Sometimes it feels like games are competing to be as dark and anguished as possible in an attempt to wring a strong emotional response from us. I like getting pulled into a story, but it can be tiring.
Several of these dark otome titles came out recently – Reine des Fleurs, Yoshiwara Higanbana, even Code:Realize and Norn9 are on the more serious side of the genre. So I’ve been using Yunohana Spring as a pick-me-up between playing these games, and it works really well.
The heroine, Yunoha, is the daughter of an ‘okami’ (a female manager of a hot springs inn) of the Fukujuro inn in Kanazawa, a small city on the western coast of Japan known for its historical Edo atmosphere. But she always dreamt of being a fashion designer, so against her mother’s wishes (I guess her dad’s dead?), she ran away to Tokyo three years ago after graduating high school, went to design school and hasn’t been in contact since.
As the story begins, Yunoha gets an urgent phone call from her childhood friend Kintarou (Kin-chan) (CV: KENN), saying that her mom has collapsed and she needs to return as soon as possible.
When she gets back home, Kin-chan says her mom is recovering somewhere (for some reason Yunoha can’t see her), so she needs to take over as the okami for three months until her mom is at full health. Yunoha reluctantly agrees, and meets the other current staff members – besides Chiyo, the head maid, and Haru-chan, the head chef, both of whom she remembers, there’s also a maid, Nanao, who’s around Yunoha’s age, Kouta, the apprentice chef (CV: Ishida Akira), and Nao (CV: Sugiyama Noriaki), a former guest whose credit card got rejected when he was checking out, so he’s staying around to work off his charge. Also, once you start, this guy named Izumi (CV: Kimura Ryouhei) from the rival hot springs inn starts popping up every couple days trying to flirt and get some attention. There’s also another route, but I think he only shows up if you don’t have high enough affection with any of the other guys to start their route, so I haven’t seen him yet.
Yunoha starts out reluctantly but starts to enjoy serving guests more and more, and the common route has several miniplots around helping guests with their problems. Fukujuro isn’t that busy, so there’s a lot of time to focus on each guest. In each situation, you, as Yunoha, have to make a decision which determines if your ‘okami’ level goes up or down.
As per usual in otome games, there are also several decision points where you pick what to do or who to depend on, and after a few chapters, you split off into a character route. After the split, the character route is not that long, and once you’ve played through once, you can choose where to start again, so you can easily start at the end of the common route and play through in a couple hours (or less maybe).
None of the routes are too angsty, and problems are resolved quickly. The aesthetic tone is very pleasant, the patterns and backgrounds have a traditional Japanese feel, and even the colour palette is soothing. There are also chapter intra-scenes with ‘previews’ of the next chapter, where different characters narrate completely wrong ideas of what will happen next (e.g. when Kouta does it, he makes up a story about opening up a zoo).
The game is definitely shorter than average, but long intros and plots which go around in circles to extend the running time annoy me a lot, so I don’t mind this too much. I’d like some more time with the characters, and even though there’s an extra short story for each character after you finish, the volume isn’t really enough to make me recommend this at full price. However, if you could get it on sale (or if you’re willing to overpay a bit for a cute otome game like me), I think it’s a nice change from all the gloomy titles around – if for nothing else, as a palate cleanser between games.
Mini-review time! I’ve been playing tons lately as I had a week of vacation in August. I’m going to do smallish posts reviewing what I’ve played so far on them. I don’t feel like I can do full reviews without finishing most of the characters, so they’re not ‘official’ reviews!
First up, Shinobi, Koi Utsutsu Sengetsu(sp?) Koi Emaki for the Vita. I loved loved LOVED the original on PSP, and this adaptation for the Vita added four more characters that you can romance. I’m a little disappointed because there’s nothing extra added for the original six characters, but it’s still great to replay, and so far (I’ve finished good routes for 3 of the 4 new guys) I really like the additions. Also, they made the system a little more organized, in that after the first round you can skip right to the selection part, and do Sanada’s route and the harem route right from the beginning. I’d still recommend doing all of them before if possible to get the most of out it!
Playing on the Vita is great, the art is just so gorgeous and I love the bigger screen.
Plus, no waiting time while dialogue loads, it’s awesome.
My next mini-review will be either KLAP, Prince of Stride, or Vamwolf Cross.
(This post was supposed to go up a year ago…but I never finished it off. Since I picked this game as my favourite PSP game of 2014, I thought I should finally post it!)
