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YMMV / Date A Live

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  • Adaptation Displacement: A variant; the light novels never officially left Japan, so even those outside of Japan who know of their existence are more likely to be familiar with the anime adaptation.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: "Is Kurumi Cute and Psycho or Yandere" is a question of interest to many fans. Recent events in spin-off material and the novels have suggested she might just be an exceptionally deadly Tsundere, considering she's always being standoffish most of the time.
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  • Audience-Alienating Premise: The concept of dating powerful supernatural girls to seal their powers was seen as a turn off by most people in the west, who pegged the series as being just another silly Widget Series. However, this is slowly starting to change as the introduction of Kurumi and Westcott took the series in a much darker and serious turn.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Origami. Some dislike her because she constantly pursues Shido, her hatred of Spirits makes his mission more difficult than it already is and being among the weaker characters. That said, a lot of people genuinely like Origami and want her to be with Shido anyway, not to mention she becomes a Spirit and her story is further expanded.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Sir Isaac Ray Peram Westcott is the absolutely monstrous Director of Deus.Ex.Machina Industries. A sadomasochistic Mage who discovered his love of pain and despair when his village was slaughtered by humans, Westcott uses "revenge" against humanity as a veil to mask his true motive to simply cause destruction. Torturing and experimenting on hundreds of women and children to turn them into his enslaved "Wizards", Westcott summoned the First Spirit years ago, wiping out 150 million humans in the process, and begins hunting down every Spirit to torture and drive them insane so as to steal their Sephira Crystals. Upon obtaining a Sephira by torturing Nia for five years then forcing all the pain from those years on her at once, Westcott ups his game in slaughtering civilians—including children; sending entire fleets of his own troops on suicide missions in between maiming and killing them on a whim; and dragging entire cities into bloody conflicts. Westcott proudly proclaims every last one of his crimes as being nothing but a hobby to him, and when beaten after first trying to rewrite reality to one where he reigns supreme over a tortured humanity, Westcott tries to drag everyone, his own Dragon included, down to death with him, spending his final moments in glee at his former "friends" mourning his demise.
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    • Danmachi: Memoria Freese: In the crossover campaign Ais Catastrophe, the false Kaguya Yamai, obsessed with Isaac Westcott, willfully merges with his personality. After entering the world of Orario alongside Shido and several of his spirit friends, "Kaguya" feigns being worried about the missing Yuzuru Yamai, while also impersonating Kurumi, to instill discord between Shido's spirit friends and the Loki Familia, leading to the Loki Familia's Bete becoming mistrustful of the spirits and Ais/Aiz Wallenstein attacking Tohka/Touka. This leads to Ais getting turned into an Inverse Spirit by a Sephira Crystal which the false Kaguya had implanted in her in the middle of the fight, all to ensure Ais would carry out the false Kaguya's goal of destroying Orario. When her plan of having Ais destroy Orario fails, the false Kaguya takes back the Sephira Crystal and makes plans to destroy Orario with spacequakes herself.
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  • Creepy Awesome: The franchise hold Minerva Liddell, Kurumi Tokisaki, Marina Arusu and Rinne Sonogami.
  • Evil Is Cool:
    • Inverse Form Tohka is much more dangerous than her base form, and has so far displayed the greatest destructive force of all Spirits. It says something when she obliterates the majority of the belligerents and nearly levels the city during Volume 7's climax (end of second season). With just one swing.
    • One upped by Angel, and later her Inverse, Devil. Who happens to be Origami as a Spirit, and who vaporizes the Fraxinus and half the city before Shido changes the timeline.
    • Isaac Westcott. Ironically, he was meant to be so despicable that people would despise him with all their hearts by introducing him as a delusional uncaring monster. Instead, he became one of the most popular villains of any light novel series around after his background was shown to the public. Westcott not only a Diabolical Mastermind but a charming, manipulative, a genius and composed man who never loses his posture, even in the worst situations of life and death.
  • Evil Is Sexy:
    • Compared to the rest of the spirits, who are chaste and innocent, Kurumi is openly seductive and quite frank and comfortable with her sexuality. She knows the effectiveness of her eroticism on men, and not shy about using it to her advantage.
    • Pre-Heel–Face Turn, Miku is a glamorous girl-loving Evil Diva with Bastard Girlfriend undertones.
    • Ellen Mira Mathers. Between the sensual design of her CR suit and her Sexy Secretary looks, topped by her insatiable lust for battle, she gets to rival all of the above with unrelenting gusto. Wescott is such a lucky bastard.
    • Starting from Volume 12 onwards, Artemisia Bell Ashcroft joined Westcott's rank as his loyal subordinates, complete with a revealing CR suit at par with Ellen's. While Westcott's harem is far less numerous compared to Shidou's, the two member's sensual style certainly makes up for it, as exemplified by this picture.
    • The Astral Dress of Tenka Yatogami, Tohka's Superpowered Evil Side, is noticeably more revealing than her normal Astral Dress. Seems to be the defining characteristic of Inverse Astral Dresses. Word of God says that the more revealing designs invoke Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains.
