You may know that I used to be a huge shoujo manga fan – I used to spend even more time on shoujo manga that I do now on games, and since I was in university, time was one thing I had lots of. In fact, that’s how I leveled up my Japanese past my classmates.
Anyways, way back when I studied abroad in Japan, manga was juuust beginning to take off in North America. Like, this was before Shoujo Beat, before Smile, before scanlations even. So when I moved back to Canada, I was determined to bring as much manga as I possibly could (weight restrictions were also better back then :P) And then everytime I went to New York, when I went to visit friends in LA, and the couple times I went back to Japan, I would bring back tons more manga.
Nowadays, I don’t read that much, and I buy even less – I get digital when possible, so I might buy about 10-20 tankoubon a year. But I still have those boxes and bookshelves full of shoujo manga from years ago. I was never sure whether I wanted to get rid of them, but I finally found a way that they could be useful to someone – I’m going to donate them for sale by a local Japanese centre next month.
So that means I’m getting rid of a LOT of manga. I thought I would post what I’m planning to give first here, in the slim chance that one of my readers is a) interested in hard copies of Japanese manga, and b) close enough that they can either pick them up, or that shipping wouldn’t be too much (Canadian postage is expensive y’all) – I live in downtown Toronto. I’m also going to be at TCAF and possibly Anime North this year if you’re willing to wait that long.
Here’s what I plan to give away, if you want them please either comment or email me. Some of the ones that aren’t complete, I may find more later and add them here.
Reposted from my IGN blog because this game is awesome, originally posted: 2008/01/20
Duel Love by Bandai Namco
Release date March 13
Pics are from B’s Log, January 2008 issue pp. 34-37 from Enterbrain and Dengeki Girl’s Style 11/20 2007 Edition from MediaWorks pp. 156-161. Images are copyright Bandai Namco.
In this first otome game from Bandai Namco, the main character(you) has just transferred to Keiou High School. After class, your classmate brings you to the school basement, where you find out the school’s secret…it’s the location of a secret fighting tournament!
I doubt this would have happened at my high school, since we didn’t even have a boxing ring, but man! It would have been cool if it did.
Duel Love is a Nintendo DS game that focuses on several guys who are trying to win in the B-1 fighting league, which holds fights at Keiou high school at night. The only rules to these fights are no firearms, no thrown items, and no weapons (wouldn’t that include firearms? Nevermind, look over there!)
First up, character intros. The character design was done by Hisaya Nakajou, the author of Hana-Kimi (Hanazakari no Kimitachi e), and it shows(for those unfamiliar with the series, the main characters are in track and field, and the whole cast is very long and lean). These fighters are the scrawniest specimens I’ve ever seen step into a ring. Some effort was made to make some of them ‘more muscular’, ‘lean’ instead of just skinny, but I think it will take me some time to get used to the look. Oh, and one of them is almost the twin of Mizuki. So I figure chibi characters are enough to let you tell who’s who. Plus, I’m lazy – big pics take longer to edit.
Shinichirou Nagao CV: Yusa Kouji – I think he’s in 2-D (the player’s class) as well, at first glance he’s the typical smart guy with glasses, but he’s not very good at talking to people and he says some unintentionally funny things.
Sugita Tomokazu and Ono Daisuke are also semi-main characters, they play teachers in the school who have some history together as well.
You play the new girl in school who has 3 classmates in the tournament. You get involved with helping the fighters, and the goal of the game is to help your fighter get to and win the championship (and of course fall in love along the way). Whew, sounds tough, probably involves a lot of training mini-games and maybe nutrition and stuff..
Edit: It does have a lot of minigames, but they are hilarious and awesome and not hard. Case in point: the massage game, shown below. Truly a gaming masterpiece.
2014 was definitely an eventful year. How was it for otome games? I noticed a few things:
Enough of that, let’s talk about what was released this year. There are still a few that I haven’t started at all, which is why I’m doing this as a Part 1 – Part 2 will include the remaining games as well as my overall favourites.
I’ve only gotten through two routes here. The heroine, Midori, is in university, and this is her first trip abroad with her friend Saki. They choose to go on a guided tour/cruise around Northern Europe, but as soon as they arrive at the airport of Santorini, a small fictional country, things go incredibly wrong.
The heroine’s luggage never appears on the conveyor belt. When she goes to report it to the airport staff, she gets lost and separated from the rest of her tour group, and then has her bag stolen. Unfortunately, she’s BAD at English. Horrible. She can’t get anything across to the airport staff, and when she coincidentally runs into a Japanese guy, she’s so happy she jumps on him. He wants nothing to do with her and coldly turns her away, complaining about Japanese tourists.
