Light Novel Review: Date A Live – Natsumi Change [Volume 9]

Natsumi’s game is finally finished, but that’s not the end of her mischief. After disappearing from Shidou’s sight, Natsumi transformed all of his friends into ten-year old children. Shidou takes the group and brings them back to his house, leaving the crew of Ratatoskr to locate Natsumi. Luckily for him, she isn’t very far. Problem is that she’s deliberately causing trouble to Shidou on a daily basis.

The goal to seal Natsumi’s Spirit powers is far from over.

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Natsumi Change gives our main heroine the treatment she needed. It is a long and strenuous process but Natsumi does get the development she deserves. With the support of Shidou and the other Spirits, the volume contains very positive messages about acknowledgement and loving one’s self, in a heartfelt manner.

The story is split into three parts: Shidou’s misfortune dealing with his friends being ten-year olds, the attempt to change Natsumi’s view of herself, and the large threat later on. The comedy is spread out through the first and second portions of the novel, and I enjoyed some of the jokes that Date A Live presented. There are various jokes of misunderstanding as the Spirits come to Shidou’s high school normally, but when paired with the distinct personalities of each girl, the reactions coming from Shidou and his classmates are entertaining. For example, if you can recall Origami’s statement to Shidou about having a baby, it reappears in this portion and delivered magnificently.

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The second portion dealt with Natsumi and the attempt to change her views towards herself. It’s expressed mostly in her perspective, and the way Koushi Tachibana handled her was very well done. Her narrative is spoke as if Natsumi was always on guard, maintaining a hostile perspective on others and a negative dispositive towards herself. There’s jokes exclusive to her such as deducing that her organs would be useful to sell due to someone telling her she has a nice body. But as the story progresses, you could feel the change in personality as she begins to accept what Shidou and the cast have been trying to show her after all this time and Natsumi’s transformation in the end is very pleasing to see.

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While all of the main events regarding Natsumi is handled by Shidou and his gang of Spirits, DEM Industries is facing some hierarchy struggles with Wescott’s misuse of power. The internal confliction between the two factions creates the situation for the last part of the volume, resulting in the threat at the very end. While this may have been the deciding push that leads Natsumi to change, the danger feels unrelated to the general plotline. Then again, it isn’t Date A Live unless Shidou manages to save the girl and the world at the same time.

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The illustrations for this volume stays smooth with its linework, however this edition loses its crisp refinement and details from the last volume. This only applies to the regular black and white illustrations as the color illustrations match the same consistent quality.

Natsumi Change has a spot as one of the biggest development of character since Miku’s arc and it shows within this volume. With a large focus on trying to help Natsumi, the process is rewarding with very honest encouraging themes. Even if some of the events proved to be a tad unnecessary, Natsumi Change proved to be a welcome addition to the series.

Rating: Recommended – Highly Recommended


Author: Kōshi Tachibana

Illustrator: Tsunako

Fan Translated by the Date A Live Translators

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