Da Capo is not for everyone. Especially anti-bishoujo vigilantes who'd surely find plenty of flaws to reinforce their misconceptions of a very very misunderstood class of anime. However, for those who are willing to look beyond its sub-tag of 'harem' and "eroge (adult games) conversion", you might just find an anime gem that few in the genre can outsparkle.
Story - 8
Da Capo has a very interesting premise and is a surprisingly coherent story. It achieves this in 2 ways. First, by never forgetting the thrust of the series. It could be an episode featuring one of the numerous side characters or typical high school
hijinks yet it never fails to leverage on these situations to further develop the central plot or characters. Grafting the various characters' stories onto the overarching theme is the 2nd avenue by which the series remains relevant despite its seemingly meandering series composition. Although I have to say the the first 15 eps could have been a lot tighter which accounts for the mildly-diminished score of 8 for this segment. Nevertheless, the series more than makes up for it with tightly-knitted and well paced 2nd half (ep 16 onwards).
Art - 9
For a 2003 production, the animation quality was nothing to write home about. The definition of art here extends beyond mere portrayal of visuals that the eyes can capture but sight that can touch the human heart. Da Capo clinches a 9 for this category because of its excellent art direction (which frankly is probably lost on most anime viewers.) Artistic scene transitions, panning shots that accentuate the mood of the scene etc are just some of the reasons why I believe Da Capo to have one of the finest cinematography in the genre.
Sound - 9
Da Capo soundtrack is undoubtedly the best of the genre. Not only are the pieces beautiful standalone musical compositions, their effect is greatly magnified in the various poignant scenes when employed skillfully under the anointed direction of the Da Capo crew, making its musical component one of the most memorable aspect of the production.
Character - 8
Da Capo has an endearing cast which sadly was not fully developed, at least for many of the fabulous side-haremettes. Again the series more than makes up for it with its wonderfully fleshed out leads. By digging deep into their psyche, motivations and struggles, one cannot help but empathize strongly with these girls binded by chains of cruel love. Few harem series does 'love' and even fewer do it with the depth and maturity of Da Capo
Enjoyment - 10
Well-crafted characters, poignant drama, impeccable music and an artistic flair to meld all these ingredients into a solid production is the reason why I enjoyed the series to. the. fullest.
Give DC a shot if you are not adverse to the much maligned bishoujo genre. Recommended only if you have an open mind, loves good drama, coherent plots and consistent characters.