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On 05/01/2019 at 9:50 PM, Eclipsed said:

Okay, so I tried to read Muv-Luv on my Vita, and gave up. I just can't do HS SoL anymore :makina: no way am I going to slog through extra and unlimited just to get to the alternate goodies

So instead I'm finally tackling my mountain of otomes:

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Collar x Malice is the one I picked. It's another otome by the Otomate/IdeaFactory/DesignFactory/Aksys combo who made Code:Realize and others.

Simple premise, the heroine-protagonist is one cutie (first name) Ichika Hoshino who lives in city of Japan called Shinjuku which has been under terrorist attack by an organization known as Adonis who have been committing publicized mass murders on alleged corrupt people. After each crime they have been counting down the number of months until "X-Day", a day where they will supposedly enact a scheme so grand, so legendary it will purge Japan of all evil and enable an of era of 'Rebirth'. Damned cults.

Shinjuku has been quarantined from the rest of Japan as a result of the murders. So that civilians could protect themselves, the Swords and Firearms law prohibiting anyone from carrying weapons was repealed in Shinjuku. Great idea right, fight fire with fire.

Police reputation is at an all time low, with the public losing faith in their ability to stop the terrorism coupled with Adonis's heavily publicized murders claiming injustice and corruption.

Ichika is a rookie police officer, working for SRCPO (Special Regions Crime Prevention Office?) which has been formed in response to the 'X-Day Incidents' to gather intel from the public. Yes, this cutie is a police officer:

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She looks waaay too badass for her own good in this CG, because she's actually pretty pathetic LOL. It's not like she's one of those shy types or anything, she has an average, normal personality for the most part.
She's just not really a fighter. Will be damsel-in-distressed quite a few times in the VN. Literally one scene early on is just her accidentally bumping shoulders with a thug and then they gang up on her so the male hero has to step in and save her. 

And even though she's a police officer working for a fancy sounding SRCPO they're actually more like a hotline for complaints division rather than a crime busting division. 

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TL;DR there's a lot to be desired if you came into this VN expecting badassery female protagonist and legit crime busting narratives. You'll mostly slog around in the dark, always one step behind.

More synopsis backstory, in the prologue Ichika and her supervisor go onsite to a distress all and then Ichika gets ambushed and gets a poison collar placed on her by Adonis. Collar x Malice yeee.
Adonis is able to spy on her via the collar, and they tell her to solve the mystery and truth behind the X-Day Incidents. They claim she was chosen because she is a sympathizer for them and that she'll have a very important part in the days to come. The collar is unremovable, and any attempts to get the police involved will result in her death. So she'll eventually meet and seek help from the heroes of this story, most of them being ex-cops who are investigating the X-Day Incidents for personal reasons.

There's waaay too many X-Day Incidents that you'll get lost really really fast when they infodump you on cases that happened months ago that supposedly link to today's case and all the suspects and motives. It's pretty overwhelming:

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Luckily it looks like the VN is structured so that each of the male hero's route will cover specific X-Day Incidents and so you'll get a piece by piece revelation experience until you finally make it to the true route where everything will be revealed (hopefully.).

The heroes:

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Ugly bunch aren't they :sachi:

The fine dude with the white hair is (first name) Kei Okazaki. I think the writers wanted you to experience his route first, because jesus they slam him in your face the most in the common route once he's introduced. Kei is a member of SP, Special Police, who protect VIPs with their life at all costs. He was apparently tasked with keeping an eye on the other four heroes who have banded together to freelance investigate X-Day and Ardonis.

Kei's route is like the Kotori route of Rewrite, you get glimpses of the big bad and plot going on but are left mostly in the dark the entire time, and by the end of it you get some bittersweetness between the couple and nothing plotwise really answered.

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Kei is portrayed as this aloof easygoing somewhat ditzy nice guy with sleeper overpowered combat prowess

Originally tasked with keeping an eye on the other four dudes, his curiosity is piqued when Ichika starts associating with them due to her desire to solve the X-Day Incidents along with wanting to remove the Adonis collar.

The four dudes tell her to be wary of Kei, but Kei is just too nice and really really pushy and would walk her home under the guise of being her bodyguard. She would eventually warm up to him pretty easily.

