So, Peter! I knew he would eventually be an adult because of the CGs and the box art, but they way they handled it was pretty interesting. I won’t say what it is because it’s a spoiler. There’s still a big mystery around him at the end though – I think I know what it is but I’ll have to play the rest of the game to see if you ever find out.
At first Peter is just a mega-annoying kid who likes to run around and be loud, and is totally selfish even with his ‘lost boys’, the other kids who live with him. They’re more like his servants, who always do things for him and try to think up games to amuse him – often ones that are dangerous/uncomfortable. While getting into his route, Wendy decides that he’s more ignorant than bad, and she’ll reform him, and she goes about correcting him and pretty much treating him like her own kid. Peter doesn’t seem to mind, although he humours her only because he likes her, and he admits to doing so. He has no sympathy for anyone else, and assumes he can do whatever he wants whenever he wants.
As Wendy gets to know him, Tinker gets more and more jealous, and finally Peter tells her off directly. As you might guess, Tinker comes back later and confronts Wendy, and this is a major turning point in the story.
Another thing that happens in this route is Peter trying to get Wendy to eat his candy, and her gradually giving in. I thought this was done well because it’s related back to Wendy’s complex about her mom, who never cared about her after her father passed away no matter how hard Wendy tried to please her. It’s also slowly shown to relate to Peter’s feelings about his life before Neverland, although this part isn’t shown as much. This is where their relationship really grows, and it’s pretty believable.
During Peter’s route I did feel bad for Michael and John, especially John, but hey that just means I have to do their routes next. I’m looking forward to seeing how Wendy deals with her family issues there and if it ends up very differently.
And ending on an Angelique note, I FINALLY finished the knights route, and yes I think I will love it in the end, though I was kinda fast-clicking a lot of parts. It pretty much went down the way I thought it would, though more dramatic and awesome. And now I get to go for Gerhart, yay! (yes Gerhart! Tachibana Shinnosuke doing a dumb but nice guy that uses a huge sword, what’s not to love!)
I realized that I didn’t say much about the story of Angelique last week, just the characters. The intro is really long and honestly boring at times, so if your Japanese isn’t great, or you give in to the urge to skip, you might find this useful.
Theresa lives with her adoptive mother and brother, Runo, in a small town on the planet Norg (style looks Medieval Europe-ishi). Runo acts younger than his age, because he was traumatized several years earlier when his older brother died, and he thinks it was his fault (I think the situation was one of those things like he died while looking for Runo or something).
In the town there have been several girls kidnapped recently, but they were each returned after one night away. And of course, one evening when Theresa is out to fetch Runo, who’s been praying to his brother in the nearby church as he often does, Theresa gets kidnapped. However, she’s returned after one night, and she doesn’t remember anything. Runo was really upset taking the blame for her kidnapping on himself, so he’s ecstatic when she comes back unharmed. He goes out to gather some fruit (IIRC), but this time he doesn’t come back. Theresa and his mother search far and wide for him, but there’s no sign of him. After a few days, the mother goes back to work, confessing to Theresa that she always felt that one day Runo would leave her. Theresa can’t stand the thought of just giving up, so she continues looking, and after a week she is looking in the forest when she finds a new path that she doesn’t recognize. A man shows up and suspects her of being a spy, and when she’s too afraid to answer, he says he’ll kill her to keep her silent. Theresa is so scared she runs away deeper on the trail, and comes to a large fortress. She sees many men doing military drills in the courtyard, and is looking for a place to hide when two men notice her.
She runs away again back into the forest. Somehow (sorry this part is hazy, and it doesn’t matter much) she passes out from fear, I believe because the first man has shown up and is threatening her again. When she wakes up shortly afterwards, many men are around her, including Runo! She’s very happy, but Renour says that he’s not going back home with her, he needs to stay there. Theresa doesn’t understand until a new man comes who seems familiar, and Runo calls him brother. The leader of the men, Levias, is a ringer for Runo’s dead brother, and Runo feels that he’s supposed to help Levias (also, this kid is very emotionally fragile). When she realizes his determination, Theresa decides to stay as well, and convinces Levias by saying she’ll take care of Runo. She’s also very surprised to learn that not only is he in Levias’ army, he’s a captain! All the men are, and Runo is learning magic from Levias.
I believe this is where the intro ends. The army is actually kind of a mercenary army, travelling throughout the universe (yeah they have a spaceship) and helping local wars be ended quickly through their overwhelming strength. The first time through you can’t get a character ending, so you go through the story of taking care of Renour, having him accept the violence of war, getting to know the other knight-captains, and eventually (IMO this part took too long), Theresa realizing that she has magic capability as well. You see, even before they met everyone, Theresa could always feel where Runo was, though vaguely. And after being kidnapped, she could tell exactly where he was – it was how she eventually found him. During their time at the fortress, the enemy (who at that point was unknown) attacked with magic, and Theresa somehow felt where the magic was coming from, allowing the knight captains to capture and interrogate the enemies. Though all the captains know about her ability, apparently it doesn’t occur to anyone that maybe Theresa would be more useful as a magician than the maid and quartermaster (that’s what she ends up doing most of the time, including making tea for everyone).
