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Clephas' VN of the month


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Majo Koi Nikki... to be honest, I didn't go into this VN with any real interest, and so I wasn't disappointed. 

 

lol... I know that sounds horrible, but it was ok, as story-focused VNs go... if you ignore the fact that the story is basically kinetic, yet they insist on interrupting the story with pointless choices.  I mean, a game of this type should have maybe two or three choices, since it is basically on rails, no matter what it pretends. 

 

For those who prefer chronologically linear storytelling, this game would be endlessly frustrating.  It skips back and forth between stories and times, and there are huge stretches were you aren't sure what is real and what isn't, because the characters aren't.  For those who don't mind that kind of approach, that wouldn't be a barrier, though. 

 

This game does have two endings... but to be honest, neither really struck my heartstrings, after the interminable slogging through the protagonist's endless sexual liaisons and love affairs.   I go 'what? Exactly why do these girls love him?' for a completely different set of reasons from those in the average moege.  What makes it worse is that the game is also told from the perspective of a second, female protagonist who doesn't know what the hell is going on and doesn't really believe what she is reading until near the end.  The second ending... is frigging hidden.  Also, it is over so fast, I had to go 'what, that's it?  After making me go through all that, the protagonist is his usual playboy self, and it is over?'. 

 

This game is reasonably high-quality... but it hit almost all my pet-peeves.  I mean, the protagonist is such an... arrogant prick throughout most of the game.  Not only that, he never does get over himself, and he is still talking from up on his high horse in the last scene of the second ending.  

 

My final verdict... I know people who do like this kind of surreal story and don't mind a playboy protagonist will like this game, but for people who despise playboy protagonists who are incapable of getting over themselves and stories that are all over the place... this game is immensely frustrating. 

 

Edit:  Sorry for ranting... but the ending is such a frigging let down after all that slogging and organizing information in my head... some people would like it, but I felt like it was a huge let down.

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This will be my final post for May's releases. 

 

I just finished Golden Marriage, the fourth game for this month.  Golden Marriage is by Ensemble, a subsidiary of will that specializes in making games that involve the upper-class society (generally speaking, multiple heroines will be well-off, and frequently the protagonist is too).  They were also the makers of Otome ga Tsumugu Koi no Canvas. 

 

Golden Marriage is a moege/charage, whose protagonist is a wealthy young man named Nagisa, who lives with his surrogate mother, Elvira in a mansion given to him by his Uncle after the deaths of his birth parents in a cruise-ship accident.  He is pretty unusual amongst this type of game, in that he is both capable and rather obviously flawed, despite that capability.  Previous to the beginning of the story, he was what he calls a 'walking wallet' for girls, mostly to alleviate his boredom.  However, at the beginning of the story, he is asked by his Uncle if he wishes to succeed him as CEO of the Tachibana Group, and if he does decide to do so, he must, by his birth parents' will, find his lifetime partner and get engaged before he does so. 

 

The main heroines of the game are the perfect student council president, Yukariko; his fellow workers at his part-time job, the easygoing and active Riri and the modest and poor Kasumi; the open and honest violist Rei; and his osananajimi Touko.  Generally speaking, the character dynamics in this game are pretty good, the drama is interesting though not overly intense, and the characters themselves are worthy of taking an interest in.  The visual style is a bit unusual (see the vndb page if you want to take a look), and that serves to distinguish it somewhat from the common ruck of charage/moege out there.  From a musical perspective, there is nothing really exceptional, but what is there is used adequately well, if not superbly so (yes, faint praise on most counts, but that's the way it goes). 

 

My complaints this game are mostly ones I have for all charage to one extent or another.  I'd prefer a longer, more detailed epilogue (minus the obligatory H-scene), with a bit of a peek into their married life, but since few charage actually do that, I guess that is somewhat unfair.  My other complaint is that the drama, which is a rather obvious attempt to imitate some of the things that happen in their other games in some cases(one right out of Gokigen, the other out of Otokoi) lacks the sheer intensity of some of their other games.  Because the protagonist isn't an excessively passionate person in the first place (though he is loving), the actual drama was somewhat weaker than it could have been.

