I rarely watch sports anime but when I do, I make sure they are good and this one's worth talking about. If you have heard of Captain Tsubasa and Slam Dunk, chances are you might just like modern sports anime like Kuroko No Basuke, Diamond No Ace and Days. Although Days is not hyper exaggerated with special kicks and super powered tackles rammed with special effects like Captain Tsubasa, Days takes on a realist approach into the world of soccer. Tsukushi, a high school loner who never had any friends before ends up meeting with a boy named Jin who is a soccer prodigy. Tsukushi however has zero talent for the sport whilst Jin is light years ahead of him. Despite that, one day, Jin invites him to a game of soccer due to one lacking person in the team. Tsukushi works his heart and legs out that day running around and trying his best, despite falling over a billion times and missing passes/even basic kick-offs. However, fast forward a bit and soon enough we see him trying to get into the soccer club a day or few later. Everyone is ordered to do a 100 or so laps for their first day and they complete it real fast. Being far below average Tsukushi doesn't manage to complete in time but perseveres through it and forces the team captain to oversee his running even though he takes up till the end of the day. Fast forward a bit more and now I can see him leading the team pack for running and slowly growing as a player. His teammates slowly garner respect for him and few episodes back when he wouldn't have been even be considered for the player sub roster, now he suddenly is picked to be part of the team who will go for the nationals. Mind you - he is physically very weak with zero talent for the sport but all he's got in his mind and heart is just plain dedication and passion. His dedication triumphs his passion more like it and he never burns out. Even when he burns out he keeps on going till he recovers. I'd like to term this show as a slice of life/sports anime since firstly I love the theme of a total nobody becoming somebody. It displays positivity and shows that hard work, no matter how long it takes, pays off eventually. If you suck at something but still like it, go for it and keep at it and you'll get there eventually. That's what resonates with me the most in this anime. [gallery ids="699,700,701,702,703,704,705,706,707,708,710" type="slideshow"] Besides that, the animation is pretty awesome and I love how simple they kept the soccer battles. The art is not too detailed though like that of FREE! but more of a simplistic yet realist style. It's just the right balance. It kind of reminds me of Diamond No Ace's style of animation. There's a wide array of characters too. The zero talent, the prodigy, the legendary captain, the angry and lazy players etc so you'll have a plethora of pleasure watching these personalities meld into a team on screen. So far, I am 8 episodes in and I am loving it. You won't get a lot of soccer action if you expect something like the Kuroko No Basuke style of dribble and dash or Captain Tsubasa's kick-run-shout-dash with loads of melodrama and catchphrases - but, if you like a show where you see a character grows and see how unlimited his potential is, how far he can go etc, bundled with the added pleasure of seeing anime soccer plays then this is a good one to opt.
Days is awesome, I feel it's potential will shine more as the episodes keep building up. The action and tension is slowly ramping how and Tsukushi's adventures have just begun. If you've liked anime like FREE!!! and Haikyuu, then Days is just right for you. And if you've never watched sports anime before but you're into slice of life, then give this a try. Chances are - you'll like it.