End of the Year Awards – Best and Worst of 2018

Before this year ends, I decided to squeeze in a last minute End-of-the-Year-Awards post for Best and Worst Otome content in 2018. I really just thought of this last night and figured, I should at least give some honorary mentions of the games I’ve fully enjoyed playing this year, as well as the ones that I didn’t lol.

A total of nine new otome games were released this year (for the Nintendo Switch and PS Vita). The following awards are only limited to console game releases in 2018, I won’t include previous ones from 2017 and further back.

  1. Hakuoki Edo Blossoms (PS Vita)
  2. Code Realize Future Blessings (PS Vita)
  3. Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly (PS Vita)
  4. 7’Scarlet (PS Vita)
  5. Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk (PS Vita)
  6. Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku (Nintendo Switch)
  7. Iris School of Wizardry – Vinculum Hearts (Nintendo Switch)
  8. Kitty Love (Nintendo Switch)
  9. London Detective Mysteria (PS Vita)

 

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BEST AND WORST HEROINE

Let’s start with the main characters. As someone who moves the plot forward, I think it’s really important for the game to have a protagonist that’s worth our time, someone we can easily understand, relate and connect to. It’s great that more game developers today are starting to realize that a heroine with a fleshed out personality is better than the typical self-insert Mary Sue.

BEST

Jed / Eiar (Hands Down!)
Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk

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If there’s truly one heroine that deserves all levels of respect and appreciation, Jed would be our girl. All throughout the game, this heroine could not catch a break and took most of all the hard beating. But guess what, she handled everything to the end without even relying on others for help. She’s kind, independent, and best of all got some backbone worthy of praise.  If you’ve played PAH, you’d most definitely agree that JED is our BEST protagonist for 2018.

 

WORST

Emily Whiteley
London Detective Mysteria

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This one is perhaps debatable but the reason I chose Emily Whiteley THE worst heroine of the bunch, is that her nosiness annoyed me to no end. Emily will deliberately stick her nose to all kinds of obvious danger, then gets rescued by either Pendleton (her faithful butler) or her love interest. She ends up in tears and apologizes only to commit the same mistakes over and over again (she does this in all routes! no kidding!). One can argue that she’s only 16 and knows no better but pfft! let’s be real, (even during the 19th century) sixteen is the adolescent age where one learns the freakin’ art of common sense! I was on the verge of dropping the game because of how aggravating Emily is but gave it another chance anyway for the sake of Jack Miller and Lupin Jr. 

 

BEST AND WORST HUSBANDO

BEST

Impey Barbicane
Code Realize: Future Blessings

2018-06-20-013735  As a Van Helsing bias, it pains me to not write his name as best husbando for 2018…lol But, Impey definitely stole the spotlight with his After Story in Code Realize Future Blessings. Looking back a few months ago when I first played the first (localized) Code Realize Fandisk, As much as I’ve enjoyed all of the characters’ After stories in White Rose, it was Impey’s that made me pathetically grin all the way from start to finish. Ha! (°◡°♡)

 

WORST

“IRIS” / LEONORE
Iris School of Wizardry Vinculum Hearts

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(Warning: Spoilers Ahead!)
Not only does this guy have an upsetting split personality that turns him into a  murderer with a massive thirst for blood. In his endless (bad) ending, you’ll also get to discover that he’s your *cough* half-brother *cough*. Admittedly, I’ve enjoyed his route because it was dark and mysterious at the start (Plus, I loved Nobuhiko Okamato voicing him), but his ending (bad ending particularly) left a sour taste in my mouth. …and to think Iris was the game’s “true” route. ヽ( `д´*)ノ

 

BEST AND WORST ROUTE

BEST

Toshizo Hijikata
Hakuoki Edo Blossoms

2018-10-02-213432

Hijikata’s route was probably the most satisfying story-driven route an otome game has to offer. While other route endings in Hakuoki Edo Blossoms deviates from the Shinsengumi’s story. Hijikata remains THE Shinsengumi story to the bitter end.. and it is absolutely enthralling! Besides realizing his romantic feelings for Chizuru, his route (including his prequel in Kyoto Winds) also tells the full tale of the Shinsengumi; as the last samurais in Japan. I’ve actually referred Hijikata’s route (both in KW and EB) to non otome gamers (e.g. one of my friends who hate romance games) but crave for a well-paced and gripping samurai story, and they absolutely loved it to my surprise!

 

WORST

Cyril Grundy
Iris School of Wizardry Vinculum Hearts

2018101920422200-81E0EDFD327B7E2B19F0CB0D479724C6(Warning: Spoilers Ahead!)
This route was absolutely the worst because no matter which ending you unlock and finish, Cyril ends up dying in the game leaving you husbando-less. It is pretty sad and angsty that I wouldn’t even recommend playing his route unless you’re up for some forced tears. That aside, his relationship with the heroine was also more of like a little brother than a love interest. ┐( ̄ヘ ̄;)┌

 

BEST AND WORST ROMANTIC (GOOD) ENDING

BEST

Sanosuke Harada
Hakuoki Edo Blossoms

2018-09-23-094747 (Warning: Spoilers Ahead!)
...And another Hakuoki character lol! You can tell by now how much of a die-hard Hakuoki fan I am. (laughs) To make this explanation short, Harada has the fluffiest route in Edo Blossoms. Besides him being the only character confident enough to *cough* take Chizuru to bed *cough* amidst the ongoing Boshin War, his ending was also the most endearing as Sano was finally able to get his wish of living a peaceful life with his own family after Japan’s warring period settled down.

 

WORST

Akito
Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku

2018100712553600-BEA6E66402D097882F0C2894299135DD(Warning: Spoilers Ahead!)
Whew! Where do I even begin with this game?! Not only this route presented really awful conflicts that don’t make any sense. Akito’s happy ending also had all the wtf moments that’ll leave you speechless. His good ending consists of you destroying the entire fox village (after choosing to seal the fox ancestor in your magatama to save Akito’s life) and Akito brings up of reviving his village by marrying you and making lots and lots of half-fox-half-human babies. lol (งಠ_ಠ)ง Gambatte?

 

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BEST NON-ROMANCEABLE CHARACTER

 

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RALPH PENDLETON (´♡‿♡`)
London Detective Mysteria

I’m still salty that we never get to romance this amazing, handsome, faithful butler who’s always at the ready for Ms. Whiteley’s beck and call! (not even a backstory was given!) SIGH (–_–)

 

RUNNER UPS:

67183 OLGAR
Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk

 

77967

HANSEL HEXENHAUS
Code Realize Future Blessings

 

 

 

lineNOW MOVING ON TO THE  BEST AND WORST GAME TITLES

 

BEST OTOME GAME SOUNDTRACK

Lovesick (7’Scarlet 2nd OP song)
This was a tough one. Although I’m usually a huge fan of Big Otomate Title’s soundtracks (such as Code Realize’s and Hakuoki’s). This year, Showtaro Morikubo won my heart with his OP song in 7’SCARLET “Lovesick” Listen to the track below! 

 

WORST OTOME GAME SOUNDTRACK:

NONE (Most of the Switch Games are mobile ports so it’s a little unfair to compare them to original console games that have complete sets of OP and END themes).

 

BEST AND WORST OTOME GAME LOCALIZATION

BEST

XSEED
London Detective Mysteria

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As expected, XSEED always deliver great localizations with most of their visual novels (e.g. Corpse Party Series, Fate/Extella). They did an impressive job with LDM, making its translation a resounding match for its 19th-century setting.

 

 

WORST

slide_keyvisual4 Digimerce
Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku 

The game was initially released with machine translations making it almost impossible to read. The good news is that they recently uploaded a patch to fix this localization mess so it might be a little less of a crappy experience if you play this game now compared to playing it back then.

BEST (NEW) OTOME GAME OF 2018

7’SCARLET

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If there was one new game, I’ve fully enjoyed playing this year. It was definitely 7’SCARLET. Sure, the game has its flaws but the plot is definitely a must read and one gripping experience per se. You can read my full (spoiler free) review here.

(NOTE: I didn’t count CR Future Blessings nor Edo Blossoms off of this nominations since, Future Blessings is a fandisk of a game I already love and Edo Blossoms is the sequel (Part 2) of Hakouki Kyoto Winds, again, a game I’m already a fan of).  