When she finally does start learning magic is after an episode where the fortress is attacked, and Levias says they need to power up the spaceship using Runo’s magic (Levias and other magic-users contribute as well, but Runo’s magic is pretty strong). But Runo is in no shape to use magic, and Theresa asks if she can try. She ends up filling the whole thing almost by herself.
Between the fighting and training scenes, we find out that the attackers are the Empire which rules the universe. Right now the Emperor is the fourth son of the previous Emperor, and Levias really doesn’t like him. It’s also implied that Levias is part of this family as well, and is planning a coup.
I’ve just gotten through a major plot twist, so I won’t say more than that as it’s probably near the end. But as you can see, the story of Angelique Maren Rokukishi is pretty complicated. I’m not sure how I feel about being forced to do a plot ending before I can really get into the romance – it’s not too bad, and you still get to know the guys, but not in depth, and the story can drag sometimes when characters are talking strategy and tactics – not just Levias’ army but you also see the Empire side. I also am hoping that in the other routes there’s less Runo, as he kind of annoys me whenever he shows up.
This is Otomate, so of course the art is pretty and the seiyuu are great. I love how the guys are actually varied in body type – you can see how Gerhart is large and strong and Giovanni is shorter and more lithe. In the first route there haven’t been many CGs, which is fine with me as I’d rather have them focus on the character routes. I think I’ll really like doing those, as several appeal to me, but right now I don’t even have much hint of what their route might be about (though it doesn’t stop me from guessing!). I bet once I start one of those, it will go really fast, but I have to admit right now I’m playing through just to get to the end.
So a bit of a lukewarm review right now for Angelique, but I’m hoping that will change. And now that you know the first 2/3 of the prereq story, you can just speed right through that and get to the good stuff
I finally got Angelique Six Knights, and have been playing a fair bit, but really haven’t gotten too far – apparently the first time around you have to do the non-romance route, and I haven’t even finished that yet. I’m still getting acquainted with all the knight captains, and the battle and bad guy(s?) haven’t shown up yet. Here are my impressions of the knight captains.
Kain (CV: Morikawa Toshiyuki) – the oldest knight captain, he’s the defacto leader when Leviath isn’t around. He’s mature and intelligent, and his company is the Dark Crown Knights.
Kiefer (CV: Hirata Hiroaki)- a snobby jerk, although he does have a point when he complains about the unfitting behaviour of Giovanni and Gerhart. His company is the Sharp Ice Knights, and he actually keeps them in line by whipping whoever comes in last during sparring.
Gerhart (CV: Hiyama Nobuyuki) – a big sweetheart, his company the Sea Dragon Knights are apparently former pirates, and one of them is his sister Maria, who becomes friends with Theresa as the only other young woman at the fortress. He’s often drinking and gambling with Giovanni, though he always loses.
Giovanni (CV: Morikubo Shoutarou) – a casual flirt, he always wins when Gerhart gambles with him. He likes it when the heroine puts herself in the middle of things like trying to stop a fight. His company are the Shining Light Knights (or something like that).
Eugene (CV: Ono Daisuke) – the knight captain who likes the heroine the least at first – Kiefer treats her with contempt but Eugene almost kills her and definitely wants her out of the fortress, his company is the Moonlight Knights who focus more on magic than fighting. After a while it seems that it’s more that he doesn’t like new people, and he warms up to Theresa faster than Kiefer.
Shona (CV: Kaji Yuuki) – not the most socially adept person but he’s quite perceptive. His company is the Fallen Angel Knights.
Leviath (CV: Narita Ken) – the leader of everyone, he seems cold but has shown some moments of warmth. He looks just like Renoux’s dead/missing brother.
And since this was pretty short, I thought I’d throw in some videos.
First up, Omochabako no Kuni no Alice, coming out this month:
Beyond the Future – I pre-ordered this one, probably won’t be playing it until after Christmas:
The newest game from Rejet, collaborating with the creators of Are You Alice:
Tiny x Machine Gun
A bunch of UtaPuri playing videos, this one is only one song on hard, but it brings up a bunch of other ones as well:
Black Wolves Saga, also from Rejet in 2012, which they’ve been tweeting about incessantly:
It’s about werewolves, and it seems pretty dark.
