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Date A Live: Complete Series

FUNimation // Unrated // June 10, 2014
List Price: $69.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Kyle Mills | posted June 20, 2014 | E-mail the Author
Date A Live is about Shido Itsuka, your average run of the mill teenager with regular teenager problems... school, home life, can't get a women to save his life, but his problems get much more severe when a strange phenomenon from 30 years prior returns more violent than ever. Shido is seemingly the world's last hope, and for the world to have any chance... he must convince the "spirits" whom caused this to date and make them fall in love with him. Is the world doomed for disaster??

Thirty years prior to the start of the series, a strange occurrence called a spacial quake, often referred to as a "Spacequake" devastated a city of Japan known as Eunasia, claiming the lives of an estimated 150 million people in the process. Since then, smaller spacequakes plague the world on an regular basis. Jumping back to present time, the series revolves around the life of average teenager Shido Itsuka (Voiced by Josh Grelle/Nobunaga Shimazaki) a seemingly normal high school teenager. One day, Shido is supposed to meet his younger foster sister, Kotori (voiced by Bryn Apprill/Ayana Taketatsu), a violent Spacequake hits and the city retreats to their prepared shelter. Afraid that Kitori is stuck in the quakes wake, he Ventures out to find her. The GPS coordinates he was supposed to meet Kotori at leads Shido to ground zero, where he comes across a mysterious girl named Tohka (voiced by Michelle Rojas/Marina Inoue) and learns from Kotori that Tohka is one of the "Spirits" whom are the real cause of the quakes that occur when they manifest themselves in the world.

He confronts Kotori about this information and he learns that she is the commander of the airship Fraxinus, which is owned by the organization Ratatoskr, created for the purpose of resolving the issues of Spirits and the spacequakes. Kotori reveals to him that he's being recruited to make use of his mysterious and unexplained ability to seal the Spirits' powers thus stopping them from being a threat to mankind, sounds easy enough? Well the catch is that the only way to seal a Spirit's power is he must make them fall in love with him and kiss him.

To start with the heavy task of saving mankind, Shido asks Tohka, a neurotic, naïve and quite jealous girl, out on a date (A concept she is completely oblivious to), and they soon begin a relationship together. While trying to balance Tohka's clinginess, things get worse as the other spirits begin to show up, first is Yoshino (voiced by Tia Ballard/Iori Nomizu), an extremely shy child like woman whom speaks through a puppet. At first it's a mystery as to why Shino has to date her as she seems to have her powers in check, that is, until she loses her doll and becomes an entirely different person. The last to enter the fold is Origami (voiced by Michelle Lee/Misuzu Togashi), a woman who almost doll like and always stoic in appearance, is extremely open about her pursuit of Shido, much to the annoyance of Tohka.

As Shido balances all three of his love lives without any of them the wiser, things get much worse for him as another spirit, Kurumi (voiced by Alexis Tipton/Asami Sanada), is introduced. While it starts out just like any of the other three relationships he's developed thus far, Kurumi eventually shows off her true colors. She's a stone cold psychotic whom kills with pleasure. She is being tracked down by a woman named Mana (voice of Felicia Angelle/Misato), whose sole purpose is to hunt and kill Kurumi. The problem is that Kurumi cannot be permanently killed, and whenever Shido attempts to reform Kurumi, she is killed by Mana, resetting everything from the start. So how can Shido stop Mana, whom holds a crucial secret, while also trying to bring Kurumi's evil to an end?

- Positives:

+ Good chemistry between all of the lead character.

+ Despite having a clear female lead, the series spends quite a bit of time developing and fleshing out the other female characters that are vying for Shino's attention.

+ Alexis Tipton performance as Kumuri as well as Kurumi's character in general. I'm not all that familiar with her body of work, but Tipton gives a wonderful performance, and despite Kumuri having limited screen time to work with, Tipton gave the best performance in a cast full of fantastic actors.

+ Gorgeous animation. + After my semi scathing review of Kanreval and mentioning how fan service should be dealt with, this is how it is done. I'm not the biggest supporter of overwhelming fan service, but if you're going to go all out, then incorporate it into the plot, don't shoehorn it in. It's not utilized as well as Lupin The 3rd: Woman Called Fujiko Mine, probably the best example of how fan service should be used, but it's OK.

- Negatives:

- Feels like another retread of Tenchi Muyo!

- Filled with the standard clichés that comes with the harem genre. If you've seen one then you've pretty much have seen them all.

Video and Audio:
Date A Live has some beautiful aesthetics. Just about every character is uniquely drawn, with each character being well detailed, and the landscape shots gorgeous. The battle scenes are fantastic and fluid throughout. The series utilizes a vivid and bright color palette successfully, it has absolutely stunning production values, and is honestly some of the best animation in recent memory.

As for audio the series has two tracks. The first is an English dub in a English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track, and the second is the original Japanese TrueHD 2.0 Stereo track. As per usual I watched this in the English dub, while sampling a few episodes in the original Japanese. Overall the dub was fantastic, almost every casting choice were spot on with the standouts being Alexis Tipton, Josh Grelle, and Michelle Rojas. The mix was subtle for the most part, but amped up appropriately when the scenes called for it, never drowning out the events that were happening onscreen. There were no signs of audio dropouts or distortions throughout.

Extras: - Episode 4 commentary with Tia Ballard, Michelle Lee, and Michelle Rojas, whom portray Yoshino, Origami, and Tohka, respectively. Sporadically throughout the commentary track, the actors are asked about relationship advice.

- Episode 7 commentary with Josh Grelle, Bryn Aprill, and Felicia Angelle, whom portray Shino, Kotori and Mana, respectively. Sporadically throughout the commentary track, the actors are asked about relationship advice.

- Original Japanese promotional videos.

- Textless opening and closing themes.

- U.S. trailer.

- Standard FUNimation trailers for series' such as - The limited Edition comes with two separate amaray cases all housed in a gorgeous looking chipboard art box that perfectly suits the show.

Date A LIve is overall quite the solid anime. It's nothing groundbreaking, but it's got a decent albeit rehashed plot, good chemistry between the characters, and beautiful animation. While some of the time, the show may be a tad cliché, it never stops being fun. For those that are a fan of the show, a season 2 has already aired in Japan and a film has been green lit. Consider it Recommended.

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