I noticed today that Ozmafia has a page on Steam, and the release date is April 29! Very exciting.
Ayakashi Gohan is the new game coming out for the PC by honeybee.
There’s a little restaurant somewhere deep in the Japanese mountains which serves tasty meals to ayakashi (spirits) as well as humans, called “Ponpokorin” near a village called Momojimura. It was opened by a kitsune in human form whose motto is “Eating delicious food together makes everyone happy.” One day, the heroine is brought to live there by the kitsune because she’s just lost her parents. She meets with the owner’s almost 7-year-old son, a pair of twins, and starts helping at the restaurant. The story is about her getting to know them and the customers of Ponpokorin, as well as some classmates from school. Her school, by the way, is a typical country school except that some ayakashi attend (in human form), slow-paced and not standing out in club or sports activities. For a while it was going to be closed, but a high-profile designer was contracted to redesign the uniforms, so they’re pretty stylish, and apparently it worked and more students are slowly joining. (Does this work, by the way? Do Japanese students really decide to go to a totally rural highschool with no distinctive features because they like the uniform??)
Anyways, the big theme of this game is about making food together and eating together as a way to develop relationships. Let’s take a look at the characters:
You start the game when the heroine is 7 years old, and depending on your choices during this ‘shoujo’ period, the heroine develops one of two personalities, changing the possible routes (I love this idea). If you end up on the ‘human’ route, the heroine is shy and reserved, and the story is about her learning to enjoy eating with people she loves. If you end up on the ‘ayakashi’ route, the heroine is outgoing, and the story is about her teaching someone to enjoy eating with those they love. I think it’s a really interesting way to change the story up.
The human-side routes:
Inushima Uta (CV: Shimono Hir0): The older twin. He talks roughly but always means well, and he’s popular with the ayakashi like an older brother figure.
Ibuki Haginosuke (CV: Mizushima Takahiro): The human son of a priest who’s fascinated by ayakashi but doesn’t understand them very well. Like the heroine (in this side), he’s not very good at eating with other people.
Hana Suou (CV: Sugiyama Noriaki): A cat spirit transformed human who attends the heroine’s school. He dislikes humans, but actually wants friends. He’s always cold so he sleeps in the sun a lot, and has a sensitive tongue (cats and all that) so he can’t eat too hot food.
The ayakashi-side routes:
Inushima Yomi (CV: Kaji Yuuki): A cold poet who hates humans, he’s very lazy and unemotional. He does enjoy learning things, so he reads a lot of books. His older brother Uta usually performs his poems.
Serigano Manatsu (CV: Okitsu Kazuyuki): A local shopkeeper’s son who often delivers ingredients to Ponpokorin. He’s 25, and the local elders always push him towards omiai. He enjoys having tea after making deliveries to P0npokorin, and ends up listening to an ayakashi’s problems and giving them advice.
Kimura Asagi (CV: Ishida Akira): A mysterious student who loves playing pranks on people. It’s unclear whether he’s human or ayakashi. Because he’s never been far, he dreams of travelling.
Other characters are the owner, Gin, his young son, Tsuzuru, who’s very shy and always hides behind his father, and Kamisama, the village spirit.
Once you get past the ‘shoujo’ chapter and have gone onto either the ‘human’ or ‘ayakashi’ side, you go through a shared route for that side, and your choices in that chapter either decide on a specific character’s route, or a bad end. Within character routes, they all have a best end, a good end, and a tragic love end.
The atmosphere seems quiet but soulful. I like the routes splitting along personality lines, and the setting is unusual – the only other games series I remember being set in a contemporary isolated village (not just the school either) is Hiiro no Kakera. Unfortunately I can’t find anywhere to order this (Amiami doesn’t seem to have it) so I’ll have to wait until I go to Japan to get this.
I finally finished playing Ozmafia a while ago. It took a long time, because to get the ‘Grand End’ you have to finish most endings, including bad endings and versus endings. For the main three heroes, they each have versus routes with each other, and it’s tough to remember which ones you’ve done.
