Our Two Bedroom Story Character Review: Tsumugu Kido

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I decided to pick up a new Voltage Inc. character to try as I haven’t played a mobile game in a while and they were currently having their massive yearly sale. Although the sale has now ended, their yearly sale is the best time to try out their games since the prices re slashed on so many stories from 25%-75% off. If you’re not a fan of buying individual routes, I suggest waiting for these sales to occur before purchasing them.

After browsing the /r/otomegames reddit for some recommendations, I decided on Tsumugu Kido from ‘Our Two Bedroom Story’. I’ve played this title a long time ago when it first came out, and purchased the main story and sequel of ‘Minato Okouchi’ and ‘Kaoru Kirishima’ in the past.

It’s one of their more popular games that spawned a sequel title and I can understand why. Although the premise is rather bland and a rehash of the ‘forced living arrangements’ trope, the heroine is very refreshing and dedicated to her job. I believe back then it was one of their first games that introduced a very different protagonist in comparison to their older titles. The whole ‘step-sibling’ concept was incorporated rather poorly for most of the routes however, and clearly it’s only purpose was to serve as a reason for the couple to live together.

Despite this, I still feel that ‘Our Two Bedroom Story’ is one of their better titles and I did enjoy it back then when I first played it. What interested me about Kido was the literal ‘dual-personality’ aspect and how he actually had two different character sprites. This was quite different in comparison to previous Voltage Inc. routes and I was interested to see exactly how his route would play out.

Prologue Summary

The heroine temporarily moves into her new step-father’s home, only to find that it has already been occupied by a dishevelled, blunt and stingy man by the name of Kido. Speaking with a prominent kansai-dialect, he demands the heroine leave his home as he is the rightful owner of the place. Despite her protests, he childishly asserts that as he has already moved in first; she essentially has no say or claim in the matter. The protagonist has already moved all her things from her previous home, and the current circumstances renders her homeless.

She finally adheres to his living arrangement requirements, and agrees to pay rent for the next month until she is able to find another place. Although she is appalled by Kido’s love for money and unreasonable demands, she concedes that the current situation is far more desirable and less financially straining in comparison to living in a hotel.

The next day at work, she is excited that her efforts at the company had been recognised and her transfer request had finally been accepted. The heroine has been moved to the Seasonelle Department, which is the company section that every employee dreams of entering. It encompasses a group of the most elite journalists and news reporters within the company, working together in a high dynamic and fast-paced work environment.

To her surprise, she is not the only new worker entering the department. Another man by the name of Tsumugu Kido attends the same introductory meeting and the heroine is in awe of his skill and experience. He immediately leaves a lasting impression with his refreshing ideas for Seasonelle, despite it conflicting with the ace of the department Minato. He is unafraid to voice his daring ideas and handles himself with undisputed confidence.

Unlike the inexperienced heroine who struggles with all the new information at the meeting, Kido was head-hunted from another company due to his vast portfolio of publications and talent. She finds herself noticing the subtle similarities between Kido her co-worker, and the rude and dishevelled Kido at home.

She rules it as a coincidence that they share the same name as she is unable to bridge the disconnect between the two completely different personalities. Where the Kido at home is blunt, extremely rude and stingy; the Kido at work is full of gentle smiles, encouraging words and approaches his work with absolute efficiency. Unlike the shabby appearances of the Kido she knows, her new co-worker is exceptionally tidy, proper and emulates the ideal image of an elite businessman.

The heroine is immediately placed on a project with Kido as her support and she is determined to publish something worthwhile. In spite of the article being assigned to her, Kido quickly takes over the project and leaves little to nothing for the heroine to do. She is dismayed by the turn of events as although Kido’s methods are not wrong and far more efficient than anything she could potentially do; it was an article entrusted to her, to complete by her own efforts.

She is determined to prove her worth and at home that night, she begins to research new articles and content that even Kido himself did not include in his drafts. The Kido at home is surprised by her efforts, and asks her why she is trying so hard for a futile cause. She answers that she recognises her weaknesses, which fuels her desire to learn and improve herself to earn the recognition of her co-worker.

Afterwards, the Kido at work concedes to her wishes after seeing the content she produces and allows her to have a more active role in writing the article alongside him. Her relationship with both Kido’s continues to grow, and she finds herself slowly accepting the newfound company of her housemate. She begins to cook for the household in return for a reduction on rent and discovers that they share the same sense of humour.

They enjoy idyllic days together and fall into a comfortable routine of sharing dinner and watching comedy skits afterwards. Although they engage in their fair share of friendly banter, the heroine finds herself enjoying their conversations and her opinion of him gradually improving. However, she finds herself suspicious about the true nature of his work as she had never seen him dressed for it nor leave the house prior to her.

One night, she notices he had fallen asleep with the window open in his room. Despite his warnings for her to never enter his room, she worries that he may catch a cold overnight. She asserts that there would be no harm in sneaking in to close it, before taking her leave. However, she quickly becomes entranced by his sleeping face illuminated by the moonlight and is surprised at how unexpectedly handsome he is. Contrary to his usual dishevelled appearance, he had distinctly beautiful features that she never noticed before beneath his large frames.

To her shock, he briefly opens his eyes and she realises that the face staring back at her is none other than Tsumugu Kido; the prim, proper perfectionist she sees everyday at work.

Character Development

Admittedly, after playing through Tsumugu Kido’s route his character is not for everyone. Due to the complete disconnect between his two personalities at home and at work, it’s difficult to decipher which of the two represents his true feelings towards the heroine. One moment he’s incredibly rude and condescending to her, whereas the next moment he showers her with kindness and gentle words. It’s consistently hot and cold with Tsumugu Kido, and you’re completely at the mercy of his whims for the majority of the story.

It really raised questions as readers on the genuineness of his feelings and actions towards the heroine, due to the incongruity between his two personalities. To me the highlight of the route was actually the protagonist herself, and her refreshing approach in responding to Kido’s difficult personality. She is headstrong, resilient and determined in proving her worth to Kido despite the obstacles she has to overcome. She successfully earns his respect and recognition of her abilities at work over the progression of the story.

This is quite a feat in itself as Kido is well-known for his solitude at work and his ambitions to rise to the top of the company, without the assistance of others. He is arrogant and prideful in his abilities, to which no one can refute due to the quality of work that he produces. On top of that, he is remarkably handsome and considered the current most eligible bachelor at the company.

Kido finds himself equally perplexed by the heroine and becomes increasingly resistant to her attempts at getting closer to him. No matter how rudely he acts towards her and pushes her away, she remains kind and accepting of his true personality. She is the only one he feels the most comfortable around and feels no need to hide his less than desirable traits from her. Instead of being offended by his tirade of insults, she deflects it with ease and constantly has snarky and witty comebacks of her own.

Rather than stepping down and being intimidated by his actions, the heroine isn’t afraid to speak her mind and stand up to him. I actually found myself laughing out loud at so many of their interactions with one another and it was really refreshing and different in comparison to the usual character dynamics seen in the standard Voltage Inc. routes. It was so satisfying to see Kido’s reluctant acceptance of her as his equal, and gradually opening up to one another due to their surprisingly similar personality traits and interests.

There is notable character and relationship development throughout his route which was crucial to the good pacing of his story. When the heroine decides to enact a cooking strike due to Kido’s actions, we begin to see the change in his character and his clear shift in emotions towards the heroine. It was really sweet to finally see glimpses of Kido’s true self, and the subtle kindness within his actions rather than his words.

When the protagonist finally discovers the truth behind his past, it finally closes the disconnect between Kido’s two personalities and how he came to be the person he was in the present. His suffering, hard work and perseverance to finally achieve his current place in life is admirable and he is understandably jaded due to his experiences. I liked the focus and writing dedicated to the explanation of his past, as it was quite thorough and was a crucial aspect that revealed the complexities beneath his character.

He gradually falls deeper in love with the heroine and how she truly sees him as a person rather than for his monetary assets. This is the pivotal moment where we finally see Tsumugu Kido’s true self and emotions and it felt so satisfying to read. It was like all the heroine’s difficulties in overcoming his difficult personality and finally coming to truly understand him were worthwhile in the end.

Although his character personality and story may not be for everyone, I still really enjoyed his route and was surprised by how much I liked it in the end. It is quite difficult to get into initially because of how utterly abrasive and rude Kido is in comparison to the other Voltage characters I’ve played that encompassed a similar character trope. As Kido quite literally has a ‘dual personality and identity’ in every sense of the word, I felt his character and route were a direct reflection of this.

His personality is very extreme in both ends of the spectrum and swings wildly back and forth between the two. His emotions and actions constantly contradict one another which serves to both confuse and infuriate the heroine, as she is unable to distinguish his true feelings. The banter and light-hearted moments between the two serves to ease the tension and I was really impressed by how snarky and witty the heroine was, in responding to Kido’s antics.

I felt like she was definitely one of the best renditions of the MC in ‘Our Two Bedroom Story’. Although in the other routes she also exhibits determination and passion for her work, considering how infuriating Kido was at times; it also brought out the fire in her own personality.

Despite Kido being a new character to the game, he surprisingly has a lot of content already implemented due to his unexpected popularity. His route is a whirlwind of emotions from beginning to end, and has a very rocky and tumultuous start with his relationship to the MC. However, I do recommend giving his route a try as the conclusion to his story and the development of his character was well worth the read in the end.

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Irresistible Mistakes Character Review: Toshiaki Kijima

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WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! READ AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION! 

If you would like the walkthrough for his character, you can read it here.

For a general review of the game, you can read it here.

Prologue Summary

Toshiaki Kijima is the executive of the accounting/finance department, and regularly dubbed ‘the Evil Executive’ or the ‘Data Devil’ within the office. He often reduces newcomers to tears with his high expectations, critical eye towards work and pushes them to their limits in order to produce the results he desires.

This leaves a less than stellar impression on many of the workers outside of his department, and his cold, abrasive personality doesn’t exactly help alleviate that picture. Toshiaki is extremely passionate about his work, and doesn’t let negative opinions phase him; as he views that his reasons for working aren’t to socialise or befriend others.

However, what Toshiaki says and what he genuinely feels are two completely different ends of the spectrum. Although he comes across as withdrawn and aloof, he actually shows great care and consideration for both the heroine and others through his actions. His criticisms towards work are hardly ever wrong, and he never blatantly dismisses the ideas of others.

Rather, he gives constructive advice and forethought in order to improve their work. Toshiaki even chooses not to attend company social parties out of consideration, due to his knowledge that his presence may be seen as discomforting for most people; something which the heroine views as incredibly sad.

Initially, the MC is shocked at the realisation that her mystery partner whom she slept with from the company party is in fact Toshiaki Kijima—The Devil Executive from Hell. From the glimpses of her fragmented memories, the man from last night had been unbearably sweet, gentle; and yet a sense of sadness glistened in his eyes and actions.

To contrast that experience with the image she had of him within the workplace, it simply didn’t add up at all. On top of that, after meeting at the bar to discuss the events that happened last night; the heroine reluctantly admits that she only has vague memories of what had transpired between them.

She apologises for her unruly behaviour, and Toshiaki’s expression hardens at this revelation. He immediately dismisses her attempts to discuss the matter, and states that it would be best for them both to forget the event had ever occurred and abruptly leaves. The MC is taken aback by his actions, but concedes that there is no point in fretting over the matter; if he wasn’t willing to talk about it, then it would be best to do as he said and write it off as a one-night stand.

After all, it wouldn’t do her any good to further lament over the issue; especially because he was still her executive from work. Thankfully as they were allocated to separate departments, the heroine reasons that she would have very little interaction with him during work hours. It was another reason as to why her impression of him was based on what she had heard from co-workers. She had never seen with her own eyes how he approached work and interacted with others.

However to her dismay, soon after she is placed on a joint project with Yuiko and Toshiaki as her direct supervisor. She is to produce a commercial for the famous Mira Black: a canned coffee well known for its bitter and dark taste. Due to the newfound opportunity and their past history, the heroine is spurred on by her desire to finally get to know the real Toshiaki. The disconnect between the face Toshiaki shows at work, and the gentle man he was when touching her that night… just where does the blurred line distinguishing the two end?

Why did he look so sad that night, and what was the meaning behind that melancholic smile? Thus, begins the complicated romance with a man burdened by his past and belief that he could never fall in love again.

Character Development

I had no idea what to expect going into Toshiaki Kijima’s route, and I had keen interest in him prior to his release since I really liked his character design. I went into his story expecting something similar to what we saw in Shunichiro Tachibana’s route, and oh how extremely wrong I was in that assumption. In comparison to Shunichiro’s route, Toshiaki’s couldn’t be anymore different.

I suppose thinking back on it now with hindsight, it makes sense as they’re in essence two completely different characters. Where Shunichiro is suave, charismatic, passionate and well-accustomed to handling women; Toshiaki is awkward, incredibly sweet, soft and struggles to convey how he truly feels. His story isn’t so much about a whirlwind romance or a heated office tryst, but two people deeply connecting in eventual emotional understanding, and helping him come to terms with his past in order to look towards the future.

