English Dub Review: Date A Live “Make Shido Itsuka Swoon”

What is this, Pride and Prejudice?

 

Overview (Spoilers Below!)

In P.E., Shido performs impossible physical feats before collapsing. The pathway that allows Spirit energy to enter him has narrowed, meaning that there’s a huge buildup of energy that his body can’t control. If nothing is done, Shido could overheat, or worse—let off his steam in a mad rampage that would destroy everything. In order to save him, the Spirits all need to kiss Shido.

Unfortunately, Shido escapes the lab. The Spirits run after him as Shido dances through the streets, drunk on power. He flirts with Ellen before proposing a deal to the Spirits—he’ll let them kiss him if they make him fall for them one by one.

Shido and the Spirits arrive at an indoor pool park. They’re all in swimsuits, and Kannazuki serves as the announcer, monitoring Shido’s excitement level to let each Spirit know when they’ve succeeded. The Yamai try to press their boobs against Shido, but he doesn’t seem to react; when they share an ice cream cone and spill vanilla over their bodies, he succumbs. Natsumi charms Shido by accidentally transforming from her older to younger self, her sexy swimsuit way too baggy. Yoshino makes Shido swoon by stripping.

The mood shifts, and the group are in a fancy dining establishment. Kotori sweettalks Shido before Miku offers to sing him a song, seducing him before she even begins to sing. Origami tries to spike Shido’s drink and ends up spiking her own, confessing her love for Shido. Tohka prepares a meal for the two of them, but Shido collapses; when he comes to, he’s a creature of rage and raw power, blasting out of the facility.

Kotori considers killing Shido, but the Spirits spring into action, kissing him one by one. Finally, Tohka engages Shido in combat, but her powers disappear. Even so, she’s able to get to Shido and kiss him, realizing in the process that she loves him as more than a friend. In the infirmary, Tohka cuts up Shido’s food, and they kiss once more.

Our Take

Ah. The fanservice. Here it is.

The beginning of this episode is plenty charming. Shido’s emotionless, out-of-it, deathly ill expression as he finishes a race before the teacher even starts the timer is pretty funny. And his over-the-top skipping down the street singing is even more hilarious, belting out “I love you, I want you, I need you,” to literal strangers.

And there’s nothing wrong with the concept of this episode. I’d honestly enjoy watching each of the Spirits trying to win over Shido with their own unique personalities and interests. Some of the characters do this—it’s charming that Tohka prepares a big meal for them because that’s what she considers romantic, and it’s even pretty in-character for Origami to try an aphrodisiac and get frustrated that they have to wear swimsuits instead of going nude.

But other characters’ best attempts at making Shido swoon having nothing whatsoever to do with their personalities, and they’re just awkward to watch. The Yamais’ boob squeeze elicits major cringe, and I have no idea why Shido says they should “hold off on this stuff until [they’re] married.” Their ahego faces during the twincest ice cream segment are just uncomfortable. Stuff like the ice cream, the too-big swimsuit, and the stripping are basic fanservice fodder that doesn’t play to these characters’ strengths. And I don’t know how many times I have to say it—Shido getting turned on by Natsumi and Yoshino is just plain creepy. Natsumi looks much cuter in her age-appropriate swimsuit, and it was sad to see that she really hasn’t learned anything from her experiences this season about how it’s okay to be herself. When it’s Yoshino’s turn with Shido, I think she’s supposed to be spreading sunscreen on him, but their poses are set up to be so overtly sexual—with a literal spray of white sunscreen coming from Shido’s body—that I had to watch it twice, mouth open in horror, to make sure Shido wasn’t actually having sex with this young child. Similarly, it’s really weird that Shido is most charmed by Kotori when she’s calling him “big brother.”

So overall, this episode is a cute idea that’s executed poorly. But there are some genuinely funny moments to be had. When Kannazuki lies about Ratatoskr’s votes for the Yamais’ best option, the other members of Fraxinus physically overpower him. Kannazuki cries out, “A coup d’etat? Revolution?” There’s some great comedic timing in the shot of Origami completely passed out after making Shido swoon. In general, though, the premise doesn’t make a lot of sense. Why did the Spirits wait to kiss him if they knew the consequences would be so disastrous if they couldn’t get to him in time? If Kotori knew there was a possibility she might have to kill him? Why would she ever suggest killing him unless every other option had been tried?

As a season finale, I guess it’s satisfying enough. Both of the season’s main plots—sealing Natsumi and saving Origami—have already been completed, and it’s sort of satisfying to see a role reversal where the Spirits have to seal Shido for a change. And the ending—that suggests Shido and Tohka might have a genuinely romantic future together—actually tugged at my heartstrings a little. Out of all the Spirits, Tohka and Shido seem to have the most promise—she’s not far younger than he is or a sister figure to him, and the two of them have genuinely compelling chemistry together. They understand and support each other—she always wants to help him out whenever she can, and Shido cares for Tohka and makes sure she knows it’s okay if she eats a lot. This episode is full of unhealthy relationship snippets, but at least we end the season on a note that’s genuinely romantic.

Bodie Shanis

Bodie is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia. You can often find him in odd costumes, either because he's at an anime convention or performing in a musical. He's currently working on his first novel.

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