Takt Op. Destiny

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    Episodes: 12 Original airing dates: 6th October 2021 – 22th December 2021
    Studio: Madhouse/MAPPA Genre: Action/fantasy/romance
    Recommended audience: Those who like character driven action with a touch of romance.
    Trailer:

    Background/synopsis:

    Takt Op. Destiny is an action/fantasy series with a touch of romance that was released in the Autumn 2021 season. In an alternate world there are monsters named D2 that have ravaged the land and left the United States of America in a state of chaos. Impervious to normal weapons the only means of destroying these D2 are by using musicarts which are women that attack using the power of music. These musicarts are controlled by conductors who direct their actions during battle.

    Enter Takt Asahina who has become an unwitting conductor with Cosette (otherwise known as Destiny) who is a childhood friend of Takt and a younger sister to Anna Schneider. Searching for a means to reverse this dangerous pact the trio travel to New York city to seek answers to this unusual problem and the secrets behind musicarts.

    Story/characters:

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    The premise sounds corny and is a storyline that has been done to death but in many ways the opener to Takt Op. Destiny appears to redeem itself with dazzling scenic views and a great sense of adventure as the main characters embark on a long American style road trip. It this unique setup that is likely to get you interested in learning more and the second episode only reinforces this view as we get a good amount of backstory on Takt and Cosette that really has viewers itching for more.

    Unfortunately, it is at this point when the Anime stumbles as the story from here on travels at a very pedestrian pace. It is not like the series goes bad but if you are after an action series with a grippling and powerful storyline then you have come to the wrong place. Instead of expanding on the Takt Op world and the lore what we get is largely a character driven series that focuses chiefly on Takt and his partner Destiny.

    To the show’s credit the development in both Takt and Destiny is remarkable considering that they both started as almost gag personalities in the season opener with both exhibiting one-track minds. Over the course of the series though both characters show considerable maturity in their actions and by the seasons end you can really root for Destiny who develops from a mindless robot-like personality to someone you can really emphasise with. Whilst the same cannot necessarily be said of Takt his growth is undeniable and he really does respond and learn from the various near misses and disasters that surrounds him. To top things off there are some romantic elements by the end so if that is your thing that will be an added bonus.

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    The secondary cast are also pretty strong as unlike the main pairing they are likeable from the start. This strong secondary/weak main dynamic actually worked quite well as the interesting backgrounds and personalities of the secondary characters meant they largely carried show through the earlier opening phase but when Takt and Destiny began to develop the secondary cast took a backseat so the mains could flourish. This dynamic ensured that throughout the shows running there was always a character to keep viewers engaged.

    The big weakness with the casting was the antagonists who were underdeveloped and their motives questionable. Those questionable actions never really made sense and instead of future episodes providing clarity we get more confusion as the actions made did not make logical sense. Those illogical actions even had a detrimental impact on the shows ending as while the antagonists final act was similar to a famous marvel movie villain the thing that made it fall flat was the final actions contradicted the moves made earlier on. It was puzzling and disappointing but if there are any positives it was that the ending did provide closure.

    What made these narrative shortcomings easier to overlook though was the overall theme of exploration as the characters visit various places in the states and the scenery and towns, they visited were great to watch. Although the series is based in 2047 Takt Op. draws a lot of inspiration with 1960s America with the classic muscle cars, white picket fence housing and the designing of various diners, restaurants and motels. These unique backdrops make Takt Op. standout from most Anime series as not many shows are based in America and the few that are do not involve exploring various parts of America in this fashion.

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    Animation/music:

    The animation in Takt Op. is for the most part strong as the vivid character designs for the various musicarts were always creative and a pleasure to see. They all looked distinct and was something I looked forward to watching. These good character designs were bolstered by the great scenic shots we got at various points of the Anime but also by the unique backgrounds we saw as the characters visited various diners/motels and American style houses. Despite this series taking place in the future, it did draw a lot from 1960s USA.

    If there was one disappointment, I had with the animation it would be with the action scenes as the level of detail seen during those moments dropped dramatically reducing the impact and enjoyment of those scenes which was unfortunate considering this is an action series.

    Another weakness that was pretty ironic considering the musical theme of the Anime’s premise was with the musical score of Takt Op. Both the opening and ending tracks were largely forgettable and even during the Anime there was no music that really stood out for me. I was disappointed and thought more effort should have been put here. For those curious the opening song is "takt" by ryo (supercell) feat. Mafumafu, gaku while the ending is "SYMPHONIA" by Mika Nakashima.

    Summary:

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    Takt Op. is an Anime that bills itself as an action/fantasy series but if you go into this show with that expectation, you will likely become disappointed. What you get instead is a character driven show that even hints at romantic moments near the shows end. This Drama and the memorable picturesque scenes that litter this series make these the two biggest redeeming points of Takt Op.

    As good as those points are they cannot cover up the obvious weakness this Anime suffers from that are its pacing issues and lacklustre ending. As such, it is hard to really engage in Takt Op. from a narrative standpoint so I would not set big expectations over the storyline despite what the opening two episodes would suggest.

    It is this weak storyline that means I could not recommend this Takt Op. to most Anime fans. There are better series out there and if you really have an itch for musical/action Anime then I would suggest Symphogear or any Macross title as both deliver a better experience than this. If you are a fan of character/driven action series though then you will likely get more out of this than I did but even then, don’t expect to be knocked off your chair.

    Story 4 – The opening two episodes are strong but unfortunately, story wise, this is the high point of Takt Op. as the series suffers from a stagnant plot that only gets going in the final episodes. Even here though the ending left something to be desired especially if you consider the contradictory actions taken by the series antagonists in the previous episodes.

    Characters 7 – The personalities of Takt/Destiny are almost comically bad at the start but the growth both characters experience is so remarkable that by the seasons end the pair are effectively carrying the series. The secondary cast are also strong and fortunately they are good from the get go meaning they take the slack when the characters of Takt and Destiny are still found wanting.

    Animation/music 7.5 – The great scenic shots and the unique American backdrops make this one of the more memorable aspects of the Anime. Like the cast, it is one of the main reasons to watch Takt Op. as the environments shown are consistently gorgeous. The same can’t be said over the action scenes and musical score. The latter weakness is particularly unfortunate considering the musical theme of this Anime.

    Overall 6 – Takt Op. starts with a bang and offers a lot of initial promise. Unfortunately, a lot of that potential is left unrealised due to its lacklustre narrative. The main things that prevent Takt Op. from becoming a poor show is the casting and character growth of the mains which is above average. The animation whilst poor in the action scenes are an overall boon due to the way it effectively captures the sense of adventure that Takt Op projects.

    All things considered this isn’t a series I would recommend unless you are a fan of the Takt Op. games. If you want to watch a musical/action Anime then I would take shows like Macross over this.

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    Want to see all the sights of scenes of the amazing Takt Op. road trip? Then check out the gallery!
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