Otome Visual Novel Releases of March 2015

March will be a be a massive month, with a jaw-dropping 8 new releases to choose from with quite a bit of console variety. In spite of being a big month, many of the games are fairly uninspired. Not a great month to look for originality, but at least with the done-before settings here, nothing astoundingly stupid/crap has been tacked onto it so as to make it more interesting than it actually is. I’d say most of the games are safe choices unless you really loathe specific themes of the releases. It’s been a long time since there was a month with very minimal rubbish, so maybe this is the otome gods’ birthday gift to me!

 

New releases

Title Release Date Platform
Shin Tennis no Ouji-sama ~Go to the top~ 5-3-2015 N3DS
Koutarichou Jin’youtan ~Mayoigo no shou~ 6-3-2015 PC
Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 6 12-3-2015 PSV
Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ All Star After Secret 12-3-2015 PSP
Norn9 ~Norn + Nonette~ Last Era Delayed from 19-3-2015 → 2-4-2015 PSV
Walpurgis no Uta ~Walpurgisgedichte~ Delayed from 2014 → 13-3-2015 → 26-3-2015 PC
Yoiyo Mori no Hime 26-3-2015 PSP
Dynamic Chord feat. Liar-S 27-3-2015 PC
Un:Birthday Song ~Ai wo Utau Shinigami~ 27-3-2015 PC

 

Ports/Remakes/Re-releases

Title Release Date Platform
Grimm the Bounty Hunter – Download Edition [Link] 19-3-2015 PSP; PSV [Re-release]
Ken ga Kimi for V [Link] 26-3-2015 PC → PSV [Port]
Shinsouban Okashi na Shima no Peter Pan [Link] 26-3-2015 PSP → PSV [Port]

 

Shin Tennis no Ouji-sama ~Go to the top~

 

Release date: 5-3-2015
Developer: FuRyu Corporation
Publisher: FuRyu Corporation
Artist: Original character designs by Konomi Takeshi (許斐 剛). Game-specific artist(s) unknown.
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Age rating: CERO A [All-ages]
Official website: http://www.cs.furyu.jp/tenipuri/
VNDb link: https://vndb.org/v16369

* Cast *

NOTE: Anybody with a “★” next to their name has their own route.

+ Seishun Academy +
★ Echizen Ryooma – Minagawa Junko
★ Tezuka Kunimitsu – Okiayu Ryoutarou
★ Ooishi Shuuichirou – Kondou Takayuki
★ Fuji Shuusuke – Kaida Yuki
★ Inui Sadaharu – Tsuda Kenjirou
★ Kikumaru Eiji – Takahashi Hiroki
★ Momoshiro Takeshi – Onosaka Masaya
★ Kaidou Kaoru – Kiyasu Kouhei
~ Kawamura Takashi – Kawamoto Naru

+ Hyoutei Academy +
★ Atobe Keigo – Suwabe Jun’ichi
★ Oshitari Yuushi – Kiuchi Hidenobu
★ Shishida Ryou – Kusuda Toshiyuki
★ Mukahi Gakuto – Hoshi Souichirou
★ Akutagawa Jirou – Ueda Yuuji
~ Kabaji Munehiro – Tsuruoka Satoshi
★ Ootori Choutarou – Namikawa Daisuke
★ Hiyoshi Wakashi – Iwasaki Masami

+ Rikkadai Junior High School +
★ Yukimura Seiichi – Nagai Sachiko
★ Sanada Gen’ichirou – Kusunoki Taiten
★ Yanagi Renji – Takemoto Eiji
★ Niou Masaharu – Masuda Yuuki
★ Yagyuu Hiroshi – Tsuda Eisuke
★ Marui Bunta – Takahashi Naozumi
~ Jackal Kuwahara – Hiyama Nobuyuki
★ Kirihara Akaya – Morikubo Shoutarou

+ Higa Junior High School +
★ Kite Eishirou – Shingaki Tarusuke
★ Kai Yuujirou – Nakamura Daisuke
★ Hirakoba Rin – Yoshino Hiroyuki
~ Chinen Hirohsi – Sueyoshi Kazuya
~ Tanishi Kei – Ueda Youji

+ Shitenhouji Junior High School +
★ Shiraishi Kuranosuke – Hosoya Yoshimasa
★ Chitose Senri – Oosuka Jun
~ Konjiki Koharu – Naitou Ryou
~ Hitouji Yuuji – Kumabuchi Suguru
★ Oshitari Ken’ya – Fukuyama Jun
~ Ishida Gin – Takatsuka Masaya
★ Saizen Hikaru – Araki Hirofumi
★ Tooyama Kintarou – Sugimoto Yuu

+ Coach +
~ Kurobe Yukio – Soze Kaiji

 

* Plot Summary *

The setting of this story is also the same as the anime, “Shin Tennis no Ouji-sama”: The Japanese U-17 (under 17) High School Representatives Selection Camp.

The protagonist is a certain publisher’s rookie female reporter.
Not having a clue as to what’s what, she gets selected to become an interviewer for a project.

As for this “project”…
The project, “New-Generation Players Grand Prix”, will involve 30 of the U-17 Japanese Representative Player Candidates fighting for the #1 spot in both name and substance. Within a limited time frame of 7 days, the reporter is to completely cover and collect information of the players and publish it as an online article. The #1 player will then be selected by the readers’ votes.

After a series of various events and interacting with the players’ “true selves”, the protagonist grows closer to the players. Depending on the level of completeness of your everyday reports you upload, the level of attention the players receive fluctuates and changes on a daily basis, as does their ranking. Towards the conclusion of the reporting period, on the final day, who will be recognised as the #1 player?

And what will their relationship with you be?

