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This episode begins with Shido training on his dating sim. (Yawn.) However, the opening song is pretty great (since we didn’t get to hear that in the previous episode). The movement to the opening song was a nice, somewhat more serious shift from the ridiculousness of a boy playing a dating sim to learn to win the hearts of Spirits.
Fortunately (or perhaps not so fortunately) we don’t have to see Shido playing dating sims the whole episode, which was admittedly what I’d feared. Instead, he moves on to the “practice” stage of his training…at which point his sister/boss Kotori decides he should practice by hitting on his teacher. (Not sure where the logic in that move is, but…yeah.) His practice actually involves Kotori and Reine-san feeding him lines through an earpiece (again, how exactly will this help him get Spirits to date him?).
At the episode’s halfway point, a spacequake occurs at the school. Apparently the ASTs (conveniently) can’t fight indoors, so Shido must test out his training on the Spirit, who just happens to be the “Princess” he met during the first episode (again, very conveniently). Plot devices abound.
In this episode, we meet the crew of the Fraxinus—mostly made up of old, presumably unmarried men and young, borderline yandere girls. This is definitely the group of experts I would want to help me earn the love of a Spirit. (Insert much sarcasm.) While Shido attempts to woo the Princess, this team of experts plays what is basically a live version of a dating sim to determine his next move. When this (predictably) fails, Shido goes with his gut and has a very candid conversation with her (punctuated by more stupid suggestions from the Fraxinus crew). The Spirit’s reactions to the crew’s suggestions lead one to wonder why Shido listens to them at all.
Luckily, Shido’s interaction with the Spirit (Tohka) redeems this episode for me. When he isn’t following the orders of Kotori or the Fraxinus crew, Shido is actually a decent character—just the kind of down-to-earth, caring, adorable guy we love to see in anime, even in a harem anime. I want to see more of this kind of serious interaction between Shido and other characters as Date A Live goes on.
I’m not a huge fan of the love-triangle aspect, but I suppose this is a harem anime, so it had to happen eventually. Perhaps it’s better sooner than later. Personally, I’m still confused about how causing a Spirit to fall in love with Shido will keep them from causing spacequakes. I see how it would help keep one Spirit from causing spacequakes, but what if new Spirits show up? Won’t they keep causing spacequakes? I hope this will be better explained in the future.