The Summer of Love II continues! This is the final major post of the series, as next week will wrap up with our final thoughts. However I would be remiss if I didn’t end out look at Date A Live with a discussion on the series main female lead. Plenty to say, and not enough time to say it. After the cut let’s take a character dive into the main female lead of Date A Live: Tohka Yatogami
When it comes to harem anime, one of the worst positions to be in is the ‘main girl.’ You may the one who ends up winning the fight over the guy, but you’ll never be the girl most loved by the audience. Almost every harem/ecchi series, from the greats to the not so greats has a main girl that isn’t really that popular. It is the secondary girls, the ones who don’t get that much development who get to flourish and be loved. That is mostly because since they don’t have the focus on them, they get to bounce around the corners of the story. They get to be sexy, slutty, dorky, kind, nice, crazy, and lovable, while the main girl carries the meat of the story. Ask almost any harem/ecchi fan, and chances are they love every girl but the main one. It’s just the price they pay.
Tohka from Date A Live suffers from that in a way. She doesn’t have Kurumi’s raw magnetism, Origami’s obsession or Yoshino’s cuteness. But she also is far better equipped than most of her contemporaries, and she has remained one of the more popular character in the franchise. There are plenty of reasons for this, but the most important one I think, is that Tohka is absolutely adorkable.
Tohka at her core, is a naive, kind, but also kinda stupid girl. Thrown into the human world with no realization of how it work, she is in many ways Id personified. She is a pure and simple girl who lives by her instincts and is shaped by how people treat her. Shido’s kindness and ability to not view her as a threat brings out a new side of Tohka. All of her scenes at the start of the series, where she is trying out new food, claiming that they are a date are some of the best in the series, and shows off a girl who, at her core, just wants to have fun, live in peace and of course, eat food.
She is also shown as a girl who craves, and desires love and affection. Like the final scene in the clip above, Tohka at her heart is a woman who wants to be loved and cared for, to be given that head-pat and told she has done a good job. In some cases she is even more innocent than Yoshino, a girl many years her junior, because unlike the other spirits, Tohka is someone who has had no contact with the outside world that didn’t come at the end of a gun. She wears her heart on her sleeve, and acts based on what she feels, whether it is love, happiness, affection or even jealously. It is these scenes, spread throughout all three seasons of Date A Live that really endear her to the audience.
However, Tohka’s lovable and dorky nature isn’t the only part of her personality, and there are many moments in Date A Live where she gets serious and focused. In most of her fights (and she remains one of the best fighters in the series) and in the ‘serious’ moments of the series. Tohka comes off as a girl of wisdom, sensitivity and kindness. Her voice changes from the dorky lovable girl to a woman who can be comforting and aware of the struggles of Shido and his friends. A great example of this is when she lends an ear to Shido who torn over how to handle Kurumi in season 1.
It is these moments, while not as common as her more comedic ones, that help fill out Tohka’s character, and show her as a worthy companion to Shido, and the sort of ‘leader’ that the other spirits need. Even when she goes into her inverse state and becomes a hard and ruthless killing machine, it isn’t as if a switch has been suddenly flipped. There has always been a serious part of Tohka, one that is aware of how to fight, and a strength to protect both herself, and the people she cares about. Her fight with Origami in the third season, when she resolves to kill her if she hurts Shido is another example of this. Despite knowing that it would break Shido’s heart, and forever change their relationship, Tohka makes no qualms in trying to protect him, and gives Origami multiple chances to try and pull back.
Like all of the characters in Date A Live, Tohka Yatogami isn’t a character of great depth. In terms of main girls, she doesn’t hold a candle to Rias Gremory of High School DxD (who is still overshadowed by the other girls in the show), but she isn’t as forgettable as say Houki from Infinite Stratos, who doesn’t really have anything going for her. She is a great balance of comedy and seriousness, and a main girl who actually is able to stand on her own, despite having to carry much of the story as well. She gets many of the good comedic moments, throws down with the best of them and isn’t lacking in the looks department either. She is Date A Live’s and Haren anime’s lovable adorkable leading lady. That I think, makes her something pretty damn special.