Tokisaki Kurumi: The Angelic Anti-Villain | Date A Live


Date A Live is a seriously fun anime with a SERIOUSLY fun character who’s all too appropriate for Villains Month. Stay Toon’d!

Villains can be some of the most fascinating characters in fiction. At times they’re super simple. But other times they’re marked by a complexity that makes them stand head-and-shoulders above almost any other character in the cast.
Lately, a lot of effort’s been going into making more nuanced villains the norm. Sometimes it comes from giving them a tragic backstory that shows you what events made them the way they are.
Sometimes nothing happened to them. They just grew up in a world or society where the values are a stark contrast to our own somehow. So when they meet characters who are more in-line with our own thinking, there’s naturally going to be a clash.
But there’s also been this big push towards more sympathetic villains, as well. Just because you understand why a villain turned out the way they did, that doesn’t mean you relate, let alone sympathize with them.
While there are countless ways to approach the concept of the sympathetic villain, one of my favorites is probably one of the toughest to do effectively – The Anti-Villain.
And wouldn’tcha know it? We happen to know of a great example!
From a really unexpected source, no less. So, let’s dig into… uh…
Hm? Riley? What’s up?
If… if I say this title, are you gonna be able to contain yourself?
Eh? What do you mean?
You know what I mean! Every time I say this, you go all Super Squeein’!
Heeeh? No I don’t, silly goose!
You’re… you’re kiddin’ me. Right?
Ahaha! How untrusting! Go ahead, go ahead. I’ll behave!
*sigh* A’right. Here goes. Ahem. Date A-!
TOHKAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!
DAMMIT, WOMAN! MY EARS!
*uncontrollable fangirl giggling*
*groan* THIS IS TOKI-… WAIT A SEC.
All right. There. Anyway, yeah. I’m Riley, she’s the inspiration for Siren-Head, and this is Tokisaki Kurumi: The Angelic Anti-Villain.
Ehehe… whoopsie.
Don’t you “whoopsie” me, ya human airhorn!
Whaaat? Isn’t it beautiful to be enthusiastic about something you love so much?
Tch. Whatever. So, here’s the thing. It’s hard to really talk about this in full detail because the anime hasn’t really gotten into everything yet and this isn’t like Medaka Box, where we’re not likely to get another season, anytime soon. There’s confirmed season 4. But as much as we want to stick to the anime, it’s gonna be difficult to avoid those spoilers.
But there’s still a lot of fun stuff to talk about with Kurumi, so instead of a typical essay video, consider this… A Bullet List!
4 Things That Make Tokisaki Kurumi an Awesome Anti-Villain.
Kurumi makes an impression pretty much instantly. Her design jumps out at you, even in her normal clothes. Her speech pattern stands out. And the overall tone of the story takes a dark turn, as soon as the focus shifts to her arc. They even had to throw in a cooldown episode before her arc, just to get the audience ready for her.
But for as in-your-face as Kurumi is in presentation, one thing that the series does a great job at is keeping her mysterious.
She obviously has her own motives. It’s stated from the very beginning. But they’re not fully explained, even after the fight with her.
Now – a whopping three seasons in – we still don’t really know what she’s up to.
Also, because the archetype plays so heavily with morality, it’s a great way to make you wonder what could drive her to behave this way?
Kurumi sees herself as an irredeemable monster. I personally wonder if that might have anything to do with what I know about her past and what led her down this path to begin with, but I digress. That was the whole reason she even threatened Shidou’s school. She was proving a point. That she was not someone he could win over like the others.
But that’s clearly not all there is to her. And unraveling the rest is part of the fun!
Just to clarify, the ambiguity here that works isn’t the nature of her actions. The series does not shy away from outright stating that she’s bad news and isn’t interested in excusing her actions. The ambiguity is in the “why” of her character.
As a general rule, an anti-villain is a close counterpart to the anti-hero – a villain whose actions are taken for good reason, as opposed to a hero whose actions are in bad faith. That’s the simplified version of those things, anyway. So what “good reason” could she possibly have for becoming what seems like a mass-murdering psychopath?
An effect that kind of comes from the ambiguity of Kurumi’s motivations and behavior is that she winds up being an incredibly dynamic character.
That’s also helped along by her personality, to be fair. She’s mysterious and a tease.
Right. It all combines to make for a huge part of her appeal. You just never know what she’s going to do next. That unpredictability means that any interaction with her can be wildly different from the last. One minute she’s trying to outright murder not only Shidou, but his entire school-
-And the next minute she’s playfully teasing him while also helping him save Tohka’s life.
She helps out Origami on what seems like a pure whim – it wasn’t, by the way, but it seemed like it, at the time.
And that’s just what she’s done so far. Wait until you read further into the novels and see more of the stuff she does.
But why’s that make her a good anti-villain? Well, the best anti-villains are wild-cards. Their conflicting nature means that they’re just as likely to perform genuinely heroic, or at least noble deeds as outright villainous ones. You just never know.
Going back to our episode on Frieza, that’s what made him so fun to watch during the Tournament of Power. For that arc – and that arc only – Frieza was an anti-villain. He was participating to save the universe – and himself, of course – but the way he approached the tournament was absolutely brutal.
But you could also see his participating as a heroic deed and his reasons as purely selfish, which is more in line with how an anti-hero behaves. That’s the trick. Most of the best anti-villains are nearly indistinguishable from anti-heroes. Kurumi slots well into that space, and the series has barely kicked off at all. Every time she does something “good,” you just know it’s for her own gain. But every time she does something “evil,” you can’t help but wonder if there’s a greater purpose to it all. And it makes it so you’re constantly guessing what each of her new appearances will bring. Because for good or for bad, the answer is always “change.”
Something that I think defines most good anti-villains is a sense of inner conflict. After all, if they’re fundamentally good people then it’s pretty likely they’ll feel bad about committing horrible deeds, regardless of how good their end goal is.
Yeah… Kurumi ain’t that character. At least, not at first. When we first see her, she’s basically a card-carrying villain. Evil laugh? Check. Homicidal outburst? Check and mate. But she’s not that one-dimensional. And we start seeing that come to light after Shidou saves her. Hell, we see a bit of it during the fight with Kotori, it’s just subtle.
Then there’s season 3, where she’s genuinely bothered after learning what happened with Origami.
If Kurumi were just an omnicidal maniac, that wouldn’t have fazed her. At all.
But the most telling example doesn’t even come from the main series. In one of the OVAs – which is canon, by the way – one of Kurumi’s time clones goes on a date with Shidou for no other reason than to enjoy her time with him. Because that clone was a version of her that was starting to fall in love with him, before… well…
You can probably guess what happens when the original finds them. But yeah. Here’s the thing… her time clones are actually just copies of her from different moments in time. Meaning that for as unflappable as Kurumi seems, there’s actual inner conflict going on in there. And knowing this makes her that much more compelling.
Anti-villains and anti-heroes are some of the most contradictory characters in fiction. Those contradictions lead to natural conflicts within themselves as much as with others. That’s why a lot of people find them more interesting than straight heroes and villains. While not impossible, it’s harder to get those conflicts out of pure heroes and total villains.
And that makes Kurumi perhaps not a rare breed, but a valuable one, nonetheless.

