I’ve finished all of Princess Arthur! Not the bad ends though, I might do those when I have extra time sometime, but I don’t like doing them too close to the true ends.
Anyways, I really liked it. It takes a while to get going, and I enjoyed the playthroughs better when I could skip all the common stuff, but that’s pretty standard. I played Gawain’s route first (Taniyama Kishou, who could resist?), but if I played it again, I think I’d go something like: Mordred, Galahad, Tristan, Lancelot, Gawain, and Merlin.
The game starts with Aru, who’s the daughter of a retired knight, practicing swordsmanship with someone – her father teaches people how to swordfight. Something is mentioned about her brother Kei, who’s a Knight of the Round Table, who hasn’t been around much lately. Aru feels bad because he’s been acting weird ever since he fought with her once and lost. At the castle there’s an event going on to decide the next king, since the last one, Uther, died a month (or so) ago. Aru goes up to the castle to watch.
Of course she gets lost, and ends up 1) being hit on by some weird dude in a purple robe open to his bellybutton (Merlin) and directed to the right place by a handsome knight (Lancelot.) When she finally reaches the courtyard, she sees Kei trying to pull the holy sword out of a big stone and failing in front of a big crowd. However, he won’t give up, and Aru gets upset and tries to convince him to stop. Somehow Aru’s hands end up on his, and he’s able to pull the sword out. Kei holds the sword up triumphantly and announces that he’s the king, but someone (Merlin IIRC) asks him to do it again. Once again he can’t do it until Aru helps him. Then Aru pulls the sword out all by herself, and amid the crowd’s astonishment, Merlin announces that the new king has been found, and it’s Aru. Kei leaves in a huff, and Aru’s father saw what happened as well, and though Aru tries to deny it, he accepts her fate and leaves her to Merlin’s care.
It takes Aru a while to accept that she is the next king, and that she has to work hard to be accepted by her subjects and by other countries. There’s also at least one person trying to intimidate and/or assassinate her, as she finds a poisonous snake in her bed one evening. Some people, such as Uther’s sister Morgos, are openly scornful of her, and soon there’s war brewing as other kingdoms don’t accept her as king. ONe of the most important points of the intro is when Aru has to decide whether she’s going to war with the knights – if you say you’ll wait for them, you get a bad end. If you go, you win the battle but Aru kills someone, her best friend’s fiance dies, and Aru has to learn how to deal with the emotional weight of war.
Once she’s recovered from that, there’s a ball held to celebrate. Depending on which character you have the highest affection with, around here (choosing who will escort you to the ball) will decide on the route you go into and change the rest of the plot.
Mordred (CV: Hosoya Yoshimasa): His story has little to do with the overarching plot of being accepted as king, but clears up a couple of incidents. I love his voice actor (any Tenipuri Shitenhouji fans out there?), and he’s not in many games. Hopefully this will change soon! His story was pretty bittersweet and I think his character is one of the most realistic and complex – he’s flawed and knows it, but can’t get past the problems his upbringing left him with until the very end. I also think his art, the CGs and tachie, are the most consistent, and his design is one of the most attractive.
Galahad(CV: Okamoto Nobuhiko): I thought in the intro that I wouldn’t like him much,but he was SUCH a classic tsundere and you don’t see them often anymore (now they’re all Do-S jerks), that I really enjoyed his route. He has a lot of really cute moments. And his story is pretty touching as well, he’s not used to feeling much so he’s awful at expressing how he feels. When he can’t hold it in anymore, it’s pretty intense and awesome. He’s also the youngest of the knights (younger than Aru even) so he’s a bit immature and that’s written well, including a bit of a complex about being young (and short).
Tristan’s (CV: Koyasu Takehito) route annoyed me, as Aru had to be not only naive and trusting, but also throw away her developing friendships with the other knights before Tristan even showed any romantic interest in her. To get his happy end Aru has to lie to all the knights, flat out deny their help, and pretty much become an outcast of her court by the end. And though I enjoyed all the scenes with Percival and Merlin to make up for Tristan being absent for 75% of the story, it didn’t really make for a good romance. They actually had to add vignettes into each chapter to go through his backstory etc. because it’s not explained in the story until the very end. I also really didn’t like Aru in this route. Tristan calls her actions stupid and she often agrees with him, but she just cant seem to help herself. And to top everything off, at one point Aru wears a disguise that’s even worse than the ‘ball gown’ worn before. This time its for a good reason, but the cg of it looks…like its from a galge. Did they really have to show it from a crotch up angle? And that’s obviously the point at which Tristan becomes interested in Aru as a woman, which makes me think of him as an old lech. But I had to get through it to get to Merlin’s route, so I used auto a lot and surfed the net.