 

FINAL THOUGHTS FOR 2018

Screen Shot 2018-12-31 at 7.43.59 PM.png**Trust me, I still have a lot of things  I want to say and add to this post but it’s almost time to retire for the evening and enjoy the New Year fireworks with a glass of champagne! ☆⌒(>。<) I hope I can be more creative next year with these End-of-the-Year-Awards, but in the meantime, this will do for now. (´ ε ` )
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!!!! 

NORN9 Var Commons Review

Norn9 Wallpaper 1

NORN9: VAR COMMONS

Release Date:  November 3, 2015
Developers: Otomate, Regista
Publishers: Otomate, Idea Factory International, Aksys Games
Platforms:  PS VITA
ESRB Rating: M(Mature)

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Walkthroughs:

  1. Kakeru
  2. Senri
  3. Sakuya
  4. Masamune
  5. Heishi
  6. Istuki
  7. Akito
  8. Ron
  9. Natsuhiko
  10. Common Route

Read the game’s synopsis here.

 

I purchased this game last year but kept putting off playing it for all kinds of odd unintended reasons like *cough* a broken vita charger. Plus, I had an overwhelming otome game backlogs this year that I totally forgot about this amazing title that’s been sitting on my shelf for almost a year and a half. Finally, the time has come for me to dive into the world of  N O R N !

 

ART AND MUSIC
Arguably, there are two artists responsible for NORN9’s overall artwork. First is Satoi, (for the game’s chibi character designs) – a Japanese Illustrator who’s incredibly famous for her other popular works (E.g. Diabolik Lovers, Nil Admirari, Ozmafia!, Re: Birthday Song). Now, she’s currently working on her next project with Otomate “Olympia Soiree” which will hit the Nintendo Switch otome market (Japan) in 2019.  Next artist is, Teita who’s responsible for the original character designs of NORN9. Teita has also done her fair share of producing beautiful character designs of today’s most popular otome games in the market. One of her prominent works is Nightshade “Hyakka Hyakurou” and the recently released Otomate title, Charade Maniacs.

Another notable aspect of  NORN9 Var Commons is its outstanding soundtrack. Almost all the BGMs perfectly matched the game’s unique setting and the OP and Ending themes were incredibly remarkable.

Fun Fact: The vocals for the game’s OP, Nagi Yanagi also voiced the side character Aion. If you’ve watched the anime adaptation of Amnesia Memories, Nagi Yanagi also sang the series’ OP song “Zoetrope”.

Listen to my fav. Norn9 Var Commons track below, ‘Sunadokei wa Sora no Sora’!

 

Voice Acting
What distinguished Norn9 Var Commons from other otome games was their voiced heroine/s. I’m a huge fan myself, for voiced MCs in otoges, (this is why I’m an absolute sucker for the Psychedelica Series). Voice actors breathe life to a character and it’s definitely a huge advantage in a game whenever the main protagonist gets a VA. It not only contributes to the likability of her character but it also fleshes out her role more in the story.

Ayumi Fujimura “Koharu” – Ruri (Reine des Fleurs), Iwami Aki (Muv-Luv), Neferpitou (Hunter x Hunter)

Ayahi Takagahi “Mikoto Kuga” – Lisbeth/Rika Shinozaki (SAO), Kotoha (Arata the Legend), Young Son Hak (Akatsuki no Yona)

Asami Seto “Nanami Shiranui” – Akira Mado (Tokyo Ghoul),  Yui Michimiya (Haikyu!!), Ichiyō Higuchi (Bunguo Stray Dogs)

Daisuki Ono “Natsuhiko Azuma” – Ryouma Sakamoto (Hakuoki), Hyuuga (Neo Angelique), Hades (Kamigami no Asobi), Subaru Asahina (Brother’s Conflict), Yuuya (Muv-Luv)

Hiro Shimono “Senri Ichinose” – Shou Kurusu (Utapri), Sou Kiryuu (Harukanaru Toki no Naka De 5), Ricchie (Black Wolves Saga)

Koji Yusa “Itsuki Kagami” – Sanosuke Harada (Hakuoki)Mr. Gasmask (Bad Apple Wars), Bernardo (Luckydog1)

Tomokazu Sugita “Ron Muroboshi” – Takuma (Hiro no Kakera), Oda Nobunaga (Ikemen Sengoku), Rabbit Head (Bad Apple Wars), Reine des Fluers (Hubert), Sasuke Sarutobi (Kurenai)

Mitsuki Saiga “Sakuya Nijo” – Dantalion (Tokyo Babel), Ashley Curtis (Iris School of Wizardry Vinculum Hearts)

Hiroyuki Yoshino “Heishi Otomaru” Heisuke Toudou (Hakuoki), Sendo Kiyoharu (Vitamin X), Auger von Garibaldi (Black Wolves Saga)

Takuya Sato “Masamune Toya” – Yuuma Kuga (Million Dollar Boyfriend), Katakura Kojuurou (Sengoku Night Blood), Ryonosuke Tsunashi (Idolish7)

Yuki Kaji “Kakeru Yuiga” – Finis (Code Realize), Kei Okazaki (Collar x Malice), Kanato (Diabolik Lovers), Kazue Souma (Hakuoki), Rath Vogart (Black Wolves Saga) Hayato Ozaki (Nil Admirari)

 

MAIN CHARACTERS (NO SPOILERS)

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Although all the routes follow through the same storyline, there are some characters that are best played in the later part of the game. If you’re like me who’s concerned about major spoilers when picking which routes to start in a game, I’ve prepared a few suggestions of Norn9 Var Commons’ route order below:

1st Option (from least spoiler content to greatest):
: Heishi — Senri — Sakuya — Kakeru — Masamune — Itsuki — Akito — Ron — Natsuhiko

2nd Option (from least spoiler content to greatest w/ enjoyable pace):
:Kakeru — Heishi — Senri — Sakuya — Istuki — Masamune — Akito — Ron — Natsuhiko

3rd Option (I’ve enjoyed and played mine in this order):
:Kakeru — Senri — Sakuya — Masamune — Heishi — Istuki — Akito — Ron — Natsuhiko

If you’d rather deviate with the suggested order above, make sure to play either Senri, Heishi, Sakuya, Kakeru first. Then Masamune, Itsuki in the middle but be sure to play the last three routes in this order: Akito – Ron – Natsuhiko (as finale).

 

Heroines

2018-12-02-090822KOHARU

While playing the prologue as Sorata, Koharu is the first main character you’ll get in contact within the story. She has a very meek and gentle personality and because she lived her life in entire seclusion, she’s initially very innocent and gullible to a point of ignorance. Despite this, Koharu remains kindhearted to everyone she meets. She’s also one of the most powerful espers to aboard the NORN ship.

My first impression with Koharu was that I thought she’s going to be one of those bland naive heroines who’s gonna get dragged around by the guys in the story. Luckily, she didn’t turn out as a doormat and went through a really awesome character development in all of her (three) routes. Though, I have to admit her naivety is actually one of her charms!  Koharu is such a darling of a character and I  believe that she’s one of the strongest protagonists in the game.

 

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MIKOTO KUGA

Mikoto is the oldest of the three heroines. She acts very mature and has a strong sense of responsibility for taking care of the other heroines (Koharu and Nanami). It is also because of her esper powers that she feels the need to protect others to a point where she pushes herself to her limit every day and abandons her own safety. Because she was born into a noble family she can be really uptight and bossy sometimes.

I remember really hating Mikoto’s character at first. She is a tsundere A-type heroine and her harsh rejections towards her love interests can be really off-putting sometimes (esp. to poor Itsuki) but I’ll be damned if her character depth and development wasn’t paced so well. Unpopular Opinion, but Mikoto was perhaps my fav. heroine in Norn9 as her character really shined all throughout her (three) routes, plus she gets all the cool guys (particularly, Natsuhiko and Istuki) (laughs). 

 

 

2018-11-25-232744 NANAMI SHIRANUI

Nanami Shiranui’s family comes from a long line of a famous shinobi (ninja) descendant, dating back to very old times. Although her family does not live and practice a shinobi’s lifestyle anymore, they became famous because of Nanami’s esper powers which eventually rose them back to fame as they make a living out of her special “gift”. 

