unexplained asspulls, and the ending was far from being a satisfying conclusion.
Story – 2
Characters – 6
Art/Animation – 4
Sound – 7
Enjoyment – 3
Overall – 3/10
Recommendation – You’ll probably want to skip this one.
While Day Break Illusion started with a bit of potential, it was too occupied with reinforcing that this is a “dark” magical girl anime, and this led to a disjointed story that throws in too many random twists, relies on shock rather than foreshadowing, and uses a plethora of deus ex machinas and an absence of explanations to make up for inadequate writing.
And while there are definitely plenty of similarities between this and Madoka Magica, I believe that the incessant comparisons are a bit unwarranted – conceptually, they are similar, but the execution of those concepts is vastly different.
For how low the average rating is on Hummingbird, MyAnimeList, etc, you’d think this would be absolutely awful, but it was far from the worst thing I’ve ever watched. That honor goes to Mars of Destruction or Pupa.
The featured image comes from the official web site – http://www.geneitaiyo.com/