QuinRose // A history lesson and some thoughts

Last Saturday at Otomate Party, a huge bombshell was announced that no one familiar with the otome game scene had ever expected: QuinRose was making its return as an Otomate label.

I’m sure for those newer to the otome game scene (cough came in after 2016 cough), they’re all wondering so what? So I’m here to catch everyone up to what exactly QuinRose is/what happened to them.

whats a quinrose

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A few of the major types of female fans // a focus on yumejoshi

A few nights ago when the A3! anime was announced, out of morbid curiosity I looked up reactions to whether or not Izumi would appear. A vast majority were begging the producers/creator/whoever is in charge to let her appear because otherwise there would be no story. Personally I feel the same way about Ensemble Stars but the manga and stage play seems to think not, so as fans we never know what’ll happen.

A common reaction I saw from the Japanese fandom was condescension or a general expectation of “yumejoshi are going to riot”, to whether or not Izumi will appear. This made me wonder, why? Aren’t heroines meant to be self-inserts for the player in most cases? Why wouldn’t they want to see their heroine interact with their favourite chars?

Waht

I did some research into the notion of “yumejoshi” and present to you my findings.

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Sanzen Sekai Yuugi ~Re Multi Universe Myself~ (vita) // Overall Thoughts

I said I can never go back but I did. And by I did, I mean my god Koyasu Takehito dragged me back to the vita once I found out he was in this porn game that I never paid attention to. That being said I didn’t expect it to be in this way.

Sanzen Sekai Yuugi ~Re Multi Universe Myself~ was originally a porn game from Girl’s Dynamics released at the end of 2013, and this year had it’s porn removed and ported to the Vita by dramatic create. It’s falls into weird mix of sci-fi and crime and honestly I had no idea what to expect aside from CV: Koyasu (if you can’t tell by now, I’m probably going to be fairly biased when it comes to him).

what the heck is “re multi universe myself” even meant to mean

Unfortunately I never played the original because I didn’t kn0w Koyasu was in it, so this is my thoughts on the game for the first time.

Story

In a futuristic Japan, where crime is rampant and technology has advanced as far as proving the existence of 11 dimensions, Nakahara Tomoe (CV: Nakajima Saki) is a bounty hunter who takes pride in her sword skills. An incident between her brother and parents 10 years ago left her on her own. Filled with rage, Tomoe seeks to avenge her parents by killing her brother, Nakahara Raikou (CV: Koyasu Takehito), who she thinks was their murderer. One day on a bounty hunting job, Tomoe single handedly takes out a cult but carelessly lets one member survive. That person escapes to a parallel world in an attempt to take revenge on her. It is then that Tomoe learns of the existence of top secret government equipment that allows members of one world to travel to another and that in this other world, there are parallel versions of themselves also living out their lives. If this parallel version of themselves die in the other world, the current version will also die. To stop the cult member from murdering the parallel version of Tomoe, she and the policeman entrusted to her division, Kira Seishirou (CV: Higuchi Tomoyuki & Kitayama Kyousuke) set off to this parallel world to hunt him down. Meanwhile another bounty hunter, Orion Drednaught (CV: Kawahara Yoshihisa) and the terrorist Geoffroy Felix (CV: Oda Hisafumi) have also been employed to kill her. Tomoe takes all these challenges face on and intends to get to the bottom of the case.

I’m not gonna summarise the story because I rushed through the game to get to CV: Koyasu so I didn’t take notes. But I will discuss some things in the spoilery side of things and cry. Mainly cry.

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Beast Darling ~Kemonomimi Danshi to Himitsu no Ryou~ // Overall Thoughts

With the otome game world currently seeing lots of change, I decided to pick up Beast Darling for my brand new(ish now?) Switch to see how games play, as well as to get a feel for how games will work from now on. Honestly I expected to finish this way earlier so I could also talk about what the otome game experience on Switch is like albeit with a subpar game which I expected to be pretty subpar to begin with. Needless to say I was too slow and now Cendrillon palikA is out so I dunno how useful this opinion would be, but whatever, moving on.

