This is review number two hundred and seven. This anime is part of the Spring 2013 lineup. The anime I’ll be reviewing is Date A Live. This anime is like a baby of “The World God Only Knows” and IS: Infinite Stratos. That’s basically it, really. It’s a twelve episode anime about a harem and a yandere devouring innocent people. There’s even a scene with a severed foot in it. Yeah, that sounds fun. Let’s read on.
The anime is about a guy named Shidou Itsuka. He lives with his little sister and they are in a town that experiences a lot of “space quakes”. These are unexplained earthquakes that occur violently and kill a lot of people. The town they live in is prepared though. They have safe shelters and countermeasures for space quakes nowadays so these deadly occurrences can be anticipated. One day though, Shidou hurriedly leaves the safe shelters after discovering his little sister has stayed outside during a space quake warning. He is surprised to see though that the space quake is actually caused by a girl with superpowers and there are girls in mecha gears trying to hunt the girl down. He is shocked even more when his little sister is actually a captain of a secret organization. She asked her big brother to join their cause and stop the space quakes. She asks him to date the girls that cause the space quakes.
Taking the Pants Off
Date A Live is a pretty average anime. I’m a bit torn though because the anime isn’t really that impressive but I am still kept on watching it. The story isn’t really that intriguing and honestly, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen pretty girls in sexy outfits fighting each other. As far as I can tell, the anime is pretty ordinary. There is an important thing to note though. This anime have pretty girls in sexy outfits and that’s honestly the only reason I watched the show. It’s a shameless thing but the cuteness and the sexiness is really the anime’s biggest selling point. I spent two hours writing this review because I’m trying to dissect the story but this show doesn’t have anything worth pinpointing. I’m writing this now with an “I don’t give a f*ck” attitude after I realize that the show really didn’t give me a worthwhile experience that I can describe in a review. It just has a lot of this:
And that’s fine by me. It’s a show with a lot of pretty girls, who are massive eye candies, chasing after one guy. That’s it, really. This is a really good harem show. Anything beyond that is pretty lukewarm and bland.
To be fair, I do believe the anime had an interesting premise to begin with. Shidou was asked by his little sister to date the girls that cause the space quakes. He met one and she acted like a cornered rat biting anyone that approaches. The goal is to convince the girls that the world is not out to kill them. By going on a date with Shidou and seeing the peaceful side of the world then they would be convinced to not cause any more space quakes. Shidou is a normal guy though that has never dated anyone in his life. This isn’t a problem for the secret organization. He just have to go through some training (playing eroge games) and have a group of date experts lead him in a successful date by advising him on what to do via an ear piece. This sounds pretty fun because, at the dates, Shidou would always be clueless and so they generate possible responses for him and the whole thing looks like a live action dating simulation. This is honestly a wonderful premise but the anime never really clearly explained it. The show then progress the story erratically while shamelessly relying on cliché to even things out. The anime just moves at its own pace. The reason for Shidou being chosen to date the girls was never explained. The reason of the super powered girls visiting Earth and where they came from is never explained. The reason why they have super powers is never explained. It just happened and you are just asked to keep watching.
Honestly, the lack of explanation for the story is a clear sign that the whole thing was just a way to introduce the harem. The story and the premise was just some form of formality so it can then focus on Shidou and some pretty girl going out and being flirty with each other. The wonderful premise seems to be just pretext for the harem to prevail. The approach works pretty well. I really just stayed for the harem and nothing more. The value solely lies on the harem and the wonderful animation. Once the anime has introduced the premise and moved on to the harem, it’s pretty straightforward from there. The rest of the anime is really just about the girls the main character date and their own circumstances.
The main story of the anime doesn’t mean much but it does have some subplots concerning the girls. Most of the episodes are about Shidou meeting a girl, dating her and then trying to kiss her. The stories of the girls are all pretty different because of their demeanor and situation they are in so they’re all pretty good. They’re not that complex but it’s enough to give the anime a direction and to make us like the characters more. From a timid girl to a bloodthirsty yandere, there is a nice range of girls in the anime and that does make the whole dating conquest pretty interesting. Even though it doesn’t add much to the main story of the anime, it’s worth it to see Shidou try to make them fall in love with him. It’s not the most original concept for a show but it’s pretty decent. This gets a whole lot more interesting when the number of girls slowly grows and the attempts to sway Shidou’s heart commence.
One major flaw of the anime though that ruins the dating conquest aspect of the story is the cliché. Harem anime isn’t really that original and they all look the same. This anime took every possible cliché though and crammed it in the episodes to make up for the lack of story. From walking in on a girl on the bathroom to falling down on top of them and accidentally kissing them, it doesn’t really make the anime remarkable. Cliché isn’t really that bad because it depends on how it is executed. The ones in this anime is really just part of a checklist of things to do in a Harem anime that doesn’t really make the show that much more interesting. We get it. They have boobs. How about a wonderful story about the girls and not just shallow pretext? No? That’s too bad.
The characters are pretty interesting though. They are still massively generic and major stereotypes but they serve a lot to the show. The characters all have some pretty unique personality to them that makes them pretty special. The main girls are all pretty interesting even though they aren’t really fleshed out that well. We have a kuudere, a yandere, a tsundere, a loli and the childish one. The anime focused some decent amount of episodes on them and they did a good job of making the characters interesting. The stereotypical personality coupled by the fact that they have super powers makes them pretty nice. The lack of a proper story did rob the girls a chance to grow out of their stereotypes though and I think the anime didn’t realize that. Still though, the episodes where they are introduced and then goes on a date with Shino was pretty fun to watch. They’re not all the same and the little side stories about the girls made sure every date is interesting in their own unique way. The main character isn’t interesting though. Shidou is pretty bland, at best. Most main character of a harem is pretty bland because they only serve to make the girls look good. Shidou is tied in with the shallow aspect of the story and he only serves as something to push the harem forward.
The rest of the cast is pretty generic as well but they still look interesting. From the masochistic vice commander to the lady with the eye bugs, these characters add something to the anime. They don’t mean much but for an anime that relies a lot on cliché, they really grow on you. I am also a bit disappointed because further introducing the side characters could’ve helped made the story a lot more interesting. Instead, the show really just focused on the girls and nothing else.
All in all, this anime is really just average. Can you believe I have a hard time writing review? Anime with very little to offer other than something we’ve seen before isn’t really something I can happily write about. Harem anime can be interesting if you just worked on it a bit more. While the characters do look pretty and the harem is executed nicely, the anime doesn’t have a lot of value in it. You’ll probably watch it once, take a bunch of screenshots or make some GIFs of certain scenes and then never touch this anime again. It’s a shame because there is a story but it was shoved to the side. I just hope the second season can recover it. It’s pretty doable since every major character is already introduced and the harem can now be downplayed after being overused this season. One can only hope.
Sight and Sound
This is where the anime truly shined. Despite the lack of a good enough story and a whole lot of generic-ness in the show, the visuals are pretty outstanding. The character design is really impressive. Tsunako’s design (original illustrator) is really wonderful. The girls all look different and they all have unique details that make them stand out. It’s not that much but the nice combination of a sexy body with a cute face and a whole lot of small details really make the characters look incredible. All the girls look flashy. Really, even the side characters look pretty great. This makes the girls great eye candy and that is honestly enough for me to keep watching. I can never tire of seeing wonderfully designed characters even if the story is utter crap. That’s OK by me because the idea that these beautifully designed characters would be the one giving fan service is enough to keep me watching. It’s pretty shameless but this is truly the strongest aspect of the anime. It’s pretty amazing how the right shade for a skin color and the right amount of sexiness can make an anime pretty interesting.
The outfits of the characters are also something worth noting. When the characters fight, they transform their clothes and these are also nicely designed as well. They make the girls a lot flashier. The outfits themselves have great details. From simple knight armors to a kimono dress, it’s pretty impressive how effects like a glowing aura or flames make them really awesome to look at and it makes the characters awesome to look at as well. The mecha designs on the other girls are awesome as well. It honestly reminds me off the mecha design of Inifite Stratos and I was a bit shocked the two have no relation. The color grey makes the girls a lot more sexier for some odd reason. The artillery is floating around the girls’ bodies and they battle with a lot of mecha accessories. It looks pretty great especially when they attack and their gear transform into cannons and guns.
The animation is pretty great. The girls maintain their eye candy aspect at almost every scene without sacrificing the quality of the animation. The movements are all pretty smooth and the anime uses some interesting camera angles to make some scenes pretty interesting. The characters do a lot of movements and the anime did a good job of capturing their personality in the animation. The fight scenes are pretty decent. They look flashy but they are pretty short. There is some nice pacing in most of them though but mostly, it’s just a bunch of super moves one after the other.
The fan service in the anime is pretty average as well. The best it can offer is some blatant panty shot in the first episode. That’s about it. The rest is often about the characters in their underwear. It’s nothing special but thank god the characters look the way they do. There is also some weird tentacle noodle scene in one of the episodes. It was supposed to be funny and I guess it is to a degree but like the fan service, the Comedy is pretty average as well.
The anime’s OP is “Date A Live” by sweet ARMS. It’s a pretty decent song. It’s a romance song but has a dark tone to it. The song doesn’t stand out that much though and the singer does have a nice voice but it doesn’t really make the song that much more special. It’s a nice OP song but it could’ve been better. The OP sequence features all the girls. There might be some spoilers along with it though but that’s OK. It also has a decent summary of the anime and the various circumstances concerning the girls.
The anime’s has two ED songs used alternately. The first one is “SAVE THE WORLD” by Iori Nomizu. Iori voiced the timid character in the anime so you wouldn’t really connect two and two. It’s pretty cute to hear her do a timid voice then a bubbly song in the anime. The song is pretty decent. It’s a cute romantic song but it doesn’t stand out much as well. The ED sequence features the girls in still poses. As the anime progresses, the girls that appear joins in the ED sequence. It’s pretty cool. The second one is “SAVE MY HEART” by Iori Nomizu. Now this is a much cuter song. It’s a romantic one and it stands out better than the other two songs. At least for me, anyways. The ED sequence is simply about Tohka running with a white background behind her. It’s pretty simple.
6/10 “It has amazing visuals that really made the anime special. It also has a poor story though that makes the anime not just average but pretty forgettable as well.”
I honestly watched this anime because of all the pretty girls. A lot of anime have wonderfully designed girls but the ones in Date A Live is among those that you can literally stare at for hours and never get tired doing so. Everything else is pretty subpar though and the heavy reliance on cliché is pretty disgraceful. If you like pretty girls in your anime then you’ll love this show. If you enjoy harem anime then you’ll enjoy this one. If you enjoy a good story out of your anime then sadly this show doesn’t have one.