Date A Live Season 1 Anime Review (Not Spoiler Free)

 

Date A Live, not many know this anime that aired during the year of 2013. For the record, in my whole life, I watched Date A Live 3 times. Once in 2014. The second was during 2017 and lastly, 2018, this week. I was wondering through my thought realm as to why I even didn’t read the Light Novel of Date A Live. To be quite frank, it is always an odd event. I tend to forget, more like I want to forget every show that does this to me.

Also, before starting this, be aware of spoilers. If you haven’t watched Date A Live, be aware of that fact. You are going into spoiler territory.

Date A Live Season 1 Review

Genres: Comedy, Harem, Romance, Mecha, School, Sci-fi

In essence, ecchi/harem series that air every season are like your seasonal exams. You wonder why they even exist in the first place. As if their sole purpose is to absolutely torment your soul whenever you go through them. Perhaps the true essence of animes like Date A Live is to get total inexperienced anime watchers to blandly repent to their heart contents over how much they adore every single harem aspect of series like Date A Live. What a way to express your population virginity ratio Japan.

Not bad Japan. Good thing Date A Live was released in 2013, where the cancer wasn’t that much insight. If we take 2016/2017 years, for example. You have shows like World Break, Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle, Hundred, etc. I dare not to say anything about Hundred. It is a free ticket to automatic brain cancer.

Itsuka Kotori

More importantly, to not diverse the attention of this article’s main point. That being Date A Live, I do have to say a few things. So bear with me and my long depressing rant.

The Essence of Date A Live

I might as well explain the amazing and absolutely mind-shattering plot concept that Date A Live presents to any viewer. The story follows Itsuka Shido, a normal average student. Okay pause, Jesus Christ Japan, please your description. Why Lord, there is a thing called variety. It’s usually better than repeating the same formula over and over. I do get that most harem and ecchi themed animes are usually doomed from the start. Mostly due to its poor writing and a heavy contrast of originality. But, it’s not too much to ask, is it?

Sorry for that, but you might as well get used to it. Since suffering replies with an unusual devoid of infuriating mountain of feelings hazing down the drain. Oh yes, where was I? Normal Average Student, but his whole life changes completely one day because a totally original formula used over and over is applied. A supernatural event occurs, so our Main Character must seek an immediate solution to this cause.

The Overused Formula With No Benefits

To be more concrete,  in Date A Live. There are the humans and other beings, called spirits. And yes, you have guessed it right, now, why are you right? Because you just looked at the harem genre and had that efficient thought that “Hey didn’t I saw this a million times already?”. But look here, you are obviously wrong, who needs originality when you have bouncing boobs, Michael Bay Explosions and a complete lunatic as the protagonist. But we will go over how he is so lunatic in moments, well, in walls of text down below that is.

So this “Spirits” are girls that cause spacial quakes. They are in essence, mini dark holes that cause several dimensional areas to disappear. So they keep on wrecking havoc. Now this was pretty interesting, we have people who cause havoc, what can we do to stop it? I’m so curious to see what the solution would be! Those were my thoughts. But of course, it all felt way too good to be the truth.

So, why use originality when you can use several different plethoras to make all the potential writing go down the toilet right away? You might be wondering what I meant by that. Well, the thing is, the only way to stop those Spirits from causing more casualties, lies within the Main Character, Itsuka Shido.

The Lack of Originality

Yet, what could be the original source for this series to become legit, a true spice that would add an immense taste to any upcoming viewer. Ah, sorry to shatter your dreams, but the way Date A Live revolves around its every cliche so episodes, is Itsuka Shido. Going on dates with each Spirit to eventually seal their powers. But wait wait, many must have thought this: “Wow this is just so original, oh my god, I have to pursue this original concept to the depth of hell along with my stupidity”.

This isn’t original, that’s the worst part. It’s already been used by one of my favorite all-time harem series, that being, “The World God Only Knows”. Basically with that said, it shows no originality to offer, so that was straight out eliminated. Which was not a good play? These types of series are getting so stereotypical. That by the time you are watching a scene, if you manage to guess what every protagonist is gonna say, in pre-order. Then I feel so sorry for you, you are in hell. Oh sorry, I forgot to mention. Date A Live does that with a formidable accuracy.