Midori chases and catches the guy who took her bag, but their confrontation doesn’t go well until a young woman takes her side and makes him run away. Then the young woman, all the while speaking English, takes her to her work – a rundown hotel in a tourist area. Midori ends up staying there, and meeting a bunch of different people who all end up being interconnected in very strange ‘coincidences’ (spoiler: they’re not really coincidences) – her tour guide, an alternate tour guide, the hotel owner’s son, the Japanese guy she ran into at the airport…
This game is…good…ish. Though Midori is super annoying at the beginning, she develops a lot. While I was surprised at how mean some of the guys were about her not knowing English, it felt pretty realistic. I did Chris’s (CV: Takahashi Hiroki) route first and Alex’s (CV: Hosoya Yoshimasa) route second, and enjoyed Chris’s quite a lot, but the ‘romance’ is pretty light. At least with Chris I got his true end; for Alex I just got a normal end. I think the difference is that there’s a little more romance, but also the guy’s personal issue is more resolved in the true end.
I think I get the gist of the overall plot which is hidden throughout the game, and I REALLY want to get the hidden character – I hope I don’t have to go through all the other routes first. So the writers did something right, because I’m interested enough to play more to do his route.
The art is fairly nice, although I often liked the regular sprites more than the CG art. There’s an ojisan character who I think is supposed to be in his 30s/40s, but in group CGs he does NOT look attractive, though his sprite is alright.
There’s a quest system which is kind of fun, and you can totally skip it if you want which is nice. I think my main problem with the game is that for an otome game, where you expect to do multiple playthroughs, there’s no easy way to do this. You have to choose whether or not to go through each scene, and it shows whether you’ll get new dialogue, a choice, and/or a CG. But there are lots and lots of scenes, and some of the new dialogue is minimal in each. So stopping at each scene and having to say yes, skip, or no, go through, is annoying. I also couldn’t find a skip button within a scene.
On the plus side, people actually speak English! At the beginning when Midori can’t understand anyone, they actually do speak English and there are no subtitles – for a Japanese player, I can imagine this makes Midori’s confusion really understandable. Unfortunately for English speakers, these are all Japanese seiyuu and most have kind of/really bad accents. I had a hard time figuring out what they were saying sometimes. Oh well, it’s mostly at the beginning and unimportant anyway.
Quinrose is very hit or miss for me. I find their intros WAY too long and explainy, and really the narration overall is repetitive. Fortunately this was a hit for me – I played three routes one after another and had to force myself to stop and put in Chronostacia.
I try to play the ‘prince’ or main love interest first now, since sometime other routes spoil it. Here that’s Atlas (CV: Maeno Tomoaki), the red-haired hero who’s a famous dragon killer, but apparently has amnesia and doesn’t remember that he and the heroine (and another of his party) used to be childhood friends. He’s obsessive about killing demons and the Demon King, which the heroine becomes in the prologue because her father has to leave on a mysterious trip and says he may not return for a long time.
I liked the heroine in his route, but I couldn’t wait to play Marion’s (CV: Miki Shinichirou) route – the heroine’s knight. As I thought, I really liked his route (though I found his story/twist a bit odd), and then I went to the nonchalant / playa merchant, Melvin (CV: Kakihara Tetsuya) – sexy name btw – whose route was a nice surprise as well. Now I’m working on Samuel (CV: Suwabe Junichi), the demon advisor/healer. I don’t know if I’ll finish everyone’s routes (her other childhood friend is voiced by Madao (CV: Tachiki Fumihiko) from Gintama!!! I don’t know if I can play his route without laughing all the time), but enjoying all three that I played is good.
The only thing I found annoying in most routes is how the heroine is supposed to be very strong (she is the daughter of the Demon King), yet she always gets almost killed by either being stupidly distracted or just not being willing to defend herself. She doesn’t call herself a pacifist, so I’m not sure why she almost never raises a finger to stop attacks against her other than just making a shield, and often even not doing that in time. She NEVER beats anyone, and even gets caught off guard all the time by random monsters and has to be saved. It’s annoying.
I was really looking forward to this one from Quinrose. Their Cinderella series pleasantly surprised me in terms of characters, so I was hoping they could pull off another fairytale-based interpretation. And the seiyuu list was amazing – and those character names! However, I had a really hard time getting through a route here.
