Otome Visual Novel Releases of August 2014

New Releases:

~ Urakata Hakuouki ~Akatsuki no Shirabe~ (7-8-2014)
~ Ayakashi Gohan (29-8-2014)
~ Double Score ~Marguerite x Tulip~ (29-8-2014)
~ Photograph Journey ~Koi Suru Ryokou: Miyagi-hen & Okinawa-hen~ (29-7-2014)

Re-releases:

~ Mune Kyun Otome Collection Vol. 6: Vitamin Z Revolution (7-8-2014)
~ Mune Kyun Otome Collection Vol. 7: Vitamin Z Graduation (7-8-2014)
~ Mune Kyun Otome Collection Vol. 8: Sto☆Mani ~Strobe☆Mania~ (7-8-2014)
~ Mune Kyun Otome Collection Vol. 9: Custom Drive (7-8-2014)
~ Mune Kyun Otome Collection Vol. 10: Storm Lover Kai!! (7-8-2014)
~ Mune Kyun Otome Collection Vol 11: Storm Lover Natsu Koi!! (7-8-2014)
~ School Wars ~Sotsugyou Sensen~ Download Edition (21-8-2014)

Due to the delay of Otomate’s Binary Star from August to September, the usual “four-a-month” formula is maintained. For those uninterested in the new, the latter half of the “Mune Kyun Otome Collection“, which are budget re-releases of their respective games, are available for 1,800 yen each and QuinRose’s School Wars will be re-released on the PSN as a lower-priced downloadable edition. Some may have noticed that in the previous months, I didn’t bother to include entries of re-releases. I won’t be covering unmodified re-releases like I do with the new ones, but I thought it won’t hurt to include them on the releases list anyway, just so we all know exactly what to expect each month.

August has the illusion of choice when the re-releases are taken into account. It’s amazing that out of eleven games, I’m only interested in one. That game is Honeybee and Dengeki Girl’s Style’s first of the Photograph Journey series, which shines with its simple premise: meeting up with a pen pal you briefly knew in person when the two of you were children. It’s an adorable, simple idea that should work well as an otome game. Unfortunately, Honeybee’s writing tends to be mediocre, so I’m expecting a sorta-enjoyable time-killing experience rather than something that’ll blow me away.

Other than Photograph Journey, I think August will be a solid backlog month. I still haven’t finished Bad Medicine, so maybe I’ll get onto that.

Urakata Hakuouki ~Akatsuki no Shirabe~

 

Release date: 7-8-2014
Developer: Otomate
Publisher: Design Factory, Idea Factory
Platform: PSP
Age rating: CERO C (15+)
Official website: http://www.otomate.jp/hakuoki/urakata/akatsuki/
VNDb link: http://vndb.org/v15110

 

* Cast *

~ Kirishima Kozue – Hayami Saori
~ Takasugi Shinsaku – Sugita Tomokazu
~ Katsura Kogorou – KENN
~ Okada Izou – Suzumura Ken’ichi
~ Glover – Sakurai Takahiro
~ Sakamoto Ryouma – Ono Daisuke
~ Nakaoka Shintarou – Hirakawa Daisuke
~ Yamagata Aritomo – Hamada Kenji
~ Kusaka Genzui – Namikawa Daisuke
~ Itou Hirobumi – Kiri’i Daisuke
~ Takechi Hanpeita – Narita Ken
~ Yoshida Shouin – Inoue Gou
~ Kirishima Sousuke – Morishima Shuuta
~ Katsu Kaishuu – Fujiwara Keiji
~ Saigou Takamori – Okiayu Ryoutarou

+ From the original Hakuouki series +
~ Hijikata Toshizou – Miki Shin’ichirou
~ Okita Souji – Morikubo Shoutarou
~ Saitou Hajime – Toriumi Kousuke
~ Toudou Heisuke – Yoshino Hiroyuki
~ Harada Sanosuke – Yusa Kouji
~ Kazama Chikage – Tsuda Kenjirou

 

* Plot Summary *

In the third year of the Bunkyuu era, during the closing days of the Tokugawa shogunate.
In an era of upheaval where various ideologies surged.

One winter night, a certain tragedy strikes a pair of ordinary siblings who had been running a dojo in the capital city.

