Date a Live is a light novel series written by Koushi Tachibana. There are 22 volumes released in Japan. The manga adaptation was adapted by Sekihiko Inui with 3 volumes.
It received multiple anime adaptations since 2013, each handled by a different studio. The first season adapted the first 4 novel volumes, the second season adapted volumes 5-7, and then the third adapted the volumes 8-12.
A fourth season is currently in production.
1. Release Date
In March 2020, it was announced that the Date a Live series would get a fourth season. Tachibana tweeted that apart from the spin-off movie: Date a Bullet, the main series would get a new anime as well.
Date a Live Season 4, titled Date a Live IV is scheduled to premiere in October 2021, the Fall 2021 Anime season.
The first three seasons were streamed worldwide on Crunchyroll, we can expect the upcoming season to be streamed on Crunchyroll too.
So far the fans have got to see only three seasons of the show and are now waiting for the fourth installment of the series.
Since we know that the season is a work in progress, let’s discuss the trailers and plot. Read below to know all the information about the Date a Live Season 4.
2. Production Issues for S4
I. Cause of Delay
The Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic greatly impacted the anime industry. Many anime episodes have been delayed and even entire seasons.
Date a Live was not left alone, the Date a Bullet movie is now scheduled to be released in October 2020.
II. Issues with Studio
The anime series, Date a Live, has suffered a lot from its productions. Back in 2013, when AIC Plus+ produced the first season and an OVA, the anime switched to Production IMS in 2014 for season 2 and a movie in 2015.
Then Production IMS declared bankruptcy, which stalled the productions for a great while, and then the anime was tossed over to J.C.Staff.
With so many changes, there is no wonder that the end product would suffer in terms of planning. If you look at the past there are examples on both sides.
Anime like Hayate the Combat Butler, which also changed studios and was the most well-liked amongst the fans. But on the other hand anime like Minami-ke, ended up going completely off track, from the color palette to the original character design.
However, with more time, the fans can envision the studio to pull a 180 with its animation quality and structured plots.
3. Popularity of Date a Live
The first season of the anime placed 8th on the Oricon charts on its first week of the debut. The PS3 game Date a Live: Rinne Utopia sold more than 23,000 copies on its first week of release in Japan.
The light novel series has sold more than 6 million copies to date. The cute action, harem-comedy is very popular amongst the fans as proved by a solid rating of 7.0 on IMDB and 7.29 on MyAnimeList.
Read ahead to find out what problems Shidou might face in the new season.
4. New Key Visuals
Director Jun Nakagawa (Date a Bullet) has given the project to the studio Geek Toys, which is also responsible for the production of the 2020 Plunderer anime.
But the official site has uploaded a key visual for the upcoming season.
It was released alongside the announcement and comments from Koushi Tachibana and illustrator Tsunako. They thanked their fans for supporting the franchise and to enjoy the next anime adaptation.
The main story is complete, but not dating! Season 4 has been decided to be produced.English Translation, Twitter Translation
Season 4 is set to adapt the volumes 13-15, as season 3 ends with Itsuka Disaster, which was volume 12.
5. Expected Plot & Spoilers
Season 4 is said to adapt the volumes 13 through 15. But it will have to return to volume 12 for a more fluid storytelling.
Shidou meets the 9th Spirit, Nia, at the side of the road collapsed in hunger. In order to make Nia (an otaku mangaka) fall for him, Shidou has to go on an otaku date with her. But Nia only loves 2D!?
The fans of Date a Live season 4 will have to wait for the release date to watch how Shidou manages to solve all his dating problems.
Hopefully, fans won’t have to wait for much until the story arcs of Mukuro and Nia are on the silver screen.
II. Fans’ Expectations
There are a lot of expectations on the fourth season after the fans experienced a horrible third season, in terms of plot and novel adaptation.
The main issue raised was that the third season rushed the entire volume 12 into one, single episode! The first 11 episodes were story arcs for Natsumi and Origami that were two separate books apiece.
But then J.C.Staff decided to bunch up an entire volume into the 12th episode, instead of turning it into an OVA episode series or just letting the third season be only 11 episodes.
One of the anticipation fans have is that season 4 will revamp volume 12 to fill in plot gaps.
The other matter is that the heart of the series: dating and harem girls, have been developed properly over the 3 seasons, but there are lots of scene transitions with no context given to the anime watchers.
There are moments when the anime makes you laugh and the novel followers are not willing to give up on the anime, because it has a lot of potential and hope there will be a better season that the viewers deserve for being patient for so long.
Date a Live Season 4 has anime fans both welcoming and dreading the prospect of the future sequel. After all, with the way the third season ended, how bad could the fourth season be?
6. Upcoming Movie
Date a Bullet is a spin-off series written by Yuichirou Higashide under Koushi Tachibana.
A 2-part film adaptation by Geek Toys was announced. The first part ‘Dead or Bullet’ will premiere on August 14, 2020, and the second part ‘Nightmare or Queen’ is set to release on November 13, 2020.
The movie is directed by Jun Nakagawa (director of High School Fleet), script by Yuichirou Higashide, and character designs by Naoto Nakamura.
Date a Live new animation project! Date a Bullet animation in progress!!English Translation, Twitter Translation
The story of the movie will follow the tale of an amnesiac girl named Empty. The trailer was officially released depicting the inevitable fight between Kurumi and the White Queen.
7. Studio & Animation
Let’s look into the technical details of this upcoming anime to check what influences the production of ‘Date a Live Season 4’.