Well……………

Beast Darling follows the heroine, Kazuki (Katsuki?) Kazuha, who from a young age has always had the uncontrollable ability of attracting animals. For as long as she could remember, this has caused her to be a societal outcast, without even attention from her own parents. One day her parents move overseas, but instead of following them, Kazuha decides to stay in Japan, living and working while studying. However, due to her ability, she’s kicked out of her home and job. When her pet cat, Futaba, brings her a pamphlet for Gaou Academy, she goes to have a look after being attracted by the dorms. When she arrives, she’s immediately attacked by a violent boy with lion ears. She learns that everyone at that dorm carry animal curses, which make them sprout animal ears and take on that animals’ traits. There she learns that her animal attracting ability is also able to calm the onset of the curses in these boys. After seeing a little too much, she’s forced to transfer to Gaou Academy and stay in the dorms with the boys. To make sure their secret isn’t spilled, one of the five trouble-making boys are assigned to watch over her.

Beast Darling for Switch is a port of the mobile game of the same name, without all the ticket/mission BS…And honestly it really is just that.

System

There are no story dependent choices in the game and there is always at least two choices in each chapter, just like a normal ticketed game, which increases the affection of your dude. When the affection is a certain level, you unlock the happy end, or the beast (bad) end if its not high enough. Because of this, it also means you have to restart from the beginning or however many bad choices earlier to get the beast end because there’s no affection gauge, so its impossible to tell which end you’re heading for. The only way I knew I was getting the happy end was because there’s an indicator that you chose the choice that made your dude happy every time (a love catch). There’s also no extra content for full comping (getting the happy end and the good end) so that kind of sucked.

Important

At the end of most chapters, a GAO chat screen pops up, which is like an in-game version of Line. Sometimes there’s a voiced message from your dude as well right at the end, which is sweet but er, mainly gimmicky and serves no real purpose honestly.

Sound

The Switch version is part voiced, I assume just like the mobile version, because every other feature is also just as a mobile game would be.

At first, the prologue is fully voiced (save for heroine and side chars) so I was tricked into thinking it was a voiced game, but come the actual individual char routes, it was very sparsely voiced. Most of the time you’re sitting there listening to the same three BGMs playing and it gets tiring.

I should’ve known it wouldn’t be fully voiced since the price was sort of cheap compared to say, the OperaHouse games which are all fully voiced and probably about the same quality. I normally don’t mind unvoiced games, but when they market the game with chars voiced by Kaji Yuki, KENN, Sakai Koudai, Shirai Yuusuke and Jinya Haruka…………you kinda expect to hear their voices for more than 5 minutes in total, you know? It’s the fact that they weren’t really upfront about this info at all that kind of got me annoyed.

Story

Without spoiling, it’s kind of ordinary. Not super good, deep or interesting, but not particularly horrible. It really doesn’t leave much of an impression because it’s one of those games that brings up interesting plot points, but never quite fleshes them out and everything is resolved quite simply.

For example………………………..

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Urakata Hakuouki // Summary and Overall Thoughts

By now I’m sure everyone interested in otome games would have an idea of what Hakuouki is, but for those less familiar, here’s a quick run down of what it is. Hakuouki is about a girl who goes to Kyoto looking for her missing father and is drawn into the historical political intrigue between the Shinsengumi and the Bakufu mixed with a dose of fantasy. Urakata Hakuouki is a spin-off game that follows the same vein as the original, unsurprisingly.

