Saturday, 6 July 2013

il sole penetra le illusioni ~ Day Break Illusion - Episode 1

Akari Taiyou is an enthusiastic young Tarot card reader - so much so that she's working as an apprentice to a group of fortune tellers, in what must surely be the most Italian anime series since Gunslinger Girl.  I mean, just look at that title!

Anyhow, it seems that Akari is loved and doted upon by pretty much everybody - her grandparents, her classmates, and her adopted sister.  Although does her sibling really love Akari all that much?  The more we see our protagonist being praised and adulated by all and sundry, so Fuyuna's irritation and jealousy grows to an unstoppable degree - after some strange episodes, we see a creature outright attack Akari as she sleeps, the outcome of which seemingly leaves Fuyuna dead.

The next thing we know, we've wrapped right back around to the previous day as we once again find ourselves at the two-year anniversary of the death of Akari's mother - only thins time, Fuyuna is nowhere to be seen, and she isn't even mentioned by her family.  Returning from her mother's grave, Akari finds her workplace ablaze with her colleagues inside, and her attempt to rescue them ultimately reveals even more surreal goings-on as another creature attacks, only to be fended off by a team of magical girls.

It's surprising that we haven't seen more attempts at creating "dark" magical girl series post-Madoka Magica, and from this first episode Day Break Ilusion certainly seems to be setting itself up along these lines by bringing us a blend of death, violence, insanity and confusion all rolled into a single episode.  Indeed, it could be argued that this opening instalment is trying to do entirely too much - with no time to explain or reveal anything to the viewer, this episode feels rather messy and rushed as it jumps around hither and thither.  While some of these unexplained confusion is both deliberate and effective, it certainly hasn't succeeded entirely in drawing me into the series at this early stage - I'm intrigued by it, for sure, but compared to the elegant way Madoka Magica built and then continued to build upon its world this feels clumsy by comparison.  Perhaps such comparisons are unfair, but then again what do you expect to happen when you craft a series like this?  Still, hopefully this show can shrug off those shackles as it progresses to mark itself out in its own right.

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