For Shunichiro and the MC, they already had prior familiarity as both work partners and as her inspiration for joining the company. It’s no wonder their route takes on a more heated and sensual tone, as their barely contained attraction for one another was already present from the very beginning. Between Toshiaki and the heroine however, then outside of knowing each other’s names and capabilities at work; they essentially knew nothing about one other.

Their relationship development and understanding of one another is gradual, slow, sentimental and bittersweet; the kind that leaves warm feelings of tenderness throughout reading the story. He continually helps the MC when she is having troubles with the project such as taking her to Shimane to visit the origins of Mira Black for inspiration, and gifted her sweepstakes stickers when she had mentioned collecting them.

Toshiaki accompanies her to purchase bingo gifts for the company party, and exhibits his consideration for what others would like through his choice of items; despite them being the very same co-workers who spoke spitefully about him behind his back. He always shows concern for the little nuances and changes in the heroine’s personality, with him being the first to notice she was ill and carrying her to the infirmary.

Before long, she realises that she has fallen in love with him; and wished to know more about him not as a superior or a work colleague — but as a man whom she wanted to be with. She doesn’t want to view that night as a regret, or just a one-night stand. However, she knows that a future between them wouldn’t be possible unless she truly comes to understand the root of his suffering; and why he continued to push her away.

With the help of Shunichiro, the MC learns the truth of his past and the sadness behind his smile that night. Five years ago, his long-term girlfriend had passed away due to terminal cancer. He used to be the type of man who put his all into work, just to make time to fly to Shimane every weekend to visit her.

Toshiaki had never been the same since the incident, and rather than being the person most upset about her passing; he was rendered emotionless and dispassionate to everything. He threw himself further into his work, and despite being so in love with her; he had not shed a single tear at her funeral.

The heroine recalls his pained expression whenever he glances at Tokyo Tower, and decides that it is the place that they need to go to together in order to confront his past. He reluctantly agrees, and when they’re viewing the beautiful Tokyo night sky; he finally reveals to her what happened within his past. His work had been the only thing left for him after she had passed away, and what kept him going through day to day life.

Initially he had been proud of his work, but after she disappeared from his life; he grew to view it as the only remaining good thing about himself. After all, he was the type of cold, heartless man who could not even shed tears for his girlfriend’s death, so did he really deserve happiness? Did he even have the right to love another person? After all, due to his childish wish to see Tokyo Tower when she was better; he decided not to take her. The idea that it would most likely be the last and only time that they could go… he was afraid to accept it, and because of that he was never able to fulfil her last dream.

If only he had taken her, then she could’ve at least been happy and smiled at him one last time. The heroine begins to cry out of sadness and pain for his sake, to see how much he has bottled up inside over the past five years. She cannot even begin to comprehend the sheer loss and yearning he must have felt all alone. She admits that she had already heard the partial truth from Shunichiro, and deduced that Tokyo Tower had some special significance to him. She wanted to provide him with some solace and closure in order to confront his past, and face his inner demons.

She explains that it’s because he feels so much and has such kind consideration for others, that it wasn’t possible for him to truly be cold and unemotional. It’s because of his nature that he simply wasn’t able to face his own grief and the reality of her own death. In order to escape the cruel, painful truth he had immersed himself in his work to forget the past and his remaining regrets.

What I really loved about the heroine was not only was she passionate about her work, but she truly got to know Toshiaki and fall in love with everything about him, both the good and bad. She is tenacious, approaches everything with the utmost enthusiasm and never falls to any set backs that occur. It’s why no matter how many times he pushes her away, she stays true to her own beliefs and convictions about his character; and continues to persist in getting to know the real Toshiaki.

Out of genuine love for him does she go to such lengths in order to mend his heart; for his own sake and happiness rather than her own. To me, that is the most genuine and pure form of love that you could ever show someone else. Likewise, in Toshiaki’s POV story we see that every action he does for the heroine is due to his consideration of her own feelings and happiness.

He doesn’t want to associate with her for her own sake, as he doesn’t want to drag her down with his feelings and past burdens. He doesn’t view that he deserves her or to be loved, due to his past actions with his deceased girlfriend. It was really refreshing to see his inner turmoil over the one-night stand, and that he had fretted over the dilemma even more than the MC.

I highly recommend his POV story in conjunction with the main route since Voltage really did an incredible job with them. It gives so much more dimension to his character and the overarching story, providing more insight on what exactly happened that night and how conflicting his true feelings and actions really are.

The complete opposite of unemotional, it is revealed how much restrained passion he felt for the heroine and his respect of her work ethic, bright personality, determination, and kindness. The final chapter of his POV during his conversation with his girlfriend at her grave was truly befitting with the bittersweet theme of his story. He finally comes to terms with his own emotions regarding her death and can now let go of the past. Although he could never forget her, he hopes that she would continue to watch over him as he finally allows himself to seek happiness.

The fact that he could ultimately shed tears, and release the emotions he had built up for so many years is a testament to how much the heroine had impacted his life for the better. It is because of her that he can now look towards the future, and his life has finally started moving again rather than being forever stuck in the same place.

I really liked how their relationship in comparison to Shunichiro’s route didn’t revolve around the one-night stand. Although it was the beginning of their connection to one another, it didn’t define what transpired between them afterwards. It wouldn’t have fit with the tone of Toshiaki’s route nor his personality. His story ending was so satisfying and sweet, as he finally is able to give in to his passions and love for the heroine.

The common motif throughout his story is the comparison of Toshiaki’s personality to the coffee Mira Black, which the heroine ironically gets hooked on and begins drinking excessively during her work on the project. It’s dark, bitter and leaves a strong aftertaste initially; an acquired taste that not everyone would like. And yet once you get used to it, you notice the rich subtleties of the flavour that no other coffee can compare to.

I felt that perfectly described Toshiaki’s character throughout the route, as he really does grow on you and left a very warm impression on me by the end of his story. Not to mention it represents the heroine’s own growing feelings towards Toshiaki as well. The coffee eventually becomes her staple drink, and she learns to love the subtle sweet and warm nuances of flavour that comes after the initially bitter taste. I recommend his route if you’re after a more romantic and bittersweet story, rather than a sexually charged and dramatic route like Shunichiro’s.

Irresistible Mistakes: Toshiaki Kijima Main Story Walkthrough

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If you would like to read my general review of the game you can read it here, as well as my separate character route review on Toshiaki Kijima.

Heartfelt Ending

  • Bring it up yourself.
  • Yes!
  • I bet he’s actually a good guy
  • Apologize.
  • Ask Toshiaki.
  • Ask about Shunichiro and Yukihisa
  • Got it.
  • Yes
  • That was so cute!
  • You’re passionate about your job.
  • What were you doing?
  • There is someone.
  • Accept his help.
  • I don’t know what to do.
  • Only at first.
  • Say you forgot something.
  • Smile.
  • Stumble over your words.
  • I don’t know.
  • Ask him point blank.
  • Freak out.
  • Does he really mean it?
  • I’m not used to the helmet.
  • I wanted you to confront your feelings.

Provocative Ending

  • Signal him with your eyes
  • You really think I can do it …?
  • Honestly, it’s awkward
  • Make up an excuse
  • Okay.
  • Ask him about coffee
  • I think, “That isn’t fair.”
  • Hard to say.
  • I wouldn’t dare make a joke.
  • Why did you do this…?
  • What happened?
  • Please introduce me to someone.
  • Wonder what I should do.
  • This works.
  • No.
  • Talk loudly
  • Look away in a hurry
  • No
  • He drinks too much coffee.
  • Ask discreetly.
  • Pretend I’m sleeping.
  • Wait, but…
  • I’m nervous.
  • I wanted you to forget the past.

Irresistible Mistakes Character Review: Shunichiro Tachibana

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WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! READ AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION! 

If you would like the walkthrough for his character, you can read it here.

For a general review of the game, you can read it here.

Prologue Summary

Shunichiro Tachibana is the Creative Director of Addison & Rhodes, and by extension the heroine’s boss and head of her department. He inspired the heroine to pursue commercial advertising and marketing, after viewing his first commercial during a difficult heartbreak at a young age. It touched the heroine’s heart and gave her the encouragement to move forward with her life; to some day create a commercial that could touch the lives of others. The heroine works hard and manages to be accepted into the same company he works at.

After six years at Addison & Rhodes, the protagonist is still very much so passionate about her work. It’s to the point where her closest co-workers Natsume and Yuiko always tease her about her undeterred determination, and constantly force her to attend lunch with them otherwise she’d lose track of time and forget to eat.

Shunichiro Tachibana has since risen in the ranks of the company, and is on the fast-track to being promoted to Director. He is the CEO’s right hand man, talented, ambitious, all-around perfect and considered out of reach by all the women in the company.

At a company party celebrating his recipiency of another award, the heroine has one too many drinks and reveals to him her long harboured feelings of admiration for his work. He is surprised and touched by her words, as he had almost forgotten his rookie days at the company.

It was a commercial that had been panned by his superiors for its weak delivery, and after hours of hard work refining it; he finally managed to receive their approval. It is an elementary work at best, but to the young Shunichiro it had been his greatest achievement at the time and the fruits of his labour.

To hear that his work from so long ago had been able to touch someone’s heart gives him a deep sense of nostalgia and happiness. The protagonist reminds him of his younger self; brimming with passion, devotion and genuine love for advertising – something which he has long lost and become jaded to after working in the field for so long. When Yukihisa Maki (the company Doctor) suggests to take the heroine home as his responsibility as a Doctor, Shunichiro refuses – stating he would take care of her instead.

As long time childhood friends, Yukihisa is surprised as normally Shunichiro doesn’t bother taking care of drunk girls but eventually relents to his insistence. He takes her to a hotel, and changes her out of her wet clothes due to the heavy rain on their way there.

He dresses her in a bath robe, and says he should be leaving now; but the heroine in her drunken state holds onto his arm. She rectifies that she admires him as both her inspiration, and as her boss. Shunichiro struggles holding himself back in her currently defenceless state, and attempts to draw a line between them due to their work place relationship.

The heroine then expresses that she loves him, and although Shunichiro knows she probably means it out of admiration for him; he is unable to hold himself back any longer. He is undeniably attracted to her, and she willingly accepts his advances. They sleep together and the heroine flees the next morning without learning who her partner was.

This was due to both embarrassment and because she had originally intended to come into work early that day. It is then announced that she has been placed on an elite team from the company to produce an advertisement for the Olympic Games and it is against their number one rival CL, who in prior years has had this exclusive privilege.

This year however, it is an open competition to all advertising companies on who can create the best campaign to be chosen by a panel of judges. The team will be lead by Shunichiro, and the whole company’s future will be riding on this event. If they emerge victorious, it would create history and Shunichiro’s promotion as Director would undoubtedly occur. The heroine is extremely excited by the opportunity, as she had never participated in such a major project before.

To her dismay, she is unable to fully enjoy the news due to her realisation that the mystery man she slept with is one of her co-workers that are all currently working with her on the project. She decides to return to the bar from the party last night in hopes of finding any clues in discerning who the prospect is. To her absolute shock, it was Shunichiro Tachibana after receiving a text from him saying he wants to see her again that night. Thus, this begins their whirlwind romance and office tryst.

Character Development

What I really liked about his route was that the foundations for their attraction was already clear from the beginning. He is her long admired superior and inspiration for her work, whereas he respects her passion and dedication as his subordinate. They already have a connection and point of interest from her love of his first commercial, and their similar devotion and pride for their job.

It is only natural then that attraction would bloom, because they’re like-minded individuals and are physically compatible. Shunichiro Tachibana gives her the opportunity to work for the Olympic Games Advertisement out of recognition for the hard work she has put in during her six years with the company.

He sees her potential and talent, and continually helps and encourages her development progress with it. Shunichiro is always helpful with his advice, and leads her onto the right path to figure it out herself with her own strength. He pushes her to her limits and works her extremely hard because he genuinely believes that she can do it. It is through these interactions that the heroine begins to see the sides of him that she never saw before from afar; the Shunichiro Tachibana that wasn’t her boss or employer, but Shunichiro Tachibana himself.

Although she knows it’s wrong and never thought she would have a purely physical relationship with someone; she is unable to hold herself back and continues to sleep with him. So long as she can continue this connection with him, she can accept the consequences. However, as she falls more deeply in love with him; she realises she can no longer sustain this relationship in shades of grey.

She knows it’s selfish to desire more, because to begin with their relationship had never ‘started’. There was never anything more to expect out of this predicament other than heartbreak, and so she has only herself to blame. If only she could enjoy the physical pleasures of it, then they could’ve continued as they were – but her morals and values couldn’t bring herself to see it through. She knows it’s wrong with his impending arranged engagement, and breaks up with him.

