Otome Visual Novel Releases of November 2015

As if to make up for the very uneventful (well, save for QuinRose’s demise) October 2015, most of November 2015’s releases are highly-anticipated titles! Fans of honeybee’s second big hit Ayakashi Gohan will finally get to play its fandisc, Ayakashi Gohan ~Okawari!~. I’m looking forward to the extra raburabu moments with the Inushima twins! The much-hyped Bad Apple Wars by notoriously hit-or-miss Otomate will also be coming this month. It seems like the first truly interesting title in a bit of a while by them.

Then we have a milestone of sorts in Goes!, which is the second title by Petit Reve (their first was Soukai Buccaneers) set in a Japanese magic academy. It’ll be the first otome game to implement a completely female seiyuu only cast! At the time of its announcement, Goes! receieved so much hype that the official website crashed. Finally, there is Sousaku Alice to Ouji-sama!, which is an original title created by the folks who brought us the official otome adaptation of KobaKawa.

 

New releases

Title Release Date Platform
Bad Apple Wars [Info] 8-10-2015 → 19-11-2015 PSV
Goes! [Info] 26-11-2015 PSV
Sousaku Alice to Ouji-sama! [Info] 26-11-2015 N3DS
Ayakashi Gohan ~Okawari!~ [Info] 30-10-2015 → 27-11-2015 PC [Fandisc of Ayakashi Gohan]
Taishou x Alice Epilogue [Info] 11-2015 → 25-12-2015 PC

 

Ports/Remakes/Re-releases

Title Release Date Platform
Norn9: Var Commons [Info] 3-11-2015 PSV [English localisation]
Scared Rider Xechs Rev. [Info] 19-11-2015 PS2 → PSP → PSV port [Double pack of the original game and its fandisc.]


 
 

Bad Apple Wars

 

Release date: 19-11-2015
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Age rating: CERO B [12+]
Developer: Otomate
Publisher: Idea Factory
Artist: Suou
Official website: http://www.otomate.jp/baw/
VNDb link: https://vndb.org/v17344
OP Info:
Song title: Mirror, Mirror
Vocals and lyrics: Nano
Composition and arrangement: WEST GROUND

 

* Cast *

+ Main Characters +
~ Alma – Sakurai Takahiro
~ Higa – Suwabe Jun’ichi
~ Shikishima – Ishida Akira
~ Satoru – Hanae Natsuki
~ Shiraga no Fuuki Iin (The White-Haired Discipline Committee Member) – Tachibana Shinnosuke

+ Supporting Characters +
~ Usagi-sensei – Sugita Tomokazu
~ Gas Mask-sensei – Yusa Kouji
~ Bucket-sensei – Miki Shin’ichirou
~ Naraka – Minagawa Junko
~ Enishi – Sakimoto Masakazu
~ Sanzu – Ozawa Ari
~ You – Kanbara Daichi

 

* Plot Summary *

On the first day she was to start high school, the protagonist, Rinka, got involved in an accident. When she came to, she was standing on the grounds of an unknown academy. It was NEVAEH Academy, a school that the souls of scholastic dunces attend after death. There, as long as one follows the rules and remains well-behaved- regardless of how much of a dunce a soul is- they can graduate which equates to being able to “redo” their lives.

Upon being informed of her death by a suspicious rabbit-headed man, Rinka- in a dream-like state of mind- ends up participating in the school entrance ceremony. However, all of a sudden, a piercing sound of an explosion reverberates.

At the sound of the explosion, a school war erupted between the BAD APPLES, a team of bad students that fights against the academy and the discipline committee members, whose job is to oversee that the academy’s rules are adhered to.

Amidst the chaos, she meets a red-haired boy. The boy turned towards Rinka and asked her straightforwardly:

“…Do you wanna live?”

 

* My Thoughts *

It’s the first Otomate game in a while that sounds even slightly unique and interesting. There’s quite a bit of hype and it’s clear Otomate has invested effort, money and time into Bad Apple Wars. Obviously, the whole school war thing is stupid, but since I don’t feel as though being a normal school is NEVAEH Academy’s foremost priority, it’s not really a point of contention in this instance. Also, Otomate isn’t too subtle with symbolism, ‘ey? I wonder who the main love interest is? Surely it can’t be the weaponised red string-carrying Alma…

I haven’t really taken an interest in any character, but if I had to choose, I like Satoru. I wonder why Satoru is so obsessed with studying. I hope it’s not for a cliche reason. Also, I’m interested in Shikishima to a much smaller extent. Basically, I’m intrigued by the characters that don’t really give a toss about the “being a good student or a bad student” thing (or otherwise have a neutral stance on the matter).

