This time on From the Time Capsule, fate brings us Date A Live. I thought we’d get a little deeper into this column before getting something this recent.
In this column of The Critical D, I use my MyAnimeList and generate a random number on http://www.random.org/ to choose an anime series. Generally, whether or not the number lands on “season 1/2/3+” or “ova” series etc, I will treat it as landing on the corresponding show as a whole. In special cases where the two seasons are completely separate, ie. Ghost in the Shell SAC 1&2, I will treat it as a unique selection. Unlike music, I do believe anime can be reviewed objectively and in the From the Time Capsule segment, there will be a mix of objective and bias in the assessment.
MyAnimeList (Referred to as MAL [www.myanimelist.net]) is a useful free service that allows you to create a list to keep track of anime you’ve watched as well as record scores, tag, track archival, discuss shows on forums and more.
Date A Live, like many anime, may hint towards the decline of good original ideas that people can think of to create a new workivv. I’m sure that there are plenty of good ideas out there that haven’t been used yet, but here we are stuck with “art” like this. Maybe the creators just don’t care and know that a large portion of the anime-watching audience also doesn’t care because honestly, I don’t even care all that much. I’ll be real here though, if all anime only had Date A Live levels of cognitive thought, I’d be a little less of a fan. Luckily, there’s a good mix of silly and serious so, with their powers combinedvivii, anime is still “fun”.
The setting of Date A Live is pretty straightforward, but “mysterious”viii.ix For reasons unknown, “Spirits” hit up random areas on the world and cause “Spacequakes” x to form. Let’s not get excited here, they’re just really bad earthquakes, but the Spirits themselves are cute girls obviouslyxi, and they wanna mess stuff up. The plot point that drives the show forward is that the main bro-tag Itsuka Shido gets conscripted by his sister to quell the Spirits through an alternative non-violent plan. This, derived from all harem anime to-date, is of course, for them to fall in love with him.xii Doing so will strip the Spirits of their powers and get the defense force that usually dispatches them through violent means to back off. This brings us to the main comedy point of the show that never gets old.
Aboard what I call the USS Imouto, Shido’s sister and her crew of veteran dating-sim players monitor the Spirit’s statistics and draw up potential lines for Shido to say in an effort to gain the Spirit’s affection. As expected, some of the lines are horrible ideas, and then for comedy’s sake, they’re chosen because animexiii. Staying true to form, after Shido succeeds in “conquering” the Spirit, they end up living with him. I feel that this requires no extra explanationxiv. While there are some other details pertaining to love interest conflicts and how the town deals with the Spacequakes, I’d rather just say, it’s more fun to see it yourself.
If I wasn’t clear about this yet, let’s get it out of the way quickly. This show is at least 40% fighting. While I personally felt that the attempts at dating Spirits and the silly dating-sim choices were the main charm of the show, unfortunately the idea gets thrown to the curb for the most part. Going towards the end of Season 1 and for just about all of Season 2, the show focuses more on plot revelations and action. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I believe it’s important for a series to always keep a good balance of its unique qualities throughout its run.
Despite the novels/anime being born from what might as well be a high-school boy’s mid-pubescent imagination, and the laziest ending-theme animation I can recall ever seeing, I enjoyed this series quite a bit. Being two seasons and a couple of OVAs deep, I can see myself gladly following it, should more of it arise from the anime cauldron of AIC PLUS.
Should you watch this?: If you’re a fan of harem series, and women who can kick ass, this is probably for you. Unlike The World God Only Knowsxv, this show focuses less on the characters themselves, and more on the situations that arise, as well as the conflicts that the Spirits create. If you’re looking on some deep back-story of the characters here, don’t expect to find any.