You thought The World God Only Knows was ridiculous? You saw nothing yet!
In a nutshell, this show is basically a parody of date sims and various other otaku culture trademarks. The very setting can best be described as a date sim version of Neon Genesis. You have the world being invaded by alien beings with angelic-themed names, a slutty imouto in the role of Gendo Ikari and the Magi computer being a galge. There are supposed to be tremendous explosions occurring all over the world, that kill millions but that is presented as dramatic as boogies hanging from your earlobe. We never see anyone getting killed or even giving a damn about their houses being demolished in every single episode. Yet this is literally the objective of the story; the protagonist must prevent the genocide and the mass destruction by dating the aliens. Yeah, he is dating aliens so people who don’t give a damn about all that won’t die; stop trying to reason it. But see it this way; at least the show is honest in telling you right away what a silly fan catering joke it is instead of pretending to be a serious action / survival of the likes of Sword Art Online.
As you probably have guessed, these aliens all have the forms of hot girls with sexy outfits and an IQ of around 50. The hero is almost actively aware that he is inside a date sim and needs to win their affection in order to protect the world. Man, what a tragic mission his slutty sister forced him to take part in. IT'S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO HAVE HOT GFs IN ORDER TO SAVE THE WORLD!!! So the way he is managing to make them friendly enough is by using cheesy pick up lines that never work in real life but are fine in date sims. And you even have the secret organization giving him possible replies to further make the whole thing feel like a game. Do these lines work? OF COURSE THEY DO; THIS IS A VIDEOGAME WORLD!
And yeah, exactly as it happens in all harems he needs to constantly seduce more girls and have them living with him, constantly going through all those overused jokes where he enters a room when they are naked or having to explain why he can’t just pick one of them and have some sex for Pete’s sake. And they typically get so jealous at the drop of a hat and fight each other for whom gets to spend an evening talking to a guy with the personality of a goldfish. Don’t ever mind how he is in reality just forced to pretend that he cares about them or the city squares they obliterate each time someone goes tsun over bubble gums. It’s like anyone gives a damn anyway. And no, there is no real danger of some jealous girl going School Days on the boring dude, since every time he gets killed, he just gets a CONTINUE, revives, and keeps seducing girls like the bland harem lead he is. Nothing of importance was lost champ; you just got killed for a few seconds before loading your last saved state. It’s not like the show ever tries to be interesting or something trivial like that.
Just like all parodies it is good only when you get the jokes and only if you can shut off your brain for long enough to actually find this entertaining. I personally couldn’t since parodies can’t stand on their own two feet and rely solely on earlier shows to work instead of being stand alone productions. Also, not many can find pleasure in a show that trashes their favourite titles like that. Even Gintama does it better since it acts like a two-timer. It mocks the stereotypes on one occasion while embracing them on another. Date A Live is a lot more basic in its approach as it is purely about breaking the fourth wall and directly telling you this is all a farce to the point the immersion breaks immediately and you are just looking at a vulgar anecdote that trashes stereotypes. It doesn’t feel funny for more than 10 minutes and the mediocre production values make it even more passable than it already is. It would at least be interesting if this was an orgy hentai but no, the creators were dead set on making a show nobody will like or care for.
Bottom line: No real plot, no real characters, mediocre production values, retarded from the get-go. One of the worst shows in recent memory.
Date A Live, a series that I never really took seriously to begin with. When it comes to harem based animes, they're either suppose to be funny, serious or romantic and Date A Live was none of that. There were no jokes to laugh at, the serious moments about Kotori and Origami's past were presented horribly and the romance was as good as a third grade stage play about Romeo and Juliet. I'll be honest, the only reason I actually decided to watch this series was because of Kurumi and Yoshino who have been added to my list of Favorite Psychopaths and Favorite Kawaii Characters.
Date A Live attempts to be serious with the whole Spirits can destroy the world and everything but having to make them fall in love with them turns the situation into a horribly done comedy. After reading the synopsis, you may think this show has to either be funny or serious with comic relief but you're incredibly wrong. The only thing that actually stuck out in this series are the character designs and the weaponry used by the spirits. Date A Live has perfect cosplay material (for females anyway). The weaponry and powers of the spirits are each incredible but sadly their handlers are not.
