Why is it so damn hard to make a proper harem sequel these days? Date a Live needs no introduction as the franchise had established its principle cast from the previous seasons. All we need really is some well-crafted storytelling with clever humor and this could have been a redemption of the catastrophe known as Date a Live season 2.
I’ll be a straightforward here. I only advise watching Date a Live Season III if you are absolutely curious about the continuation of this franchise. Regardless if you’ve read the light novel or an anime only viewer, this show requires knowledge from the previous season for
a watchable experience. With that being said, there’s little to really praise about the show together when you see what they’ve set on the table.
Even before this aired, some red flags are raised regarding the technical elements of the show. The production quality from the previews seems to have taken a nose dive to hell. While the first episode made improvements compared to the online pre-air, the visual quality overall is at best be described as subpar. At worst, the third season would be a fine example of a plastic broken art piece. However, I am willing to look over this since Date a Live has never been known for its art style. It’s the standard generic harem with a cast of characters who all fall for the main protagonist eventually. The catch is that the show’s premise adheres to such genre with its dating elements.
Date a Live III returns with the familiar formula of main protagonist Shido Itsuka as he helps to seal Spirits into his body with a kiss. The new season introduces Natsumi, the seventh spirit who actually has two forms – a child and young adult. The first few episodes has her play mind games against Shido and his friends. Similar to previous seasons, she puts Shido’s life on a rollercoaster of drama. However, I felt like the first arc became more and more idiotic with each passing episode. Let’s start with Natsumi herself. She is an attention seeker and seems to throw fits like a child would when things don’t go her way. In her adult form, she’s prone to jealousy with pride and a bit of ego. To put it simply, she’s an irritating character to deal with. It doesn’t take long for Shido to realize this either with the childish games she puts them through. By the time this arc ended, I felt nothing for Natsumi and she became yet another harem member in Shido’s collection. Except in her case, she's an annoying little bitch.
Then, the second half of the show aired. Unlike Natsumi’s arc, the second arc adapts a more serious and emotional tone. The show takes a dive into Origami’s past while also reintroducing a popular character from the previous seasons. Oh yes, remember Origami? She’s the girl that has been trying to seduce Shido at every chance she gets. However, we see a side of Origami that people may not be used to. From this season, she shows a corrupted side of her character. She forsakes her friends while even attacking Shido as an enemy. There’s actually a more complex reason why she wants to change her past but the execution fails to live up to my expectations. Sure, there’s emotional content but the show never managed to convince me to like Origami as a character. Regardless what timeline she is in, Origami exposes the weakness of the main cast as a character who relies on others too much. In particular, Shido is someone she confides her emotions in although I never felt the two had a strong connection. Even compared to relationships with others like Tohka, she always felt like a background character. That being said, I don’t really want to devalue all the characters. The main cast returns with their mainstream personalities. While there’s not much character development, it’s still fun to watch their goofy interactions with Shido. It’s a harem after all and every girl wants their chance to be with him. The amount of witty dialogues and humor remains in the show that occasionally can draw out a few laughs. But be aware, you may quickly find most of it to be a snoozefest.
If the third season really wanted to redeem itself, it could have taken risks to try something different. Instead, it still relied on its usual gimmicks while focusing on a character that I never put faith into. Here’s a season that I can’t recommend and it’s a real shame. Because really, I wanted Date a Live to be something more special. Instead, it came out as a garbage harem that can be best described as atrocious.
DAL is an underrated anime, it doesn't have the best characters nor does it have the best plot but it is an enjoyable anime nonetheless (At least imo)
I'll start by saying that this is by far both the best and worst DAL season and here is why.
This is the best DAL season because of the plot/story, it started slow but it was really good specially during the 2nd arc but sadly, it was the worst in terms of animation.
Now, I was happy when this got a new season because I personally don't like reading LNs and since I enjoyed the first 2, I
thought this season would be better but with how bad the animation was, reading the story wouldn't have been much different.
The plot in this season is great, we have 2 main arcs:
The first is a mind-trick arc where MC has to find the villian from all the characters he knows within a limited time.
The second one was about origami, this arc is probably the best in the entire series, it had great character development for both MC, origami and the rest, it had a great story, execution and it was overall incredibly enojyable, I think this is by far the best in the series. (It also had best girl Kurumi in it so there is that)
The OSTs and voice acting were great and the OP/ED themes were good.
Now that I covered the good thigns, let's talk about what I hated alot in this season, The animation.
The art was fine and in fact, some parts had great art in terms of character design but the animation was horrendous, the fight scenes were mostly so bad that I cringed while watching them, the fact that a horrible animation like that was allowed reminded me of the DXD season before the studio changed, I hope if they are ever going to make a season 4/5 that the studio gives more time/money to the animators and allows the work to be better or change the entire studio, IDK how that was acceptable to put tbh.
