VitaminR – pics of the characters!
The totally uncooperative leader of the problem kids in Class R who’s also a violin prodigy. Kazuma doesn’t think there’s anyone better than him as well, but because of an event in his past, he was dropped from the elite class. Because of his extremely aggressive playing style, he’s also called the Demon Prince.
Second in command of the W6, he and Kazuma are rivals and go a long way back. He doesn’t care about anything other than playing his cello, skips everything except music practice, and coldly ignores his teacher.
He’s talented at playing the piano, but does things like play with his feet and break stuff – he’s kind of brutal. He’s even more combative with people, and sometimes bites them. He’s the most violent of the W6. In spite of all that, he has a perfect sense of pitch and can play a piece after hearing it once.
Jan Felix Vallaud
He mixes French into his conversation, says he can see and talk to famous people who are dead, and is generally beyond the comprehension of normal people. He’s also the only member of the W6 who’s rich. Though he doesn’t seem to be a troublemaker, the way he carries out the teacher’s orders makes him unpredictable.
Haibane Kaoru – Said to be the best soprano in the school’s history, Kaoru is also temperamental and it’s tough to actually get him to sing. Because of his prince-like looks, he has fans all over town, but beneath his angelic face lies a black personality.
He handles the violin as if it was part of him, and plays with such fervour that he’s called the Fiery Violinist. He and Eita are natural enemies. He’s actually from a village of ninja, and skips class often to fulfill his ninja duties.
And the rest of the news!
Before looking at specific games, I thought I would try to find a few trends in otome games in the past year. First, I took a look at the covers for otome magazines:
I’m missing a couple of each, you can see the backnumbers for B’s Log on their website, I’m missing an UtaPuri and a Hakuouki cover. The two Girl’s Style I’m missing are a Hakuouki and an Arcana Famiglia.
I actually thought Hakuouki took up a sizable amount of cover space, and it does, but really, not much more than Starry Sky or Uta no Prince-sama. Oh wait, now I’ve figured it out, it was 2010 that Hakuouki took all the cover space (half the B’s Logs sold in 2010 had Hakuouki covers). And Harutoki 5 took 4 covers, wow!
Now if we take a look at the popularity polls inside, an interesting shift took place. In the Jan 2010 issue of B’s Log (sold in December), the top otome characters looked like this:
10. Mikoshiba Kyousuke (Storm Lover)
9. Shitara Seiji (TokimemoGS 3)
8. Sakurai Kouichi (TokimemoGS 3)
7. Sakurai Ruka (TokimemoGS 3)
6. Kazama Chikage (Hakuouki)
5. Toudou Heisuke (Hakuouki)
4. Harada Sanosuke (Hakuouki)
3. Hijikata Toshizou (Hakuouki)
2. Okita Souji (Hakuouki)
1. Saitou Hajime (Hakuouki)
Take a look at that, willya? Aksys chose well But all the same, it was a little…monotonous. (By the way, if you had to pick your fave guy from Hakuouki who would it be? I’ve only played Hijikata, Saitou, and Chikage, but Chikage was my favourite of those. Saitou was also great. Hijikata I liked, but it had very little romance. Aaaanyways)
In the July issue, Hakuouki still had the top 5 spots, though poor Heisuke had fallen to 8th position.
Now here’s the top 10 from this year’s Jan issue:
10. Otoya (UtaPuri)
9. Sanosuke (Hakuouki)
8. Masato (UtaPuri)
7. Kazuki (Starry Sky)
6. Ryuutarou (Starry Sky)
5. Azusa (Starry Sky)
4. Souji (Hakuouki)
3. Tokiya (UtaPuri)
2. Shou (UtaPuri)
1. Saitou Hajime (Hakuouki)
Saitou is still on top, but the rest are much more spread out. The numbers are also much more even. But considering Hakuouki has been dominating for more than a year, that’s pretty good (seriously, the original game came out on the PS2 in Sep 2008. 2008!!!)
On a side note, the top three characters in Boys Love last year were Akira (Togainu no Chi), Giancarlo (Lucky Dog) and Gunji (Lucky Dog). This year they’re Giancarlo, Akira, and Bernard (Lucky Dog).
Now looking at the games released, I checked last year’s post – 20 originals and 10/11 fandisks last year. This year combining consoles and PC games there were 30 original games and 11 fandisks, and a bunch of adaptations and ports. So the commercial otome release list grew by almost a third this year, wow! That makes me really happy.
However, I can’t help but feel like there was less variety in gameplay this year. Last year Tokimemo GS3, WagaHana, Steelwood, Love Root Zero (with all its problems), UtaPuri, and Storm Lover all had significant gameplay. This year there was Mother Goose (with all ITS problems), and Harutoki 5, FabStyle, and I think Miss Princess? I’m hoping that some of the ones I didn’t get to like Arcana Famiglia also had some, but it seems like a lot less and I can’t think that’s a good thing. Maybe that trend will reverse in 2012.
Now all that’s left is to JUDGE (my favourite part). I’ll probably do that in a couple weeks, because honestly I’m still working on a bunch of new releases! I feel like I should play Arcana Famiglia before I decide, does anyone recommend it?
Hakuouki‘s English release date is quickly approaching, and there are some exciting things to report! Hakuouki is pretty much the first big-name otome game to be released in English widely, and there are many good things about it: it’s freakin’ gorgeous, it is going to keep the original Japanese(THANK GOD), and look, it’s cheap!
Normal edition: $29.99! Holy cow, for someone like me used to Japanese prices this is amazing for a PSP game.
Limited Edition: Only $39.99! It includes a 72-page artbook (very nice, as the art for Hakuouki is freakin’ gorgeous), and a soundtrack CD. I don’t really remember what the music is like. I’d rather have a drama CD, but considering it would be in Japanese, I can understand why they didn’t include one.
Hakuouki is set for a Valentine’s Day release (very cute!) and I am seriously considering having a party for it, or a podcast or something.
That’s it for today, sorry it’s short!
I got the latest magazines, and B’s Log came with a Starry Sky bag! It’s so cute!
Anyways, lots of news, some I’m not sure if I’ve said before, so here it all goes:
Yes, Rita just let me know that Aksys announced it at Anime Expo today, as hinted at on their webpage. They’re translating the PSP version. I’m not sure what the other one is, Rita if you hear give us a shout, and thanks very much for the scoop!!
OTOME GAMES IN ENGLISH, HERE WE GO!
There’s a Hakuouki PSP adaptation in the works, as well as another PS2 title called Hakuouki Zuisouroku (roughly translated as Notes on Hakuouki).
Also, the mysterious project from HuneX and 5pb is being slowly revealed. The title is Lucian Bee’s, and the tagline translates into something like, “Project Start: Global Makeover of Totally Hopeless Guys”. Sounds like fun!
Now back to Vitamin Z – I’ve been slow the past few days (trying to get all four endings takes time!), but I’m partially through Houjou Kei’s story, and have one of Fuwa’s endings as well (just the normal one). I usually do the normal ending first, since it means I don’t have to try too hard about getting all the tsukkomi/throughs, but it is definitely not as fun as the other endings! Plus, I haven’t found a guide yet for it, so it’s all trial and error! I have to say, I’m not a huge fan of how you HAVE to pass the last quiz (in Chapter 11) to continue – and I think you need 7/10 as well! Sometimes that takes a few tries. On the other hand, you can redo just the quiz, so it’s not horrible.
Whew, there is so much beautiful art available in the mags for this game, I just spent a significant amount of time scanning it – this post will be image-heavy because I couldn’t decide what NOT to show.
As mentioned when it was announced, Hakuouki, being released September 19 for the PS2, takes place in the Meiji Bakumatsu, or the end of the Meiji era. The Shinsengumi was a group of samurai policemen infamous for its strict rules, its ruthlessness, and the fact that it was the only samurai group that allowed commoners to join – the samurai class was usually restricted to the aristocracy.
The Shinsengumi’s leader was Kondou Isami, and his lieutenants were Hijikata Toshizou and Okita Souji. They and other famous members are all main characters in Hakuouki.
Hijikata Toshizou (CV: Miki Shinichirou) – The second-in-command of the Shinsengumi. Strict but thoughtful.
Okita Souji (CV: Morikubo Shoutarou) – The captain of the Shinsengumi’s first regiment (troop? team?). Laidback and nonchalant.
Saitou Hajime (CV: Toriumi Kousuke) – The captain of the 2nd team. Serious and cool.
Harada Sanosuke (CV: Yusa Kouji) – Quick to anger but loyal and friendly, Harada prefers the spear to a sword.
Toudou Heisuke (CV: Yoshino Hiroyuki) – The lively young Shinsengumi member who doesn’t hesitate in battle.
Now, these guys I’m not sure are capturable, but they have big pictures, so I’m thinking they might be
Nagakura Shinpachi (CV: Tsuboi Tomohiro)
Sannan Keisuke (CV: Tobita Nobuo) – If you’ve played Bakumatsu Renka, in that game this character is called Yamanami, an alternate reading of his surname. And wow, I think this is the first time I’ve seen this seiyuu in an otome game other than Angelique! (He’s Lumiere there).
At the beginning of the game, the main character comes to Kyoto searching for her father, a doctor trained in Dutch medicine. One night she’s attacked by a group of ronin, but she escapes and hides. She senses something odd happening, and emerges to see a group of Shinsengumi killing the ronin with amazing strength and speed. Finding her, they take her off to their lodging, and talk about killing her to keep her from telling what she saw. But when they find out who she is, they decide not to – her father is involved with them, and they’re looking for him as well.
Staying with the Shinsengumi for a while, she finds out the cause of those ronin who attacked her – they took a red elixir that the Shinsengumi call ‘ochimizu’. It gives superhuman strength and healing ability, but it also creates a hunger for blood (rasetsu) in whoever drinks it. The ronin had drunk ochimizu and it eventually turned them into bloodthirsty monsters. When rasetsu manifests, the person’s hair turns white and their eyes turn red.
As you’ve probably guessed, most of the Shinsengumi main characters have taken ochimizu as well, which is why they’re so strong. As the story progresses and your choices take you down a certain path, the characters’ thirst for blood will appear. When that happens, you can choose to a) let them drink some of your blood, b) give them medicine, or c) try to have them suppress it. Your choices will affect their ‘Rasetsudo’, which is the other stat to affection that all the characters have.
The top gauge is Hijikata’s affection level, and the bottom is his rasetsudo (getting pretty high too!)
If a character’s Rasetsudo gets too high, he will lose control and become a monster.
There’s also a mysterious group (two of whom belong to the Shinsengumi’s enemies, the Satsuma-han)who show up saying they’ve ‘come to get’ the main character. Maybe to bring her to her father?
And here are a few screens to whet your appetite a little more!
A blood-splattered Heisuke…but no white hair, so this is just regular work
Sannan after first taking ochimizu.
Heisuke looking pensive, explaining why he’s leaving the Shinsengumi.
Okita talking to a doctor…
Well, I think that’s enough for tonight, eh? Writing this makes me want to order this game, but I need to save money…ugggh…