I. Season 1
AIC PLUS+ division under the Anime International Company or AIC produced the first season of Date a Live.
The color palette of the first season was very vibrant and implementing it in the series made it very visually appealing. There are exciting bouts of ‘sakuga’ animation throughout the anime and just in action scenes.
The smaller moments are animated fluidly and it adds to the aesthetic environment.
II. Season 2
The second season was produced by Production IMS. This studio has a very integral level of performance in the last few years. It has created works like Inari Konkon, High School Fleet, Active Raid, and more.
The animation in the second season was subpar according to die-hard fans. It was not the best selling point, but it was also not unsatisfying at the same time.
Some characters brought life to the scenes, while some battles were a nice touch to the series.
III. Season 3
The third season was animated by J.C.Staff. They created works like Golden Time, Bakuman, Saiki Kusuo no Sai-nan, and more.
However, their attempt at Date a Live was not one of their finest. There seemed to be a decline in the animation quality over the course of 12 episodes.
Since the staff is well known for creating amazing works, it was disappointing to see that they didn’t attempt to redeem the previous seasons.
At first, the visuals and background art seem very pleasing, but the animation style degrades as the plot progresses and there is a very apparent lack of theme and color.
I. Season 1
Thirty years ago, the Eurasian continent was devastated by a supermassive spatial quake, a phenomenon involving space vibrations of unknown origin, resulting in the deaths of over 150 million people.
Since then, these quakes have been plaguing the world intermittently, albeit on a lighter scale.
Shidou Itsuka is a high school student who lives with his younger sister, Kotori. When a spatial quake threatens the safety of Tengu City, he rushes to save her, only to be caught in the resulting eruption.
He discovers a mysterious girl at its source, who is revealed to be a Spirit, supernatural entity whose appearance triggers a spatial quake.
Soon after, he gets involved in a fight between the girl and the Anti-Spirit Team, a ruthless strike force to annihilate Spirits.
However, there is a third party that believes in saving the spirits, Ratatoskr, which surprisingly is commanded by Shidou’s little sister!
Kotori forcibly recruits Shidou after the clash, presenting to him an alternative method of dealing with the danger posed by the Spirits: make them fall in love with him. Now, the fate of the world rests on his dating prowess, as he seeks out Spirits to charm them.
The first season is surprisingly capable of affecting emotions. The girls in the harem are given characterization beyond the common tropes of ecchi and catfight goodness.
Though it is full of ill-defined scientific jargon, the exploration of the series is more on the ‘dating a girl to save the world’ theme rather than special quakes or other nonsense.
This season was well received by the fans, as it has ‘smart-comedy’ and was fun to watch.
II. Season 2
Continuing from season one, Shidou goes about his school life while encountering new spirits. He works with Ratatoskr to seal their powers, just as you’d expect.
However, this season presents a new threat to Shido and Ratatoskr – DEM Industries, a large corporation run by a man who has a keen interest in spirits.
DEM Industries supplies much of the equipment and weaponry used in anti-spirit warfare, including supplies used by the AST. Partway through the season the challenge shifts from sealing spirits themselves to fighting DEM Industries.
The one thing that would be unique to the plot of season 2 from the first is the relationship between Tooka and Shidou. There are multiple sides of Tooka shown in season 2. When she starts questioning her relationship with Shidou, the viewers get a better understanding of her personality.
However, the season feels very incomplete with many questions left unanswered at the end. This is something the fans will have to watch the follow-up movie to bring the story to its conclusion.
III. Season 3
Shidou Itsuka carries on with his quest for Ratatoskr in finding Spirits and trying to seal their powers, all while maintaining his relationships with the ones he had already sealed.
Moreover, as new Spirits appear, he must undergo more complicated trials—all to put a stop to further disasters as he discovers more about the Spirits’ origin.
The story of season 3 returns with a very familiar formula where the main protagonist Shido tries to seal spirits to his body.
The first arc picked up in this season involves Natsumi, who is the seventh spirit. The second half takes a more serious tone and introduces an old character named Origami.
But, this season lacks proper character development for either of them, even if it was more focused on Natsumi who came out at the start. The storyline overreaches and falls short. The fans had high expectations with this arc and felt disappointed.
Though to watch season 4, you will have to watch season 3 to get a complete gist of events.
9. Cast & Staff
The following are the cast and staff members for the Date a Live season 4:
|Series Composition||Hideki Shirane|
|Character Design||Satoshi Ishino and Koji Watanabe|
|Character||Voice Actors||Famous Works|
|Shidou Itsuka||Nobunaga Shimazaki||Furuya Satoru (Diamond no Ace), Nanase Haruka (Free!)|
|Kotori Itsuka||Taketatsu Ayana||Kayano Kaede (Assassination Classroom), Kirigaya Suguha (Sword Art Online|
|Tooka Yatogami||Inoue Marina||Yaoyorozu Momo (My Hero Academia), Arlert Armin (Attack on Titan)|
|Yobiichi Origami||Togashi Misuzu||Amano Yukiteru (Mirai Nikki), Uchida Shin (Boruto)|
10. About Date a Live
Ordinary high school student, Shidou, discovers a mysterious girl at ground zero of a recent space quake. Shidou learns through his sister, Kotori, that the girl is one of the Spirits.
Spirits are mystical creatures responsible for the space quakes. Shidou is recruited to help ‘seal’ the spirits and end their threat to mankind.
There’s one catch – the only way to seal a spirit is to make her fall in love with you.