The ones behind it were a group of men with white hair and red eyes, like that of a monster.

To get her revenge for the sake of her older brother who had gone missing as a result of protecting her, the young girl takes the sword and steps further into troubled times.

A group of men, who all highly showcase their will regardless of the circumstance, appear before the young girl in this era of chaos and disorder.

The darkness of the era right before their eyes…
With a newfound will in her heart, the young girl conceives a dawn to the darkness of the era.

 

* My Thoughts *

For those who are unfamiliar with the details of the Hakuouki series, Urakata Hakuouki, the prequel to this game, is an original creation meant to be treated as an alternate scenario in the Hakuouki universe rather than a direct sequel to the original series. The official website (in addition to aforementioned) adds that as a result, although the Shinsengumi from the original series will appear, they will not have “capturable” routes. Also, there’s no mention whether the prequel to this game is recommended to play before this one. So for now, it’s safe to say that players can enjoy the two Urakata games any order they wish. Those interested in the Urakata series have the option to purchase this game and its prequel as a twin, bundle pack, which of course, is a much better economical choice than buying each one individually (presuming brand new is what you’re after).

I’m sure that those who have been reading my blog will know what I think of these long-running series by now, but I’ll still say it again: I wish the milking will end and that otome game consumers will stop supporting this kind of pointless, uninspired, lazily-created bull. There should never have been anything more than a fandisc for the original Hakuouki series, and hopefully no more than a couple of Urakata Hakuouki games. Maybe if they started pouring these resources into helping their new games, Otomate wouldn’t be as erratic in quality.

So yeah, I can safely say that I’ll be unreluctantly skipping Urakata and read something new and interesting, thanks. Oh yeah, good on them for voicing the protagonist despite not being an R18+ game.

 

 

Ayakashi Gohan

 

Release date: 29-8-2014
Developer: Honeybee
Publisher: Honeybee
Platform: PC (Windows)
Age rating: CERO A (All ages)
Official website: http://www.honeybee-cd.com/ayakashi.html
VNDb link: http://vndb.org/v14759

 

* Cast *

+ Main characters +
~ Akane Rin – Tomonaga Akane
~ Inushima Uta – Shimono Hiro
~ Inushima Yomi – Kaji Yuuki
~ Ibuki Haginosuke – Mizushima Takahiro
~ Hana Suou – Sugiyama Noriaki
~ Serigano Manatsu – Okitsu Kazuyuki
~ Kimura Asagi – Ishida Akira
~ Komori Gin – Midorikawa Hikaru
~ Komori Tsuzuri – Murase Ayumu
~ Akane Sumi – Tamaki Nozomi
~ Kami-sama – Kishio Daisuke

+ Human part supporting characters +
~ Sagiri – Toujou Kanako
~ Okuri Inu – Namekawa Youhei
~ Kei – Aoi Shouta
~ Oni – Shibata Daigo
~ Sakura – Oohashi Kaori
~ Nue – Itou Eiji
~ Kagesumi – Azagami Youhei

+ Ayakashi part supporting characters +
~ Tsukihito – Yumihara Takefumi
~ Tsukihiko – Kikuchi Yukitoshi
~ Tanukichi – Yashiro Taku
~ Tanue – Tadano Tomiko
~ Rarii (could be “Larry”) – Maeda Kunihiro
~ Momo – Nitta Emi
~ Hisame – Ayase Yuu
~ Saku – Kudou Gaku
~ Guren – Kuroda Takaya
~ Baku – Yamamoto Itaru
~ Sou – Yoshimoto Genki
~ Mio – Orita Aki

 

* Plot Summary *

Once upon a time, a long time ago… It is not.

In the corner of a certain village where ayakashi and humans coexist, there is a shop that serve meals for ayakashi.

The name of this eatery is “Ponpokorin”.

In that store, both ayakashi and humans visit it, seeking to have a delicous meal.

The one who runs the store is a youko (a mythological fox spirit) taking on a human form.

“Everybody can be happy if they can have a delicious meal.” That was the youko’s creed. The youko and its soon-to-be 7-year-old son continue to cook delicious meals to this very day.

One day, as the hot summer ended and the harvest of autumn approached, a lone girl enters the youko’s store.