The characters are each pretty damn annoying except for Yoshino who makes a great dandere and Kurumi who plays as a great villain. Maybe that's just my bias but none of the characters are very memorable. Even the cuteness value can only be extended to Yoshino. The only time I found any enjoyment while watching this series was during the fight scenes, everything else was pretty much a boring wannabe romance.
Ahh, the ecchi harem genre. It's no secret how much I ''love'' it (see my Bottom Five anime), but from time to time there comes a show which, while far from great, succeeds at winning me over with cool action, likeable characters, a decent sense of humor, and an at least passable storyline, despite the ridiculousness and exploitation so typical in these anime.
Oh hey, speaking of the devil...
So, does Date a Live qualify? Well, no.
To begin with, the storyline. There's a premise about some extraterrestrial beings, Spirits, coming down to Earth and causing mass destruction with each appearance, and two organizations that try to either stop them from provoking further damage (Ratatoskr) or kill them (AST).
As it couldn't have been any other way, these Spirits look, feel and act exactly like young human girls, for which there's not a good reason, nor is there any actual further insight on where they come from, what the point is in them appearing on Earth, whether or not there's something bigger behind the scenes... to sum up, the setting is as loose as it gets and the world building is nigh zero.
But who cares about a story making sense when you can have buxom ladies acting all innocent and falling for a sef-insert main character for no real reason, right? Right? So here comes Ratatoskr to give this the ultimate twist: in order to stop the Spirits from destroying the Earth... the male lead (Shido) has to date them! Whenever he makes contact with these Spirits, such as Touka, there's a whole group of no-life eroge masters military experts (of course, led by a middle school girl) to back him up. They gauge the target's ''affection levels'' and for whatever thing Shido needs to reply there'll be three stereotypical options to choose from, which he gets support to choose from.
Now, I perfectly understand that this is mostly played for laughs and it doesn't actually intend to make any sort of logical sense (please tell me it doesn't, PLEASE), but my problem is that I didn't find it particularly funny. Most of the humor parodying eroge in this show has been done better in other anime which weren't even focused in this particular kind of comedy, and they're not very good at selling it to me for some giggles.
Now THIS was some funny shit. Needless to say, I was cheering for option three the whole time.
Even so, if Date a Live just aimed to be a mediocre genre parody with no real serious business, that'd be quite fine. Except that's not the case: angst and melodrama are everpresent in each of these girls' arcs (which by the way are everything the show has to offer plot-wise), and it is blatant, contrived and badly executed - very much so. Thus, what I have here is a show that does not try and tries to take itself seriously at virtually the same time, with decidedly mixed (translate as poor) results.
The story really goes nowhere beyond presenting all these female characters and their one-dimensional plights one by one - sometimes without even some sort of resolution. Obviously, it's open-ended and they plan to do more of this, but I'd think it's important to at least give the season a sense of closure, which this doesn't really have (e.g. things are left unsolved with the character who's been the main antagonist so far). And I don't think it was ever mentioned why, in fact, Shido had the ability to seal the Spirits' powers. My guess is the author is still trying to pull it out of his ass.
Doesn't matter: had lollipop.
As a quick overview on the female characters, I can tell you they are all as bland as I've come to expect from this genre of anime as a whole: their dramatic situations are more than familiar, their personalities can be defined in very few words and you can always predict what they're going to do next. Silly, one-dimensional, done a thousand times before. However, I also ought to mention that besides the little sister, the other main girls (Touka, Origami, Kurumi) didn't strike me as particularly annoying, which could be a saving grace if not because the rest of the show is dull, ridiculous and unappealing to me. But hey, it's still a step up from most ecchi harems, where I find myself wanting to smash my computer open and go do something more worthwhile with my life.