    • Minerva Liddell from the spinoff: Very evil, but look at her outfit!
    • Westcott has huge numbers of people who find him attractive because of his Bishōnen character. Curiously, most of Harem and Echii Light Novel villains tend to be ugly to make the public show zero sympathy for them in contrast to The Hero.
  • Foe Yay: Westcott's relationship with Elliot is this, even up to his death in Volume 19.
  • Friendly Fandoms: There is a good chance that a Date A Live fan is also a High School DXD fan. It also helps the fact that both series are from the same publisher.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: It's more popular than A Certain Magical Index and the Fate series in China, to the point that a mobile phone game is being made there.
  • Growing the Beard: Not that the series wasn't entertaining beforehand, but the introductions of Kurumi and DEM are what made Date A Live stand on its own.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In Volume 5, Tohka tries to pass herself off as a boy so she can stick with Shido during the field trip, which Origami sabotages by suggesting Shido start dressing like a girl to rebalance things. The very next volume actually has Shido crossdressing to get close to the misandric Miku.
  • "Holy Shit!" Quotient: Get past the silly Excuse Plot and you'll find a story that deals with apocalyptic beings, as well as those looking to use their powers for nefarious ends, so as the series takes a dark turn, expect fans to freak out.
  • I Am Not Shazam: A weird case here; the title of Volume 7 has led some fans to think that the Spirit on the cover is Miku and that something happened to her, when it's actually Tohka's Superpowered Evil Side. Also inverted by other fans who recognise the Spirit, but get the title wrong as a result.
  • Idiot Plot: The first episode of the second season, which Flanderizes Tohka’s Clingy Jealous Girl tendencies from watching a soap opera to the point that Shido has to repeatedly talk her out of a bawling fit whenever he so much as looks at Origami. Fans and anti-fans both disparage the episode due to it having a ridiculous and boring plot.
  • Inferred Holocaust: The military forces of Deus.Ex.Machina Industries and the frequent torture and termination of its own officers according to Isaac Westcott's will.
  • Just Here for Godzilla:
  • Les Yay: Miku aside, there's loads of this between Origami and Mikie in the AST. The two of them have an entire spinoff dedicated to this, until its very own Knight of Cerebus appears and turns it into the darkest work set in the verse to date.
  • Magnificent Bitch: "Nightmare" Kurumi Tokisaki was once a normal, human girl. After being turned into a Spirit and lied to by the First Spirit after killing her best friend, Kurumi resolved to undo the First Spirit's existence no matter what it took. Introduced as a mysteriously charming transfer student, Kurumi stays one step ahead of Shido Itsuka and Ratatoskr, ultimately engineering a Sadistic Choice where either a spacequake destroys the city or her "City of Devouring Time" consumes Shido's entire school. After being saved from a rampaging "Efreet" by Shido, her next appearance sees her help Shido against Miku and DEM while trying to uncover Nia's location. Helping Origami go back in time to stop her parents' murder, Kurumi learns the horrible truth and uses her time powers to help Shido correct the mistake, including convincing her past self to offer aid. Against the overwhelming might of Mio Takamiya and Isaac Westcott, Kurumi put a clone back in time as a contingency to impart critical knowledge to Shido in case she's killed and steals back Nia's Qlipha Crystal from Westcott to even the odds. After Mio’s death, she convinces Shido to go on what would secretly be his last date with Tohka and organizes a Spirit battle royale so the expended Spirit power will postpone the end of Tenka’s artificial world, all while keeping everyone in the dark about Tohka’s impending demise for as long as possible. Brimming with self-confidence to match her enigmatic nature, Kurumi was both a deadly enemy and a pivotal ally.
  • Memetic Loser: Nia has gotten a bit of scorn since she’s lost most of her Story-Breaker Power by the time she becomes an ally, and only gets it back during the Final Battle after Kurumi takes the exact same ability from Westcott in addition to already owning Zafkiel.
  • Memetic Molester: DEM Industries but mainly Isaac Westcott is seen as one by fans.
  • Memetic Mutation: Mikimoto saying "Mahal kita." (Tagalog for "I love you.") People posting comments on forums talk about it a lot.
  • Moe:
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Isaac Westcott took a flying leap past it when he summoned the First Spirit, causing her to create the First Spacequake, taking over 150,000,000 lives, and his remorse was nonexistent.
    • Ellen Mathers crossed this by brutally stabbing Shido in front of Tohka, leading her to cross the Despair Event Horizon and transform into the Inverse Form her boss tries to harness.
  • Narm: Shido receiving instructions through his ear-intercom can be hard to take seriously when it should be incredibly obvious to the person opposite Shido that he is talking to someone on the other end of the ear-piece. Especially when they are just standing around doing nothing as Shido reacts to the ear-intercom. It could also double as Narm Charm due to the moment when Shido takes off the earpiece and decides to be honest with his partner. It clarifies the moment that he wants to earn their affections through sincerity and kindness, rather than the outrageous things the Ratatoskr team gets him to say.
