Sunday, June 23, 2013

"Date A Live" Anime Review

***This is a spoiler free review***
Continuing on from the recent trend of turning great light novels into subpar anime, Date A Live proves to be a mediocre romantic comedy that fails to bring anything worthwhile to the genre.

 Story: 4.5/10

I’ll admit that the first episodes did draw me in as the idea of someone “wooing” mythical creatures in order to keep them from destroying the world seemed like a fresh idea. The main plot boils down to our main male lead Shido having to “tame” these magical spirits in order to keep their magical outbursts in check. So yeah it turns into a harem since by the end of the season he will have four or so girls wanting his D. This however is not the downfall of the series; I tend to like harems IF they are done well enough. This anime falls very short in my opinion because the cast just doesn’t flow very well with each other. The main female lead Tohka is just a whiny and needy girl that gets mad at Shido for literally everything. It also doesn’t help that the show is extremely predictable and drags towards the final episodes. Overall if you are looking for a thought provoking show this is one you need to steer clear of.
*Something I forgot to add; there is a pretty large amount of fanservice in this anime but I never found it too distracting.*

Animation: 6.7/10

Something the show does seem to pull of reasonably well is the visual presentation. Both the fight and more tame dialogue scenes have good quality which seems to hold throughout the entire season without degrading in quality. Character models in my opinion could have been better but they were “good enough”. Have to admit though that the eyes in this anime were really well done (don’t know why I love eyes so much but yeah it’s the only decent thing Tohka had).

Sound: 5/10

There really isn’t a lot to comment on for the sound of this anime. The soundtrack is generic at best and the voice actors did an “ok” job. Sound is an important thing to try to capitalize on since it is so pivotal to the overall experience of video media. This anime fell short in my opinion but by no means completely failed on the audio presentation.

Characters: 4.5/10

Harems are only successful if you have the characters to back up the ridiculous notion of calling a man (or women) liking multiple partners a sane thing. In Date A Live, Shido is kind of just thrown in to these turn of events and really doesn’t have a saying in his own actions so he gets a pass. The characters he is tasked with “taming” however just make the show boring to watch. As I mentioned earlier, Tohka is an annoying crying female that overreacts to everything. Kotori (Shido’s sister) is your typical generic tsundere who has a small twist to her character towards the end of the series but I didn’t care for her so whatever. The other two spirits in the show Yoshino and Kurumi were also pretty generic and uninteresting. The only thing they brought to the table was that Yoshino was super ultra cute which can only go so far. So what the show boils down to is its wild card character, Origami. Presented as an emotionless tomboy, she provided many unique and funny scenes with Shido. She developed feelings for Shido fairly early on which provided some interesting moments between her and the other spirits. She is the sole character that I ended up liking in this show.

Overall: 5.2/10

It really is a shame what is occurring in the anime industry at the moment. I have now seen three really good light novels (Sword Art Online, Oniichan Dakedo Ai sae Areba Kankeinai, and now Date A Live) become these really average anime when they could have been so much more. Actually in general I have noticed that animation studios are playing it safe with these high school romantic comedies and not taking risks on more farfetched plots. The last really good show that was nothing like anything else I had seen was Fate/Zero back in 2011. While this season of anime has brought a couple good shows (thank god for Chihayafuru 2), we are getting too many of these romcons at once. I hope that the next anime season brings some more daring shows.

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