As for the male lead, he's pretty much the very shallow, dense, dull, but uncannily kind and naive stereotype that this industry has been selling for very long now. He isn't interesting on his own at all and only acts as a catalyst for the females to ''develop'': which happens to be my definition of a self-insert character, i.e., one who's there just so the otaku bunch can mentally put themselves in his place and pretend they have a harem of human girls, aliens, underage human girls and underage aliens all of their own. Let alone that I find this kind of device utterly retarded, but how am I expected to relate to a guy who gets sad and angry when he sees animal tormenters being brutally murdered? I'd totally be cheering and dancing and bringing in torture tools of my own!
Eh, at least Shido is not THIS GUY.
The side characters are unremarkable and unfunny, and that minor trio of girls should all die terrible deaths, especially the one who's always saying ''Gross'' or ''You make me sick'' for no reason and making no sense. Well, you know what else is gross? The fact I can't Falcon-Punch your teeth off your mouth from the other side of the screen.
Regarding the technical values, they're pretty good, if only what's to be expected of a 2013 anime.
The action is rather fluid and occasionally flashy, even if it's short and dull (and there's no real tension - we all know how these things always end). The character designs are good enough by genre standards: a personal favorite would be Kurumi's black & red goth loli dress, black hair, a red eye and especially that golden clock eye. The color scheme is varied and vibrant without hurting the eyes, and the backgrounds do their jobs.
Yeah, this actually looks pretty cool in my book. I wouldn't mind seeing this exact character design in a better story.
The background music is not particularly memorable, but serviceable in that it complements the scenes well. The voice acting is pretty solid and helps not to make the characters annoying and noisy (again, Kotori excluded). The opening theme is fine, I often listened to it before starting the episodes. I didn't really care about the endings.
Overall this is just another average ecchi harem which fortunately tried, at least, to do something different, although the resulting experience was decidedly negative for me due to the uninspired humor and dull writing. It is more watchable than many other shows of the genre (even as stupid as it gets in all fronts), but yeah, this is no passing grade material. Fans of this whole moeblob side of the industry are likely to dig it anyway, so if you're one of these, by all means feel free to ignore this review.
***This is a spoiler free review***
Continuing on from the recent trend of turning great light novels into subpar anime, Date A Live proves to be a mediocre romantic comedy that fails to bring anything worthwhile to the genre.
the bit$# the cute one the annoying one the cool one .........
I’ll admit that the first episodes did draw me in as the idea of someone “wooing” mythical creatures in order to keep them from destroying the world seemed like a fresh idea. The main plot boils down to our main male lead Shido having to “tame” these magical spirits in order to keep their magical outbursts in check. So yeah it turns into a harem since by the end of the season he will have four or so girls wanting his D. This however is not the downfall of the series; I tend to like harems IF they are done well enough. This anime falls very short in my opinion because the cast just doesn’t flow very well with each other. The main female lead Tohka is just a whiny and needy girl that gets mad at Shido for literally everything. It also doesn’t help that the show is extremely predictable and drags towards the final episodes. Overall if you are looking for a thought provoking show this is one you need to steer clear of.
*Something I forgot to add; there is a pretty large amount of fanservice in this anime but I never found it too distracting.*
Something the show does seem to pull of reasonably well is the visual presentation. Both the fight and more tame dialogue scenes have good quality which seems to hold throughout the entire season without degrading in quality. Character models in my opinion could have been better but they were “good enough”. Have to admit though that the eyes in this anime were really well done (don’t know why I love eyes so much but yeah it’s the only decent thing Tohka had).
There really isn’t a lot to comment on for the sound of this anime. The soundtrack is generic at best and the voice actors did an “ok” job. Sound is an important thing to try to capitalize on since it is so pivotal to the overall experience of video media. This anime fell short in my opinion but by no means completely failed on the audio presentation.