…Your 7 days with the representative cadets will now begin!

 

* My Thoughts *

Never cared about Prince of Tennis, and I doubt I ever will. I do enjoy watching “real life” tennis, though. After some reading on Wikipedia, it appears that there are 50 of these U-17 players rather than 30, but given how 30 heroes is already a ridiculous amount of heroes to have, I can see why they reduced. The devs have reduced the total amount of characters from 50 to 39, with a whopping 30 of them having individual routes. What I love here is how the 30 selected to be the candidates (i.e. love interests) are all the “good-looking” players.

Which leads me to think… If you already have such a massive cast of characters, why bother including other tennis players that won’t have routes? Surely they don’t need 9 other characters if they already have 30 routes to choose from? Are some just being included purely for plot convenience?

Speaking of “plots”, this is another example of a crappy, zero-effort, fangirl cash-grab game. First of all, what kind of serious aspiring professional tennis players would place so much importance in an online poll ranking conducted by a rookie reporter and readers with no professional clout? If she hooks up with one of the boys, let’s not even go into the ethical dilemmas that should cause! Secondly, online polls are unreliable as all hell. The voting limitations are easily circumvented and hacked, which is why (most) reporters don’t write up articles based on online poll findings anymore! Check out Russell Phillips’ article, or a 5-minute video report about Phillips proving online polls are worthless on an Australian TV programme called “Media Watch”.

Sure, this isn’t the absolute worse plot premise I’ve ever come across… but even if I were a Prince of Tennis fan(girl), this would still be too stupid for me to suspend my disbelief. If I were the creator, I’d be embarrassed! Money can’t buy back lost creative integrity, but then again, who knows how much agency Konomi-sensei has over his creation anymore? Onto the next!

 

 

Koutarichou Jin’youtan ~Mayoigo no Shou~

 

Release date: 6-3-2015
Developer: Mio
Publisher: Mio
Artist: Shiroki Yuu (銀木 夕), Tenkuu Sphere (天空 すふぃあ) and Toromaro (とろまろ) (SD Illustrations)
Platform: PC (Windows)
Age rating: CERO B [12+]
Official website: http://www.mi-o.jp/product/koutari_1/index.html
VNDb link: https://vndb.org/v16098

* Cast *

~ Miyuki Akaru – Suzuki Tatsuhisa
~ Midori – Matsuoka Yoshitsugu
~ Mukoujima Ten’yuu – Nakazawa Masatomo
~ Hakua – Kobori Miyuki

 

* Plot Summary *

Ousaka Chise is the future leader of the famous Ousaka family of “Taimashi”(1), who are noted for being able to subdue demons called “Housoushi”(2). Having lead a sheltered life, Chise is doubtful and concerned about her worthiness of succeeding the house since she has never seen a taima take place. One day, Chise’s senior apprentice, Miyuki Akari, invites her to go to “Koutarichou” with him, saying that it will be the ideal place for her to resolve her worries.

“Koutarichou”- a place between the mortal world (Shigan) and nirvana (Higan)(3) in which strange things occur every night. It is a ruined town where humans with special circumstances and ayakashi drift and wash ashore.

Chise and her Housoushi, Midori, venture towards Koutarichou.

There, they meet “Mukoujima Ten’yuu”, a young man with a smile through which his true intentions cannot be discerned, and “Hakua”, an ayakashi who always faces downwards as though she were afraid of something. They also meet many other humans and ayakashi whose various hopes and wishes live within their hearts.

Though perplexed by the town’s strange occurrences, Chise faces her own doubts head-on.

This is a story spun by a young girl in a mysterious town about the doubts of humans and ayakashi.

 

1) Taimashi (退魔師): Fictional word created for the game. Though it literally means “specialists in malicious spirit eradication”, it can be more simply put as something similar to an exorcist. The official website describes them as “Secret people with unsual powers who exterminate ayakashi that inflict harm upon humans. Some use jutsu to exorcise ayakshi, while others sever them with longswords. Most Taimashi belong to an organisation. Chise belongs to one called “Yukarimon (紫紋)”.

2) Housoushi (方相氏): Another fictional word created for this game. The website describes Housoushi as “Demons (more specifically, Oni) who cleanse impurites. They are worked by “impurity cleansing speciliasts” such as the Taimashi from the Ousaka family. Their black hair and golden eyes are their disntinctive features.” (Don’t ask me why Midori doesn’t look like this… perhaps he changes appearances when using his powers?)

3) Shigan (此岸) and Higan (彼岸): Shigan and Higan refer to two opposing sides of the Sanzu-no-Kawa (“Sanzu River”; “River of Three Crossings”), which is a river in Japanese Buddhism that basically, functions similarly to the River Styx in Greek mythology. I’ll be simplifying the concept to conserve space and to not stray too far from the topic of this article, so I recommend those interested to read more about this in books or other websites.

Anyway, “Shigan” literally means “current beach” but in this context, is more like “current shore”. In Buddhism, it refers to the mortal world or one’s current life. One supposedly begins their journey across the Sanzu from this side when they die. As for “Higan”, it literally means “that beach”, but again, placing it into context would be more like “that shore over there”. Higan is the opposing side of Shigan; i.e. the ending location of one’s journey across the river. It means “nirvana” in Buddhism. Higan is also known as the “Pure World”; the “World of Enlightenment”. An article by Rev. Hasegawa Tomoyuki explains the concept quite nicely.

So you may be wondering exactly where Koutarichou is meant to be when thought of in a Buddhist context… Good question. My best guess is that the emphasis here is likely to be on a simpler concept like “a world between life and death”.