This is what I really liked about the heroine. No matter what happened in her personal life, she never let it interfere with her work life. She always put her utmost effort into creating the foundations for the commercial, pouring her everything into making it a success. She knows what she wants, and takes decisive action on it; even though she knows the inevitable heartbreak in the end. She knows when to draw the line, and decide what is best for herself. Even until the end, she doesn’t tell Shunichiro Tachibana she loves him; because it wouldn’t lead to anything until Shunichiro decides exactly where she stands to him.

I really liked the scenes where they made love whenever it rained. It was just so passionate and the palpable attraction and dynamic between the couple was well written. Especially the last scene when they say goodbye after their final date before ending their relationship, you could clearly see the agony and heartbreak of both characters struggling to decide what to do with their emotions.

Shunichiro is the typical type of guy where in order to maintain his strong, masculine persona; he never reveals his true emotions in order to protect himself. He had originally decided to end the engagement after the advertisement presentation in fear of it impacting the judge’s verdict.

This is because the arranged engagement is to the governor’s daughter, someone who has massive bearings over the competition and had allowed them to participate if Shunchiro agreed to attend the omiai (marriage meeting) in the first place. However, faced with the prospect of losing the heroine and what he always wanted most; he decides to throw it all away and cancel the engagement.

He wanted the heroine to fall for him so badly without him revealing his true feelings and winning the competition to fulfill his promise at the same time; that his indecision between the two led to him losing her. With their eventual advertisement victory with the judges touched by it’s impactful message, he bares his complete heart to the heroine. He apologises for his selfishness, and that he knew he couldn’t win her heart with the way he was going; but he couldn’t bear to let her go.

She reminds him of the parts of himself he has long forgotten; his passion, drive, and enjoyment for the job. She inspires him to better himself as a person, and deeply respects her talent and ambition – it was why he helped her to begin with for the advertisement, rather than taking the reigns himself. He had always been serious about her from the beginning, and that was why he slept with her.

It was more than just physical attraction, or merely a one-night stand. However, due to the circumstances and his inability to cope with his newfound feelings; he was unable to fully come to terms with himself and what he wanted to do until faced with the prospect of losing her. They finally confess their love for each other, and become a real couple.

What I really liked was the incorporation of their work dynamic in the game, and the feeling that they were truly equals. The heroine is talented in her own right, and Shunichiro continually helps her better both her skills in the workplace and herself as a person. Vice versa, the heroine shows Shunichiro sides of himself that he has since forgotten, and challenges him in a way that no one else does. They’re both willing recipients in the events after their one-night stand; it’s a choice that both of them consent to due to their intense attraction to one another both mentally and physically.

Of course, when their feelings deepen that’s when the complications occur. I highly recommend reading Shunichiro Tachibana’s POV story, since it gives a lot more insight in his thought process throughout the whole affair; and paints a better picture of his true feelings.

What I thought could be improved on was a lot of aspects weren’t explained clearly or delved upon in the main story. For example: what is the nature of this ‘promise’ he made to the previous CEO of Addison & Rhodes? What about it was so important that he simply couldn’t give up the competition? Just why is he so desperate as to make it his life’s purpose?

It’s been hinted that his father is a member of the Diet, and as such he is highly ranked in Parliament. This makes Shunichiro his son and direct successor, as well as a future member of the Diet. What made Shunichiro pursue a career in advertising instead? What is his relationship to his father and family? Perhaps it might be delved upon in the season two arcs or the sequel stories. Regardless, it left much to be desired because it felt like there was so much more to Shunichiro’s character that just wasn’t explored.

Overall, I really did enjoy Shunichiro Tachibana’s story. It was refreshing to see such an interesting and passionate dynamic between the two lead characters; battling their attraction for one another whilst balancing their office life. The writing was much better than Voltage Inc’s previous works, which I was pretty surprised about.

However, he is the main bachelor of the game so I did expect his story to be the best out of all the potential characters you can choose. Voltage is quite inconsistent in that aspect, since their routes tend to differ greatly in writing quality. They’ll have one or two good routes, with the others being very average or lacking in many aspects.

The first five episodes of Shunichiro Tachibana’s route is free to play right now as part of their promotional campaign for the game, so I recommend checking the game out whilst it’s free to play.

Irresistible Mistakes Review

RELEASE DATE: 2017
PUBLISHER: Voltage Inc.
PLATFORMS AVAILABLE: iOS/Android (English)

So, I know in my release post of the game I mentioned a review would most likely come out in a few days. But considering I unexpectedly enjoyed the game a lot more than I initially anticipated, and while it is still fresh in my mind; I decided why not just write it now? I was very excited about this game, because it is very different from the recent titles that the company has released. A mature protagonist in a more adult setting it always a welcomed change, and I really liked all the bachelor designs this time round.

Normally, I usually only purchase between 1-3 character routes and rarely will buy the sequels or sub stories. If I do, it would usually only be for characters I enjoyed or 1-2 sub stories with an interesting premise. As such, I won’t be giving ratings for this review as I feel I can’t properly score the game if I have yet to see all the content it has to offer. This review will mostly be based on the gameplay seen in the prologue and currently released character route.

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Storyline

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-The Story- 

I should never have done that…
He was a total stranger. I didn’t even know his name.
But we spent the night together…!
It was just a huge mistake. There could never be anything between us!
Or so I thought…

“I want to see you again tonight…”

That simple text from him was just the beginning of an incredible love affair…

The heroine is a young and passionate office worker, currently working for an advertisement and commercial marketing agency called Addison & Rhodes. She has worked for the company for six years, and enjoys her work immensely. She was inspired to enter the career field many years ago after viewing an advertisement designed by Shunichiro Tachibana (the main bachelor). Since then, he has risen up the corporate ladder and acts as the current creative director and by extension, head of her department. She admires his ambition, artistic flair and work ethic as her superior; and that his commercials have the ability to touch people’s hearts.

It is her dream to be able to create a commercial of the same calibre, as his first commercial she viewed many years ago helped her through a difficult heartbreak in the past. At a company party celebrating his recent award for a large advertisement, she carelessly underestimates her alcohol intake and drinks herself away into a drunken stupor.

The next morning, she wakes up in bed at an unfamiliar hotel with clothes strewn everywhere and the shadow of a man currently in the shower. In her embarrassment and shock at her actions, as well as having no memories of the night prior; she quickly dresses herself and escapes as she still has work to attend to. At work, she laments her actions as she had never had a one-night stand before and she does not even know the face of the man she slept with.

After receiving more information about the night before from her two closest co-workers: Natsume and Yuiko, she realises to her dismay it could be potentially one of five bachelors that all happen to be part of her workplace. However, as there is no possible method of discerning who it is without complete embarrassment on her end; she decides that perhaps some things are better off forgetting.

Unable to resist temptation, the heroine decides as a last ditch effort to visit the bar from last night’s party to perhaps find the missing clue that would lead to the identity of her bachelor. As she despairs over the futility of the situation, and receives her drink from the handsome bartender: she receives a text.

It is signed with the name of her mystery bachelor from last night, and the words: “I want to see you again tonight…”

The writing in this game is a lot better than many of Voltage’s recent releases, to my pleasant surprise. I really do enjoy their more mature-themed games, and this gives similar vibes to ‘In Your Arms Tonight’. So if you loved that game, I’m sure you’ll definitely enjoy this title as well. It is more sexually explicit than their previous works, so that is something to keep in mind about the game (it is has a recommended rating for 17+ in the application store).

The heroine is definitely the selling point for me. She is kind, earnest, passionate, career-driven, realistic yet still has a refreshing sense of innocence with her character. She assumes just as much responsibility in the one-night stand as the bachelor, which I really liked.

She’s mature enough to understand it was a two-way street: there’s no such thing as one-way seduction. She is flawed, multi-faceted and has a strong enough personality to own up to her mistakes and take action. At the end of the day the bachelor and heroine are just two characters deeply attracted to one another, but the circumstances of their work life and beginnings create complications in their relationship.

Inevitably what begins as a passionate tryst deriving from physical compatibility and admiration in their work lives, evolves into something more. The heroine must decide whether to continue their relationship within the shades of grey, or turn it into concrete black or white: to end whatever connection they have to one another and return to their normal lives, or the potential of rejection for a wholesome relationship.

Character Development

I will be covering the individual character routes in separate posts, and add to the list here when new characters come out. If you need any help with clocking the game, I have the walkthroughs here.

Design

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The art in Irresistible Mistakes is gorgeous for Voltage and mobile game standards. It’s probably their best title in terms of art quality. The MC is really pretty, and I do like how she is finally not faceless. I understand that mobile games do like to have faceless heroines, just so the reader can more easily ‘self-input’ themselves as her character. To me however, it just ruins a perfectly good CG since it just seems so out of place. The background art is significantly improved in comparison to their previous games, and overall the art is very clean in their new title.

It’s vibrant, detailed and the character proportions and poses are much better. I do like how they incorporated more animations into the game, such as when the character walks closer to you; it zooms up on their profile on the screen and the raining cinematic.

Music and Voice Acting

I’m really glad Voltage decided to go back to their forte for BGMs in this game. Some of their best soundtracks have mainly been soft piano instrumentals, such as ‘My Forged Wedding’ and ‘Office Secrets’. Irresistible Mistakes used the same concept, incorporating mainly soft instrumentals and piano soundtracks. My favourite song of the game was definitely the main theme, as I felt it suited the mood and tone perfectly. A major improvement was that the looping wasn’t as noticeable in this game, in comparison to their other titles.

As with all Voltage Inc’s games, it does not include voice acting.

System

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The system is pretty basic Voltage standard layout, but I do like the theme image a lot more in this game. It includes all the basic functions such as character profile, story/chapter select, and image gallery. It does not include save slots, but the game is easy enough to get both endings with the help of the likability gauge. I still don’t understand how to this day, Voltage still doesn’t have the function to adjust the text speed settings to show ALL; it’s a lot more straining on my eyes personally to read the moving text.

One thing I really liked was the new character introduction animation during the prologue. It was refreshing to see a new change, and it helped make the characters more memorable when deciding which route to choose.

Conclusion

The game is one of Voltage Inc’s best releases, at least from what I have seen so far. It’s nice to see that they’ve improved on a lot of the areas of criticism that they’ve received in their past games. The heroine is refreshing to read, and it’s just as much her story as the bachelor’s. They play equal roles in both the plot development and as character’s; something which a lot of Visual Novels neglect actually. A lot of writers tunnel vision into creating and weaving an interesting character that encourages the flow of their own story; whilst neglecting the fact that the playable character themselves is equally as important.

I do like how the heroine isn’t perfect, but she’s mature enough to understand her shortcomings and address her problems without shying away from reality. The bachelors themselves aren’t as ideal as they’re made out to be; but that’s how they progress in their relationship, bettering themselves through the conflicts that they face together. The driving force behind their passions, ambitions and attraction to one another is their love for their job; and that to me makes for a more immersive storyline.

I enjoyed the game a lot to finish the first route in one sitting, and highly recommend to give it a go at the moment due to the promotional release campaign. You can read the first five episodes of Shunichiro Tachibana’s route for free. So if you’d like to sample the game, now is the time to do so!

Irresistible Mistakes: Shunichiro Tachibana Main Story Walkthrough

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If you would like to read my general review of the game you can read it here, as well as my separate character route review on Shunichiro Tachibana.

Heartfelt Ending

  • I’ll do my best
  • Stare at him
  • It made me happy, too
  • My strengths?
  • I’ll work on a new idea.
  • You live for your work.
  • Do you always drink alone?
  • Hi.
  • I’ll give it everything I got.
  • You know that’s not why.
  • Ask what Mr. Tachibana was like.
  • I want to talk to you.
  • I’ll cook for real next time.
  • I’m happy, too.
  • Don’t stop
  • It has nothing to do with you
  • Give him an update.
  • It’s cute.
  • Thank you for defending me.
  • You were serious about me?
  • We’ll win.
  • What else do you like?
  • Of course I’ll go.
  • We’ll win.

Provocative Ending

  • Why me?
  • Pull away
  • You don’t regret it?
  • I’ll be careful.
  • Another angle?
  • There isn’t anyone you like?
  • That’s cool.
  • Look away.
  • It’s really not a pipe dream?
  • We should get back.
  • I envy you.
  • Who was that?
  • I bet you say that to anyone.
  • I want to make a commercial like that.
  • Up to you.
  • It has nothing to do with you.
  • Act cool.
  • No, I like it, too.
  • About the omiai.
  • You’re saying this now?
  • I want to pick it.
  • Isn’t work your hobby?
  • Look at Mr. Kijima
  • It isn’t too late…

NEWS: Irresistible Mistakes Release

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-The Story- 

I should never have done that…
He was a total stranger. I didn’t even know his name.
But we spent the night together…!
It was just a huge mistake. There could never be anything between us!
Or so I thought…

“I want to see you again tonight…”

That simple text from him was just the beginning of an incredible love affair…

The game is out now on both the apple and android store for everyone to play! I’m personally quite interested in Voltage Inc’s new release as I feel it has a more mature theme in comparison to their usual games. It reminds me of ‘In Your Arms Tonight’, which was definitely one of their best titles for an older audience.

