On this post, i’ll talk about some potential of this series having a thematic point.
Now normally, you don’t associated the word “theme” with the harem genre. Not sure you put them in a same sentences without the word “didn’t have” either. And frankly, not why i watched this series in the first place (a friendly reminder that there is plot in this series).
Buuuuuuuuuuuuutttttttttt after some analysis, i think i got something.
Of course there’s already who argue that DAL has something to say about love. Cute, but i don’t think it’s quite it.
So in order to find out if there’s any semblance of thematic point this series is going for, lets take a look at the series main gimmick and selling point.
The VN/Dating Sim parody.
The usual routine are everytime Shido encounter a Spirit, the Fraxinus will take measure of their mental condition using the realizer unit. The AI will process those data, created three choices accordingly to the situation at hand and present them for Fraxinus crew to take. The crew voted for the worst option for contrived stupid reason, Shido suffer the consequences and ended up almost killed and we all laughed in his misery.
That’s it, that’s the joke.
Parody are an absurd humorous exaggeration on tropes that was usually played straight in the narrative that embody them. But sometimes the exaggeration also applied to things we’re familiar with in real life, whether it was people or a genre of a movie. The joke being, that we recognize/seen/knows the “serious” version on what is being exaggerated/parodied.
The parody part of this series is the idea of an organization using galge choices to confront a mysterious dangerous being. As an anime fan, we all know those choices are what we usually found on some part of galge when we confronted with the heroine. The humor are, when those choices were used in real life “serious” situation.
Thinking it further however, i think in some way this is not just a parody.
This also serves as a satire (i.e. parody with a point).
Most of the choices moment in this series are only used for comedic effect. It always tend to have the opposite intended effect and not once it was used to resolved the encounter/dates with the girls. Like i said before in my Shido character analysis, the only time Shido successfully sealed Spirits power was when he didn’t used Ratatoskr help and just said his own honest thoughts and feelings on the situation in hand.
Lets also looked at the crew that made the choices in Fraxinus. Respectively, they are all:
a) a Man who’s already married and divorced five times
b) a Stalker who got a restraining order
c) a Guy with one hundred virtual waifu
d) a Woman who always has bad luck at romances and
e) a Man who likes spending money on escorts
These people themselves are part of the joke. But these people are also the kind of people you’d expect will be playing Galge as a form of escapism against their failed social life (particularly the third one). And in a very extreme cases, use what they learned from playing those games to interact or in this case date girls in real life.
Putting those two points i just made, we can conclude that….
Not only Date a Live parodying dating sim/galge format, it also satirized it’s romcom storytelling and laughing at the audience for thinking on using dating sim knowledge to confront real life.
A heroine inside a dating sim, as we know, is nothing more than a part of game program to respond to each of our choices. They’re only zero’s and one’s without any complex feelings and characteristic, you can’t just simply treat real life people with the same attitude.
You can’t expected that people will always behave what we expected to behave for each time we made a choices that we think to be the appropriate one because it was similar scenario that we see in a Galge. Feelings are not about making appropriate choices.
You can’t also expected you can confront and help other people with that as well. Despite your intention, by the end of the day, what you did was nothing more than manipulating other people because what you’re doing is putting up a role, performance. Only when you drop your facade and be yourself can you confront and help others.
Lastly, when i heard the name Date A Live, you know what other words that popped into my mind that sounds almost similar?
GET A LIVE!