I like how Bad Apple Wars lets you choose which faction your protagonist will be in. I hope this will be done in an interesting manner like how Ayakashi Gohan let you “choose” what kind of personality Rin had when she grew older based on the choices you made when she was a child. Knowing the usual format, you’ll probably get to pick after a certain point in the common route (like choosing a character route in ALICE=ALICE and Bad Medicine) or there are two separate common routes from the very beginning and you make your faction choice even before the game actually starts.

While I’m not big on Suou’s artwork (in particular, how everyone is so skinny), I respect its uniqueness and I like how she designs the characters’ clothes. I think her distinctive artstyle and wacky clothes designs are a good match for a game like Bad Apple Wars. All-in-all, I’m happy for her that she’s getting more work because while I wouldn’t call myself a fan, it’s far more interesting to look at than the one millionth sparkly, clean and pretty, competent but boring artstyles.

Will I be getting this game? That’s something I’ve been asking myself since I first heard of this game. However, after much thought, I’ve decided to wait for reviews since Otomate is an expert at disappointing. I mean, I’m in no rush to plunge into new games as my backlog looks like Mt. Fuji. Still, nice of Otomate for trying something a bit different. Hope it’s a good game!

 

 

Goes!

 

Release date: 26-11-2015
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Age rating: CERO B [12+]
Developer and publisher: Petit Reve
Artist: Fuyuno Haruaki
Official website: http://www.p-reve.com/goes/
VNDb link: https://vndb.org/v15118
OP Info:
Song title: Teenage Grimoire
Vocals: Itou Kanako of Zizz Studio
Composition: Adaniya Masayuki of Zizz Studio
Arrangement: Isoe Toshimichi of Zizz Studio
Lyrics: Watanabe Kazuhiro of Zizz Studio

 

* Cast *

+ Main Characters +
~ Tsuzuki Takashi – Sanpei Yuuko
~ Vince Vivian Vickers – Shiraishi Ryouko
~ Kai Jolis Sakura – Saiga Mitsuki
~ Niiyama Masanori – Kokuryuu Sachi
~ Hinata Eli Farce – Minagawa Junko
~ Sejm Eli Farce – Takeuchi Junko
~ Kurone – Kaida Yuki

+ Supporting Characters +
~ Aizawa Ruka – Toyoguchi Megumi
~ Kanno Kyouichirou – Watanabe Akeno
~ Hatori Atsushi – Tamura Mutsumi
~ Fushigi na Senpai (The Mysterious Upperclassman) – Shindou Naomi
~ Ukiyobanare shita Fun’iki no Shounen (The Young Boy with an Otherwordly Aura) – Tamura Yukari

 

* Plot Summary *

The setting is a present-day Japan in which studies to develop skills and knowledge in magical, theological and scientific disciplines are undertaken with equal importance.

However, not everyone is allowed to freely use magic. An individual’s personal qualities are taken into account, and in additon, one must study magic as their speciality. For that reason, magic educational institutions were founded.

At the magic school Takashi and his schoolmates attend, many stories about the “Seven Wonders” of varying veracity are passed from the senior students to the junior, from the old generation to the new.

Takashi and his scholastic companions gradually discover the school’s “true mysteries of the Seven Wonders”…

 

* My Thoughts *

While I think the “all female seiyuu” thing is an interesting choice considering how male seiyuu otaku oriented the otome market is, it feels rather gimmicky as voice acting isn’t the most important aspect of a visual novel. How would the story change if the cast were composed of the standard pickings of popular male seiyuu? Yes, voice acting can spice things up and highly improve immersion, but a truly worthwhile read can stand on its two feet without bells and whistles, I think.

Anyhow, I get the feeling that more thought has gone into the world-building and how magic works in the setting of Goes! than most otome games with magic. As I love fantasy and magic, this has already piqued my interest quite a bit. In addition, I like the idea that magic and “standard” disciplines of study are treated with equal importance. The website mentions that Rokuyou Academy teaches normal subjects but (obviously) has an emphasis on its specialisation subjects, which are all various disciplines of magic.

In the Goes! world, magic is divided into the following categories (not sure if these are necessarily the school subjects): elemental magic, herbology, alchemy, summoning magic, white magic (healing), black magic (injurious) and necromancy. Since Masanori specialises in kabbalah and numerology- which aren’t main categories of magic- this hints at there being sub-categories within the main disciplines of magic.

