「七番目の精霊」 (Nana Ban-me no Seirei)
“The Seventh Spirit”

If at first you don’t succeed, try to fool a dumber target.

Date A Live is back, baby! For those not familiar with this series, you’re probably not reading this because who starts with the third season? So, for returning fans: Date A Live is one of those classic (see: early 2010’s) series from the golden age of magical-fantasy-action-harem anime where there was like three of them being released every season, but we hadn’t quite gotten to the bottom of the barrel yet. It is, in other words, a perfectly serviceable magical-fantasy-action-harem anime, with its own flaws (the main character is your average bumbling milquetoast protagonist who asks entirely too many questions in response to any and all surprising stimuli) and its own strengths (the girls are mostly pretty good, except when they aren’t). While third seasons are increasingly rare, if something was going to get one, I’m not surprised it was Date A Live. So, how’s the premiere?

Eh, all right. Honestly it’s mostly the same, with Itsuki Shido (Shimazaki Nobunaga) managing an increasingly large harem of spirit girls which are causing the series to burst at the seams with repetitive reactions every time something happens, because all the girls gots to get in on the action. Which I appreciate in part, it’s hard to keep all your characters involved, but it’s a sign that the series is getting long in the teeth, and maybe needs to conclude some characters’ stories rather than constantly creating new ones.

But the girls are still mostly good, especially imouto/commander Itsuka Kotori (Taketatsu Ayana), presumed end girl Yatogami Tohka (Inoue Marina), and the twins Yamai Kaguya (left) (Uchida Maaya) and Yamai Yuzuru (right) (Sarah Emi Bridcutt). But the realization that occurred to me when Izayoi Miku (Chihara Minori) barged on the stage is that none of these roles are the best these seiyuu have done. Not even close. (When Taketatsu Ayane doing a replacement-level tsundere imouto is the best performance, you know everyone’s mailing it in … though that’s only because Sanada Asami’s Tokisaki Kurumi wasn’t here this episode. More’s the shame.) All of which I could also say about the animation. Who knew J.C.Staff would be a downgrade from AIC Plus+ and Production IMS? I did not expect that. Apparently they didn’t get shit for a budget on this one.

But how about dat new spirit? Natsumi (Mano Ayumi) is the new girl on the block, an onee-san type known as the Witch, for obvious reasons. (Also, she do magic.) It seemed like things were going too well at first, until she sneezed and revealed her true form, only Shido is an unobservant idiot and he didn’t notice. Classic Shido!

Honestly, the best parts of this episode were all at the end, when we were past the carousel of everyone getting duped by Natsumi (magic exists you fools! Half of you can use it! Be more skeptical ahhhh!). Tohka and AST pilot Tobiichi Origami (Togashi Misuzu) accurately picking out the correct Shido for ridiculous reasons was the glowing moment, though I’m hesitantly excited about the task in front of Shido. This could turn into a legitimate mystery … though I doubt it will. This is still a magical-fantasy-action-harem anime through and through, and I expect it to stay there. This is Date A Live’s opportunity to impress, though. It’s been given a new lease on life, this rare third season that so few anime get. As a certain massive alien head once said: SHOW ME WHAT YOU GOT!

My second novel, Freelance Heroics, is available! (Also available: Firesign #1 Wage Slave Rebellion.) Third book in progress now! Sign up for my email list for updates. At stephenwgee.com, the last two posts: Celebrities’ Political Opinions, An Author’s Review of: Freelance Heroics.

Full-length images: 15, 17.


ED Sequence



    1. I’d love to see the reactions of the anime-only watchers who think Natsumi is hot…once her true form is revealed.

      Show Spoiler ▼

  1. So we see that the girls are able to pretty easily pick out the real Shido because they “know him so well” but now the shoe is on the other foot – how well does Shido know the girls (and guy) to be able to identify if Natsumi is impersonating them or not?

    You can bet there is going to be some hurt feelings when Shido gets stuff wrong.

    As for Kurumi, I’m a little annoyed by people who are so angry at her not instantly appearing given…well…it’s nothing new. The previous seasons didn’t have her REALLY appearing until well over the halfway point or so, and even then, she just sort of appears rather than getting eased into the season. Heck, season two didn’t have her appearing until the last…what, three or so episodes?

    1. Yeah, that’s silly to be peeved about. Kurumi do what Kurumi wants. Plus she’s as vulnerable as any character to oversaturation; better less Kurumi (that’s good) than constant Kurumi (that’s hackneyed and overdone).

      1. To be fair though, a lot of first-time viewers of Date A Live are here just for Kurumi. Her overall character design is just so damn good–even when she’s being…erm, naughty… Yeah.

        Also, I’m pretty sure Kurumi will have a role to play in the next arc…
        Show Spoiler ▼

  2. “As a certain massive alien head once said: SHOW ME WHAT YOU GOT!”

    “♫ Aww yeah! You gotta get schwifty! You gotta get schwifty in here! ♫” Ah, Rick and Morty… Though it’s another show that’s long overdue for a new season, good quality takes time–at least, that’s how it should be.

    Anyway, as bad as the QUALITY was during the TV airing of DAL III‘s first episode, the version released on Nico Nico Douga a couple of days before managed to be much worse. “Rushed” is how I’d describe it in one word. While there were still some issues here and there with the TV version, some animation/production errors from the NND release did get fixed for TV (e.g.: Natsumi disguised as Shido losing the Raizen High patch on the uniform, credits-only ending, and the lack of a next-episode preview to name a few). Hopefully, whatever animation errors or off-model moments remain on the TV version (like Tohka’s noticeably smaller bust size in the opening scene) will be fixed for the Blu-Rays/DVDs. (IIRC, the first season had a “Director’s Cut” version.)

    That being said, here’s some of the bright spots of the episode:

    – It was nice of the episode to spend a few minutes re-introducing the main characters so far (then again, the show does assume the viewer already watched the first two seasons, OVAs, and the Mayuri Judgement movie) before wasting no time getting into Natsumi’s arc.
    – Miku’s “kissy face” towards Shido was hilarious. (Hope this means J.C. Staff can make funny faces in the KonoSuba movie as well as Studio Deen did for the TV anime.)
    – Overall, Natsumi’s introduction was well-animated (as the screenshots of her would attest).
    – Natsumi disguised as Shido doing ecchi things to Tohka, Yuzuru and Kaguya, those three girls (Ai, Mai, Mii), and even hitting on Tama-chan-sensei. But not Origami.
    – Tohka and Origami eventually recognizing the genuine Shido (and blowing Natsumi’s cover).

    TL;DR: First episode could have been better, but there’s still room for improvement in the next two episodes. Proceeding with tempered expectations, though still excited to see “best Spirit” Kurumi again.

  3. It’s too bad ppl underrate Date A Live. It’s not amazing but it gets the job done for a harem anime that most run of the mill harems can’t seem to do. If someone says Infinite Stratos is better I’ll lose my mind.

    Fav Girls (Best to Worst):
    1. Origami
    2. Kurumi
    3. Yuzuru
    4. Miku
    5. Kaguya
    6. Tohka (I liked episode 1 Tohka, after she left it was all downhill.)

    I don’t count Natsume and Yoshiro for should be obvious reasons.

    Aquarian DragonSlayer

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