After a quiet month that was June, July is going back to the “4-games-a-month” trend with the following titles set for release:
~ Soukai Buccaneers! (17-7-2014) (EDIT 28/7/2014: According to the countdown voices, it’s actually “Soukai”, not “Sayaka”.)
~ RE:VICE[D] (24-7-2014)
~ Majo’ou (31-7-2014)
~ Enkeltbillet (31-7-2014)
Not a bad month at all to be an otome gamer! I feel as though every month has an example of a game that looks “lacking” or just otherwise a useless remake/spin-off/sequel/side story/whatever other weak excuse to milk dat ca$h cow. To name examples documented in my blog, for April we had Houkago Colorful*Step, for May, Amnesia World and Heart no Kuni no Alice ~Wonderful Twin World~ and for June, Black Code. However, this month, the rest of the games are somewhat different (with the exception of Majo’ou, plot-wise) to the usual paint-by-numbers crap that make me facepalm my forehead into a concave imprint of my hand.
Majo’ou, though it sounds uninspired, at least has a premise that isn’t mind-numbingly stupid and its protagonist isn’t a “not-prettified” walking, talking doormat. Using demon kings and the demon world is certainly nothing new, but I think RE:VICE[D] looks to be handling it interestingly. It could go either way with Soukai Buccaneers- is the untapped “pirate theme” a gimmick, or will Petit Reve handle it well and create something worthwhile? However it goes, at least they TRIED an original idea. Enkeltbillet doesn’t need magic, high school, “literary adaptations” (read: base the content very loosely from where it originally came; morphing existing figures into moe tropes and only maintaining the aesthetic of the “borrowed” work to be able to stamp on a gimmicky label) or compose their cast of two-dimensional, provenly-successful stock characters to make their simple premise sound “more interesting”.
Release date: 17-7-2014
Developer: Petit Reve
Publisher: Petit Reve
Age rating: CERO C [15+]
Official website: http://www.p-reve.com/buccaneers/index.html
VNDb link: http://vndb.org/v14534
* Cast *
~ Jake Burns – Sugita Tomokazu
~ Crave Foster – KENN
~ Emilio Ruth – Matsuoka Yoshitsugu
~ Thaddeus Keithley – Kusao Takeshi
~ Frederick Rose Rumford – Kakihara Tetsuya
~ Dean Cavil – Okiayu Ryoutarou
~ Augustus Daltrey – Iizuka Shouzou
~ Leonard von Berkeley – Morikawa Toshiyuki
~ Gray Neil Burkeworth – Hayami Shou
~ Stella Foster – Nazuka Kaori
~ Henry Simons – Nishimura Tomochi
* Plot Summary *
A 16-year-old girl whose mother passed away when she was a child, and her father has gone missing.
She dreams of becoming a seafaring adventurer, having been influenced by watching church plays, hearing epic heroic tales and learning that her missing father was also an adventurer who crossed the ocean. To fulfill this desire, Rian leaves the town in which she had comfortably lived, and ventured to the port, King’s Bridge.
Shortly after her arrival, she gets caught up in a tussle and ends up acting in unison with pirates. From then on, she grew interested in them.
Two methods of being able to go to sea appear before her- one being “pirates”, and the other, the “navy”.
Will she choose to live her life as a pirate aboard their ship; joining the elusive and whimsical crew lead by its chivalrous yet self-centred ore-sama captain and the always calm, cool and collected deputy captain with a scary smile? Or will she join the ranks of the navy; answering to a young-looking naval commanding officer who’s proud of his nobility and the older, taciturn deputy commanding officer who exudes an aura of depth?
Which will the protagonist [Rian Lawrence] choose? What kind of adventurer will she become? Who will become the closest partner at her side?
* My Thoughts *
Soukai Bucceneers! is the debut title of new otome brand Petit Reve. Their second franchise, Goes!, is already in the making.
