Date A Live Review

So I crossed this show when I saw some of its key visuals: a powerful warrior clad in a violet, pink and gold-armored dress, with hair of a rich purple hue. Some know her as Tohka, but she’s also known as the girl who was revoked by her own show. Today, a shambling show of plot, yet a decent display of boobage – Date A Live.

Itsuka Shidou is yes, your average high school student. He lives a normal life with his red-headed little sister Kotori, despite him having bold blue hair (she’s got to be adopted). His life is disrupted, however, when another “spatial quake” explodes in his city, causing mass destruction and panic to spread.

These spatial quakes bring Spirits, mystical and powerful beings of unknown origin, coincidently hot/cute chicks. His sister also just happens to be the commander of an Anti-Spirit Team aboard the Fraxinus. As she and the other crew have analyzed, the only way to seal the powers of the Spirits is by making them fall in love with Shidou – and by giving them a kiss. “Kill or kiss the world,” as they say! Failure to accomplish the mission will be met by deadly firepower from the AST’s flying powered suits – worn by half naked women, might I add.

Date A Live is a harem, romance, action, school, comedy, mecha, sci-fi . . . so on and so forth . . . anime. It poorly jumps around between being absolutely serious, bat-sh*t crazy, and fluffy as daily life can be. I enjoy really dark, thoughtful, and intense anime, with a few slice-of-life scenes splattered during the appropriate times – and there are a couple of crafty surprises packed within the show. But this anime is not organized with its plot whatsoever.

Recall that scene from episode 3, the one where Tohka and Origami face off and she accidentally shoots/kills Shidou? That was easily the best moment of the anime; it was second to Kurumi’s creepy assault on the humans in the woods. Too bad the end of the series was met with just a mech fight (not hating on mecha anime or anything, but seriously). – _ –

Also, I don’t really see how the dating sim system the AST uses is helpful. By the time everyone reads the three weird options, votes on one, and tell it to Shidou through ear piece, the moment is long gone and would be too late to respond to questions. But whatever.

Besides Shidou having a really cute face, he’s just the boring middleman between the Spirits, taking in and returning expressions of “absolute concern,” because you know, he’s the good guy. I suppose he can be comical at times, and he’s not an annoying protagonist too, which are pluses, but yeah, he’s not anything new either.

I could sit here and talk about each of the Spirits and how “different” they all are, but really they can be grouped by stereotypes: Yoshino, the shy and quiet girl, Origami, the secretly-in-love-with-classmate, Kurumi, not gonna lie, a decent villain yet tossed to the side the last couple episodes, Kotori, the little sister, and that just leaves one girl – Tohka. While they are all entertaining, comedic, and cute (with great curves :3) they lack the flushing-out that I enjoy most.

Tohka is the first Spirit we are introduced to. She’s tsundere at first, but develops into waifu for Shidou. It’s similar to Asuna from SAO, though Asuna is a much better fighter and character! Anyway, not only does Tohka have a heart-warming food-consuming personality, she also has a beautiful design. When I think about it, Tohka is just Saber (Fate/Zero) if Saber did not have such strict social contracts binding herself. I love the purples, pinks, light blues and golds on her armor and in her sweet eyes!

Yet the one thing this anime had going for itself was put to the side because WHO THE HELL KNOWS. Tohka is a great fighter and by this point she is the best character, so why dump her? For the other girls I guess, but it ain’t worth it. After episode three, Tohka doesn’t get the spotlight again until the end; that’s +6 episodes of Tohka just eating and sitting on her ass. A shame.

This was the high point for the show – the animation by AIC Plus+. Again worth mentioning are the superb character designs, but additionally the sharp and colorful background scenes. I can’t recall low quality of any kind from this show, so a round of applause to them! The only thing I could complain about are the fight scenes, which rarely happen – and I’m talking all-out fights, not a missile launch here and there. The action sequences featuring the dominant Spirits clashing with the AST units are spectacular, but sadly few and far between.

The soundtrack was a real surprise for me. Not only are the daily life scenes well-supported by casual themes, but the dramatic sections are gorgeous and truly melancholic. Anthems for battle ring with a full on orchestra plowing down the field, and intensity is never lost by the OST.

Infamously known, the opening “Date A Live” by sweet ARMS quickly catches attention as an opener. Its passionate choir vocals along with an addicting melody are a great way to start each episode! The ending second “SAVE THE WORLD” by Iori Nomizu is also so catchy! I’m quite attached to them both!

But great background music and quality detailed animation won’t save the failing date that is Date A Live. The show brings nothing new besides its unique yet unorganized story idea, and if you’ve already waded through several harem anime, then you’ll know all of the ins and outs, getting more and more tired of this show’s determination to be something it’s not. If you are not a critical viewer and are simply looking for time to blow on an action/romance with comedy, impressive fights, and fan service then this is perfect. Otherwise it doesn’t live up to the hype.

“Just killing and killing and killing? You deserve to die and to die and to die.” – Tohka Tatogami

Yeah, bummer, it was disappointing. However, there is a second season, so I will be checking that out soon. Since I watched it in subs, I hear the dub for Kurumi is really awesome, so I might give that a watch too . . . if only I could ever find the time. Thanks for reading – slap that like button if you enjoyed my review and until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

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9 thoughts on “Date A Live Review

  1. The thing is most anime borrow from each other from mythos already existing in the world. It is the way that it is used that defines and set the tone. Anime does not always have to be unique.

    And Asuna from Sword Art Online is like a different type of girl than Tohka. What happened in the series was from what I could observe Tohka was always a sensitive girl type. She was only being aggressive due to how AST treated her with aggression to begin with. So that explains her personality.

    Anyway, I guess I will have to disagree with you but I still liked hearing your examination of the series. I also love this anime since it was my second harem romance comedy anime series that took my breath away after the wonder of the Rosario + Vampire anime. I kept thinking this was totally meant for the guys. But you know what? Whatever. Very good series. I know after this I made straight for Qwaser of Stigmata. Still looking for more harem romance anime series that can be as good as Date A Live and Qwaser of Stigmata since High School DxD New just does not look compelling from afar.

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    • I’ve actually been rethinking the series, realizing its impact more and more. And you’re right, Tohka is a sensitive girl, harboring hatred for the AST and their constant assault. I meant Asuna only as a framework; the two fight separately with sorta the same attitude at first, but grow closer and more reliant on their partner as the show progresses. That’s not to say that they ever become weaker, of course. For a guy like me, the anime was unremarkable. I am more familiar with Date A Live, however, and am considering giving it (and the sequel that I haven’t watched yet) a second chance. Thanks!

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  2. Pingback: End of March Update 4/1/15 | Takuto's Anime Cafe

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