aka. time to milk that dead cow some more

Urakata Hakuouki is about Kirishima Kozue who lives in Kyoto with her only living blood relative, her brother Kirishima Sousuke. Together they run a dojo teaching children swordsmanship. One day they’re both attacked by a group of Shinsengumi members with white hair and red eyes. Desperately trying to seek help, Kozue runs into Katsura Kogorou (CV: KENN), one of her brother’s friends, and they go back to her where they were attacked. Leaving only a sea of blood and his sword behind, Kozue’s brother nor his attackers are no where to be found. Takechi Zuisan, her brother’s mentor, offers to help Kozue in her search for her brother and along with Katsura and his associates, samurai Takasugi Shinsaku (CV: Sugita Tomokazu), Western merchant Glover (CV: Sakurai Takahiro) and samurai Okada Izou (CV: Suzumura Kenichi). In the search, she is drawn into the anti-Bakufu activities of the Tosa and Choushuu loyalists in the attempts to overthrow the Tokugawa Shogunate.

Me the entire time @ the history

Quick summary of routes over the jump. I’m not super familiar with Japanese history but I’ll try my best to explain what I did get from the game (and from gleaming wiki lmfao).

 

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Otome media vs. media for females // explained with a focus on games

Recently I’ve seen an fair amount of people confusing the terms 女性向け (josei muke, lit. aimed at women) and 乙女向け (otome muke, lit. aimed at maidens), so I’m here to provide an explanation that no one asked for!

What is 女性向け? Aimed at women?

Josei muke, for the purpose of simplicity is just anything “aimed at women”. It is the umbrella term that covers all things relevant to womens’ interests including but not limited to things like otome games, BL/yaoi games/manga, shoujo manga. Of course guys can enjoy these things too but because a vast majority of the target is female, it’s referred to as “for women”.

Here’s a diagram:

graphics design is ym pasison

What is 乙女向け? Aimed at maidens?

Otome muke, aimed at maidens, is basically any media where you can put yourself in the shoes of a female lead and “capture” guys (ie. make them fall for you or vice versa). I’m not going to go into the history of the term because I have no idea, I just know what it refers to.

Needless to say, this category features predominantly heterosexual relationships, because in strict otome media the lead is always a female character (who is “you” or “someone you control” depending on your own perspective). In some rare cases, the heroine’s partner may be a woman, which it becomes a lesbian relationship, but a majority of the prospective captureable chars will be male.  Which also means, no, BL games are not otome games since the player is a male character.

In otome games, there will always be explicit romance between the player-controlled heroine and one of the captureable chars. It may just be a one liner “I love you” or it may be intense making out, but it is always made clear. This is what sets itself apart from other female targeted media, such as Ensemble Stars and A3!, which both have female player characters and a huge cast of attractive male characters, because there is no explicit romance between the characters.

What about 夢向け? I want to dream too!

There is also a sub-genre of female-targeted media called 夢向け (yume muke, lit. aimed at dreamers). This group can probably be associated with otome muke or considered separate because there are similarities and differences. For yume muke media, it’s usually an original character who is presumed to be yourself. So basically every “hot anime guy #1293892 x reader” fanfic is considered yume muke. People who enjoy this kind of media are usually referred to as yumejoshi (lit. dreaming girls) though this is also used to refer to otome media fans too….so yeah. The difference here is that the female character is usually not canonically in the series. However there are exceptions where the canon lead is not necessarily fleshed out, for example Touken Ranbu fan works which feature an original female saniwa are considered yume muke; saniwa exist in their world but no clarification is ever made as to how they act/look etc.

The +Kareshi series is probably one of the more prolific yume muke manga.

Summary of otome and yume targeted media

  Otome media Yume media
Female x Male
Main (player char) is female
Has romance
Mainly fan/derivative works

Mixing otome elements and BL elements

So the previous section was about strictly-otome media, but we all know there are things that exist in between. Media (in this case the only thing that comes to mind are games), have come to mixing the two genres up to dip into the wallets of both audiences and maximise profit. This is a majority of the mobile games aimed at women right now.

Otome elements: the male cast hitting on the female player character.

BL elements: the male cast hitting on another male cast member.

But both strictly do not have anything past hinting at a relationship at most.