Congratulations to Rian Lawrence for being one of the very few combat capable protagonists that dresses far more appropriately for her trade. Speaking of Rian, it’s always a pleasure to see an otome protagonist who seems to be both mentally and physically strong. Also, a tomboy protagonist is a rarity in the otome world as well. I also like the idea of being able to choose between joining the navy and joining the pirates. There aren’t any characters that are outstanding to me, however, I do prefer to characters in the Guardia rather than the pirates, so if I play this game, I’d likely try and aim to join the navy. I’ve notice that Jake Burns and Leonard von Berkeley strongly resemble one another. I wonder if this was intentional?
I don’t have any major issues with the plot. I haven’t seen anything like this in the otome world. As first impressions go, the story is giving off a “One Piece” vibe, from the struggles between the navy and the pirates to the emphasis on adventuring. Maybe the writers are fans of One Piece? After all, it’s widely regarded as the most popular manga in Japan, with many of “non-manga fan” readers. Anyway, Soukai Buccaneers looks like it drew inspiration from the Age of Discovery, which lasted from 1400~1600. The Guardia looks to be influenced by the Royal Navy of the U.K. With this in mind, it’s hard for me to believe that Rian could join the Guardia, let alone as a combat position in such old times. As for if she becomes a pirate, female pirates did exist, but apparently were very rare. However, I want to give Soukai Buccaneers the benefit of the doubt, so I guess how this all goes will depend on learning more about the world in-game.
To clarify, I’m judging my impressions of Soukai purely on the game alone. I’m aware that it started off as a drama CD trilogy focusing on the pirates, which received a lukewarm reception. Reviewers commented on its predictability and how generic the characters were. Though the website states that the CDs give more background on the characters, it doesn’t appear to be essential to the enjoyment of the game.
Despite my praise of Soukai, I’m not particularly looking forward to it. It sounds enjoyable, but not a “must play”. Still, for now it’s in my backlog and perhaps I’ll get to it someday.
Release date: 24-7-2014
Publisher: Design Factory, Idea Factory
Age rating: CERO C (15+)
Official website: http://www.otomate.jp/revice_d/
VNDb link: http://vndb.org/v14813
* Cast *
Maou Kouho (Devil King Candidates)
~ Yukine – Okamoto Nobuhiko
~ Iroha – Kimura Ryouhei
~ Ryouga – Maeno Tomoaki
~ Hinatsu – Matsuoka Yoshitsugu
Shitennou (Though it translates to “Four Heavenly Kings”, its meaning in this context is more like “four great leaders”)
~ Akatsuki – Seki Toshihiko
~ Sui’u – Tachibana Shinnosuke
~ Shinku – Suzuki Chihiro
~ Mike – Gibu Yuuko
~ Kuroda – Suwabe Jun’ichi
~ Sumire – Numakura Manami
~ Kohaku – Satou Takuya
* Plot Summary *
Year 20xx, Kanagawa Prefecture, Atsugi1.
Midnight, as the clock ticks away to reveal a new day.
In the jet black darkness, the shadows of four people gathered around the light of a candle. A female high school student, a man with a good physique, a young man with long hair and a boy who still had some childishness left in him. Having confirmed the attendance of the members, all of whom varied in age and gender, one of them speaks:
“Have you found the next devil king?”
With those words, the four’s appearance had completely changed.
Jet black wings, sharp horns, deep crimson eyes and a sinister carved seal- their appearance could no longer be called human.
Yes… They are not human.
They’re the Four Heavenly Kings, hailing from the netherworld in a differrent dimension. They have come under the guidance of a book detailing the selection of a devil king, in order to search for a successor. The last devil king had fell in battle against their enemies, called the “Light Tribe”.
Even though its name is known in the netherworld, knowledge of this human world is nonexistent. Each of them concealed themselves in order to gather intelligence, however, results didn’t come to them as easy as they had hoped. The protagonist and one of the Four Heavenly Kings, Aika, started to feel impatient with the lack of progress.
One day, the Four Heavenly Kings were each able to locate “a human with the qualities to become the devil king”.