Kotori possessed

Consequences Of Upcoming Shortcomings

Like, I kid you not, you will be watching Date A Live, and only hearing about the most cliched sentences in your whole life, but wait, that’s not it only. Don’t you just love it when a show spends 50% of its time screaming a characters name every minute they are in danger? One time is understandable. Take Shido for example, his character is probably one of the most horrible designed characters I have witnessed in my life spawn.

It feels like the author just grabbed his textbook and went to his special area which was named “How to design a complete cliche pussy magnet main character”. The author did a really amazing job at performing such a hard task as creating a character like Shido which, if you have watched at least… 10-20 harems? You will see Shido in every single one of them. But that would be too good to be the only flaws of Date A Live, besides, this was just a mere illustration of how lackluster the author’s writing can be and is most of the times.

It’s Not Even the Studios Fault

My most undesirable anguish is that I can’t exactly complain against AIC Plus+. To be truthful to my feelings, I hate that studio with passion, but a very dark passion. They ruined one of my favorite mangas, but that’s a story for another day. In fact, they did handle Date A Live, decently.

I’m saying this without any sort of regard since I have not read the Light Novel and I’m too lazy to type on google “Did AIC Plus+ studio even bother to adopt the Light Novel properly or did they went on their usual original animes are the best mayhem?”. Either way, it wouldn’t change a single thing, they both are incredibly bad. Now that I have explained the main formula of this show, I believe it’s time to understand one thing.

Unless you have a fetish for completely badly designed characters or you just are looking to kill your time. Even so, this is a very bad choice to kill your time in my personal opinion. The only way I could see myself rewatching this is whenever I have insomnia and have school in a time gap of 4 hours while depression dwells onto my Soul’s Abyss. Pardon my mini-rant, but I’ll move onto to explaining all my choices as to why my foreshadowing decision remains untouched.

Plot

Haha, Haha, Haha, oh sorry, I just thought, I was supposed to write here in this blank text format, although, with much honesty. A blank text would represent this one pretty well. Know why? You might have guessed it at this point, but, for the grand surprise, there is absolutely no plot. As I have stated before, Shido has to go out with Spirits on dates to seal their powers. A plot device is that Itsuka Shido has the ability to seal the Spirits powers. How convenient, isn’t it? You would think that perhaps there is a logical explanation as to why he has that ability.

That’s where you are just expecting too much. Such things as sense and rational happenings do not prevail this show from restricting its own stupidity beyond its limit already. Oh, how I could just say that there is no plot and end it right here, but I’m a tad bit more professional than that, so let me give you a clear insight on what happens when no plot is issued in a series.

Plot Holes

There is this occurrence that many poorly written shows take a bomb in, which are plot holes. There are many plot holes, to the point where you noticed them not once, not twice, not thrice and certainly not quadtree, but at least 10 times per episode?

I’ll give you an example. Itsuka Shido has the power to seal the Spirit’s power within each date, so it wouldn’t make any utter rational sense for them to activate their powers once again, right?

“Oh no, we must not let the harem members become complete princesses in need of protection like Kirito’s harem… Uhh… Oh no my writing is so bad actually, well let’s just give the Spirits powers back whenever they deem it so, I’m sure that the viewers will not complain if Tohka randomly smashes the ground out of her anger and so bringing her powers back everytime that Shido decides to pull out his Kirito’s cosplay and says the most original punchlines ever. Oh and Yoshino? Ah, that character, oh yeah, her powers were sealed, but who cares right, her character is basically non-existent as she only gets a useful interaction within like 2-3 episodes, after that, back to the harem you go!”– Author’s mind as he tries to cover up for the plot holes.