And Strobe Mania, which I TOTALLY forgot about, I think it’s out already:
Finally, for anyone who’s a Gintama fan (I know it’s 50% toilet humour, 30% meta, and only 20% amazing story arcs, but I just can’t quit it), here is something we would all love to see – don’t even pretend you wouldn’t buy this! (though the video is eight minutes long, the relevant part is only the first two)
Next week I’ll hopefully have a Gekkan post up, and perhaps a Peter Pan one as well!
Drat, I had this ready last week but was holding out, hoping that a Nise no Chigiri fandisk would be announced (it will happen I swear!!) and then forgot to publish this Anyhow, there is a new Angelique game coming out! But it’s a ‘social game’. Love Love Tenshi-sama Angelique is scheduled for Spring 2011. All that’s up now is a little movie showing some of the characters (done by Yura Kairi), five of which have seiyuu already: Sugita Tomokazu, Narita Ken, Namikawa Daisuke, Fukuda Kenji and Horiuchi Kenyuu. Anyone have any idea what this will be?
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And good things come to those who wait! Garnet Cradle is coming out on the PSP from Otomate, yay!! I hope there’s new stuff added in, but really I’m just happy to be able to play it. I’ve heard the story is not amazing, but that art…I can’t wait to see it on my PSP!
I also noticed a new R18 game coming out from Aromarie, Chou no Doku, Hana no Kusari (Butterfly Poison, Chain of Flowers), set in the Taisho era. It’s planned for Spring 2011.
First, a long introduction (if you want the short version, skip about six paragraphs).
I’ve played video games since I was around 4 years old, back when they were just starting to become mainstream. Donkey Kong, the original Super Mario Bros., the first Final Fantasy – I played them and loved them (ye gads I’m old!).
I always gravitated to the ones with more story than action – Final Fantasy and King’s Quest (anyone remember that?), though there were some exceptions (I was pretty awesome at Mortal Kombat II). What did I like about them? Well, I love fantasy in general, and RPG’s were usually set in a fantasy world. But more than that, I love stories. I love seeing characters interact with each other and overcome the odds to save the world (or save the princess).
I loved this game.
I took a break from gaming in university, but eventually, once I had a job and some free time, I was tempted into buying a PS2. What game did I buy first? Final Fantasy X. Not only did the graphics look pretty, but I remembered the sense of adventure from the original, and the fascinating characters from Final Fantasy VII (which was, coincidentally, the last game I played before my break).
And boy, FFX did not disappoint. Not only did it have an epic storyline and interesting characters (Yuna wasn’t my favourite, but Lulu? kickass!), but they TALKED. With real voices! At the time, this wasn’t common at all, and it was amazing how much difference it made. It hugely increased the feeling of being immersed in the story, and though some of Tidus’ soliloquies seem overdone now, the first time I played through it they really got to me. Voice acting can convey so much more emotion and tone than plain text – as anyone who’s gotten into a fight on the internet over something intended as a joke can attest to.
A couple years later, I bought a Japanese PS2, mostly for RPGs. While I was browsing the import game website, I saw a game that had, instead of the usual army dude or swordsman, a group of cute anime guys just…standing around. One had a microphone. When I finally figured out it wasn’t a BL game, I ordered it, though I had some doubts. Of course I was familiar with shoujo manga (in a previous incarnation I was even more obsessed with shoujo manga than I am now with otome games), and had heard about ‘dating sims’, but really, it seemed so cheesy, and kind of…pathetic. I mean, trying to date guys in a game? But whatever, I thought I’d try it.
The game that changed my life…
When I first started up the game, I was unimpressed. It was just a simple background and dialogue window, and the characters didn’t even move. But soon enough, I was sucked into the story, and by the time the first minigame came (yes, I was lucky enough to get a first game that had a really fun minigame mechanic! And it was even integral to the story!), I was enthralled. The adventure aspect of the game also hooked me – I loved being able to choose how my character interacted with the others, and going down different paths depending on what I did and said. And I actually loved the romance aspect – so many times in shoujo manga I had wished for the heroine to pick the nice guy instead of the jerk (and occasionally vice versa), and now I could make the choice for her! Heaven! Of course, since I’m kind of a completist, I’d usually try to go through all the routes, but even then, it was a choice, and if I didn’t like how one route ended, there was always another I could think of as the ‘real’ ending.
But other than the fun story and the choice thing, the one aspect that made the difference between me just thinking, “this is okay”, versus falling in love with the genre like I did, was the voice acting. Few people would argue that Japanese voice actors are excellent, and if it wasn’t for the voices, the otome games we play would seem really watered down. Fans often complain about the Neoromance games not being full-voice (including me, I want more!). Often voice is significantly cut for portable versions (especially on the DS), and fans have definitely complained – when Otometeki Koi Kakumei was adapted to the PC after having voices cut for the DS version, the publisher made a point to announce that voice would not only be restored, but increased. In fact, in my unprofessional opinion, that’s one reason why the PSP is getting a good number of otome game adaptations rather than the DS – it has more memory for voice files, as well as better sound.
