Date A Live is an anime that falls under a lot of genre tags. The important ones are sci-fi, romance, comedy, and harem. AIC Plus+ is the production studio for the series. A;though they are known to put out some good quality work, you need to be careful when streaming or downloading this anime. There was an online simulcast during the original airing of Date A Live, so a good portion of the videos out there are fairly low quality. If your video is blurry, keep looking because there are high quality videos out there. Do I have any words of warning before watching this series? Not really. There is some ecchi, but that is to be expected. Don’t watch this in a public place and try to use headphones if at all possible. Aside from that, I don’t think there is anything that would deter a great deal of people.
Imagine a world where natural disasters occur far too frequently. The act of taking refuge in shelters has become routine and the damage is brushed off. However, you find out that these disasters are far from natural. Not only are they artificial in nature, but there is clearly an oddly dressed girl at the epicenter. This girl sees you as a threat because the government knows about all of this and is trying to kill her. You should be afraid of the crazy powers that this girl displays, but all you can think about is the painful look on her face. That is our story. Shidou is a high school student that ventured off during a spacequake. He sees a girl fighting with a bunch of soldiers and then finds out that his little sister is the head of an organization that is trying handle these occurrences in a non-violent way. Apparently, spacequakes occur when a spirit enters our world. All of the spirits are girls and their human forms have driven a certain organization to look for a peaceful way to handle the situation. What is the best non-violent way to stop girls from destroying things? Have the protagonist win their hearts of course. That is why the title of the anime is Date A Live. Shidou has to go on dates with the spirits and seal their powers. However, that doesn’t always go very smoothly. What happens to a spirit once their powers are sealed? How is Shidou able to seal their powers? What happens when the spirits get jealous of each other? What happens when Shidou can’t stop the destruction?
You can classify the important characters in this series as spirits, soldiers, and regular people. Some of those lines are blurred, so it may be easier to classify them as protagonist and love interests. Regardless, here are the important characters in the series.
Shidou Itsuka is our protagonist. He is your classic male lead. Not exceptionally skilled in any way, but very kind. Shidou’s drive to help the spirits is what draws them to him. His role in this is to date the spirits, kiss them to seal their powers, and repeat the process. Although he is supposed to be a human, Shidou has the ability to seal the powers of spirits and his body is protected by the power stored within him.
Kotori Itsuka is Shidou’s little sister. Although she is very young, this little spitfire is the head of Ratatosk. Ratatosk aids Shidou in his endeavor to win over the spirits in any way possible. Being the head of such an organization is far from normal for a young girl, but that isn’t the only secret regarding Kotori.
Origami Tobiichi is a classmate of Shidou’s. She is a quiet genius and a member of the AST. This is the government organization that is trying to kill the spirits. What would drive a high school girl to take up such a dangerous task? Her parents were killed by a spirit. Oh, and she kinda stalks Shidou.
Tohka Yatogami is the first spirit hat Shidou comes into contact with. She uses a big sword when fighting and was able to easily defend herself against multiple enemies. She was given the name “Tohka” by Shidou when they got to sit down and talk to each other. Although she seemed scary at first, the real Tohka shows up during her date with Shidou. She is very energetic and loves eating more than most people. She has very strong feelings for Shidou which makes her jealous of others.
Yoshino is another spirit that Shidou encounters. She appears to be much younger than Tohka, but we don’t really know a lot about a spirit’s age. She is very shy and acts like a young girl. She has a hand puppet known as Yoshinon that represents Yoshino’s ideal person. Basically, it is able to speak its mind. Yoshino fights with a gigantic rabbit and ice powers. Although she is fairly strong, Yoshino cries whenever she loses Yoshinon. Yoshino cares for Shidou, but not in the way that Tohka does. Even though she appears to be young, Yoshino displays a great deal of maturity when it matters.
Kurumi Tokisaki is a very special spirit. Unlike the others, she actually goes out of her way to hurt people. A violent personality and a lack of shame make her interactions with Shidou much different from that of his other dates. Kurumi uses time powers that seem pretty broken. I know it sounds like a bad translation, but she does not die when she is killed. The ability to reverse her own time, manipulate the time of a specific place, call upon her past selves, and deal heavy damage make this bloodthirsty spirit very difficult to handle.
Reine Murasame is a member of Ratatosk. She is older than the rest of our characters, but she plays a very important role in the story. She is like a mother figure to the spirits, Shidou, and Kotori. Her role is to aid Shidou both from afar and in the field. Reine has disguised herself as a teacher at Shidou’s school and she continues to be the backbone of the operation. She is mature, but easily bribed and often sleep deprived.
Mana Takamiya is someone who we don’t know much about. She is a higher up AST member that has killed a spirit. The concept of murder no longer phases her and this bothers the brother that she claims to have. Unfortunately, it seems as though she is the subject of some crazy experiments that have shortened her lifespan a great deal.
We meet other characters along the way, but they aren’t extremely important. Although, the brain trust at Ratatosk is pretty hilarious.
This series surprised me in a lot of ways. All of them good. There is a question that I ask myself every time I start a harem series. “What is going to make me remember this series?” I say this because a good number of harem series are so bland that they fall into a mess of forgettable anime. Unfortunately, the pile of forgettable anime is full of harem series. A lot of writers think that they can get by with predictable characters and a story that doesn’t really exist. I can tell you that Date A Live will not be stuck with those losers. It is not simply the fact that there are sci-fi elements in this series that makes it special. The execution is what matters. The first half of the series will feel kind of slow. They do that thing where they spend a lot of time introducing the characters. However, those characters are pretty likable. Luckily, the second half really takes off. We start to learn more about things like the history of spirits on Earth and the corruption of the government organizations. There is actual fighting and death that I did not expect. The characters have actual depth and no one feels like they are unimportant. That is a big problem with a lot of harem series. You see a winner and the others fall into the background. That is not the case in Date A Live. I was entertained the entire way through and this series has given us a story that I am actually interested in. Overall, a very good experience.
Are you looking for a romantic comedy that has more going on than the endgame couple? Are you looking for a sci-fi series that questions the role of good and evil? Are you looking for a fun anime to watch that does more than throw nice animation at you? Are you looking for a harem series with interesting female characters? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, then you need to watch Date A Live. This was one of the better series in the Spring 2013 anime season. Do you think that wasn’t high praise? Take a look at the list of things that came out in the spring of 2013 and tell me that it wasn’t a strong season. I can’t even begin to explain how much I appreciated the stuff that happened in the second half of the series and that’s not saying that the beginning was bad. Take a whacky harem as a foundation, add some sci-fi, cover it with a solid story, and sprinkle on some death. That is the recipe for this series. I think that Date A Live will appeal to a great deal of people and it is definitely worth your time. The story is definitely not over and neither is the animation. There is an OVA set to come out in the winter of 2013 and a second season for this series has already been given the green light. I can’t wait to see more from this series.