Idea Factory International has finally released a Date A live title in the west and this might be a little bigger than you thought. You see, the Date A Live series has been going strong in Japan since 2011 when the Light Novel, written by Kōshi Tachibana, first released in the region. Yes, that’s right, Date A Live was first released as a Light Novel. Interestingly, the Light Novels had illustrations by artist Tsunako, who you might know as the character designer for the Neptunia series.
The series itself follows the main protagonist Shido Itsuka who was more or less a normal high school student. One day his world turns completely upside down when he learns of the existence of Spirits from different dimensions who exist in the real world. Also, it just so happens that his adoptive sister is a member of an elite group who specializes in sealing the abilities of Spirits.
He then learns that a series of disasters have been the cause of a Spirit’s power and he finds himself at the frontline after its discovered that he can seal the powers of the Spirits by making them fall in love with him which is followed by many comical situations. However, the story does include moments of seriousness as the characters each have a backstory and personalities that give it a purpose beyond seeing some cute anime girls.
When it comes to the video game adaptation of the Light Novel, developer Compile Heart didn’t opt to simply retell the story. Instead, the team created an original storyline with all the characters from the Light Novel series titled Date A Live: Rinne Utopia. This release introduced a new original character named Rinne Sonogami and followed the events of an already established group of friends. The title was released on Playstation 3 in 2013 in Japan before heading to PlayStation Vita in 2015 but was never released in the west.
This exclusion of a western release for the series would continue throughout the series as the developer release a follow-up entry, Date A Live: Ars Install, on PS3 in 2014 in Japan without any word of the game ever reaching western audiences. Fans perhaps lost hope especially after a new story released featuring a new character in 2015 along with returning ones, but again no word on localization.
For years, the Date A Live series was in a place where western fans were left wondering if they’d ever get the chance to play it stateside. However, publisher Idea Factory International seemed to pick up on the western demand for the series when they announced that they would be localizing it in the west as Date A Live: Rio Reincarnation. What’s important about this release is that it includes each of the titles that have been absent from the west since the series debuted on PS3.
PR Coordinator at Idea Factory International Robert Agustin commented on the reception for the series in the west saying, “Before I even knew that Date A Live: Rio Reincarnation was headed to the west, I noticed that fans during Anime Expo 2018 were lining up for Tsunako’s autograph with Date A Live merchandise. I think at this moment, I realized that the hype was definitely real.” Robert then adds, “For a while now, fans waited patiently for the Western release and we’re happy to see Date A Live fans react really positively with our announcements… especially the Kurumi body pillow that’s included with the Limited Edition release.”
The history of Date A Live: Rio Reincarnation makes it more than just an everyday comedic romance visual novel. Its a win for western fans of a niche series that probably would have never seen a localization had they not expressed demand for it. Most importantly, it’s a series that was receiving support without even a western tease since 2013 and now western fans can finally enjoy it. The visual novel genre has come along way in the west and the western release of Date A Live: Rio Reincarnation, which includes Date A Live: Rinne Utopia and Date A Live: Ars Install, proves that.
Date A Live: Rio Reincarnation is available now on PlayStation 4 and PC-via Steam.
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