Otome Visual Novel Releases of April 2014

This month, we’ll be taking a look at:

~ Houkago Colorful*Step ~Bunka-bu!~
~ Juuzaengi ~Engetsu Sangokuden~ 2
~ Chronostacia
~ Kuroyuki Hime ~Snow Black~
~ ONEDARI ShareMate [R18+]
~ Torikago no Marriage [R18+]

Since this is the first time I’m posting something like this, a brief explanation is in order. I’ve seen other websites and blogs jot down upcoming releases, and provide opinions on them. I like that idea, so I’ve made it a goal to try and do the same every month. I’ll be providing a YouTube link to a game’s PV/OP/Demo movie, small bits of information (like its platform and release date), the game’s voice cast, a translation of the official website’s plot summary and finally, my first impressions and general opinions.

I hope you find value in these posts, as I do enjoy writing them.

 

 

 

Houkago Colorful*Step ~Bunka-bu!~

 

 

Release date: 10-4-2014
Developer: Honeybee
Publisher: Honeybee
Platform: PSP
Age rating: CERO B (12+)
Official website: http://www.honeybee-cd.com/colorful_step.html

 

*Cast*

Hinayama Uguisu – Tachibana Shinnosuke
Ashizawa Iori – Namikawa Daisuke
Akinashi Sorachi – Suzumura Ken’ichi
Satou Yahiro – Ishida Akira
Sumeragi Riou – Kaji Yuuki
Saionji Shouya – Morikubo Shoutarou

 

*Plot Summary*

Tokiwa Academy is a private high school that places a large emphasis on school clubs.

So much so, that there is a rule that club membership is compulsory.

Second-year transfer students, twins Kohinata Natsuko (Undou-bu’s protagonist) and Haruko (Bunka-bu’s protagonist) mulled over which club to join.

After exploring many clubs, the girls finally boiled down their choices between two clubs each.

Which club will you choose?

 

*My Thoughts*

The site’s plot summary gives quite little to go on (as it’s a generalised summary for both games), so I’d like to add on a bit of extra information. Bunka-bu’s protagonist is Kohinata Haruko, who is the opposite of her sister- Haruko is calm, quiet and not so good at sports. Haruko, or you, rather, have a choice between two different culture clubs- the Theatre Club or the Wind Instrument Club. There are six love interests in the game overall, but three per club. If you choose to join the Theatre Club, you can play Uguisu, Iori or Sorachi’s routes. If you choose to join the Wind Instrument Club, you can select from Yahiro, Riou or Shouya’s routes.

Hm… there’s nothing wrong with this premise! However, this may just be me, but I don’t find myself wanting to join both clubs. Neither of them really interest me. I’m getting the impression that characters are the emphasis of this game, but… They seem just “okay”, but nobody really stands out. I guess I kind of like the bespectacled, socially withdrawn first year belonging to the Theatre Club, Sorachi, but hm… Definitely not enough to abandon all doubts and play this game. That’s the thing about this game, I think. Everything just seems “okay”, except for the art and voice cast, which is above par. Nothing unique about the premise, characters, art, gameplay or its system. This kind of thing is the hardest to write about without repeating myself, because I have no strong opinions on the matter. If I were to put it as simply as possible, I’d say that this is a safe- or at its worst- a bland choice whose themes just happen to not interest me. Even if I were interested, I’d certainly approach this with low standards, given that Undou-bu hasn’t been received very well, apparently being riddled with system faults that have yet to be rectified by Honeybee. I also hear it’s quite text-heavy, slow-paced and the individual routes are short. If the reviews can be trusted, I hope for those that plan on giving Bunka-bu a try that it’s way better than its predecessor!

Unfortunately for Bunka-bu, it gets the dubious honour of being a game I have absolutely no feelings towards whatsoever, thus, I’ll be passing on this.

 

Juuzaengi ~Engetsu Sangokuden~ 2

 

Release date: 17-4-2014
Developer: Otomate
Publisher: IDEA FACTORY
Platform: PSP
Age rating: CERO C (15+)
Official website: http://www.otomate.jp/jyuzaengi2/

 

* Cast *

~Ryuubi Forces~
Ryuubi – Ishida Akira
Chouhi – Okamoto Nobuhiko
Chou’un – Suzumura Ken’ichi
Shokatsuryou – Sakurai Takahiro
Chouseihei – Fujiwara Keiji
Kantei – Katsu Anri
Chousosou – Yonaga Tsubasa