Nanami is perhaps the most popular and the most loved heroine in Norn9. Perhaps it’s because of her kuudere nature that makes it impossible for you not to like her character. She’s very reserved and polite and carries around a kunai which she uses from time to time, in any case, her love interest tries to make advances on her lol. Out of the three heroines, Nanami was my least fav. since her personality in the game is defined depending on the route she’s in. She’s also the weakest heroine by far when compared to the other two which is totally understandable since her powers aren’t combative but I felt like she could’ve been more strong-willed in the game as far as making her own decisions and taking matters into her own hands (lol she’s still fun to play though, this is just me griping! haha). ┐(︶▽︶)┌ 

 

The Guys

2018-10-29-100428 KAKERU YUIGA

Kakeru is a bright and strong-willed young lad who’s esper powers can control and summon greenery (plants). He is sometimes known to be sadistic especially when playfully bullying Senri in the ship. He wears a metal cuff in his left ear as a memento of his father.

Kakeru’s route went from smooth sailing with just pure rabu-rabu (love-dovey) scenes with Koharu to a major train wreck near the end. I did not expect the sudden turn of events in his route. Perhaps, its because I played him first that’s why I was caught off guard? I liked Kakeru as a character of the game but as a love interest? Nah. His route left me a little unsatisfied since it concluded on an open-ended finish (most of the NORN9 endings are like this). If it wasn’t for Yuki Kaji voicing him, I probably would not enjoy his route as much as I thought I’ve had. ┐(︶▽︶)┌

 

2018-10-29-100529 SENRI ICHINOSE

Senri is a shut-in pessimistic boy who prefers to stay in his room for days rather than socialize with everyone in the Norn ship. His distrust towards everyone stems from how he was treated in the past. He enjoys and feels more relaxed being in the water since no one can chase after him in there.

I’ve actually enjoyed Senri’s route a lot, surprisingly! I didn’t expect his character to become extremely likable that he out-shined the other two (Kakeru and Masamune) in Koharu’s harem. I also believe he’s the best match for Koharu in the game. It’s really cute how both their characters complement each other so well. Also, kudos to Hiro Shimono for his awesome delivery with Senri’s lines. Funny enough, in some routes, I find Senri’s sarcastic dialogues a comic relief or an icebreaker to the immense drama or angst in the NORN9’s overarching story. 

 

2018-11-17-114952 MASAMUNE TOYA

Masamune is perhaps the oldest esper in the Norn ship. Because of this, he not only acts as the big-bro for the younger members but also as a reliable young adult, who keeps peace and order in the ship. He possesses a wide spectrum of knowledge and is the only member who’s responsible for reporting all activities inside the Norn to The WORLD. Despite this, his downside is that he can become unnecessarily clumsy sometimes because he’s not too skillful with his hands (when it comes to ship repairs etc.).

I’m not sure how I feel about Masamune’s route as I didn’t really get that kind of genuine connection between him and Koharu. Maybe it’s the age gap? At one point, Koharu just out of the blue developed this crush for Masamune and Masamune returning the favor by liking her back (or maybe he was just thirsty?? lol) ...And because Masamune’s an older character, he gets a lot of *cough* sexytime *cough* scenes with lil miss innocent (Koharu). This is either a yay or nay in his route depending on your preferences (ʘ‿ʘ)/. Ngl, I may have enjoyed some of his horny urges because I’m just trash like that. lmao

 

2018-11-11-091917SAKUYA NIJO

Sakuya is Mikoto’s childhood friend. Just like her, he comes from a noble family and was described in the game as a really handsome young man. He’s also very protective towards Mikoto to a point where he’ll happily risk his life for her sake.

Probably my least fav. route in the game was Sakuya’s. This route was such a drag because the whole childhood friend trope was just too much to bear in his story. At the start, I felt that Sakuya was Mikoto’s very own lapdog who follows her around, anticipating for a treat – it was too painful to watch! Then we have Mikoto telling him, he must not fall in love with anyone (esp. to her) so she tries to push him away because they need to fulfill certain “vow” they made when they were kids. Like, I totally get the whole tragic story behind their said “vows” but this went on for the entirety of his route, I just couldn’t wait for it to end tbh! Perhaps to someone who enjoys a good ol’ cliche childhood-friend-love-story, this is route is probably for you. But because I was the least bit interested in Sakuya and his story, completing his route merely became a chore. ( ̄ヘ ̄)

 

2018-11-23-004259ITSUKI KAGAMI

A handsome young man who’s earned his title as the biggest flirt in the NORN ship. Because Itsuki grew up in the red light district, he’s developed this playful personality and is very good with his flowery words to woo women. Istuki is also very smart and cunning though he’d rather joke around telling lies than speak his mind and his true feelings. Due to his very lax facade, almost no one ever takes him seriously.

Istuki is one of my fav. characters in NORN9. I guess I have a weakness for cheeky charmers with purple highlights! (not to mention my extreme bias in Koji Yusa’s sexy voice) ha! (°◡°♡) I had a few good laughs playing Itsuki’s story, his playful flirtings were, of course, the highlights of his entire route. lol^^. If you enjoy a steamy romance with a little angst, Itsuki is one for the taking. Though his story didn’t really contribute too much with the game’s underlying plot.

 

2018-11-19-095657 HEISHI OTOMARU

Heishi is the most energetic esper to aboard the NORN ship. He’s also the friendliest of all the members and the mood maker of the team. He possesses the ability of telepathy, although it is very unstable, as his personal thoughts and feelings often leak out.

Heishi was my least fav. guy in Nanami’s harem, though, I remember liking his story at the start because he looked so cute together with Nanami. Plus, he has his own BG (flute) music which I find really soothing. (laughs)^^ Heishi’s route also has the least spoilery content of the game’s overall plot, so I think it’s a good idea to play his story as a starter.

 

2018-11-25-193610 AKITO SHUKURI

The roughest, rudest esper to aboard in the NORN ship yet everyone respects him because he’s merely the best cook in the team. Akito also treats Nanami, cruelly for some reason which you’ll get to discover why ~going down his route. Although he fronts a violent persona, Akito is seriously afraid of the hiyokos in the ship lol, this is one weakness of his, which everyone finds extremely amusing.

Akito is a tsundere (who’s got no chill) and I absolutely love him! haha His route was also interesting enough as it didn’t follow through the overarching story of NORN9 and focused mainly on his backstory with the heroine, Nanami. His route also had a lot of major spoilers so be sure NOT to play him first in the game. I believe Akito is Nanami’s true route, though I personally feel that Nanami isn’t a good match for Akito?? oh well… 

 

2018-11-28-031154 RON MUROBOSHI

Ron is another older member amongst aboard the NORN ship. He usually just keeps to himself and doesn’t really contribute much during their occasional meetings. He doesn’t talk about himself at all, so no one knows much about him. Though he’s one of the earlier members to join the NORN, he can never remember anyone’s names nor cares to remember them at all.

Ron is the worst route in the game. No contest! You really can’t justify this character’s actions. He’s an all-around major jerkass! But I’ll be damned if I wasn’t attracted to this insensitive bonehead of character! haha

garbage

So, yeah here I am trying to question myself for my horrible taste in (2D) men and the game’s attempt to giving this character a route that forces a sad excuse of a “romantic” finish up our throats. lol The fact that Nanami just quickly fell in love with him despite his violent and “abusive” actions towards her was literally a giant exacerbated question mark. I tip my hat to Sugita’s voice acting for making this character such a wild treat.haha

 

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NATSUHIKO AZUMA 

Natsuhiko is considered one of the antagonist in the story (depending who’s route you’re in). Due to certain reasons, he’s after the lives of those aboard the Norn ship. As a scientist, he’s very good at inventing, handling machines, and a specialist at controlling and maneuvering ships.