I haven’t been too impressed with their recent releases, so I’m hoping that this one will be different. I’ll most likely have a review on the game out in a couple of days, after I play through perhaps a route or two depending on which characters I find the most interesting or whether it leaves a good impression on the first play through.

You can actually play 5 free episodes from one of the selectable bachelors as part of the release campaign. So, if you would like to trial out the story and game without paying for a route I highly recommend downloading and checking it out. 5 Episodes is actually a pretty decent length, since Voltage games tend to be around 10-16 episodes long so you’re essentially getting to see the first half of the story.

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Amnesia: Memories Review

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RELEASE DATE: 2011
PUBLISHER: Idea Factory & Gloczus, Inc.
PLATFORMS AVAILABLE: PSVita, Steam, iOS/Android (English)
PURCHASE LINK: 
Amnesia: Memories – PS Vita [Digital Code]
Amnesia: Memories – Steam [Online Game Code]

Amnesia: Memories is the second Idea Factory localised title I played after Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom (which I will also be reviewing). I purchased a PSVita just to play the game, as I loved the artwork and the game is very popular in Japan. The PSVita is the main platform for a lot of visual novel releases, so there would be plenty of current and to be released titles for me to play.

Needless to say, it is one of my favourite otome games that I have revisited and played many times. My ultimate bias is Kent, as he is undoubtedly best boy in my eyes and agreed upon by many other players. I own the game both on the PSVita, and the steam platform port. It’s one of the few Visual Novels that regularly goes on sale on steam from $29.99USD to $2.99USD, a whopping -90% off which in my opinion is absolutely nuts.

I don’t usually purchase multiple ports of the same game, but who can say no to a $2.99USD game? You won’t find any visual novel of this quality and length for that price anywhere else. Majority of mobile phone games cost $4 or $5 for a single character route alone.

If you haven’t played the game yet, I highly recommend waiting for the steam -90% or -75% sale ($7.49USD) as it does happen fairly frequently and is an amazing steal. For this post I actually created the custom header using previously released idea factory official artwork so I am quite proud of myself!

Storyline ★★★★

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-The Story-

A story that takes place in a fictional world…

It was the 1st of August.

That morning, when she awoke, the heroine found herself without any memories from before August 1st…… Everything, from the sort of life she lived, to the relationships she had, was a blank……

A young boy named Orion appeared in front of her, referring to himself as a “spirit.” Under Orion’s guidance, the heroine began the struggle to regain her memories. She searched her house for clues about her everyday life, and received a message on her phone…

What was displayed on the screen was an unknown name to her.

Now, she is asked to meet with him, a boyfriend whose name and face she doesn’t know. In a position where who to trust is uncertain, the heroine must move in a way that her memory loss remains undetected by her partner. Because of this, the story becomes tangled in complex ways.

With no memories of “him,” our heroine will write a new love story starting today…… (Official English Website

The story of Amnesia: Memories has a very strong and interesting premise. From the very beginning, you select a ‘world’ of your choice based on the symbols on a deck of cards: Clover, Spade, Heart or Diamond World. This locks you into your character route from the get go, rather than the usual dating-sim format where you attain a certain level of affection with the bachelors through varying decision points to eventually access and branch off onto their story path.

The story routes are universally different since you live in ‘different worlds’ so to speak, and as a result there is no general common story. From the very beginning in each world, it is new and unread content.

The heroine has lost all her memories prior to August 1st, and finds herself very alone and lost with her predicament, as her family in all the routes are living far away. Not to mention she has a young boy spirit named Orion taking up residence in her mind where her memories used to be. Orion cautions the heroine that due to her amnesia not being medically related but rather because of his spiritual existence; that her condition cannot be known to others.

A prolonged hospital stay would inevitably lead to her mental state deteriorating, as she is not suffering from amnesia caused by physical trauma or natural means. If she remains bound to Orion for too long, his mental state would eventually encroach upon hers – Orion would never be able to separate from her mind, and the heroine would completely lose her sense of self and the means of regaining her memories.

Her only method of recovery is to regain her memories through interacting with those around her, and living her everyday life undetected in order to avoid questions or suspicions of her unusual supernatural predicament. However, can she really trust those around her? How does she know whether or not they’re genuine and honest? Or will they end up taking advantage of her impaired state upon discovering the truth?

The game involves the use of three parameters: the heroine’s affection towards the chosen bachelor, his affection for her and his suspicion of her condition – if the suspicion meter is too high or affection too low, it can lead to the many bad endings.

I really enjoyed the storyline of Amnesia: Memories, as I found it to be incredibly refreshing and different. Rather than getting to know your bachelor and falling in love through regular means; you’re thrust into a situation where you have to juggle part-time work, relearn about your friendships with people and date essentially a stranger whom you know nothing about; but cannot let know that you’re anything but in love with him and play the role of a happy couple in a wholesome relationship.

What I especially liked was not only learning about your surroundings, but the heroine as a person before her memory loss. It created a very immersive game experience where you’re constantly putting together the pieces of the puzzle, and figuring out exactly who you were before the accident; and the true nature of those around you.

Not to mention in every world you choose, the character roles are quite different each time. For example: in Heart World Shin and Toma are your closest childhood friends, whereas in others they’re your university acquaintances or co-workers at Meido no Hitsuji (The Maid Café where you work). In Clover World, Kent is your boyfriend from another university and Ikki an acquaintance;  in Diamond they’re both your co-workers.

It feels like you’re reading a completely different storyline every time, and forced to adapt as a player to a completely different scenario whilst taking into account your amnesia and parameters. It honestly feels like you’re suffering from amnesia all over again, despite being on your second playthrough of the game due to the differences between the routes. You feel a sense of empathy and connection to the protagonist, as you too are fumbling around with the pieces of the storyline.

It creates a very complex plot and rewarding game experience, as you’re not just revisiting the same content over and over. Not to mention the fact that every character in every route treats you differently depending on their relationship to you in that world. As a result, certain characters whom can be considered trustworthy in one route; actually aren’t in another.

The overarching plot line that culminated with the true ending in the Joker Route was very well done, and was truly heart-wrenching. I did not expect that twist whatsoever, and was shocked when everything was revealed in the end. If anything, I do wish they spent more time explaining the scenario in greater detail such as the nature of Gods and wishes etc. I felt that although the explanation was good, it could’ve been a lot better since there were still many questions unanswered despite it being the true ending. I also disliked the writing of a particular route, which I will elaborate on in further detail in the character development section.

The game translation and writing were very good, with very little grammatical errors and typos throughout. Amnesia: Memories is medium-length in terms of game time, and would take approximately 20-30 hrs total to complete. It uses a calendar format beginning on August 1st, and the routes finish near the end of August. The player plays through the heroine’s life on a day-to-day basis, culminating to a month worth of in-game content.

Character Development ★★★★

WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! READ AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION! 

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Orion is an important character to touch upon, as he essentially acts as both our guide and narrator in the game; as well as replacing the heroine’s subconscious for majority of the game until she regains her memories. I’ve read a lot of mixed reviews on Orion, with many arguing that his jubilant and excessively-cheery tone of voice became extremely irritating as the game wore on. I can understand that perspective, as his voice and character isn’t for everyone. I personally enjoyed his presence very much as it was something very different and refreshing in the game; something which I had never seen before.

I welcomed his character because he provided entertaining dialogue and comic relief that set a very light-hearted tone to the game, and made the story more interesting to read on a daily basis. Other readers have argued that it is due to his presence, that takes away from the protagonist’s own personality – since he’s always talking over the top of her; and we’re essentially always seeing his opinions, and his reactions and decisions to many of the scenarios that the heroine encounters.

How I see it is: imagine the whole story without Orion in it. The overarching storyline would no longer make any sense, and the heroine would become even more persona-less without his guidance and humorous banter. She is suffering from severe and abnormal amnesia; having to relearn everything about herself without any help. She doesn’t even know who she is, or what she looks like; how is it possible then to have a personality?

She wouldn’t even know where to start in order to regain her memories. Imagine playing in the perspective of a protagonist grasping at straws to regain some normality and understanding of her life, and it takes all her mental effort and willpower to take in her surroundings and relearn everything about herself. Hard to have a personality then, right?

What I liked about having Orion was his significance to the overarching storyline, and that the heroine essentially becomes a huge puzzle herself that we must solve. As her memories return and we slowly put together the picture of who she used to be; her personality does begin to return. Orion’s voice and narration also painted a better picture of the storyline, making it easier to follow as a reader in his perspective.

Playing in the heroine’s perspective would’ve filled day-to-day dialogue with her monotonous thoughts and anxieties, without a clue on how to go about her condition (as we saw her extreme reliance on Orion in explaining to her the logical course of action to take, and his understanding of the human world).

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SHIN [HEART WORLD]: The poster boy of Amnesia: Memories, and in his world plays the role of your boyfriend and close childhood friend. You begin the game in a hospital room, as you are recovering from an accident. He quickly notices you’re acting strangely, and begins his interrogation of you as well as immediately going in for a kiss! A girl really can’t catch a break, can she? The heroine ultimately fails his test, agreeing that they had been dating for three months when in reality, they had only begun dating recently for around a month.

Shin then takes it upon himself to do everything in his power to help the protagonist regain her memories. However, there are strange circumstances involved in how the heroine sustained her head injury… perhaps, it was even intended murder? Is Shin truly looking out for her best interests, or was he in fact the culprit attempting to hide his tracks and salvage their relationship? With her amnesia, can the heroine ever truly find out what really happened that night?

From the very beginning, the audience is given a clear picture of Shin’s personality – cold, extremely blunt, forceful and pushy. He is a tsundere through and through, and the heroine is clearly his weak spot. Despite his insistent denials, he often becomes embarrassed and blushes around her. This makes for some very adorable character moments between the two, as the heroine slowly begins to regain her memories and fall in love with him all over again.

Although he isn’t anywhere near as gentle to her as Toma (her close childhood friend along with Shin in this route) nor does he spoil her as much, Shin genuinely cares for the heroine and does everything he can to help her through her amnesia. For example: regular visitations to her house to check up on her, and taking her to places that had meaningful importance to her in the past.

Everything he does is shown through his actions, and always in the best interest of the heroine. To me, this was both what I liked and disliked about Shin. Although it showcases his head-strong, determined and caring personality, at the same time he never asked or considered what the heroine herself wanted. He always went ahead and decided what was best for her, based on his own opinion and decisions.

Although there was plenty of romance in the route, it overall did have a darker and more tense mood than the other stories. The romance played a backseat to the murder mystery in Shin’s story, as he stops at nothing to uncover the culprit to ensure the heroine’s safety. As a result, the reader is always left wondering “whodunnit?” and even Shin at times seemed like the forerunner as the real perpetrator due to the fragmented nature of the heroine’s memories.

Shin himself didn’t exactly do himself any favours to clear his innocence either, as the heroine is constantly kept in the dark about what he is truly up to. However, I did really like how the mystery unfolded and how it was all answered in the end. The scene where he confronts the real culprit was done particularly well, in terms of how it was written and the voice acting. To be honest, I should’ve seen hints of the culprit’s twisted nature already from Shin’s route but I wanted to believe it was only exclusive to this route…oh, how entirely wrong I was (laughs).

Shin had one of the best ending CGs in the game, it was honestly just too cute and I loved the consistent flashbacks throughout his story of their childhood together along with Toma. It gave significantly more depth and history to their relationship, and how Shin knows the heroine better than she knows herself. Besides, who doesn’t want to see how the characters looked as children?

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KENT [CLOVER WORLD]: My ultimate bias in the game, and when I mentioned replaying Amnesia many times; I actually meant majority of the time I just replay his route alone (laughs). It’s quite interesting because out of all the characters, Kent actually was the least appealing to me and didn’t really leave much of a favourable impression in any of the other character routes. As a result, I came into his route not expecting much at all and played it just to access the Joker Route.

The heroine begins the route in the comforts of her room, and explores for any clues about herself. Soon enough, she receives a text from Kent demanding to see her at a costume café which Orion remarks is a very strange choice for a meeting (little does the heroine know she actually works there). Due to the contents of her phone and the nature of their previous texts, the only possible conclusion is that Kent is her boyfriend.

Orion frets from the get-go that they’re thrust into an extremely unfavourable situation; if they potentially break up due to the heroine’s amnesia, it would be detrimental to lose someone so important to her once she regains her memories. Yet, avoiding the situation isn’t an option either as they could break up without even talking it through, and lose a valuable source of information to curing her amnesia in the process. From first impressions alone, Kent is condescending, logical to the point of being overbearing, blunt and confrontational.