Lancelot( CV: Ono Yuuki): Probably the most typical ‘shoujo’ route. I put him near the middle because while I really liked him, and there wasn’t as much Guinevere drama as I was afraid of, his route is not that sweet. He’s always polite and pretty much the ‘parfit gentil knight’, in addition to being the strongest of all the KotRT. Most of the emotional angst comes from Aru not knowing if he actually cares for her or whether he’s just doing his duty. Normally I would be annoyed by this, but he has a really really good reason to hide any romantic feelings. It was possibly the most dramatic at the very end, in a Sailor Moon kind of way. I don’t want to put spoilers in so you can judge for yourself if you agree, but I thought his was the best story in terms of integrating the character’s plot with Aru’s plot.
And I would put Gawain (CV: Taniyama Kishou (for some reason I mixed up his name with Tachibana Shinnosuke, why am I doing that??) last before Merlin, because his route is just really sweet – he’s already past the tsun stage by the time the intro’s over. But because he’s a not a ladykiller type (I affectionately call him a meathead), he’s awkwardly endearing most of the time as he unsubtly tries to spend time with Aru and impress her. The romance gets resolved before the climax, so there’s not as much tension, but after Tristan who has almost no romance, I think it works. Now if I could just figure out what thing he wears on his head is…
And last is Merlin (CV: Okiayu Ryoutarou) – you have to get an ending with each character before his route opens up. This is where you see the resolution of all the storylines (though it kind of contradicts a couple other plotlines, but oh well). Merlin is a total lech, flirting with Aru and making suggestive remarks, until she starts to take him seriously.
Then he backs off and starts treating her like a child (since he’s actually much older than he looks, I don’t think this is much of a spoiler).
This route is fun in that it’s a reversal of the usual pattern, with Arthur pursuing Merlin and him trying to brush her off lightly, and then trying to find other ways of discouraging her like treating her as a child and trying to scare her off. He goes back and forth between acting like he doesn’t care and showing that he does, but it’s obvious enough that I enjoyed it rather than was frustrated with it. Also, the Lady of the Lake, Nimue, plays a big role in this route and is pretty awesome. She sees right away that Aru loves Merlin and advises Aru, and she explains Merlin’s inconsistency as it happens as well. The climax leaves a little to be desired, as you don’t really get Merlin to admit how he feels until it’s all over, and in my biased opinion his confession could use some more passion, but looking at the route as a whole there are quite a few romantic moments.
So I really liked Princess Arthur, and I’m glad I got the limited edition. I’d say the story and characters were really good, but the climax of the plot wasn’t as dramatic as it could be in most cases. There was a lot going on (in addition to each of the knights’ problems), like Aru’s brother Kei’s subplot, Morgos and Medorauto, rebellions, a shadowy mercenary force, and a couple other things. The character routes weren’t always integrated well with the larger ‘being accepted as king’ plot, though they did try – nothing felt tacked on at the end, there was foreshadowing all the time, it just seemed weird that several of the same enemy characters would have completely different schemes, alliances and sometimes motives depending on which character route you were on. On the other hand, if they didn’t change things up, the same plotline would have to be recycled every time, just dropping a different hero into a blank slot.
Other stuff – I wasn’t sure about the art at first, as it’s not as ‘pretty’ as a lot of otome games, but in some ways I liked it even better – the characters look like real people, and the guys definitely look like they could be real knights (i.e. they have muscles! they wear armour!). Though there were some odd costume designs, I liked most of them barring Aru’s ‘trying too hard to look sexy’ ball’gown’. Of course the voices were great
The music is really good, especially the opening theme – it really amps up the suspense and feeling of epicness during the ‘king’ scenes.
I feel like there’s a lot that could be done with the other characters that were only in subplots or only had minor roles – Kei, Aru’s friend Elaine, Medorauto, Bowls (Bolls?), and Percival. I’d love to see bigger storylines of theirs in a fandisk. I really hope Princess Arthur does get a fandisk, as I’m not sure how well it did for sales.
I’m writing a big long post on Toki no Kizuna – right now the bad is outweighing the good – and thinking of Hiiro no Kakera. Thinking about things that didn’t make sense – and it occurred to me again (don’t think I ever mentioned it here) that it makes absolutely no sense for Tamaki to be chased after by you-know-who (minimum spoilers) to give up her life. If she dies, who’s going to be the next Tamayori-hime? Pretty short-term thinking there.
Toki no Kizuna post will be up by tomorrow! And I’m getting magazines this week so an update post on Kamigami no Asobi and other new games is coming.
Sorry for the long break! Things have been busy, but I should get B’s Log soon so lots of news coming. For now, a non-otome game post.
Recently, I did something very bad. I got into Bleach. After reading the whole manga in a very short time period, I came to a few conclusions:
I can see how people reading little by little might not see it, but when you read everything at once the plot holes and such are pretty obvious.