For the last entry on this list of ours, we’re not actually gonna tell ya the details.
Nope! Read the light novels and you’ll get it.
But, needless to say, Kurumi’s motivation is actually totally understandable once you know what her deal is.
It takes a while to get there, but it’s really worth the time investment. What we can say is that the motivation of any anti-villain is extremely important in how effectively they are, overall.
If Kurumi’s motivation was lame, upon us finally learning what it was, we probably wouldn’t be making this video to talk about her.
The best part is that you can actually trace back every single one of her significant actions to this motivation and it reveals new things about some pretty key moments. Like, for example, the fight with Kotori. The resolution of that battle always felt a little off, to me. But after learning more about Kurumi, a lot of things clicked into place.
Her powers, themselves, are also kind of symbollic in a way. The time part, not the darkness part. But, uh… methinks we may actually come back to that in our final episode of villains month because it just so happens that the subject of that one has similar abilities. Go figure.
In the meantime, what do you think about Kurumi?! Let us know, down below! And give that like button a zap while you’re down there!
Next time, we wrap up this Villains Month in style. Be sure to subscribe and ring that bell, ‘cause ya don’t wanna miss it. Trust me.
Eh? Why’d you say it like that?
Oh, no reason. Stay Toon’d


Rila – Mocha Vampire

Riley – AxusX
also on AstroPill

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One thought on “Tokisaki Kurumi: The Angelic Anti-Villain | Date A Live

  1. Pingback: My Favorite Anime Community Posts – 2020 Week 44 Edition | Crow's World of Anime

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