I got a huge package of games (6 games!!) at the beginning of Feb which was very exciting (who doesn’t love getting packages?), and the first one I played was Shinobi Koi, Utsutsu. I debated for a few minutes, because I also got Arabian’s Doubt and Edgeworth Investigations 2. But I knew Ninkoi (the game’s nickname which is a combo of the alternate reading for shinobi, like in ninja, and of course Koi as in love) would be fun, and relatively quick. And I cannot resist the art; I just love this artist’s style so much.
And I was right! It took me a little over a week to finish it, and that’s while working more than full-time. So, here’s my review of Shinboi Koi, Utsutsu!
Plot: Katagiri Kaede is a young woman in the 1700’s (I think? historical Japan about a 100 years after Oda Nobunaga anyways) who was orphaned very young and brought up by her grandmother until she passed away. Now she works at a restaurant and attends the town ninja school. In this alternate history, ninja, led by Sanada Yukimura, played a key role in the defeat of the Yoritomo shogunate a hundred years ago, and ninja are respected as warriors. It’s even very common to have ninja school, the most famous being the Sanada Koutou Shuurenin school, still controlled by the Sanada clan and attended by the richest and most elite students.
It’s Kaede’s dream to attend this school and after graduation, join the Sanada Yuushitai, an elite ninja group who protect the shogun. She has a fairly clear memory from when she was very young – she was travelling with her parents when they were attacked by bandits, who killed her parents. They were about to kill her as well when a mysterious ninja appeared and saved her. He also apologized for not getting there in time to save her parents, but she’s always felt extremely grateful and wishes she could thank him. This event became her inspiration to train as a ninja and hopefully one day join the Sanada Yuushitai.
She’s hoping to save up enough money to apply to the famous school by working at the restaurant, but one day she gets a break. A thief steals a customer’s wallet, and she chases him outside and uses her ninja skills to catch him. This catches the eye of an older gentleman who finishes the capture, and then introduces himself as the Vice Principal of the ninja school. He notices something special in her, and invites her to join the school as a scholarship student.Kaede doesn’t know what he sees in her, as she knows she doesn’t have much skill, but she’s not going to let this chance go by, and she agrees.
The next scene is her entering the school, where she meets the Vice Principal again, who tells her that the Principal has agreed to let her in. The conditions are that in six months, on the midterm exam, she must obtain a grade of excellent (or kou), the highest of the three possible grades. And because she’s ‘just’ a poor scholarship student, she can’t expect to have a partner the way regular students do, so she’ll have to get this grade on her own.
While they’re talking, some students notice the new face and approach her. They are the game’s heroes, all from well-known ninja families:
During the conversation, Kaede gets really embarrassed when someone (probably Anayama) flirts with her, and suddenly a cloud of pink smoke erupts around her. All the guys including Sanada are caught in the smoke and suddenly turn into Romeos, saying how cute she is and not paying attention to anything except her. When it wears off, they’re all horrified at how they acted and that they, all good students, were unable to resist.
Sanada feels sorry for her plight, and he arranges it so she can pick any of the five boys as her partner to help pass her trials (once you’ve played one route you can also pick Sanada).
Once you’ve picked, the route splits and you start training.
There are two things I love about this game that I think make it stand out (I love the art and seiyuu but I could say that for most otome games.)
One is the hook of Kaede’s mysterious power, which is both amusing and shows what the guys are really thinking near the end of the routes. It’s interesting to speculate whether what they say ‘under the influence’ is ALWAYS their true feelings, though I think it’s at least amped up quite a bit at the beginning.
The other is Kaede’s true singlemindedness and humbleness without being a martyr, which I find a little rare in otome games. Kaede jumps at the chance to attend the school, though she doesn’t think she really belongs there. She doesn’t get down on herself when jealous fangirls tell her she doesn’t fit in, because she knows that already. She doesn’t care what people say about her, or if they prank her, because she’s going to take any chance she gets to train at a high level and become an elite ninja. Her power also gives her a plausible reason to not think that the guys are interested in her without the way-too-common “heroine has low self-esteem”, which honestly I’ve experienced enough to last five lifetimes (the regular “Oh, he couldn’t like me, he’s too good for me!”)
I really enjoyed all the routes, and I’m really happy that the PS Vita version coming out in a few months will have new character routes, including one for Kuroudo’s brother, who’s in this one already, and Hattori Hanzou.
Here’s a promo movie for the new version:
I can’t wait! It will also have some new material for the existing routes, so it fulfills my wish for a fandisk pretty well.
I didn’t get any games for a couple months, and I feel really out of the loop! I got caught up in some old-ish PC RPGs (I didn’t really expect to spend that long in Skyrim…) But I’m waiting for a couple games right now that I’m excited for, and there are a bunch coming over the next few weeks, let’s take a look!
