Anime: Date A Live (Season 2)
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: March 22, 2016
Retail Price: $64.98
The second season of the FUNimation anime series Date A Live returns to the story of Shido and his alien allies for another season of science fiction, unusual romance and a harem of galactic fanservice. The series focuses on Itsuka Shido, a high school boy on holiday vacation from school. On the last day before he’s set to return to high school, Shido’s town is demolished by an explosion that changes his life forever. Shortly after, an armored girl appears to him (having caused the the earth/spacequake) and the uncontrollable girl known as Tohka the "Special Disastrous Designated Creature: Spirit" manages to have her powers officially sealed when she shares a kiss with the awkwardly random Shido; also beginning a strange dynamic between the human and extraterrestrial being.
Even though Shido may have temporarily saved the planet with a single kiss (of course, right?) he isn’t well equipped to deal with women in general. Shido is surrounded by three other girls that also have their own special abilities to get by in the world, which is means there is definitely an imbalance between men and women in Date A Live. The anime does fall into a category that includes major harem distinctions for the superpowered femme-fatales with an average joe being an object of desire amongst each of them in some way or another. It does take other directional turns, bringing battles into the love story to make them avoid the one dimensional possibilities that other similar series embody.
Something that can be viewed as a possible hindrance or help to the series would be the unique relationship between Shido and Tohka that begins the plot of the anime. Initially he is paired with her because it is thought to be the main reason for the salvation of humanity - making it almost feel like an obligation to fill for the greater good. By doing this is adds questions to each character’s emotions going into these split dynamics, and it is a major point of intrigue for a majority of the variety of humans/aliens of Date A Live season 2. Even Tohka begins to finally acknowledge the worrisome relationship between them, trying to decipher how Shido feels about her and if there is any genuinity to what they have developed of the course of two seasons.
There were multiple sides shown to Tohka in the second season of the anime, giving viewers a better idea of her personality traits or what could have been. It became a very specific relationship by the end of the anime, with Shido being thrust into circumstances that were fueled by passion and brought right back down to a harsher reality. The separation between characteristics made it a drastic situation for Shido, proving to feel something strongly regardless of if it was outright spoken. The ending attempted to tie things together as quickly as possible, still leaving some room for an expansion (the Date A Live anime film to be precise.) The characters weren’t always the best use of fleshed out individuals but they did sometimes have moments where they were more tolerable to the narrative.
The animation of Date A Live wasn’t exactly the biggest selling point of the second season, but that doesn’t exactly mean it was unsatisfying. There were characters and specific scenes where the animation brought a nice touch to the series, with some battles being the more direct examples. The artwork for Shido felt more standard male anime protagonist (especially the average animated harem-centric figure.) The girls included more diverse attributes with a few expected inappropriate angles to grasp the attention of the male audience. One of my favorite animated moments was towards the end, with Shido attempting to appease the wish of someone he cared for - adding a more emotional moment to a series with plot and enjoyable art. Date A Live season 2 will appease fans of the light novels or first season, but you can find out for yourself on DVD and Bluray now!
Overall Score: 6.5/10
Aedan’s Final Thoughts:
-The Date A Live movie is something that fans will want to follow up with to bring the story to its conclusion, but it still feels (mostly) complete for the characters.
-I can admit that I found myself not completely satisfied with the lack of answers surrounding the more serious plot points, but that didn’t seem to be the goal from the beginning
-The series picked up towards the ending with a few stronger bookmark moments of Date A Live season 2.