The Summer of Love II continues! We are now at the final story arc of the series, which means this will be the final post discussing the series in general. We will have an additonal post talking about some of the fun ‘filler’ episodes, but this will be our final look at the story arcs of Date A Live. So after the cut, let’s take a look at Tobiichi Angel and Tobiichi Devil!
Any anime fan who lived through the fan-sub era, or was just a Naruto fan will know about the character of Sasuke. While you may love him or hate him, the character journey of Sasuke Uchiha, his goals of vengeance and betrayal of his friends is a story that is legendary among anime fans. So much so that when other anime characters go through a similar story arc, I always finding myself saying they are having their ‘Sasuke moment.” I say all of this, because Tobiichi Angel/Devil feels very much like Date A Live’s attempt to tell the story of Sasuke Uchiha.
Origami Tobiichi, the lead of this final story arc very much follows in the footsteps of the infamous shonen lead. Like Sasuke, Origami has been devoted to finding and killing the person who murdered her parents. Like Sasuke, Origami has slowly learn to live and deal with the angels as she grows closer to Shido and the girls. Like Sasuke, she is suddenly and violently reminded of her goal when someone offers her the ability to achieve it. Like Sasuke, Origami subsequently betrays her friends in pursuit of the power, and like Sasuke, Origami finds herself forever transformed by the ability givens to her. In the end Tobiichi Angel/Devil feels like a condensed version of the Sasuke Retrieval Arc, just with an added element: time travel.
Now as I’ve said before, Date A Live often stumbles when it tries to go too big, be too ambitious. The previous arc, Miku Lily/Truth became too bloated when it attempted to staple on a Tohka story near the end, and I was afraid upon my re-watch, that the same would happen here. I was surprised to see that Tobiichi Angel/Devil actually keeps things relatively tight, even when the series decides to go down the rabbit hole that is time travel. This is a story about Origami, and it remains almost completely about Origami. There is some lip-service paid to Kurumi’s history, and plenty of foreshadowing about the mysterious phantom, but in the end this is about putting Origami’s story arc to bed, so she can fully join the good guys.
That story itself is pretty decently told, and there were many times where I found myself pretty invested what was going on. I’ve never been a fan of time-travel in anime, especially when it isn’t something that is fully part of the plot. However Date A Live uses it only sparingly here, and it doesn’t feel too confusing to derail the story. By re-writing Origami’s past so that her parents never died, therefore never fully joining AST or DEM it does feel like the author was trying to get himself out of a corner he had placed Origami in after wanting to make her a spirit. Yet it never feels forced or out of place, mostly because Origami’s vendetta against the spirits has been seeded throughout the previous seasons, so it doesn’t feel out of left field.
What I did really like was the interactions between Origami and Shido. Her obsessive love for him has always been one of the series’s best gags and it was great to see that it was fully explained here. Instead of just being a joke, we see that Origami’s feelings were a self defense mechanism, a way of coping with the loss of her parents, and something brought on by Shido through his time traveling. Her admission near the climax that she never really loved Shido, and was only using him as a crutch is something I haven’t really seen from a harem anime. And while Origami does end up falling for Shido for real, keeping her in the harem, it was a nice touch and not something I expected.
Even better was the antics between the ‘new’ Origami created by changing history, and Shido. Her innocent and girly persona clashing with her old personalities perverted and masochistic nature was hilarious, mostly because she had no idea what she was doing. Additionally, I thought Origami’s attempts to text Shido and agree to their date was really wholesome and cute, and showed a side to the character that I hope gets carried over in future story arcs.
Tobiichi Angel and Tobiichi Devil is thankfully not going to be the final word on Date A Live thanks to the announced fourth season, but if it had been, it served as decent enough conclusion. It is very much an attempt by the series to have its Sasuke moment, but thankfully the seeds had been planted long ago, and they are harvested here with minimal fuss and effort. The story is more tightly told than previously, it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. Yes, it is not the grand finale that High School DxD had with its final story arc, but like everything Date A Live does, it gets the job done.
I just wish the animation hadn’t been garbage.
- I said this in previous post, but the fact that Yoshino doesn’t go to school like the rest of the spirits is REALLY weird. Maybe it’s brought up in the Light Novels, but it sticks out like a sore thumb. You could easily pass her off as a first year high school student.
- Natsumi slips into the main cast quite well here, and has some funny gags. Her reaction to Yoshino wanting to hang out is a highlight of the arc. As is her moody depressed self. Plus her adult form is sexy as hell in that lingerie.
- Origami’s spirit form is a really cool design, and very much inspirited by Mobile Suit Gundam and it’s funnel/dragoon system. I like how it is a more battle focused spirit, and I hope it get used a lot more in future arcs.
- I forgot how serious Tohka can get when a fight starts going down. She has no qualms with killing Origami when she makes her turn to evil. The girl is devoted to protecting Shido, and I like how she isn’t a dork 100% of the time.
- But she is also forgiving, and her starting to call Origami just by her first name shows that she has a newfound respect for her, even if the time-travel kinda does the work for you.
- Yoshino’s new spirit armor was also a cool thing to see. Her angel form was always kinda out of place, and I like how she does get the normal spirit dress and can thrown down just as well. Hope to see more of it.
- Kurumi is used really good in this arc, cementing her role as the Vegeta-like frienemy. I love that smooth jazz that always plays when she shows up, and her younger form is adorable as shit.