RE:VICE [D] (Otomate) (PS Vita)
Using the power of ice, she’s one of the Four Heavenly Kings. She’s usually cool, but likes cute Earth things. She attends high school undercover to find the next Demon Lord.
Yukine (CV: Okamoto Nobuhiko)
One of the nominees for Demon Lord. Hard to understand and always popping up unexpectedly, he enjoys teasing people, especially the heroine. He never talks about himself and his private life is a complete mystery.
Iroha (CV: Kimura Ryouhei)
Another nominee. The top student at his school, and so good at sports, he’s brought a weak school team all the way to national championships, and his good looks make him seem perfect.
However his personality is awful and he’s lazy, he has no team spirit and skips school all the time. Even when he comes to school he mostly sleeps in the back garden.
Ryouga (CV: Maeno Tomoaki)
Another nominee. His good looks combined with his extreme friendliness make him popular, but for some reason, as a host at the club MAOH, he never gets asked for a second time, so he’s the bottom-ranked host at his club. Because of this, he’s nicknamed the guard dog of MAOH, but he doesn’t seem to mind.
Hinatsu (CV: Matsuoka Yoshitsugu)
The last nominee. The shut-in son of very rich parents. He has a weak constitution, and is in and out of the hospital. Because of his shyness and general meekness, he has trouble making friends.
He’s learned most of his ‘commonsense’ from books. He’s very wary of people, and doesn’t like talking to them much.
Enkeltbillet (Otomate) (PSP)
Heroine – Okazawa Midori
A second-year college student on her first international trip after graduating. She gets lost in the airport after arriving in Europe, getting separated from her friends.
Nakatani Megumi (CV: Matsuoka Yoshitsugu)
HE dislikes Japan and Japanese people, though he’s a Japanese exchange student himself. He tends to cut himself off from experiences. He’s rude to people when he first meets them.
Chris Albert (CV: Takahashi Hiroki)
A warm and friendly tour guide who’s good at taking care of people. He speaks in an old-fashioned Kansai-ben in Japanese but normally in English. He left his family home for certain reasons.
Alexander Nielsen (CV: Hosoya Yoshimasa)
The son and heir to the hotel, he’s loud and somewhat obnoxious. He’s lived on his own for several years since fighting with his father, and seems to have a sketchy part-time job.
Shuhei Takashina (CV: Takeuchi Ryouta)
The president of a big company, usually he’s calm, but he can become passionate about his work. He’s not interested in anything but his work, has no hobbies, and takes no vacation, but he doesn’t mind. The reasons for him being president and his trip are complicated.
Emil Herrmann (CV: Kawashima Tokuyoshi)
A supermodel who breaks all electronics but his cell phone. He’s superstitious and believes in fortunetelling, and has a habit of impulse buying. Because he’s so mercurial, it’s hard to pin him down. Sometimes he enjoys pretending to be a girl and fooling people.
Majoou (Quinrose) (PSP)
Heroine: Rose Dinoire, the only daughter of the Demon King. After her father leaves, she rules in his place. She tries to be a suitable Demon King for her subjects, but feels conflicted that she can’t kill the humans trying to kill demons.
Atlas Leavis (CV: Maeno Tomoaki) A hero who fights with four others, he hates all demons and is merciless with them, but to humans he’s very kind. He was childhood friends with Edgar and Rose, but for some reason can’t remember that.
Edgar Lang (CV: Tachiki Fumihiko)
A warrior in Atlas’s party. He’s like a big older brother, is good at cooking, and has mixed feelings about Rose, who hid that she was a demon when they were kids.
Drop Rust (CV: Yonaga Tsubasa)
The party’s magician. He studied hard to learn magic, and has a wide range of knowledge. Because of his name, face and short stature, he’s sometimes treated as a child, which he hates.
Melvin (CV: Kakihara Tetsuya)
The party’s merchant and fortuneteller. He’s cheerful and somewhat bold, especially with women, but no one knows what he really thinks.
Leonhard Rosenhain (CV: Midorikawa Hikaru)
The prince of Rizenbard who’s beautiful as a princess. He’s imprisoned in the Demon King castle (as tribute I think). He has a soothing demeanour, and often makes odd remarks.
Marion Neithart (CV: Miki Shinichirou)
A dark knight of the demons who has protected Rose since she was a child. He’s completely loyal to her and doesn’t care about anyone else, so he doesn’t socialize much with other demons.
(CV: Suwabe Junichi)
A demon in the service of the kingdom, he can use special healing magic. He obeys Rose but also thinks she’s not competent yet, so often makes fun of her.