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Bitch pls, I'm a badass cop, I don't need no hero bodyguard!! :vinty:


Eventually while tagging along her as she is investigating the July-August incidents a scuffle happens between Ichika and a suspected Adonis member who sees Ichika's collar and freaks out. Kei intervenes and Ichika thanks him, but having heard the Adonis's outcry, Kei's personality instantly turns ice cold and lost any sign of his prior very friendly and supportive demeanor. He's an SP after all, an elite cop, and he was now face to face with the realization that Ichika could be an Adonis spy. It's a very tense standoff :notlikemiya:

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The collar speaks up: "Ichika is valuable to both Adonis and the police. She is a good person. If you don't want her to have a pointless death, keep quiet." Kei reluctantly obliges and keeps her collar a secret from his SP superiors. 

The two eventually bond some more: he buys her flowers, they watch horror movies together, some cute stuff in the midst of all this chaos.
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I'M B-B-B-BADASS FEMALE COP! I CAN HANDLE SCARY MOVIES! :marie:

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The main drama between these two happens when all of Kei's "I want to protect you with my life" talk towards Ichika turns out to be an entitled self righteous "I want my death to have meaning" shtick. SP are tasked with protecting VIPs at the cost of their life. Kei had a partner who died protecting him 2 years ago and told him to find a death that had meaning. That kind of crap.

It'll take Ichika a bit of tsun tsun and avoiding/not talking to Kei before they finally confront each other and make amends. Kei wanted to die while protecting Ichika, someone he loves. A noble cause. But he erred in that he was going about it completely wrong by looking to die ASAP. No you fking idiot, you're supposed to find a way to protect Ichika AND yourself so that you can both live out your lives until you  one day die together of old age.

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Smh Kei you baka.


More spicy romance:

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The bad ending for this route is pretty good thematically with all the emphasize it had on these two protecting each other,

Kei'll fail to protect Ichika, and the resulting screenshot is pretty self explanatory. 

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Don't cry don't cry don't cry don't cry- :komari:

But of course we need our happy ends,

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Ok, time to continue reading.

Is this readable for males as well? I usually find the thought of playing otomes appalling, but the action and cg's seems very intetesting. Guys look pretty damn gay though, i have to admit.

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1 hour ago, Stormwolf said:

Is this readable for males as well? I usually find the thought of playing otomes appalling, but the action and cg's seems very intetesting. Guys look pretty damn gay though, i have to admit.

I'm afraid "males" is too wide a term for me to make an assessment. For instance, though I or Eclipsed may like such games, you may well not. There was, in fact, a thread about otome fairly recently.
As you've already partaken in such a thread, perhaps the opinions of others cannot aid you here? I suggest you take the plunge and decide once and for all.

 

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I'm going through Shiny Days right now, and it's even more of a technical disaster than School Days HQ. The first freeze happened within less than half a minute from starting, and it was just downhill from there.
After a ton of crashes and freezes, I began troubleshooting like a madman for hours on end. I tried a billion-or-so different fixes in Windows 10, like playing in Windowed mode, different compatibility modes, closing all other programs and so on, and then I gave up and figured I'd try playing it in Windows 7 instead. Problem was, I didn't have Windows 7 installed anywhere, and getting that taken care of turned out to be easier said than done.
I decided to install it on Boot Camp on my MacBook, but then I ran into all sorts of trouble with that instead. I had to pick up old Boot Camp files because the newer ones were incompatible with Windows 7 on my machine, and when I finally managed to install and get into the OS, no devices worked. No USB ports, no network, etc, so there was no way for me to install the game.
Defeated, I moved on to install Windows 7 on a USB drive so I could use it on my PC, but after a gazillion BSOD's and whatnot, I accepted that this apparently wouldn't work either, hung my head, sighed and turned to my last resort: An old computer I haven't used in forever.
I had to make some hardware changes first, but then I was finally able to install Windows 7 and start Shiny Days again... only to see it freeze within a couple of minutes. I gave it one final attempt by switching to Windowed mode, and apparently the combination of that + Windows 7 seems to have done the trick. ~2 hours and no crashes or freezes yet.

This has been a battle, let me tell you. I have never before fought this hard to make a visual novel or game run on my computer, and it feels kinda weird that it was for Shiny Days of all things. I guess I'll blame my OCD tendencies.

Edited by Seraphim88

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Playing Little Busters. Completed all the other routes (including Rin's bad end), and aiming for Rin's good ending. And once again, RNG scripts some crazy drama in the minigames, this time in the baseball match.

Score is 2-2, and it's our last round. Our first 2 batters are knocked out effortlessly. Before Rin herself steps up to the plate......

....AND SHE HITS A HOMERUN TO WIN THE WHOLE THING!!!

 

I havn't had this much fun with a Common Route since Grisaia....

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Suitable for males: if in anyway the gender disconnect is what made you think playing otomes is 'appalling' (being a female protagonist + romancing males + the males look 'gay') then yeah I guess you should probably avoid. It doesn't bother me though.