I didn't really expect to write a review for DAL and specially not the 3rd season only but the story in it was too good to not write about it.
I give this anime a 8/10 => great story, would have given it a 9/10 but the animation was just too bad.
Would recommend it.
I’ve never seen a sequel to a popular series so butchered since Michael Bay’s stand-alone film Transformers: Age of Extinction in 2014.
This review is coming from someone who actually enjoyed the Date A Live series quite a bit, especially the “semi-canon” film back in 2015. So when I first heard about the series getting a third season, I was quite elated, to say the least. However, not too long after, I received the unsettling news of the original studio that handled the previous two seasons and the OVAs, Production IMS, undergoing bankruptcy and shutting down permanently, and thus the project was handed off to JC
Staff. At the time, the studio wasn’t exactly a hot topic of controversy or debate, so I didn’t think too much of it. Unfortunately, the issues befalling the studio have started to become more apparent in the season of Fall 2018, especially during the production of the third season of Toaru Majutsu No Index. Needless to say, regardless of whatever the financial and business reasons and so-called justifications as to why the studio is currently conducting itself as of recently, it is not a good enough excuse to brush off what has obviously has become a contagious disease known as “JC Staph Infection”.
(May or may not have some spoilers*)
By now, anyone who watched or plans to watch this show should already know the common drill with how the story goes. A seemingly ordinary young man, Shido Itsuka, encounters and befriends beings called “Spirits”, and in order to stop them from wrecking havoc on Tenguu City, his home, he must make them fall in love with him and then seal their powers with a kiss. In the process, those Spirits become his best friends and allies and also part of the self-inserted harem.
The premises of the show are quite generic but not necessarily bad at all, especially with how the previous seasons depicted certain scenes and moments as fleeting moments of emotion and beauty. However, this was absolutely not the case here with Season 3. While I try to handle animation quality and story quality separately, this is one of those cases where both seem linked to each other in a bad way. So when the animation quality dropped, so did the course and depiction of the storyline.
The immediate problem I already have is how certain scenes shift so suddenly and without a proper sort of siegeway between them. Because of the entire lack of buildup between events and arcs, the scenes that are supposed to be the important chunks of the story…..just feel abstract and soulless. There is no sense of anything emotionally invested at all, not even with the most important arc of the season, the Tobiichi Origami arc. While I can’t really apply problems in terms of something like world-building, there are obvious plot holes and unwarranted plot devices throughout the story. While such occurrences are not exactly rare with most anime adaptations, Date A Live’s case during this particular season grew far too problematic.
For one particular example, during the Origami Arc, Shido, having travelled back to the past to try to undo the changing of history, seemingly dies in the act of protecting a younger Origami; however, the very next scene shows him alive and well in a brand new timeline. Regardless of whether the source material contained an answer or not, there seemed to be no clear-cut explanation as to why a brand new timeline was made, much less as to how Shido isn’t dead or even erased from existence due to the possible time paradox. Additionally, the rest of the Spirits somehow regain their memories from the old timeline without much consequence. The fact that the arc relied on an often mishandled plot element known as time travel can stir up unwarranted plot devices like that. Even then, if the production crew implemented genuine emotional investment into many of the events, instead of just forcing it down our throats, such “deux ex machina” foolery would be honestly easier to overlook in at least at face value.
Oh boy, one of my favorite parts of the review, breaking down the focused characters.’
Since this is a sequel, I don’t think I really need to talk too much about the cast that took to the sidelines for this season. The main focus here are the two characters with the two primary arcs: Natsumi and Origami.
Natsumi, in my honest opinion, is a very unlikeable character, even when she “turned a new leaf” due to Shido’s action. She is extremely childish, and is extremely self-loathing of her original petite form. She perceives everything in a negative light, including herself. Unwilling to accept this feeling of worthlessness, she took on a more physically mature-looking form to perceive herself as the perfect image of what she wanted to be. However, she is really just wanting attention, praising, acknowledgment, and recognition. The problem is that the show fails to depict her in a way where we can have at least some sort of sympathy of her, but instead, due to aforementioned plot holes, she comes off as more of a bipolar, bratty, complaining, and nosy child that only wants to cause trouble for everyone else just because she doesn’t feel confident about the image of her true self. If someone I become associated with does something along the lines of what Natsumi did during her arc, I would kick him or her out of the house almost instantaneously. Even after she was sealed by Shido, her mischievous, annoying personality is still there…just not as willing to cause unneeded trouble now, because she simply became a bench player from then on for the next arcs like all the other characters.