From that moment onwards, the story begins.

The beginning of a heart-warming story involving ayakashi, humans and delicious meals, starts here.

 

* My Thoughts *

First of all, good on you Honeybee, for giving the protagonist a voice! Speaking of the protagonist, she will be the same girl with two different personalities depending on which “part” of the game you play. She will be an energetic and happy girl if you choose the “ayakashi part”, and in the “human part”, she will be asocial, introverted and reserved. Basically, in each part, she will have polar opposite personalities.

Gosh, Kazuaki’s artwork is gorgeous, as always. The seiyuu cast looks good, with a nice mix of bigger and smaller names in the industry. While I don’t find any of the characters particularly interesting, I like that there’s a colourful cast of side characters, which is not a common enough occurrence in otome games. I get that the main point is to end up with a guy, but games like Ozmafia!! demonstrate that side characters can be a fun break. It’s not that any of these characters sound bad or anything- just not particularly “pulling”. At least Honeybee won’t bother with buzzwords like Rejet in a sad attempt to make pedestrian characters sound more interesting than they actually are. There should be more to a love interest character other than “do-S”, “do-M”, “tsundere” and “yandere”.

Anyway, there isn’t anything glaringly wrong with Ayakashi Gohan that puts me off from it. However, it has a big “so what?” factor to it. It’s not a bad idea, but short of the slight emphasis on food, nothing seems to notably set it apart from other otome games. I may reconsider my stance if Ayakashi Gohan gets good reviews, but for now, it’s a pass.

 

 

Double Score ~Marguerite x Tulip~

 

Release date: 29-8-2014
Developer: BlueMoon
Publisher: BlueMoon
Platform: PC (Windows)
Age rating: CERO C (15+)
Official website: http://www.asgard-japan.com/bluemoon/ds/game/03/top.html
VNDb link: http://vndb.org/v10632

 

* Cast *

+ Main characters +
~ Tom – KENN
~ Tachibana Ryuusei – Okiayu Ryoutarou

+ Supporting characters +
~ Shirosaki Rio – Ookawa Tooru
~ Saiga Rui – Hirakawa Daisuke
~ Seiya – Hirakawa Daisuke
~ Higuchi Subaru – Hino Satoshi
~ Ninomiya Souichirou – Nakata Jouji
~ Sano Fumiya – Kusao Takeshi
~ Emori Chisato – Suzuki Chihiro
~ Kamizono Kyouga – Sakurai Takahiro
~ Mori Kengo – Kimura Ryouhei
~ Aihara Miki – Tomonaga Akane

 

* Plot Summary *

The Kamizono Shrine, famous for its fulfilment of one’s wishes in love.

In the area of the shrine in which only those permitted can step foot in, the birthday flower of the month blossoms beautifully in full bloom. It is said that if one takes one of these flowers, their love wishes will definitely come true.

The protagonist, Shinozawa Mai, works part time at this very shrine. “I want to have a destined meeting of my own as well.” She is a normal high school girl who spends her days being “in love with love”.

One day, she is requested by the freewheeling chief priest of the shrine to deliver a flower of love to the man the God of Love has chosen. The chief priest not being one to take no for an answer, Mai goes on to the deliver the flower…

…Without even realising that she will meet her destined partner.

Choosing between a “margaret” or a “tulip”, Mai delivers one of these flowers to their respective recipients chosen by God.

If she chose to deliver a margaret, its recipient was Tachibana Ryuusei, a strict mathematics teacher at the high school Mai attends. “I don’t have the free time to go along with your make-believe love game.” He showed visible discomfort as he accepted the flower.

If she chose to deliver a tulip, its recipient was “Tom”, a nationally super-popular idol. “I wanted to see you!” he suddenly hugs Mai, although she’s only met him for the first time.

