Release Date: August 2, 2018 (North America)
Developers: OperaHouse Inc.
Publishers: OperaHouse Inc., DIGIMERCE
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
ESRB Rating: M(Mature)
You were invited by your cousin to watch the live concert of FOX EAR, a visual kei band. As the band members stepped onto the stage and played their music, Your magatama (tear-shaped pendant), an ornament you’ve inherited from your ancestors that was passed around for generations started to give off a strange massive light. You fell unconscious during the sudden turn of events and eventually found yourself waking up in the backstage surrounded by five handsome fox dudes. Apparently, the members of FOX EARS are real-life mythical creatures and they’ve come to take the magatama from you. OH NO! …But instead of taking it by force, they’ve decided to make you fall for them so you can surrender the magatama at your own will. Who will you choose to fall in love & trust the powers of the magatama with? The decision lies in your hands.. (⁎˃ᆺ˂)
Alright, so I’m gonna cut to the chase and say, playing this game made me appreciate The Charming Empire more. That game may have weak content, but the localization was pristine. This one, however, hit rock bottom.
A LOCALISATION MESS
I’m talking about broken English that appears to come from a machine translation. The grammar and sentence structure doesn’t make sense at all. It’s a shame since the fluff content of this game is pretty normal and the VAs were top tier. However, incorporating it with horrible translations defeats the purpose of enjoying a visual novel in general.
The game allows you to choose a language to play it with at the start though, so if you know kanji, I strongly recommend playing it in Japanese instead, (It’s less painful that way)…
EDIT: A recent patch update was released fixing the game’s machine translations.
ART AND MUSIC
I like how each of the characters gets their own theme (bgms) that seem to match their personalities. Keisuke’s smooth jazzy theme was my fav. ( ´ ω ` ). The artwork was also worthy of praise, imo. I think it is fairly above average compared to other recent otome projects these days. Heck, I even liked this game’s trailer.
Daisuke Hirakawa “Keisuke” – Saint Germain (Code Realize), Tower Overlord (Psychedelica AH), Zain (Period Cube), Laito (Diabolik Lovers)
Ryouhei Kimura “Kasumi” – Shiraishi (Collar x Malice), Kou (Diabolik Lovers), Ukai Shougo (Nil Admirari), Roche (Neo Angelique Abyss)
Natsuki Hanae “Yuki” – Libera (Period Cube), Akito Sera (Collar x Malice), Satoru (Bad Apple Wars), Jonah (Ikerev)
Mamoru Miyano “Akito” – Hachiro Iba♥ (Hakuoki), Tokiya (Utapri), Sou Tamaki (Ouran High School Host Club), Light Yagami (Death Note), Tamahome (Suzaku Ibun)
Shinnosuke Tachibana “Kousei” – Louis Howard (Midnight Cinderella), White Mask (Bad Apple Wars), Tomoe♥ (Kamisama Kiss)
Main Characters and Walkthroughs
Story-wise, I would recommend playing the routes in the order below.
- Best cook
Kousei / Kosei plays the bass guitar of the band FOX EAR. He’s also the band’s leader lol I actually thought it was Akito since he’s the ‘lead’ vocalist/guitarist but eh, it’s actually Kousei, surprise! The fact that this info was dumped almost at the end chapter of his story had my face twitching like (⊙_⊙). Kosei also possesses a very stiff and perfectionist attitude where he can lose his cool easily at times.
In his route, Kousei puts a lot of pressure on himself & tries his absolute best when it comes to writing songs and creating new music for the band. It was revealed in the middle of his story that this attitude stems from being raised by very uptight (fox) parents, who despise humans and who are always comparing him to Akito. During his story, you, as the heroine tries to support him and make him rely on the other band members more rather than carry his burdens on his own.
I liked Kousei as a character, his tsundere nature was charming for the most part. His route, however, didn’t really make any sense to me. There was a point in his story where several conflicts were all piled up together and were resolved in the most stupid fashion ever… And as much as I wanted to expound on this, I fear that this review will only get more confusing because this whole route was totally baffling as hell! It was not good. Top it off with horrible translation, finishing this route became a nightmare! ヽ( `д´*)ノ The CGs were nice though!
- Rhythm guitarist
- Sweet Gentleman
- Akito’s sickly twin brother
Kasumi plays the rhythm guitar in the band. He’s Akito’s younger brother who’s always looking out for your best interest. Unlike his older twin bro, (who’s got no chill lol) Kasumi is always calm and composed. Almost the perfect gentleman. His downside is that he was born with a weak body who can’t control his massive power inside.
I enjoyed Kasumi’s character build up. The fluff content at the beginning of his route was really adorable and I love hearing Ryohei’s gentle voice. His route, on the other hand, wasn’t any better than Kousei’s. In his story, Kasumi became really sick and weak and the only way to save him is for you to marry his brother Akito so he can use the magatama as the next chief of the fox village to save Kasumi’s health as well as make their village prosper (*°ｰ°)ﾉ. Kasumi, who wasn’t in favor of your arranged marriage with oniisan, kidnapped you (with consent lol), took you to an abandoned shack in the middle of the woods, and asked you to stay with him there until his last breath. This angsty conflict was resolved by you wishing hard on the magatama to keep Kasumi well and alive. The magatama, (knowing how much you love Kasumi), responds to your prayer by granting him a vigorous health the next day. You went back to the village with him and he arranges a meeting with his parents and Akito, and they all agree to make Kasumi the next village chief and your new husband, and both of you lived happily ever after. Wow, okay! so now comes the question…; why did you ever agree to marry Akito, when you could’ve just talked it out in the first place? Beats me! It’s as if this monkey wrench was thrown out there in the open just to have a stupid conflict that can be merely resolved by common sense! lol
YUKI / “U/KI”
First of all, the main character’s original name is YUKI, but for some reason, the engrish translation thinks it’s cool to replace “Yu” with “U/” …YESS “U/ki” is more trendy and fresh!! lmao.
Yuki plays the drums in the band. He is one cheerful persona and is also known to be a “genius” among the members of FOX EAR (he’s good at composing songs and writing lyrics on a whim). One interesting factor about Yuki is his split personality where he can be friendly to you at one point and in a split second becomes really ill-tempered and grumpy.
In the early part of his route, Yuki is revealed to be half fox and half human. Because he’s not pure-blooded, it is quite difficult for him to contain his mythical powers. Hence explaining his bipolar tendency. As a temporary remedy, Yuki tries to control his powers through kendo training, to keep his wild side in check. But whenever he spends time with you, he struggles in keeping his emotions straight and goes into a frenzy of outrage after getting upset or jealous over other guys acting sweet towards you. Because he’s in a constant battle with himself every time, he tries to distance himself from you, afraid that he might hurt you in the long run. Nevertheless, you were able to confront him with this issue through the help of your trustee magatama.
The conflict in his story arises, when the elders of the fox village decided to meddle in your relationship with Yuki, saying things like ‘they cannot accept a half fox to receive the power of the magatama’. They went as far as putting up a fight with everyone and eventually took Yuki to the fox village and imprisoned him in the dungeons.
With the help of all the members in Fox Ear, you were able to get to Yuki’s prison cell and managed to come face to face with one of the fox elders. By praying hard on the magatama you unknowingly summoned/ unsealed the great fox inside it and him being the great fox and all confronted the elders, telling them ‘they shouldn’t degrade someone just because he is half fox’ (ROFL). After the incident, the elders suddenly had an epiphany, 😂 realized they were wrong, said they were sorry, and eventually let go of Yuki. You and Yuki went back to the human world safe and sound and lived happily ever after. OK, I’m not sure if this resolved Yuki’s uncontrollable powers though, it wasn’t really clear to me but given that the fox ancestor of the magatama was unsealed, I guess this cured Yuki’s problem too? ┐(︶▽︶)┌ Who knows?
KEISUKE / “K-SUKE”
- White fox
Keisuke is the keyboardist of FOX EAR. He is a happy-go-lucky character and acts as an older brother to the rest of the band members. Besides his mysterious personality, Keisuke is also a big flirt and will always tease you every chance he gets.
The real conflict in his route began when Pierose, another Visual Kei band consisting of other mythical creatures; raccoon, snake, cat, and a lion (?) came into the picture and threw shade at Keisuke in front of the other band members. Here, they revealed that Keisuke is actually a white fox who’s been working together with a human master. I’m just gonna assume they meant, he’s the ‘kitsune’ shrine familiar? By working with humans, you are branded as a traitor to your fellow fox citizens. Now that his dark past was revealed, everyone was left with a sour taste in their mouth and they (the rest of FOX EAR) eventually decided to kick Keisuke out of the band and told him not to go near you nor the magatama. Some friendship huh?
