Thirty years before the events of Date A Live, an enormous explosion devastates east Asia and kills 150 million people. This is the first known "Spacequake", an inexplicable natural disaster that has since become commonplace. Fast forward to the future. High school second year Shidou Itsuka lives alone with his cute little sister while their parents are away.
What do these things have to do with each other? While rushing to save his sister from a sudden Spacequake, Shidou is caught in the blast and, in the midst of the chaos, finds a mysterious girl. It turns out that this girl is actually a Spirit, a powerful being from another world whose arrival devastates the surrounding area. Thankfully, Shidou is rescued by an anti-Spirit strike team... led by his little sister?!
This vicious task force is locked and loaded, ready to exterminate Spirits with extreme prejudice. But this violent method is not for Shidou. He discovers the one way to neutralize these Spirits peacefully: make them fall in love. Now, it's up to Shidou to save the world by dating those who threaten to destroy it!
Boobs, explosions and cute girls are a time-tested formula. Apparently.
If there is one that has remained true about the anime industry, it is that cheap entertainment and low-risk adaptations prevail. AIC's "Date A Live" is yet another addition to this tired trend- doing nothing interesting or even particularly well. It expects the audience to willfully ignore its poor writing, because hey-- there are cute girls to gawk at!
Drawing inspiration from the 2008 manga "Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai", Date A Live presents itself as a pseudo-parody of otaku culture. After our protagonist Shidou conveniently encounters two busty ladies fighting one another, he finds himself waking in the headquarters of an anti-Spirit organization, which (surprise!) is led by his bipolar younger sister. Kirino-- sorry, Kotori, proposes her master plan to Shidou: prevent the Spirits' destruction by making them fall in love with him. How is he meant to achieve this? By studying dating sims, of course.
Funnily enough, this ridiculous premise is actually one of Date A Live's few redeeming points. It is self-aware and (usually) does not attempt to be anything more than silly fun. Some of the best moments are when Shidou attempts to swoon the girls with cliched eroge lines, only to be met by awkward silence and/or violent threats. It is a show that prides itself in absurdity. Mostly. At other times it is just woefully stupid.
And that is the problem. Date A Live, in all of its wisdom, also tries to push a semi-serious 'plot' amidst its comedy. A plot so riddled with lazy writing and insufferable cliches that the anime becomes the very thing that is parodying. Transfer students, toast-in-mouth, and the beloved walk-in-on-clearly-occupied-bathroom cliche? Check. Girls falling in love with Shidou for no conceivable reason except to increase the size of his harem? You bet. Deus ex machina? The third episode contains two within minutes of each other. There is even a scene in the anime where the Anti-Spirit Team-- which for some inexplicable reason is comprised entirely of busty, half-naked high school girls-- gets tentacle raped by ramen. Yes, ramen. Full stop. I will leave that to your consideration.
Shidou himself does not do the writing any favors. If there is a problem, he will preach it away- almost always with a few jejune words about self-sacrifice or how his victim simply isn't happy enough. If he is hurt, he will be magically healed through some convenient plot device. He doesn't need to fight or do anything remotely intelligent, because why the hell would he? He has plot armor to save the day. Date A Live is not concerned about petty notions such as 'sense'.
Writing aside, you will indubitably gain some enjoyment from the 'cute girls' appeal. And cute they are. Tsunako's character designs (most easily recognized through her work on the Hyperdimension Neptunia franchise) adds a level of appeal uncommon to most harem anime. Kurumi's design, for example, is one of the most attractive in anime or manga- no hyperbole intended. Their personalities are also equally adorable (though often limited to archetypes) with characters like Tohka frequently finding ways to get your heart racing. If Date A Live were to be judged solely by the cuteness of its female cast, it would be a work of art. But it is not.
It shouldn't come as much of a surprise given the designs, but Date A Live's artwork is for the most part high-quality. Characters are rendered in a consistent manner and the colorful art design tends to make up for any imperfections that the animation occasionally has. It is certainly a step down from the original light novel illustrations, though.