A destined love between two people of different careers and personalities begins to move forward…

 

* My Thoughts *

Other than the “fated lovers” theme going on here and the obvious basis on birth flowers, the next biggest emphasis (and selling point) of the Double Score series appears to be relationships with an age gap. The youngest heroes are 29-years-old (Tom, who appears in this game, and Shirosaki Rio, who appears in the second Double Score game, Cattleya x Narcissus) as Mai is 17… a 12-year age gap is still quite significant. Despite the “oji-san”/”oyaji” archetype dividing otome gamers, there is still a dedicated audience, if the slew of drama CDs centering around significantly older love interests and them becoming a token addition in many otome games is to go by. I mention this, but the only character who qualifies as someone of the “oji-san” archetype  is the oldest, Ninomiya Souichirou, who’s 46 (and will be a main character in Double Score ~Baby’s breath x Lily of the valley~). The point seems to be to cater to readers that like age gaps/older guys, but not necessarily the “oji-san” type itself.

Anyway, moving on to Marguerite x Tulip specifically, like the previous Double Score games, it doesn’t really interest me. Not because it looks like a bad game- a similar story to Ayakashi Gohan– it just can’t get me to care. Based on Ryuusei and Tom’s personalities and backgrounds alone, and if my years of otome experiences are anything to go by, I can already see what the conflicts will be and how it’ll all pan out. Double Score doesn’t look bad, but it’s nothing really different. Ordinary art, ordinary setting, ordinary characters and the “same old, same old” cast. Plus I’m not really interested in “age-gap romances” enough to want to try it out, which is Double Score‘s biggest selling point! Even so, I’m happy for BlueMoon in that they’re finally able to release this game after a year of what seemed to be developmental hell.

 

 

Photograph Journey ~Koi Suru Ryokou: Miyagi-hen & Okinawa-hen~

 

Release date: 29-8-2014
Developer: Honeybee
Publisher: Honeybee
Platform: PC (Windows)
Age rating: CERO A (All ages)
Official website: http://www.honeybee-cd.com/p_j/miyagi-okinawa/index.html
VNDb link: http://vndb.org/v14700

 

* Cast *
~ Haryuu Tetsu – Matsuoka Yoshitsugu
~ Mashiki Kojirou – Hino Satoshi
~ Richard – Mizushima Takahiro

 

* Plot Summary *

Until she became a high school student, due to the the protagonist’s (Hayama Haruho) father’s job, she had to repeatedly transfer schools. One day, she receives a single letter from a boy she met at one of the many places she had moved to.

Enclosed is a letter and a photograph of him.

Form then onwards, the nostalgic relationship between him and Haruho begins.

Accompanied by Richard, an English boy who loves Japan and is currently home-staying at Haruho’s, she journeys to the place where that boy now lives…

This is a travel romance story that began from a single letter…

Who will you choose to visit?

 

* My Thoughts *

Photograph Journey first started off as a series of short stories published in Dengeki Girl’s Style. I remember wishing that it’d be adapted into a drama CD series or a game, and both of my wishes came true! I’ve yet to listen to the CDs, so I definitely will at least listen to the relevant boys’ CDs before playing any of the games. There are twelve (thirteen if you count Richard) guys in total, which will be split into six games with two of them per game. Miyagi-hen & Okinawa-hen is the first game, with the first two boys featured being Haryuu Tetsu from Miyagi and Mashiki Kojirou from Okinawa. My favourite of the bunch, Richard, will be featured in this game, but I’m doubtful that he’ll have his own romantic route. Which is a crying shame! I’m thinking his game may be a bonus of some sort, similar to his drama CD.

The premise of Photograph Journey is nothing new, but it’s such an adorable idea that I won’t pass it up. While Tetsu doesn’t interest me a whole lot (he is cute as a button, though, won’t lie), I definitely like the surfer boy Kojirou more- even though I don’t care for surfers IRL. Trust me, in Australia, we have plenty of them! The adorable artstyle of Mizuguchi Too is perfect for this (what looks to be) fluffy game. It’s a shame that the protagonist seems completely uninteresting. Photograph Journey is really pushing “THE HEROINE IS YOU” angle, which many of you by now have realised I’m not partial to. I also haven’t forgotten that Honeybee is behind this, and their writing, especially their recent works, is mediocre… because of that, I’ll do my best to keep my expectations on the lower side of things. I really hope Dengeki Girl’s Style’s influence will be able to help Honeybee smooth over the latter’s flaws.

Needless to say, I can say that I will be playing Photograph Journey. I have my doubts (as usual), but I really hope this will turn out to be an at least enjoyable trip (hawhaw).

