The Summer of Love II continues! We are now halfway through the series and the second seasons is wrapped up! It’s been a ride so far, with some ups and downs, and once again we continue the idea that Date A Live is the continual mixed bag, which I think really comes into focus with what we are discussing today. So let’s not waste anymore time. Join me after the cut as we dive into the fourth arc of the series: Miku Lily and Miku Truth!
The fourth arc of the series is the first time that Date A Live attempts to go big with it’s story. While the thrust of the series is still the same, another spirit, another mission to seal her. It is also tries to tell a bit more, laying more foreshadowing for events to come, and let all the characters so far a chance to shine. Sometimes however, that shine can be a bit too bright. If anything, Miku Lily and Miku Truth feel like it is trying to do much. Instead of just being a story about it’s titular character, it also tries to do a little story about Tohka and what happens when she ends up ‘inversing.’ While both stories are connected and fold into each other quite well, it does feel at times that they were stapled together. I do think that if they have been given more time to breathe, each story would have ended up better than they end up being. Even if what they are is still enjoyable.
An example of this is that fact that the entire cast is present in the arc, and with so many characters it can feel that they are jumping in and out of the story rapidly. Like I said in my talk about the first season, the character of Mana Takamiya still feels absolutely superfluous to the plot. While she has more to do here, and has a good action scene, a lot of her role again feels like it could have gone to Origami, who very much is shunted into the background again with Kotori and much of the secondary cast. Meanwhile, the Yamai Sisters, Yoshino and even Tohka, despite being the focus of the second half of the episodes, feel again like they aren’t that important. Though Tohka does get her chance to step up, and her scene with the tambourine remains an excellent and humorous moment in the series. The moments where she inverses, which are very important to the light novels are done quite well, and hint at the greater backstory of Shido, and the power that the spirits actually have. Of course, the returning character that always does well is Kurumi, who lurks in and out of the story always being at her yandere best.
However of course, the star of the show is the new character, Miku, who like the Yamai Sisters before her, is a unique and fun addition to the series that is deeply welcome. Miku’s character is at heart a spoiled brat, a popular idol who hates men, loves women and seems to view all things as parts of her collection. As the stories goes on however, we get to see the fantasy and lies peel away and we see Miku as a girl who desperately wants to be loved, and to just be allowed to sing. I’ve not discussed much of this before, but while I love anime, and all things Japan, idol culture is the place where I ‘get off the bus’ when it comes to their popular culture. I’ll probably get more into that when I talk about Zombieland Saga in the future, however there are just parts of it that rubs me the wrong way. Miku’s backstory, especially the moment where she is pressured to advance her career in certain ways is something that resonates, and makes you sympathize with Miku, who at certain times was unbearable. Despite that though, Miku’s chemistry with Shido and the other girls is far, far better than the Yamai sisters (who I really like), and her zeal, peppiness and later attachment to Shido allows for some funny scenes with the cast.
Miku Lily and Miku Truth is very much Date A Live II and the series in general trying to big. The stakes are bigger, the cast are bigger, the action is bigger, but it is not the step up that I think it is trying to be. At times it feels that the series is trying to do much, as if it is forgets that the simple basic plot of “date girls, save the world’ is what people are here for. Despite that though, I admire that Date A Live is always moving it’s story forward and wasn’t content to just repeat the same plot from the previous arcs over and over again. Miku is another great addition to the cast, and the animation and action is surprisingly superb. I enjoyed my time with the arc, but I won’t deny that this does feel like the weakest of the four so far.
Either way, I hope you will join me next week as The Summer of Love II moves onto the next installment of the series: Mayuri Judgement!
- Shido having to cross-dress as the girl Shiori is great and thankfully it isn’t something Date A Live just completely forgets.
- Mana’s battle armor really makes her look like a penguin, which I wonder if that was the intent.
- Oh, and this is the last time we see Mana in the anime, like at all. She’s not even in the third season. Jesus Christ, they should have just merged her into Kotori and Origami.
- Like I said last week, Shido might be a ‘bland’ character, but he also has his morals and ideals, and rips into Miku when she starts treating his friends like dirt. He’s a good man.
- Tohka freaking out when Shido gets stabbed by Ellen is damn effective. Her sadness and horror hit extremely well.
- Ellen herself, the ‘ace wizard’ of Deux Ex Machina Industries (oh god that name) is adorable and I love her. Even if she is a bad guy, she’s just so pretty.
- Westcott calling Shido ‘Takamiya’ is a great little hint to the Shido’s backstory, which has been hinted at before.
- I didn’t talk about Kurumi in episode 11 because that is going to be saved for her character dive, but it’s a solid episode and sheds more light on her character. Always great to see more Kurumi again.
- No panty shots in sight, pour one out in respect.