Date A Live Volume 2: Puppet Yoshino continues the story of Shido Itsuka and Spirits in this light novel harem story. The story is by Koushi Tachibana, Tsunako illustrates it, and the translation is by Jocelyne Allen. Spatial quakes that can kill millions plague the world. In the first volume, Shido learns Spirits, girls who appear from somewhere else, cause those quakes. So, AST (Anti-Spirit Team), a military unit, hunts the Spirits to kill them before to prevent these catastrophes. With the help of Shido’s adopted sister, Kotori, Shido must stop the Spirits by sealing their power with a kiss.  

Prior to Date A Live Volume 2: Puppet Yoshino, we learn Shido sealed Tohka’s power inside him with a kiss. Unfortunately, Shido didn’t realize that Tohka is not the only Spirit out there and so the next volume begins. A new Spirit, Yoshino, appears who carries a puppet, Yoshinon, on her arm, so Kotori enlists Shido’s help once more. But Tohka feels confused about her emotions about Shido and his new mission, Yoshino. Shido also has his hands full with his classmate, Origami, who is one of the AST members and his…girlfriend? It’s complicated. 

Harem Series With A Twist & Moving Characters

Firstly, if you are not a fan of harems (stories where girls all flock to one guy) in anime and manga, this story may not entertain. Yet, the story and dating sims used to save the world is unique even in the world of harems. After all, to seal their powers, Shido can’t walk up and force a kiss on Spirit. There needs to be affection and trust for the kiss to work.

So Kotori and her team’s dating sims help Shido to train and woo the Spirits. The sim gives three options for Shido to say, which her team then votes on. It doesn’t always go down well, but it’s hilarious that the world’s safety rests on a dating sim. 

Date A Live Volume 2 cover image of Yoshino in a dress, green jacket with bunny ear hood and a bunny puppet in her left hand.

The other part is the story and mystery. We still don’t know where Spirits come from. Nor do we understand why Spirits cause space quakes when they arrive by force. There is also the mystery of Shido’s ability to seal a Spirit’s power. Since he is not related to Kotori, where did he come from, and what occurred that placed him with Kotori’s family? There has so far been little in the way of backstory. Shido doesn’t stand out as a lead character, but often in harems, the girls all gravitate toward a guy who is, for the most part, unremarkable. 

As we see Shido interact with Yoshino, we learn a bit more about his emotions. He cares about the Spirits. It pains him to see them miserable, so, like with Tohka, he decides to help Yoshino so that she is no longer a threat. If successful, Yoshino will then be safe from the AST. Yoshino is quiet, scared, and shy. That is why her puppet, Yoshinon, does the talking when they are together. The other characters and the mystery of Shido’s ability keep readers invested.

Shido may be unremarkable in some regards, but his level of empathy is itself magical. Characters in this volume get to show off a broader range of emotions. Even Kotori has occasions of fear and doubt. It does not play the same exact moments with a new Spirit.

Of Course It Is A Harem After All

But for fans of the more ecchi side of harems, moments are sprinkled throughout the light novel. These debacles are thanks to Kotori’s training for Shido. He winds up in several compromising positions with Tohka, who, of course, faults him. For the most part, in this volume, they felt unnecessary and hindered my enjoyment of the novel at times. Still, the story is distinct even in the world of harems due to the dating sims part and Shido’s self-awareness of harem tropes.

Date A Live Volume 2: Puppet Yoshino is an adorable continuation of the first. There are enough questions and steady world-building to look forward to future volumes. Hopefully, they continue making the story entertaining enough for those who have had their fill of harems. Each new Spirit’s arrival will give us another piece of the puzzle. We can learn more about Spirits, space quakes, and Shido’s power. 

Feature image courtesy of Yen Press

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