Games that fall under this category are (not all inclusive):

  • Ensemble stars
  • A3!
  • Idolish7
  • Dear Magi (RIP)
  • UtaPri Shining Live

Utapri Shining Live is a black sheep, with the UtaPri console series staring out as strict otome games, but then switched to pandering to the BL audience as well and removing the romantic elements which were there previously with the mobile Shining Live.

None of these games are considered otome games nor BL games, but they still fall under the “for women” title, which is what most people seem to get confused about.

Of course some games fall on different ends of the scale depending on how much of each element they decide to put into the game, with Ensemble Stars pandering more to BL fans while A3! panders more to otome game fans.

Games with an all male cast but not to the point of BL also fall under this category, without the otome elements and with the BL elements scaled up.

These games include (but aren’t limited to):

  • DREAM!ing
  • Band Yarouze (RIP)
  • Cocktail Prince (RIP)

And then there’s a third category which is aimed at girls, but with no specific pandering to either yumejoshi or fujoshi (BL fans) which casts an even wider net. Games that girls would find attractive due to the male cast but doesn’t give much in the way of hinting at relationships deeper than friendship.

These games include:

  • Touken Ranbu
  • Bungou to Alchemist
  • Senjyuushi

Basically games with minimal official content and leaves everything to the imagination of their fans, including making up your own player char or just ignoring them completely.

TLDR;

 

General female targeted media Otome media BL media
Are targeted to female audiences
Female player char/lead Mostly
Mainly heterosexual romance
Mainly homosexual romance

There’s always gonna be some exceptions to the rule but this is really the main difference.

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Taisho x Alice All in One // Overall Thoughts

After suffering 2 months of Haruka3 I finally moved on to the last route in Taisho x Alice , and finished it in less than half a day. And now I have no will to live.

Taisho x Alice (TaiAli) was published by Primula, separated into 4  PC volumes then consolidated and ported to vita by Prototype. For those more in tune with the ins an outs of the otome game community will recall the first PC volume had a disastrous localisation by E2 gaming and hopefully that was the end of that because thsi game truly does not deserve any drama like that. But seeing as all mention of the English version has been removed from the official site, I’ll pray that Primula has cut all ties with E2.

There’s different covers depending on where you are up to in the game, so I’ll just use the one I like most (❀╹▿╹)ノ

Introduction:

TaiAli starts off with the heroine inside a dark space all alone and with no memory. In that space, she meets a sarcastic young man also with no memory except for the fact that he’s called Alis and he names her Alice. Together they then find a strange place full of mirror-like crystals, and in the reflection of those crystals, Alice sees the portraits of several other young men. Deciding those are actually doors, Alice travels through each one to see whats on the other side. Each ‘door’ then leads her into the role of “Arisu Yurika” and down a strange fantasy world full of fairy tale characters. Each story is seemingly separate until about the 3rd volume when everything starts piecing together to form the truth behind the world they exist in.

There’s no real distinction between “Alice” and “Arisu” so I’m gonna use Arisu for Yurika’s name.

Story:

Without spoiling, this is definitely a game you need to complete every volume to fully understand. And I swear those who do complete it, will not regret it. It’s written really craftily so that at first its kind of confusing and feels like a weird loose retelling of popular fairy tails (though I’d argue Princess Kaguya is an odd choice of fairy tale amongst a bunch of Western fairy tales).

Honestly the first volume (Akazukin- little red riding hood and Cinderella) doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the main story.

The story takes a few liberties on medicine and reality but overall its not something that’s noticeably wrong. It strikes a good balance between fantasy and reality. At times, there are a few lines that are appear harmless but if you read between the lines, are actually quite frightening. But this is not overdone nor done without reason, making it quite memorable.

Textually, it’s very simple and there’s not really much flowery language/weird euphemisms some games have. If I think back to it, it’s so bare bones ( ◡⁀◡ ). However that just speaks volumes about the ideas and story, since it manages to encapsulate the depth and gravity of the situation.

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