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Random VNs: Damekoi Part 1

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Clephas

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It has been a while since I did a partial post on a VN, and most of the time I either do it out of enthusiasm or because I got a specific request for a path-by-path detailed report from a friend.  In this case, it is because I ran out of time to finish Sekai de Ichiban Dame na Koi after I played through half the game and two of the paths.  I ran out of time because my copy of Senren Banka, which I asked me friend to ship to me directly, arrived two days early.  I wasn't expecting it until Tuesday at the earliest, and more likely I thought it would arrive on Friday, lol.  I didn't have an excuse to keep playing Damekoi at that point, so I had to start on the VN of the Month.

Damekoi is a type of VN we almost never see today... in a number of ways.  First is that the protagonist is a full adult, without the need for the usual 'all characters are over eighteen' BS.  Second is that he is a semi-hetare (despite the tags, calling him a total hetare is inaccurate, as he is actually quite capable in his limited field of capabilities), which has pretty much gone extinct as a protagonist type save for in those shota reverse-rape monster girl VNs that have gotten so popular in the last four years or so, lol.  The third way is that it is pretty much the only VN I've played that uses the G-senjou story-split structure without making it seem like the side-heroines were neglected or the main storyline was left in the dust. 

Understand, I believe the G-senjou no Maou story structure is an integral flaw added to any VN that uses it.  First, it is based off of there being a main storyline that is full canon.  In the case of Aiyoku no Eustia it was Eustia's path, and everyone knows which one it was with G-senjou.  That makes it an absolute necessity to maintain a certain consistency with the main storyline... but the fact is that most VN writers simply don't have the necessary multi-tasking capabilities to manage that many different threads in a consistent manner.  As a result, you get massive inconsistency in the sub-heroine paths in most cases... and for someone like me, who demands consistency in heavy story VNs, this can go beyond annoyance to insane rage, regardless of how much I enjoyed things up to a point (it took me three years to forgive G-senjou, and I still haven't forgiven Eustia). 

I honestly don't know how they intend to solve things in this case.  I've been playing the side heroine paths as they come up, and so I can only give you my 'in-progress' views of this game, which is considered a classic by many and has been one of the few 'gold stars' in my backlog full of crap and moege. 

To be blunt, this protagonist is a run-down salaryman in in his late twenties, who is kind-hearted but fundamentally unwise when it comes to preserving himself.  He has an extremely low self-esteem despite being quite capable/talented, and he has the worst kind of bad luck.  He, like more and more young people in this age in fully-industrialized nations, suffers from a sense of alienation from his fellow man, partially created by his alienation from his own family as a result of both of them constantly working and rarely coming home.  This has resulted in a nice young man who nonetheless is utterly incapable of reading the people around him without as much as ten times more clues than anyone else would need, lol.

The heroines are... interesting.  Universally, they are the type of women who are attracted to men that 'need taking care of'.  Their varying personalities and viewpoints on life only serve to emphasize this common element, and it frequently leads to conflicts and tension between them.  The main heroine, Mitoko, is the daughter of a woman who ran off with a man on a whim, leaving her to take care of an ancient apartment in one of the wealthiest parts of town.  Now, anyone with a lick of common sense would instantly sell that prime real-estate at an inflated price and put up a newer apartment in a somewhat cheaper location.  However, expecting that kind of common-sense attitude out of any of the heroines in this VN when it comes to their own affairs (as opposed to the protagonist's, lol) is somewhat... ridiculous.

Mitoko has that puppy-love thing going for the protagonist almost from the beginning, though she is the oldest type of tsundere (before the term was coined and Zero no Tsukaima patternized even the speech of the archetype) who beats up on the protagonist whenever he does something wrong but fundamentally is positive toward him.  Unfortunately for Mitoko, Osamu isn't exactly perceptive when it comes to the emotions of others, so he takes her at face value most of the time, hahaha. 

The first two heroines - and the ones whose paths I finished - are Kaya and Himeo.  Kaya is a somewhat lazy office lady who is a bit younger than the protagonist.  She falls head over heels for him after seeing him at work, and she is rather straightforward about her affections, actively trying to turn him into a freeloader she'll take care of for the rest of his life.  Himeo is the daughter of the president of a major real-estate conglomerate with a penchant for charitable causes and an unreasonably intense affection for Mitoko that manifests itself in some seriously screwy ways, though it is sincere. 

Both paths have to deal with Mitoko's jealousy, the fact that the protagonist's first priority is always going to be Mitoko, and the instabilities of the heroines involved.  The protagonist's emotions toward Mitoko are definitely fatherly, and their intensity combines with his sense of duty to make it impossible for him to make them his first priority outside of certain moments.

I've honestly enjoyed this VN up until now, and I think it would be a good read for someone who is looking for something 'different'.  I can also tell why this never solidified as a genre archetype, as most of the people reading VNs in Japan are the type of people who would hate using a Japanese salaryman as their perspective of the story, lol.

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