Bad Writing’s Multidimensional Reflection

Like okay, I get it, you suck at writing, but why would you drown your characters along with it. An anime can have no plot at all and still do a pretty damn great job at performing in the other department. Take an anime called “Kochikame” for example, it lacks obvious main plot as it’s a slice of life, I’m not saying all slice of life lack main plot in general, but some do, which is why their fanbase isn’t that huge and not at its full prime.

Date A Live

Itsuka Shido

What I’m trying to say is, why to be such a selfish writer to the point where you have to drag your one mistake along a river of many, that’s what I couldn’t grasp about this series. A thing that you should probably be aware is that this show doesn’t try to hide its flaws, it goes straight down the hill with it. Every episode is a mixture of nonsense, made up plot devices to hinder the obvious plot holes, cliche sentences that you have heard every so other Shounen animes and, of course, our Lord and Savior, Itsuka Shido. If you enjoy this mixture, then this should, not only be your favorite anime but the anime that you will without any doubt rewatch every moment of your free time.

Characters

This is probably my favorite part of this show. It’s interesting how bad the characteristics are executed on each character. Normally a based description of each character would do enough to let a viewer have a good vision and expectations on what to expect once the events do progress along with the non-existent plot of this show. Yet, once again, the potential is eliminated, because, Shido’s existence implies omnipotence in terms of nonsense.

It’s so infuriating how every character has its primal role, but it gets destroyed simply because most of them are meant to be plot devices and to never ever serve any sort of relevance towards this show. Well, pardon me for what I’m about to do, but I’ll essentially display every character that had a certain relevance to this show and as to why the author probably and very likely screwed up on this, so let’s start with the Main Protagonist.

Itsuka Shido

Perhaps in school, you have learned the heliocentric theory where the sun is the Universe, or maybe it was the Theocentric one, I’ll go back to it one day, my point is, in the world of Date A Live, Shido is the sun, but in every sense. The author knows perfectly that without him, the show, from his perspective would have no point.

I beg to differ, the show would be so much better without him, to the point where this could be an all-out Spirit Brawl for World Dominance, without having this insult of a character spouting things that will make you wanna stop living. Maybe you are thinking I’m exaggerating, trust me, I’m not. He has everything to his aid, not only is he a laid magnet, but he also is the main key to bring calm to the Spirit’s both heart and soul, by making them fall in love with it.

The Yin and Yang of Date A Live

Now that alone is actually a pretty enjoyable concept, to date every Spirit and to see the Main Character develop some sort of romantic flow with them. That doesn’t happen though. Shido is along the dense MC list, which is a shame. Not only does his emotions show in such a lackluster way, but he actually gets to kiss the spirits.

Yatogami Tohka

The main concept I’m trying to grasp, is, why make a character that will only make them fall for you when the character himself was against it in the first place? He even said in the first episode in a confrontation with Kotori’s suggestion to make all the spirits fall in love with him, that he only wanted to save them. Which implies right away that he has no romantic intentions towards any Spirit in the future, and, viola, he doesn’t.

Oh, what a shocker, it says “romance” in its genres, but you can never feel the true essence of it, because, dense main characters are more relevant in Japan, apparently. On a final note about this character, he is, essentially, immortal (yes seriously), well, it’s due to him, somehow having his sister abilities, which is of a phoenix, whenever he gets injured, he heals immediately. I wouldn’t call him Deus Ex Machina, but holy hell, really Japan?

The rest of the harem

I’m so sorry that I didn’t highlight Tohka as I did for Shido. The sad truth remains, every single spirit has its own distinctive features at first. Tohka has her underwhelming malice and thirst to kill humans, but that’s basically because they are too afraid to even step forward and start casual talk like our Lord and Savior, Shido.

After many events, you could feel a burning depth in her character, she was someone who every time you put your eyes upon, you would know that you were in for some spicy interaction. But no, after the dating is over, Tohka becomes, I won’t say a useless character, since she does serve multiple purposes in several episodes, but a character with all her characteristics gone. Maybe I’m wrong saying that all her characteristics are gone, it’s just that in every single harem member, they have this collective purpose, which is to claim Shido for his own.

