And we all cheered, because it was over.
Oh, Day Break Illusion – yes, from the very beginning, it looked like a clunky attempt to cash in on the popularity of a prior ~dark~ magical girl show, but I was willing to give it a go. That there were some intriguing ideas in the mix (powers passing from mother-to-daughter, a magical girl who fights because she likes making money from it, etc.), after all, so even though the pacing was some of the worst I’ve ever seen, and the proceedings had all the subtlety of a whale falling from a skyscraper, I was willing to keep on. But things went fully pear-shaped as it shifted from being a deeply-flawed show with some neat items to just being flat-out bad.
Yet, I kept watching – it became one of those things a person watches because they’ve found it fun to start trying to guess what stupid thing will happen next. Spoiler alert: Day Break Illusion managed to always one-up my predictions, and frequently in the grossest manner possible – oh, so the final boss is isolating Akari because she’s half-Daemonia (how the fuck does that even work???) and wants her to bear his children? You thought that was skeevy as hell? Well guess what? He’s also her dad!!!
Its kind of funny in retrospect to see all the accusations against this as being a Magi Puella Madoka Magica rip-off, since it really didn’t share anything in common with that show other than that both were a “darker” take on the magical girl story. I was reminded more of Jigoku Shoujo during the first half, given the whole “Make contract, makes your enemies suffer, end up suffering even more.” thing. And then it just morphed into Mai-HiME – orange-haired heroine with fire-related powers is wanted by final boss to be his piece of ass, other members of the primary cast get taken out in some form, a creepy-ass silvery/blue-ish-haired boy is pulling strings in the background, and happy endings happen when the cast members previously taken out manage to make a miraculous comeback.
Ultimately, though, I think the Day Break Illusion’s biggest problem was the pacing. Things just happened much too quickly too often, and it really drained the potential wham moments of any weight. In the last episode, for example, the Fuyuna material was actually pretty decent, but it didn’t really have the effect it could’ve because Fuyuna’s entire story began and ended in the space of about fifteen minutes in the first episode. And the “you’ll have to fight your negative selves!” bit, specifically in relation to Ginka, had little affect, too, because it all played out in less than an episode. I honestly think an improvement on pacing would’ve at least elevated this show to half-decent – nothing particularly memorable, mind you, but better than bad.
By the way – Ginka and her dad were the best characters by a long, long shot. Which I suppose just demonstrates more that this show didn’t know what it was doing, since they took the best magical girl off the scene for about a third of the show’s runtime. Ugh. Schrödinger the cat gets the award for best character name, though.
So, its over, and I’m glad, because while I was invested in watching it play out to the end, I was more than ready for it to be done.
Well, with all the fun, interesting and even legendary mahou shoujo that have aired over the past 15 years, there’s bound to be a few clunkers. I was surprised when I heard you say it was a derivative of Madoka Magica. I wasn’t surprised it turned out bad.
From your review, I get the impression that the show was just trying way too hard. And kinda missed the aspects that made other shows in it’s genre good and memorable. Methodical, but even tempoed pacing and character development being those aspects.