Phantasy Star Online 2: The Animation - The Student Council MMO
When I started the PSO2 anime, I expected a Sword Art Online clone--something like Log Horizon but nowhere near as clever or with as detailed a display of MMO mechanics, classes, and gameplay. The opening minutes seemed to confirm my suspicions...and then the OP finished, and suddenly I was plunged into your stereotypical high school setting, complete with it's own Omnipotent Student Council.
|You already know who's who, don't you?|
The first episode follows Itsuki Tachibana, a "handyman" who seems to be "okay" at everything he does. Whether its grades or sports, its always "good enouogh", which leads to an unintentionally hilarious scene about his life always being just "good enough". (With so many people falling so far short, it seems as if he's complaining about an embarrassment of riches.) This ability to be decent, though never exceptional, at everything causes him to be recruited by the Student Council to become the Vice President...and play Phantasy Star Online 2. They give some reason about how PSO2 is a way to study how students relate to one another outside of a school setting, but ultimately I think they just wanted to have a way to stand out from the other "video game inside a real world" anime that's been so popular lately.
|What is that strange device in her hand? A 3DS? They sure look different now--this must be a future revision!|
Once they enter back into the game, there's barely enough time left in the episode to give viewers an actual idea of what sets this fantasy game universe apart from all the others, save that players can actually...log out. They sneak a last minute twist in that most viewers will see coming, but that doesn't take away from the depth it adds to the character involved.
Overall though, it's an average opening...which is shockingly impressive to me. The last three or so game adaptations I've watched--Blade & Soul, BlazBlue, and Gunslinger Stratos--have all been absolute trash, so even though the characters are somewhat cliche and the story doesn't exist yet, I've still somehow got interest. It's not actively pissing me off (and my standards for video game adaptations are lower than the bar on the last round of a professional limbo contest), is what I'm saying.