Note: I will not count Episode 1 as part of this series. Ever.
While I said that I would talk about Episode 10 and then do a series recap, I just decided to tackle the entire thing in one package.
Date A Live to me is a guilty pleasure. Scratch that, I just love it. I learned of this series through the artist and I can’t help myself in loving this series even with its shortcomings. Everyone has that one series they can forgive and this happens to be mine. That being said, some people were understandably disappointed with Season 2 since it chugged through the light novel material and left little time for any sort of “dates” to dote on the pretty girls.
Coming from a guy who read the light novels, I was forgiving on the series since I knew exactly what to expect. So while I am biased toward the series in general, that still doesn’t excuse the 2nd season for some flaws here and there.
Episode 10 went through everything I wanted pretty fast. I was pretty skeptical that they would cover everything they needed to do but I was surprised that they did. Mana kills Jessica, Inverse Tohka forces Ellen and Westcott to escape, Miku gets saved and finally changes her opinion, and after some troubled implications, Shido finally seals Tohka. Then Miku officially joins the Shidobowl.
That’s honestly Episode 10. I’ll elaborate on some things right after the essential character list.
- Shido had himself a piece of heaven with the twins during the first arc while experiencing a certain kind of hell in the last half. Crossdressing as a girl and then having to break into a high security building. All the while swinging a sword that drains a dangerous portion of his life. Shido as a main character has finally manned up and not be absolutely worthless anymore. Hats off to you.
- Tohka becomes plot device as she’s mainly ignored for a majority of the Twins arc while being kidnapped in the last half. She’s still the lovable dumb one but her significance is amplified when she’s the first example of an “Inversed” Spirit. Which apparently only happens when the Spirit in question suffers “true despair”. Combat stats go up but nearly everything else goes down.
- Kurumi shows up in the last half to help Shido while everyone else is off being hypnotized by Miku. She’s still everyone’s lovable crazy bitch who teases the hell out of Shido but we really never get to know what she wanted to do by helping Shido break through DEM. We get hints of her motives but they keep it ambiguous.
- The Yamai twins are the first to be conquered in the new season and gives us the most fanservice the series has to offer. Kaguya is the chunni while Yuzuru talks like those useless Misaka clones. Other than that, they’re quickly relegated to the side during Miku’s arc and come back to their senses at the end.
- Miku is the other spirit that showed active protest in Shido’s conquest of sealing her abilities. Due to troubling issue with her past, she has extreme trust issues with males and only seems to have interest in girls. She’s the reason Shido needed to crossdress and her arc eventually turns into something bigger with DEM getting into the picture.
- Yoshino and Kotori rarely show up in the series since bigger things took place. Mana outshined both of them after she showed up after that coma from the fight with Kurumi back in Season 1. Even so, she doesn’t show up too much other than fighting.
- Westcott and Ellen show up to the be the “mysterious evil organizaton” that wants to learn more about spirits while keeping their true goals completely in the dark (even in the novels). Westcott only seems to care about getting results while Ellen is the hyper-loyal employee who also happens to be skilled enough to fight Spirits head on.
In terms of adaptation, it goes as thus:
- Episodes 2-4 covered Volume 5
- Episodes 5-6 covered Volume 6
- Episodes 7-10 covered Volume 7.
So with this, you can actually tell what was rushed. I consider this a review of an “adaptation” first while the “Second season” aspect follows after.
Episodes 2-4 were without problems. Although it isn’t the traditional date, we still had something going for the Spirits in question and finished off with the essential action sequence and the then the kiss. As an adaptation, it was all I could ask for. To start off the second season, it was fair. Then came Episodes 5-6 to introduce things to better set up for the events to come in 7-10. Even in respects to the light novels, Volume 6 was boring compared to the others while things significantly picked up in Volume 7. It’s not so much the anime messed up, rather that the source material wasn’t at it’s most proudest place. People may say it’s rushed but it’s more or less an adaptation. Go blame the source if you seriously have gripes with it.
Pacing issues and some of the other general adaptation decay elements are definitely in there. Since the second season is limited to 10 episodes, there wasn’t that much to be done. I’m griping here but what doesn’t make sense is that Mahou Sensou gets 12 episodes to cover 7 entire volumes while we can’t get two more episodes to flesh out 3 volumes. Either way, it’s your usual altered scenes and all the other expected stuff that is present in nearly every adaptation.
Without a doubt, the most visible issue with season 2 was with its visual quality. I think it was around Episode 6 things began to dip harder than it did before. Even when the visuals were at its “best” in Season 2, you can really tell how low quality the series got to the production company getting screwed over with money. As a fan I hoped that some important scenes weren’t completely butchered. Some scenes were just plain ugly but still, I can’t lie about being a bit excited to see how the raid on DEM would look like. Keep note that Volume 7 isn’t fully translated so I never really got to know what fully happned at the end of Volume 7. Visual problems are nearly everywhere but it will hopefully be fixed in the Blu-rays.
So how did it fare as an adaptation? Pretty decent in my opinion. Sure they skipped around in Volume 6, but did we really want more of Miku being annoying? Rushed as it was, they only had 10 episodes how even I expected that. As a second season? Average. As with any Season 2 of any series, this is for the people who enjoyed the first season (and preferabl, a fan of the novels). Although the titular dates are not done as much as the first, why are you expecting something amazing out from a second season in the first place? Still, even the fans of the 1st season might not end up liking this but if they did really like the series, they would have read the source material.
We got a “movie version” announcement at the very end but apparently the sales aren’t looking so good so the chances of a Season 3 are low. If anything, the novels are still going strong and by working along the system where the characters are drawn from, we got 2 more girls to cover. The 2nd visual novel game is coming out in around a few weeks too. Hell, there’s even more short story bundles like Encore 2 on the way. If I’m not mistaken, Kurumi gets her own OVA in December.
All in all, it’s a decent adaptations for the fans of the novel. People who didn’t like the 1st season should obviously stay away from Season 2. That being said, people who only watched the anime of Season 1 and didn’t read ahead might be disappointed. In my thoughts, I got exactly what I expected and the only thing that was annoying was the downgraded visual quality which I hope gets fixed.
As an adaptation, I’d give it a 7/10, it got what it had to do. As a Second Season, it gets a 5/10. Both scores will probably increase after Blu-ray releases since that’s my only serious concern.