- Release Date
- Spring 2013
- No. of Episodes
- AIC PLUS+
- Light Novel
Date A Live is a 2013 Sci-fi anime series produced by the AIC Plus+, that interestingly stands for Anime International Company. Though, AIC Plus+ hasn’t created noteworthy series either before or after this series, which potentially says a lot about the series. While to some, this series may be a lost cause because it has so many seasons, but the seasonal count doesn’t always equal greatness; it only equals cash value. Unfortunately, when it comes to continuous series, whether it be an episodic series or films, the best story can sometimes implode within itself, leaving a cold dead shell of its former self. Sequels never justify greatness, only profit.
Thirty years ago, the Eurasian continent was devastated by a supermassive “spatial quake” – a phenomenon involving space vibrations of unknown origin – resulting in the deaths of over 150 million people. Since then, these quakes have been plaguing the world intermittently, though not as severe. Because of this, the Eurasian continent has taken protective measures to ensure that the tragic event never happens again.
Shidou Itsuka is a seemingly average high school student who lives with his younger sister, Kotori. When an imminent spatial quake threatens the safety of Tengu City, he rushes to save her, only to be discovered in the resulting eruption. He finds a mysterious girl at its source, whose revealed to be a strange being called a “spirit,” another world entity whose appearance triggers a spatial quake. Soon after, he becomes a part of a special task force team that fights against the Spirits. However, this particular task force team strangely fights against these beings by making them fall in love with him.
Though the synopsis appears to be a simple harem-type anime series, which it is, this is potentially one of the wrongfully opposing facets of this particular story. Simultaneously, the most positive aspect of this narrative is that it doesn’t need to be taken seriously. There are countless series within the same genre that take themselves way too seriously, while Date A Live is merely content with its audience. Another positive aspect of this series is that the pacing doesn’t seem forced, which is refreshing. Most series try to do way too much with only a certain number of episodes, which leaves the pacing up in the air. Whenever a series has such “okay” pacing, it says a lot from the harem standpoint alone.
Unfortunately, this series has a decent number of negatives when it comes to the narrative alone. For instance, the story itself has a significant problem; it abandons itself halfway through the series. The series gives up upon itself, which says a lot about Date A Live, that it’s not worth watching. Another negative part of this series narrative comes from unanswered questions, where do these spirits originate? Why do they create Spatial Quakes? These unanswered questions or even alluded to can potentially leave viewers wondering why they watched this series from the very beginning.
The one area of surprise when it comes to this series is that the art style is reasonably well, and arguably better than expected. While Date A Live isn’t an utterly charming series that’ll be known for its art style, but what will be remembered is the character designs. While the human characters are easily forgettable, the real stars of Date A Live are the Spirits. Each spirit within this series is marvelously created and easily rememberable, and equally stunning. The color schemes within each character perfectly match their personality and almost model-like quality, which was unexpected.
The most significant upsetting aspect of Date A Live was the opening and closing sequences, which was very lackluster. For such beautifully created Spirit characters, the animation production was lacking. Though the beginning is alright until the title, the opening sequence reverts to paying homage to eighties television series openings, outdated and boring. While upon first viewing, I initially enjoyed the opening sequence, though it wasn’t my favorite, as the show continued, it began to wear off its flavor. By the end of this series, one may want to skip it entirely, but that’s not even including the ending sequence.
While a series ending sequence doesn’t make or break one’s enjoyment, though, there is at least a decent amount to create with instead of just having a minimalist ending. This series has possibly one of the most boring ending sequences in modern-day anime; absolutely nothing happens, no animation, only the female lead looking straight into the camera during the credits and music play. Outside of that problem, the production values were adequately pleasing. Though it wasn’t the best and wasn’t the worst, it was just the right amount of goodness to please any potential viewer. Both versions of the audio were great so that anyone can enjoy this.
The characters within this series are pretty generic, especially if they’re the main characters. Date A Live covers all the generic character tropes, and while some may enjoy these tropes, the vast majority of viewers will get tired of the same predictable actions. This series has the “average” high school student has been done numerous times, and the bossy little sister has been performed just as much. Suppose one is hoping for a series with great characters and massive arcs; this isn’t the choice for them. There is a great deal of character development, though not for the male lead, but character development. As stated before, this series knows what its fan base is and doesn’t detach itself from that agenda.
While some may expect this series to have massive amounts of fan service, which it does have, the substance is very tame. Having a quantity mild of fan service was probably a better experience for the entire series than if it had upped the ante. Though the entertainment level will vastly vary depending upon whether or not one enjoys the Spirit characters, at the very least, there will be one that they’ll enjoy. Date A Live is a simple science fiction harem series that focuses more on simplicity over-sexualization. Of course, there are some unneeded sexual scenes, but that doesn’t suddenly stop anyone’s enjoyment.
This series is one that I can see being enjoyed by multiple groups of people and hated by just as many. The hardest part to understand is that this series has such a terrible storyline, but then again, one will not be watching this show for its narrative. As American companies fully understand that sex sells, so does the same for anime series. This average series could be a favorite, but if one chooses not to watch, they won’t miss anything important. Perhaps this series would be great if the viewer wants an easy show to relax that doesn’t take any effort to follow. Outside of that, this series follows the simple generic statement that a majority of all harem series have: Boobs.
Cody Senpai is the creator of BakaNow, an anime review website that specializes in spoiler-free reviews for everyone. He is an avid anime watcher who has traveled to Japan numerous times to not only experience the culture and history but also to build friendships with people through a common interest. He is an avid animation fanatic from birth and even went on to major in communication to help share the importance of the stories we love to watch and listen to. Cody lives in Denver, Colorado and loves to do anything adventurous.