Natsuhiko is the BEST canon boy of the game. Since most routes concluded with open-ended scenarios when it comes to the game’s overall plot, Natsuhiko is the only route that really made sense as far as covering the whole NORN9 story, the “WORLD” organization and how the espers came to be. Here, we finally get a couple of backstories and action-packed scenes where Natsuhiko has proven himself best boi and a rockstar pilot. His route also does NOT hold back when it comes to *cough* steamy love scenes *cough*. It’s pretty rewarding to finally play his route after all the cliffhangers and the loose threads that were previously presented in the game. I’m glad I played Natsuhiko’s story last too, otherwise, the other routes that’ll come after him would just be totally irrelevant

 

2018-12-16-193656 SORATA SUZUHARA

Wait… who? Oh, right! Sorata! The main protagonist of NORN9! 

One major con was that the game totally failed to mention Sorata in most routes to a point where you’d be oblivious to the fact that he apparently still exist.  Sorata actually has his own story and by playing his epilogue, you’ll be able to finally understand how on earth did this young boy ended up as the main protagonist of this otome game?! (Thank god!) Ha..ha…haaah!

 

2018-11-17-120018 SETSU TAKISHIMA

Okay, Setsu is just a side character of the game but I felt the need to include him in this review because of how hilarious this character is. Setsu is an extreme masochist and he’d do anything for you to spit disgust on his face. The dude, gets off on some good violent slapping, I kid you not! I guess there’s a tiny voice inside of me that wished for a Setsu route just for shits and giggles. lmao

 

MINI GAMES

  • NORN9 QUEST – this mini-game will only be available after you’ve completed the game’s prologue.  It can be accessed under “New Contents” when you hover over the option that says “???”, you’ll have to tap the ship from the top right of the screen to play it. You don’t necessarily need to play this mini-game but getting 5,000 points in it will unlock a PS Trophy. This can become a major pain if you’re a completionist like me as the game points you’ll get depends on sheer luck.

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  • NORN+ENSEMBLE – If you were wondering about those KEYWORDS that appear on your screen as you unlock a chapter in a route, they are for this mini-game.  The Norn + Ensemble can be accessed in the EXTRAS menu. This game, lets you mix and match character lines to simulate a conversation when you press PLAY after arranging the keywords together. Don’t even bother playing this mini-game. The NORN+Ensemble PS Trophy automatically unlocks after completing all of the game’s ending anyway.

 

TRAILER / OPENING MOVIE

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS? ♡ (˘▽˘)
It took me a whole month to complete the entire game. This is mainly my fault for playing it during the holidays where I barely have any time for gaming. With three character routes for each of the three heroines, the game lets you finish a whopping nine routes in total, excluding Sorata’s Epilogue story. So yeah, NORN9 Var Commons isn’t a short gameplay and will definitely take a lot of your time.

Story-wise, I actually love the game’s concept. The whole core plot of getting to decide on the world “Reset” was interesting at the start but because there was an overwhelming amount of characters in the game, the story became overly repetitive which kind of gets a bit mundane sometimes (esp. to characters that don’t really interest you). How the overarching story-line was presented was a complete mess as some routes contradict each other and leave you a lot of questions and plot holes to piece together. This really didn’t bother me at first, but as I write this review I began reflecting on the game’s major plot holes that were left open-ended on each story and I’m just here thinking, the “whys” and “hows”… ┐(‘~` )┌  I guess, Its safe to conclude that the game intended for each route to have its own alternate reality.

My favorite heroine was Mikoto, her character development was phenomenal especially on Natsuhiko’s route, next is Koharu because even though she’s a total air-head, she’s at least got some backbone. Least fav. was Nanami, she’s not a bad heroine, but I find her personality too boring for my taste. My favorite routes were Itsuki, Akito, and Natsuhiko with a special mention to Ron for having an absolute garbage route I’ve shamelessly enjoyed (cackles). („ಡωಡ„)

Do I recommend this game? YES
Despite a few gripes I’ve stated above. I’ve quite enjoyed playing NORN9 Var Commons as a whole. It definitely presents a really unique sci-fi story as well as a solid game-play which never cops you out of interesting new characters to love. I recommend picking this game up if you haven’t yet.  Its story may not be perfect, but its still beautifully done and the game still stands out as one of the better otome titles that were localized throughout the years. 

 

CHLO’S RATING: 8/10

 

Otome Games in Nintendo Switch (English)

Otome Game in Nintendo Switch (1)

Since the Vita apocalypse has finally dawned upon us, a lot of otome fans in the west were left hangin’ after Sony’s big announcement on shutting down production of physical PS Vita games. With this shocking news set to place, localization companies such as Idea Factory Intl. and Aksys Games, who are known for bringing popular otome titles to the west has ceased to announce any otome games this year. Discounting Code Realize: Wintertide Miracles ofc! (the only confirmed Otomate title that will have a physical release this coming 2019).

So where does that leave us otome fans?
While there are still a lot of otome games that are digitally making their way to the west through different media (PC, Steam, mobile, and Switch), this post will be touching  on the ones that are available in the Nintendo Switch console.

Below I’ll be listing down all otome titles that are currently available in the Eshop (NA and EU):

 

The Men of Yoshiwara: Kikuya

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Game Review
Voiced? NO
Price: 19.99 USD
Chlo’s Rating: 5/10

Comments: I personally, liked this game because of its *cough* steamy content and beautiful art. Some routes were great, while others were boring. It is a bit expensive though for a non voiced tittle.
Recommended routes: Kagura, Kagerou, Takao.

 

 

The Men of Yoshiwara: Oghiya

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Game Review (in progress)
Voiced? NO
Price: 14.99 USD
Chlo’s Rating: NA

Comments: In terms of the game’s sound and mechanics, I find this one better than the first Yoshiwara series. Story-wise, I’ve only finished Takigawa’s route so I can’t really spell out any thoughts if this game was better than its predecessor. I do like Oghiya MC more than Kikuya MC.

 

 

The Charming Empire

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Game Review
Voiced? YES
Price: 24.99 USD
Chlo’s Rating: 4/10

Comments: The only things I liked about this game were the voice actors and the artwork. The story was super bland and most of the routes ended in a rush.
Recommended Routes: Kei Yoshimine, Soshi Amazaki

 

 

Pub Encounters “Dandy Shot”

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Game Review (in progress)
Voiced? NO
Price: 16.99 USD
Chlo’s Rating: NA

Comments: I kept putting this game down for some reason lol. I’ve been hearing a few mixed reviews regarding Dandy Shot (Pub Encounters). Most of the reviews were actually quite good, as long as you don’t mind romancing older men (chuckles). I’ve only finished Yuze Ryunosuke’s route, he’s the tsundere and his story wasn’t so bad.

 

 

Destiny Princess

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Game Review (in progress)
Voiced? NO
Price: 14.99 USD
Chlo’s Rating: NA

Comments: One gripe I have for this game was that, because it was a mobile port the CGs on the Switch looked really weird and stretched. The game has an interesting prologue and I’ve actually enjoyed its steamy content.^^; I’ve finished three routes so far. Some were good, while others were meh.
Recommended Routes: Nobunaga

 

 

The Amazing Shinsengumi

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Game Review (in progress)
Voiced? NO
Price: 11.99 USD
Chlo’s Rating: NA

Comments:  I’ve played the game’s prologue and it was boring as heck. I haven’t started a route yet but based on hearsay (from the otome community), this game apparently borders a bit on “rapey” scenarios? Haha if you’re someone who’s uncomfortable with that, it may be best to stay out of this game.^^;;

 

 

Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku

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Game Review
Voiced? YES
Price: 24.99 USD
Chlo’s Rating: 3/10

Comments: This game had great voice acting. That’s it. The story is bad and translations are the worst.
**Edit: A recent patch update was released for this game to fix the horrid translations.