There is no backstory for the heroine. She wakes up in an alley, with no recollection of who she is or how she got there. Soon after, she’s attacked by a handsome white-haired man, and finally escapes into a different part of the city. She’s found by three men, Caramia, Axel, and Kyrie. They all belong to one of the city’s ‘families’, in their case the Oz Family, which controls different parts of the city. They invite her back to their mansion as a guest and she’s named Fuuka.
Throughout the following days, Fuuka meets more of the city’s inhabitants from the different families – Scarlet (Red Riding Hood), Hansel and Gretel from the Grim family, Heidi from the Heidi family, Pachet from the Longboots family, and Ande, Ering, and Melisus from the Andersen family. She also meets several characters that are somewhat neutral – Sou, who lives and works for Caesar, the man who attacked Fuuka in the beginning, Dorian Gray and and Manboy, who own and work at Oscar Wilde, and Robin Hood, the town doctor who can apparently heal anyone as long as they’re still alive.
For most of the story she stays with the Oz family and is pretty free to go around talking to whomever she chooses. There are some events that will always happen, such as her getting kidnapped by Caesar and then escaping, some gang scuffles, and then a sudden outbreak of violence due to a criminal, Hamelin, returning from his banishment.
At first I had a hard time getting into Ozmafia. Past the introduction, it feels very open-ended, and the first playthrough can feel like it takes a long time with many minor scenes and nothing really dramatic. However, once you get to the summer festival, things pick up a lot. This is when you choose someone’s route if you’ve made the right choices, but you still have several possible endings. You can also have versus routes, and can even CHANGE your relationship – break up with one guy (all the versus routes are with the Oz family IIRC) and start dating another. This is REALLY rare in otome games, other than Storm Lover I can’t think of one right now.
The endings vary wildly in how happy they are, and some are more bittersweet. Once you get all the different endings including the versus endings (there’s no in-game tracker which would have been really helpful), you can proceed to the Grand Ending, which explains a lot of very odd aspects of characters and what happens in the other routes. When you’re playing the routes they can seem not that important, but by the end you REALLY want to know what the deal is. The Grand Ending ties everything up, though that doesn’t mean it’s the best ending. I actually like some of the other endings more from a romance perspective (the Grand Ending really isn’t a romance).
The characters are really interesting and not as easily described as many otome games. One thing I found interesting was that no one was really 100% good and honorable, not even Fuuka. Sometimes I was surprised at how callous she could be, which contrasts with her character design a lot and makes her much deeper than a lot of otome game heroines. And some of the endings…wow! Just…finish all the Oscar Wilde endings, you’ll see what I mean. I can’t really pick a favourite character, though I always tend to want to go on Axel’s route just because he’s my ‘type’.
The game’s not perfect – sometimes I felt that the pacing was off and I’d love more meaty character scenes, and the constant eye captures which you can’t skip easily get really annoying. I had to follow a guide really closely to get to the Grand Ending. But overall I really enjoyed this game as a whole, and I’m ecstatic that it’s getting an English release. I even have a bunch of Ozmafia merchandise (including a tapestry, yup) because I really want it to do well so Poni Pachet will make more with these characters.
[EDIT: Ah, my first time playing Alice. I only got through one route (Blood), and it took so long I never did anthoer. But this game was definitely innovative for its time in terms of character designs and having a distinctive heroine, and it tried different things with the turn progression. The beginning of Quinrose’s Alice dynasty!]
Originally from 2008/06/08
PC & PS2 game by Quinrose
So I still haven’t finished my first Alice character route, but I have enough to talk about just describing the game, so I’m going to start there.
You know, Quinrose might just be my favourite otome game developer. Their heroines are always smart and non-doormatlike, their heroes are definitely not stereotypical, and the premise is always interesting.
In Heart no Kuni no Alice, you are a young lady who acts politely in front of her beloved sister, but who is actually pretty cynical. Her father ignores her and her tutor whom she was in love with fell for her “perfect” sister. As a result, Alice doesn’t trust people much. One day she and her sister are out on their lawn, and Alice falls asleep while waiting for her sister to go get a board game.
She’s woken up by a sound and sees a white rabbit run by wearing clothes. In the original Alice in Wonderland, she follows the rabbit down a hole…here it’s not quite like that. Alice determinedly ignores the rabbit while he tries to get her attention, but he eventually picks her up and drags her down the hole with him.