I played Dune Baxter’s (CV: Sugiyama Noriaki) route first, I wanted one of the princes and he was more friendly. I think the way-too-long intro sapped my interest, and I ended up taking a long break from the game, but when I picked it back up in a couple months, I was able to play the rest pretty quickly and his route was good. Next was Lupino Rochas (CV: Toriumi Kousuke), and while I really liked him and it had a good pace, the plot made me dislike the other prince, Fahren Heit (CV: Sakurai Takahiro) so much that I don’t know if I want to play his route. Also the old guy, Chamade Ricci (CV: Hiyama Nobuyuki) was barely in it, and I haven’t seen much to interest me in him so far. In every route, the evil witch, Reviens Tendre (it sounds more like Ruvien when pronounced) (CV: Tsuda Kenjirou) is definitely compelling, I’m trying to decide between him and Falco (CV: Okiayu Ryoutarou) next.
Overall, it’s pretty good. If you find the characters interesting, go for it. The plot itself is alright, its hard to tell with Quinrose without playing through all the characters due to how they explain a bit in each route. But, I’d recommend skipping through a bunch of the intro as long as you understand that 1) the commoner heroine was bought from her father because she was a beautiful child and was expected to help the kingdom by marrying well, until 2) Reviens, the evil witch, appears, killing the royal family and locking Snow Black up for years. 3) Snow Black keeps thinking that she wants to get revenge, and eventually escapes and runs into the group of rebels, who 4) have had their own countries taken over by the witch. That’s why they’re kind of in different groups, the two princes and their followers, and then the ‘independents’ – Chamade and Jeanne Bush. OH, and Snow Black had known the witch from her childhood as a mysterious visitor.
I’d like to finish all the routes, and I will someday I think.
The promotional art for this was sooo pretty – lots of prisms, stained glass, etc. I found the artstyle in the game to be less fantastical, though the backgrounds were always beautiful. The story was surprisingly short – the intro felt really draggy as we’re shown how adorably ditzy the heroine is and how her only skill (apparently) is baking and how all the old cafe patrons just love her, and of course a dog and a cat too – but once you enter a route, it goes by almost too fast. There was very little about developing the romance. Kyougo’s (CV: Ohsaka Ryouta) route, which I did first, was cute at first, but as the plot continued, it felt almost more about him and Adam’s (CV: Abe Atsushi) rivalry, and the heroine had almost no personality. They had a couple cute scenes though, I especially like the one in the hospital before the play. But overall, I had a hard time getting into the romance here. I played Clive’s (CV: Midorikawa Hikaru) route as well, but I didn’t like it as much as Kyougo’s.
I thought the idea behind this honeybee dual game was fun – the heroines are a set of twins, one shy and into cultural activities, the other outgoing and sporty, who transfer into a school. Each game focuses on one’s entry into a certain club (there are two to choose from for each game) and that determines the romantic prospects she has. There is very light sim gameplay as well (pick what training method to do, each guy prefers a certain one).
Unfortunately, my first playthrough was deadly dull. I picked the track team, and a romance with the driven, oblivious team captain Ninomae Kiichi (CV: Hirakawa Daisuke) (I think I have a weakness for green hair). There was almost no romance, the plot about him trying to recover from an old injury didn’t hold my interest, and in fact the first playthru I didn’t pick correctly and got a friends ending. I replayed to get the love ending and it wasn’t much better – very thin romance, mostly about supporting the captain. In short, BORING. I have to play more to see if other characters are better, but haven’t finished other routes yet, though I think I’m almost done the one with the unmotivated but talented Tokito Chikayuki (CV: Taniyama Kishou)
Out of these, I think I liked Majoou the best, followed by Snow Black – both Quinrose games. I think Enkeltbillet would have been just as good if it wasn’t for the poor controls/weird scene skip mechanism.
I expect to have the second part of this up in a couple weeks, with my overall favourite PSP game of 2014. I’m also going to be doing a PS Vita one – 2014 was the first year original otome games were released for it!
Is it 2015 already? I have at least five posts in draft form, and so much calendar updating to do! I hope everyone’s 2014 ended on a happy note, and that 2015 is awesome. I spent the holidays very productively watching the whole run of Fairy Tail (it’s all rusky boz‘s fault, I was a longtime fan because of ulquihime and I couldn’t resist galevy anymore).
Also – did you know that Gintama is starting another anime run in April!!!!!!???? I’m so happy.