Both Orion and the heroine lament how they possibly could’ve been in a happy relationship, but apologise in order to salvage whatever they had prior to her amnesia. Kent is shocked at the heroine’s change of heart, but accepts the favourable outcome – with him too apologising for his actions, and expressing his willingness to accept any complaints or opinions she may have towards their relationship.

We soon learn that they had only been dating 3 days prior to August 1st, and as a result were in the very early tentative stages of dating. What I really liked about Kent’s route was because of the heroine’s amnesia, she was able to become more patient and understanding with Kent’s shortcomings and get to know him for who he truly is. Prior to that both parties would be too stubborn to give in, leaving their relationship in a cycle of turmoil and constant fighting; there wouldn’t be a day that passed without the two engaging in a pointless argument.

Out of all the bachelors, only in Kent’s route do we get to meet his parents; to which ensued a hilarious scene. Orion comments that although they had found Kent’s stubborn logic bad initially, it was nothing in comparison to his parents. The heroine realises that he has been raised with the drilled notion that everything must follow a sequence of logical conclusions; and as a result, Kent approaches everything in life in the same manner.

Although Kent is exceptionally intelligent with a bright future ahead of him, he genuinely does not understand scenarios that require the application of common sense and human interaction – looking at everything as though it is a maths equation with logical set steps.

It is not that Kent purposefully wishes to anger the heroine, but he genuinely does not understand her ‘illogical’ thinking process; and as a result he doesn’t know how to appease her, or make her happy. He constantly sets his pride aside to consult Ikki (his best friend in the route) for girl advice. Kent is nothing but earnest and genuine in approaching the heroine, doing everything he can to maintain their current happiness together as a couple.

For example: showing up to the heroine’s workplace with a half-month anniversary cake, sprinting to the train station to see the festival together and creating a math exercise workbook for the heroine which is just so Kent. I absolutely love his character and the writing for his dialogue; it’s actually so hilarious to read yet so incredibly well written. It’s consistent throughout the game, and adds so much dynamic to his personality.

He is also the only route to properly communicate and come to know of Orion’s existence and the true nature of the heroine’s amnesia. This to me was a very unique aspect of his route, and a true turning point in both their relationship and as characters. Rather than him sending her to the nearest hospital, he is accepting of her situation due to the mutual trust they’ve built together – despite the scenario denying all forms of logic.

It was a very cute and meaningful scene, because if it was Kent in the past; he would have never been able to accept such reasoning or adhere to her wishes. The moment when he finally confesses to the heroine at the swimming pool as well as exhibiting clear signs of male jealousy was just all too adorable for me. It is without a doubt my favourite CG in the game.

When he rushes to the heroine’s side during her accident near the conclusion of the game, and gives up on his presentation that heavily weighs on his future; I felt was truly the defining point of their relationship and extremely satisfying to read as a reader. Kent is finally able to see eye to eye with the heroine, agreeing that his actions are altogether too irrational and illogical; and that he had been incorrect about his assumptions on love.

To me, Kent’s route represented what a realistic and healthy relationship should be – despite it being fictional. Kent retains his sense of self throughout the game, but by the end of the story is more than willing to compromise and change aspects of himself to be a better person for the heroine. He prioritises her happiness above all else, and truly loves her both in actions and words.

They both empower and encourage one another to be better and truly reach a mutual understanding. For example: he helps the heroine raise her university grades in order for them not only to be together studying abroad in London, but to have a bright future with one another.

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IKKI [SPADE WORLD]: Your co-worker and current boyfriend in Spade World, Ikki is considered incredibly handsome and popular amongst the girls; enough to invoke the creation of a long-standing fan club. Accustomed to the affections of women, he is always courteous, kind, and overly flirtatious; essentially both the enemy and ideal man of every woman. Ikki always knows exactly what to say in order to charm a girl’s heart, and as a result the heroine constantly has her guard up around him. She is uncertain as to how she should respond to his affections, as he is very forward in his intentions towards her.

We soon learn that they have been dating for two months, and their relationship ends by the end of August. This is due to the heroine uncovering the sinister nature of Ikki’s fan-club prior to her amnesia; fans are only allowed to date Ikki for a span of three months before inevitably breaking up with him. They are also to provide daily reports of their activities with Ikki, because no one can ‘own’ him; he must be shared by everyone. If they do not obey these rules, the fan-club will enact severe punishment; and these aren’t just idle threats.

Ikki and the heroine had never been in love to begin with, as she had joined the fan club out of curiosity of his unnatural popularity and to oversee their daily operations. He had agreed to date the protagonist as he could not fathom as to why she was the only woman whom his mystical eyes did not work upon; the eyes that could make any woman fall in love with him at first sight.

Of course, as they get to know one another they begin to inevitably fall in love. What I disliked about Ikki’s route was due to the disingenuous nature of their beginnings and his flirtatious nature, it was difficult for most of the route to decipher whether or not he truly loved the protagonist. It felt like he was just playing a game with the heroine, and constantly using his physical wiles in attempting to charm her.

It took him so long to finally work up the courage to confront his fan-club, and for the most part the heroine endures the severe bullying alone with her amnesia. It’s why his route had some of the darker bad endings, due to how serious these fan-club girls really are in their threats.

Ikki was far too passive in the whole ordeal, never once questioning as to why his relationships only ever lasted for three months. The explanation behind his eyes I felt was very poor, as they just attributed it to him making a wish upon a star and magically, he’s had them ever since. Done. End of Story. You’d think that for such a crucial part of his character and history, they would dedicate a lot more time into the writing and fleshing out his story.

As a result, it leaves very little dimension to his character. What you essentially see in all the other stories is what you get in his route. Only difference is his flirtatiousness in the beginning transforms from a ploy in his experiment with the heroine, to being genuine when he falls in love with her by the end of the route.

What I did like about his route was that he helped the heroine confront her father in her desires on what she wants to do in her life, and her strive for independence. It’s the only story route where we see a part of her family, and a little bit more about her personal life before her amnesia.

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TOMA [DIAMOND WORLD]: Surprisingly he is actually one of the most popular characters in Amnesia and often places very highly, if not topping their character polls. For the life of me I cannot even begin to understand this, but to each their own I suppose. Admittedly I did quite like his character design at first glance and I played his route second after Shin’s, as in terms of spoilers and story flow; it made the most sense. Boy, was I in for a wild rollercoaster ride in his story.

Similar to Heart World, in Diamond both Shin and Toma are the heroine’s closest childhood friends. However, rather than falling for Shin; the heroine has always been in love with Toma, but believes that he has never seen her as anything other than a little sister. As a result, prior to her amnesia she never managed to confess her feelings.

In his route, the heroine doesn’t see too much of the rest of the cast outside of Toma and Shin. Upon discovering the bullying inflicted upon the heroine at her apartment due to her close friendship with Ikki, and his suspicions of her amnesia; Toma suggests for her to stay at his place, as he claims he was her boyfriend and naturally would be the best course of action to take.

As the route progresses, their friends begin to express their concerns that they rarely ever see the heroine anymore; and even Shin shows up multiple times at Toma’s home and disapproves of the living circumstances as they’re not actually dating. This causes Toma to fly into a panic, as he is conflicted with having his lie exposed and being hated by the heroine or keeping her trapped by his side in blissful ignorance.

His obsession proves to be the overwhelming deciding factor; as he drugs the MC and purchases a cage to prevent her from escaping and discovering the truth. To me, his relationship with the MC can in no way shape or form be considered love. It is an unhealthy obsession, where he wants to possess her for his own selfish desires.

He distorts and justifies his obsession by veiling it beneath the facade of concern and out of affection, when in reality he has shown to be extremely manipulative and malicious; destroying any evidence for the MC to regain her memories, and fabricating the truth countless of times.

In one of his bad endings, the worst case scenario that Orion warned the heroine about from the beginning occurs. Due to the prolonged confinement, Orion has completely encroached upon the heroine’s mental state and she has been reduced to being nothing more than a lifeless doll; the unwilling reciprocal for Toma’s dark desires, and caged in his home for the rest of her life.

It’s so incredibly ironic because all of these events could have been avoided, as it was all based on a misunderstanding. Toma couldn’t bear to let the heroine go because he thought she was in love with Ikki, when she was actually in love with Toma the whole entire time. When he discovers her diary entailing the truth of her feelings before her amnesia, suddenly all is well and they have a happy ending together. To me, that made no sense whatsoever as how could she possibly still be in love with someone who deliberately put her in harms way and blatantly lied for his own selfishness?

How on earth does he still deserve a happy ending, and end up with the heroine regardless of his previous actions? I suppose I can see the aspects which people like about him, because at the end of the day he is still a fictional character. His actions can be interpreted as an out of control passion, the kind of love that ignites oneself into the flames of self-destruction. And I suppose that is what makes for an interesting and different story; of the good guy corrupted by sin and the dark side of loving someone too much.

He had a lot of cute and romantic moments with the heroine due to their seclusion together, and it is shown prior to his crazed cage frenzy that he had genuinely been a positive figure in the MC’s life. Although I still can’t bring myself to like him due to the trespassing of moral boundaries, I can see why many people still do.

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UKYO [JOKER WORLD]: The most mysterious character out of the cast, and his route can only be unlocked upon the completion of the other four worlds. He makes appearances in all the stories, with varying screen times. Due to the unveiling of the overarching storyline and Ukyo’s role in each of them, I felt the game routes were best played in the order of Shin → Toma → Kent → Ikki. Ukyo is known as a talented and famous photographer, who often visits Meido no Hitsuji to observe and talk to the heroine.

Although he appears kind and gentle initially throughout the routes, from progressing with the story and bad endings; we come to realise that there is something amiss with his character. He has periods of lapses in judgement and changes in personality. Ukyo turns sinister with continually increasing threats to taking the MC’s life and succeeding in some of the endings.

As players progressing through the story and putting together the pieces of the puzzle from the other routes; we come to realise the grand picture. The other four routes represent parallel worlds on the same timeline continuum, hence why Orion assured the heroine that choosing any world was perfectly acceptable at the beginning of the game. Although she exists in all of them and would not disrupt the timeline by returning to any of the worlds, they may not necessarily be the world she originally came from prior to her memory loss.

Her original place was in the Joker World, where she was Ukyo’s beloved girlfriend. They had met during Spring beneath the cherry blossoms, and shared a loving and blissful relationship together for several months. However, at the beginning of August she attended university where a fatal accident occurred; causing a mass explosion in the classroom the heroine was in. Although she survived the initial incident, she passed away during her prolonged hospital stay near the end of August.

Ukyo unable to cope with the loss of the tragedy, makes a heartfelt wish to turn back time and prevent the accident from occurring; and create a future where he and the heroine are able to be together. A benevolent and powerful God decides to grant his wish, in order to restore their powers. The greater the wish within the heart of a person, the greater the power that returns to the God upon its success.

This leads to the God residing within Ukyo’s body and subconscious, in order to sustain time travelling and the ability to move between the parallel dimensions. This explains Ukyo’s appearances throughout all the routes. However, they soon come to a daunting realisation after countless times of living the same month of August over and over and failing in their attempts.

The heroine’s fate is to die by the end of August, and as a result accidents occur to ensure this event goes through in order to maintain the balance of the world. In Ukyo’s attempts to prevent her death in the different worlds, he perishes in her place. By the same logic, in order to maintain balance within the world; Ukyo’s foreign existence offsets the equilibrium and must be eliminated.

As a result, Ukyo and the God are stuck in a continually looping time paradox due to the wish that binds them together. Until it is granted, they are unable to escape from the time loop. It is an extremely difficult realisation from his painful experiences that even fate itself is against his dearest wish. It is fated and written in the law of the world that he and the heroine cannot exist together.

Countless times he saves the heroine only for her to end up with the bachelor she was meant to be with in that world, and he dies excruciatingly alone by the end of August. If he is able to survive the end of August, the heroine herself meets her own end; leaving Ukyo with the pain of mourning and losing her multiple times over. He then would commit suicide in order to reset the time paradox and reattempt the task in another world.

It is no wonder he becomes so twisted, having met with horrible deaths of both himself and the heroine an unimaginable number of times. He is forced to look on as whilst he’s working so painfully hard for the MC’s sake, she falls in love with another and has no memory of his existence. As a result of the time loop and Ukyo unable to bear with the heartache; his personality splits and forms a new entity within himself: Dark Ukyo. Dark Ukyo represents his sinister thoughts, and murderous intentions.

Why was he trying so hard for her sake, when she would never look his way? She leaves him to die blissfully ignorant, and has the happy ending that he would never be able to have. Why should he continue to love someone, who inevitably falls for another without any semblance of recognition for him? Whilst she has died many times over, she would never remember the pain of reliving death. The scars that Ukyo has been embedded with would never heal; and he has experienced what no human should ever experience more than once in a lifetime.

His story honestly made me so sad, with the knowing realisation that whilst we had our happy ending with literally every guy prior; Ukyo would appear and disappear in the routes. Now we know it was because he met extremely painful ends; whether by tragic accidents or he was unable to wait until the time limit and ended his life by his own hands.