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Categories: Monthly Otome Release Lists | Tags: , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

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13 thoughts on “Otome Visual Novel Releases of August 2014

  1. You could call me one of the people who bought the game without thinking cuz I jumped right on it because of the cast. I dont really support the series anymore, but I don’t really think urakata was that bad. The characters were good, but I just wished it wasn’t set in the hakuouki premise.

    • While I love certain seiyuu, I make sure I don’t buy games just because of the cast. A lot of the time (not all the time), mediocre games seem a lot better than they actually are because of 1) good artwork, 2), a great seiyuu cast or 3) both. Ultimately, a visual novel should be about its story (this should be obvious, but to many otome devs, this is not the case), and short of the artwork and voice acting being terrible to the point I can’t bear it, I do my very best to not judge based solely on these factors.

      TBH I think Urakata sounds better than the original Hakuouki series. You can tell Otomate are running out of ideas with Hakuouki with ~Sweet School Life~ being the golden example. Otomate pretty much ripped the idea off of a doujin circle named Princess Clown that made popular fan games of Hakuouki set in high school (http://vndb.org/v9207 and http://vndb.org/v13160). When an official company is that obvious in copying an amateur’s idea(s), it’s time to let dead horse die for real.

      I agree with you; Urakata Hakuouki doesn’t need to be in the Hakouki series. Similar to how tacking on “Super Mario” or “Halo” onto any game will help it sell, tacking on “Hakouki” onto any of otome game (and “Amnesia” or “Starry Sky”, for that matter) is a sure-fire way to make sure it will do well enough or otherwise get attention.

      • Yeah i learned my lesson the hard way through not jumping into games because of the cast. Now I’m trying to be careful with otomate’s games nowadays, especially binary star cuz the drug plot and the ends. Well otomate ain’t doing a good job lately, so I’m keeping my distance. Although, I preordered Re:Viced cuz heroine looks badass and the story looks cool.

        • Yeah, I’m pretty much with you about Otomate (unless another good or new third party is helping with the development). Looking forward to hearing how you go with RE:VICE[D], as I’m still on the fence with that one. The protagonist sounds like she kicks so much arse! 😀

  2. Ahh!! Your mention about Ozmafia has once again kicked up my interest in the game. I’m telling myself not to bother with the less-than-interesting prologue but I will start on it one day.

    One day.

    • Haha, I don’t want to sound like I think extremely highly of Ozmafia!!, since I don’t. It’s a good game, but I think it’s somewhere between “OK” and “great”. It’s not a “must-play”, but I still think it’s a fun enough time to recommend to the majority of otome gamers I know. So yeah, you’re not missing out by not getting onto it quickly. I can understand how the prologue would bore readers, too.

      • Hahaha, I thought you liked it quite a fair bit since I saw your comments on OJ about it’s English version being made. The concept is certainly interesting though.

        By the way, will you be playing Waltz? Everything’s really interesting except for the heroine. Since I’m playing Clock Zero now, I can say for certainty that otomate heroines are on a real decline….

        I was wondering if you were going to grit your teeth and bear Ran’s stupidity for the story… Cos I think I will (^◇^;)

        • I’m very happy for otome gamers that Ozmafia!! is getting a localisation. I hope it goes very well so that other companies will try to cash in and translate more titles.

          I’m still not sure about Waltz yet. So far, I might try it if I have nothing else to play, which is very unlikely. I definitely would be more interested if it gets better reviews. I definitely would pick Waltz over Code: Realize, though.

  3. Waii~
    I’m looking forward to Photograph Journey ~Koi Suru Ryokou: Miyagi-hen & Okinawa-hen~
    I love Mashiki Koujiro character design 😀 and also Hinocchi voice xD
    I’d heard the drama CD and the song 「君想フ唄」 It’s a great song… I love Hinocchi singing in this

    • Yeah, I’m looking forward to Photograph Journey as well! 🙂 I better get his drama CD, and Tetsu’s one before playing the game. Now I can look forward to the CDs as well; sounds like you really enjoyed it.

  4. Pingback: Otome Visual Novel Releases of December 2014 | Purple Nurple Wonderland

  5. Pingback: Otome Visual Novel Releases of February 2015 | Purple Nurple Wonderland

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