 

 

Gakuen Club

gakuennnclub
Game Review
Voiced? YES
Price: 24.99 USD
Chlo’s Rating: 5/10

Comments: This game wasn’t so bad. It had some good routes worth checking out and the art style was really beautiful. But since all the main characters were younger high school teens, the game didn’t appeal to me as much.
Recommended Routes: Saku Takizawa, Toma Sakai

 

 

Iris School of Wizardry – Vinculum Hearts

H2x1_NSwitchDS_IrisSchoolofWizardryVinculumHearts_image1600wGame Review
Voiced? YES
Price: 24.99 USD
Chlo’s Rating: 4/10

Comments: Just like Ayakoi, the translations were pretty bad in this game but the story itself was fairly decent. I loved the game’s shoujo manga art style and I believe I’ve enjoyed a couple of routes on this one.
Recommended Routes: Matias, A-Jay, Iris

 

 

Kitty Love – Way to look for love

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Game Review
Voiced: YES
Price: 24.99 USD
Chlo’s Rating: 6/10

Comments: Again, the game’s english subs needed proofreading. However, I was able to chug it all up because the story was so cute. The game’s art style, music, voice acting, and enjoyable stories were its redeeming qualities.
Recommended Routes: Kohei, Takuma

 

 

Nightshade

0c860e8c-1e5e-4eb3-9bd7-33abf2bc076bGame Review 
Voiced: YES
Price: 47.99 USD
Chlo’s Rating: NA

Comments: The Nintendo Switch port for Nightshade, will officially release this coming Dec. 20, 2018. The price listed above is for the (Western Release) digital copy of the game you can purchase from the Eshop. There will be no physical copies available for NA, EU, AU region. If you wish to import the physical copy of the game, the price may vary depending on the website you’re ordering it from or the (proxy) shipping method you’ll be using.

 

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There you have it! So far, these are the current (English) Otome games available on the Switch Console. There’s probably a couple more Operahouse (mobile) games that’ll be ported to the switch soon (I’m pretty sure they’re working on Spiral Memoria right now and possibly Yumemidori Nostalgia) but no official news has been released yet, so this is all just mere speculation. *wink*

While Otomate, Japan’s leading company in producing otome games are slowly but surely moving to the Nintendo Switch as their main visual novel console going forward, there has yet to be any announcement whether any of their old and new titles (for the Switch) are getting localized.

If you’re curious which games (Non-Otomate titles included) are currently available in the Switch eshop Japan, here’s a list below for both physical and digital releases:

(The list below does not include the games that were already localized)

  1. Code Realize Saiko no Hanataba – link here
  2. Hakuoki Shinkai Fuka Den – link here
  3. NORN9 LOFN – link here
  4. Beast Darling! (Digital) – link here
  5. Nil Admirari no Tenbin – link here
  6. Cendrillon PalikA – link here
  7. Sangoku Koi Senki – (Nov. 22, 2018) link here
  8. Yoshiwara Hinganbana – (Dec. 20, 2018) link here
  9. Nightshade “Hyakka Hakuru” – (Dec. 20, 2018) link here
  10. La Corda d’Oro Octave – (Feb. 14, 2019) link here
  11. Yunohana Spring! “Mellow Times” – (Feb. 28, 2019) link here
  12. Harukanaru Toki no Naka De 6 – (Mar. 14, 2019) link here

For other Otomate upcoming 2019 titles, you can refer to these following posts:

If you think I’ve missed on some other titles (I’m pretty sure I did lol), please do let me know so I can update this list.

Kitty Love – Way to look for love Review (Nintendo Switch)

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KITTY LOVE – WAY TO LOOK FOR LOVE

Release Date: Novemeber 1, 2018
Developers: OperaHouse Inc.
Publishers: OperaHouse Inc., DIGIMERCE
Platforms:  Nintendo Switch
ESRB Rating: E (10+)

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Just like Iris School of Wizardry ~ Vinculum Hearts, the game Kitty Love or Nyan Love “Watashi no Koi no Mitsukekata” (original title), was recently released to the Nintendo Switch console this year, although the game has been around since the year 2014 as a mobile port.

 

Walkthroughs:

 

STORY
Honoka Shinota (main protagonist) works at a flower shop and spends every day working hard at her job.
Then one night, at the park she always visits, an odd-eyed black cat cursed her into becoming a cat at night and human by morning.
“There’s only one way to break the curse”, the black cat said… and it is…

――True love’s kiss.

 

If you’re curious about the game’s localization, specifically, if the english subs have improved, my answer is nada. It is the same ol’ inconsistent subs from the last game Iris School of Wizardry Vinculum Hearts. A couple of typos and misspellings, some misused prepositions, a few lost pronouns here and there, you get the gist! It is tolerable so to speak and you can still follow through the plot if you have the patience for it, that is. lol ヾ(´∀`) Ha…haha…
Did this throw you off? If not, please continue reading.^^

 

ART AND MUSIC
The game’s artwork and character design were beautifully done by Japanese illustrator, Nami Hidaka – you can view her official page here. If you’ve played a couple of OperaHouse’s otomes before, you’ll recognize some of their bg stock images that were re-used in this game (totally understandable for a game that used to be a mobile port).

The theme was really cute – that I found myself humming the OP and Ending theme a couple of times. lol

Voice Acting

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Soma Saito “Takuma Suguri”  Mineo Enomoto (Collar x Malice), Levi (Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk), Rem Kaginuki (Dance with Devils), Sota (Possession Magenta)

Atsushi Tamaru “Kohei Natsume” Tsukimi (Koroshiya to Strawberry), Kasuga (Variable Barricade)

Hiroki Yasumoto “Shogo Fujimoto” – Razel (Lamento Beyond the Void), Karasuma (7’scarlet), Hyuga Shinobu (KLAP)

Maeno Tomoaki “Kyosuke Kawahara” Arsene Lupin (Code Realize), Onigashima Houou (Kenka Banchou Otome), Keisuke Sanjou (Collar x Malice)

Sakurai Takahiro “Narumi Saijo” Alma (Bad Apple Wars), Astrum (Period Cube), Ruki (Diabolik Lovers), Rui Sagisawa (Nil Admirari)

 

MAIN CHARACTERS (Minor Spoilers)
There’s no recommended route order in the game, However, just be sure to play Saijo’s story last, to avoid unwanted plot spoilers in the beginning. I played and enjoyed mine in this following order: Takuma — Kohei — Kyosuke — Shogo — Saijo.

I promise to keep the spoiler contents to a minimum below, but I’m still putting up my spoiler banner to remind ya’lls to proceed and skim with caution.^^ 

spoilersss

 

TAKUMA SUGURI

  • Flower shop owner
  • Loves Chinese food
  • Secret past

Takuma is the owner of “Flora”, the flower shop Honoka works at. He is a warm, friendly and understanding boss who seems to be very gentle upfront. In almost every route in the game, he remains supportive towards the heroine (to a point, where he even acts as a wingman for the other guys, in their respective routes).

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I played Takuma’s route first because I am forever thirsty for Soma Saito and he seemed like a good character to start (as suggested by the game). Despite his bright and gentle demeanor, I was anticipating some yandere tendencies in his route as he appears to be hiding something deviant up his sleeve. To my surprise (or rather disappointment, lol) Takuma is not yandere nor even close to one (laughs). He was, however, revealed to be a delinquent in his past, which made him reluctant in admitting his feelings towards Honoka, fearing she will never accept him and that he’s not deserving of someone like her because of his “bad record”Aww. What I really liked in Takuma’s route was how his romantic relationship for Honoka developed. It was so endearing to see him realize his feelings for the heroine as he tells cat Honoka at night how he’s beginning to fall in love with human Honoka. (*≧ω≦*) The fluff content of this route was pretty up there and his “happy ending” was surprisingly badass and def something to look forward to.

 

KOHEI NATSUME 

  • The childhood friend
  • Tsundere

Kohei is Honoka’s childhood friend. Because they grew up together in the same hometown, the heroine thinks of him as her big brother. In reality, Kohei secretly has a crush on Honoka, but decides to keep his feelings under wraps afraid it might ruin their friendship.

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Kohei’s route was full of fluffy surprises and was probably my favorite in the game. I’m usually not a fan of the cliche “childhood friend trope” but if there was one that was done right, Kohei’s story def takes the cake! Kohei and Honoka’s relationship build up was paced really well – it was so adorable – that I was grinning the whole time playing his route. Kohei Natsume’s tsundere nature makes him a darling of a character and it was so fun seeing him secretly hide his fascinations for all the neko he comes across with. It is also in this route, that the heroine reveals a traumatic past experience that involves her relationship with cats. Though Kohei’s happy ending is the best ending for his route, his normal ending was fairly as good as the other, so really, it doesn’t matter which ending you unlock as both of them were quite satisfying, so to speak. ♡(。- ω -) Out of all the guys, Kohei was perhaps the biggest cat mom of the bunch! lol He even has a membership ID at the neko cafe near his workplace.