Harems are only successful if you have the characters to back up the ridiculous notion of calling a man (or women) liking multiple partners a sane thing. In Date A Live, Shido is kind of just thrown in to these turn of events and really doesn’t have a saying in his own actions so he gets a pass. The characters he is tasked with “taming” however just make the show boring to watch. As I mentioned earlier, Tohka is an annoying crying female that overreacts to everything. Kotori (Shido’s sister) is your typical generic tsundere who has a small twist to her character towards the end of the series but I didn’t care for her so whatever. The other two spirits in the show Yoshino and Kurumi were also pretty generic and uninteresting. The only thing they brought to the table was that Yoshino was super ultra cute which can only go so far. So what the show boils down to is its wild card character, Origami. Presented as an emotionless tomboy, she provided many unique and funny scenes with Shido. She developed feelings for Shido fairly early on which provided some interesting moments between her and the other spirits. She is the sole character that I ended up liking in this show.
It really is a shame what is occurring in the anime industry at the moment. I have now seen three really good light novels (Sword Art Online, Oniichan Dakedo Ai sae Areba Kankeinai, and now Date A Live) become these really average anime when they could have been so much more. Actually in general I have noticed that animation studios are playing it safe with these high school romantic comedies and not taking risks on more farfetched plots. The last really good show that was nothing like anything else I had seen was Fate/Zero back in 2011. While this season of anime has brought a couple good shows (thank god for Chihayafuru 2), we are getting too many of these romcons at once. I hope that the next anime season brings some more daring shows.
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Minor spoilers ahead!:
Story - In Date a Live, our hero Shido-kun's world is constantly threatened by dangerous spacequakes that destroy their surroundings and threaten those in the immediate vicinity. The cause of these spacequakes are "Spirits", powerful girls from another dimension. After encountering one of said Spirits, our hero Shido-kun is beamed up by an invisible aircraft and told by his little sister that he has the ability to <a >save these Spirits by going on dates with them and sealing their powers with a kiss.
As a bit of a foreshadowing of the essence of the series, Shido shows little to no reaction to the fact, and doesn't even attempt to inquire why or how his little sister is in charge of an elite, teleport-capable organisation dedicated to overseeing dates with otherworldly beings .
Date a Live's top dog
I can't decide if Date a Live's plot has stumbled off a steep, rocky cliff, or if it's rolling down the slope just as planned. Heroines' backstories are presented rather gravely, a stark contrast to the show's whacky nature. It's as if the series can't remember which genre it's playing for, with seriousness oftenplace overiding the consistent ridiculousless of this series. Whereas some series can successfully juggle silly and solemn(Trigun, One Piece), Date a Live falls flat. Somber scenes ends up feeling a bit counterfeit, almost as if Shido and the girls are about to fall over laughing as soon as the <a >camera pans off the screen.
Of the subject of Shido's "power", it's never explained, and there's no answer given as to this existence of the Spirits, or the fact that they look and act like teenage girls(??), but most other questions are eventually answered. The story rolls on, uncaring to the viewer's disbelief, and other than Kurumi's arc, there is hardly any suspense to this show, since it's difficult to take seriously. However, Date a Live succeeds in being very funny, and is an entertaining comedy once you get in knee deep.
Animation - Nothing to complain about here. Date a Live has very solid animation, everything looks nice, and the show is distinct with it's colour palette.
More gullible than the entire front row of an X-Factor audience
Sound - Pretty inelaborate in terms of OST, tracks that serve their purpose, nothing more. OP is average, and the ED's are catchy. Voice acting is polished and fits the cast like a glove.
The Usual Suspects
Characters - Pretty cookie-cutter. Shido is a reactant and has no distinct character traits. You can just about hear the marbles rolling around in Tohka's head. Yoshino's the shy ventriloquist. Reine feels as if she drove up to set from a CSI crime lab. Kotori's the resident tsundere, and along with untamed factor Tobiichi, often are the catalysts for a lot of the show's hilarious moments. Kurumi is a refreshing break, as a pretty clever, unconfined character, and is Date a Live's standout.
Thoughts -This series was funny, but it's predictability takes away memorability. The fact that many aspects of the show are not explained, but rather just taken for granted, is bothersome as well.
Enjoyment - If you like off-the-rails, action-packed harem anime, you'll have a great time with Date a Live