 

Nonetheless, I think those who want a high-society charage with a set of decent heroines will find this a good choice.  It has its flaws, but I've definitely seen worse. 

 

 

VN of the Month Announcement

 

First, I should say that in the end, my decision came down to two games, Houkago no Futekikakusha and Sakigake Generation.  Houkago no Futekikakusha is an excellent utsuge, though it has flaws with how it deals with its setting, and Sakigake is ideal for people who want some light romance, some comedy, and a little light fantasy.  Either one would be VN of the Month material on its own, but I was pleased to have two that were worthy of considering in a single month, considering how dry April was.

 

In the end though, simply because it managed to surprise me with both its quality and the degree to which it affected me emotionally, I had to choose Houkago no Futekikakusha as May's VN of the Month.  It really was a hard decision this month... because, to be blunt, Sakigake has a much wider appeal.  Futekikakusha will probably be avoided like the plague by those who dislike being required to sit through bad endings or who don't have a resistance to the despair and depressing atmosphere of a game like that.  Sakigake, on the other hand, will probably appeal to anyone who likes slice of life at all.   I don't think I have to say which would attract more people, now do I?  Nonetheless, I chose the former because of the sheer emotional impact of the story and the degree to which I was drawn behind the eyes of the characters.  It might have some technical problems, but in comparison to that impact, those are relatively minor issues.

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No, maybe I'll try it next month, but for now I'm moving on.

 

This is the lineup for June's releases (if they don't get delayed):

 

http://vndb.org/v14847 (Crossfire was decent, so I'm going to try this)

http://vndb.org/v10304 (It's by Palette... it'll either be decent or horrible)

http://vndb.org/v14069 (Definitely playing this, direct sequel)

http://vndb.org/v14520 (might or not play this, as Escu;de's gameplay tends to be almost as chancy as Debo no Su Seisakusho)

http://vndb.org/v14595 (... I just know the moege fans are going to want  me try this.  Twincest being one of the favorite themes)

http://vndb.org/v14760 (Caramel Box... it's been a long time since they made anything, but I'm looking forward to it)

http://vndb.org/v14761 (for all it is a famous company, Giga's efforts at normal moege/charage tend to be second-rate, but I might try it anyway)

http://vndb.org/v14763 (This might or might not be a nukige... when the release comes out, I'll make a determination)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just finished Harvest OverRay, Giga's VN for this month.  A few thoughts... this game's setting is somewhat similar to that of Cocoro@Function in that technology is at a point where computers effecting people's vision and hearing are becoming a part of everyday life.  The protagonist is a hardcore gamer, and the game's common route is pretty much just fun and games, save for a few specific scenes.

 

Except for Yuuka's route and the endgame drama for each of the other heroine routes, this game is a fairly straightforward charage.  Yuuka's route is the true route, and it has a much deeper story as a consequence.  It also draws in the elements that come up in the other three heroine routes and gives you a view of the whole picture, which is nice. 

 

Tbh, my biggest problem with this game is Giga's excessive use of foreshadowing and suggestive conversations in other views.   In the heroine routes other than Yuuka's, I pretty much knew how everything was going to play out before it happened, because of that.  That was more than a little irritating, because if they'd cut out a little more of that excessive foreshadowing, this would have been a much better game.  Thus, the three regular heroine routes left me feeling somewhat disappointed, despite the actual high quality of the scenario design.  When a game uses such a 'normal' progression of events (believe me, the actual basic outline of the first three heroine routes is very much in line with the formula for their archetypes), the best thing to do is to only hint at the possibility of what might happen in a roundabout way, while adding in a few surprises that won't necessarily be picked up by someone relying on the foreshadowing for their guesses about what is going to happen.  Unfortunately, that wasn't the case here.