Other than that the story is usually decent enough to keep me interested.

I just like playing a female protagonist :makina: 

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3 hours ago, Eclipsed said:

Suitable for males: if in anyway the gender disconnect is what made you think playing otomes is 'appalling' (being a female protagonist + romancing males + the males look 'gay') then yeah I guess you should probably avoid. It doesn't bother me though.

Other than that the story is usually decent enough to keep me interested.

I just like playing a female protagonist :makina: 

I did like the code realize anime for example. I liked the setting and that she didnt fall in love with every character she met and the best one won in the end. 

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Still playing Eien no Aselia.

Done with Lesteena's route, and it was pretty disappointing. It didn't really add much to the story or her character compared to what you could get from the common parts of the story, and the ending was pretty unsatisfying. I'm glad I started with Aselia. :michiru:

Well, this game is definitely massive. :leecher: I only finished two out of seven routes at this point, but according to the in-game clock I already played for 120 hours. Strangely enough, I still didn't lose my interest. On second playthrough I wasn't even skipping that much text. Some scenes definitely made a lot more sense after I knew where the story was going, and this made me reevaluate my opinion about this game's story.

So, I'm going for Esperia's route in the next playthrough! And I'm definitely not going to play in the super hard mode for now. The hard mode was pretty easy at first, I was getting SS and S rank in pretty much all missions, but then, starting with the mission where you attack the Empire, it suddenly got HARD. I guess, I messed up with choosing who to level up, because at some point I started running out of mana, and none of my blue spirits had banish skills to deal with the new red support magic, which was instantly killing all of my green spirits. In the end, I had to make a squad with Aselia as the attacker, Yuuto as the defender and Kouin as the supporter to deal with these squads, and to quickly level up all blue spirits when I got the chance.

And, even though I managed to play almost entire game without letting anyone die, in the final mission I had to sacrifice an entire squad of secondary characters to make the final boss run out of his support magic. :komari: Rest in peace, Selia, Shiah, Nim.

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Finished Collar X Malice, no energy to do a lengthy write-up on every route.

7/10 for decent-good, most hero routes leave much to be desired..

They all have their own personal issues and morals that'll need to be solved along with the X-Day Incidents and corresponding peeps, but I ultimately was always left unsatisfied.

Classic case of expecting too much. After you finish all hero routes you can finally do Yanagi's route which is considered the true route. Things like confronting the Mastermind behind Adonis, learning Ichika's and Yanagi's troubled past, the morale dilemma of justice vs. corruption and Ichika's vital role in X-Day...these were all extremely hyped up plot points for me that were finally going to be explored in depth, but they simply failed to deliver. It was just underwhelming. Nothing WOW-worthy

True end is a standard golden end where everyone's problem is solved, the big bad defeated, and the canon couple profess their love happily ever after style

I actually liked the bad ending, where ... 

Spoiler

A major plotpoint / moral dilemma that Ichika faces throughout the VN is how Adonis picked her because the big bad determined that she was a 'sympathizer' for them: someone who could understand their goals and ambitions and ultimately join their side to carry out X-Day

Only 1/5 routes has a bad end where she actually does this, but it's glossed over and not expanded upon

Spoiler

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The true route also glosses over this for a bad ending: in the final encounter the big bad will slaughter all the heroes in the VN, utterly breaking Ichika so she finally joins Adonis

Spoiler

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But again, alas there is no elaboration other than leaving it to your own imagination..

 

Those bad ends were wow-worthy. If the writers actually made a fleshed out narrative for these ends I would've given this VN a 9/10.

I hear the fandisk actually has an epilogue for the true route bad end, but what are the odds I'll ever get to read it huh :makina:


~~
Ok, my next Otome is a tossup between:
Bad Apple Wars- Heroine awakens in NEVAEH Academy, a school for those whose souls were left behind after death.
7 Scarlet- Heroine looking for long lost brother joins Okunezato Supernatural Club to investigate the town's legends
Period Cube- Heroine is transferred into a Fantasy RPG world called Arcadia as she is looking for her long lost brother, wait didn't i just say something similar

Hmm

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Going on a binge Maruto Fumiaki's other works. Loved WA2 and I hear most of his works are actually good with character drama which I love. 

List is

Kono Aozora ni Yakusoku o -Currently playing-

Parfait ~Chocolat Second Brew~

Sekai de Ichiban Dame na Koi

 

Loved the way he handled drama in WA2 since he respects character problems and treats them seriously and beautifully. 