 

KYOSUKE KAWAHARA

  • Club Viola’s #1 host
  • Loves musical instruments

Kyosuke works as a host at Club Viola. He often visits Honoka’s flower shop to buy bouquets for his lady clients in the club. Besides his secret love for cats, he’s also secretly passionate about making music.

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In his route, Kyo, through cat Honoka’s support made him realize that his true calling was to become a musician instead of a club host. I think one of the main highlights in Kyosuke’s route was his playful teasing and banters with human Honoka which I believe brought them closer together in his story. This is also the only route where the main guy gets into a nasty rivalry with a (spriteless) side character, who almost harassed the heroine out of spite. I like Kyosuke’s character development for the most part as he shares his deep passion for music with cat Honoka, and at the same time continues to care about human Honoka, despite her shady disappearing acts (as she turns into a cat at night). My only gripe about this route was that it had the most awful translations in the game that even the fluff content nor Maeno’s adorable voice acting couldn’t make up for it. Ah well… ┐(︶▽︶)┌

 

SHOGO FUJIMOTO

  • Mr. Kuudere Police man
  • Loves kawaii things

Shogo is the quiet police officer who often visits Honoka’s flower shop on his patrol route. Despite his stoic appearance, Shogo actually likes cute things and even collects adorable little knick-knacks (like knitting accessories and cat albums), he normally keeps in his room.

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I find Shogo’s route a little amusing because contrary to his serious manly appearance (not to mention his deep sexy voice, that makes you weak in the knees uwu), inside, is just one big fluffy husbando who finds interest in everything kawaii. The guy has a set of pink flowered china at home for goodness sake! Bless him! (ノ´ヮ`)ノ*: ・゚ During his route, an old lady found Honoka in the streets after she transformed into a kitty for the first time, and took her to the police station. There she meets Shogo, who immediately took a liking at neko Honoka because of her cute appearance. After finding out Shogo’s unlikely adorable side, Honoka became more curious of the man so she decides to visit him every night (in her kitty form) at the police box he’s stationed, to get to know him better. Shogo’s story was cute although I wasn’t quite convinced why he fell in love with human Honoka that fast??? But hey, he broke Honocat’s curse with his luscious kiss in the end and that’s all that matters. Nyanhaha!

 

NARUMI SAIJO

  • The mysterious flower artist
  • Spoilers! Spoilers! Spoilers!

Saijo-san is the famous flower arranger artist who’s a regular customer at “Flora”, the flower shop where our main heroine works. He seems aloof at times and has this mysterious aura surrounding him. ***I couldn’t really talk more about his route without going into spoiler territory, so brace yourself!

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If Sakurai’s voice didn’t obviously give it away hopefully his character’s eyes did (laughs). Saijo Narumi is the odd-eyed black neko who in the prologue cursed Honoka to transform into a cat at night. His main reason for doing so was that a long time ago, his owner/master married a woman who was typically only using the poor guy for money and one day abruptly left him for someone richer. As a result, his master grew sick, heartbroken and eventually died. Upon witnessing the cruel nature of the woman that betrayed his master, Saijo developed this seething hatred for them, became a nekomata and randomly, out of spite cursed someone (Honoka) in the belief that because she’s a woman, she can easily break the spell by choosing a guy to fall in love with(ಠ_ಠ). Uhh..not cool mr.cat person sir! In the long run, he realized he made a grave mistake as he’s seen through Honoka’s struggles and became aware that not all women are the same.

For some reason, Saijo’s route was the only story that had angst… and I wasn’t ready for it! lol Both his endings were left a little open-ended and although I liked that it was bittersweet, I’d much prefer the other route’s fluffy endings better.^^

 

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HONOKA SHINOTA (Main Heroine)
Seriously though, what’s not to like about a cat MC?! (chuckles) But in all honesty, I actually quite enjoyed playing Honoka as the main protagonist of this game. After turning into a cat at night, she could’ve just stayed at home and waited until she transforms back into her human form in the morning but nah brah… I think Ima go check out what my guy’s doing at his house…lmao! My kind of heroine! Her curiosity is definitely a winner!

 

 

 

TRAILER

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS?
It took me about 10-11 hours to finish the entire game. Each route has eight chapters which you can literally finish in two hours sitting. This actually worked perfectly for me since I prefer my lighthearted novels short. Story-wise, I absolutely loved it! I am just weak for cat daddies guys who adore cats and I believe this is one of the game’s prominent charms that’ll instantly draw your attention. Each story was just too cute, I think I’ve enjoyed all of the routes but the ones that stood out to me the most were Kohei’s and Takuma’s.^^

The hype was real with Kitty Love and I’m glad I’ve played this game. It was very lighthearted with little to no angst at all. As someone who’s been playing darker themed visual novels for so long, this was definitely a great switch up!  The art, music, outstanding VA’s, not to mention, the cute neko lovin’ stories were definitely the game’s highlights. If it wasn’t for the bad translations, Kitty Love would’ve been close to purrrrfection! Nyan.

Do I recommend this game? YES
Get it for the story, get it for the fluff content that’ll definitely put a smile on your face, get it to support otoge localizations. But get it, only if you have the patience to sit through the game’s lack of proofreading (you have been warned! lol). If not for the aforementioned issue, I would’ve rated this game a 7, but for now…

Chlo’s Rating: 6/10


a game copy was provided by the publisher _ developer for this review


 

Hakuoki Edo Blossoms Review

2018-09-11-204456

HAKUOKI EDO BLOSSOMS

Release Date:  March 13, 2018 (North America)
Developers: Idea Factory, Design Factory
Publishers: Otomate, Idea Factory International
Platforms:  PS VITA, Steam (PC)
ESRB Rating: M(Mature)

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Read the game’s prologue here.

Walkthroughs:

 

ART AND MUSIC
As previously stated in my Kyoto Winds review, there were three artists involved in Hakuoki’s artwork. Kazuki YoneMiko, and Shiki Sakigumi. Most of the CGs are the same ones you get in the PS3 version of the game (Demon of the Fleeting Blossoms). The OP and ending themes for Edo Blossom were also done by the same composer and performed by the same artist of the game’s prequel. Listen to Edo Blossoms’ beautiful OP “Kaze no Nakade Saku Hana” on the track below:

 

CHARACTERS AND ROUTES (Spoiler Free)
I played the routes in the order that was suggested in the game (started with Hijikata and did Kazama last). Because it’s a sequel, there’s really no specific route order you need to follow as you will still be able to enjoy the stories regardless of which route you start or finish. My suggestion is to divide your favorites, where you play a fav guy first but also finish with another fav. so you’ll have that lasting “uwu” impression. (laughs) (*/ω\)

 

2018-10-02-213022TOSHIZO HIJIKATA
CV: Shinichirou Miki  –  Nesso Galland (Black Wolves Saga), Mr. Buckethead (Bad Apple Wars), Yuzuki Murakumo (7’scarlet)

Hijikata’s story was the longest in Edo Blossoms (five chapters), it’s also the only route with most endings (seven endings). 

Just like Kyoto Winds, Hijikata’s route was mainly the story of the Shinsengumi itself. It follows through the Shinsengumi’s activities the day they arrived in Edo and ended with their defeat in the Boshin war. One of the highlights of this route is Hijikata’s strong determination to fight for what he truly believes in despite standing on the losing end. Seeing this man’s strong resolution and willpower, scene after scene was rather awe-inspiring so to speak (it made me tear, sob!). I also loved how his romantic relationship with Chizuru developed in the long run, where It didn’t felt forced nor rushed. If anything, I thought it was actually very realistic. Hijikata longing for Chizuru was just so cute!