 

Now that I've spouted about what I didn't like, I'll talk about what I did like.  This game is fairly humorous, with a decent character dynamic (if not a great one).  The one weakness of the character dynamic is that there wasn't a 'sounding board male' character (a Sunohara) to get rid of some of the 'harem feeling' the almost all-girl cast gives off.  The mascot character mermaid guide AI is pretty hilarious, providing the kind of cheap laughs you all know you like.  Yuuka's route (the true route), is fairly interesting, finally bringing all of the loose ends that came up in the other heroine paths together into a single cohesive whole (which is the role of a true route and true heroine).

 

As for the protagonist... to be honest, he wasn't all that interesting.  It was obvious they were trying to grow him as a character, but I don't really think they carried that part out very well.  He's the classic 'indecisive protagonist' and that pissed me off more than once.  The fact that they turned that into a joke throughout most of the game didn't really ease my irritation that much. 

 

Overall, this game would probably please those looking for something light but not too light (in other words, they don't want something that is all laughs and happy-go-lucky, but they don't want something seriously heavy either), but I wouldn't recommend it for someone who wants a truly great story.  This kind of game is really the reason why I stopped playing games by this company in the first place.  Their games tend to hint at the possibility of greatness, but they somehow manage to fall short, which only leads to greater disappointment, in my experience.  However, I doubt the average reader would pick up on this kind of thing.  My bad habit, born of the sheer amount of literature in general that I've read, is that I tend to overanalyze based one what I would have done with the existing elements... and that is backseat driving, no matter how you state it, lol.  To be blunt, that particular frustration, while not unique to me, is probably something you won't experience.

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http://vndb.org/v10304

 

Just finished this.  First, a few statements.  Lolicons, rejoice, you have a new shinigami-loli to love.  For those who like nakige, you can also rejoice, because that is what this is.  lol

 

Now, to go farther into this... I'll be honest, I dislike Palette as a company, because it is very good at presenting a good face to the world with its games, so you can't always tell its whether it is great or a kusoge until you are stuck in the middle of it.  With most companies, I can figure out whether the game is any good well in advance, and when I play them for this little column, I find myself unsurprised by how godawful they are, haha. 

 

Anyway, enough complaining.  First, this game is a mix of old-style nakige and high quality charage.  The two paths that are pure nakige are Tina's and An's, whereas the other three heroines' routes are more of a charage route in nature.  I won't say they aren't nakige routes... but for poignancy, those two I just mentioned are much higher on the 'weeping Clephas' list.  The visual quality, as you can probably see from the images available on the game's official website and the opening song, is very high.  Story-wise... it holds to the tradition of nakige, producing an emotional story that is well-paced and told well enough to evoke emotion and a strong attachment to the characters.  Unlike a pure moege or a charage, ichicha doesn't take up seventy percent of the heroine routes (though it is definitely there) and what is there manages to avoid the interminable meaningless scenes, despite the fact that the heroine routes are actually longer than is the norm.  Though I'm not disposed to compliment games by this company (despite the fact that I loved Moshimo Ashita ga Harenaraba), I still managed to enjoy myself. 

 

Overall, this is a game that is dead-center for the nakige crowd and caters to people who like supernatural settings but don't want violence or horror.  I will say that the shinigami in this game are a more traditional existence, though I won't spoil it by telling you what I mean.  Also, the protagonist is not a faceless nobody, which in itself puts this game well above the low water mark set by moege in general.  If you want something that will give you mild catharsis, regular laughs, and warm fuzzy feelings, without the mindlessness of a normal moege, this is definitely a good choice for you.

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*Clephas sighs* Well, I just finished Scramble Lovers by Aries (yes, it is that short).  For a number of reasons, I'd intended to leave it to last, but I decided to get it over with so I could spend the rest of the month on more enjoyable pursuits.

 

First, I'd like to clarify my position on cliches.  People who game a lot always start mentioning cliches and tropes.  This is unavoidable, as your knowledge of a medium spreads.  I will state that even though I will frequently mention tropes and cliches sarcastically, I don't judge a story on its use of tropes or cliches.  A good formulaic response in the right place can frequently make for a better story, so it is wrong to deny a game's quality based solely on use of cliches.