However, at present, there is no way to tell which of the four “candidates” is the real devil king. Aika and the rest of the Four Heavenly Kings, obeying the writings of the devil king selection book, decide to explore the qualities of the devil kng candidates.
1 – The official website spells “Atsugi” as “厚継市” instead of “厚木市“. This may be a typo, though it is also possible that “厚継” is a play on the real city’s spelling, “Atsugi (厚木)” and the word “Atotsugi 跡継ぎ“, the latter which contains the kanji in “厚継“. “Atotsugi” means “heir; successor”.
* My Thoughts *
The devil/demon theme has cropped up in otome games in the past, but still is unused enough so as to not become a bore. Nobody is screaming “PICK ME, I’M SUPER-INTERESTING!”, but if I had to choose, looks-wise it’s certainly Iroha but in terms of personality, I’m the most interested in Hinatsu. I’m actually not sure if the other Four Heavenly Kings members are capturable… the website isn’t clear about that the last time I checked. If so, that’s not a bad thing at all. You can have opposite-gendered colleagues and NOT hook up with them. The lesser the heroes, (hopefully) the more time can be spent on their individual routes and characters. I like Aika, and I hope Otomate makes good use of her.
I don’t know what to think of this game as a whole, to be honest. RE:VICE[D] is hard to talk about, because I don’t have any strong opinions about it. It’s an interesting concept, though I have to wonder why the hell devils need a human to become their king. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but I guess since devils aren’t real, there aren’t any “rules” to abide by. Perhaps the game will come up with a decent explanation.
I’m on the fence with RE:VICE[D]. Perhaps my views may change in a month’s time, but for now, I’ll sit and wait for the reviews. After all, Otomate games are inconsistent in quality.
Release date: 31-7-2014
Platform: PSP (the downloadable version can be played on the PSV)
Age rating: CERO D (17+)
Official website: http://quinrose.com/game/majo/top.html
VNDb link: http://vndb.org/v14811
* Cast *
~ Atlas Leavis – Maeno Tomoaki
~ Edgar Lang – Tachiki Fumihiko
~ Drop Rust – Yonaga Tsubasa
~ Melvin – Kakihara Tetsuya
~ Leonhard Rosenhain – Midorikawa Hikaru
~ Marion Neithart – Miki Shin’ichirou
~ Samuel Barrett – Suwabe Jun’ichi
~ Doris Murrill – Igarashi Hiromi
* Plot Summary *
A world in which magic exists.
At the edge of the continent, surrounded by black trees, the demon lord lives in his towering castle.
The protagonist [Rose Dinoire], who is the only daughter of the demon lord who leads the demons, is fated to someday succeed her father.
One day, her father receives an oracle from the God of Darkness, and leaves the castle. Though perplexed by the prematurity, she ascends the demonic throne.
However, being the demon lord was far more intense than she had imagined. Since there are many demons who kill humans for fun, humans view demons in a hostile light.
Given that she has an emotional attachment to humans, will Rose be able to become a fitting demon lord?
* My Thoughts *
Another “meh” game, to be blunt. Nothing is deal-breaking, but nothing about it stands out from the crowd, as well. If I’m to pit Majo’ou and RE:VICE[D] against each other, RE:VICE[D] seems far more interesting to me. I like the idea of a serious issue like “racism” being a key theme, though it’s kind of easy to imagine how the story will turn out. At worst, a complicated issue like this will find itself charmed by Otome Game Bad Writing MagicTM and be resolved with a beggar-belief level of simplicity. I really hope I’m proven wrong, and Majo’ou will be much more complicated than QuinRose and past games of this nature make me believe.
As usual with QuinRose games, the amount of capturable characters is intimidating. It makes me concerned that the focus is more on casting a large moe net rather than properly exploring each character. If I play this game, I’d probably go for Marion first, since his seemingly undying loyalty to Rose intrigues me. Nobody else seems too interesting, and Marion included, everyone’s character profiles indicate that they’re fairly generic.
