Phantasy Star Online 2 is the hottest sensation to ever sweep Seiga Academy. Not only is the gaming community getting into it, but so is everyone else. It’s the MMO that brings everyone together, both on campus and in the dorms, but new student Itsuki Tachibana seems to have never heard of it before. When it comes to after-school activities, he can’t quite find something to stick with – a bit of a ‘jack of all trades and master of none’. However, it’s not long before he becomes integrated in the student body, these new communities, and learns how to play the game that seems to be gripping the nation which everyone calls PSO2. Will Itsuki be able to make his mark in this virtual world?
This is an anime adaptation of the popular online RPG of the same name. It features a completely original story that takes place on earth in the near future. This series is the eighth project to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Phantasy Star Online series, with the original Phantasy Star Online 2 game having been released in 2012 by Sega.
Itsuki Tachibana is the typically quintessential average male anime protagonist. So this means he almost immediately catches the attentions of one of the most amazing girls in school, Rina Izumi, who is the student council president, the most intelligent girl in class, sportswoman and beloved by all of Seiga Academy. Out of nowhere, Rina extends the hand of friendship to Itsuki and invites him to become her student council vice-president. Apparently, she thinks that he will bring a fresh perspective to the club that they seem to have been missing for some time. But in order to further bring everyone together, he’s got to get to grips with the game everyone’s playing: Phantasy Star Online 2.
This anime is clearly just a plug/promotion for the game. It’s just been a showcase of what happens inside the RPG universe, the character designs, the attacks and the boss battles. The characters aren’t exactly compelling or memorable. However, I have a soft spot for anime based around games, so I am slightly more forgiving than the average anime blogger about PSO2: The Animation being a blatant advertisement for the franchise (I mean, come on, Seiga Academy? Really). I’m also not sure if the animation within the fight scenes is meant to have some reflection of that of the games, but I feel that some of the fight scenes are lacking a little in fluidity.
What I found incredible was that these students seemed to be doing really well at managing their schoolwork, extracurricular activities and online gaming. I did not have that kind of self-control. But then again these kids, for all intents and purposes, are basically carbon copies of one another. The only character that ever really stood out for me was Aika, and only because she has no social awareness and puts Itsuki on edge.
At least you don’t have to be familiar with the actual game to enjoy the show. You only need to know the very basics of what an RPG is and the functionality within these games. Some of these elements are reminiscent of the Sword Art Online and .Hack series’ in the way that it looks at both real life and lives within the game and highlights the differences between the two. This is shown especially in thw ways that the virtual world can leak out and affect you in the real one – not just emotionally, but also physically. It also brings to light some of the things you don’t see on the other side of the screen from you i.e. a wide range of people playing and taking on different personas whilst using their avatar, or even being the opposite gender. And that the insanely-levelled powerhouse that’s come to your rescue a few times in the game is actually a cute girl from your school.
At least the ending has a catchy sequence and song.It features chick-like bird creatures doing an idol group-styled dance with an armoured suit character copying the moves in the corner of the screen. Since PSO2 has taken so long to actually develop plot (we’ve eventually discovered something sinister and threatening in episode seven), this is usually the most exciting this about this anime.
To be honest, you’re not missing anything if you decide to gloss over this one. But if you’ve an interested in gaming-based anime and are looking for your fix this season (and if, for some reason, you don’t like Konosuba) then go ahead and give this one a try. If you look over the obvious advertisements for Sega (such as the vaguely Sonic-shaped pool on the grounds of Seiga) and want an easy watch, then this might be something for you to consider.