Actual Relevant Characters

As much as I would love to rant more about them, I do have to say, some characters are actually surprisingly enjoyable. Those being, Kurumi and Origami. Kurumi is your yandere, in fact, perhaps the most famous yandere, if you count Yuno out that is. Her appearance made this show take a whole new term, it very likely saved this show from a total demise( it is one, but not a full one). Every scene she is in lightens up plot routes which weren’t existing in the past. Now that was fantastic. A great character in my opinion.

Kuromi Tokisaki

What I dislike is that a part of her felt for Shido, which made her seem like a complete princess that just wanted to be rescued by Shido. Thankfully, that alter ego of hers is rather omnipresent in every single situation, even when you would think that the outcome was already decided. As for Origami, she isn’t such a powerhouse like Kurumi, yet she still does a fair amount of work.

Her love for Shido is probably the most realistic in his whole harem, which makes her particularly way more different than the other female characters. And she has a backstory into her, although, very cliche. Still, it’s a decent character, in my opinion, she managed to not be your typical heartless Kudere.

More Irrelevancy Is Common

Now, as for the rest of the other characters, their presence felt like a shadow, easily replaceable when the attention is driven away. I’m mainly talking about Yoshino and the rest of the characters, that doesn’t occur to me, because of one simple fact is, that most of the characters lack impact, they aren’t stoic in terms of characteristics, which creates a multiversal flaw within their kits.

Funny enough, I do remember that trio, but not due to positive reasons, more like, due to their unbearable cringe and pointless appearances. By the time summed up at the end of this season, their appearances cost 34-36 minutes, while that could have been used for other purposes, but no, let’s instead use it to establish utter pointlessness. Yes Japan, what a way to make a viewer totally wanting more episodes with the immense persistent ecstatic feeling that DOES NOT run through this show’s flow.

Animation

Average. That’s all you need to know. Every single other harem animations use the same portion in terms of graphics. It’s not even attractive anymore to see it. But considering the time this was released, which was 2013, I would say, it was decent, so I can’t complain about it.

Oh wait, my bad, it’s AIC Plus+ we are talking here, special federated production of very high intellectual harem series like “Asobi ni Iku yo!” and some random mangas that sell well in Japan because more than 50% of Japan is virgin, hard truth, but we have to accept it at the end of the day. Still, there was one particular moment that had me biting my nails off my fingers.

I believe it was during the episode where Shido had to attend 3 dates at the same time, very romantic of course, yes, yes.

Random CGI visuals

Anyhow that episode had some disturbing CGI, now I don’t hold much against CGI, but it just bothers me when a studio has the audacity to destroy the animation by some random CGI that doesn’t even have any appeal in the end. Such a waste of budget, you could had used that money to cut the cockblock between Tohka and Shido at the end of the season, that way the enjoyment, maybe would have been higher.

But who am I to speak. AIC Plus+ studios the almighty supremacists with very wise staff members know their stuff obviously. Only a fool would dare to object them in every single way possible. Even Madhouse or Studio Bones have to be on their knees in their presence.

Every animation they make is so shocking you are left without words. Of course, not positive ones. It’s just so bad that you want to either go to the nearest cliff or take a cold shower with minus celsius. At the end of all, it looked decent and basic. So I can’t exactly complain about it. Thank you AIC Plus+ Studios.

Sound

Not bad, in all honesty, not bad at all. I mean it’s just plain common sense at the end of the day. If a Light Novel adaptation can’t have a plot, a character with a variety of characteristics established and just every single flaw possible. It has to compensate somewhere so it does not surprise me.

While this formula is also getting abused it is a decent and reasonable chemistry to compensate the unsolid flaws around this show. The opening was your generic J-Pop opening. Well, to be honest. When I first watched this series I got hooked on the opening nonstop to the point where I used to listen to it 100 or so times a day. I won’t say the same feeling is back. But a feeling of calamity is brought upon me everytime it is played.

Touka and her Sandalphon

Melancholic Melody

I never paid much attention to the endings. In fact, I’m the type of person to most of the time just click the next episode and move on with it. But, on episode 6, if my memory doesn’t fail me here, I accidentally stayed on the ending. And was brought back to it due to the ending being so catchy. Putting sound aside, the animations that went through in and out of the openings and endings were somewhat like lack of budget. It was especially noticeable when only fights and explosions get featured in the opening.

It felt somewhat lazy, not gonna lie. As for the ending, it framed scenes being played. Now, this is supreme in terms of laziness and demotivational. But it’s AIC Plus+, the ones with necessities do deserve understanding, so it’s okay AIC Plus+, I’m used to it.  STILL, it doesn’t erase the fact that it was pretty cheap looking. Like c’mon, recruit some actual talent, don’t be like Toei. Who spends years thinking that long-running animes are the best way to animate fully brilliant masterpieces. No, it doesn’t work like that…so please, AIC Plus+, stop shattering my dreams. Also, the original soundtrack for Kurumi in her fighting scenes was dazzling.

Enjoyment

I enjoyed this. I enjoyed HOW stupid it was, that is. You are bound to never enjoy an anime that you can guess each character upcoming choice of words. Like, no, you are either very intelligent or the show is that bad. Which choose whichever you want, but I’ll go with the second option. Because it makes the most rational sense considering every horrid aspect that this show displayed.

It’s beyond me how someone can enjoy shows like this. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that this is my 3rd time watching this. But I highly doubt that never in the past did I ever pay this much attention to find the flaws in this anime. I perfectly knew what I would get once I went through this anime. The “Light Novel Adaptation”. “AIC Plus+ Studios” and “harem” and many, many other things. It was obvious that this would be a sea full of toxic garbage spreading lecherous never working avenues. It’s haphazard how low the Japanese industry has fallen in terms of quality.

Undeniable Flaws

Does it take that much effort to put a damn linear, a decent reasonable plot without resorting to flashbacks that lead nowhere? The duality in this show is horrible. You don’t have many angles to look at, you are stuck with a schizophrenic perspective until the end of the season. I also know very well that this is those types of shows where sense and reasonable logic isn’t applied, but c’mon. It doesn’t hurt to invoke some of it without relying on plot devices every time, please tell me you don’t.

Tohka and Yoshino in an aquatic park

Who am I kidding, unfortunately, this show falls into the wrong hands. Wrong studio. Wrong in every sense. The rhythm and pace of this anime don’t akin to the fact that constant jagged random scenes are thrown at you. It’s not as if it doesn’t give you time to think about anything, it doesn’t. Because there is nothing you essentially have to think of. This show restrains all sorts of positive viewpoints possible.

It presents a weird incoherent contrast at times. In the end, I did enjoy seeing such stupidity being dissolved, but on a serious note, it had so much potential. Good thing there is a second season, maybe it will cover up for all the mistakes this one did, even though that’s very likely partially impossible.

Date A Live Season 1 Review Conclusion

Alright amidst all my rant, if you avoid looking at every single aspect above that it might not become of your exquisite taste. Then you might enjoy this anime. The only way to enjoy this anime is to either watch it for fun. Be super optimistic and ignore the negative things about it. Or just completely turn your brain off.

Ah, last option is, if you are a desperate harem fan, then… I can’t recommend this either way because even at that spect the show doesn’t portray it that well. So I’m sorry about that one. This show speaks about genericism while it is barely anything outside generic. I found nothing original about this show. Oh yeah, how could I forget, shame on me?

I remembered the trio just now. Since they were so irrelevant through in and out of Date A Live it didn’t leave much quarter to speak my mind about them. But it’s not about the trio, but the girl that kept saying “That’s so lame”. Congrats, I was wrong there is indeed an original point about this anime. The cringe is so supreme and original it deserves to be awarded.

Putting all this mixture of seriousness and sarcasm aside, I can recommend you Date A Live. If you have 4 free hours and just are absolutely bored so you have the undying necessity to watch a horrible anime. If so, then my friend, look no further and dig into Date A Live! Otherwise, don’t even bother wasting your time.

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