Doris Murrill (CV: Igarashi Hiromi)
The chief maid at the castle, she’s very good at her job and all the maids trust her. She’s very good at cooking with magic and often serves Rose.
Urakata Hakuoki ~Toki no Shirabe~ Fandisk (Otomate) (PSP)
Fandisk of Urakata Hakuoki, I still haven’t finished any routes in the original…
Ayakashi Gohan (honeybee) (PC) – this one looks pretty interesting, I’ll do a bigger post on that one.
It’s been a while, and though I haven’t been able to find my Exorcism of Maria disk to finish that review (though much cursing was done while searching) I’ve still been keeping up with the news. Let’s take a look at upcoming titles!
Just released (end of April):
Chronostacia from Otomate (PSP) – the gorgeous looking fantasy about time banks. It’s been 10 years since the Time Revolution, when a way was found to manipulate time and people started banking time, buying time, and selling it. Now, in Albion, 17-year-old Lucia is happy working at her uncle’s café, before the country is shocked by the news that someone has raided the time bank and stole all the time. Albion has only 99 days left to exist. Lucia finds a small hourglass, and gains the power of Chronostasis – the power to stop time. Why was she given this power? Can she save Albion?
I haven’t played this yet, but I’m looking forward to it – I mean just look at that homepage. So pretty.
Snow Black from Quinrose (PSP) – Quinrose’s take on Snow White, where Snow Black is a princess who gets her country taken over by the evil advisor, Levine, who crowned himself queen. Lots of great seiyuu and a varied cast of characters, I’m hoping this will be fun. I also hope there’s a Levine route as he seems kind of awesome (and is voiced by Tsuda Kenjirou!)
And two PC R-18 releases in one month!
Onedari Sharemate from A’sRing, which sounds like it could be great, with a variety of relationships revolving around a heroine who shares a house with several hot men, but it was hard to be excited about since the company wouldn’t allow people outside Japan to check out the website. Annoying.
Torikago no Mariage from Kalmia8, which doesn’t interest me much both because of the plot – rich sheltered heroine loses her doting father and has to repay his debts by selling herself – or the art, where the heroine’s eyes are a bit too empty for me (same with other characters really).
Now, moving forward to actual spring and summer!
May release – Amnesia World (PS Vita) from Otomate – I think this is a fandisk/AU/minigame collection of Amnesia where you choose different ‘worlds’ to visit and play in, seeing different stories in each one. The worlds are School World, Music World, and Criminal World (exciting!)
May release – Heart no Kuni no Alice ~ Wonderful Twin World ~ from Quinrose (PSP) – Another Heart Alice game, this time a storm comes to the Country of Hearts and changes people in different ways, sometimes their appearance, sometimes their personality. There’s also a new character(s), Humpty and Dumpty (CV: Okamoto Nobuhiko), replacing the Bloody Twins.
June release – Black Code (PSP) from Quinrose – the heroine Lucielle, lives in a small country, and she brings bad luck on the people around her. The game focuses on a mafia vs. special ops kind of dynamic. I was disappointed with School Wars, so I don’t know if I’ll jump to get this.
July release – Soukai Buccaneers (PS Vita) from Petit Rêve – A pirate otome game!! I don’t know why this was never thought of before – ok yes, there’s Pirates in Love, I mean on a console – I can’t wait for this one. They have a really good cast, and I like the art, it’s very colourful and fun, and I really really hope the writing is decent.
August release – Ayakashi Gohan from honeybee (PC) – the Starry Sky artist turns her(his?) talents to designing cute and pretty human-like ayakashi for the heroine to fall for. It’s set in a small town where humans and ayakashi (are these the same as youkai? I never know) live together, and you start off as a little girl. Depending on your choices during that stage, you’ll become either a quiet introvert or a confident extrovert who eventually starts working at a restaurant run by an ayakashi.
There are several other games which may come out soonish as well, but no release dates yet, so this is all for now!
I’ve played through O*G*A a couple times now, finishing one route. Overall I’d say it’s fun, but definitely on the short side.
The time period of the game only really covers a few days at school where the heroine is recruited as manager, and then a week of training camp on an island (hence the game’s name, The Hunter Falls in Love on an Island.) When you’re on the island, there’s another school team of three guys who your team has already beaten (in one of the drama CDs I think), who are there to help you train, as well as a mysterious pair of twins who don’t belong on an official team but are obviously very good, and a top player from a pro team.
