With the first season done with, I figure I may as well recap my thoughts of it. Oftentimes I lump multiple seasons of an anime into a singular review, but with the exception of direct sequels (ex. shounen anime), anime can really change across different seasons.
I don’t have any memory of Date A Live season two, but there’s always the chance that the anime strays from it’s season one formula. And so, it’s only fair I review it separately, while season one is still fresh in my mind.
So, how was Date A Live Season One?
It’s All About Those Dates
If there’s one thing I’ve said before, and will continue to say, it’s that the dates are what Date A Live is all about. Yes, there are many great fights, and great action. But without a doubt, the episodes that were centered around Shido dating someone (or multiple someones) were the most enjoyable. Not only did they feature some of the most comedic scenes from the season, but they also introduced an entertaining dynamic that we just don’t normally see in anime.
I could list countless other action / harem anime out there, but I would have trouble coming up with any other anime that does “dating to save the world”. High-pressure dates monitored by a team of love experts in an invisible ship who suggest lines for the protagonist to say to his date, in order to have her fall in love with him. It’s a brilliant concept, and it lends itself SO well to comedy.
As I mentioned, the action is great. The characters are great. The world design, revolving around these supernatural spirits, is great. There really are so many great things about this anime – but the dating is by far it’s best, and most unique aspect.
I won’t go into detail about every character from Date A Live, but I’ll write about a few things here.
I definitely think that the characters, particularly the spirits, benefited the most from the dating aspect of the anime. It allowed the anime to show us one side of the spirits at first, and then develop through Shido’s dates with them. It’s not entirely unique in itself, character development is character development, but I liked how all of the spirits came out of their dates with Shido as someone else. Even Kurumi changed throughout her encounters with Shido, although perhaps not in the same way as the other spirits.
I don’t need to go into detail about why Kurumi is the best girl from season one, right? So here are some Kurumi highlights instead:
Tohka was also an interesting character. The way she was setup, as a tsundere that lost the “tsun” over time throughout the series, was well done I think. I guess there are many tsundere’s that lose the “tsun” as the anime progresses. Anyways, what I thought was interesting about Tohka is that it almost seemed like she was going to get a good deal of screentime after her arc, but then she didn’t. Many times, Tohka was just pushed aside. She still played a main role in the anime, but it felt like she was forgotten every now and then. I think Kotori actually had more screentime than Tohka even.
We’ll see if this changes with the next season. It’s not even a complaint really, just an observation. I like Tohka, but I also like opening up the playing field for other girls – especially when it comes to dating.
However, there was one issue with the characters. Perhaps the playing field was opened up a bit too much. Or at least too quickly. Which I can say now is definitely the case with Mana, someone who was introduced in the SAME episode as Kurumi, the best girl. Despite being thrust into what would seem like an important role, Shido’s blood-related little sister, she really only showed up here and there after being introduced, before disappearing completely.
Not only was she a complete waste of time that could have been spent on other characters (like Kurumi), but her role could have been delegated to the other characters in the anime – can have Origami, Tohka, and even Yoshino take her place in jumping in out of nowhere to save Shido from Kurumi, which is pretty much all Mana did.
In other words, Mana was one character too many.
Kudos to the anime for realizing this as well though, and cutting her out after episode.. 9 I think it was?
Believe it or not, there’s not much else I feel the need to write about Date A Live S1. And so I’ll just refer you to all of my episodic reviews of Date A Live S1 where you can find my thoughts on each episode:
- Ep1 – Little Sister Edition
- Ep2 – Sunset Tohka Edition
- Ep3 – Sunset Sniper Edition
- Ep4 – Cat Pen & Lollipop Edition
- Ep5 – Sad Edition
- Ep6 – Too Cute Edition
- Ep7 – “Tick Tock, Eye Clock” Edition
- Ep8 – Fun in the Park Edition
- Ep9 – Cloudy Skies Edition
- Ep10 – 1 O’Clock Edition
- Ep11 – Group Date Edition
- Ep12 – Fiery Temper Edition
Panty Shot Hunt
I’ll also mention that there were indeed no more panty shots after episode 2. There were definitely many, many moments where there could have been panty shots, but there weren’t. Which definitely means that after episode 2 someone made the decision to omit them from the anime going forward.
The hunt continues with Date A Live S2 though!
There’s always a chance they changed their mind, right?
Date A Live Season One was excellent. An excellent mix of comedy and action. While a harem anime, the harem itself wasn’t pushed to the forefront, and instead felt like a nice background issue that would arise here and there. The story itself was at the forefront – “dating to save the world”. And what an excellent story it’s been so far.
I’m going to give Date A Live S1 an 8 / 10 rating.
It’s a fun anime that you can’t go wrong with. It won’t blow your mind, but it’s a great “anime experience”, if that makes sense.
I’ll hold the awards until I’ve finished the entire Date A Live series so far.
So until then..
Thanks for reading!