Studio: Madhouse, MAPPA
Genre: Fantasy, Action
The latest anime from Madhouse and MAPPA, two power-houses of the anime industry, takt. op.Destiny is an action packed tour de force in its first episode, making a strong first impression. The promo images and trailers drew me to this series straight away, and the visual design is very strongly reminiscent of the Ufotable Fate franchise – the heroine even bears a strong similarity to Saber. This makes sense, looking at the production of the anime however, as some former members of the Ufotable company also worked on this.
In takt. op.Destiny, we follow the titular Takt who is a young musician travelling with a mysterious blonde woman called Cossette and her older sister, the no-nonsense, Anna. The three are journeying across a dystopian America, with the aim of reaching New York so that Cossette can be ‘fixed’. It isn’t long before we see the true abilities of both Takt and Cossette, revealing themselves to be a powerful duo known as a Conductor and Musicart. Together they fight off the attacks from alien monsters known only as the D2, who attacked Earth many years ago, and are drawn to the sounds of rhythm and music that they produce. Not without a cost however – Cossette is incredibly strong but she appears to be drawing on the power of her Conductor, Takt which renders him unconscious on more than one occasion. It’s played for comedic purposes here, but given the dark subject matter, I can see this becoming a more serious issue in the future.
Given the theme of music prevalent throughout this show, as expected the soundtrack is absolute fire. Ryo from Supercell performs the opening, and classical music is interlaced throughout this first episode, which adds some emotional emphasis in certain scenes. Beethoven is the musician of choice, but I suspect that forthcoming episodes will introduce other classical music pieces of note. The choice of Beethoven also lines up nicely with the instrument of choice – a piano which Takt discovers and plays in the episode. Musical instruments are clearly shown as being somewhat rare in this world, given that music is known to summon the enemy. Takt is shown as someone who is obsessed with music however, and given that him producing music seems to be directly tied with their ability to fight against the D2, it makes sense that more musical instruments will appear over the series and with it, likely a change in musical style.
We get a fairly good impression of the three main characters through this episode – both Takt and Cossette are airheads and have a somewhat combative relationship, whereas Anna is the one looking after them both and trying to keep them on track. We learn very little about the three beyond that though, and Cossette in particular is almost alien in her interactions with the world around her, which raises some questions (especially given they’re supposed to fighting aliens). It makes for some good comedy however, with Anna playing the straight man to the other two’s often ridiculous actions. Takt and Cossette clearly have some issues with working together however though, and it makes you wonder how they got paired up in the first place.
The visuals are also one of the strong points in this series, incredibly striking and gorgeous throughout particularly during the intense action scenes. There’s a surprising amount of focus on background details, and we get to see a lot of the world around them which really showcases how much it has changed since the D2 attacked. Of the D2 themselves we learn little and they ultimately look rather generic in the few scenes they do show up in – there are definite Evangelion vibes however with these mysterious creatures appearing from out of nowhere. There’s a good balance of action and quiet moments so the first episode feels decently paced although there are still a lot of mysteries as to what’s actually happening. Overall though, this is a strong start to the series though a bit of a reliance on visual flair then character focus thus far. Hard to tell is this is going to be a style over substance series, but the road trip concept is a nice premise, and it seems like the journey is certainly going to be an interesting one!