Konnyaku shows it's age on the interface but the character art isn't that ugly and I actually find it cute, particularly Umi. Playing through the common route and I laughed a lot on the prologue. Going to do something unusual for me and that is actually completing all the routes(except Shizuru, I hate character archetypes like her). Will be leaving short reviews after I finish each respective route.

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Got Makoto's ending in sweet pool. I just wanted him and Youji to be happy together, I did not expect this... Fuck. What the fuck :notlikemiya:

Spoiler

I mean, I did enjoy the gore, and the cannibalism thing was a nice (if twisted) payoff for Makoto's gluttony, but still... This isn't what I wanted at all ;w; My poor bbies...

So I am to understand that the only happy(?) ending I can get is with Tetsuo? Ugh. Gotta say, don't like the guy all that much... He was kinda cool in the beginning, but now I'd rather keep my distance. Oh well. I hope he'll prove me wrong.

MakoYou is always going to be my favorite, tho. And no, I don't care what the canon has to say about it.

Edited by Alcorin

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I think I'm going to try HatsuKoi's Yukino's route because I want to see of how bad the route it is (Supposedly the MC (Yuuma) did something stupid at Yukino's route there), and also I want to compare it with Hoshiori's Marika's route was was supposedly written as the major improvement of Yukino's route (Both of Marika and Yukino did share childhood friend archetype).

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Cant remember him doing something stupid though. Idecisive, sure. Being generally retarded, sure.  Putting her above all others, sure. I'd say Yukino herself is also a bit annoying though. She certainly did something stupid.

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Finished yet another route in Tokyo Babel, I feel like this has been an eternity but I am determined to see it through to the end

In this adventure our slab of a protag fought against an action figure I had in the 90s. Oh well at least it is mindlessly entertaining, Jesus though this route took so long to finally end. Still, Sorami was pretty fun and the romance seemed like it was actually present this time. (I still wish she had been the protag)

 

Oh well, on to the last route with the best girl

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We soon be gurl, we soon be.

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Finished Flowers -Le Volume sur Été- and just like the first one, it was a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, I liked the whole mature style of the VN, both visually and writing-wise. On the other hand, this part probably had even less plot than the first one. It was pretty much pure slice of life through and through, and although Erika was an entertaining protagonist who fortunately didn't suffer from Suou's hetare complex, it still got a bit dull after a while.

Chidori was an okay character, but I didn't really buy their relationship. I think Erika and Suou would have been a much better fitting couple - they would have complemented each others weaknesses much better. The Sasaki twins were adorable like always, and bitch queen Rikka was surpringly more bearable than last time. Not enough Yuzuriha for me though. :(

Felt more like a fan disk overall, since most stuff like sprites and backgrounds was recycled from last part and the title only had about 40 CGs. They certainly didn't take a financial risk here.

A real pain in the ass were the choices though. It had millions - no idea why! Most choices were of the sort:
1: Do something
2: Do the same thing just phrased a bit different
Naturally, almost none of them seemed to have any influence on the story. The funny part was finiding the choices which actually DID. Except for some choices that caused an immediate bad ending, it was almost impossible to figure them out. And even then, at least the endings I got were just different in the last five minutes or so.

Heroine ranking: Yuzuriha >> Sasaki twins > Nerine = Chidori > Erika > Suou >>> Rikka

Final rating: 5.5/10

I would have given a 6.5, but I subtract half a grade for the plethora of bugs the title is suffering from, and another half grade for forcing me twice through a 40 minutes skipping session just to get another lousy 5 minute ending. :wacko:

I also started playing Sakura Sakura, which somehow constantly gives me a strong urge to hit several of its characters with a sharp and pointy item.

Besides that, I also started Chaos;Child which seems to be much better so far than its predecessor Chaos;Head. A bit slow maybe, but the characters are likable with unique personalities and circumstances. And not to forget, the protagonist is much better written. They also got a rather good voice actor for him. Certainly a strong contender for VN of the year if it keeps that quality.

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Kono Aozora ni Yakusoku o. Finished Saeri's route and dropped Rinna's route. 

Rinna's route was funny and romantic and that's it. It's probably the best route if you like Rina and this kind of stories but I GET TIRED INCREDIBLY FAST OF THOSE KIND OF STORIES. I didn't feel like her character developed at all and most of her development comes from the common route.