Origami is a primary character from way back in season 1 that I was able to put up with for the most part, up until her segment came up here this season. What I regret now is not immediately realizing that Origami had not gotten over her desire for revenge against the Spirits, even though she has allied with them on a number of occasions. Instead, she started having a growing, self-conceited desire to obtain more power, which caused her to join the villainous group of DEM and later on obtain a Sephira Crystal to become a Spirit herself. Her reasonings for her questionable acts are more immature and unwarranted than Shinji Ikari’s reasonings to not “get in the f***ing robot”. It became all too laughable when she finally realized that she became the very monster that she had always hated since the day she swore revenge for her parents in the old timeline. Her feelings of insecurity finally reaches a breaking point when she herself became the killer of her own parents in yet another (you guessed it) “well-played” case of time paradox. She then just literally loses all her emotions and became very much mentally dead as an Inverted Spirit. By now, all of us should realize that all of these foolery caused by her during her arc would be completely prevented if her deep-rooted naivety, glossed over by her serious looking expressions, didn’t cause to her to turn to the frigging DEM, of all groups. If she opened up her eyes more and tried to look at the bright side of things or even try to think about forgiveness seriously for once, regardless of what happened back then (which is now irrelevant due to the now changed timeline), she would’ve obtained something that would qualify as ACTUAL character development. Everything about her just felt absolutely wasted in her segment, in my personal opinion. I feel like if she did need to become a Spirit, such an event should’ve been set up with a totally different situation.
As for the other characters, I already stated before: they’re just mostly benchwarmers, saved for Kurumi. She actually contributed to the Origami Arc….by starting the whole time travel thing. Ugh, great. Well, at least she was sort of a saving grace in terms of enjoyment value if you’re a Kurumi fan.
From the very get-go, even with re-release of the first episode, the animation was immediately something I find hard to bear on a psychological level. In contrast to what the previous installment of the series had, the characters just feel very “off”. What I received was just a discombobulation of still frames and cheaply drawn movements that made the characters look like they’re from some goofy low-budget parody show. This bombardment of slideshows consequently downplayed numerous important scenes, including the fights, and it almost hindered the ability to drive home any sort of emotional investment for even the casual viewer. It’s almost as bad as the crapfest from the second season of TG:Re. I don’t think I really need to revisit the situation regarding JC Staff, as like I stated earlier, there’s no good enough excuse to show us such a poorly made high school project.
As for the soundtracks, they’re not exactly bad, but pretty meh compared to the previous seasons. While it was nice to hear some of the old soundtracks, it wasn’t really enough to make us ignore how awkward the majority of the scenes are visually displayed. The voice acting here is pretty mediocre; it really feels like the seiyuus are just rushing their lines as the show zips through different scenes without much of a proper transition between them. I can only fathom how depressed they are as they realize how poor the show’s quality became while they read off from the scripts.
Needless to say, watching the show felt like a chore, which made me really depressed as this was part of a series that I really enjoyed, even though it’s not a particular personal favorite. I did not want to drop this show because my mindset as a completionist kept giving me this false hope that the show will turn around. However, a part of me is resigned to the virtue I follow: “for every good or great show, try to watch at least a bad one to balance out your experience.” So I stuck with it until the end, but boy it was a pain train to behold. While I did get some sort of kick out of scenes like Natsumi trying to seduce Shido or Kurumi making her reappearance, I don’t get much else outside of the heavy shelling of my PC from the agonizing display of still frames and laughable overplayed voice acting.
Date A Live III was a tragic case of a sequel being handled by the wrong people, though it definitely isn’t the only one for sure. If you didn’t really enjoy the previous seasons for some reason, I’ll highly advise you to avoid this trash at all costs. If you’re like me and actually did enjoy the previous installments, though, prepare yourself for lots of cringe and agony as you watch a near perfect example of how to NOT handle a sequel season. Or you can just nope out and completely avoid the torture chamber that I went through.
Needless to say, this atrocity will inevitably reflect badly on JC Staff, and while I’d hope they’ll learn from their mistakes eventually, it’ll be quite a long while until the day we stop shaking our heads in disappointment when we hear the news “JC Staff will take over for production of this show/season”.
YES, finally after 5 years, we're seeing the light of Date A Live once again...thank you Tachibana-sensei (the author of the series)!
NO, to production woes, the J.C.Staff that could do no wrong, proceeded to trash this series! Where are you ENGI???