 

However, there are games that take the use of cliches too far.  At first, I thought the fact that all the heroines, including the little sister, were transfer students, was a sort of spoof on the trope by the maker.  However, it became obvious as I played that it was no such thing.  He was using it as a convenient excuse to get four girls to surround one guy who, while not as bad as the normal protag in this kind o situation, is still a 'normal' dude.  He can cook, he can clean, and his hobby is town exploration.  However, he is also a perfectly normal guy who has no business being surrounded by four beautiful girls.  The actual story flow is decided by numerous map choices and regular choices (basically, the single most annoying way a moege can be structured).  I wanted to gag when they used the 'fall in love at first sight' trope with one of the heroines... there is a reason that one fell into disuse.  What makes it worse is that the heroine routes are basically ichaicha followed by a short bit of drama that all turns out well in the end... and has no real epilogue.  What happened to the heroines and the protagonist after the rather weak climax?  We don't know, but we are supposed to assume it was a happily ever after story. 

 

Needless to say, this game is a perfect example of failure to use tropes and cliches in moderation, as well as a failure to escape all the worst habits of moege as a genre.  The fact that I've come to expect this of Aries only makes it that much more depressing, because I should have known better than to think they'd redeem themselves, lol.  The problem is that they use an interesting art style, with some really good expressions, so I'm always hoping they'll do something serious that will let the artistic talent they obviously have on board flower into something beautiful.  Heck, I'd be satisfied with a decent charage at this point, if they were using the same artist. 

 

Final Verdict:  Can't recommend this to anyone, even fans of moege junk food

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I also buy roughly 70% of the games I put up here. 

 

Just out of curiosity (if you don't mind answering), what amount of your budget do you usually spend on VNs per month? My understanding is that Japanese games and VNs tend to be more expensive then western games. 

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I buy in 3-month periods, selecting what to pre-order well in advance through a friend in Japan, who later ships me three months worth in a crate by ocean (takes a lot longer, but it is a lot cheaper).  I generally spend about two hundred to four hundred dollars a month on VNs (depending on how many interesting ones are out there).  He knows to go ahead and pre-order anything even remotely chuuni, without even asking me, but I sift through everything else pretty carefully.  I met him when he was living here about sixteen years ago, and we kept in touch when he moved back to Japan along with his parents. 

 

Considering I've been doing that for over five years now, with a round average of three hundred a month... it rounds out to about eighteen grand in USD total, not including what I pay for importing jrpgs and other Japanese games that interest me.  I do get a small discount from him, because I give him the 店特典, which is why he agreed to this in the first place (he collects goods as well as the actual games).  He was delighted when I got into VNs... and the next thing I knew, I'd added importing VNs to my importing habit. 

 

Edit: tbh, importing and collecting jrpgs is mostly a habit now.  I have dozens of unopened packages sitting on my shelves... mostly because once I started, I didn't really see a reason to stop.  I don't have a girlfriend or kids, so I have no reason not to spend my 'free' assets on whatever I feel like (in other words, assets that aren't directed to my early retirement plan).  Most of my VN collection is sitting in a massive wooden crate in my closet... because I don't see a reason to open the real thing, lol.

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I buy in 3-month periods, selecting what to pre-order well in advance through a friend in Japan, who later ships me three months worth in a crate by ocean (takes a lot longer, but it is a lot cheaper).  I generally spend about two hundred to four hundred dollars a month on VNs (depending on how many interesting ones are out there). 

WUT two hundred to four hundred dollars a month on VNs thats just insane. But ive spent 1k in mmorpgs before so i shouldn't be talking >.>

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I buy in 3-month periods, selecting what to pre-order well in advance through a friend in Japan, who later ships me three months worth in a crate by ocean (takes a lot longer, but it is a lot cheaper).  I generally spend about two hundred to four hundred dollars a month on VNs (depending on how many interesting ones are out there).  He knows to go ahead and pre-order anything even remotely chuuni, without even asking me, but I sift through everything else pretty carefully.  I met him when he was living here about sixteen years ago, and we kept in touch when he moved back to Japan along with his parents. 