  • Narm Charm: You wouldn't expect a series about an ordinary guy dating superpowered girls to save the world to be filled with interesting characters, poignant pathos, engaging narrative and excellent music, but there you have it.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: The series is really good at doing this. A single volume/episode can cause the fans to go from hating a girl to loving her. Case in point: Kotori, Miku, both of which started as unlikeable, but Character Development skyrocketed their popularity back to an acceptable level, if not more. It remains to be seen whether Origami will receive the same treatment following The Reveal about her parents death and the Spirit who killed them.
  • Signature Scene: Shido protecting Miku from Inverse Tohka.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Kotori used to be this due to the her really annoying Dominatrix commander mode (and the fact that people were starting to get tired of Shana Clones). Then volume 4 significantly improved her popularity.
    • Miku was also very unlikeable when she was introduced as a self-centered misandrist who treats everyone like slaves with her powers and turns on Shido after losing a bet in which she already cheated. She gets better after falling for Shido and becoming enjoyably flirty with both him and the other Spirits.
    • Ai, Mai and Mii — but especially Mii. Their only purpose so far has been an unfunny Running Gag where they interpret Shido's (and sometimes other people's) actions in the worst way possible, and fans find Mii's constant "gross" (changed to "That's so lame" in the FUNimation dub) — her only line — to be incredibly grating and unfair to Shido.
  • Second Season Downfall: The second anime season usually gets called out for this due to the rushed pacing of the Miku / Dark Tohka arc. The animation wasn't exactly top-notch at this point either.
    • This was partially due to the production being handed over to Production IMS instead of AICPLUS+note . Though it seems the Blu-ray / DVD version of the Second Season may have fixed these issues to some extent by correcting frame errors such as the one linked above and adding about 40 minutes of additional footage that was cut from the TV Broadcast. Whether this fixes the second season's overall pacing remains to be seen.
    • The Third Season also gets backlash from fans, due to JC Staff's inconsistent animation, busy schedule, rushed pacing (Volume 12's content was crammed into the last episode (episode 12) instead of expanding it to 13), and bland coloring of the characters. Although, time will tell if the Blu-Rays fixed those problems.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • Tohka's Despair Event Horizon after witnessing Shido's death. As the two spent more time together, Tohka has begun to enjoy the everyday life of the human world. However, it later saddened her that her actions has harmed the innocent but Shido declared to stand alongside her no matter what. That was when things went to horrible when Shido jumped in to protect Tohka and was killed in the process. Having lost her true friend, Tohka returned to her previous wear and unleashed the full powers of a highly enraged Spirit who has nothing else to lose.
    • In a similar vein, her breakdown while being Forced to Watch as Ellen stabs Shido and prepares to kill him. Separated by a barrier that her Sandalphon can barely scratch, all she can do is hysterically beg Westcott and Ellen to spare him out of sheer terror that she’s about to lose the most important person in her life. This ends up making her Inverse as Westcott intended.
    • Mio's Heroic Sacrifice and Heel Realization in Volume 19, which leads into Tohka's disappearance and Dying Declaration of Love in the next volume.
    • The second OVA turns out to be this. Remember the Kurumi clone that was killed by the original when Kurumi was first introduced? She is briefly Back from the Dead for this episode and decides to go on a date with Shidou. Throughout the episode Kurumi knows that she only has a bit of time of left before the original finds her and kills her, so she makes sure that Shidou, the only person who genuinely reached out to her, won't forget her, to the point that the two are pictured in wedding attire. And so, when that time does come and this Kurumi is gone for good, it really does feel like a loss for Shidou. This clone of Kurumi really did want to live a normal life and be remembered by those she truly loved, only for her to be Killed Off for Real in the end.
    • The movie's final act, as well. To stop the out-of-control Kerubiel, Mayuri must kiss Shido; but doing so will end her life because she is an entity formed from the other Spirits' energy. Despite her own feelings for Shido, she does it anyway to save him and the city. As she and Kerubiel disappear, she professes her love for Shido one last time, and Shido can only scream in anguish.
  • The Un-Twist: Kotori's eyes have whitened pupils just like all spirits (sans Kurumi) have, so it's as easy as seeing the first episode or light novel to realize she's also a Spirit.
  • Vindicated by History: Date A Live wasn't well-received by westerners when its anime adaptation aired in 2013 due to its rather silly premise. But as the series went on and became Darker and Edgier, it's now being seen with more positive light compared to before. Some people are even wishing for the light novels to be officially localized.
  • What an Idiot!:
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: The ridiculous premise and low-key fanservice of Date A Live make it seem like a good candidate for a Shounen-oriented audience, but then we are reminded that this is a Light Novel published in a Seinen magazine. Suddenly, the appearances of the murderous Kurumi and the decadent Deus Ex Machina Industries are more than appropriate for the setting.

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