Light Novel Review: Date A Live – Natsumi Search [Volume 8]

Another Spirit has appeared for Shidou to seal and this time, it’s a witch. With the power to change the appearance of anyone and anything, the Spirit named Natsumi has been messing with Shidou’s classmates and friends, disguised as none other than Shidou himself. Thanks to Tohka and Origami, they are able to identify which is the fake Shidou and make her run away. However a couple of days later, Shidou receives a letter from Natsumi with pictures of twelve individuals along with a haunting message.

“I am inside one of these. Can you guess which one am I? Before everyone disappears.”

-Natsumi

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Natsumi Search is different from all the other volumes so far. Instead of trying to conquer the heroine for this volume, the mission this time is to identify the person Natsumi is disguised as in a mystery type plot line. However, despite having Natsumi be the main antagonist for this edition, we don’t really get to know her all that much as the plot goes back over all of our previously known characters and their unique traits and behaviors.

The volume has two parts to it, with the game being the latter half of the light novel. The first part of the light novel introduces Natsumi and her confident personality in herself and abilities. However due to an unfortunate slip-up on her magic, she reveals a secret that she didn’t want anyone to know, despite Shidou (and the reader) not knowing what it was, and she begins her chaos. Upon her introduction, I found it painfully obvious what her main problem based on her dialogue and abilities. It’s fine to drop some foreshadowing here and there, but the way Tachibana executed it was easily readable.

Natsumi’s disguising creates more comedic situations with creating misunderstandings but aside from only happening in the first part, Date A Live continues the comedy in its usual fashion in the dates. These can range from Shidou (Natsumi in disguise) actively trying to seduce his other classmates to Shidou’s cosplay date with Miku to the entirety of Origami’s date. There are also events happening behind the scenes such as the foreshadowing of DEM Industries future objects but they remains irrelevant to this story plotline. Despite being a two volume arc, there is a definite conclusion in this volume while leaving the plot for the next volume all set up.

Besides Shidou running around trying to date everyone before the time runs out, there really is very little development that happens to these characters as we reconfirm everyone’s personality traits. If anything, Kaguya and Yuzuru are the only ones that show change from their main appearance in volume five. We get a nice and intimate moment between both characters they express their concerns to Shidou about the other twin, and what happens when one of them is gone. Regardless, that event is deepest in development for this particular volume.

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The illustrations see a definite improvement in this edition of Date A Live. The linework looks very crisp and refined while retaining its smooth form. The character designs also very clean as there are more details to the clothing and hair. For the color illustrations, the colors look very distinct in addition to the previously mentioned statements. Lastly, the last illustration deserves to be praised highly. It shows off Natsumi using her Angel powers using very thick lines and strokes, however it pales in comparison to the previous ones by having a sense of control over the usage of black lines.

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Natsumi Search is a callback to our previous characters, having Shidou go on dates with all of them in order to find Natsumi. However, with the exception of a couple of very obvious lines from Natsumi and shown personality, we don’t really know her all too much. The conclusion sets the plot up for the next volume but the goal to seal Natsumi’s Spirit powers is far from over.

Rating: Average – Recommended


Author: Kōshi Tachibana

Illustrator: Tsunako

Fan Translated by the Date A Live Translators

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