Thirty years ago, the Eurasian continent was devastated by a supermassive "spatial quake"—a phenomenon involving space vibrations of unknown origin—resulting in the deaths of over 150 million people. Since then, these quakes have been plaguing the world intermittently, albeit on a lighter scale.
Shidou Itsuka is a seemingly average high school student who lives with his younger sister, Kotori. When an imminent spatial quake threatens the safety of Tengu City, he rushes to save her, only to be caught in the resulting eruption. He discovers a mysterious girl at its source, who is revealed to be a "Spirit," an otherworldly entity whose appearance triggers a spatial quake. Soon after, he becomes embroiled in a skirmish between the girl and the Anti-Spirit Team, a ruthless strike force with the goal of annihilating Spirits.
However, there is a third party that believes in saving the spirits: "Ratatoskr," which surprisingly is commanded by Shidou's little sister! Kotori forcibly recruits Shidou after the clash, presenting to him an alternative method of dealing with the danger posed by the Spirits—make them fall in love with him. Now, the fate of the world rests on his dating prowess, as he seeks out Spirits in order to charm them.
Date A Live adapts the first 4 novels of Koushi Tachibana's light novel series of the same name.
The anime premiered on March 31, 2013 on Niconico. On TV, it premiered on April 6, 2013 on Tokyo MX. The Blu-ray Box features an additional 35 minutes worth of content. Due to the Blu-ray Box being released after FUNimation Entertainment's release, this additional material was not included in any English release.
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.
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.
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.
It's especially bothering when you have a little imouto who drives you nuts everyday when you wake up. But more so, sometimes people wish they get more enjoyment out of their lives. But that might just be a bit too much for a sudden young boy by the name of Shido Itsuka. He gets more than what he ever hoped because on a faithful day, he meets a strange girl who completely turns his life into one hell of a ride.
Yup, the ride begins here and Date a Live takes the concept of 'dating' to a strange level. It's no
surprise though as the anime industry seems to be often seeking new ways to present the harem/romantic comedy genre. Date a Live is a Japanese light novel series written by Tachibana Koushi with illustrations by Tsunako. There's also a manga version of the series but let's cut to the chase of the anime adaptation rather, shall we?
Date a Live is a series and some may imply is about 'dating'. That part of the concept is correct because it's up to the main male protagonist of the series, Shido Itsuka, to save the world by making certain characters fall in love with him! The series literally takes the concept of a dating sim and transforms it (at it least tries to) into an animated medium. That's a lot easier said than done though to be honest especially since the majority of the characters in the series are not so normal. Take for example, Tohka Yatogami (code name: Princess) who came to Earth unexpectedly. She tries to follow the way of the world but lacks common sense. Even with her huge appetite and elite fighting skills, she often behaves like a child and acts immaturely during many situations. However, Tohka does have a cute and adorable side to her and wishes to protect what she treasures. These include the feelings of others as well as the people she has met.
Among other characters, the series clearly follows the path of a bit of harem theme. This is shown in the form of another girl (Origami Tobiichi) that Shido attends high school with. To make things more bizarre is that she also seems to have not only have a secret but literally stalks Shido at every corner. For unknown reasons, she seems to have a connection with Shido and declares him as her “lover”. At the same time, her actions often speaks louder than words as she is very direct with her affections which often puts Tohka at frustration when it comes to Shido. In general, Origami is a girl of peculiarity and mystery that surrounds her character throughout each episode.
Speaking of mysteries, there's definitely some in this series here and there. For one thing, Shido has a mysterious power and that itself is a mystery. Furthermore, the method to seal the deal with the spirits throughout the series is through a contact with the lips. However, at the same time, there's questions regarding how this is power is manifested.
As mentioned before, the series is titled “Date a Live”. The 'date' is the keyword here because to seal a spirit, one must make them fall in love with the protagonist. The dating sim part comes into play here as Shido is “trained” by his superiors in order to achieve their goals. The organization known as Ratatoskr practices dating simulations and gives advise to Shido in order to make the spirits fall in love with him. These often ends up with mixed results.