Anyway, a couple of flashbacks were shown consecutively about how “Byakuya” (the fox ancestor who was sealed in the magatama) and your ancestor, the Ying Yang master met. These scenes give you a clearer picture of what actually went down a thousand years ago (hint: they are this game’s OTP). The flashbacks also explained who Keisuke really was and how he became the white fox who worked alongside your ancestors. I’m not gonna go into full detail on these events because of too many spoilers… Though I have to say, this route was REALLY angsty but lol I’ve actually quite enjoyed it. (Surprisingly) haha.
- Lead guitarist
- Needs to take a chill pill
BAHH! Okay last route, I can’t believe I’m almost done writing this review. Tbh it really hurts my head whenever I try to recollect the events of this game…(×﹏×)
So Akito plays the lead guitar of FOX EAR. He’s also the most unfriendly among the band members and he absolutely detests human beings. He was raised to believe that humans are sly creatures that cannot be trusted. He acts like a jerk towards you but because of your persistent attitude of wanting to get to know him, he starts warming up to you and eventually falls in love. You see, this dude’s an angry tsundere by nature. lol
In his story, Pierose, who wanted to break FOX EAR’s career, kidnapped you by luring you into Akito’s apartment during one of their live concerts. Despite being warned not to go out on your own nor trust anyone, just like most regular MCs who lead themselves to slaughter (laughs), you took Pierose’s bait. The instant you reached Akito’s apartment, the mythical cat (one of Pierose’s members) catches you by surprise and abruptly ties you up with some magical vines to keep you from moving. To add insult to injury, he magically transports you to the concert location of FOX EAR, suspends you in mid-air, and makes you fall on stage. Akito, seeing the love of his life at the brink of her death, used his magical powers to leap high enough from the stage to catch you, preventing you from hitting the ground. He does this in front of thousands of people – so now everyone started freaking out saying “FOX EAR members are monsters!” Rofl. I don’t really get this part, they could’ve just told everyone off that it was all part of the act but since they needed some conflict in this story, this was apparently necessary lol.
Eventually, the band broke up and everyone was in hiding. You, on the other hand, ended up with Akito in a small shack in the middle of the woods. This was a good 2-3 weeks after the controversy. Both of ya’ll try to live as lowkey as possible (e.g. you doing the laundry by the river and Akito chops some firewood lol) when another conflict occurs as Keisuke suddenly appears, threatens to hurt you, and forces Akito to unseal “Byakuya” the fox ancestor in your magatama. Akito, who’s now madly in love with you was like “don’t you dare hurt her, Keisuke” …and then he goes and break the seal to keep you from harm ~ and in an instant, he was overflowing with uncontrollable power, and the only way to stop it is for you to seal it again through a holy arrow. Keisuke realized his mistake, and helps you with this but also tells you that the fox village will go extinct ones Byakuya is sealed again. You thought about it for a moment but then you realized how much you love Akito and you don’t wanna be separated from him so you decided to go with the plan and shot the magic arrow straight into Akito’s heart, sealing the fox ancestor, turning back everything to normal again. His ending involves both of you together with Keisuke thinking of ways to revive the fox village. (Hint: Akito wants to have lots and lots of fox babies w/ you lol).
Playtime would be a good 2 hours to finish one whole route. Though to be honest, I had wished it was shorter as I feel like some of the content was kind of forced and completely unnecessary. They did establish a good amount of fluff to get you connected with the characters but I just couldn’t take the forced angst. I have twitched my eyebrows on this a couple of times, It REALLY wasn’t necessary AT ALL. I like that they made use of Japanese folklore creatures like kitsunes, shrine familiars, etc… but how it was initiated was all over the place!(*°ｰ°)ﾉ
Do I recommend this game? …
(Edited) The fact that the publishers released a patch fixing the horrid translations was cool and all but I’m not really sure If I thoroughly enjoyed this game at all. I guess, first impressions indeed, last sometimes (laughs). I probably sound like a broken record for repeating this again and again but the best part of this game was their full house A+ VAs, Mamoru Miyano, Daisuke Hirakawa, Ryohei Kimura, Natsuki Hanae, etc. It has always been a guilty pleasure of mine listening to their voices. However, in terms of plot and story content, this game was still a miss for me.
Now that Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku is playable with decent english subs, I’m sure you can enjoy the game this time around without getting totally aggravated by the mess that is google/bing translate. I still don’t think it’s worth the full price though. If you wanna give this game a chance, pick this one up, whenever it goes on SALE.
Chlo’s Rating: 3/10