They fall for what seems like forever. Alice is understandably pissed off at this weird rabbit guy who kidnapped her, and he seems to know all about her, even how she recently broke her heart. He makes her drink this potion (by kissing her) which sends her to sleep.
When she wakes up, she doesn’t know where she is, though she sees that she’s in a tall tower. A man comes along and realizes that she’s from another world, but has no sympathy for her – he just shoos her out to find her own way.
From that point, you decide where to go – you can go to the Heart Castle, the Amusement Park, or the Hat Estate. Depending which you choose, you’ll end up staying there.
The rest of the game is mostly deciding where to go during each turn. Depending on the time of day (day, evening, or night) you may or may not be able to meet the person you want to. In this land, the time doesn’t go normally from day to evening and night, it changes randomly, so you never know what time of day will come next. You can get hourglasses that change the time of day to whatever you want.
When you visit a character, it raises their affection for you, and eventually you get progression scenes. For each character there’s about 20, as well as other events that occur You also sometimes have to raise other character’s affection to progress in a route.
While this sounds like a pretty basic visual novel, and it is, really, there’s a lot more material and CGs than in most others I’ve played. Plus, the number of characters available is pretty high – ten, well technically eleven, but two are twins and are pretty much one person. The world itself is fascinating – the three ‘areas’ (Amusement Park, Heart Castle, and Hat Estate) are all trying to win control of the whole land, and it’s anarchy – Alice almost gets killed when she first meets most of the characters.
All the characters are really interesting and have their own appeal:
The March Hare (Elliot March) CV- Mogami Tsuguo: The loyal right-hand man to Blood, he’s sweet but will kill people without hesitation, and denies emphatically that he’s a rabbit (he has rabbit ears). He also insists that he doesn’t like carrots, though all he eats is carrot-flavoured food.
The Bloody Twins (Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum) CV- Fukuyama Jun: Two boys who guard the Hat Estate’s gates, they almost kill Alice when she first arrives. All they care about is money and fun (i.e. killing people)
Usually Sweet Princess doesn’t have much new stuff, but this month it did!
Sanzen Sekai Yuugi Multiverse Myself, the 18+ PC sci-fi game from girls dynamics, is coming August 30! That seems fast, especially since the scenes they show are just line art…
The other news in Sweet Princess is that there’s a new 18+ label, As’Ring, and they’re making a game called Onedari Sharemate. It’s tentatively scheduled for next spring. The heroine, Ayumi, is a 25-year-old teacher who wants to be like the inspiring teachers in dramas (I hope she wants to be like Kumiko!) and has almost no experience with boys because in school she was plain. She had an older sister who died in an accident, and Ayumi’s first love was this sister’s fiancé, Kai Shintarou. She moves out from her parents’ house into a boarding house owned by Shintarou and is dismayed to find it’s all guys.
The characters are:
The creators say they want to make various types of relationships possible, from just enjoying living in the same house as your boyfriend, to stirring up trouble in a love triangle, to a harem, etc.
I finally got through the introduction, which admittedly wasn’t that long compared to games like Hakuouki. But that creepy teacher really annoyed me. Apparently Mizuchi can only have one minamo (what? I thought they all had lots??) so Mikoto has to have a hanafuda battle with his current one, who is a total asshole (of course) and totally fixated on him (of course).
At first Mikoto doesn’t want to, but the teacher goads her into trying.
I’m trying out the teacher because he suggested I train. Of course, I save before choosing.
He gives some more detailed info on stats and tournaments. I reload and go to Momose to see what she has to say instead. She mentions that the fifth Light, Utsutsu, disappeared right after he became a light, which is interesting, though I knew that from the magazines. I’m looking forward to his route the most, actually, he seems the least likely to annoy me.
Then I ask about minamo, and here’s where my blood pressure goes up. Minamo have to be virgins; as soon as you lose your virginity you lose your power as a minamo. However, apparently as long as ‘it’s’ still in place it’s ok. Huh??? I guess women who didn’t have one to begin with, or who broke theirs through non-sex methods don’t exist? Or somehow your power knows when you’ve had sex? But apparently it just cares about the hymen (Momose says ‘some girls’ do other stuff but are still minamo), so…anal sex then? Whatever. I give that particular aspect a pass and try to forget about it. Only to be reminded that though sex is bad for minamo, the closer in romantic terms you are with your Light the more powerful you become as a support. So, like, you need to get close, but not too close? (Cause then you’re a no-good ho-bag, amirite??)
