Takt Op Destiny is a Flawed Masterpiece

Takt Op Destiny is a Flawed Masterpiece

Takt Op. Destiny is an interesting anime airing this season for quite a few reasons. People have had their eye on it since it aired. The biggest reason likely because it was created by Madhouse and Mappa, two powerhouses in the industry, the latter of which especially this year. Anytime either studio does a project, it will get attention, even more so if they do it together.


What I find more interesting about it is that Takt Op Destiny is an original anime. Any time a series like that comes around, I pay more attention than normal. They’re often some of the greats in the medium. It’s based on nothing—kind of.


See, Takt Op is a mixed media project consisting of a mobile game and an anime. Takt Op Destiny is the anime, while Takt Op is the yet-to-be-released game. In fact, the game is delayed indefinitely as the devs are working on bug fixes to make the product better.

(I actually really want to play the game)


The only real information released about the game at all is a short promotional video that doesn’t really give you any information besides the fact that it likely has FGO-ish skill-based combat like a lot of mobile games, and you know it’s going to be gacha even if nothing has been said on the fact to my knowledge.


What you’ll immediately think when you see this multimedia project, is that the anime was made just to promote the game, which will make more money in the future. Any product made to promote something else is generally little more than a soulless cash grab. What’s interesting is Takt Op (which will be the anime in this post for the sake of time) is not.


This anime is damn good in some aspects. I’m not even kidding with you. It has some high ass highs. And if there’s one thing it isn’t, it’s certainly not soulless regardless of if it’s a cash grab. It’s a beautiful cash grab, if it is.

Destiny slaying a D2
(These guys are a bit dangerous)


The story of Takt Op is fairly simple. It takes place in the near future in a world where music can’t be played. Any music summons these giant monsters called D2, and people aren’t big on that. So most instruments are locked away for the safety of the people.


But eventually, humanity uses Musicart’s, which are humanoid girls that can do battle against the D2’s with the help of a human conductor. In the anime’s case, this is Takt, a pianist who loves music more than anything and is pretty depressed about the whole not being able to play it thing.


The anime is shaping up to be a prequel of the eventual game’s story, which is a really good call in my mind. It allows for the anime to be its own original thing but also roll into the game well enough.

Destiny with a gun
(It’s also about girls that fight)


What you may have noticed is there’s a lot of Music in Takt Op. In fact, the “Op” bit means “Opus,” which is a term in classical music. Do you see the trend here? Takt Op is a mixed media project centered around classical music.


That’s why the immediate first thing you’ll notice upon watching the anime is that the music is stunning. It is stupidly good. It is offensively good. And honestly, it better be. That’s the entire point of both parts of this project. It’s a celebration of classical music. That music better be used well.


Hell, episode 2 has an almost 3-minute long segment where absolutely no words are spoken, just two of the main characters playing beautiful music on the piano. It’s supposed to be a love letter to classical music and really music in general, and if we’re being honest, it doesn’t fail there. At least, I don’t think so.

Takt playing the bar piano
(Music will find a way)


The actual plot itself is perfect for the message it’s trying to convey. All things considered, it’s not a necessarily deadly world the characters live in. Nothing really changes so long as they follow one rule: no music. As long as they don’t play music, no monsters come, and nothing will change. The world could remain the exact same. But that’s the problem: a world without music wouldn’t be the same.


I have never been one to sit there and listen to music for hours on end, but I can’t deny how big of a part it is even in my life. No matter if you listen to classical, pop, rock, rap, hell even country, vocal, instrumental, whatever, music is very closely tied to our emotions. For some reason that I can’t figure out, music has the power to get feelings out of me that I didn’t even know I had.


Whenever I hear a beautiful piano or violin piece, I want to cry. I don’t know why. Even if I’ve never heard the song before. Even If I have no attachment to it whatsoever, just the sound and feel of it alone is enough to make me want to cry. While I don’t know if I agree with their message of music being life itself, I can’t deny that music can tug at us like nothing else really can.

Everyone listening to some tunes
(Just look at all these people who still want to hear it)


Music transcends the medium. It breaks the language barrier and brings us all together. Even if you can’t understand anything being spoken, just the power of music alone lets us understand each other. Music is its own language. It’s a very special thing, and that’s actually what Takt Op shows. People are willing to die in a war that certainly doesn’t need to be fought all for the sake of music.


What better way for this project to really hammer home to people how important music is than to have a story where people make the ultimate sacrifice just for a small chance to hear it in the street once again? That one simple, minuscule wish means everything. It’s poetic. It’s wonderful. It’s a really almost deceptively simple premise that fits perfectly.


If you want to talk about Takt Op and what the project is, what it stands for, and the story this series is trying to tell, then there’s no doubt it’s a masterpiece. It has beautiful, pretty damn consistent art that’s only matched by its soundtrack, and all of that is wrapped in one of the most beautifully fitting concepts for a story I’ve ever seen. Do you notice how I keep talking about the premise of the story and not the story itself? Yeah, did you read the title? 

Takt and Destiny
(This anime ain’t ugly!)


