Original Run: April 12, 2014 - June 24, 2014 Number of Episodes: 12 Genre: Action, Comedy, Harem, Romance Based on the Series Created By; Koushi Tachibana and Tsunako
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Date A Live. Reader discretion is advised.***
30 years ago, a spatial quake devastated central Eurasia, which resulted in 150 million casualties. Since the cataclysm, smaller quakes have struck at random all over the world. Today, Shido Itsuka (voiced by Nobunaga Shimazaki) and his foster sister Kotori Itsuka (voiced by Ayana Taketatsu) live under the constant possibility of another event.
At the start of the new semester, Shido’s school’s smartest and most beautiful girl, Origami Tobiichi (voiced by Misuzu Togashi), seemingly takes an interest in him. However, he is given no time to reflect when a sudden spatial quake alarm rings.
Before reaching the safety of a shelter, Shido gets the sickening feeling Kotori is in danger. While out searching, the quake hits, but what comes next is the last thing Shido was expecting. From the quake’s epicenter emerges an armor-clad girl with immense supernatural power.
The girl (voiced by Marina Inoue) comes under attack from a barrage of missile fire from a highly advanced combat unit armed with state-of-the-art technology and magic. Among these soldiers is no other than Origami. Although the mysterious girl effortlessly defeats her attackers, Shido can’t help but notice the sadness on her face.
Following the battle, the shadow organization, Ratatoskr, brings Shido under its protection. Kotori reveals herself to be the group’s commander, and she has a job only her older brother can do.
Kotori reveals that entities known as Spirits cause spatial quakes. Unlike the rest of the world, Ratatoskr’s mission is not to kill these beings but save them. This is where Shido comes in, for he can seal a Spirit’s destructive power. However, Shido must have a Spirit fall in love with him to achieve this. His first mission is to save the armored girl, who he names Tohka.
For better or worse, the one thing that can be said about Date A Live:
It did whatever it wanted to do.
Confidently I can say this was a series I enjoyed and had a really good time with. Knowing there’s a second season has me interested. Sure this show might have one…two…a s#$@ ton of problems, but being dull is not one of them.
This series is a harem anime through and through. There’s no getting around it.
For such a show to work, it must have characters worth caring about. Date A Live managed to do this.
Now, if you’re looking for variety or something new, you’re out of luck. The central girls of Date A Live follow many of the already firmly established archetypes.
- Tohka was the lovable airhead.
- Origami was the aggressor who didn’t care about personal boundaries or public decency.
- Kotori was outwardly tough but inwardly sensitive.
- There was also Yoshino (voiced by Iori Nomizu), who was the shy, quiet type.
Although common, these character types remain reliable if a story properly uses them. That was where Date A Live got things right. Sure, you might know precisely what a character will do before they do it, but they’re still effective in their respective roles.
So then, what about our lead, Shido?
I like him, and that probably tells you a lot about his character.
My disdain towards the whiny, wimpy protagonists who often plague harem anime is no secret. They’re not engaging, annoying as hell, and they would – or, at least, should – be the first person to die the moment things go sideways.
That wasn’t Shido.
He was a funny straight man when the show was in antics mode. However, Shido possessed a refreshing air of confidence when things became serious. When faced with a problem, he didn’t rely on dumb luck. There was no hesitation when he needed to take a stand, and he would take a bullet to save his friends.
Additionally, this cast carried Date A Live through a story that was actually pretty good. When it was trying to be goofy, the show was silly and charming. Granted, there were a few reoccurring jokes that don’t work, but I’ll get to those in a bit.
Then, when this series attempted to be serious, it got intense. When something threatening or dangerous was happening, everyone was legitimately scared, angry, hurt, or frustrated. During these moments, the power of these characters shined the brightest. Too bad these particular moments may have come out of nowhere, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
In any other series, this is where I would end this. But those who have already seen this show may think I’ve forgotten something. No, I’ve just been saving her.
I don’t know where she came from, and though she single-handedly 180-ed the entire tone of this series, Kurumi Tokisaki (voiced by Asami Sanada) was awesome.
Kurumi is the element that allowed Date A Live to stand out. If you were to ask me where she falls within the standard harem character troupes, I wouldn’t have an answer for you.
Kurumi would often choose violence, torture, and murder. So if you’re thinking yandere, maybe. That was one of the many possibilities with her. She could have also been a regretful, scared, or even tragic character. Then again, she could have simply been bat-s@ #$ insane and didn’t give a crap about a person’s well-being.
Although it’s hard to call her a wild card since she would most likely just kill a person to save time, there was always a chance one might converse with her. Regardless, Kurumi is a reason to keep coming back to Date A Live.
Date A Live filled itself with so much flimsy BS that it’s a miracle it remained standing.
This series was largely inconstant, took random turns for no reason, and relied on jokes and premises that either got old fast or were never funny from the start. There were times when the story didn’t seem to go anywhere, and character personalities would simply appear with little to no explanation.
Yes, there might be a season two, and many of these problems might be addressed. But my point is:
This show was extremely lucky to even get a second season.
I couldn’t figure out what I didn’t like about this series for a while. There were so many tiny problems; going over them all would take too much time. Also, many of the things I liked were heavily connected to the things I didn’t.
To start, Tohka’s sudden character shift. Although I think the character she became was fine in the end, it certainly wasn’t the person the show introduced us to.
And I can say the same thing about Kotori, but at least her switch made sense.
Date A Live heavily emphasized its dating sim approach to saving Spirits. Not a bad idea, but the way it was executed made it seem obnoxious. Shido did much better on his own, and the whole gimmick was just that, a gimmick that was not working.
Another issue was with Kurumi. Although she was great, her inclusion came so far out of left-field. When she appeared, this series got bloody, threatening, and creepy. It did not fit with the already established lighthearted atmosphere. An atmosphere, by the way, that came back and seemed to forget the dark path it went down.
Even the ecchi moments were all over the place. At times the show would shove them in your face, whereas other times, the show held back. Then there were long periods of nothing.
That’s when it hit me. Date A Live never once committed to a single element. It wanted to do so many different things. However, nothing ever had the chance to fully develop.
This is what I’m hoping comes out of season two. If Date A Live stopped trying to do a hundred things at once and focused, there could be something fantastic here.
Harem anime are often very hit-or-miss. This series was a hit, provided you’re willing to accept a lot of nonsense.
This show was all over the place. It did some things great, while it did plenty of other things it should drop. Luckily it had a cast of characters and a decent story. I want to see where everything goes. I want to see what becomes of everyone. There are things to enjoy out in this show, and by no means am I over it.
Despite its many, many flaws, Date A Live has earned a recommendation.
But these are my thoughts; what are yours? Have you seen this show; how would you advise Date A Live? Leave a comment below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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