Date A Live Vol. 1 Light Novel Review – Dating Catastrophe Incarnate

    Title: Date A Live Vol. 1
    Author: Koushi Tachibana, Tsunako
    Release Date: March 23, 2021
    Publisher: Yen Press

Date A Live Vol. 1 is the beginning of a series in which a boy meets girls whose special powers could destroy the world. Now it’s up to him to try and save them through the power of dating or else they might be eliminated or cause catastrophes.

Living in Tengu City, Shido Itsuka is a common boy who’s never dated before and is awkward talking to girls. He has a younger sister and lives a peaceful, mundane life with nothing major to talk about.

He expected so much peace and tranquility, he even picked a local school out of convenience, since it was close to his house. However, everything begins to change on the day of his entrance ceremony.

The world faces a specific calamity called spacequake. With a mysterious nature, this event has caused mass destruction. At the entrance ceremony, another one of those hits Tengu City. After a series of events, he meets a girl called Tohka. Clad in an attire that seems to be made of light, her very existence and beauty feel like a dream. However, this encounter is a dangerous affair.

In this first book, which is also called Dead-End Tohka, we learn more about this girl, the Spirits, the organizations fighting over how to deal with those calamities, and many other elements. It also introduces the protagonist and many of the recurring characters.

Date A Live’s story is inspired by dating sim concepts. So, after Shido meets an organization called Ratatoskr, he has the chance to save girls called Spirits whose powers have been causing calamity to the world.

This volume is the first step on Shido’s encounters with those girls, whose sad circumstances motivate him to try to bring comfort to them. In fact, it’s only because of the sadness in Tohka’s eyes that he looks at Yohka as a kindred spirit and tries to save her. And in the process, this is also the beginning of his harem.

Many elements of the story are left unexplained as it struggles to piece together a compelling dramatic narrative of multiple factions and turns. At the same time, the story is also filled with humor and references to games and anime making the experience familiar.

Another charming aspect, which is probably the best part of this volume, is the artwork. Illustrated by Tsunako (who’s also worked on the Neptunia game series), the characters have stylish designs filled with personality.

In fact, the beginning of the book has eight colored illustrations. Some of those represent the most important moments of the story like a flash of what’s going to happen. Among the pages, there are also some black-and-white illustrations. All of those help the player visualize the scenes better by establishing the characters’ designs.

Date A Live Vol. 1 is still a little on the early portion of the series. The whole concept of saving the world by dating girls is funny and promising. But that potential isn’t realized yet, in a volume that leaves a lot of questions hanging. Even so, with its zany humor, it’s an entertaining start.


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Ivanir Ignacchitti

Random Japanese games are my jam. Handhelds, RPGs, VNs and PC banzai.