What does this mean? Apart from the mess that is Bleach canon, which I may still read in bursts just to keep up, but will never defend, it means opportunity for fantastic fandom. Why? Because along with the enormous base of interesting characters that Kubo Tite made and gives only hints of interesting backstory for, there is also a ton of foreshadowing and plot points that are never dealt with, or dealt with in such a cursory/stupid way that they beg for a better treatment from fan artists/writers.
Anyways, I don’t usually go against canon in my shipping, because it’s just frustrating rooting for a couple that will never get their canon ending. However, in Bleach relationships are so vague that you can pretty much pick whatever couple you like. For me, I always was kind of annoyed by Ichigo – I liked him and Orihime, but in the last half or more of the series that doesn’t seem likely (and even if it ends up that way, I don’t think it should), and his personality is underdeveloped in romance, so it almost feels weird to ship him with anyone. And anyways, there are much more interesting pairings to explore – my favourite are (don’t laugh) Orihime and Ulquiorra, and Orihime and Grimmjow. Two pairings that are almost totally impossible, yet I love them because before Tito Kube wrote the horrible (IMO) endings of their character arcs, I could totally see them developing a relationship with her in various shoujo/otome plotastic ways. So I’ve been having some fun exploring fanfic and fanart of these pairings, and can I just say, I’m so happy to live in a time when fandom is so big that almost everything has a niche fandom?
Anyways, for anyone strange enough to also enjoy Ulquihime, here are some good links:
Fanvid （fans of Utena will probably enjoy this too):
Hilarious vid if you can read Japanese:
Bittersweet fanvid, Japanese not needed but spoilers for the end of the arc
Gorgeous fanart (was missing this link before):
And yay, a picture that I would totally love to read/watch more of!
This artist does a bunch of great Ulquihime (ウル織) art.
Some fun 4-coma manga:
Sorry for the non-otome post, this pairing has just sucked me in recently. When I’m not playing FFVI (finally!) or Renai Banchou 2, I’m checking out pixiv and nicovideo and AO3 way too much. I think I’ve seen most of what’s out there – online at least, there is TONS of doujinshi.
As Ebi pointed out, I have had the wrong idea about Arcana Famiglia since the beginning – I thought the game came from a series of novels, but it seems like the only thing that came out before the game were some drama CDs, and those were specifically leading up to the game. Time for some geeky detective work(my favourite kind)!
Looking back at the magazines, the first time I saw anything was way back in the July 2010 Girl’s Style (released in June 2010!). It just had teaser pics of the guys (no Dante, guess he came after lol), with quotes – for some it seems a little different from their final personalities. It’s interesting because B’s Log doesn’t cover it at all until a year later, in their August 2011 (sold in June) issue! Although, they had it in their calendar for a few months before that. Maybe Girls’ Style had an exclusive deal or something.
Comfort was the actual creator although HuneX published it. Its vision was to be a combo of shounen manga (thus all the comic style speech bubbles and action) and otome game (with everything else). And it definitely succeeded – it will be an anime during the Summer 2012 season. It seems like the plot of the show is the same as the game, which I’m a little disappointed in – I thought they could have started it earlier and shown some history before getting into the tournament.
Just for funsies, here’s the first drama CD on Amazon.jp – Volume 1 Arcana Famiglia Piachure! La Primavera.
I haven’t finished Nova, who might be the last character I finish in Arcana for a while. Dante and Jory don’t interest me too much (although if I didn’t have such a backlog I’d totally finish it), but I’ve done everyone else. I find The Lovers ability pretty fun to use, I thought it was well done, and if you know where to look, I don’t find the fighting to be very difficult.
And after poring through magazines for an hour looking for it, I always forget how much is in them. Though I do the news monthly when I get them, it’s mostly just highlights – new games and ports/adaptations. There’s so much other stuff, including some fun little gag comics – I should put them on tumblr or something.
I just read an interesting article on otome games which focuses a bit on Hakuoki and asks whether otome games could be successful in Western markets. (It’s a month old, I wish I had seen it before!) The author, Anne Lee, doesn’t really think the market will work, but I disagree for a few reasons.
First of all, even in Japan otome games are really fairly new. Though Angelique came out in 1994, it wasn’t until around 2005 that otome games started to come out regularly, with established brands and creators. That means that even though we as otome gamers might wonder why a breakout could happen now, the genre is really just maturing now.
Also, I feel like otome games are not just for women who want romance, but also women who just want something made for them – with the female gaze in mind. And recently the female gaze has been getting a lot of attention, growing from BL and shoujo and the slash community into anime, and now into Western mainstream film and TV. A lot of otome games aren’t heavy-handed with the romance (part of this is due to the young target audience and characters, but whatever), and I could easily see women, who are still a growing share of the gaming market in general, embracing otome games not only for the romance but for the overall atmosphere that they’re made for them.
