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Random VN: Ojousama no Hanbun wa Ren'ai de Dekiteimasu



This game is a peculiar one.  This is the third time I've played the game, and the second time I've posted on it.  If you want to see my original review, please look here: 


I'm going to focus here on coloring in some of the details of why I like this game and think it is underrated amongst Western readers of untranslated VNs.  First, the factors that lead to it being underrated.

1) The protagonist takes on a man-whore role through large swathes of the game and isn't a pure-hearted boy by any standard.  For some reason, man-whores aren't received very well by a lot of Western readers, especially ones that are calculating and intentionally act that way.  

2)  The visual style of the game differs significantly, if subtly, from the more common styles of the post-2010 era.  It is rougher in some places and more elegant in others.  

3)  A large portion of the readers don't like Arika.  Now, there are good reasons not to like her in many's eyes.  She is whimsical, manipulative, and lazy as all hell when she isn't interested in an activity.  However, she is also hyper-intelligent, intuitive, and has the same kind of super-luck that Cap did in Majikoi.  Unfortunately, she is the kind of character that seriously divides readers.

4)  People's expectations of trap protagonists.  Most people going into a trap protagonist game expect a lot of comedy antics related to the cross-dressing.  However, Hajime doesn't bungle things and doesn't panic the way a lot of trap protagonists do.  In addition, 'calculating' is a quality that many who actually like trap protagonist games don't like in them... and Hajime is nothing of not calculating.

5)  The surprising darkness of the setting.  People go into trap protagonist games thinking they will be comedic and moe-moe festivals.  Ojomasu is neither.  There isn't a lot of comedy in the game, and there is very little in the way of moe fanservice. 

6)  The prologue H-scene.  Probably the thing that annoys a lot of people is the h-scene in the prologue and how it came to be.  For people that go into this game with a 'I want to see pure love romance from beginning to end' attitude, this is a huge downer.  That it is followed by Hajime using the affections of a number of other women during the course of the story only enhances this impression for this part of the crowd.

7)  Ginko isn't one of the heroines.  Yes, in any other game, Ginko would have been one of the heroines.

The things that make this game worth playing.

1)  Everything above.  Seriously, the fact is that a lot of the people who play this game aren't the intended audience.  In some ways, this is a more down-to-earth version of the 'guy infiltrates a girls' school' trope.

2)  Despite only having three heroines, those heroines provide a full spectrum of personalities.  The whimsical Arika, the stoic and straightforward Benio, and the sweet-natured Peko provide a lot of variety without any real overlap.  If Ginko or Rion (the ones the largest part of the fanbase seemed to want routes for) were heroines in this game, it would distract from things greatly.  Moreover, there is way too much overlap between Ginko and Arika personality-wise.

3)  There is just enough darkness to the setting and story to create a firm contrast to the soft atmosphere of the girls' school.  In a lot of cases with these 'girls school infiltration' VNs, there is a sense of unreality created as a result of poor buildup of the setting.  

4)  This game doesn't even attempt to imitate the success of other companies.  I honestly think they should have named this game something else, because the title makes it seem like a game that should be a soft romance rather than the more complex story it is.

5)  Hajime is a protagonist you can enjoy self-inserting into.  He is capable, intelligent, and ambitious, a combination that is a refreshing change from most VN protagonists in general.

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Although I often miss the time when you posted a lot of your recommendations, I although know that I could not take the time to do it and that I rarely commented in response despite reading you.

Anyway. Thanks to you post, I'm reading this VN. Thank you. So far, I've read the common and Benio's routes and attacking Peco's. Not finished yet, but I'm feeling the need to comment (sorry if you don't like me to post that here, just tell me and I'll erase my post if possible).

In general, I don't really feel the need to speak about what I like in a VN, I'll then summarize by saying : for now, I like about the same things you liked yourself.

But now, my negative comments so far :

About Arika :
I've not read her route yet, but what I'm referring to should not change since it's based on what I've already read.

I can't say I don't like her per say. As a character, she's very interesting and globally I like her a lot (see below). I'm not a fan of her voice actress's texture voice, but the acting itself is close to perfect. What I certainly don't like :
  - the servile/slavish attitude of the MC towards her. In fact, it's not really a critic of Arika but more of the MC as he is written. This is a regular complaint for me, but this is occasionally unsustainable. To be precise : I've no grief against story that present an overbearing character (be it by personality, brute force or social position) and the subsequent servility of others. What I really don't like is when characters (MCs particularly) are OK with it, don't try to free themselves at least a little (even in their mind when they speak to themselves !). Freedom has been valued by almost every human at any time, I can't understand why Japanese writers are so prone to write MCs with this trait... again, not being free is not the problem, but not even wanting to be a bit more free...
  - this is less of an issue, but as much as I can like a story featuring a whore/prostitute/whatever, I don't want my wife/mother/sisters to be whore/prostitute/whatever. This is an analogy : I can stand characters that are very liberal about sex, even minor heroines, but I generally prefer the main heroine (or my preferred one) to be a bit more conservative on this subject. So far, Arika certainly is too opened on this subject for my taste. I know I tend to be sexist and an old timer on this subject and to be honest this is (so far) not going too far either.
So far, except the two problems mentioned above, she's an excellent main heroine, very interesting and very present, even in Benio's route. Honestly, at least before reading her route, one of the best heroines I've encountered, on par for example with Himegami Arisu from Yami to Hikari no Sanctuary and a bit under Naname Nanami from Ojou-sama wa Gokigen Naname (that speaks a lot, she is probably in my top 5).

About The prologue H-scene : No problem with it except for who's featured in it, as mentioned indirectly earlier.

About Ginko not being a heroine : I see quite a few differences between her and Arika, I then can't just say "she would overlap". Of course she would overlap on some traits, but she wouldn't on many others (at least so far it's how I see it). But anyways, as much as adding her route would be a plus, not having it is certainly not a minus for me.

About the trap protagonist : honestly, he's quite well done but I totally agree about your comments : people might expect something else, especially comedy. I'm fine with this myself. On a side note : quite surprisingly, I really liked the voiced protag of Otoboku 3 (partially voiced anyway). I probably miss it more for traps because it feels more natural to be voiced by a woman, I guess.

The surprising darkness of the setting : so far, I don't feel it so dark for a 'VN'. But yeah, it feels a bit dark for a 'trap protag in a girls school VN'. Although, I suspect Arika's route to be the darkest, I may change my mind.

About having only three heroines : I've not finished it yet, but It seems sufficient, even if one or two more could have been a big plus (if not just fillers). The common route features a lot of interesting interactions with a lot more interesting females (including H-scenes) and if I have to choose between this and 1 or 2 more routes, I would vote any day for this common route.

About Hajime (MC) : I agree with you, except for the mentioned subservient attitude (even in his internal monologues). Obviously, I liked him anyways.

About the routes : the common route is quite excellent for me (see above). I'm more shared on Benio's : I quite like Benio herself ; I especially love her VA, especially when she's speaks so quick but distinctly, have you noticed ? Her personality is as you described and she's lovely on the whole. Her route is not bad per see, but I don't feel that the main conflict is treated very well. The end of her route is too rushed as well, but I can guess that this part of the story will be explored in Harika's.

On a whole, a good recommendation. Quite surprising that this is the sole VN produced by this dev.

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