 

Considering I've been doing that for over five years now, with a round average of three hundred a month... it rounds out to about eighteen grand in USD total, not including what I pay for importing jrpgs and other Japanese games that interest me.  I do get a small discount from him, because I give him the 店特典, which is why he agreed to this in the first place (he collects goods as well as the actual games).  He was delighted when I got into VNs... and the next thing I knew, I'd added importing VNs to my importing habit. 

 

That's actually pretty cool. With your trade connections you could open a Japanese import gaming and anime store. Although that depends on how popular anime (and the stuff alike) is in your community. But if you live in a big city I'm sure there are enough anime and JRPG fans to be able to support a niche store. Have you considered this before? 

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WUT two hundred to four hundred dollars a month on VNs thats just insane. But ive spent 1k in mmorpgs before so i shouldn't be talking >.>

I'm pretty sure that I'm getting more value for my money.

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http://vndb.org/v14760

 

Just finished Semiramis no Tenbin.  This is by Caramel Box, a company that alternates between making mid to high quality charage and medium quality chuuni.  They were responsible for the Otoboku series, as well as a number of games centered around youkai. 

 

Semiramis no Tenbin is one of those games that comes out of nowhere and completely blows your expectations out of the water.  Given how it begins, you can't help but expect it to be a fantasy story... but it's nothing of the sort.  It is a very human drama based in modern Japan, with a rather brutally honest portrayal of Japanese society's flaws, the uglier sides of human nature, and how they relate to those having to live within the bounds of society.  It is seen through the eyes of Hayami Reiji, as he watches Kamio Ami and how she... umm... influences the people around her.  As a protagonist, he manages to be more than a cipher.  He is intelligent, quick to learn, and quite observant for someone his age.  The fact that he seems like an idiot in comparison to Ami sometimes is just a measure of how scary she is, lol.  The heroines in this game are all very high in quality, with some really unique personalities (the two girls on the cover especially).

 

This game does have good endings for all the heroines, but - ironically - only Ami's path is rape-free (all the others have one non-heroine rape scene).  The bad endings... to be honest, I don't recommend watching them.  It made me feel a little sick, which is probably why they give  you the option to get around the bad ends when you start the game by clicking the option at the right after beginning (you basically choose a heroine and it automatically sends you down the path to her good ending without having to make any choices). The narrative in this game is top-quality and the general theme definitely makes you think.  Emotionally... to be honest, I only cried for Fumika's path, but that is because most of the other paths get so incredibly grim towards the end, not because they aren't touching.  Like I said above, this game flashes a lot of the worst sides of human nature, and Reiji rarely gets overcome by emotion (he's surprisingly cool-headed). 

 

This game does have a main heroine, and it is Ami.  I kind of regret doing her path first now, though the run up to the ending differs enough for each girl that it doesn't feel like they screwed any of them over.  Doing the central heroine first is always a bad idea, but when I chose to do so, I wasn't aware she was that, lol. 

 

My conclusion?  This definitely isn't for the faint of heart.  Even the mildest of drama in this game can be a bit creepy because of Ami's involvement, and if you aren't already a misanthrope, there is a small chance this might push you in that direction.  However, in terms of actual game quality, it is a level above everything else released this month. 

 

My conclusion? 

 

VN of the Month June 2014: Semiramis no Tenbin

 

 

PS:  A little warning... don't expect to ever be able to figure out precisely what Ami is thinking.  The main reason she is so scary is that you literally have no idea where the lies start and the truth ends.

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I didn't bother with it, but it supposedly changes certain aspects of the narrative and unlocks some extras.

 

Edit:  Also, I will play the Remiscience sequel after replaying the original, but because it is a sequel in the chronology rather than a stand-alone story, it isn't eligible for VN of the Month.