Story: 5/5
Romance: 5/5
Kissing CG: YES

 

2018-10-02-213603 SOUJI OKITA
CV: Shotaro Morikubo – Impey Barbicane (Code Realize), Jocus (Period Cube), Toa (7’scarlet)

Unlike Hijikata’s route, Okita’s story was more detached to the Shinsengumi’s activities as it picked up from where it left off in Kyoto Winds (Chizuru stays with Okita at Dr. Matsumoto’s place in Edo, to help him recover from his illness). I like how stubborn Okita’s character was but then goes meek every time Chizuru calls him out. Finally! the heroine tames this sadistic hunk! It was great how their relationship dynamics worked out for the best as they progressed through the story. I also felt real chemistry between the two of them – Okita’s route is probably one of the better ones when it comes to romance. Moreover, I wanted to comment on Morikubo’s awesome portrayal of Souji’s character, his voice acting really stood out in this game. He’s done this character justice and I have no words! Recalling the scene of Okita’s breakdown really shook my emotions to the core! (applause)

Story: 4/5
Romance: 5/5
Kissing CG: YES

 

SAITO HAJIME 2018-10-02-213901
CV: Kousuke Toriumi – Kagiha (Psychedelica BB), Poyo-Poyo (Period Cube), Hideyoshi (Ikesen), Lawrence (Psychedelica AH), John Watson (Code Realize)

To those who are Saito biased, you will definitely enjoy his route. For the most part, Saito continues his adorable kuudere nature as he juggles overworking himself to experiencing fatigue while keeping a watchful eye on Chizuru’s well being. His route had a couple of surprises that got me all ‘woah(Hint: Ear fetishes lol). My only gripe was that their romance didn’t surface until his last chapters and it is only because of Chizuru’s forwardness that this man was finally able to admit his feelings for her. But I guess this works out for some?

Story: 4/5
Romance: 3/5
Kissing CG: YES

 

2018-10-02-214225HEISUKE TOUDOU
CV: Yoshino Hiroyuki – Sendo Kiyoharu (Vitamin X), Auger von Garibaldi (Black Wolves Saga), Heishi (Norn9)

Heisuke was such a great character in Edo Blossoms.  I liked him as an NPC in almost all the routes in the game. His own story, however, wasn’t too satisfying – if you ask me. Because he’s one of the first Shinsengumi rasetsu (fury), he spends a lot of time wallowing in grief and deep regrets (thinking about his life choices), questioning the “what ifs” and a whole lot of “shoulda, woulda, coulda”. This went on probably for the mere half of his route where Chizuru tries her hardest to lift Mr. Down-in-the-dumps’ spirits up. It was sad and annoying at the same time but I’m glad it didn’t last. There’s still good chemistry between him and Chizuru so, this is one saving grace that didn’t get me all disinterested with his story.

Story: 3/5
Romance: 3/5
Kissing CG: YES

 

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SANOSUKE HARADA
CV: Koji Yusa – Itsuki (Norn9), Mr. Gasmask (Bad Apple Wars), Bernardo (Luckydog1)

Oh boy! Get your fans ready, turn on the AC as it’s about to get hot in here! (//ω//)

As I’ve said in my Kyoto Winds review, If you want romance, Harada is definitely one for the taking! There’s certainly a good story in Harada’s route but man, I got so distracted by all the fluff content on this one, it’s too inevitable to ignore (chuckles). It was funny how Chizuru secretly hides her crush with yo boi’, saying things like “this man is so handsome and caring, I will never be worthy of him and his glorylmao! …At the same time, Sano being such a big flirt and all won’t stop doting on the heroine… I…just…can’t… take it! Their relationship was too adorable! Sano’s route is def one of the best routes to look forward to in Edo Blossoms and his ‘good end’ was one of the most satisfying endings in the game. Make no mistake about that.

Story: 5/5
Romance: 5/5
Kissing CG: OH YES!!!

 

2018-10-02-214616 SHINPACHI NAGAKURA
CV: Tsuboi Tomohiro – 
Toshi Maeda (Sengoku Basara), Rikimaru (Tenchu 2), Taliesin (Tears to Tiara)

While Shinpachi Nagakura remains one of the most likable characters in the series. Just like Heisuke, his route falls rather short in terms of both story and romance. Mostly, Shinpachi spends a lot of time loathing on the fact that he’s become a fury (Recalling, the incident in Kyoto Winds, where he was forced to drink the water of life due to unavoidable circumstances). With this, Chizuru guiltily blames herself for Shinpachi’s suffering and wants to support him in any way she can. In return, Shinpachi still pushes her away and goes into a complete depressive mode to a point that he becomes a hermit for weeks (ಠ_ಠ) – lol I’m not even kidding! Because of this, he becomes too distant with the heroine, that I literally can’t feel any intimate connection between the two of ’em. It took him four whole chapters to suddenly admit his feelings for Chizuru which for some reason felt rushed (to me anyway). ┐(‘~` )┌

Story: 2/5
Romance: 2/5
Kissing CG: YES

 

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KEISUKE SANAN
CV: Nobuo Tobita – Straizo (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure), Kan Soo-Jin (Akatsuki no Yona), Capt. Gordon (Disgea)

Sanan’s character in Edo Blossoms can either become your ally or the antagonist causing all the mayhem, depending on whose route you’re on. I remember Sanan giving me the creeps when I played his route in Kyoto Winds. Luckily, he redeemed himself in this sequel and I’m so glad how his story turned out. I should warn you, his route was one emotional ride. Sanan was such a complex character where at one point you literally can’t stand him and on another, you just can’t help but fall for him (°ロ°) It’s madness, I tell ya! After playing his route in EB, I now, clearly understand why Sanan’s character has a solid unwavering fan base. *Tips hat*

Story: 4/5
Romance: 4/5
Kissing CG: YES

 

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SUSUMU YAMAZAKI
CV: Takayuki Suzuki – Daedalus Munto (Demonion Series), Oota Hiroo (Koiken Otome)

WarningKyoto Winds Spoiler below!
I was so ecstatic to play Yamazaki’s route because unlike the other romanceable characters in Kyoto Winds, Yamazaki was the only one who didn’t make it to Edo. (╥﹏╥) (Hint: He died in the battlefield). Yamazaki (in Kyoto Winds) only survived in two routes: his and Okita’s. That said, Playing Yamazaki’s route was such a treat in Edo Blossoms, because… you know, he’s alive and breathing for a change! (cackles). His route was rather short though, I remember finishing it way too quick compared to others. Needless to say, I love Yamazaki’s character to bits. I still hold my ground when I say, he’s such a good match for Chizuru,  both of them complement each other really well. His good ending was a little predictable but gosh, it was too perfect, I wouldn’t have it in any other way!

Story: 3/5
Romance: 5/5
Kissing CG: YES

 

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HACHIRO IBA
CV: Mamoru Miyano – Akito (Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku), Light Yagami (Death Note), Tokiya (Utapri), Okabi Rintarou (Steins Gate)

I’ve been reading a lot of mixed reviews regarding Iba’s route in Edo Blossoms from western gamers. We either hate him or love him in his route. Why tho? Is it because of his obsessive crush with Chizuru, or is it because of his rapey demon hand? lol As an Iba bias,(˙꒳​˙) I don’t really find his route, in any way shape or form, offensive nor creepy, towards the main protagonist. The reason for his “odd” behavior was thoroughly explained in his story and was even foreshadowed a few times during his first chapters. OR perhaps, I just really have awful taste in men (lmao) To be quite honest, I’ve actually enjoyed Iba’s route fully. I thought it was pretty good. It was dark, yes but his character depth was strikingly beautiful. I love how Iba struggles with his own demons but at the same time continues to fight for his beliefs echoing Hijikata & the Shinsengumi’s dedication and willpower. He has the nicest bittersweet ending and (i think) it could’ve been better if they’ve extended his epilogue.

Story: 4/5
Romance: 5/5
Kissing CG: YES

 

2018-10-02-215520 KAZUE SOUMA
CV: Yuki Kaji – Kei Okazaki (Collar x Malice), Finis (Code Realize), Kanato (Diabolik Lovers), Kakeru (Norn9), Hayato Ozaki (Nil Admirari)

I like describing Souma’s route as the amazing race to get to Hijikata (laughs). Because this was literally what went down for the first three chapters of his story (considering, an entire route in EB only consist 4 of chapters total). I felt that Souma’s story got a bit mundane in the middle but then picked up really quick on the fourth chapter. As I’ve griped before in Kyoto Winds, I still couldn’t feel any chemistry between him and Chizuru (ノД`). Although I loved that there was comic relief in the last chapters of his story. – the whole gang playfully teasing the lovers and Iba getting extremely jealous – oh boy! that was one good laugh. His ending was really sweet too (their reuniting scene was so precious). It’s one of my least favorite routes in EB but it wasn’t bad altogether. Also, kudos to Yuki  Kaji for breathing life into this character. His voice acting was indeed one of the highlights in this route.