Whatever the case, from a “technical” standpoint, it doesn’t make much sense to have “white magic” and “black magic” categorised as individual disciplines since they’re terms that denote intent of magical use rather than its actual effects. You can certainly see the Final Fantasy-inspired use of the terms “white magic” and “black magic”.

Another main aspect of Goes! is the academy’s Seven Wonders (nanafushigi). It sounds pretty run-of-the-mill if the first one is anything to go by (which is “the piano that plays by itself”). However, since that turned out to be a “fake Wonder”, it appears as though there will be an additional focus on actually gauging which events are legitimately a Wonder rather than exclusively focusing on sleuthing why the events occur in the first place. Apparently, there are more than 20 events rumoured to be one of the Seven Wonders. It’s a different take on things, considering most Seven Wonders stories are much more concerned with solving them more than anything else.

Hmm… seven love interests in a game with a big focus on the Seven Wonders… Coincidence? I still think any amount more than 5 is excessive, though. Anyway, going by first impressions, I like iyashi-kei cutie Vince, as well as the cheeky Takashi- I love the mischievous prankster types. Who doesn’t love a naughty guy? Poor, poor Masanori- he’s just designed to get trolled by people like Takashi and Sejm, LOL. As for the protagonist, Shio, I don’t really like her so far. She doesn’t seem any different from the usual protagonists out there, plus I really don’t like the overly idealistic types. Hope there’s more to her than this.

Excluding my twin husbandos the Ayakashi Gohan fandisc, I’m the most interested in Goes! out of everything that’s coming out this month. I love fantasy, magic and though overdone, the Seven Wonders. I really like Fuyuno Haruaki’s artstyle. I think there is a good variety of characters and they all look adorable. Even if Goes! turns out to be nothing more than a magic-user high school guy charage, if it’s fun and well-executed, it’s a welcome addition to my library. However, since the reception of Soukai Buccaneers was lukewarm, I’ll take my usual cowardly “safely observe from the sidelines first” approach and wait for reviews.

 

 

Sousaku Alice to Ouji-sama!

 

Release date: 26-11-2015
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Age rating: CERO A [All-ages]
Developer and publisher: Happinet Games
Artist: Notoyama Keiko
Official website: http://alice.happinet-games.com/
VNDb link: https://vndb.org/v18082

 

* Cast *
~ Hibino Mirai – Chiba Shouya
~ Odagiri Yuuki – Tamaru Atsushi
~ Kasaoka Shou – Hamada Youhei
~ Mori Reiya – Horie Shun
~ Makabe Shuuto – Furukawa Makoto
~ Sonoda Misaki – Nagatsuma Juri

 

* Plot Summary *

The protagonist, Kagami Arisu, is a first-year junior high school student who loves to draw. The pictures she drew for fun acted as a launching pad to meeting various boys, and amongst them, one she took an interest in… This is a story of a girl who tries her best when it comes to love and her hobby over the her three years in junior high.

 

* My Thoughts *

While this is obviously geared towards the 10~14-year-old crowd, it certainly doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyed by older otome game players. After all, I’ve played and enjoyed more than a handful of games (not otome, though) that are meant for younger kids- like the PokéPark series. Perhaps it’s a different story when it comes to romance games… In my opinion, this game isn’t very interesting. It’s just the typical, “boys crowd around the “ordinary” protagonist for some shallow reason” kind of thing that’s all too common in Japanese media targeted towards girls (in particular, shoujo manga), really.

Even considering Sousaku Alice to Ouji-sama is supposed to be an uncomplicated charage, which Goes! looks like it’s heading towards as well… At least Goes! has other pretty interesting things going on. I have nothing against a laidback school setting but this one sounds like it has nothing remotely unique going for it. I swear, if I ever feel like playing a game like this, I should throw all of these titles in a “safe high school setting charage” randomiser and play whatever title comes out first. It really doesn’t make a difference in the long run, save for aesthetics.

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Categories: Monthly Otome Release Lists | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “Otome Visual Novel Releases of November 2015

  1. I am very excited about Goes! I met someone from the company as well as their singer, Sakina, for their opening and ending songs in Soukai. They were very kind and listened to everything I had to say. They were very eager to open a market in the US and Sakina was just adorable! Despite my limited Japanese, we had a pretty decent conversation and I hope to meet her again one day! I hope the company delivers with their games.:)

    Never played Ayakashi, but I want to and Bad Apple Wars certainly is intriguing. I swear, if this flops like Reine did, I will be pretty depressed.

    • Heya Leaf-san!

      Cool! I had no idea that Petit Reve was interested in a US market. Actually, I think many companies actually are interested in a Western market, but they’re probably just quietly observing the braver companies… Similar to how I rarely pre-order games because I prefer to observe the braver players take the plunge and see how they go.

      I really hope Goes! does better than Soukai did. Things may turn out OK since it’s a different writing team and it did attract attention from the otome game community for the unusual all-female cast. Granted, the female seiyuu selected are well-known ones. I’m surprised they didn’t cast Ogata Megumi since I’m sure she has more than a few female fans. Some reckon it’s gonna flop due to the otome empire’s emphasis on male seiyuu… but if it’s gonna flop, I don’t think the female cast is gonna be the biggest reason.

      As for Bad Apple Wars, I agree that we mustn’t forget about how Reine turned out. I get the feeling it’s better handled, but I’ll still be watching from the observation platform. I didn’t realise that NEVAEH is “heaven” backwards… x/

      • XD Hello!!!
        Yep, they were very nice too!
        I can definitely agree with all your points. And it IS weird that Ogata isn’t a seiyuu but the female cast in general stands out.
        Lol Reine Des Kusoge…what the heck happened to the writers during that game?

  2. Also did you notice that the school in Bad Apple Wars is Heaven spelled backwards? Lol sorry if you did, I just feel smart noticing it 😛

  3. November is pretty empty for me. Not interested in Bad Apple wars, even more so after hearing you “poke the guys in their naughty parts and get a bad end”. WHATS THE POINT THEN (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

    December is mostly ports too, aside from Believer which I’m getting. I have the AYaGohan Vita game but I’m sure they’ll port the FD to vita eventually anyway so no point in bothering with the PC version for me.

    • Hiya Hinano! Thanks for reading.

      I’m still on the fence with Bad Apple Wars after coming very close to wasting my dosh with Reine des Fleurs. LOL, I guess most people wouldn’t appreciate getting poked in their private parts… but even so, I wonder why Otomate bothered with it? Trying to teach the young fans a lesson, perhaps? xD

      December is pretty dull, yeah. I’m not interested in Believer at this stage and Love:Quiz just screams “DISASTER!” right into my ear whenever I come across it. The only game I’m interested in so far is the Epilogue of Taishou x Alice.

      I have a near-zero interest in the December port battalion. If I didn’t own Getsuei no Kusari already, I’d may have been interested in the PSV port. Also, I’m mildly intrigued by Walpurgis no Uta’s mixed reception… I wonder what about it divided the opinions? If the PC or PSV version goes cheaper, I may consider checking it out.

      As for Ayakashi Gohan, I can’t wait so I’m happy to jump straight into the PC version! =) Though I can definitely understand the feelings of those whom prefer to wait.

  4. as much as I’m excited for BAW, now that you mentioned it, the plot is somehow similar to Angel Beats xD; but yea after hearing about the poke the dudes and it’ll turn into a bad ending is just… eh?

    also I know the game about how all the male characters are female seiyuu casts which is actually interesting! I know most of them can voice male characters really well, specially Saiga Mitsuki and Minagawa Junko, who voice 2 of my favorite male characters in an RPG series. the art seems… mediocre? like it’s not bad but it’s not that good either. I’ll just wait for a review.

    • Hello kurorisa, thanks for reading! 🙂

      I’ve yet to watch Angel Beats or play the visual novel(s) so I can’t speak for how similar BAW is to it. I’ll take your word for now, though. I’m still all “what the…?” in regards to the poke-in-the-groin-get-bad-ending thing. I sometimes wonder what’s going through the minds behind Otomate other than money…

      Yeah, Goes’ seiyuu cast choice is interesting. There’s quite a bit of support for it and there probably are more female fans of female seiyuu than one might think, judging by the opinions I’ve been coming across amongst Japanese otome gamers. Saiga Mitsuki has already appeared in otome games voicing main love interests, so she’s quite experienced with the field. I recognise the others as some of them have voiced supporting characters. I’m sure plenty of girls are pleased with Naruto’s VA voicing a love interest. So far, I like Shiraishi Ryouko’s gentle voice the most.

      I’m liking Fuyuno Haruaki’s artwork so I’ll have to politely disagree there, though I can agree on the fact that it’s not God-tier. I’m more concerned about the story, if anything. The concept has some measure of promise, but at the same time, because it has quite a bit going on, it’s easy for it to lose balance and go downhill. So yes, I will be observing reviews as well.

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