Saeri's route, on the other hand, was unexpectedly great. She was mostly in the background as some sort of comedic character but it's turned around in her route. She has to stand up for herself and steel herself if she wants to save everyone including her relationship with Wataru. She steeled herself and defended Wataru in an amazing way. She defended him smartly and loyally. The 12 Angry teacher's scene based from the 12 Angry men, I shit you not there was a scene like that and that title was put in the beginning like some sort of movie credits. It's the best scene in the whole VN and probably gonna be one of my unforgettable scenes. It was written well, the title was fitted incredibly well and also the names of the characters participating where changed into the 1st teacher, 2nd teacher and so on. What makes me think it's written well is that even if it is a scene that would change Wataru's life, the teachers are just human. Some just don't care or ignorant or treat it casually. The whole scene had me on the edge as it really felt like some kind of mini courtroom. Also yeah I really was looking forward to what the hell Naoko (The cunning and smart president) was planning and she did not disappoint. Seriously, play this game just for Saeri, she's unexpectedly quite cute in her route.

Probably going to continue Umi's route. Played her for a while and stopped since while it was heavy it wasn't exactly quite gripping. And yes, it feels like a totally different visual novel and it's natural considering their past and Umi's character. 

So far

Common 9/10

Rinna Dropped

Saeri 9/10

Which reminds me I haven't shared my thoughts on the common route. The common route suffers from the game-y system it has. I prefer it when visual novels feel more like a novel than a game. Yes, I'm referring to the map selection that plagues some VN's even up today. It takes you out from the immersion. Aside from that the common route does not disappoint. It introduces the characters well and is funny. Also what I like about this game is that the characters feel like they have their own life. Some other visual novel heroines has their life centered around the protagonist (Well Umi's an exception and she has a reason for that)

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1 hour ago, littleshogun said:

Tried Maitetsu a bit, and let's just say that this VN did have the best interface among the VN that was released at last year (2018).

And trains are interesting, yet too bad it's a loli game....

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As for Maitetsu I can try to adapt at the very least, and I think not all of them were loli seeing that some of them were adult. I understand though that most people out there have a lot trouble to not disturbed, and let's stop the loli discussion in here because otherwise it'll be very bothersome. As for the route structure, at least I can see that the cover did have three heroines that would be prevalent because their route would be main, unlike Suki Suki in which what I saw is two side heroines did bigger prominence compared to three main heroines. Granted that Maitetsu's budget here might be bigger than Suki Suki (Chuable was almost bankrupt at the time of Suki Suki development, remember), but I think Chuable should be able to arrange the budget more neatly (ie I think they could still make Maya's route if they didn't design too much characters and made some unnecessary CGs).

PS - The movie was played very slowly on my laptop, although it's more because my old laptop though rather than the VN itself. Just want to say it here.

Edited by littleshogun

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Finished Sekai de Dame Ichiban Koi. I understand why a lot of people compliment this novel. It's wonderfully paced with something always happening making it hard to know when to take a break. The characters are well made, but it's quite obvious Toko is the main heroine. Almost all of the conflicts in the game (on the other routes) deal with her romantic feelings. 

Here are my thoughts on each of the routes.

Skipped Kaya's route

Himeo- Unexpectedly one of the cutest characters in the games. While I may not like the story in her route, her character balanced it out for me.

Asami-Can't help but feel like she was just a side route. There are a lot of repeated dialogues with Toko's route with some changes. Her route could have been done better and probably one of my favorite characters in the game.

Toko- Obviously the main heroine so this has the most effort into it. I liked Toko a lot and it makes you want to support Osamu and his forbidden relationship with her. It's heartwarming and ends the game well.

Also thoughts on the Toko' conflict routes

Spoiler

 

What the hell was lame ass conflict. A random criminal seems somehow cheap. Making someone into a villain seems out of place for this game. Dropped the game from 9.5 to 9/10 in my score just because of that lame asspull.


 

 

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16 hours ago, Larxe1 said:

Toko- Obviously the main heroine so this has the most effort into it. I liked Toko a lot and it makes you want to support Osamu and his forbidden relationship with her. It's heartwarming and ends the game well.

As for Damekoi, I think it's understandable if you like Toko because she's more or less like Setsuna while Asami here is more or less like Kazusa (At least in my opinion). For other two side heroines, from what I see Himeno would be like Koharu and Mari combined while Kaya here is like Chiaki. I knew that both of Damekoi and WA2 are already different works here, but seeing that both works were came from the same author (Maruto Fumiaki) it's always interesting to see of how Maruto will expand Damekoi heroines characteristic in WA2 later. Also I like to say that I look forward to Damekoi English release (Hopefully at this year), and that once again Damekoi here was came before WA2 so you may find some idea was less refined compared to WA2.

Edited by littleshogun

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