Story: 4/5
Romance: 3/5
Kissing CG: YES

 

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RYOUMA SAKAMOTO
CV: Daisuke Ono – Hyuuga (Neo Angelique), Hades (Kamigami no Asobi), Subaru Asahina (Brother’s Conflict), Yuuya (Muv-Luv), Azuma Natsuhiko (Norn9)

Sakamoto’s story in Kyoto Winds was interesting enough to get me all hyped up with his route in EB. Sadly, to my disappointment, the intriguing factor of Ryouma’s character died down as his whole route was wasted chasing after his buddy Nakaoka and his band of evil furies from Tosa. There was nothing new of the sort that’ll get you compelled to keep going in his story. I honestly could not wait for it to end. Though I wanted to point out that it was his good ending that uniquely redeemed his route from dullness. I believe others may still probably enjoy Sakamoto’s route. This one just didn’t stick out to me in the game.

Story: 2/5
Romance: 3/5
Kissing CG: YES

 

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CHIKAGE KAZAMA
CV: Kenjiro Tsuda – Hattori Hanzo (Nightshade), Soshi Amazaki (The Charming Empire), Leonardo Da Vinci (Ikevamp), Nathan Seymour (Tiger & Bunny)

I am literally a Kazama bias, that’s why I picked his route to play last. He is arrogant, selfish, and judgmental towards humans, the perfect husbando! (laughs). Again, just like his role in Kyoto Winds, Kazama can either be your enemy or your ally in the game depending on whose route you’re at. In Edo Blossoms, he becomes Chizuru’s bodyguard as she journeys following the tracks of the Shinsengumi. He may not be upfront with his feelings towards the heroine, but you can clearly tell that his actions are genuinely all for her well being. It was such a treat seeing Kazama’s changed nature towards Chizuru. Like how he always ask her first, what her plan is and what she wants to do. I also enjoyed their couple banters with each other like how Chizuru calls him out when he had too much sake to drink. (´▽ `) It was cute to witness their relationship blossoming as they spend more time together. Plus, this is the only route where you can see Amagiri giving love advises and epic wingman talks to the heroine. lol

Story: 4/5
Romance: 5/5
Kissing CG: YES

 

Will I enjoy Edo Blossoms, even if I haven’t played Kyoto Winds?
Maybe if you’re only in for the romance, then perhaps you might? Though, to be perfectly honest, I don’t see the point of playing the sequel without delving into the main story first. Edo Blossoms is part two and the continuation of Kyoto Winds, so I’d always advise against playing it first if you haven’t touched Kyoto Winds at all. Perhaps if you’ve played the older Hakuoki games then you’ll probably get the gist of the story. Otherwise, you will be missing out on a whole lot of stuff.

 

TRAILER / OPENING MOVIE

 

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS?
Edo Blossom’s transition from Kyoto Winds was pretty smooth sailing as it immediately picked up the previous game’s premise. While the main plot and drama were built-up in Kyoto Winds, Edo Blossoms breaks the ice as it brought the conclusion to each of the route’s cliffhangers in KW. Also, unlike its prequel, Edo Blossoms does not contain a long repetitive common story so you can rest easy on this fact if you were bogged down from completing the last game by it.

I may have gushed about it in my Kyoto Winds review, but the writing for this remake was indeed, outstanding. The writers did a great job telling Hakuoki’s gripping story while building each characters’ individuality and of course their relationship with the main protagonist, and I believe this is what most of us fans, craved for. We want to connect, sympathize and know these characters more. Out of the twelve main casts, the routes that left an impression on me the most was Hijikata, Harada, Iba, and Kazama. Needless to say, each character has their own personalities that stood out individually from the other. Heck, even the side characters shined in this sequel. My personal favs would be Kyo Shiranui (he’s awesome in Harada’s route), Keisuke Otori (he’s really hilarious in Hijikata and Souma’s route) and of course our beloved chief Isami Kondou, who’s probably brought us the most tears in this sequel.

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To me, Edo Blossoms was a great read per se. I would definitely recommend this game to those who’ve played KW and the older Hakuoki games. Although, I wanna stress out the fact that this sequel’s angst was a bit overwhelming and while it worked out for me (I love torturing myself with immense angst lol), it may not work for some, esp. if you’re more inclined to enjoy light-hearted fluffy novels.

Overall, I would still give Hakuoki Edo Blossoms an A rating for its compelling story, brilliant characters that shone individually, an artwork to die for and for being one of the best visual novels that realistically tells the story of the last samurais in Japan: The Shinsengumi – of course, if you’re secretly a hopeless romantic like me, the romance factor is definitely a plus.

Chlo’s Rating: 9/10

 

 

Backlog Updates (October)

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Hello my fellow thirsty otome compatriots! Before this month ends, I’d like to make a quick update of my game backlogs. Nyan. A previous month back, I’ve set a goal to myself to maybe finish up some older games in my list but uh, lol… like that ever happened! (laughs)

I blame it all on DKS!
Recently, Dark Souls (Remastered) has taken over my life and it’s just so infuriating because I literally suck at this game. I don’t remember being this bad at rpgs I swear! (chuckles)  but man… I guess I’m still trying to get comfortable with this game’s controls (Hint: It’s wack af!) Anyway, I’m not here to review DKS lol, forgive me for griping! OK back to the topic.

Otoge Backlogs:

Currently Playing:

  • Norn9: Var Commons (PSVita) – Lol better late than never! 
  • Kitty Love (NSwitch)

Paused:

  • The Men of Yoshiwara: Oghiya (NSwitch)
  • Destiny Princess (NSwitch)
  • Pub Encounters (NSwitch)
  • The Amazing Shinsengumi (NSwitch)

 

Other Visual Novels:

  • Death Mark (NSwitch) – I’ve pre ordered this game, and will be getting my copy this Wednesday. This’ll be the highlight of my halloween and I’m really excited for it.
  • WILL: A Wonderful World (NSwitch) – I bought this because it was on sale in the eshop, the day it was released.

 

Reviews:

  • Hakuoki Edo Blossoms (In progress) – I’m about 65% finish with this review
  • Kitty Love

Walkthroughs:

  • Norn9: Var Commons (In progress)
  • Kitty Love (In progress)

 

There’ll be a couple more game releases this coming winter. A few on my list are: London Detective Mysteria, the game everyone’s so hyped about, Sweet Pool (BL game that’s worth every penny!), Nightshade (Physical copy for the Switch). If you’re by any chance interested with these games, ya’ll better be on a look out for them really soon!

Lastly, I wanted to thank everyone (all my readers, nyan!) who’s been very patient with me despite my horrible writing and my shameful taste in otome chracters lmao! THANK YOU ALL  for keeping up with this blog! Special shout out to all those who took their time sending those appreciation emails. Here’s one big hug from Kitty Chlo! 

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Kitty Love is finally out in the Eshop!

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Game Title: Kitty Love – Way to look for love
Release Date: November 1, 2018 (North America)
Developers: 
OperaHouse Corportion
Publishers: 
DIGIMERCE

This is a follow up post on the previous one I made last September regarding the game, Nyan “Kitty” Love.

Great news otome fans! Kitty Love is finally out in the Nintendo Eshop. This game is set to release this coming 1st of November.

Click here to read my review for this game.

Click here for Kitty Love’s downloadable content in Nintendo’s Eshop
Click here for Kitty Love’s official website.

 

STORY
Flower shop clerk Honoka has been occupied with her work. One night, when she visited the park that she normally goes to.

…She was cursed by an odd-eyed black cat, Now she becomes a cat at night and human by morning.

There’s only one way to break the curse.
――True love’s kiss.

 

Voiced? YES

Voice Actors include:

  • Soma Saito
  • Atsushi Tamaru
  • Hiroki Yasumoto
  • Tomoaki Maeno
  • Takahiro Sakurai

I’ve been hyping about this game since September as I’ve read a lot of good reviews about it from Japanese players. It’s also one of Operhahouse’s otome titles with the best sales record.

Other OperaHouse Otome games to look out for, that’ll most likely release on the Switch soon: