Date a Live III

TV (12 eps)
3.833 out of 5 from 5,586 votes
Rank #1,773

The third season of Date a Live.

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The Seventh Spirit

Episode 1

The Seventh Spirit

Can You Find Me?

Episode 2

Can You Find Me?

You're Natsumi

Episode 3

You're Natsumi

Transformation

Episode 4

Transformation

Despair Comes Crashing Down

Episode 5

Despair Comes Crashing Down

Crossroads

Episode 6

Crossroads

The Power Given

Episode 7

The Power Given

Demon King of Descending Darkness

Episode 8

Demon King of Descending Darkness

Tengu City, Five Years Ago

Episode 9

Tengu City, Five Years Ago

Another World, Another Girl

Episode 10

Another World, Another Girl

Angel of the Starry Night

Episode 11

Angel of the Starry Night

Make Shido Itsuka Swoon

Episode 12

Make Shido Itsuka Swoon

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Reviews

JustInCaseD
6.5

Grading season 3 of DAL is kinda difficult: it was both a step forwards and backwards for the series.  Let's address the season by dissecting each of the core, gradable attributes and look into went well and what went wrong - to understand why many have called season 3: the worst season of the series.  The plot was by far at its best this season. Whereas the previous 2 seasons we had 1-2 episodes of mostly pure fanservice and some info dumping before diving into the plot, season 3 starts thing off right from the 2nd half of episode 1. They gave the folks seeking their dose of echii what they wanted for the first few minutes, then it was off to the races. DAL handled it's usual blend of plot, development and fanservice well (probably the best it's done so far with that all things considered). The tone of this season gradually became a lot darker and the plot really started to take over. It had me genuninely hooked the whole time - especially when it hit the Origami arc. It was fantastic, for 10.5/12 episodes. The 11th episode started off well. Not gonna spoil what happens, but I will say is that specific date was probably my favorite in the entire series. But they really rushed the final climax of the entire season with a really underwhelming adaptation of the final fight. At least the final moments felt satisfying. But the biggest issue is the last episode, which... bruh, where do I start. From what I've been told from those who've read the source material; they tried to condense a whole light novel in 1 episode - and butchered it badly. They made Shido into a completely bastardized version of himself and it hurts him as a character, even after he cames back to normal at the end. It's a 20 minute echii-filled mess that completely stomps on the tone and momentum that the season had been flowing with up to that point. It was so bad that fans have been calling for a retconing of the events of the last episode to be addressed in the first episode of next season to fix the issues caused by it (whether it happens or not, we'll have to wait and see). Of all the places they could've had a cr*p episode they just had to have it be the last one. I choose to pretend episode 12 doesn't exist and skip it every time I rewatched the anime. Episode 11 is the perfect place for the season to end and there was no reason for this. If you took away the last episode the story would get a solid 8 out of 10, but that ending scuffs it up hard. No clue what J.C Staff was thinking... Speaking of J.C Staff screwing up, the animation and art took a major hit under their care. The production on this clearly had cut corner after corner and they didn't genuinely try to maintain the show's amazing visuals of the previous 2 seasons. A lot of the fights were just awful looking in comparison, the airship battle was nothing like the stunning one we got in season 2, and other important scenes were almost ruined by how horrible the art has handled this season. For example, Kurumi's pistol looked a knockoff N.E.R.F product that shoots those fat yellow balls in so many shots - it took a lot of intensity out of some important scenes where she was meant to be intimidating because it looked so rediculous. Wtf were they thinking and who approved this?  Sound was fortunately - as usual - amazing. Date a Live is known for it's amazing tracks and killer intros, and Sweet ARMs did not disapoint. This season's intro, I Swear, might just be my all time favorite OP of all time. All the other background tracks fits into the story and sets the tone incredibly well, it's diverse and well done. Nothing less than a 9 or 10 here, DAL did not drop the ball in this area at least.  Character development is tricky to grade appropriately. The relevant character roster did not expand much this season. The only new main character we got this season was Natsumi and she falls into the same category of character development that Miku had the previous season: Girl with misconceptions about people learns how to accept herself and make friends - while also falling for the MC of course. A few other characters also got small amounts of development: Ellen Mathers was made to be much more of a intimidating and consistently terrifying villain this season (making up for the previous season's issues handling her character). Elliot, Karen and Phantom were properly introduced, but they did virtually nothing on screen and wasn't an active part of the story this season. It does lead on towards a deeper plot to be explored for the future, but that's just about it. Nothing really been done with them so far.  