 

Edit2: If you liked Ami, don't play Sunao's route.  tbh, the last parts leading up to the end are too sad.  My problem was that I liked her way too much, and Sunao's route basically branches off of hers and is a 'what-if' if you don't go with Ami. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is the list of potential candidates for July.

 

http://vndb.org/v12984 (Same makers as Irosekai and Hoshimemo)

http://vndb.org/v12996 (by the makers of Aselia... but far less interesting, from the looks of it.  tbh, the fact that zombies are the main enemy type in the game in itself kind of turns me off, lol)

http://vndb.org/v14889 (This is by Whirlpool, which makes medium to high quality moege and charage)

http://vndb.org/v14961 (from the looks of it, this is either a moege or a nukige... until I can be absolutely certain, I'm not even sure if it is going to remain a candidate)

http://vndb.org/v14847 (I've played precisely one game by this company, Crossfire, and it was good... but not great.  Also, about two thirds of the games this company makes are nukige, so if it turns out too be one of those, I'll drop it off the list right off the bat)

 

This looks to be a really dry month, unfortunately.  From what I can see, Favorite's new game will probably be first place, unless GIB is really good or it is really bad.  Like I said above, after getting a closer look at the new Xuse game, I don't have much in the way of hopes for it (any fantasy story relying on zombies is iffy). 

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Yeah, July is a dry month :/. I'm waiting for those on July http://vndb.org/v14265, http://vndb.org/v14893 and the other that you are talking about like GIB. I don't have high expectation for this month...

But I'm looking forward for this one http://vndb.org/v14897 from propeller !! It's was set for June but they change the release date. Now, I need to wait until August :/. 

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Yeah, if they don't delay everything, August looks like it will be good.  tbh, I think Propeller delayed the release to work out the bugs in the new engine they used for Hakugin.   They probably hit the same problems with animated scenes and CGs that that one did.  Though, that is only a guess. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ok, first, I'm not done with AstralAir no Shiroki Towa.  Two paths of the game have taken me almost twenty hours, despite the fact that I skipped the common route the second time around.  I'm putting my thoughts so far down because I feel that if I wait until the game is over, I'll be overwhelmed by all the emotional ups and downs from the paths I haven't played yet.

 

So far, I've played the paths for Tachibana Ochiba and Mizunose Kotori. 

 

Common

 

The common route of this game is pretty long, lasting about nine to eleven hours (I finished it in eight).  It has a number of emotional ups and downs, as it introduces you to the various characters (heroines and otherwise) and attaches you to them using the classic nakige technique of cathartic scenes.  Honestly, even though the game is so blatant about what it is trying to do, it doesn't end up bothering you.  Not to mention that the three kindergarteners (Marimo, Shiina, and Hazuki - who is Ochiba's little sister) are adorable and hilarious.  This game doesn't really go for extreme laughs, tending to prefer warm, mildly amusing scenes and character dynamics that make you smile. 

 

Mizunose Kotori

 

Kotori is a standoffish member of the student council and part of a rival organization of elfin.  Her path is kind of funny, in how it gets started.  I won't spoil it for you, but I was a bit exasperated at how a chuuni trope made its way into a nakige, then immediately went back to just being a nakige tsundere romance.  That's not to say that Kotori is your classic brainless tsundere.  However, she does consistently say the reverse of what she means when it comes to the protagonist.  I laughed a lot during the early parts of this path, then cried a bit for the latter parts, before being mildly disappointed with the epilogue.  Before you ask me why, you need to understand I'm almost always disappointed with game and VN epilogues.  I like 'ten years after' epilogues, not 'two months' or 'one year' after epilogues.  I like to see where the two have gone and how they have evolved since the events of the main story.  This is the big reason why you will rarely if ever see me complimenting a game on how it handled the epilogue for a path.