It also seems that at many instances, Shido doesn't want to get involved with the whole dating process and is forced directly into it by his superiors. In fact, there's no true evidence showing Shido showing any real romantic affections towards any of the spirits he has encountered. Needless to say, he is in a world where he just wants to get the job done and move on with his once peaceful life.
The series itself is consisted of only 12 episodes. Going by the phase of the light novel, that leaves only about 3 episodes per 'arc' for each Spirit. This can spell out a pacing problem with the usual 'things that should have been there but are not'. However, the series makes some big mistakes in this case as there are instances of fillers as well as cases where an episode has almost absolutely no value to progressing the main storyline. To make things as typical as they seem to be from this romantic comedy/harem, the common usage of fan service is employed in the form of bare skin and gratuitous outfits. These outfits are reflected in the battle gear that the military uses to combat the spirits throughout the series.
The fan service doesn't seem to stop there though. Even from the first few minutes of the anime, the series takes off with the panty shots and an annoying voice coming from a certain 'little sister'. Then, there's the characters' designs. Tohka's school uniform is generic but Origami's military battle suits takes it to another level with its designs showing the suggestive parts. The other spirits are also dressed strangely although it does bring out a colorful background to their characters. Still, it is generic with their different colored hair. Despite them all being spirits, I can hardly take the series serious sometimes with the whole dating concept. The development between Shido and most of the spirits are also cliched and hardly any meaningful if at all. I don't sense a real sense of connection or build up but rather as a dating sim game. The dating concept itself is also weak with the lame pickup lines that lakes any flavor. It's hardly any humorous at times and often misused according to the whole concept itself.
Luckily, there's still the action presented by the members of the military. The gadgets they use are as deadly as it looks and packs some devastating firepower. It shows that the military are serious about their tasks of dealing with the Spirits. It is because they hope to contain them should Shido fail in his quest. The spirits themselves are also damn powerful. Some of them proves to be more than a match and it seems that Shido is the only backbone to save humanity. It's the whole 'save the world' concept again but with the twist of dating.
Oh and speaking of dating, there's definitely some of that where it comes from. It's quite awkward though because by the way of things, Shido doesn't seem to have an ounce of dating experience prior to meeting the spirits. He often takes actions from “advise” from the military and Kotori, Shido's superior. These create awkward situations. Along with the misunderstandings, Date a Live continuously falls under the common cliched anime of the romantic harem genre. It's complete with the transfer student, the cute little sister, the nice guy, and of course dating.
In terms of soundtrack, I have to admit that Date a Live did pull off a magic out of its hat. "Date A Live “ by sweet ARMS has an electronic rhythm and gets the point across quickly. One can even see some action in the scenes along with the spirits who are soon to debut. It's colorful in the sense that the OST also depicts comedy, drama, romance, action, and emotional moments. Furthermore, there are many different ED songs to the series giving the viewers a variety to enjoy.
The artwork of the series is mediocre though. The outfits that the characters dress whether in combat or at school is generic and suggestive. It doesn't help by the fact that some of those outfits are little more than a reflection of the characters. Although colorful and distinguishing, it still remains barely tolerable with the way spirits should be. It's almost difficult to take it serious at times especially when there are 'gory' scenes out in the open but the artwork makes it seem like romantic comedy.
In general, Date a Live is just another series that takes the theme of science fiction and then mixes it it with some new twists like the dating sim concept. It's a fun theme to embrace but can hardly to be taken serious to heart at all. The whole concept itself is weak with the development and rushed sequences. Having read the LN, the pace of the series also seems to fall apart. The catch here is more than just a simple kiss. Rather, Date a Live just tries too hard and make it almost too unbelievable for its presentation. In the end, there are several choices that viewers can choose if they decide to watch this:
1) For fun and pass time
2) The concept/premise
4) None of the above but rather just go with the flow
If option #4 was your choice, then just do what it says. Go with the flow and turn your brains off while hoping to enjoy the series.
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