The amount of love and dedication he had towards the heroine and her happiness is unfathomable; the kind of love that lasts a lifetime. The writing in his route was beautiful, and it’s the route where we see the most out of the heroine’s personality due to uncovering the truth and it is where she truly belongs.

When the God and Ukyo realises that he has exhausted all his powers to reset time and travel between the worlds, they decide as a last resort to return to the heroine’s original world with Ukyo and prevent her death. Although she was alive in the other worlds, she was not fated to be with him. The suspense, adrenaline and tension conveyed with the stakes at hand truly made the storyline a rollercoaster from beginning to end.

It was their last chance at being together, and to defy the very hands of fate with their everlasting love. It was incredibly dramatic and heartfelt, and the feels were really too much. It had the most ‘complete’ and ‘satisfying’ ending because it revealed all the mysteries behind Ukyo’s character and the heroine’s true past, as well as Orion’s origins.

However, I still felt they could’ve definitely gone into better detail with Orion and the God; as well as the explanation for the time travel paradox. It is quite a hefty read that the writer unloaded all at once, and I remember the first time reading it I did have to read it several times to fully understand what exactly happened. Although I do really love the time travel paradox twist, it should’ve been explained in greater detail and more clearly. I still felt the whole wish concept and God story could’ve been fleshed out much better, especially as his story is the true ending.

Design ★★★★

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The art in Amnesia: Memories is absolutely gorgeous! Everything is just so crisp and vivid, and it’s without a doubt the main selling point of the game. I loved all the bachelor’s character designs, especially the heroine herself. She has one of the best designs for a protagonist, and I overall really do love everything about her look. I’m a big fan of the hair and beret.

The multiple perspectives where you could see the back of the bachelor was a very nice touch to the game. The CGs are one of the best that I’ve seen, and all the characters just have so many great scenes. I really loved the colouring, shading, and line art as they suited the tone of the game perfectly.

The artist for Amnesia: Memories (Hanamura Mai – 花邑 まい) also did the art for an upcoming to-be-released in english otome game called Collar x Malice. I talked about the game in my anticipated 2017 releases, which for more information you can read about here.

My only criticism as a personal preference would be the bachelor outfits. I found them very odd initially to look at, as they just seemed so out of place and whacky. Although there are fantasy elements to the story; it is still a daily life type of game. For example: all the buckles and straps on Kent’s outfit really just doesn’t make any sense. I’m not entirely sure what the aim of the game producers were in the design, but if it was to stand out and give a different type of appeal; then yes they definitely achieved their target.

Music and Voice Acting ★★★★★

The music and voice acting was yet another stand out point of the game. It is composed by Manyo, who is one of my all time favourite Visual Novel music artists. The BGMs were just so soothing and lovely; they suited the mood and scenes of the game wonderfully. The other Visual Novel OST composed by him that I am a big fan of is for the Kara no Shoujo series. The opening theme of Amnesia: Memories is quite popular, and the different ending songs of each bachelor route were a nice touch.

The voice acting cast is very famous, and all solid veterans. Needless to say it was no surprise that they were all top notch, and perfectly emulated their character roles.

  • Kent | VA: Ishida Akira | 石田 彰 |
    Naruto series as Gaara, Danganronpa series as Byakuya Togami and Black Wolves Saga series as Zara Skeens
  • Shin | VA:  Kakihara Tetsuya| 柿原 徹也 |
    Code Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ as Viktor Frankenstein
  • Toma | VA: Hino Satoshi |日野 聡 |
    Naruto series as Sai, and The Disastrous Life of Saiki K as Kineshi Hairo
  • Ikki  | VA: Taniyama Kishō | 谷山 紀章 |
    Yo-Jin-Bo as Kasumimaru Fuuma, and Black Wolves Saga series as Guillan Guinor
  • Ukyo  | VA: Miyata Kouki | 宮田 幸季 |
    Danganronpa series as Chihiro Fujisaki, and Nightshade as Ieyasu Tokugawa

System ★★★★★

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I really liked the design interface and system of Amnesia: Memories. It was clean, crisp, easy to navigate and suited the theme of the game. You can just see the attentiveness to detail in the design and ease of use. It incorporated a gallery, music record, opening and ending select, and access to several short stories and extra content. You can even play cute mini-games with your favourite bachelors, and attempt to beat them for some interesting interactions!

What I particularly liked was the art transitions in between chapters and scenes, the chibi illustrations were very cute and matched the events of the storyline. My favourite would be the one of Orion struggling in the day-to-day duties of the Maid Café.

Another strong point was the inbuilt mobile system in the game, as it is one of your main sources of information and communication due to your amnesia. You often receive texts and calls from the characters that progress the storyline, and it added that extra dynamic to the game.

Conclusion

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Overall, Amnesia: Memories is a great and solid game. It’s different, refreshing and interesting in comparison to the other otome games on the market. Besides, how often do you see a game of this quality writing, art, music and voice acting on sale for $2.99USD? I personally bought it full price when it came out on the PSVita, and I don’t regret it one bit.

Although Orion’s presence over the heroine is not for everyone, it added dynamic to the overall storyline and created a more complex protagonist for the players to discover. One of my personal enjoyments of the game was the presence of the heroine’s female friends, which actually doesn’t occur too often in otome games. They proved to be very supportive of the heroine’s condition in many routes, and were friends she could rely on in times of need.

The girl talk session they had in Kent’s route was hilarious, and it was nice to see there was at least some normality in the heroine’s life. Sawa and Mina are the types of girlfriends whom anyone would love to have in real life. My only criticisms of the game would be that some routes definitely felt more lacking in certain respects in comparison to others.

For example: although Ikki and Kent shared similar routes to one another, Ikki lacked a lot of the character depth and progression that Kent’s route had. In Toma and Shin’s routes, then they were the complete opposite of one another despite having prominent roles in both worlds. Although the game’s strong point were the different storylines, not all of them were executed to the same level of quality.

Ukyo’s route had amazing promise from beginning to end; but slightly fell flat in it’s concluding explanation on the fantasy elements of the game. However, in spite of my mixed feelings on some of the routes; I was still satisfied with all their good endings.

I definitely recommend the game (be on the lookout for those steam sales!) and would love to see Amnesia: Crowd, Amnesia: Later or Amnesia: World localised. I personally would like Amnesia: Crowd out of the three, because it gives a more concrete, holistic future ending and complete tying up of the Amnesia series.

Overall Rating: 4/5

Written By Cherry

Men of Yoshiwara: Ohgiya Review

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RELEASE DATE: 2015
PUBLISHER: D3 Publisher & Dogenzaka Lab
PLATFORMS AVAILABLE: Apple iOS/Android/Steam (English)

After playing through Men of Yoshiwara: Kikuya, I realised that its popularity allowed the production of a sequel within the same universe of Yoshiwara but using different characters. I was curious about the game, mainly to see whether the game creators addressed the glaringly obvious issues and much needed improvements of the predecessor.

At first glance, the artist had improved significantly in comparison to their debut work. The art looked a lot cleaner, and the character designs were more appealing and less generic. I was excited to play the game as the Yoshiwara universe made for an interesting premise already in the original game, and I preferred the design of the bachelors a lot more in the sequel.

The story also takes upon a different direction with an affluent heroine driven by duty to enter the Pleasure District, rather than the cliche naive, kind-hearted, Cinderella type protagonist who meets the bachelors via fate.

Storyline ★★★★

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-The Story-

Deep in the center of an island lies the Yoshiwara pleasure district. Never does its beauty, nor bustling activity, wane in the slightest.

Full of doubt and wonder, which courtesan will you have chosen by the end of a seemingly endless night? (Steam Summary

If you’ve played the predecessor, you will already be very familiar with the Yoshiwara universe and storyline. If you haven’t played the first game, then the setting is based on an island where men are rarely ever born. If a family is ever cursed with the birth of a son, they will eventually be forced to be sold to Yoshiwara, the Pleasure District.

This is for the sake of the island, people and it’s culture, for it is the only method of attaining love (even if it is through the means of one night of deception) or bearing a child. Being a courtesan in Yoshiwara is akin to slavery, as the courtesans are unable to leave the district and their only method of freedom is paying off their debt or being bought by a customer.

Paying off their debt is a feat possible only with the earnings and status of a top courtesan which many aspire to become but never reach. Having one’s freedom bought, only to be inevitably sold to a rich family is merely trading one’s masters and home for another. Even if a courtesan were to find freedom, it would be difficult to survive without a stable source of income, and their talents are rendered obsolete in the world outside of Yoshiwara.

In comparison to the first game where our heroine stumbles into the Pleasure District by coincidence, and certain events occur allowing a pauper to access the top gentlemen (only the rich could ever dream of producing the income needed to spend a night with the best in Yoshiwara); in Ohgiya you play as an affluent protagonist who bears the responsibility of visiting Yoshiwara in order to produce an heir to continue her family business and name.

In all the storylines, she is torn within her inner conflict of desiring the true love she has read about in her studies and novels, and what she must do in order to not disappoint her mother.

She has been raised with love and dutiful care, carrying herself with the poise, dignity and intellect as expected of someone with great lineage. The visitations prove to cause the heroine immense duress, as she is unable to properly respond to the affections of the courtesans and being surrounded by unfamiliar men where she must engage in a purely physical relationship. In turn, all the courtesans of Ohgiya vy for the protagonist’s endearment for reasons such as status for their own career, fame, fortune or perhaps… something more?

The protagonist of Ohgiya has been met with mixed reception in the many reviews I sampled, but I personally thoroughly enjoyed the change of pace and definitely view her as an upgrade to Kikuya. In comparison to Kikuya, where the protagonist is clumsy, naive and innocent to the workings of the world and men; the heroine in Ohgiya is headstrong, intelligent, stays true to her convictions and isn’t so easily swayed by the charms of the courtesans.

Her actions were refreshing; and her source of conflict throughout the routes understandable. Although she knows where her inevitable familial duty lies, and does not wish to disappoint her hard-working mother, she remains cold and apprehensive of the bachelors as she stays true to her own beliefs and sense of self respect.

It is only when she truly falls in love with the courtesans after getting to knowing their own pasts and hardships, does she fully open herself up to them and consummates their relationship. There is actual understandable and noticeable relationship progression, as the characters become closer to one another.

However, I do agree with the notion of other reviews that the heroine’s personality is rather inconsistent in some routes. For example: in Takigawa and Gakuto’s route the protagonist is extremely cold in her approach and refuses to fall in love with them whatsoever; being the top ranked courtesan means they’re extremely skilful in having women fall for their whims and could easily be toying with her feelings. In Asagiri, Utsusumi and Ageha’s routes however although she is on-guard, she is much more reciprocal to their affections.

Although it’s a little confronting to play initially, I feel it’s understandable as the heroine changes in accordance to the bachelor’s personality. Courtesans such as Takigawa and Gakuto are infamous for their trysts with women, and very persistent in their approach to courting the protagonist. The heroine is only more defensive in order to protect herself from getting hurt, and because she is unsure as to how to respond to attention she has never received before.

All the routes differed greatly from one another, another factor that they improved from Kikuya. All the men have different situations or issues that they must overcome in their past, and their struggles in Ohgiya which the protagonist learns about and inevitably falls in love with.

The writing was significantly better than Kikuya as well, the sentence flow and structure had greatly improved, as well as the translation. I’m not sure whether it’s simply because they hired a translator with a better grasp of the english language or whether the original writer had changed/improved from the predecessor but I’m assuming it to be both due to the notable improvements.

The sexual content is as prevalent as the first game (text only — no NSFW images) in terms of description, so that is something to be aware of. Due to the improved writing, I felt the interactions between characters to be more heartwarming and romantic. The climaxes of all the routes were well done, and each of the story’s conclusions brought about a sense of satisfaction at their completion.

Each route is around the same length of 3 hours as the original game despite having less chapters (10 in comparison to 13 total for each bachelor); each chapter is a lot lengthier in terms of content. The game is a lot cheaper than Kikuya at $15.99 compared to $29.99, due to the fact that it does not include the many sub-story scenarios with each of the courtesans. It only comes with the sequel and date scenario for each bachelor, as well as one route less (Kikuya had 6 bachelor stories, Ohgiya has 5). However, I find it to be a much better purchase than Kikuya at full retail price.

Character Development ★★★

! WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! READ AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION! 

As I mentioned earlier, the character development improved vastly from Kikuya. There’s actual slow and notable progression in the interactions between characters, and genuine conflict that draws them closer together in understanding and developing their relationship. Each bachelor has their own past and reason for ending up in Ohgiya, which the heroine eventually comes to discover from her visitations. It is these events that coax the protagonist to open up about herself, and realise that their feelings for her are not empty proclamations and her heart can be trusted in their hands.

She is a skilled tailor and business woman in her own right beneath her mother’s tutelage; quickly rising to the problems that occur and doing everything in her power to help the man she loves. One thing that I would’ve liked and many would agree on is a route for Musashi. I personally am very intrigued on his past with the heroine, and his clear underlying feelings and devotion towards her. It would be a refreshing difference from courting someone from the Pleasure District, versus someone the protagonist has known her whole life as a member of her household.