One of the points brought up in the article was that bishoujo games(1 male/many females harem games) had a few localizations that didn’t do very well, so otome games might not either. To rebut this, let me throw a few stats at you:
From RWA – Romance Writers of America – Industry Statistics:
2010 Romance Fiction Sales in Comparison (ed: this is as a share of all fiction)
(source: Simba Information)
I got into otome gaming not only because I love playing videogames, but because I love romance and am used to buying romance novels. Culturally, women are about a thousand times more likely to buy a piece of romantic fiction, whether it’s a novel, movie, or a game, than men. In 2010, romance as a genre sold almost TWICE as much as its closest competitor, and overall was 36% of the fiction market. That is a huge number yo! And most romance is bought by women. So…I really believe that otome games might succeed where bishoujo didn’t.
And to finish, I checked out Hakuoki’s Amazon.com rankings. The first thing that surprised me was that the limited edition is doing better than the regular edition! Aksys definitely hit the right price point there, I think. And it’s currently in the top spot for Adventure PSP games!! However, looking at the other games in the category, there’s not much new there. In total videogames it’s #784. Now that sounds really low, but taking a look at the top 100, a lot of those are actually accessories >.>;; Hard to tell what it really means.
Anyways, of course I want Hakuoki to do well so more otome games are localized, and so I’m inclined to be optimistic, but I really feel otome games have a chance in the Western market. Now I have to go and plan my Hakuoki party!
This is late, but here’s the list of 2011 otome games as listed in one of the magazines. I’m going to first post these, then tomorrow I’ll compare to what last year’s list looks like. Off the top of my head I’m going to guess that there were more PSP games this year, especially original ones, and more PSP adaptations. I’m also going to guess that this year was more about visual novels than games with RPG/SIM gameplay.
Arco Baleno Portable PSP
Death Connection Portable PSP
Hakuouki Zuisouroku Portable PSP
Moujuutsukai to Oujisama Snow Bride PS2
Harutoki 5 PSP
Vit XtoZ PSP
CLover no Kuni no Alice PSP
Kimi ni Todoke
Hakuouki Yuugiroku DS
Are you Alice
Garnet Cradle Portable PSP
SYK fd Portable PSP
Asaki Yumemishi PSP
Starry Sky Winter Portable PSP
Hiiro no Kakera Aizouban PS3
Iza Shutsujin PSP
Shin Hiiro no Kakera 2 DS
Sangoku Senrenki PS2
Kaerutaubake fd PSP
Xechs FD PS2
Mother Goose PSP
Beastmaster Portable PSP
Hiiro no Kakera 4 PSP
Nise no Chigiri fd PSP
Shinigami to Shoujo PSP
Heart no Kuni no Alice Anniversary PSP
Hakouki Reimeiroku PSP
Storm Lover Natsukoi PSP
UtaPuri Repeat PSP
Bunmei Kaika Aoiza PSP
Hiiro no Kakera 3 DS
Crimson Empire PSP
Gekka Ryouran Romance PSP
Wand of Fortune II PSP
Okashina Shima no Peter Pan PSP
Clock Zero fd PS2
Kaminaru Kimi to
Arcana Famiglia PSP
Joker no Kuni no Alice PSP
Miss Princess DS
Angelique Maren no Rokukishi PSP
Strobe Mania PSP
Mahoutsukai to Goshujinsama PSP
Hakuouki 3D 3DS
Uta puri music PSP
Beyond the future PSP and PS3
Omocha Bako no kuni no Alice
Hanayaka Nari Waga Ichizoku FD PSP
I see 20 new games, and 9 new fandisks. The rest are ports/adaptations.
Starry Sky After Summer
Kago no Naka no Alishous
Tsubasa no Oka no Hime R18
TYB (3 games)
Red Riding Hood R18
Chou no Doku R18
Grimm Director’s Cut
Dare ni demo FD
Starry Sky After Autumn
In PC games they’re all new except Grimm.
Happy New Year a day early (or right on time for anyone over the date line)! The prequel for Ivan is up on the LOVE.101 site! This is the first of a series, one for each guy, and the next one will be in January for Raj. I hope it gives you an idea of what each guy is like. If you have comments, you can leave them here or feel free to email me! (lijakaca at yahoo dot com).
No posts until Friday! Off doing holiday stuff, but I am also playing through some more Gekka and Angelique. The Friday post will probably be a Gekka review.
I have to add some pics to the other news post, but for now, B’s Log had some announcements!
Apart from the new character in Tokimemo 3 GS PSP, Hasumi Tatsuya:
Recent news and random thoughts: