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Date A Live is one of the series that takes the Harem Genre and puts an interesting spin on it.
Since I haven't read the light novels, I'll be reviewing exclusively the anime version.
The protagonist is just an ordinary guy who lives in extraordinary times. Superpowered girls called Spirits cause trouble around the city and he has to pacify them and seal their powers with a kiss, so they can live normal lives.
There is plenty of interesting characters to go around: Shido is a likable, gentle and ultimately brave person who just wants people to be happy; Tohka is this dignified and cheerful girl who manages to be badass when the going gets tough, Origami is a quiet and tortured girl who feels her life is meaningless without revenge; Kotori is authoritarian, bold and secretly a sweet little sister. Yoshino is the kind of girl anyone would like to take home with her. More characters get introduced and their relationships are handled pretty well for a harem series.
The most enjoyable relationship has to be the love triangle between Shido, Tohka and Origami, at least on the show's early moments. Both girls can connect with Shido in a way the other can't. While Origami might seem like the more enticing choice, Shido needs Tohka to keep him grounded.
Westcott is actually one of the best villains in recent anime. He is dark, mysterious and never makes the mistake of underestimating the hero. On the other hand, his cohorts Ellen and Jessica are left a bit underdeveloped. Still, the fact that these people manage to be dark and serious villains in what is otherwise an optimistic and hopeful series is a good way to challenge viewers.
The visuals and the music are beautiful, even by today's standards. The voice acting peformances are nothing short of extraordinary. This is the show that made me take Nobunaga Shimazaki seriously.
Hopefully, there will be a third season to continue this beautiful and amazing story.
I came to "Date A Live" both like you'd expect - via Kurumi - and not like you'd expect - via Yoshino. Someone then told me the name of the series, I looked it up and thought "Well, another Harem series? Jeez." The concept of stripping the "action" from Action Girl didn't sit with me right either and I almost didn't try it just for that, which is why I am glad I did since the girls can actually call upon their powers when they need to without suffering Power Incontinence any further which was the reason they were supposed to be depowered in the first place.
In other words, "Don't judge the book by the cover" is wonderfully shown here.
The series has one big advantage over many others: everyone, from the Badass Normal main character who only has his iron will to the many Action Girls to side characters like Origami and Kotori who in their own right are awesome (if slightly annoying), has strong points to them. Touka is a rightful Warrior Princess, Yoshino is gentle but can turn incredibly dangerous, Kurumi's time powers are used to great effect plus she epitomises Evil Is Sexy and is actually aware of it. For Kotori meanwhile one just needs to mention "fire" and they know what I mean. The single one I am not absolutely fond of is Origami and here I am not alone but I can say she has a lot potential unlike many other "Scrappy" characters.
Besides, the art style and voice actors are amazing, even by the standards of many anime I have seen and since it's a Twelve Episode Anime it can be watched in a single afternoon.
One of the less appealing points about the anime is the poor start. It takes an episode or two to get used to the setting and honestly Kotori's behaviour towards her brother doesn't help here - toning it down a little would have helped greatly. But after that it really gets going strong.
What else can I say? I eagerly wait for the Bluray releases of the second season and the movie which, I hope, will keep up the quality.
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