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TAKIGAWA: Takigawa is what I consider to be the canon route of the game, and the most well written out of the bachelors. The protagonist is very apprehensive and hostile initially to him, due to his reputation as the top courtesan of Ohgiya.  She chooses him at Musashi and her mother’s recommendation, due to his experience and status. He is skilled at what he does, although Takao his ultimate rival from Kikuya (the first game) claims that he has “never fallen in love before”, and thus the love he sells is no match for him.

In spite of the main character’s consistent refusal towards his advances, and cruel remarks – he is nothing short of passionate towards the heroine. He openly expresses his desire and sincerity for her time and time again – stopping at nothing to convince her that he is genuine in his feelings towards her. We soon discover that beneath his arrogant facade, is a lonely and traumatic past involving the dark secrets and baggage that comes with reaching the status of top courtesan.

What I liked about the route was that through the heroine’s influence, he was able to confront the demons of his past and turn his life around for the better. It is through each other that they are both able to grow as characters, a slow progression that is evident throughout the story. I consider the route canon due to him being the only bachelor with past history with the protagonist – Takigawa had always been in love with her since childhood, and the game revisits this through a series of flashbacks.

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GAKUTO: The second most popular courtesan at Ohgiya after Takigawa, and considered the most handsome in terms of appearances by the women of the island. He is rougher and brusque in comparison to the other bachelors, and shrouded in a veil of mystery – never allowing any women to truly come close to him. However, he has his rare moments of gentleness especially to Utsusemi and Ageha that reveal his kind nature, taking the two beneath his wing and tutelage like genuine blood brothers. He considers the heroine interesting at first meeting, and chooses to continue courting her.

As the two grow closer, the protagonist discovers the source of his inner turmoil and torment – that he is an avenger, whose sole life purpose is to seek revenge upon the woman who caused the death of his best friend. His traumatic past forms the crux of his character; and there’s significantly more to him than meets the eye.

His love for the heroine is exceptionally passionate bordering on violent, but ultimately not enough to swerve him from his path of revenge. His route is a lot darker in comparison to the others, but very dynamic as the readers are pulled into the back and forth tide of his indecision between choosing the heroine and revenge.

What I disliked about his route was for majority of it Gakuto was so hell-bent on his revenge, that it seemed as though no matter how hard the heroine tried nothing would get through to him. It felt as though no matter how strongly he claimed he felt about the protagonist, it would never be enough to quench his thirst. So then it brings forth the question: is he truly genuine about the heroine? How can he continue to hurt someone he supposedly cares about, time and time again?

My favourite moment of his route was in Chapter 8, when the heroine threatens to leave him as a last resort to saving him from the path of revenge – and the once proud, unemotional Gakuto completely breaks down and begs the heroine to stay with him. It was a heart-wrenching and touching moment that stood out to me throughout all the routes, and how much he had truly grown as a character.

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ASAGIRI: Asagiri is the most passionate out of all the bachelors, and the most sexually explicit route. He differs from the rest of the men, due to his softer and more seductive demeanour when handling women. Rather than viewing Yoshiwara as a cage he can never escape from, he willingly remains there as he is content with his life as a courtesan. I felt the writing of the dynamic between Asagiri and the heroine were particularly well written in his route, and the sheer ardour and yearning they have for one another is reflected as such.

One thing I disliked was despite his supposed love for the protagonist, upon her breaching the topic of purchasing his freedom for a future together – he vehemently denies her, and becomes angry at her for “denying his way of life”. I found this to be a sudden contrast to the actions he had shown prior, since if he truly loved her wouldn’t he want to always be with her freely? Rather than only within the confinements of Yoshiwara with only very little time together?

Then, when the protagonist finally visits him again after some space for one another, he just magically changes his mind about his previous sentiments? It felt like an all too convenient series of events that didn’t match up with the character’s actions at all.

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UTSUSEMI: Cheerful, friendly and easily approachable; Utsusemi always wears a cheeky smile on his face. Despite his outward mannerisms that Gakuto always chastises as inappropriate for a courtesan, he is the third most popular at Ohgiya. He is humbled by the heroine’s choice for him as her selected courtesan, as he believes he is no match for Takigawa or Gakuto. In his route, it truly explores the deep friendship between him, Gakuto and Ageha.

Although his path started off very sweet in his patient progression with the protagonist, I found it the most disjointed out of all the routes and difficult to follow. When the heroine doesn’t visit Ohgiya after some time, Utsusemi suddenly has a personality change where he roughly forces himself onto her. I found it to be very abrupt, unwarranted and there was no justification for it.

Also, I could not understand his reasoning for forcing Ageha to take on his identity as his family’s lost son in the mainland, even if it was for the sake of “Ageha’s happiness”. It is not something for Utsusemi to decide, and for someone whom he supposedly is doing for his sake — Ageha was anything but happy, and clearly extremely distraught by the events. Utsusemi then goes on to implore the protagonist to “let him use her as the reason for him to stay here”.

This comes off as very selfish to me, since they’re essentially sacrificing Ageha for the sake of their own happiness, rather than actually doing it for Ageha. Utsusemi to me, never felt truly happy with his choice in the end and only comes off as regretful for his decision.  Although his route started off well, it had very poor execution and story flow.

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AGEHA: The equivalent of Kagerou from Kikuya, Ageha is an apprentice-in-training soon to become a fully fledged courtesan once he completes his deflowering ceremony. He directly serves underneath Gakuto and Utsusemi, whom he deeply respects and admires. Ageha is extremely pure by nature due to his lack of experience with women, and has been sheltered by the other courtesans all his life.

Despite his appearance and mannerisms, he is the same age as the protagonist. If you’re looking for a pure love with plenty of crying from both parties, and many overly sweet moments then this is the route you’re after. He is an ideal match for the heroine, as she feels his honest nature can be trusted compared to the deceitful nature of experienced courtesans. It is a very pure love story, with both parties going to great lengths in order to be with one another.

His route didn’t stand out to me as much as the others, since I felt their love didn’t have as strong of a foundation as the other courtesans and his character changed very little over the course of the story. It also had too much crying for my taste, and petty misunderstandings. The events that led to the climax of his story were also far too convenient and all of a sudden they’re able to be together. It didn’t truly feel like they had fought to be together, nor the fruits of their labor had come to fruition at all, which was disappointing.

Design ★★★★

Similar to Kikuya, the major selling point of the game is the beautiful art, backgrounds and sprites. I felt that the body proportions were improved in comparison to the first game, such as the hand structure which I criticised in Kikuya. The background art especially improved, and I did not mind that some were reused as the resolution was increased to match the new art style. The line art and colour illustration was significantly cleaner, and there was less of a disparity between the character sprite and CG.

The character clothing and hairstyles were drawn with more attentiveness, and I loved the kimonos of the courtesans in Ohgiya a lot more than the original. I found them to be drawn a little bulky at times, but I suppose it’s to demonstrate the traditional style of the kimonos they’re wearing (as Kikuya is meant to be a ‘modernised brothel’). I especially loved the new protagonist’s character design, and hair. Overall, I felt the quality of illustration was maintained and improved in all of the CGs.

One of my main criticisms would be the use of the old character sprites from Kikuya, as the characters from the original game do make cameo appearances in Ohgiya. Due to the improvements and different art style between the predecessor and sequel, it is blatantly obvious when the character sprites are side by side. It feels as though they clearly do not belong in the same game, and I find that to be poor production value.

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Music and Voice Acting ★★

Although the music tracks have improved in Ohgiya compared to Kikuya, it still suffers the same glaringly obvious issues as the predecessor. They used only a handful of 30s looping tracks that became repetitive over the course of the game, and the loops were very choppy and poorly done. You can hear the exact section of the song where it loops back to the beginning. The songs did better suit the mood of the game, and were more mellow and pleasing on the ears to listen to in comparison to Kikuya. However, they really weren’t anything special to write home about and there was no voice acting in any of the platform ports.

System ★★★

As the game initially was also a mobile platform port, the UI wasn’t particularly impressive or attentive to detail. The controls and ease of use felt rather clunky on the steam version, and not completely smooth for the user. However, it is an improvement over the hot purple/pink colour scheme of Kikuya, using rich tones of gold and red.

It more or less features the same basic functions as the original, with character introductions, access to gallery, backlog and the same six load/save files which honestly is not enough for a game of this length. At the very least what they did change is when you open full screen mode in Ohgiya, it does not turn completely pixellated and has good resolution; an issue that really should not have been in Kikuya at all.

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Conclusion

Overall, Men of Yoshiwara: Ohgiya is a good game and I enjoyed it a lot more than its predecessor, Kikuya. It has a stronger cast line up of bachelors, each with distinct personalities and better written storylines. There are plenty of noteworthy moments in all the bachelor stories, even though the author was unable to hold the momentum all the way to the end of the routes such as Utsusemi and Ageha.

Although the writing has improved vastly to Kikuya, as a standalone title it is still quite poor and could use a lot of improvement. There is still a fair amount of grammatical errors, typos, and sentence cut offs that are noticeable in all the stories. However, it is easier to overlook than the amount that I found in Kikuya.

Although the stories had better cohesion, build up and development; some of the lead up events to the happy end felt very abrupt, forced or sudden. Convenient plot devices would occur to wrap the story outcome into a sudden happy ending. It disrupted the flow of the story, and although the ends are satisfying in terms of the characters ending up together; it could have been executed much better. The happy endings honestly felt tacked on, without too much connection to the events that happened prior, especially for the normal ends. It felt like a backtrack to all the bachelor’s actions in the route.

I thoroughly enjoyed Takigawa and Gakuto’s route, and they definitely fulfilled my expectations as the two main bachelors and poster-men of the game. I find that $15.99 USD is a fair price for the game, despite the lack of sub-stories. You would expect to complete the game in about 10-20 hrs of gameplay, and with the art and improved content you’re receiving it is a decent purchase (not to mention it does go on sale on steam once in a while). That being said, I do recommend purchasing the game on sale as it’s not rare that this occurs, and just more bang for your buck right?

I am fairly satisfied as the game has improved a lot as a later title of Dogenzaka Lab, addressed a lot of the shortcomings in Kikuya and will continue to improve in future. My main qualm with their games is to invest in better translations, improved UI for cross platform ports, and to perhaps incorporate voice acting. Many of the Visual Novels released and to-be-released on steam are all very popular and highly praised games from initial release, and it is rare for them not to have voice acting. If Dogenzaka Lab hopes to compete with them, then it would be a major step forward in improving their games.

Overall Rating: 3/5

Written By Cherry

Men of Yoshiwara: Kikuya Review

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RELEASE DATE
: 2014
PUBLISHER: D3 Publisher & Dogenzaka Lab
PLATFORMS AVAILABLE: Apple iOS/Android/Steam (English), PSVITA (Japanese)

I recently picked up the game a few weeks back during Steam’s December/Winter Sale. It was 75% off the original price of $29.99USD, which is quite a good steal in my opinion. What initially attracted me was the lovely art, and its setting within ancient Japan/the Edo Period. I have a soft spot for the time period due to its depictions of ancient Japanese culture, and there are vast windows of opportunity for interesting storylines interwoven with the complexity of history. I especially adore characters adorning kimonos as they are always drawn so beautifully, as well as the intricate background arts to reflect the era.

The use and popularity of the genre within visual novels have increased immensely after Idea Factory’s now coveted poster game Hakuouki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom made its huge splash with both its original debut in Japan and expansion to western culture through the licensing partnership with Akyss Games. Game companies are always seeking new target markets to appeal to, and whatever is popular clearly sells, right?

I was aware that the game originally was released for the mobile platform, but after its notable popularity it garnered enough of a following to warrant a steam release as well as it’s sequel – Men of Yoshiwara: Ohgiya (which I also reviewed). I was intrigued on how they decided to approach the steam port, in terms of graphics, improvements, art, UI etc. and was met with mixed reception.

Storyline ★★★

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– The Story –
A closed island where baby boys are not born…
A unique culture that is completely different from the mainland has been flourishing on the island. In the middle of the island, there is a district where men are gathered.
Some women just want children.
Others are looking for love.
Knowingly deceived by a lie, and deceived in return, all in a single night’s dream.
At the end, to whom is it that you will be talking of love? (Steam Summary)

You play as the daughter of a regular shipping agent, and have lived a relatively sheltered life on an island where men are rarely ever conceived. Any men who are born are cursed to being inevitably sold to Yoshiwara, in order to become a courtesan. As a result, the only choice for the women of the island to experience any semblance of love or to have children is to pay a visit to the district of Yoshiwara. It is a custom exclusive only to this unique island, where it has become an everyday occurrence when a woman comes of age to visit the pleasure district.

Yoshiwara despite its awe-inspiring beauty, is merely a fabricated dream. The male courtesans are enforced to something akin to slavery – they sell their body and love, but never their hearts. Our protagonist on an errand to Yoshiwara, stumbles across a courtesan and his lover attempting to escape to the mainland in order to be together. Assisting such a crime would be considered high treason, but the MC follows her heart and allows them to find a boat in order to escape. In return for her kindness, she is given a large sum of money and a kimono of great quality.

She continues on her errand with the package in hand, and is dragged into the depths of the pleasure district where she meets our bachelors and experiences emotions and events she never would have dreamed of or been possible without the blessing of the couple she rescued. What would become of our innocent heroine who has never experienced the darkness of the island, and will she fall into a world of deceit and fabricated dreams?

Although the premise was promising, it had very mediocre execution. The events were extremely predictable, with the heroine quickly falling to the beguiling charms of the gentlemen. The courtesans in turn fall for the protagonist without any proper build up or emotional connection, but merely on the premise that she is “cute and innocent”. The writing was littered with grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and a lot of the phrases were worded quite strangely.

The flow of the writing was disjointed and clunky, and clearly translated by someone where english is not their first language. The stories tended to wrap up through very convenient methods without much explanation, and the heroine ended up with all the male courtesans through more or less the same ways (courtesan pays off debt or gets bought, they get married, the end).

For several different character routes, variety and variation is a must in the writing of the story. Overall, if you overlook the subpar writing and poor execution the story does have some good moments here and there of promise. There were a few scenes that definitely warmed my heart, in the climaxes of the story when the protagonist and the male bachelor confide in their love for one another and the culmination of their relationship. It does contain fairly descriptive sexual content compared to most otome games, so that is something to also keep in mind. Each route takes about 3hrs to complete (with the side stories, sequel and date scenario).

Character Development ★★★

! WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! READ AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION! 

In general, I found the character development to be very lacking in this game. Most of the bachelors hardly change throughout the story, and more or less remain the same. They’re a little softer in their approach to the heroine, and more open in confiding their love – but as a reader you’d expect something more than that after everything they have been through together.

The heroine especially, completely lacks character and is the equivalent to a doormat. She cries a lot, and for the most part essentially over nothing. She quickly falls for the guys, and is willing to throw everything on the line for them after only a few encounters which for the life of me I cannot begin to wrap my head around. I suppose her only good point is she doesn’t lack passion and is willing to protect at all costs what she holds dear. She is easy to read like an open book, very kindhearted and hardworking due to her sheltered upbringing.

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TAKAO: One of the most popular courtesans in all of Yoshiwara, he excels in charming women with his sweet words, alluring demeanour and charming nature. Due to this, he is extremely egocentric and approaches everything in a very confident manner. The heroine is bewitched by his looks at first glance, and quickly succumbs to him — visiting him at every opportunity, constantly waiting for him at Kikuya (the more popular a courtesan; the longer his list of customers he must attend to) and finds herself unable to focus when she is apart from him.

What I disliked about the route was that Takao remained the same from beginning to end, and his personality had very little development over the course of the story. His feelings for the heroine were also abrupt and sudden, and without much relationship build up.

I found Takao a lot more likeable in the other character routes, as he is prevalent in all their storylines. His story was also tied up in the most convenient plot device possible, and I disliked how they didn’t properly explore his relationship with his father further; despite their heartfelt reunion. It felt like it all happened so fast, and then it skipped to their wedding and then “the end”. It had so much potential to give Takao the depth he needed as a character, because ultimately his family was his reason for continuing to remain in Yoshiwara for so long. For the poster boy of the game, I expected a lot more from his route.

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KAGURA: I felt the pacing in Kagura’s route to be a lot better than Takao’s. The pacing was significantly slower in terms of romantic interactions (for Takao’s he is very forward from the get-go), but it made for a more meaningful relationship. Kagura is a very serious individual, and very different from the other courtesans. He wishes to be recognised for his abilities in swordsmanship and knowledge of western culture rather than his looks alone. He is hardworking, and not a man of many words.

As a result the heroine desires to know more about him and what he likes, and their interactions mainly consist of conversations in getting to know one another. I found the MC to be more endearing in this route, as she tries her best to get to know Kagura, his interests, and shows more attentiveness to him. My only criticism would be again, that his story ties up in the most convenient way possible before it quickly skips to their wedding and the ending of the story.

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KAGEROU: My personal favourite route of the game. He is Kagura’s attendant, and a courtesan-in-training soon to have his coming of age debut. As a result, he is unfamiliar with women and love and has a sharp-tongue when speaking. He is the same age as the heroine, and thus their relationship begins on a more even playing field. Both are able to open up to one another more, as their similar age makes conversing a lot easier.

The heroine is not intimidated by Kagerou (in comparison to the other bachelors) and is able to show a lot more of her true personality. They often engage in friendly, endearing banter and it is clear through their interactions with one another the continual shift in their relationship. Kagerou idolises Kagura and as a result it is rare for him to interact with anyone else. It is clear when Kagerou falls for the heroine, by asking her to accompany him on a date to the local festival.

His route was like a breath of fresh air, as he wasn’t stifled in confinement. Kagerou has yet to become a fully-fledged courtesan, and is still allowed outside of Yoshiwara to pursue his studies. He truly changes when falling in love with the heroine, and pushes everything aside when she falls ill; showing his immense love for her. I personally find their route to be the most canon, as they are able to consummate their love as one another’s firsts and with someone they truly love; something rare and unheard of in Yoshiwara.

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TOKIWA: He comes off as very rude and arrogant in majority of the other routes, so to my surprise he was actually one of the more gentle characters out of the courtesans. Tokiwa prior to his demotion to Takao’s attendant, was a rising courtesan within the district for his skills in dance, singing and unique foreign looks. In comparison to the other men of Yoshiwara, he originated from the mainland and was not originally born on the island itself.

He did not come onto the protagonist as strongly compared to his appearances in other routes, where he consistently attempted to seduce her and has a bad reputation for stealing other gentlemen’s clients (which is considered forbidden in Yoshiwara; as a client may only choose to remain with one courtesan once chosen).

I quite liked the pacing of their relationship, since I felt they developed quite mutually. He learns to accept himself for the things that he despises, due to the heroine’s love for him. I felt in this route the protagonist truly wanted to make him happy, and paved the path for him to achieving his dream as the most desired and top courtesan in Yoshiwara. My main criticism would be the story tied up through a very convenient series of events that enabled them to be together and ended in marriage.

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IROHA: The now retired-courtesan and current “ogre-like” manager of Kikuya, he is the main contribution to its success within Yoshiwara. He is always thinking of the business first and foremost, using whatever means necessary in ensuring it prospers as the most popular courtesan shop. His route is very different in comparison to the others, as he is no longer working as a courtesan. As such, he insists to the heroine that there is no need to pay for his services, as he is no longer a gentlemen of the night.

Although he is always employing tactics that would be most profitable for the store, it is clear in the other routes that he is not completely as heartless as his actions would infer. He clearly does care for the other courtesans very much, and wishes them happiness. Due to his position, he keeps a clear barrier between him and the heroine; refusing her wishes and advances for a more intimate relationship.

We soon learn that it is due to him holding a dark secret, and a strong sense of debt towards Kikuya. When he falls for the heroine, he becomes very passionate and extremely jealous; unlike his normally cool and collected self. I quite enjoyed his route, as the complication was different from the other courtesans. He is not bound to the store in the same manner, and their source of conflict results from his dark secret. I found his transformation a little overbearing however, since he went literally 180 degrees towards the heroine from dismissive to completely obsessed in an instant.

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HAYABUSA: The only courtesan with prior history with the heroine, and her dear childhood friend. Unlike the others who use their beguiling charms and physical attractiveness in earning customers, women are attracted to Hayabusa due to his hardworking and caring nature. He gets along with the other courtesans of Kikuya well, especially Takao in spite of Takao having stiff relations with the others due to his popularity as a courtesan and abrasive nature.

What I liked about this route was it was interwoven with flashbacks of their past, and the nostalgic nature of their conversations. It demonstrated how much they truly cared for one another, and how their feelings had not diminished despite the time they had spent apart. Hayabusa has always been in love with the heroine, and only thought of her; collecting her favourite candy in the hopes that if they were to be reunited, he would be able to offer them to her as a gift. I found that to be so adorable, and a testament of his longstanding love.

Overall, the route is a lot fluffier than the others but I found myself again being disappointed by the ending. He easily escapes jail with the help of the heroine’s mother as the patrol guard had previously been in her debt and he is subsequently released. It then quickly skips to their wedding scene and ending. He also has less content in comparison to the other men, as he was the newer add-on route implemented in the game (and thus, does not appear at all in the other male routes). Whilst the other characters have plenty of sub-stories, there aren’t any for Hayabusa I believe.

Design ★★★

One of the biggest selling points of the game is its great art, especially for something being originally for a mobile platform. It has a wide array of backgrounds, and the character designs with their unique kimonos are all drawn beautifully. I love the colour scheme and art style of the artist. If I were to be nitpicky, then I felt that the CGs of the game were of lower quality than the drawn character sprites. The line art just wasn’t as clean or crisp, and the artist clearly had trouble with certain expressions or hand gestures (something that is quite common in visual novels).

For example: in the two images below, in the first image with Iroha both of the character’s hands are very oddly proportioned. His hands are clutching her face like a vice, and larger than her head; whilst the heroine’s hands look akin to being fractured and claw-like. In the second image with Kagerou, what is clearly an attempt at looking seductive comes across as someone who looks completely different. It doesn’t look at all like his character sprite, and looks more like an evil expression in a bad ending route.

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Music and Voice Acting ★★

As it is a mobile platform game, the music wasn’t anything great. Most mobile platform visual novels often utilise only a handful of 30 second tracks that consistently loop over the course of the game. The looping in this game however, was done quite poorly and choppy. You can hear exactly when the sound loops for it stops abruptly and changes back to the beginning of the track. The songs chosen however, were suitable to the mood and scenes of the game.

As the steam was ported from the mobile version, there was no voice acting. This to me is quite disappointing, as for the PSVITA port it included voice acting from famous seiyuus from the Tokimeki Memorial series and I believe Takao is voiced by Morikubo Shoutarou who famously voices Okita Souji from Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom, Impey Barbicane from Code Realize: Guardian of Rebirth, Hanamura Yosuke from Persona 4 and Shikamaru Nara from Naruto.

System ★★

The system, user interface (UI) and overall graphic layout isn’t really anything to write home about. As it is a mobile port, it uses the exact same UI that you would see on your mobile phone. One major complaint I had was even though you have the option to play the game on windowed mode or full screen for steam, if you chose full screen; the game would become incredibly pixellated and unclear as it was not programmed for the larger resolution of a PC screen.

This shows incredible lack of foresight by the company, and is quite sloppy in my opinion. The textual interface is bland, and the glaring tones of pink and purple aren’t very appealing to look at. Six save slots is too little for a steam port, and the overall ease of use for the interface such as accessing the backlog/save file loads didn’t feel crisp at all.

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Conclusion

Overall, the game wasn’t too bad. Nothing outstanding to write home about, but not terrible either. It is Dogenzaka Lab’s most popular title for a reason, as the game did span multiple ports and a sequel using the same setting with different characters. It had some good moments here and there, and glimpses of greater potential that were not executed properly. One of my major qualms about the game was the poor writing and translations that are difficult to overlook for a $29.99USD game. I can think of numerous titles off the top of my head of the same price, but with infinitely better quality writing, plot, character and execution.

I also do not understand why Dogenzaka Lab did not import the PSVITA version to steam instead. It included professional voice acting, improved UI, graphics (cleaned/fixed the old CGs), new CGs, additional events and scenes. Hayabusa is not an included character to play, but they have a PSVITA exclusive bachelor called Itou Keiji for selection instead. Unfortunately, the PSVITA port is still in japanese without an english release so the only way to access the game is via purchasing it in the Japan PSN store.

I personally would not recommend purchasing the game for full price at all. In terms of price value however, then the steam version is significantly better than the mobile platform. Purchasing it via mobile means you pay-per-character, and all the extra content must be purchased individually as well. The steam version includes all character routes, sequel, date scenario and several sub-stories for each bachelor.

I would only recommend purchasing the game on sale, and it goes on sale once every couple of months from what I have observed. For the price of $7.50USD (75% off), it does offer a decent amount of gameplay that I feel is worthwhile. With around 3hr routes per character (including extra content), you would expect to complete the game in about 10-20hrs depending on your reading speed.

I thoroughly enjoyed Kagerou’s route, and it was definitely my favourite of the game. If you can overlook the grammatical errors and typos in the game and are looking for a more steamier otome game with good art, then I recommend purchasing this one on sale. I look forward to playing the sequel Men of Yoshiwara: Ohgiya and seeing whether or not the developers have improved their shortcomings of the first title. I will be posting it up next, so look forward to reading it!

Overall Rating: 2.5/5

Written By Cherry