~Sousou Forces~
Sousou – Toriumi Kousuke
Kakouton – Suzuki Tatsuhisa
Chouryou – Yusa Kouji
Kakouen – Namikawa Daisuke
Kaku – Ichijou Kazuya
Kakuka – Suzuki Yuuto

~Sonken Forces~
Sonken – Matsuoka Yoshitsugu
Shuuyu – Morita Masakazu
Shoukou – Shintani Ryouko
Kougai – Ishi’i Kouji

~Others~
Ryuuhyou – Iwasaki Masami
Ryuuki – Yamashita Sei’ichirou

 

* Plot Summary *

Late in the Han Dynasty of China…

During the turbulent times brought on by the cunning and wicked Sousou, the “Maozoku (cat race)” were removed from their hidden village. They’re a race with with the body of a human and ears of a beast, said to be descendants of the cat-shaped youkai known as the “Kinme (golden eyes)”. For this reason, the Maozoku are despised by humans. Humans are told of an old legend in which cats are an outcast of the 12 signs of the zodiac. Calling cats “Juuza (13th sign of the zodiac)”, the humans scorn them.

Having been caught in the middle of the humans’ conflicts, the curse of the Kinme that had been lying within the head of the Maozoku, Ryuubi, gets amplified. As result, Ryuubi became cruel and wicked; hijacking the Enshou Forces and attempting to use them to slaughter thousands upon thousands of humans. However, due to Kan’u (the protagonist) and her fellow Maozoku’s life-risking efforts, they were able to stop Ryuubi. Thus, Ryuubi returned to his original form of a child, and the curtains close on the Battle of Guandu.

From then on, half a year passes.

Sousou rose in power, dominating the Heibei province with his unrelenting power. The Maozoku now live quietly deep within the mountains of Sousou’s country, in a region called Kyoto… much like old times. However, it was not to last, as Sousou razed their peaceful times because of his desire to suppress the Wuhan (proto-Mongolic nomadic people). Taking advantage of Sousou’s absence, the humans of Kyoto rebelled and brutalised the Maozoku. The Maozoku continued to be on the receiving end of the humans’ irrational acts of violence. Unable to retaliate, they were chased out of their village.

In the time of upheaval, the wheels of fate are sure to circle again for both the Maozoku and the humans…

 

* My Thoughts*

Wow… sounds very interesting! I can’t believe I didn’t pay attention to its prequel, as this game has a lot of what I’m after. I’m liking everything about it thus far- the premise, the characters, the voice cast, the art and even the site’s background music is nice. I usually get put-off by seeing a massive list of characters, but in this setting I think it’s justified and I doubt every single one of them will have individual routes. Moreover, I get put off by kemonomimi, as it just frustrates me. In addition, Otomate has a bit of a rep for going “either way” in spite of interesting premises… Even so, I’m willing to put my doubts aside and pick up this title. Anyway, I love war stories (especially of the complicated and tragic varieties), and I’m even more interested as it’s set in past China. There’s also a neat package Otomate is offering- you get both the prequel and sequel for 8,880 yen. This deal is the final push I needed to try the series! I think I’m a bit too easy to win over… ( ̄□ ̄;)

 

 

Chronostacia

 

 

Release date: 24-4-2014
Developer: Otomate, Sanctuary
Publisher: IDEA FACTORY
Platform: PSP
Age rating: CERO C (15+)
Official website: http://www.otomate.jp/chronostacia/

 

*Cast*

Kyougo Nagi – Oosaka Ryouta
Tio – Matsuoka Yoshitsugu
Clive Neil – Midorikawa Hikaru
Horriku Sol – Fujiwara Keiji
Eva – Abe Atsushi
Adam – Abe Atsushi
Orufeus Rex Albion – Hino Satoshi
Maririn – Okitsu Kazuyuki
Amiru – Hatano Wataru
Horikkuma – Fujita Saki
Osakimakkuma – Fujita Saki

 

* Plot Summary *

“Only 99 days until the world ends… I wonder who I’ll be with when I hear the last grain of sand fall before I die?”

Watched over by the “Giant Hourglass of The World Tree”, the grand capital of Albion boasts great splendour.

10 years ago, by means of the “Time Revolution”, methods to control and manage time propogated. All humans gave their time to “BANK”, the time bank, to look after, or sold their time and rejoiced in lives of luxury. Before humanity knew it, “time” was no longer something that was “irreplaceable”.

17-year-old Lucia (the protagonist) has no memory of her childhood. Even so, she lives a fun and quiet life helping her uncle out at his café.

One day, big news spread throughout the capital like a wildfire…

“The time that was stored in BANK was stolen by an unknown organisation. There’s only 99 days left until the world ends!”