The love system is pretty unforgiving – because I made one wrong choice near the end, I got a generic ending the first time. Though to be fair, there’s often one crucial decision near the end of a route, I also didn’t have full affection because of only one other decision I made wrong earlier. It’s made harder because you should win all of your games (except one near the beginning that’s a forced lose) to get the best ending.
The minigame of oni-gokko is not too difficult once you get the hang of it, although sometimes you get bad luck. You pick three players (one site recommends using the same team throughout for some reason related to extras), and your target should always be on your team (since he gets stronger as his affection goes up, it makes sense anyways). You first choose the players, then four strategies that can be switched between during the game using the right keypad. You can customize these, but don’t forget to have at least one where the players are resting (otherwise their energy never refills and they get really slow). The four actions that can be done are attack(red), defend(green), support(purple), and rest (blue). Oh, and a match is called a “Hunt”, and all the players are Hunters.
Every day you choose where to go and who to talk to, have an event with them where you usually have a Live2D chat with them which can increase your affection level, then meet up with everyone and play a game. If you win that game, you get an evening event with the whole group.
The last game of the camp is against the twins and the pro. I won it pretty easily the first time but lost the second time – but then got some extra dialogue which basically had me win anyways. I’m not sure if I would get anything extra if I won fair and square.
There’s no epilogue back at school or anything, so the end feels a bit abrupt. You do get some extra scenes by doing challenges in the ‘Special’ section – I haven’t played any yet.
Since I’ve only done one route I won’t comment on the characters. I will say that the Live2D for the one guy I finished, Ougaki, was a bit creepy – but I think it’s because of his character design. He’s the one with huge eyes and bags, which are emphasized even more in Live2D.
O*G*A has a few drama CDs out already, and Otomate just released a game for PSP, Onigokko Royale, Hunter wa Field de Koi o Suru. The premise is that Onigokko (hide and seek) is now a sport. The heroine enters high school and is recruited to be the OGA team’s manager. OGA stands for Onigokko Grand Athletics.
Characters (this link has all the chara pics, and their names are in English as well so you can see who they are):
Ogaki Ayumu (CV: Suzumura Kenichi) – A first year. He easily melts into the background, so much that it bothers him. Though he’s new to OGA, this talent is serving him well.
Tendou Ran(CV: Morikubo Shoutarou) – A first year in OGA, and a rookie. He’s been watched since he was in middle school, and definitely has skill, but also has a lot of pride and hates to lose.
Kishiro Daichi (CV: Morikawa Toshiyuki) – A third-year, and the head of the OGA club. He makes decisions coolly but has a strong fighting spirit. He has a habit of seeing what’s in someone’s heart by their smell. He’s also called Oni no Daichi.
Tamabuki Fusanosuke (CV: Suzuki Tatsuhisa) – A third-year, and vice-head of the OGA club. He’s very stylish and has a lot of female fans, but always goes at his own pace. His nickname is “Kirakira Tamasama”. His favourite drink is “Dorodoro Peach Au Lait”.
Kagami Ginji (CV: Mori Shingo) – A second year who doesn’t talk much. His forte is gathering and analyzing data. His nickname is the “Ningen (Human) Computer”.
Mitsurugi Kanata (CV: Kamakari Kenta) – A second year and moodmaker, he’s always carryinh sweets. Perhaps because he has several younger sisters, he’s very good at looking after his kouhai. He often teams up with Ginji.
Kagami Shidou (CV: Wada Daisuke) – A first year in the news club who’s very curious and lively, he commentates the OGA matches and is called the OGA-DJ. He’s Ginji’s little brother and Ayumu’s best friend, and often visits the OGA club.
During the regular part of the game, you choose where to go twice a day. You can see where the characters are. Along with the regular love events, when you win a match, you get special team event scenes. There’s also a conversation part which uses Live2D, called Heart Hunt. You have to respond to the guy’s comments and his heart gauge will go up or down accordingly. This part will affect characters’ affection levels so it’s important.
The way you play OGA is you have two teams of three in a field. At each end of the field there’s a Treasure Pole. You get points for touching the pole in the opposing team’s area. If you’re touched by an opposing team member, you have to leave the field for a while.
Before each match you’ll discuss strategy, and then during the game you can tell the team members what to do, such as special attacks. Also, characters who have a high affection level will get increased stats as well.
I just got the game in the mail and haven’t played it yet, but I wanted to get this post out first! Yay for otome games with gameplay!! I hope it’s fun and not too hard…
Man, it’s been too long. Now that Sparkler Monthly #1 is launched, I’m determined to do some blogging here! I missed it.
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.
News from Girl’s Style:
I’m tired, but I’ll do B’s Log soon.