ANYWAYS. Let’s move on. She confirms that each Light only has one minamo, except for Kurenai because he hasn’t decided on one yet. She also says that after graduating, the best students in the game go on to work for the emperor, and most end up in government jobs. This makes me wonder, do they still have their minamo there? Are their minamo doomed to be virgins forever if they need their power? Hopefully I’ll know some of the answers by the end of this post.
I finish talking to her and encounter Aoi(meangirl) in the hallway. The teacher comes after and reminds me that if I win, she’ll have to leave the school. Which annoys me again because, if Aoi is a powerful minamo, why wouldn’t another guy want her? Or is she ‘used goods’ and thus not deserving of a spot at this school anymore?
I’m not using a guide, so I kind of jumped randomly around after this. I visited Mizuchi in the 2nd-year hallway but he told me to basically GTFO because 1st and 2nd years aren’t allowed to hang out together at school (odd rule but ok), and he is all about following the rules.
Then I go to the greenhouse where Mizuchi is watering plants (with his power I think) and I fall down and he very reluctantly carries me to the doctor, worrying all the while that he’s ‘dirtying’ me by touching me. Yup.
After I recover from his screaming fangirls, I decide it’s time to level up, so I head over to the teacher’s room and proceed to kick my way through several opponents. This is the fun part – the game is based on an actual game that I’ve only played a korean version of (maybe after this I’ll get better at it?) where there’s a special deck with various pictures on them, that make up various sets. Depending on which sets you end up with in your hand and play, the point value is different. In this game, it affects the attack value. Of course, the special oni card that chose you makes your attacks stronger than others at the same level, so it’s not too hard. The interface looks confusing at first but it’s quite helpful, showing you what potential hands you have and making the decision-making fairly easy. There are lots of practice battles you can do, and once in a while someone challenges you, and if you win you add a card to your deck.
I spent a couple hours doing that (what can I say, I’m an RPG-er at heart), and then continued on. There was an event with Aoi where she’s a jerk to you in front of Mizuchi and he scolds her, which was a bit satisfying. Until he leaves and she says it’s your fault and slaps you as hard as possible, which has a painful-looking CG. Of course the heroine doesn’t do anything, just looks like she’s going to cry, all the other girls blame you, and I turn off the game for the night.
…Actually no, I did manage to get through that scene, which had some redemption at the end. Aoi is obviously the ‘psycho girlfriend’ stereotype that we all know and love, I can’t wait to see how she attacks the heroine.
…(10 minutes later): I was right, she does attack the heroine but she’s possessed by a monster while doing so (encouraged by her weak spirit of course).
So for the first chunk of playtime, I’m not sold on this at all yet, although the card game is a lot of fun. Mizuchi is fine, I hope the heroine gets to know him much better in the next chunk of playtime I do.
Yeah, I suck for not realizing how late it was, I got 5 minutes into Hana Awase and now I have to go to bed!
First things I notice:
Hey everyone! I wrote this two weeks ago and forgot about it, so since I have no time right now to write a post (though I really need to do a news post!!) I’ll put this up. This game is R18 so beware.
Read the rest of this entry »
I’m almost done 24ji no Cinderella (on thw last character, Linus), and I was just checking out online stores to see what I could order, and Ozmafia is scheduled for Dec 21! It always was listed as 2012 but honestly I didn’t think it would be released until next year. Since it’s a PC game, I can only get it through amiami, so I ordered it. And the website has voices up!
Also, CDJapan has a sale on now, a bunch of limited edition games are 30 or 40% off – it makes me want to buy some, like Mahoutsukai PSP and the Miyako fandisk (even though I haven’t even finished one route!)…and FFXIII-2.
Now off to finish 24ji! I’ve been a little distracted by Persona 4 and overtime at work, but I’m definitely doing a post this week on it. And I’m planning on playing Koezaru this weekend for sure!
A couple of you asked for more info on Ozmafia, so I had a look through my mags and the websites. It’s a PC game by the new brand Poni Pachet. The heroine, Fuuka, has amnesia, and is picked up by the Oz Family. In this city(world?) there is also the Grimm Family, the Boots Family, the Heidi Family, the Anderson Family, the Oscar Wilde Brothel, and the Wolfgang…er, gang. Recently the cast was announced, and there are lots of seiyuu I’m not familiar with, very exciting!
One thing you probably noticed is that it’s by the same artist as Diabolik Lovers. It’s very cute, with shiny eyes and multicoloured hair. I think I’ll actually wait for this instead of getting Diabolik Lovers, since it seems a lot more romantic overall – less of the Do-S thing that is kinda annoying me lately.
Fuuka (the heroine): Hanamura Mitsuko
Caramia: The leader of the Oz Family, he’s good at taking care of people. Shingaki Tarusuke – Gunparade Orchestra Nagano Eitarou, Kite Eishirou in New Prince of Tennis (awesome, I loved that character), and Kabrakan in Bloody Call.
Kyrie: the Oz Family’s advisor. He acts nice but has a black heart (or stomach) and is calculating. Okitsu Kazuyuki – Shinobu in Shiki, Ruskinia Harvess in Last Exile, Gill in Will o Wisp, Setsuma in Kanuchi, Medishus in Death Connection, Don Fitch in Desert Kingdom (I wish they’d re-release that for the PSP, I can’t remember that character)
Axel: a leading member of the Oz Family, he doesn’t do much other than what he’s ordered to. He uses a pistol but it lacks accuracy. Kakehashi Atsushi – Susumu in WagaHana, Kinoshita Mahiro in Bara no Ki ni Bara no Hana Saku, and Kenneth in Suikoden IV
Dorian Gray: the owner of the Oscar Wilde brothel. He might have a route, but not an ending (not sure how that will work, but that sucks!). Honda Hiroyuki – Wild Arms Crossfire – Rupert Dandridge
Alfani: the most popular male prostitute at the Oscar Wilde brothel, he’s a masochist. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have an ending. Yamaguchi Kazuya – no Wikipedia entry that I can find
Manboy (really?? really): the receptionist and jack of all trades for the Oscar Wilde brothel. He doesn’t have an ending. Awazu Takatsugu – nothing I recognize
Pashet: Fujii Kyouko – no Wikipedia entry that I can find. She has a route.
Robin Hood: the doctor who takes care of anyone without any bias. He has a route. Fujinami Satoru – no Wikipedia entry that I can find
Scarlet (Little Red Riding Hood): a leading member of the Grimm family, he’s cool, calm, and doesn’t like warfare. He uses a sniper rifle. He has a route. Ichiki Mitsuhiro – was also Haruo in Magikano, Naoya in Maid-sama, Rejetta in Desert Kingdom (yay!! I loved that game, it was really fun even though it was short), and OMG, the teacher in Tokimemo GS 3!! Daihakuryoku!!
Caesar: the leader of *ahem* the WolfGang. He has a route. Kirimoto Takuya – mostly has dubbing roles, although there are several minor anime roles like Iver in Naruto.
Sou: Caesar’s right-hand man. He has a route.Iguchi Yuuichi – Max Aroze in Fairy Tail, Yoshizawa Atsushi in Ookiku Furikabutte ~Summer Slam~, and Oosaka Shouri in Sket Dance
Hansel (Hansel & Gretel): Enomoto ??
Gretel (Hansel & Gretel): Nozuki Masami – no Wikipedia entry that I can find
Andy (the little match girl): Uchiyama Yuki – no Wikipedia entry that I can find
Aering: Kurumatani Eri – no Wikipedia entry that I can find
Merisasu (Oyayubi Gentleman): Okamoto Mitsu – no Wikipedia entry that I can find
Heidi (Heidi): Toyojima Muto – no Wikipedia entry that I can find
Wow, a lot of names I can’t find in Wikipedia! It will be nice to hear some unfamiliar voices. Check out their webpage for a bunch of nice pics, and check out the theme song on the Special page, it’s an English band! Article One, with “I Love You More”. It’s still supposed to come out in 2012, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s delayed. I haven’t seen anything about the overall plot, just some cute vignettes.