As the city’s lively atmosphere was slowly changing to that of  bewilderment and confusion, Lucia happens upon “a small hourglass”. After the hourglass sheds a faint light in her hands, it gifts her with a certain power.

That power is to stop time with her thoughts, “Chronostasis”.

The story comes to life in a city with an atmosphere like that of after a lively festival, coupled with the feelings of Lucia and her “precious somebody”.

 

*My Thoughts*

Hmm… very nice! I’ve yet to see this movie yet, but it vaguely reminds me of the premise of a film called “In Time“. I honestly don’t mean this in a “YOU COPYCAT, OTOMATE!” way, but I wonder if it’s just a coincidence or the writers of Chronostacia were inspired by this? I definitely will give Chronostacia a try, however, I won’t be holding my breath. I realise that Otomate is a company with many different writers, plus Sanctuary will be having a hand in this… Even so, there’s still a chance that Otomate will royally butcher this. Time isn’t a easy concept to write about, and can produce many plotholes that can disqualify the story. Some Otomate titles even have issues with much simpler concepts, so I’m a little worried about this. Also, the protagonist seems like your typical boring, bland otome girl, and in additon, none of the characters really stick out to me as saying, “PLAY MY ROUTE, I’M REALLY INTERESTING!” Perhaps I’ll go for Kyougo Nagi first, simply because he’s voiced by Oosaka Ryouta. Yes, a terrible reason, and yes, that’s how uninteresting I’m finding the characters so far. Regardless, I prefer to keep an open and optimistic mind, so I’ll add this to my backlog. Maybe I’m just easy to please, but the premise is too interesting to let go.

 

 

Kuroyuki Hime ~Snow Black~

 

 

Release date: 24-4-2014
Developer: QuinRose
Publisher: QuinRose
Platform: PSP
Age rating: CERO D (17+)
Official website: http://quinrose.com/game/kuroyuki/top.html

 

*Cast*

Reviens Tendre – Tsuda Kenjirou
Falco Lauder – Okiayu Ryoutarou
Fahren Heit – Sakurai Takahiro
Dune Baxter – Sugiyama Noriaki
Omnia Campbell – Itou Kentarou
Chamade Ricci – Hiyama Nobuyuki
Lupino Rochas – Toriumi Kousuke
Loreille Adelaide – Ookawa Tooru
Jeanne Bush – Ishida Kayo
Mirror – Yonaga Tsubasa

 

*Plot Summary*

The protagonist and princess of the kingdom of Tresor is nicknamed “Snow White”, due to the similarities of their beauty. She was once a commoner, but due to her beauty, the king wanted her to become his foster daughter, but with a condition- as long as she agreed to be wedded in the future for political reasons. She accepted.

Her peaceful life came to an end after the prime minister Reviens Tendre rebelled. His capabilities as a prime minister were so excellent that other countries were once trying to recruit him. However, he became overwhelmed by the protagonist Snow White’s beauty, and escaped in women’s clothing for reasons unknown. Reviens had killed every last member of the royal family but the protagonist, and became the country’s ruler as its “queen”.

The protagonist had become the sole remaining member of the royal family. From then on, her life in confinement began.

One day, three years later, the protagonist had finally managed to escape and ventured into a deep forest. There, she met a group individuals who hold a grudge against the “queen”, known as “The Alliance of Seven”.

Even though he had treated the protagonist heartlessly thus far, in truth, the “queen” apparently is in love with her. Since the protagonist escaped his clutches, he has become half-crazed.

Will the protagonist, the last surviving member of the royal family, be able to take back her country?

Like the poisoned apple, this story is sinister, yet enchanting.

 

*My Thoughts*

The title may be boring as, but I guess it does the job of conveying that it’s a “dark Snow White-inspired tale”. I love fairytales, and I’ve been waiting for Snow White to get an adaptation. Maybe there has been one in the past, but I somehow managed to miss it? Anyway, I’ve never played a QuinRose game before, but I’m a little concerned since I’ve been hearing rumours that they’re not as great as they once were. People have mentioned reduced art and story quality, the latter of which is the bigger concern to me. However, those complaints were chiefly directed at their long-running Kuni no Alice series, so again, I’m going to be optimistic! I like how the protagonist seems like the “strong type”- she fought on for three years to escape imprisonment. This also indicates that she might be more intelligent than the average otome protagonist, which is always welcome… I wonder how she escaped? Due to the rating of the game, it’s not entirely unreasonable to expect some dark themes, which again, is always welcome in my books.

There are many love interests, which is ordinarily a point of contention, but given they’re clearly meant to represent the Seven Dwarves, I’ll be happy to accept it. Putting the laughable naming sense of the writers aside… I like the character designs. I find that Falco is easily the most physically attractive in my books, but Reviens is probably the character I’m the most interested in. I wonder if his motive really is as hollow as what essentially boils down to power? It’s pretty silly that he could become the queen of the country, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to take that aspect seriously. I just can’t imagine nobody finding him out, you know?

This game is giving me a Black Wolves Saga -Bloody Nightmare- vibe! I like stories involving politics, especially power stuggles to reach the top. I have high hopes in this game and sincerely wish that my first experience with QuinRose will be a memorable one. I’d be sorely disappointed if Kuroyuki sucks. ( p_q)

 

 

ONEDARI ShareMate [R18+]

 

 

Release date: 25-4-2014
Developer: A’sRing
Publisher: A’sRing
Platform: PC (Windows)
Age rating: CERO Z (R18+)
Official website: http://asring.1000.tv/top.html (you’ll need a Japanese proxy to access the official site.)

 

*Cast*

Serizawa Haruto – Kondou Takashi (Ooishi Keizou)
Minemura Yuzuki – Kakihara Tetsuya (Kaiouraku)
Minemura Itsuki – Satou Takuya (Domon Netsu)
Fritz Wittgenstein – Nakazawa Masatomo (Sawa Manaka)
Isozaki Ryousuke – Itou Kentarou (Healthy Tarou)
Kai Shintarou – Ichijou Kazuya

 

*Plot Summary*

Sakaiya Ayumi (25 years old protagonist), who dislikes men a little bit, is a teacher working for the private Futaba Academy. Having already been thinking about leaving her parents’ place, Ayumi decides to rent a room in a sharehouse called “Perche”, after being offered by her older brother-in-law, Kai Shintarou, its owner.

“I wonder what the two people already living here are like?”

With high hopes within her heart, Ayumi opens Perche’s door… and a certain something jumps into her field of vision-

“My housemates are all men?!”

Like this, Ayumi’s life with her two male housemates begin…

What awaits? A sweet love? A sordid love affair? A love triangle?

Who are the two housemates you’ll choose?

The story will change depending on who you’ll choose as your roomates in this romance AVG!

 

*My Thoughts*

The debut title of a brand new otome company, A’sRing (pronounced “Azring”)! I’ve actually had a chance to play the trial, which can be downloaded here from Holyseal. The premise isn’t interesting at all, but what drew me to try Onedari out was its key system- that is, being able to choose which two housemates you’d like Ayumi to live with. I really like this idea, and I played the trial over and over again just to see how the two of the four guys you can choose (Haruto, Itsuki, Yuzuki and Fritz) interact with one another. If you play the trial as well, you’ll quickly notice that certain guys can’t be put together. It’s still unclear why this is, but I’m thinking because it’s the trial, or because certain combinations may contradict the plot otherwise. Also, it seems that you’re not able to choose Shintarou or Ryousuke… but again, no idea if this is because of the trial, or because they’re secondary characters. I’m not at all bothered by this, because I’m happy with Ayumi’s relationship with Shintarou staying as siblings-in-law, plus you don’t even get to meet Ryousuke in the trial! ヽ(゚Д゚)ノ

Even though I did play the trial quite a few times, I still can’t decide if I’m playing this game or not. The biggest problem for me with the trial is that it only lasts three in-game days, and they go by VERY quickly! It simply felt like I hadn’t got enough to go on. Granted, you get the gist of a pair’s relationship… like how Itsuki and Yuzuki’s tension is palpable, and Haruto and Itsuki having a younger-older brother type of relationship (though probably minus the closeness usual in siblings). I guess A’sRing doesn’t want to give too much away, but by providing practically nothing to bite on, they may have a tough time keeping the more discriminate otome gamer interested enough to buy the game. I was looking forward to a more “mature” protagonist, but Ayumi is no different to your run-of-the-mill high school protag. I don’t know if she has an excuse, but a 25-year-old should be at least a little maturer than her! To compound my doubts about her, she’s not very interesting. I love her cute design, but so far, her good points end there. Worse case scenario, this is more on the nukige side and A’sRing simply had nothing to really offer, story-wise.

To go on the positives, I like how the guys appear more mature-looking, if that makes sense. I think it’s the way the artist draws their eyes and overall build? Also, again, I’m still interested in the choosing-a-housemate system, however gimmicky it is. Also, the characters aren’t very original so far, but I found them to be endearing. Haruto is so adorable- his cheerfulness is infectious and put a smile on my face a couple of times. There are hints that he may be putting on a front, which again, isn’t a very new concept for his type of character, but since I do like him, I wonder what’s going on with him. As for Itsuki, I do like coodere (some cases he doubles as a tsundere too) like him, but am also intrigued as to what “circumstances” (as he put it) would tie a man like him to a sharehouse. Of course, the fact that I find him the most visually attractive also helps, and yes, I definitely want to see him “dere”! As for Fritz, nothing really sticks out so far, but he is a gentle and pleasant man that makes you feel calm. In short, not very interesting, but pleasant to have around. Yuzuki might be voiced by one of my favourites, Kakihara Tetsuya, but that’s not enough for me to be interested in him. Who knows, he may surprise me and actually be my favourite if I do play this, but as things stand, I like him the least out of the four main guys.

TL;DR, conflicted about this game, am still in the process of deciding what I’ll do.

 

 

Torikago no Marriage [R18+]

 

 

Release date: 25-4-2014
Developer: Kalmia8
Publisher: Kalmia8
Platform: PC (Windows)
Age rating: CERO Z (R18+)
Official website: http://www.kalmia8.jp/mariage/

 

*Cast*

Fuji’i Kanako – Ogura Yui
Shingyouji Yuuto – Kawada Shinji (Wasshoi Tarou)
Saegusa Shouta – Hatano Wataru (Haruno Kaze)
Hayama Tsukasa – Kawahara Yoshihisa (Hatoman Gunsou)
Shingyouji Souichi – Kurehi Yuu (?)
Sakuragawa Makoto – Majima Junji (Suga Kiya)

 

*Plot Summary*

Kanako (the protagonist) loses her father due to an abrupt accident. Because of his passing, the massive debt of the company he once lead awaited her. She had no time to grieve.

Her mother had passed away when she was a child, so she no longer has any relatives she can rely on. When she was completely at a loss, a saviour had extended his hand for her to hold…

…The hand belonged to Shingyouji Souichi, a representative belonging to a large enterprise who apparently is an old friend of her father’s.

Souichi had quickly repaid the debt, started a new business, hired all of the staff from her father’s company, and on top of that, officially becomes Kanako’s guardian.

Set to live in the Shingyouji family’s main home, Kanako gets picked up by Hayama Tsukasa, who was her father’s secretary, and gets lead to a location appointed by Souichi. She finds out that it’s not the Shingyouji mansion she’ll be living in, but in an apartment where his two sons live on their own.

Instructed to cohabitate with the brothers, Kanako felt uneasy. During her unease, Souichi mentions something that kicked her further down…

“Choose one of them to marry. Whoever you choose will takeover my company.”

Thinking of how much Souichi had done for her and the employees left over by her father’s company, she couldn’t refuse.

Little by little, not even Kanako herself has realised… that she’s slowly being lead into a birdcage…

 

*My Thoughts*

Last cab off the rank! Another new R18+ otome company’s debut title! Hiyo will be directing Torikago, and apparently won’t be writing anything. I really don’t understand Hiyo’s popularity (granted it’s the Japanese otome gamers that love her). She’s a very average writer and her works, while not the absolute worst the otome genre has on offer, are undeserving on the zealous praise. However, since she will be directing rather than writing, again, I’m going to be optimistic. You never know… she might be a fantastic director! The first reservation I have is with the premise. I tend to look down upon stories that force characters together too much- it just feels really lazy. There is no indication why Souichi wants Kanako to marry one of his sons to this extent, but perhaps that’s one of the selling points of the game. I don’t have a lot of faith that the reason is going to be anything memorable, though. I guess I’ll play the trial if and when it becomes available to see if I’ll care, but so far, this is where I stand.

None of the characters interest me. It’s been a long time since I read an entire character profile page and thought, “Gee, I don’t care about any of these guys. Not a bit. Not at all.” Even so, I like how Kanako isn’t the typical “totally normal, happy, overly positive” popular otome protagonist archetype. Another positive point to mention is the art. I really liked the artwork in Akazukin to Mayoi no Mori. Though gorgeous, the artist definitely had issues with consistency (or had assistants who were bad at their job)! I’m no art buff, but when I start to notice inconsistencies in most of the CGs, an artist is doing something terribly wrong. That being said, the preview CGs provided by the website is looking okay so far.

Hm… I don’t think I’ll bother with this game unless its trial changes my mind about my doubts.

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One thought on “Otome Visual Novel Releases of April 2014

  1. Pingback: 🐵 2014 in Review 🐵 | Purple Nurple Wonderland

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