 

Tachibana Ochiba

 

For those who have already met the Tachibana sisters, you can't help but love Hazuki (if you like kids, you just have to want to hug her when she cries and play with her to make her smile) and find Ochiba's essentially warm personality touching.  Ochiba herself is comfort food for people who like nakige, as she becomes 'family' to the protag within the first few hours of the game, allowing him the room to not just be another bitter and somewhat isolated esper (an old chuuni cliche).  To be honest, she and Hazuki are my favorite characters in the game, so far.  If it weren't for my katana-obsession, I would have played her before Kotori.  As comfort food, Ochiba's path takes a somewhat more 'classic' tact than Kotori's.  I'm not saying her path is completely archetypical or that the archetypical aspects are bad.  In fact, Favorite did such a good job with those archetypical aspects that I was honestly impressed, despite myself.  'If you have to make apple pie for Christmas, make the best-tasting apple pie there is.' is a metaphor that works really well for this path.  This path made me break down and cry three times... and normally the most I'll cry for a single game is twice.  The way this game makes you adore Hazuki and Ochiba  inevitably makes this path hit you like a sledgehammer, because they've already paved the path for you to empathize with them more deeply than is the norm. 

 

I'm going to be taking the day off from VNs tomorrow (so I can sleep), because I haven't been sleeping that much of late.  Too much work, plus two abnormally long VNs in a row, lol.  I'll start Rinne's path on Sunday.

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Yuunagi Ichika

 

To be honest, Ichika is the type of heroine I like least... she's a genkikko, a little stupid, and a lot cheerful.  She's a completely normal girl, in other words *Clephas looks like he is going to puke*.  As a sub character, I'd probably have been fine with her, but as a heroine, she put me to sleep.  Nonetheless, despite the fact that she bored me, objectively the quality of her route is almost at the same level as Kotori's, though it doesn't match that of Ochiba's.

 

Hotaru Rinne

 

Rinne serves a role similar to that of Hazuki and Ochiba in terms of relation to Riku, the protagonist.  She supports him, she's his partner, and she is quite obviously head over heels in love with him from the beginning.  Her route is a bit more serious from beginning to end than Ichika's, with less ichaicha and more plot.  The issues she has to deal with are also a lot more serious than Ichika's, though in the end their intensity comes from her frequent misunderstanding of the situation (a common theme for all the heroines). 

 

 

Corona

 

Mmm... Corona fits the 'affectionate and innocent loli* trope perfectly, and her route goes pretty much straight to the ichaicha from the first... which bored me intensely.  However, it makes a recovery with the events immediately before and during the epilogue.  I'd say that, other than Ochiba and Yuuki, her route was of the highest quality.

 

Yuuki

 

To be honest... Yuuki is moe lolicon-bait.  If you were to poll lolicons who play her route, you'd find ninety percent of them are in love with her.  Her route is pretty much one long 'true route loli' line of nakige tropes.  That said, there is a reason that tactic works so well at grasping nakige fan's hearts.  That Yuuki is obviously a good-hearted girl from the very beginning, even if you just go by her occasional appearances in the common and other heroine routes, only makes it easier to get into the mood for her route.  To be honest, I loved Ochiba more, even after seeing her end and realizing the story isn't complete without seeing Yuuki's ending.  However, Yuuki's route is of high quality, utilizing the cliches it relies on quite efficiently, thus proving that Favorite is still Favorite (as if anyone doubted it). 

 

Overall Thoughts

 

This is another high-quality game from Favorite, with yet another loli true heroine.  For fans of Favorite's other works, this is pure comfort food... but it also suffers somewhat from a surplus of heroines (Ichika and Kotori feeling superfluous)  and a tendency toward repeating similar patterns within each path.  They were also a bit too blatant about pressing the 'want to save the adorable Ilya lookalike' appeals than I would have liked (they were being way too obvious with that hat and the albino-like appearance). 

 

Nonetheless, my criticism doesn't take away from the overall quality of the game.  While I wasn't left feeling entirely satisfied, I did get enough catharsis and love for the characters that I didn't feel dissatisfied either.  Though I'm sure the lolicons and Favorite fanboys will call this a kamige, it does fall a bit short of that line, in my opinion.  That it doesn't fall far short of it is a mark of how high Favorite's low water mark is. 

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