Date A Live. From its name, it’s quite obvious that it is a pun on the phrase, “Dead or Alive.” Although, that has absolutely zero meaning in this anime. Let us begin.
The story of DAL starts with a phenomenon known as a spacequake. Spacequakes are basically an occurrence that involves a space to be engulfed by a purple dome, eventually decimating whatever was inside said dome, and wiping away its existence. Our main protagonist Shidou starts as a normal high school boy, but soon becomes the “savior” of creatures that look like normal high school girls known as spirits, aka the cause of the spacequakes. Shidou now has a destiny. To either let them destroy the world as they please, or date them and kiss them in order to seal away their powers. (Sounds a lot like TWGOK to me.) Meanwhile, the anti-spirit team, or AST hunts down spirits and does basically what Shidou is doing. Only more violently. Although this anime is only 12 episodes long, it actually doesn’t waste the small timespan it has on random side stories. There was that one episode that was a huge waste of time, but that can be ignored, kind of. They actually drive the story plots well enough in order to create a clear and concise story while staying true to its premise.
This’ll be a long one. First, Shidou. As the main protagonist, Shidou has little to no experience with girls. Because of this, dealing with spirits at first becomes rather a challenge, seeing as how they can easily kill him in one blow. After some visual novel training, Shidou starts to accept his fate of dealing with spirits and slowly, begins to care for them as human beings.
Next, Tohka. As the first spirit that Shidou faces, she bears the embodiment of a tsundere. (Less tsun-, more -dere.) As glutton and a large supporter for Shidou, she cares for him greatly due to many circumstances and becomes quite helpful in certain situations. She also has an obsession of bread.
Next, Origami. As a member of the AST team, Origami is the embodiment of a kuudere. As emotionless as can be, Origami is Shidou’s self-proclaimed girlfriend and possesses stalker qualities. I.E. sniffing Shidou’s used gym clothes. While emotionless at times, Origami has a backstory which fits in well with her actions.
Next is Yoshino and Yoshinon. As the dandere of the series, Yoshino is often very soft spoken and rarely speaks. Yoshinon however is a rabbit puppet on Yoshino’s left hand and acts as Yoshino’s voice for the most part.
Next is Kurumi, the yandere. Personally, my favorite female of the series due to her basic existence in the show. As one of the more developed characters in terms of personality, Kurumi can nearly be summed up as an immortal. With the powers of time on her side, she constantly kills “evil” people for their “time” and uses it to extend her own lifetime. Her main goal in the series is *SPOILER*, which is very different but very good change of pace in this show.
And finally Kotori, the personality conflicted loli. As Shido’s foster sister, she possesses 2 distinct personalities. One with white ribbons in her hair, giving her a little sister quality and calling Shidou “Onii-chan”, an another with black ribbons which give her a more demanding and strict personality. It should be good to note that she has a secret within her that creates a mystical feel to this show and can definitely peak interests.
Other characters include Ratatoskr’s crew, Shidou’s mental friend with a dating sim as a girlfriend, Shidou’s real sister, and 3 random girls who literally just gossip about Shidou throughout the whole span of the show.
Animation and sound:
Animation is a big, big plus for this anime. With extremely high quality character designs and detail, this anime is truly pleasing to the eye. While yes, there are some scenes that can be considered fanservice, (the spirit neutralizing scenes), there isn’t as much as there could be with an anime like this, which is very good, don’t get me wrong.
The fight scenes in this anime are also very superb looking with very fluent action scenes and weapon design. Ex. Kurumi’s clock. The sound however can be noted, but not as highly. The opening song is probably the most memorable thing to come out of it as it sounds pretty exciting and good. The endings change from episode to episode and actually sound good, but are quite bland.
For me, this is one of my favorite anime to date. To me, it is a perfect combination of everything I love in anime and introduces a story that isn’t complete crap vs. “normal” harem animes. What I like about it is the fact that the female characters introduced early in the series get decent amount of screentime later on and still develop as proper characters. Another thing is the small amount of girls that actually like Shidou. With harems, a minimum of 5 girls that like the main character is the general norm for the genre. For this, the number is significantly smaller with only 3 possible girls liking the main character, leaving room for plot development and closer relationships. The mystical aspect of Shidou’s power is also a good hook, but sadly, it appears much later then it should’ve. In the end, Date A Live is one of my personal favorite animes of all time and I would highly recommend it to people who like harems like me.