I'll admit, being a long-time DAL fan ever since its inception in 2013 has its benefits and drawbacks. For one, we get a fairly generic harem story and action that was somewhat interesting and intriguing for its time, its lineup of character Spirits and the MC harem "Master" that is Shido Itsuki, that left us wanting for more of them ever since Season 2's end
in 2014. But finally, and with a very long wait, the original LN writer Koushi Tachibana has green-lit Season 3 for long-time fans like us to once again, MILK on the success that is the past 2 seasons. AND...you all saw how that fared out in 3 months. And that's a massive disappointment.
*Spoilers be warned*
Let's start with the story, which continues the events from past DAL series into Volumes 8 to 12 of the Light Novel: The 7th and 8th Spirits Natsumi and the resurrected Tobiichi Origami in her Spirit form, along with the (rushed and story-squished) Itsuka Disaster arc. For the majority of the series, we go through the life and happenings of the transformation queen that is Natsumi, being able to shapeshift into people with almost perfect results. And this time, Shido is left with a very daunting task of finding out Natsumi's real intentions while covering her true chibi-kid form (which makes her embarrassed and is a real pain-in-the-butt), at the expense of using Tohka and Co. and exterminating them should Shido fail to solve her puzzle. Everything totally felt like how the main series was intended to be, and that's always very welcome.
Next, new revelations about the friend-cum-enemy Tobiichi Origami, whom for the longest time that we've been searching her long-awaited answers since the start of Season 1: The reasoning behind her hatred for Spirits. And this arc being animated is a true taste of the "how many questions" we all have at the end of both seasons, finally giving us the action-solutions and resolution to Origami's antagonistic purposes, with her history being rewritten at long last, for the better. Last but not least, the Itsuka Disaster arc, where in true DAL fashion, Shido does not become the initiator, but becomes the instigated for the girls to date him! Of course, trouble ensues but as always the girls will do anything to save his life *kisses*.
Once again, open hearts, open minds: The story is a love/hate relationship with those of us who grew up with this series, so whether you love or hate it, I respect all opinions.
The characters, or should I mention, the NEW ones brought forth to this season: Natsumi, Origami's new Spirit form and of course the mysterious Spirit that is Phantom. Natsumi, aside from her Halloween costume, she is a force to be reckoned with, with her shapeshifting disguises into people similar being the standout that really causes a whole lot of issues. Once she is brought down to her tsundere loli form, she is pretty much like Yoshino in terms of care and sensitivity. With Origami's position this time, she is finally vindicated of her past that has her holding back for very long, siding with DEM Industries all the while until this issue is resolved. Good for you Origami! And Phantom's presence which we didn't see a lot of, that is sadly left for another time to pursue more information about her (in the future...?). Of course, Tohka and Co. still acts like their usual selves.
The elephant in the room, you've guessed it, is the art and animation, which by all accounts, factoring in both Season 1 and 2, is the worst looking of them all. With the relevant production studio changes (AIC Plus+ for Season 1, the recently-bankrupt Production IMS for Season 2), it's no surprise that this is an (industry-wide) issue, but honestly I didn't find the average art-animation combi to be off-putting, at least not by a mile. With J.C.Staff however, even before the anime aired, the PV and posters were the red flags that long-time fans were trashing it, saying: "This isn't the DAL that I remember!" And...it doesn;t get any better than this. Character models have that superifical J.C.Staff generic model, instead of the ever-so-memorable DAL aesthetics. Art and animation is decent, but action scenes were rife with mediocrity all around, with many people were complaining that this series took a turn for the worse with overall animation, and my opinions are no different. Sure, ENGI came back to help out with the production woes that J.C.Staff faced (that's evident on the episodes he worked on if you checked the ED credits), but overall, it definitely left a very sour taste in my mouth.
Music-wise, I'm very glad and happy that the all-female group "sweet ARMS" is back once again to deliver another stellar song, titled "I Swear" (by the moon and the stars and the sky...oops sorry, wrong song!). Probably out of the 3 OP songs in the series, this may just be my favourite "sweet ARMS" song yet, with Season 1's "Date A Live" in 2nd place. Such a heartwarming and cute, small action-pumping song. New and upcoming female artist Eri Yamazaki shows her new song for the ED, and it's also quite good (as expected from Shichisei no Subaru's ED song). OST wise, it's largely the same assortment of tracks from previous series to stoke nostalgia, and it works for the better.
Production woes aside, as predictable and obvious as much as past seasons are, this is still a somewhat worthy (but worse) sequel entry to the series, with the story still holding up just as decent with many hiccups in the storytelling. But, apologies to long-time DAL fans both old and new, this isn't recommended unless it's for the story alone. Pass this up.
Now if only there was ever a chance of a Season 4 (which is highly unlikely), we the audience highly implore the future production staff: "Please get the series QC-checked first before showing it to us!"