The Summer of Love II: Date A Live’s Kurumi Tokisaki: Breakout Babe

The Summer of Love II continues! We only have half of season 3 left to discuss,but there are still posts to be done! Anime has dozen of memorable characters, and many of them are female. Whether it is cute looks, over the top reactions, great powers, a tragic backstory, or just a really awesome set of boobs. There have been anime characters that have managed to strike a cord with fans all over the world. However, every now and then a character comes along that just seems to completely dominate the discourse, that breakout hit that surpasses even the writers expectations. Date A Live has one of those, and today we are going to look at her. Join me after the cut as we take a character dive into the show’s breakout babe: Kurumi Tokisaki.

Kurumi 1
Right on the Mark

 

Anime fans will be familiar with the ‘Vegeta character’ that member of the cast who starts out as a villain, but ends up becoming an anti-hero and then eventually good guy. Dragon Ball Z was the first example of this to many, and it’s an archetype that has continued through all types of manga for decades now. Date A Live’s Kurumi is very much in that same class of character, starting out as the crazed yandere spirit that even Shido cannot tame, before slowly sliding into the anti hero and, before the light novels conclude, a full on ally to Shido and the other girls. Throughout all of that though, there is something about Kurumi that just draw fans to her.

The first I think comes from her design. Kurumi is probably the sexiest of the all the spirits. While all of them have their charms, Kurumi’s bad-girl, Gothic Lolita maid outfit just really stands out, even among all the spirit dresses. The frills, the black and orange colors, coupled with the exposed cleavage, twintails and surprisingly fitting heavy-duty boots just makes her really unique. Even in the scenes were she is wearing her school uniform or ‘normal’ street clothes, Kurumi’s design and fashion sense make her stand out among everyone else.

Furthermore, her teasing nature also helps display just a little bit more depth, as shown when Shido initially tries to win her over, and during their date at the end of the second season. While Kurumi is a woman devoted to her mission, there is still a young girl who wants to be loved and saved by Shido, who enjoys going out and spending time, having fun, and even joking around. That beneath all her yandere antics, there is a human being and even if her apparent duties prevent that from happening. The scene where she tricks Yoshino into thinking she and Shido are having an affair remains one of her best scenes, both subbed or dubbed.

The second major factor I believe is that Kurumi’s yandere’s tendencies fit comfortably in the ‘crazy, but still cute’ category. While Kurumi is absolutely a yandere, and her initial few episodes lean heavily into that, she is also a character who never fully commits to the archetype. Compare this to someone like Yuno from Mirai Nikki who is an out and out psychotic freak who is a danger not just to herself, but everyone around her. While people love Yuno, it is clear that she isn’t someone the viewer is suppose to find her antics cute or endearing. Kurumi meanwhile sits on that edge of being just crazy enough to be a yandere, but not crazy enough that it defines the character. There is more to Kurumi than just getting a little crazy, and she strikes the balance pretty well.

Kurumi
Kurumi is very much a yandere, but ‘yandere-lite’ in that she never lets herself be consumed by the archetype.

Finally, and this is something I don’t think is really brought up that much, is that Kurumi’s powers are almost wholly unique. Time-travel and time magic is not new to Anime and while many shows have them, Date A Live is probably the most original with how it is done. Kurumi’s Zafkiel, her use of flintlock pistols and the giant clock with twelve different abilities is a stroke (heh) of creative genius that frankly never gets boring. Instead of the usual time-stop and fast speed antics of other anime, Kurumi’s abilities feel like actual thought and effort were put into them, instead of just falling back on tired old examples. She even uses the idea of endless clones, something made famous by shows like Naruto, to great effect. These clones even have their own free will and personality, and Date A Live just doesn’t use them for fighting, with one of them forming the plot of the last episode of the second season.

 

Like most of the characters in Date A Live, Kurumi isn’t an really deep character. She doesn’t have any hidden meaning, nor does she really play into any themes or ideas that Date A Live (if ever) is trying to put across. However what Kurumi is, from her design, to her mannerisms, to her powers is something wholly unique. She’s a character that bleed cool, that feels sexy, and is that bouncing force that moves around the rest of the cast. There is a reason that Kurumi alone among the cast gets the most merchandise, the sexiest figurines, and even has her own spin-off series, one that will be getting anime this year. I know little about Date A Bullet, but from what I’ve seen from the trailers, it promises to be all Kurumi, all the time, and there is nothing wrong with that. She is a character that hit the absolutely lottery in terms of design, character and popular appeal. A breakout babe that will be remembered when the other girls will long been forgotten. If anything, Date A Live and now Date A Bullet will always have that.

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