I had never seen any of the Da Capo series before , but after hearing about how good Da Capo I was, I thought that maybe I should give this franchise a shot. Since Da Capo III was airing last season, it was my first foray into the Da Capo universe… and I was sorely disappointed. I’ll just cut to the chase and say that the series was utter crap… so why did I keep watching to the end?
Before I answer that, I’ll just go through some of the background. Da Capo III is the third major title in a series of dating-sim visual novels by Circus, all of which have gotten an anime adaptation. The Da Capo III anime was produced by Kazami Gakuen Koushiki Douga-bu, a newcomer in the animation studio world, and consisted of 13 episodes which aired during the winter 2013 season. The series was directed by Kenichi Ishikura in his first role as head director. Like the previous Da Capo series, Da Capo III takes place on Hatsune Island and it revolves around the mystery surrounding the sudden blossoming of a magical cherry blossom.
There are several things that’ll keep me watching an anime: good story, action/suspense, entertaining comedy, and pretty girls.
Lets start with the story. Being a fan of popular visual novel adaptations such as Kanon and ef, and even less popular adaptations such as Sola, I was expecting Da Capo III to offer something along the same lines in terms of plot and drama. All dating-sim visual novels follow the same basic structure: girls have problems, guy solves problems, girls fall (more) in love, guy picks one girl. The girl problems are the bread and butter of these series as they really tug at your heartstrings and make you feel for the characters. This is where Da Capo III dropped the ball. The girl problems in this series were: the main character doesn’t spend as much time with one of them, one of them sleeps in, one of them sucks at sports, one of them is jealous (more than the others), one of them gets a cold, and one of them is a time traveler or something. Seriously, where is the domestic violence? where’s the bullying? where is the neglect and self-loathing? Without any drama, Da Capo III puts you to sleep relatively quickly.
As for action and suspense, there is none.
Comedy is few and far between. Unlike many main characters from similar series, Kiyotaka Yoshino is a major buzz kill. Whenever one of the girls gets mad at him, he calmly diffuses the situation, there is no Naru-punch or pail in the face to laugh at. Really, the only comedy comes from accidental run-ins with some of the girls, which are designed to provide some fanservice.
Now on to the final thing that’ll keep me watching a series, pretty girls, otherwise known as bishoujo. Da Capo III is full of them and they’re mostly perfect in their own way. As far as Harems go, Kiyotaka has one that’ll make most anime characters jealous. Of the main cast, my favourite bishoujo in order are: Ricca Morizono, Himeno Katsuragi, Sara Rukawa, Charles Yoshino, and Aoi Hinomoto. Shiki Edogawa was also cute. Naturally, a series that relies on bishoujo has to have good animation quality so there were no issues there. Just so you can see who each character is, below are some screenshots.
In the end, Da Capo III is just one of those anime that you watch for the bishoujo. Don’t expect anything else from it, especially a story.