Resides in Austin, TX (USA). Long time connoisseur of anime and manga - I'm an art director, media critic and eccentric. I love to write, draw and travel.
Like I discussed in my last article, I’m not typically a big fan of sports anime. But to be fair, I haven’t spent much time watching them. That being said, I can’t get through an episode of DAYS without smiling like an idiot. There’s some conflict in this episode but by the end, I had chills.
Episode 2 begins with the first-year Seiseki (the school’s team) players running laps. Tsukamoto ends up lagging behind and the second-year player in charge of practice forces them to run more and more laps. We learn their team slogan is “Seiseki, Fight!” as the first-year players chant it through their grueling practice. Though the practice is solely meant for the first-year players, Kazama shows up for encouragement – much to the annoyance of the second-years in charge.
The older players continue to bully the first-year players, making them do the team cleaning, chores and insulting the smell of their feet! It’s almost an initiation ritual – and Kazama says it’s the cruel reality of high school athletics.
After a horrible week of abuse from the second-year players, Kurusu (one of the first-years) blows up and blames Tsukamoto for all the bullying. “You’re dragging us down!” The rest of the first-years applaud and Tsukamoto runs off. The next day the first-years don’t have to run laps and they aren’t sure why. They learn that Tsukamoto has asked the team captain, Mizuki, if he could run all the laps for the first-years. He does this because he wants to be part of the team! After a week of running alone all day, the first-years catch up and they go back to practicing as a team – with a stronger bond.
Mizuki mentions to the team’s coach that within two years, Tsukamoto will be the team captain.
Seiseki heads to their annual soccer camp, where high school teams from across the country come to train. Their reputation precedes them and everyone is intimidated by Seiseki, until they meet Tsukamoto. They laugh at him, calling him a wimp and say that if Seiseki has players like Tsukamoto – they aren’t so scary. The first drill is the drill from Hell! The players at the camp have to sprint up a mountain. All the teams drop out from exhaustion one by one – Who has set this hellish pace! Is it Mizuki? No! It’s that wimp, Tsukamoto. The Shrimp is leading the pack – the first years on Seiseki are killing it. All the bullying and laps they’ve been running have paid off.
I got chills during the mountain sprint. When it is revealed that Tsukamoto is setting the pace, I started beaming. Just as an additional note, Tsukamoto’s run is possibly one of the greatest things ever, next to Kazama’s run. Kazama runs with his hands in his pockets. He’s probably my favorite character as of now. I think the highlight of this episode is watching the two of them run. The contrast in their running makes me laugh and puts a huge smile on my face. I’m really excited to see how Tsukamoto grows and see how he ends up becoming a good player.
Ramen is mentioned again in this episode and so I’ve decided to keep a tally of how often players go get ramen after practice. So far we’re at 2. Honestly, ramen seems a little heavy to go get after an exhausting soccer practice, but who am I to judge.
Episode 2 has great pacing and it even runs a little longer than your standard episode at 24 minutes. There’s still the mystery of the girl that Tsukamoto keeps running into – who is she and what role will she play?
If you haven’t given a sports anime a chance, DAYS is the perfect one to jump into. Can’t wait to see Episode 3!