They also attempted to handle their roster of characters screentime better this season. One of the biggest complaints about season 2 was how they pretty much completely sidelined Yoshino the entire season. They did better about trying to average out screentime between all the girls this time around. While it wasn't perfect (the screentime obviously favored more relevant characters, which tends to happen in harems) but it was a step up from last time, so props to this season for that.  The real meat and bones of character growth comes in the form of 2 characters: Origami and Kurumi. Origami finally has her past revealed and over half of the season is centered around her, creating the main conflict of the story and is the central figure of the plot. Kurumi also sees a gain in depth in character as she both aids the antagonist (Origami) and the hero (Shido) through the same means. Kurumi's development was by far the most interesting part about this season, even more than Origami's arguably. Questions still remain unsolved and there's room to grow - which most of the other members of the main cast don't have nearly as much room to work with. While overall growth was low distributed across the board, the 3 characters of focus (Natsumi, Origami and Kurumi) were well done enough to be a slightly above passing job.  Overall, the general consensus on Date a Live Season 3 has been mixed - leaning more towards negative. And I sadly have to agree with that. It may have had the best and most interesting plot thus far, but the last episode stains it. The animation was passable, but a definite noticable decline from what we've recieved in the past and by far the worst of all 3 seasons in terms of production quality. Character development was better, but far more narrow in who recieved it this season. And some of the spirits of the cast are starting to fade into the background as time goes on. The only category that has continued to remain consistently strong is the music (Sweet ARMs hasn't failed us yet :), but in terms of an anime's value that sadly holds the least worth. It still was passable enough for the series to survive, but it's left casual fans scratching their heads on how this much of a decline in quality could happen as the series progressed and has become more popular, while it's hardcore fanbase and light novel readers angry with J.C Staff for how badly they screwed up and brought down one of the best arcs in the entire series (the Origami arc).  That being said, I'll put out my personal hot take that despite these problems I still liked season 3 more than season 1, due to (as I mentioned in my review of season 1) my disdain with the excessive butt and panty shot obsession that season 1 was plagued with. The fanservice was far more reigned in and infrequent this season in comparison to the first 2. Discounting the last episode, season 3's plot and story telling was also a major step up from the past 2 seasons and I was hooked all the way through despite all the other problems. 2>3>1 is my current stance on the DAL seasons in terms of enjoyment atm, but make no mistake: this season is by far the worst in terms of production quality. The range for overall grades for the season could fall anywhere as low as a 4 and cap out around at maybe a 7 at best. I'm on the higher end due to obvious bias towards the series (I openly admit that) but more specific reasoning being that I overall enjoyed watching this season a lot more - the plot was just that much better. They at least addressed some of the recurring issues we've seen with the previous 2 seasons... and personally electing to discount the final episode from the equation. Besides Ep 12, almost all of DAL's problems this season were production and animation based. How much that affected the overall experience and enjoyment of the anime is up to the viewer.  I'm very glad to see that DAL will not be handled again by J.C Staff given how poorly they almost botched the series. I knew prior to watching season 3 that DAL fans hate J.C Staff for how badly they handled season 3 - and after watching I can see why and full on agree with that consensus. Now, we don't know how Geek Toys will handle season 4: We only have a few screenshots, a promotional poster, and a short teaser at this time revealed. The art style changing could be problematic (DxD flashbacks) but we'll see when the time comes. A change up after this season's mess is definitely something the fanbase is in near full agreement on, and they're willing to give it a chance. I hope that Geek Toys will bring the series back and better than before to redeem it. Season 4 is set to come out in a few months from the time of this review in April. I will certainly be giving it a watch and going in with cautious but high hopes...  Update 6/24/22: Season 4 is out and has just finished airing it's final episode. You can find my review for it on the page. 

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