I took a look at the first-ever otome games to figure out when voice acting was added as a feature. I mean, Final Fantasy X was released in 2001 and was the first FF title with voices. I figured otome games couldn’t have been much farther ahead. Well, turns out I was wrong. The first otome game, Angelique (1994), didn’t have voice acting, but its first adaptation, Angelique Special2, did – just a year after the original’s release.
Otome games, kickin’ it old-school
Hmm, there doesn’t seem to be much news right now, in the dog days of summer – I don’t know if it’s hot where you are, but it is HOT and HUMID here. For my real job (yeah, strangely enough I don’t support myself on blog postings ) it’s quarter-end soon, and since I’m in finance that means crazy days and tense nights, but everywhere else seems to be in vacation mode, including otome games!
So unfortunately, I don’t know of any news about games, new seiyuu announcements, or even a port *sniff*. So I decided to take a look way way back, to the first otome game ever…Angelique.
Angelique was the foundation of the now extremely popular Neo Romance label from Koei that includes Harukanaru Toki no Naka de and Kiniro no Corda. The first game was simply called ‘Angelique’, and was released on September 23, 1994 for the Super Famicom (Super Nintendo for us English speakers). It was a mix of strategy, simulation, and romance – not unheard of in the Japanese market, but definitely revolutionary – just because it was targeted to GIRLS. Girls don’t play videogames! But apparently, if the product is right, they do.
The plot involved a young woman, Angelique Limoges, who is a nominee for the Queen (of the Cosmos). She is pitted against Rosaria, another beautiful, accomplished young woman, and has to beat her by successfully creating and nurturing her own continent.
Of course, what we’re so familiar with now but what was totally new back then was that as well as the regular game, there was a chance to romance the guys . Angelique, while raising her continent, had the chance to romance one of the guardians, the men who symbolized a natural element in the universe. They were: Light (Julius), Dark (Clavis), Wood(Marcel), Metal (Zephyr), Earth (Ruva), Water(Lumiere), Fire(Oscar), Wind(Randy), and Dreams (Olivier). However, back then there were no voices – this is back in the Dark Ages, remember
The first version with voices came the next year, on December 22, 1995, when NEC Electronics released Angelique Special for the PC-FX system (though it says PC, it was actually a console). A few months later, the game was re-released as ‘Angelique Voice Fantasy’ for both the Super Famicom and as ‘Special’ for the PC, both with voices added. In 1996, Angelique 2 Special for the PC-FX and eventually the Sega Saturn and Playstation was released. A new Queen was introduced here, Angelique Collete, in a very similar game.
Not too much new happened for the series for several years – there was a game called Angelique Duet released in 1998 for the Sega Saturn and Playstation, but it was mostly the same except that you could choose to be either Angelique or Rosario, and there were some friendship events.
In 2000 a completely new game, Angelique Trois (3) was released, for the Playstation 2. In it, Angelique Collete and all the Guardians (and teachers, um, pretty much everyone) were transported to a mysterious universe, Arcadia, to formulate. In addition to the guardians, the player could also have a romance with her teachers or a ‘mystery’ character (Arios), and there were different events depending on the season.
In 2002 Angelique was released for Gameboy Advance with the same content as the Super Famicom game, but with voices. In 2003, another new title was released, Angelique Etoile, where the player is a totally new character who has to start developing a new universe with the help of the guardians and 3 new characters. Then, in 2004, Angelique Duet was released for the Nintendo DS but had no voices (two steps forward, one step back!)
Along with the games, there were anime – the earliest one was Angelique ~Shiroi Tsubasa no Memoire~ from 2000. There was also a fairly successful manga that started in 1996, running in ‘Fantasy DX’ from Kadokawa for 10 volumes until 2003.
My own experience with Angelique started pretty late, when I bought the Angelique Trois. Not in 2000 when it was first released, no, I think I bought it at least 5 years later. It was totally different from what I expected – all I recognized was the whole harem of guys from seeing shitajiki and kinda reading the first two volmes of the manga, so the whole continent-building aspect was new to me. Now I think of it as a primitive SimCity love sim. It’s a lot of fun, even though there are SO MANY GUYS. In Trois alone you have the nine Guardians, 3 teachers, and 3 ‘helpers’. Then in Etoile, which I got later, you have all those plus three new Guardians. OVERLOAD. Hehe.
I think the creators agree with me, because after Etoile they created a completely new game where only the mythology was left. In Neo Angelique, the main character interacts with four main guys, with three or four others. The continent-building was also scrapped in favour of a sort of RPG-type gameplay.
Have you played Angelique? What are your impressions of it?
Several images and info found at: http://www.famicom.biz/