Final Review: Date A Live Season 1

Date A Live is based on an ongoing light novel series of the same name. Set in a science fiction setting, spacequakes plague the world on an irregular basis and cause “Spirits” to appear in the world. These Spirits, while harmless, are deemed by society as threats and causes of the spacequakes and therefore hunted for extermination. Shido Itsuka, is a normal high school student who is gifted with the ability to seal these Spirits’ powers and allow them to live the life of normal humans. However, to do so he must date these girls and raise their stats in order for the relinquishment of these powers to be mutual. Date A Live premiered during the Spring 2013 anime season and was simulcasted by Funimation.

Date A Live in its simplest form is an attempt of a galge story. That is to say, the hero must date each of the heroines and “conquer” them in order to trigger a “good end.” In this case, the “good end” is sealing the Spirits’ powers to prevent them from causing destruction as well as preventing them from the being targeted by the AST. Concept seems silly but the action can sometimes be quite good. Unfortunately, it’s hard to ever take this series seriously given how slow it moves in terms of development. The back story on most of the characters are rather shallow and personality shifts when a character is “conquered” is simply unrealistic (e.g. Tohka). Conclusion wise, rather abrupt and unsatisfying. The preview of the second season certainly looks somewhat interesting but a lot of details in this series remains underdeveloped and that development could have happened had the series wasted less time on silly antics. More importantly, the show’s overall direction remains unclear. Who/what is the ultimate enemy that Shido and company are actually after?

Art is okay for the series but lacking in finer details. Animation is also somewhat average for AIC Plus+ given their previous works of Asu no Yoichi! and Asobi ni Iku yo! Effects wise, it’s a lot of recycled frames and not exactly visually appealing with the exception of a couple action sequences.

OP is very solid. This seems to be Sweet Arms second single and it’s very well done given that Upotte!! OP wasn’t terrible either. ED themes are by Iori Nomizu are just downright awful except maybe the one-shot in episode 5. Seiyuu is average overall. No one seiyuu really stood out in this series but none where overly terrible.

Enjoyment? It can be mildly entertaining when the series is serious but 70% of the time I can’t take this show seriously as it falls into the typical romantic comedy traps. It attempts to be another Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai but it doesn’t have the same level of humor to keep it going not to mention a far more boring protagonist for Date a Live. As a result, unless Date A Live truly steps up its game in it sequel or Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai falls apart, Date A Live will likely forever remain in the shadows of Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai.

Overall, Date A Live didn’t really have much potential to begin with and it’s not surprising to see this show bite the dust. It is, however, surprising to see it get a sequel.

 

Story and Character:

  • Premise (0.5/1): Not entirely boring but lackluster in creativity
  • Character Personalities (0/1): Terrible aside from Kotori. Some people say Kurumi.
  • Character Development (1/2): There but rather shallow.
  • Character Usefulness/Presence (2/2): Cast is gradually growing but remains small and memorable for now
  • Pacing: (0.5/1): Drags its feet at times with unnecessary material making some arcs feeling rushed
  • Reasonable/Plausible (0.5/2): Lots of explaining needs to be done.
  • Conclusion (0.5/1): Abrupt but expected
  • Total: 5/10

Art and Animation:

  • Backgrounds (1/2): Average
  • Character Designs (1/2): Average
  • Fluidity (1.5/2): Can be good when it really wants to.
  • Visuals/Special Effects/Flashiness (0.5/2): Some are very well done but mostly recycled and boring visuals.
  • Art and Animation “Expectation” (1/2): AIC Plus+ hasn’t really improved over the last 4 years
  • Total: 5/10

Sound and Music:

  • OP/ED/Insert Themes (1.5/3): OP is solid. ED themes are pretty much garbage
  • Background Music (1/2): Average
  • Sound Effects (1/2): Average
  • Seiyuu (1.5/3): Nothing really noteworthy
  • Total: 5/10

Enjoyment:

  • Amusement (0.5/2): Nothing particularly amusing.
  • Weekly/Next Episode Anticipation (0/2): None
  • Presentation (2/2): Linear plot. Terminology needs to be explained but a very simple story to follow
  • Re-watchable (0/1): Not really.
  • Recommendation (0/2): Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai literally does everything this show does but multiple times better
  • Value (0/1): Nope
  • Total: 2.5/10

Preliminary Score: 5/10

Final Score: 4/10

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