The sound also does not disappoint. It's almost a little saddening, even, knowing that such quality was expended on a show of this caliber. The background tracks are excellent, as is the cast of seiyuu (who do a skillful job of delivering personality to each girl) while even the catchy opening and ending sequences manage to stand out. It should be noted though that the ending sequences are supremely lazy from an animation standpoint, usually containing a single image that is panned over continuously until the song ends. Surely more effort could have been put there.
All in all, Date A Live is an absolute mess of a story-- but a disturbingly entertaining one. It is something to be watched-- maybe enjoyed-- and then immediately forgotten (assuming the writing does not give you an aneurysm). It represents precisely why an anime cannot survive on cuteness alone. Tohka does come close to saving the show, though. Almost.
If you are the kind of viewer that cares not for critical quality, then perhaps the girls will be enough to keep you entertained. For everybody else, and especially those already revolted by the harem genre, make sure to keep a few bandages handy. You might need them after hitting your head against the wall.read more
Date a Live: a series where a protagonist works to defeat invading entities... by dating them. From this description alone, you the viewer should hopefully have realized that this is a parody series - specifically parodying mecha series such as Evangelion, Gundam and Muv Luv, and replacing the invading force with cute girls.
This may sound absurd, perhaps even trite - but here's the catch - it's actually incredibly fun. If you've watched (or read) some of the aforementioned mecha series, you should at least find amusement in how the mecha genre is respectfully made fun of; couple to that a great ensemble of characters who deliver various amusing lines throughout episodes, the result is a show which should keep you laughing throughout its duration.
At the centre of the series is the protagonist Itsuka Shidou who is tasked with the aforementioned role of dating invading entities. This of course leads to him quickly developing a harem of various diverse personalities, for which Shidou has his own personal radio-based command centre assisting him from afar - there is no such thing as going too far in Date a Live. As mentioned above, the characters in this are variously fantastic in different ways: thus there is much to like in the various harem members; Shidou himself is a decent harem lead, tackling things head on and taking care of his harem (which is more than can be said for most harem protagonists).
Behind the parody, comedy and harem aspects there is also a serious story about the invading entities causing mass devastation and killing millions of people. To counteract this there is (within the confined area depicted) an Anti-Spirit Team consisting of mecha-suited girls who are armed to the teeth with various weapons. This aspect gives Date a Live some nicely choreographed battle sequences, and helps to further along its lively pacing. Whilst this side of the story provides serious undertones, they seldom undermine the generally lighthearted disposition of the episodes.
The artwork for the series is particularly nice, with cute character designs that move fluidly when required; characters are also amusingly expressive in accordance with their personalities. I can't think of any instances where the animation fell off-model, which is impressive considering just how much detail is drawn on to each character - sure, this may not be KyoAni levels of detail, but it's nice to see nonetheless.
Overall, this is an entertaining show that applies a different twist to the harem genre and doesn't take itself at all seriously. It's well worth a watch if you can enjoy that sort of thing.read more
Note: Everything in this review is my personal opinion. I will try to see both sides of the fence because when i talk to people about Date A Live, they either think the show is a work of art, or they this its a complete mess. I am on the side where I think it's a work of art but I will try to not be bias.
Date A Live, or DAL for short, is a show about spirits invading our world and creating spacequakes upon entering our world that kills thousands of people. These spirits are dangerous entities and we do not know much about them. It's up to our main man Shidou to stop these invasions by dating them. Yes, dating them. Now, when I first learned of what the show is about, I thought it was kind of interesting... and stupid. It's a unique idea for a show, albeit stupid, it is unique.
Story - The story is about our harem lead, Shidou, dating the many spirits that invade the earth. To save the people of the earth, it is up to him to date these spirit girls and get them to fall in love with him. While this is going on, there is an anti-spirit team (all girls, of course) and there job is to search and destroy the spirits. As absurd and unique this show sounds, some might think this is a recipe for a disaster, but it’s actually incredibly entertaining. The whole plot is mainly for the entertaining fight scenes, between the spirits and the anti-spirit team, and the several comedic scenes between Shidou and the several spirits that accompany him. They tried to establish a plot half way through the show but it's almost like the creators of DAL just threw their papers in the air and was like "fuck this shit; we'll leave it for season 2". No, I'm serious... That’s pretty much what they did.
Summary: If you think too hard on the plot aspect of DAL your brain will melt. But, if you are watching it purely for the entertainment factor, you can look past the enormous amounts of plot holes and look at DAL for what it is... and entertaining show.
Art - The art style and animations are beautiful to look at. If there is one thing DAL does great its the animations. There were no derp faces, the fight scenes looked crisp, the backgrounds were well done, everything about was done to a tee. The character designs were also very well done. You could tell the creators of DAL put a lot of effort into the art and they didn’t skip a beat. Hats off to them they made the show LOOK good.
Sound - Soundtrack is another category DAL excels at. The BGM fit almost every scene and really brought the most out of each scene. The OP is one of my favorite songs to date and the ED isn't half bad itself. The voice actors fit each character really well. Especially Kurumi... her voice was great and fit the character perfectly. All in all, the soundtrack as a whole was really well done and does not disappoint.
Characters - You can look at the characters for DAL one of two ways. One way is that pretty much every character has almost no backstory and isn’t well devolved. They aren’t very unique as each of them are either the token Tsundere character, or the crazy girl etc.. Or, you can look at it as they are cute anime girls that are funny and entertaining in their each own way. Each girl is cute in their own way, each girl has a great voice actor that fits the character well, and each girl is different enough so that everyone has a different favorite. They are fun; enjoyable characters and each have a different view point on each situation. Albeit while they might not be very flushed out, they do the job. Last but not least, we have Shidou, the main lead and (really the only male character that matters) the one who has the duty of saving these spirits. All I can say about him is that he’s not shit. That is apparently a lot to ask for in these harem type animes. Thankfully, he’s not as bad as most harem leads and in fact he’s pretty good himself. Shidou was probably the biggest surprise out of every character in the show as he didn’t suck.
Overall - If you critically look at DAL and try to pick it apart asking yourself "well, does this show have a good plot? Were the characters good and have deep, meaningful backstories? Does the show have a great soundtrack? Are the animations up to snuff?” you're in for a bad time. The plot on a whole is a mess, and the characters really aren’t that great if you look at the big picture. But if you are like me and just watch DAL for what it is, a fun and enjoyable anime, then the show is great.
If you are a critic of every anime you watch, DAL might not be the anime for you. But, if you watch an anime for cute girls, cool fights, entertaining comedy, and just plain don't care about plot holes and such, DAL is a must watch.read more
Ok I am kind of scared to write a positive review for this anime due to the fact that all the positive reviews are getting hated on but I just have too. I know people are saying, yea yeah its a fan service, and the popularity of fan service animes are comparable to hipster music, but i gotta say.. this is quite simply one of the best fan services that i have ever scene. Really, the plot is actually intriguing.
It may just be because this year of anime has been incredibly awful and has led me to believe that every single action anime producer is scared to go up against attack on titan, but why lie... when you get passed attack on titan, this anime ranks among the top. On top of that there is a catchy opening and the music featured in the anime is actually pretty good.
Rating for Characters: 8
Look i wont lie, many of the characters are actually intriguing. We have the average protagonist, but the supporting cast is very entertaining. Tohka contantly made me crack up and Origami is a perfectly written annoying girl. She does her job perfectly.
Rating For Art: 7
Ok the art is nothing special, but atleast it doesnt hurt the anime.
Rating for Sound: 9
The voice actors/actresses did their jobs well in this one. Wow did they do great.
Rating for Story and Enjoyment: 10
This is not your stereotypical fanservice. There is a plot with back story and there is action. The action is perfectly written. Yeah i do wish a character would actually die for once but other than that i have no complaints. It is a very entertaining 24 minutes watching this.
Say what you want to say, but I enjoyed this. It had comedy and action, and after watching the train wreck of an anime "Karneval," i really came to love this little fanservice. I do hope that season 2 does not try too hard, because the balance of action and cute comedy is perfect.
Have yourself some merry little cute and cuddly anime toys! Christmas may be over but it’s still the season to be jolly, so don’t hold back and treat yourself and your family and friends to some super cute toys to celebrate the New Year!