Let me start by saying this: I know people are pretty split on this anime, but I truly do think it’s a masterpiece, but that doesn’t mean for a second I think it’s perfect. Anime, like music, is an art. There’s more to it than the technicalities. A masterpiece doesn’t need to be perfect. A masterpiece is something great, put together with a lot of care that has something that others don’t. Like I said before, Takt Op has heart and soul in it. It has so much.


So what are the big problems? Honestly, the series is a bit underwhelming. Some might even say boring, and I don’t really disagree. For all the praise I was giving to the story, it doesn’t actually go that many places in the anime. It’s essentially just a road trip through America. A little random, yeah? It is.


While everything I said is the plot at large, the anime revolves around Takt, Anna, and his Musicart, Destiny’s journey to New York City. Along the way, we see what happened to various states without music. We go to New York, New Orleans, Las Vegas. Some fairly interesting stuff, but not exactly what I expected from this story.

Just a lone diner
(We go on a trip in Merica!)


It devolves into what is basically the crew traveling from area to area known for music or at least using it in some way, like Vegas or, you know, The Birthplace of Jazz, the best music, with a few fights sprinkled in.


This idea really isn’t all that bad. It’s an interesting way to explore that theme of music even more, but it’s still ultimately a story just about moving from point A to point B. It’s good, but it’s not exciting. A lot of people were comparing this to the Fate series for how similar Takt and Destiny’s relationship are to Shirou and Saber’s, but why I see that, these are completely different series trying to accomplish different things.


For as well animated as some of the fights are in Takt Op, it is not action-packed, which is, I think, a bit misleading on the marketing side of things. If anything, the story is more a character drama. In that way, the concept of these characters viewing how the world changed actually plays to its advantage, but again, it’s not going to have you on the edge of your seat with action every episode.

Takts date with Destiny
(There’s enough drama to go around)


But the thing about it being a character drama is one, that I don’t think people expect that from the series, and two, the characters are not that good. They aren’t bad, just predictable. Bear in mind, that’s with the exception of our three heroes, Takt, Destiny, and Anna, who are all pretty damn good, for the most part.


Aside from them, the characters are fairly tropey. Hey, this musicart is a tsundere. Oh, look, that one is the masochistic dom girl. It’s generic, flamboyant guy who toys with the main male character and don’t forget his little sister-type musicart. The biggest upset is probably the first main villain. He does something real bad in episode 2 but turns out to be just generic as hell. This guy has no personality. He literally just wants to “weed out the weak.” He’s generic kill people since they suck guy. Really upsetting for the one person who caused a lot of the character drama. And our main villain isn’t much more interesting, I hate to say.


They’re very hit or miss for the most part, but the biggest focus is always on the main three, so it’s not too bad. Probably the biggest issue with Takt Op overall is the pacing. It’s really not so good. Let’s run you through some events. Episode 1 introduces the characters and scenario. 2 and 3 go back in time to give some backstory. 4, 5, and 6 are Vegas and exploring.  7, 8, 9 are some resolution to Destiny’s arc and the really disappointing crappy villain I said earlier. And the last three are the end.

Takt and Cosette playing piano
(Look at all this joy that will definitely last)


For as much as this sounds, it doesn’t feel like all that much is happening. The best part of the series is easily the flashback early on and then the last couple of episodes, despite Mr. Sucky Villain Man 1 or 2. That’s because Destiny and Takt get their stuff aired out. A lot of the in-between stuff, while being neat in concept, isn’t actually all that interesting to watch.


What I really don’t get is why episode 1 didn’t just start with the flashback stuff. I know people like to compare Destiny to Siesta from Deadtective, but the weird flashbacks hit a little too close to home for my taste. Just start the damn series there, people. It’s not that hard.


A lot of these somewhat odd choices likely come from the fact that this is a prequel to the game’s story, which is when things really go down. This is the prelude, which is probably why things are a lot slower and not too crazy. In that way, it all makes sense, but you do have to judge this as the anime, not the game as well. If that game does come out, yeah, I’ll talk about it. I’d love to.

Takt at the bar
(Expect more chill bar vibes)


Ultimately, your enjoyment of Takt Op will have a lot to do with what you expect. If you’re expecting a super action-packed series with fights against music monsters, you’ll likely be disappointed. But if you look at the series for what it is, a love letter to music in general, you’ll find a beautiful series here.


It’s not perfect, far from it. It’s slow. It has a few bad choices here and there, and the premise can feel a bit wasted at times. The characters can also be one-dimensional. But at the end of everything, it’s a really fantastic series about music for music with a lot of really damn cool character drama mixed in.


Seriously, the stuff with Takt Anna and Destiny is them basically going through the five stages of grief throughout the series. It hits you with a lot of unexpected, but powerful feelings, kind of like music itself. Takt Op may not be the best series ever, and hell, it may not have lived up to what people were expecting, but I do consider it to be a modern masterpiece, even if it’s flawed.


Thank you very much for reading

Let’s just really hope that game ends up being good, yeah?

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