With a strong potential to be crap, I’m not really motivated to play Majo’ou. Even without my doubts, the plot alone is quite dull and none of the characters, save for Rose (for her character development potential) and Marion are remotely interesting to me. Perhaps if there is enough praise, it might help me cast aside my doubts but for now, I’ll pass, QuinRose.
Release date: 31-7-2014
Developer: Ichi Column
Publisher: Ichi Column, Idea Factory, Otomate
Age rating: CERO B (12+)
Official website: http://www.otomate.jp/enkeltbillet/
VNDb link: http://vndb.org/v13850
* Cast *
~ Nakatani Megumi – Matsuoka Yoshitsugu
~ Chris Albert – Takahashi Hiroki
~ Alexander Nielsen – Hosoya Yoshimasa
~ Takashina Shuuhei – Takeuchi Ryouta
~ Emil Herrman – Kawashima Tokuyoshi
~ Claus Nielsen – Terasoma Masaki
~ Molly Jensen – Saeki Tomo
~ Kevin Nero – Izumi Hisashi
~ Camilla Holtz – Naruse Mami
~ Togawa Saki – Ishi’i Yukari
~ Kuwana Yousuke – Inoue Satoru
~ Judy Schwartz – Kimura Akiko
* Plot Summary *
The protagonist [Okazawa Midori], a 2nd-year junior college student had worked hard at her part-time job since spring, because of her graduation trip with her friend, Togawa Saki.
The trip will be a 10-day cruising tour around Northern Europe. Although her parents were concerned about her- since this will be her first vacation overseas- they permitted it on the condition that she’d find work.
Finally, the day of her trip arrives.
It’s the first time that Midori boarded a plane, and travelled overseas.
With every experience being a new one to her, the nervous Midori went on the tour. The plane travelled from Narita International Airport to Avesta International Airport.
However, what awaited in Northern Europe for Midori was only many hardships. Although she did have knowledge of English, she can’t speak it. After losing sight of her friend, they become separated and Midori gets lost in the airport.
In an unfamiliar place, unable to properly converse with the people she meets, Midori gradually changes.
* My Thoughts *
Another different plot idea for an otome game! Also, Ichi Column is composed of those who worked on the widely-acclaimed Hanayaka Nari, Waga Ichizoku, so perhaps fans of that series may be interested in Enkeltbillet (meaning “one-way ticket” in Danish) for that reason alone.
The idea, while simple, is something that interests me because I can imagine it happening. According to Otome Jikan’s post by Rin, Midori gets robbed and even loses her passport. This explains why she has to stay in Santonia (the fictional European country Enkeltbillet is set in) at length- she must wait to get a new one. I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that this could be one of the worst things to happen when travelling overseas! Right off the bat, it’s easy to empathise with Midori.
As for Midori herself, I’m looking forward to see how she will develop. She appears to be a meek young lady, but her desire to grow as a person is something anybody can get behind- including myself. She does want to become more independent, but appears to be practical enough to understand that going overseas to a location in which you can’t speak its language by yourself without any prior experience in travelling isn’t a great idea. It’s nice to see that Enkeltbillet is giving her more of a character, which gives me the impression that the emphasis is on watching her rather than experiencing its story vicariously through her. I always respect otome games that wants to build their protagonist’s character.
Her love interests all seem interesting to me. It’s clear that they’re not lazily built around dumping around common otome character tropes. The characters’ “conflicts” are already apparent from their online profiles (except for Emil), and given the otome genre’s propensity to be predictable, I’m already imagining the likely resolutions. However, I do have faith in Ichi Column and believe that they will execute these well. On another note, I’m left to wonder about everyone else’s ability to speak Japanese- maybe it’s one of those things where the game states they’re speaking a different language, though it’s still presented in an understandable one for the readers. Maybe Santonia is a popular tourist location amongst the Japanese?
Whatever the case, out of all other games coming out this month, Enkeltbillet, IMO, is looking to be the best out of them. I definitely will be playing this.