 

* My Thoughts *

In my view, this is much more interesting than Clover no Toshokan no Juunin-tachi, which seems to have garnered more interest than this game thanks to its “books that transforms into people” gimmick. However, I haven’t seen many positive comments about a Mio game since Asaki Yumemishi and Souten no Kanata– that was in 2008~2009! Speaking of which, Asaki Yumemishi fans will be pleased to know that Koutarichou and Asaki are set in the same universe. I’m not sure if they have the same dev team behind them, but wouldn’t that be nice for you fans, after all of these years?

After reading various reviews of their most recent works, I don’t trust Mio’s writers to be able to pull this off well. Never cared for the artstyle of Mio games, so if I do eventually play one, the plot and characters will be the pure deciding factors with no other influences to help itself along with my decision. The partitioned releases also gives me the impression that each game will be short and rather unfulfilling- which was also a complaint of their “full release” game, Clover no Toshokan. It doesn’t seem like they’re having much success outside of the Asaki universe, so it may be why they’re returning to it. Their timing is suspiciously good, since ayakashi seems to be the flavour of the now!

Anyway, I don’t really know how to feel about this game. I like its linkage to Buddhist mythology, but I suspect that it’s a very loose link and isn’t a large emphasis. I also like the idea that the protagonist will be getting development as well, but whether or not this will be anything significant is really up to the writers. There are many done-before themes here that can get boring quite quickly if not supported by decent-to-good writing. I think some effort into world-building was made, which is nice and I wish I could say the same for many other otome games that utilise chiefly non-real world settings. I hope this continues into the actual game. Overall, I get the impression that this will be, at its best, one of those “short, but mildly enjoyable few hours” games. I don’t have a lot of faith that this will blow my mind. A “meh” entry, but Asaki fans may be pleased. If the reviews are good, I’ll certainly consider it but there are heaps more interesting games in my backlog. Pass for now.

 

 

Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 6

 

Release date: 12-3-2015
Developer: Koei Tecmo
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Artist: Mizuno Tooko (水野 十子)
Platform: PlayStation Portable; PlayStation Vita
Age rating: CERO C [15+]
Official website: http://www.gamecity.ne.jp/haruka6/
VNDb link: https://vndb.org/v16060

* Cast *

~ Takatsuka Azusa – Saiga Mitsuki
~ Arima Hajime – Terashima Takuma
~ Darius – Suzumura Ken’ichi
~ Kohaku – Abe Atsushi
~ Katagiri Shuuhei – Okamoto Nobuhiko
~ Rudkhaneh – Tachibana Shinnosuke
~ Honjou Masatora – Takemoto Eiji
~ Hagio Kudan – Shitanda Michael
~ Satoya Murasame – Yasumoto Hiroki
~ Komano Chiyo – Takahashi Mikako
~ Katagiri Seishirou – Saitou Jirou

 

* Plot Summary *

Even a prosperous world that has long been in existence can come to an end.

Heading towards the hospital to visit her grandmother, ordinary high school girl Takatsuka Azusa gets enticed by a mysterious voice, and ends up in a parallel world much like the Taishou Era through space-time travel.

The Imperial Capital, Tokyo.
It is a city in which new culture and ideologies, as well as old traditions, coexist with one another. In recent years, strange-looking beings dubbed as “Onryou”(1) ran rampant. The Imperial Army formed an elite squad known as the “Onryou Subjugation Organisation”, and maintained public order on a daily basis. However, the imperial capital’s disorder continued to worsen. Amidst the growing numbers of the public circulating their fears and predictions of the ending of the world, Ryuujin’s oracle was finally granted upon the world. Ryuujin’s shrine maiden(2) was then sought to be summoned.

In accordance to ceremony held by the Imperial Army, the one whom was summoned was none other than Azusa. However, not long after she alighted upon the parallel world, Azusa was invited and lead by a mysterious young man called “Darius” to go to the “Enchanted Forest”, located to the west of the imperial capital.

The young man freely admitted to being a demon,(3) and sheltered her in his estate.

“Come, Miss Shrine Maiden of Ryuujin. Welcome to the dwelling of the demons.”

The Imperial Army and the family of demons…

The two sides…

Azusa finds herself getting entangled within their dispute.

 

1) Onryou (怨霊): Onryou literally means “vengeful ghost/spirit”. It’s the term used to describe malevolent spirits. They’re typically angry ghosts seeking vengeance upon the living, in response to the wrongs they were victim to when alive. In death, they become powerful; some of them even becoming capable of causing natural disasters. If you’re an occult fan, I recommend checking out Wikipedia’s article on onryou as Japanese spiritual mythology is quite interesting.

2) Ryuujin’s Shrine Maiden (龍神の神子): “Ryuujin” literally means “dragon god”. Its literal meaning covers what the actual word means sufficiently. However, though miko are a component of Shintoism, and the game’s use of onryou is traditionally Japanese, it may be possible that the game is alluding to a serpent-like deity in Buddhist mythology called Nāga. “Miko” literally means “god child”, but translates to “shrine maiden”. Traditionally, they were virgins who were seen as having shamanic qualities. These days, they’re seen more as assistants to Shinto priests. Throughout their existence, their duties involve helping priests out at Shinto shrines known as jinja. They perform sacred rituals and cleansings, as well as assisting in hygienic maintenance of the shrine.

3) Darius calls himself and his family “Oni (鬼)” which translates into “demons” in English. Oni are one of the best-known Japanese mythological creatures, and are a type of youkai. They’re commonly depictred as wicked, ugly, red-skinned, horned, ogre-like creatures carrying iron clubs and wearing tiger-skin loincloths.

 

* My Thoughts *

Another horrendously overdone concept, but unlike many other otome devs, I trust Koei Tecmo (KT) would be able to pull this off as their games seem to have maintained a certain level of good quality over the years. As the title implies, Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 6 is the 6th entry into the Harukanaru Toki no Naka de series. Even though they’re set in the same universe as one another, they’re all self-contained so you won’t be needing to play the other 5 to understand #6.

Anyway, overall, I think this game isn’t a bad choice for March 2015. I’m not really interested in it myself, but it certainly doesn’t appear to be a bad game. It’s one of those games that are hard for me to talk about, since I don’t really have any strong opinions about it. The setting is simple, if overdone- nothing here makes me want to gouge my eyes out. The heroes aren’t anything new or interesting to me, though it’s good there is a variety of them not all packed into the same place due to laziness. I think the art is alright; it’s nice but nothing outstanding. The cast is fine. Nothing bad about the system, to me. It’s probably a safe choice for this month, but I doubt it’d be anything that would be mind-blowing… but who knows? It always goes back to the “if the writing is good…” argument, and I’ll invoke it here: if the writing is good, the conflict between the oni and imperial army will be intriguing, and choosing who to side with should be a thought-provoking task.

On a side note, I’m starting to think KT named both Darius and Rudkhaneh after Persian names on purpose. Darius is the anglicised form of Dariush, which means “he possesses” and “rich and kingly”. Hm… Coincidence? I think not.

I think it’s worth paying attention to, but for now I’ll pass since I’ve got a mountain of other games I’d like to play. KT games never beg for my attention, but they never strike me as being a waste of time, either. I would recommend it if you want to get a few good uses out of your PSP before needing to move onto the PSV.

 

 

Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ All Star After Secret

 

Release date: 26-2-2015 → 12-3-2015
Developer: Broccoli
Publisher: Nippon Ichi
Artist: Kurahana Chinatsu (倉花 千夏)
Platform: PlayStation Portable
Age rating: CERO C [15+]
Official website:http://utapri.com/game/asas/
VNDb link:https://vndb.org/v13419

* Cast *

+ Quartet Route +
~ Kotobuki Reiji – Morikubo Shoutarou
~ Kurosaki Ranmaru – Suzuki Tatsuhisa
~ Mikaze Ai – Aoi Shouta
~ Camus – Maeno Tomoaki

+ Rainbow Route +
~ Ittoki Otoya – Terashima Takuma
~ Hijirikawa Masato – Suzumura Ken’ichi
~ Shinomiya Natsuki – Taniyama Kishou
~ Ichinose Tokiya – Miyano Mamoru
~ Jinguuji Ren – Suwabe Jun’ichi
~ Kurusu Shou – Shimono Hiro
~ Aijima Cecil – Toriumi Kousuke

 

* Plot Summary *

This game will focus on the 4 senior idols. Combining those 4 with the 7 junior idols from the original series, there will be a total 11 idols with routes! The game is split into two main grand routes; the “Quartet Route”, featuring the 4 seniors, and the “Rainbow Route”, featuring the 7 juniors. Both grand routes are then further divided into the individual idols’ routes.

~ Quartet Route ~
The story of the Quartet Route takes place after the events of Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ All Star. It begins with Nanami Haruka and her chosen partner already as lovers. What is in the future that awaits Haruka and her beloved?

~ RainbowRoute ~
This will be a story about the 7 juniors, who are now all fully-fledged idols. Like the Quartet Route, the story begins with Haruka and her chosen partner already as lovers. Here, you’ll be able to read stories about her sparkling, happy days spent with her boyfriend, who’s now shining as an idol.

 

* My Thoughts *

This is the fandisc of Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ All Star, which is the third of the Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ trilogy (the first being Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ and the second, Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ Debut). I’m not into UtaPri, so I’m not interested in this release. Yes, I think Nanami Haruka is shit-boring. Yes, I think the high school is a lazy and silly concept. There’s many more things wrong with Uta no Prince-sama right off the bat, but I’ve never been able to loathe it so passionately like some of my fellow otome fans do. Perhaps because it seems so unrelentingly cheerful and colourful that it makes me feel like a heartless ass for paying it out too much… Or because I can’t remember what happens (I played the very first game a fair while ago).

All that aside, Shining Saotome is clearly the coolest cat on the block, and it’s a crying shame he doesn’t have a route. Barring him and moving onto the 11 idols, looks-wise, I like Mikaze Ai (all that light blue is so pretty~) and the very handsome Ichinose Tokiya. Can’t really see Tokiya being an “idol”; he strikes me more as the “serious musician” type who would loathe the entire concept of idols. For personality, cute Ittoki Otoya seems like his route will be a lot of heart-warming fun, which is an important element when it comes to light-hearted otome games like this, IMO.

For Uta no Prince-sama fans, and especially the fans of the original All Star game, it sounds like this fandisc is packed with routes so you may not want to miss out on it. Keep Otoya smiling for me! Perhaps this is a reminder for me to replay the first game… Though it could be a risky venture, as it’s very possible that I suppressed those memories for my own sanity!

 

 

Walpurgis no Uta ~Walpurgisgedichte~

 

Release date: Delayed from 2014 → 13-3-2015 → 26-3-2015
Developer: 3Daisy
Publisher: 3Daisy
Artist: Suzuken (スズケン)
Platform: PC (Windows)
Age rating: All-ages
Official website: http://3daisy.jp/
VNDb link: https://vndb.org/v13833

* Cast *

+ Main Characters +
~ Nazo no Seinen (Mysterious Young Man)/”Shiga Takashi” – Kakihara Tetsuya
~ Oogami Toramaru – Ono Yuuki
~ Oogami Ryuumaru – Ono Kenshou
~ Izumi Suou – Hirakawa Daisuke

+ Kiba Members +
~ Nezu – Maeda Takeshi
~ Ushio – Okitsu Kazuyuki
~ Saruta – Tsuda Taku
~ Mito – Kimura Subaru
~ Usa – Enoki Jun’ya

+ Misc. Characters +
~ Sieg – Kishio Daisuke

 

* Plot Summary *

Sainoshi- a town surrounded by the three mountains knowns as “Sainoyama”.
Izumi Shio’s peaceful existence was about to completely change thanks to the enrolment of a transfer student arriving at an odd time.

Lost, she wandered into a Western-style mansion and was attacked by a beautiful, inhuman being.

Saved by a pair of twin brothers belonging to a family of werewolves.

The secret of her older brother that comes to light.

“Walpurgisnacht…
It’s a festival that is held in Central and Northern Europe on the 30th of April; the boundary between winter and spring.
It is said to be a night on which the boundary between the living and the dead is weakened…
…Yes, it’s tonight.”

“The Poem of Walpurgis”
The young girl will learn of a life-risking love on the boundary between the dead and the living.”

 

* My Thoughts *

If I remember correctly, this game was announced in late 2013. So congratulations to 3Daisy for finally being able to release their debut title, Walpurgis no Uta! For those who have noticed the connection between Daisy2 (pronounced “Daisy Daisy”) and 3Daisy, they certainly are related. 3Daisy is the brand that Daisy2 employees- otome writer Tom (トム; also the writer of this game) and artist Suzuken- are the heads of. I’m not sure if they’re the founders, but I did learn that they’re the senior staff members. If you know of Daisy2, you may be a fan of Sangoku Rensenki ~Otome no Heihou!~, or are looking forward to their next release, Zettai Kaikyuu Gakuen.

Anyway, I think this is the first otome game that is based on Walpurgisnacht, so that’s interesting. That being said, it doesn’t sound like the actual culture behind Walpurgisnacht will be significant. As many know by now, I’m sick to death of vampires and werewolves, plus it’s 100x more irritating when the two are combined together in a single game. Even so, I don’t exactly know why Walpurgis doesn’t piss me off that much. Maybe I’ve grown desensitised.

Whatever the case, I don’t have very strong feelings about this. It seems like a really average title. The main selling point is the fact that it’s about “life-risking love”. I’d usually be interested in something like that, but with Walpurgis, I don’t care. I don’t feel as though it’d really pull off that aspect; I’m not feeling the danger. Probably because most otome games don’t try to go down darker directions due to the need of catering to the romance and moe aspects, hence I don’t actually think anything all that extreme will happen to the characters. The all-ages rating doesn’t help, but since it’s not rated by CERO like quite a few otome PC games I know of, I’m thinking that the rating won’t be much use in gauging the “maturity” of the narrative.

Since I like trying to support new companies, I will play a trial if there is one and see how I go from there. It never hurts to play the trial of any game- even ones I trash or don’t initially care about. I want to be proven wrong, and I hope this will turn out to be a good game that is as dramatic as it promises to be.

 

 

Yoiyo Mori no Hime

 

Release date: 26-3-2015
Developer: éterire
Publisher: éterire
Artist: Kunimitsu (くにみつ)
Platform: PlayStation Portable
Age rating: CERO C [15+]
Official website: http://eterire.com/yoiyomori/
VNDb link: https://vndb.org/v13879

* Cast *

~ Claus – Maeno Tomoaki
~ Lambert – Sugita Tomokazu
~ Harold – Matsuoka Yoshitsugu
~ Lutz – Kishio Daisuke
~ Miriam – Hirakawa Daisuke
~ Ulrich – Okamoto Nobuhiko
~ Julian – Miyata Kouki
~ Erenfried – Suzuki Chihiro
~ Wilma – Maki Minami
~ Verdi – Tsuda Taku
~ Arnold – Miyaoi Jun

 

* Plot Summary *

When the militarised country of Stahl burned the home village of Ilsa’s down, she ran into the gloomy forest in order to escape.

Called “Yoiyo Mori”, it is said that once one steps foot into the cursed forest, they cannot ever leave again.

Lost in Yoiyo Mori, Ilsa wandered around and eventually, she fainted. She was then carried to a certain mansion.

In the mansion were 7 men who hate Stahl, and were waiting for the opportunity to exact their revenge.

Now, Ilsa’s life with the 7 men who had vowed to take their revenge upon Stahl will begin.

 

* My Thoughts *

Another otome game that was announced in late 2013, hence it being released on the PSP. I’ve been following Yoiyo Mori no Hime since it was first announced, and have been looking forward to it. So congratulations to éterire for finally being able to release their debut title!

Okay, so adapting a fairytale into an otome game has been done more times than there are trees. Moreover, the Seven Deadly Sins being tacked on could be detrimental. Since it’s loosely adapted from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, there are too many bloody heroes and that could be even more detrimental than the Seven Deadly Sins tack-on. However, I’m willing to overlook all of that for Yoiyo since I’m very interested in the revenge plot, the political climate of the world, I like the protagonist’s personality and I’m interested in how each character was affected by Stahl. I really hope it’s structured so that you learn something new about the entire story every route; meaning that the many heroes are more justified and won’t be a pointless time suck.

Out everyone, I’m the most interested in the too-pretty-it-makes-me-jelly Erenfried and his ridiculously young-looking and beautiful mother, Wilma. I’m willing to bet that the king didn’t just “get sick”, and I really want to know which one of them was involved and how much! The side characters- one who betrays others without shame and another who does cruel things with a smile- are interesting enough, too. None of this “super-loyal best friend” nonsense I see too often, the “plot irrelevant comic relief”… or the less common type I loathe, “the one who just exists to pet the player’s fragile ego”.

I have quite a bit of faith in Yoiyo and just have a good “gut feeling” about it. It’s that same, really good gut feeling I got with most of the games in my recommendations list. It certainly helps that it reminds me of Black Wolves Saga. There’s no question about this, I will be playing this game, and it’s all just a matter of time!

 

 

Dynamic Chord feat. Liar-S

 

Release date: 27-3-2015
Developer: honeybee black
Publisher: honeybee black
Artist: Fujiwara Ryou (冨士原 良)
Platform: PC (Windows)
Age rating: CERO A [All-ages]
Official website: http://www.honeybee-cd.com/dynamic/liar/
VNDb link: https://vndb.org/v15495

* Cast *

+ Liar-S Members +
~ Hinomiya Sakura – Terashima Takuma
~ Suzuno Chiya – Okamoto Nobuhiko
~ Yuisaki Seri – Kakihara Tetsuya
~ Haruna Soutarou – Saitou Souma

+ Supporting Characters +
~ Amamiya Shio – Oki Kanae
~ Kaga Manami – Kudou Gaku
~ Naki Shin’ya – Kawanishi Kengo
~ MERI – Yano Asami

 

* Plot Summary *

The protagonist is a university student named Futaba Nina.

Raised by her overprotective parents and ignorant of the ways of the world, Nina is a wealthy girl who had never properly fallen in love before.

One day, she is invited by a friend to a bar that hosts live music events. Nina was captivated by the singing ability of Hinomiya Sakura, and Suzuno Chiya’s composition, both of whom belongs to a certain band.

Around the time she left the bar, and as her excitement of the live show cooled down, she received a single SMS on her mobile phone.

It was from Yuisaki Seri, a former acquaintance of her’s.

What will be the fate of the love between a wealthy girl who had lead a life without any association with rock bands, and a band member?

 

* My Thoughts *

Zzz… How can a summary be this dull? It certainly doesn’t help that I don’t care for musician heroes or about idols/bands in otome games. At least this one isn’t packed to the brim with childhood friends! I see no appeal in Dynamic Chord aside from wanting to pick up a simple, uncomplicated game that can be finished in a few hours…

…Or so I thought, until I read reviews of the last game. I’m getting the impression that it’s not a sugary sweet game and it may perhaps involves groupies, implied sleeping around and cheating! Again, that’s just my impression, I don’t know anything for certain since I haven’t checked out spoilers. Wow… I know that honeybee made a new brand, but I didn’t expect this much change! That alone makes me interested in trying out one of the Dynamic Chords just to see if the claims are true and if I’d enjoy this “direction” in their writing. Speaking of which, honeybee’s strength is definitely not their writing ability, so I wonder how much of a trainwreck this will be if written poorly?

If I get bored but don’t feel like playing a longer game, I may be interested in trying out the first Dynamic Chord to see how “crazy” it gets. Liar-S will most certainly be a “pass” unless I really enjoy the first one… IF I ever play it.

 

 

Un:Birthday Song ~Ai wo Utau Shinigami~

 

Release date: 27-3-2015
Developer: honeybee
Publisher: honeybee
Artist: Satoi (さとい)
Platform: PC (Windows)
Age rating: CERO A [All-ages]
Official website: http://www.honeybee-cd.com/un_birth.html
VNDb link: https://vndb.org/v15070

* Cast *
~ Zen – Hino Satoshi
~ Rikka – Tachibana Shinnosuke
~ Hayasaka Shizuru – KENN

 

* Plot Summary *

Let me sing you the last song you will hear.

Kanno Hotori was a normal girl leading a normal life.
One day, out of the blue, two unfamiliar guys appear before her.

The strangely-dressed guys informed her:

“You only have one month left to live.”

Calling themselves “Reapers”, they had come to inform Hotori that the end of her life was drawing near.

Having to obey the fate that came upon her, she had to give the Reapers her soul. However, just before she did so, Hotori had a wish she wanted granted dearly.

That wish was to tell her one-sided crush that she loves him.

How will Hotori live out her last days?
And what are the actions the Reapers will take?

This is a sad love story spun by the elite Reapers.

 

* My Thoughts *

Since I first heard about the Shinigami Kareshi, I’ve been more interested in Un:Birthday more than Re:Birthday. I love sad and tragic themes, so I’m quite interested in this. I like how Hotori already starts out being interested in one of the characters. She begged for them to give her more time just to confess to Shizuru, so I’m curious as to why she likes him so much, since it seems like they don’t have a close relationship. Though honeybee is marketing this as a “sad romance” story, I don’t really get the feeling they’d truly follow through. I’ll bet there is at least one happy end each route in which Hotori doesn’t die. I’ve come with the knowledge that this is a SAD tale. I won’t blow a gasket if I don’t get a happy ending. I’m not expecting one. One happy ending ruins the entire sad/tragic story!

So yeah, I really hope Un:Birthday will NOT do this. I don’t enjoy utsuge copping out because some readers just can’t take a bad ending, thank you very much! If you want a fluffy ending, play a different game. At the very least, the endings and story should be bittersweet. No rainbows and butterflies here, please.

I’ve read reviews on Re:Birthday, and learned that honeybee’s poor writing let it down. That makes me really reluctant to try it out. So while I remain quite interested in this, I’ll certainly be playing the trial and I’m likely to wait and see how it gets received before spending so much on a PC game. So I’ll say Un:Birthday is in the “maybe” pile for now.

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Categories: Monthly Otome Release Lists | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

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11 thoughts on “Otome Visual Novel Releases of March 2015

  1. よ!待ってました~!(´・ω・`)

    Hmm, I’m not so sure about the reputation of Tom’s writing anymore after playing Hyakka. Sure enough, the writing wasn’t bad,(the sad scenes were actually really good) but it’s unstable, since two routes stuck out really bad.

    UnBirthday Song is, (in my opinion) totally stolen from 10 days with my Devil from Voltage.Inc so I’m not going anywhere near that just for that reason. And there will totally be something about the shinigami sacrificing himself in exchange for her life, I hope I’m wrong though. I’ve not finished ReBirSo since Kairi but the entire atmosphere of the game isn’t very interesting. I can’t believe this is the company that produced Ayakashi Gohan! ( ´,,_ゝ`)

    Yoiyo Mori is finally here! I totally forgot about it though. It does look interesting with the whole seven demon lords thing and Erenfried seems to be on the angel side. I’m going to believe this is taking a leaf out of Makai Ouji with the Good and Evil having a reverse moral character and I guess I’ll wait for reviews. I wonder why they chose PSP instead of PC though, since it seems to be a PC kind of art style.

    March and April is going to be a sad month for me D:

    • Thanks for reading!

      Hmm… that’s disappointing. Was Tom the only writer? It’s quite common for there to be a few writers, with each being responsible for one or two routes. Maybe Tom should be writing Un:Birthday Song, then! xD

      I understand where you’re coming from with Un:Birthday Song. The whole “grim reaper gives you an [X] amount of time to live” thing has been done to death (pun intended, I’m so clever). It just really goes to show how seriously honeybee should take hiring a halfway decent writer! I know I wouldn’t just hire some brain-dead otaku shmoe off of the street (unless they prove themselves to be good, obviously, but you get my point). A bad writer makes a bad plot worse but a good writer makes a bad plot enjoyable or even masterful! Why is this so hard to grasp for them?

      I’m very much looking forward to Yoiyo! I know what you mean about the “angels = bad, devils = good”. On a surface level, since we’re educated to believe exactly the opposite of that, it does seem like a simple reversal of roles. However, given the origins of devils- I do recall reading an interpretation somewhere that devils are (fallen?) angels that rebel against God and are lead by Satan (who in turn is sometimes interpreted as to being Lucifer, a fallen angel)… Nevertheless, I do like the angel and devil role-reversal, though I hope the morality of the narrative will be less black-and-white than what a simple role-reversal implies. Religious mythology is fascinating, so it’s great to see it in otome games.

      Aww… I guess March isn’t a fantastic month, but from my own “critical” point of view, March is a safe month free from overt, absolutely stinky garbage, which is an achievement! As for April… yeah, it looks like it’ll be a dump month for fandiscs and ports. None of the games that are coming out could be considered a “pure” new release, if that makes sense.

      • Tom and Chuu(宙)were the main writers,(brought over directly from Otome Heihou) but if there was some shiet I’m sure they wouldn’t have just overlooked it unless they were that short of time T_T Nevertheless I’d still like to give them another chance! 😀 I still won’t be playing it though, I’ll be watching for reviews.

        Yep you’re absolutely right about the whole Datenshi thing! Won’t be playing this too I guess… I’ll be looking forward to your review if you do write one!

        Meh I’m so disappointed Reine didn’t make it for Spring. They were going on about Sakuras and Sakuras in the SS in B’sLog!! Unless I play N9Last Era, I really have nothing for April. Maybe I’ll finally start on all those recommendations from my friends ( ;∀;)

  2. Yes, I think Nanami Haruka is shit-boring. Yes, I think the high school is a lazy and silly concept.

    In Haruka’s defense, she was actually great in the original UtaPri (or UtaPri Repeat). Also the original UtaPri game pretty much ended the “high school” setting there. After that they’ve all just been working at the Shining agency doing their musical shit…so I think you have a false sense of impression of what UtaPri is about probably thanks to the terribad ホモォ┌(┌ ^o^)┐ portrayal of the series in the anime (which is obviosly meant to cater to all the yaoi fangirls.)

    I have a horrible BADDD feeling about Yoyoi. It reminds me of all those old otome games I played for the sake of playing and they ended up being bad/mediocre. Some of the CGs gave away hints of badly written yanderes, and well in general I have bad luck with games that got lots of delays (see Prince Pia Carrot lol.) But if you play it I hope you post your thoughts on it! Though at this point I’m pretty hesistant to bother buying any PSP stuff because the screen just hurts my eyes thanks to being spoiled by my Vita!

    • Thanks for reading, and for your input about UtaPri! 🙂 I love the sound of them working at the Shining Agency. The guy seems so cool. I really wish I could remember more about playing UtaPri. I guess at that time I was chuggin’ through VNs so some of them fell out of memory over time. After hearing this, and honestly, wanting to try out a game that got so popular, I definitely should play it by the end of this year for some non-serious fun (unless I’m mistaken about this impression, too).

      LMAO, I love it how we got polar-opposite gut feelings about Yoiyo no Mori. It’s interesting how people with common interests can still view the same thing totally differently. xD I’ve gotta concede, the CG page doesn’t appear to be doing the game heaps of justice, and I’m totally with you on the “delayed games tending to turn out shite” point. By no means of disrespect, I hope you’re wrong about Yoiyo as I don’t wanna be disappointed (plus I don’t want to not be able to trust my VN gut). I’ll definitely let you know how I went with it; through a review or just dropping a comment somewhere. Yeah… the PSV is just too damn pretty! Yoiyo will be the last PSP game I will ever buy. Times are a-changin’!

  3. Dang nice job on all the translations! I was not expecting such a long post www but I’m glad I went through and read it~

    I’m not gonna lie the moment i saw the prince of tennis stuff I was like “wow they’re still releasing this stuff?” THEY’LL NEVER STOP WITH THE TENNIS NO OUJI-SAMA STUFF I SWEAR WWW

    Out of all the March games though I’m probably only mildly interested in Walpurgis, Yoiyomori, and Un:Birso. I’m really, really wary about un:birso though after finishing up re:birso but if it gets good reviews then…. I don’t know I probably still won’t buy it, at least not while i’m living in the u s of a haha it’s pretty damn expensive, I might wait until I’m living abroad before I bother to order it. At least shipping won’t be as expensive lol….. Yoiyomori looks interesting, but I didn’t bother preordering it since I wasn’t immediately interested in it. Same with Walpurgis. March is sort of a “meh” month for me in terms of games, or should I say in terms of ordering games. I’m too on the fence about everything www, so I’m definitely waiting for some reviews before I throw my money at the companies hahaha

    That said, I pre-ordered Ken ga Kimi for Vita because I loved the original ;v; but it’s the only otoge I’ve bought for March wwww

    • Thank you for reading! 🙂

      Thanks for the kind words and for reading through everything. I really do try to translate as accurately as I can. I like to include footnotes for things that just can’t be fully grasped in the summary alone. Those famiiar with Japanese may pick up the concept but those less familiar won’t really understand (no intention of disrespect). March is unusually long. The average amount of new games (the only ones I translate as ports already have info out there) are about 4 or 5. It’s really helped me check out which are the dump months and many more reasons why companies delay their titles, ostensibly because of “wanting to improve their product”.

      Tennis no Ouji-sama has been going on for ages… I can’t believe the fangirls stay devoted! I thought they would have moved onto Free, Haikyuu, Yowamushi Pedal, etc. by now. It’s a difficult concept for me to believe, but perhaps not all shounen sports manga fans are shallow fujioshi! /half-jokes.

      Yeah, I know what you mean. I do check out reviews, but I find I disagree with 90% of the Japanese bloggers and customer review(er)s out there. Ultimately, you have to play and see for yourself, but who has the time to do so for every game? :/ I just wish Yoiyo would release a DL version so I don’t have to spend as much, but it can’t be helped. Can’t speak for Walpurgis, but with Un:Bir, you have to lower your expectations to the point that it’s just centimeters away from scraping the bottom of the barrel! Honeybee is not loved because of the riveting writing. Though I hear Ayakashi Gohan is good.

      I’m considering getting Ken ga Kimi for Vita myself. I want to wait and see if it’s a worthy port first, though.

      • You did a really amazing job with the translations. And I think the footnotes are great, especially for people who aren’t familiar with the concept! And tbh I never even thought of that. I’ll admit that I usually don’t pay attention to actual months, but rather specific games I’m interested in and tend to ignore everything else. Recently though I have to look at game release months so I can plan which games I want and when to save and I never even thought about the fact that some companies probably push games back so they don’t have to release during a full month. After all, people only have so much money to spend.
        Yeah I don’t tend to agree a lot with Japanese bloggers either or the Amazon reviews, but I do like to use them as a starting point. Other than that though I usually wait to see if any of my friends play the game and whether or not they like it, since I would say my tastes are similar to theirs compared to JP bloggers or what not. 😛
        Yeah if Yoiyo was doing a DL version I’d probably be more willing to buy it. Games are pretty expensive to import, and not only do I not have enough time to play through each game to see how it is, I don’t have the money to do so either hahaha //sobs
        Yeah Ayakashi Gohan had a great storyline so I was hoping the games would just sort of go up from here buuuuttttt I guess I was hoping for too much LOOOOL UGH. Yeah my expectations are pretty low for un:birso so I’m hoping someone else will play it on my TL or blogroll just so I can get like a feel for the game’s writing I guess? wwww but even so I get the feeling I probably won’t buy it…. xD unless it ends up being MIND BLOWINGLY GOOD whiiiich I don’t expect to happen lmfao.
        Mmm yesss I can’t wait for the port to finally come out. Like come to me bby give me my sakyou ლ(́◉◞౪◟◉‵ლ) hahaha! Even though I played the game like a year or so ago and I still remember parts of it, I’m pretty excited to start playing it again. The game is really gorgeous, and even tho I’ve already played through it I don’t know if I’ll ever get sick of the characters www which is mostly why I’m buying the port. ;v;
        Sob why is otome gaming so expensive lmao //cries while holding empty wallet

  4. Daeyamati

    I won’t lie, I’m interested in Dynamic Chord feat. Liar-S because the heroine is in university instead of high school. On the outside it looks like terribly cliche and unoriginal, but since the earlier installment received such positive feedback, I have a bit of faith in Honeybee.

    Hooray for Yoyoi Mori finally getting released! I’ve been interested in it since it was announced and hopefully it won’t disappoint. It’s nice to see some stuff from newer companies in a sea of mediocre from the bigger companies.

    • So nice to hear from you again, my friend! 🙂

      I can see how the fact that Nina is a uni student would give one a reasonable expectation of her maturity. From what I’ve gathered, the reviews have been neutral-to-positive; “upper-neutral”. So yes, you’re right to have some faith. If you do get around to it, I’d love to know how you go! The Dynamic Chord games (like Photograph Journey) appear to be mostly self-contained so perhaps some may be better than others. I like how Honeybee is trying out different things, even if it’s just cashing on the idol trend. Whatever inspires the game, the only thing I truly care about is how the story turns out!

      Yay! So happy a fellow oto-gamer is looking forward to Yoiyo. As much as I respect the other comments, I still can’t manage to lose faith. I’m with you; I’m always pleased to see new companies. I hope Yoiyo will turn out to be a good experience, or even an “okay, but fun” experience!

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