takt op. Destiny
Episodes 1-3

by James Beckett,

How would you rate episode 1 of
takt op. Destiny ?

How would you rate episode 2 of
takt op. Destiny ?

How would you rate episode 3 of
takt op. Destiny ?

Anybody that knows me personally would be the least surprised to learn of my overwhelmingly enthusiastic response to takt op. Destiny's premiere. Takt and Destiny/Cosette may be an acquired taste, what with their high-key teenage diva energy, but I warmed up to their vaudevillian rivalry immediately (it helps that Cosette's older sister, Anna, is an extremely relatable and delightful portrait of an exhausted adult that has been forced to babysit a pair of inhumanly high-maintenance superhero kids). Plus, the whole concept of an anime that centers around a near-apocalyptic road trip across America is 100% My Jam™. Oh, and I guess the whole Musicarts Vs. D2 alien-rock-monster-thing war is cool, too.

Okay, to be fair, in my effort to gush about the “Shitty Band Dorks Go on a Road Trip and Save the World” vibes that appeal specifically to me, I might be underselling the spectacle of takt op. Destiny just a little bit. Given the pedigrees of MAPPA and Madhouse, it should be no surprise that the action in this co-production whips a fair amount of ass. The weighty and stylish choreography of Destiny's battles against the D2s is, to put it simply, really freaking cool. The D2 designs themselves aren't anything especially revolutionary, but the creatures are animated with enough alien menace to make their anti-music rampages feel far more dangerous and deadly than you might have guessed if you read the show's premise on paper. More importantly, the Musicarts are incredible examples of badass character design, especially Destiny herself, what with her gorgeous red-and-black ensemble (and her penchant for blowing shit up really good).

Still, as many of my fellow critics seemed to agree after takt op. Destiny launched, all of the style in the world can't make up for a lack of substance. While I vehemently disagree with viewers who contended that the show's premiere had nothing to offer in the character or storytelling department, it's still true that takt op. Destiny owed its audience a little bit more context to explain who our heroes are, and why their wacky road trip has been tinged with an unspoken air of bitter melancholy.

That's where "Music -Reincarnation-" and "Awakening -Journey-" come in. Together, the second and third episodes go a long way to provide answers to all of the premiere's lingering questions, at least the most immediate ones. If that makes it sound like Episodes 2 and 3 are bogged down in heaping helpings of exposition, well, it's because they kind of are, but I think takt op. Destiny acquits itself about as well as can be expected. Episode 2, especially, gets the benefit of being mostly about emotional exposition, which is a lot easier to work in to natural(ish) conversation. We learn that Takt has always been a bit of a standoffish diva, but it's a bit more understandable when you learn that he is an orphan who only has Anna and Cosette to call his friends and family. Speaking of Cosette, her role in Takt's life here is markedly different from what we will eventually see when we pick up with the trio in the middle of the American Midwest wasteland from Episode 1. She's the archetypally spunky childhood friend, who gets just as much joy out of teasing Takt as she does in genuinely looking out for him, such as when convinces Takt to show off his skills at the upcoming Symphonica celebration, which will be the first occasion for people to hear real music in years. She loves the guy, and it's so obvious that you'd have to be an emotionally stunted jackass to miss her obvious cues.

This all naturally begs the question: “What the hell happened to turn Cosette into Destiny?” Well, it turns out that, when Destiny comes across as a completely different person from the girl that Anna and Takt knew before, it's because that's exactly what she is. When the D2 inevitably attack the poorly conceived festival, and Cosette dies in Takt's arms, her body is essentially hijacked by the Musicart entity that sprouts from Cosette's pendant. This allows for even more Episode 3 sometimes struggles to convey the mountain of plot details that Takt and his new Musicart partner need to learn in order to get the plot moving, but the core conflict that emerges from it all are quite simple and effective: Takt lost one of the only people who ever really loved him, and now he and Anna are going to overcome impossible odds to try and get their beloved Cosette back. It makes the tension between Takt and Destiny a lot more compelling, and it gives the larger-than-life stakes of the D2 war a human touch.

Is takt op. Destiny going to be a staggering work of thematic genius? Probably not, but that's fine by me. What it is, at least so far as these first three episodes are concerned, is an exceedingly entertaining and well-produced action-adventure anime with a great premise, a strong cast, and some absolutely kickass fight scenes. If MAPPA and Madhouse can keep up the quality of the production and prevent the story from spinning off the rails, we'll have a strong contender for the best popcorn entertainment of the season.

Rating:

Stray Notes

• I didn't mention the Conductor Lenny or his Musicart partner, Titan, mostly because they primarily exist to dole out exposition, but you know what? I like 'em. Titan is fun, and Lenny is an ass-wiggling maestro who shouts “It's showtime!” whenever they're about to throw down. Hopefully we'll get a quality English dub soon, and if we do, I feel like we ought to pester Michael Keaton into lending his talents to voice Lenny.

• Anna didn't get as much to do in Episodes 2 and 3, but even one emphatic “Shut Up!” from her actress Kaede Hondo is worth its weight in gold.

• So, that Maestro Sagan guy is definitely up to something sketchy, right? What's the over-under on the whole Symphonic being involved in a giant, evil conspiracy? After all of the hints we get in these three episodes, I'm calling it as 70-30 in favor of Giant Evil Conspiracy.

• In case anyone is a musical pleb, like me, the show's title is pronounced “Takt Opus Destiny”, as op is shorthand for “opus number”, which is what denotes the order of a musical score in a composers production (Thanks, Wikipedia!).

• Finally, to add one more bullet point to the list of Things I Love About takt op. Destiny, I adore the OP, “Takt”, both for the actual song and the lovely animation. I'll be listening to it on repeat for the next few weeks, methinks.

James is a writer with many thoughts and feelings about anime and other pop-culture, which can also be found on Twitter, his blog, and his podcast.

takt op. Destiny is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.


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