2nd verse, worst then the 1st! – Anime Critique: DATE A LIVE II

Title: DATE A LIVE II Format: TV anime Genre: harem, sci-fi, fantasy, comedy, ecchi Series Creator: Koshi Tachibana Series Director: Keitaro Motonaga Studio: Production IMS Series length: 10 episodes Original Airing dates: April 11 to June 13, 2014 Reviewed format: high def download with fansubs


Synopsis:

Thirty years ago a strange phenomenon called a “spacequake” devastated the center of Eurasia, claiming the lives of at least 150 million people. Since then, smaller spacequakes plague the world on an irregular basis. Shido Itsuka, a seemingly ordinary high schooler comes across a mysterious girl at the ground zero of a spacequake and learns from his sister Kotori she is one of the “Spirits” who are the real cause of the spacequakes that occur when they manifest themselves in the world. He also learns that Kotori is the commander of the airship Fraxinus, crewed by the organization Ratatoskr, and is recruited to make use of his mysterious ability to seal the Spirits’ powers thus stopping them from being a threat to mankind. However, there is a catch: to seal a Spirit’s power, he must make her fall in love with him and kiss him.


Review:

Sarcastic w00t! Checklist time again! Play along at home if you want, children!

  •     One male protagonist with hidden power? Check!
  •     Also slightly perverted? Check!
  •     Redeems himself by having a pure heart & protects his friends to the risk of his own life? Che. . .

Actually, screw the list, you can just read my last review.

Date A Live II is another series that I wondered why I bothered watching. Whilst I didn’t review the 1st series, it was decent enough for what it was -that is when it wasn’t objectifying the female characters & playing into adolescent male power/sex fantasies of having a hoard of strong women slavishly devoted to you for no obvious reason then you show a form of decency that is quickly seen as hypocriful (yes, that’s a word that I actually use). The 1st season had some decent jokes, minor interesting characters (such as the masochistic but exceptionally competent 2nd in command) & plot development (the mystery behind the Spirits as well as some of the human characters who were victims of the Spirits) as well as some decent satire on the whole harem & dating sim subgenres. The 2nd season misses all that & adds to all the annoying things that the 1st dig yet still strips everything in terms of plot, pacing & development out. It might be due to there only 10 episodes; everything feels rushed & underdeveloped -leaving you with a sense that you missed a big chunk of story that wasn’t even there in the first place. The central protagonist is still in charge of keeping Spirits such as Tohka & Yoshino in check through exploiting their affection & happiness, he is also tasked with capturing 3 new spirits. Twin/split spirits Kaguya & Yuzuru & aggressively faux-lesbo songstress Miku. At the same time he still fends off the yandere like advances Origami -who is still trying to kill Spirits out of revenge for killing her parents- as well as stop a plot by DEM Industries -who develop all of the anti-Spirit technology & want to turn Tohka evil for some unexplained reason.

What it does have in spades is utterly useless Fan Service, especially cleavage, bikini, maid outfits & bath scenes. But luckily the Loli character is spared such things (she barely appears in this season at all).

The series also carries over some annoying running gags from the 1st series, such as Shido’s female classmates Ai, Mei & Mii -who always complain about Shido’s relationships yet always screw things up for him. Plus, the only thing that the bespectacled Mii says is the word for “Gross”, which was OK when used in context but when it’s the only thing that she says no matter what, it becomes pathetic & annoying. Which is pretty much what the entire series becomes. Rushed yet drawn out, forced yet withholding, pretty yet ugly. So many visual & narrative conflicts, especially around the depictions of the characters. The new Spirit, Miku, suffers worse from this. Her power is to use her voice to control others to do her bidding & she despises all men because she was a human idol who refused to sleep with a TV producer, so her career was utterly trashed. Shido has to disguise himself as a woman in order to gain her confidence so he can seal her power -which is basically making girls fall in love with him so he can kiss them. The crossdressing & voice swap could’ve been used for some clever deconstruction of gender roles but it’s just used to turn Shido into the sexual plaything of the more dominant Miku -who uses women as her personal toys. With this deception Shido almost tricks her into sealing her powers but cracks when Miku goes on about how people are her dolls to use, leading into more pointless conflict, until he proves to her that he’s a good & noble man worth of her love.

The whole device of making women love him so they lose their powers & submit to him (& by extension the organisation that he is forced to work for) reeks of the pathetic Mens’ Rights Movement adage: “Woman are like vending machines. Keep using your kindness tokens until they put out a prize”. Mens’ Rights Movement members are scum & I think that the original author who came up with this conceit is scum as well. Yet I still watched the series, so what does that make me? (Like I want your answer, it’s just a hypothetical ponderance). I honestly can’t even get all that mad with this series, not after watching Seikoku no Dragonar -which utterly took the piss on the hypersexualisation front. What once made it semi-forgivable & interesting is lost in a muddled rush & over sexualised images. It’s not something I recommend nor would I recommend going back to the 1st series or watching the upcoming movie. Those ships have sailed & left in port a huge steaming pile of shite instead of decent entertainment. But, hey, sexual fantasies sell, so the franchise will keep going.date-a-live

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4 thoughts on “2nd verse, worst then the 1st! – Anime Critique: DATE A LIVE II

  1. The Otaku Judge 29/06/2014 / 7:11 PM

    I have never heard of this show. Shame that it lost all of season one’s redeemable qualities. The idea of getting women to fall for you to save the day reminds me of The World God Only Knows. TWGOK was okay though. The protagonist wasn’t actually interested in a harem and he would get girls to fall for him by helping them out with a life problem.

    Like

    • andthegeekshall 29/06/2014 / 7:22 PM

      Yes, Date A Live had that basic conceit but has the women sticking around in a harem situation. The anime of TWGOK is superior on the satire level to the above series.

      Like

      • The Otaku Judge 30/06/2014 / 11:43 PM

        I have never heard of this show. Shame that it lost all of season one’s redeemable qualities. The idea of getting women to fall for you to save the day reminds me of The World God Only Knows. TWGOK was okay though. The protagonist wasn’t actually interested in a harem and he would get girls by helping them out with their real life problems.

        Like

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