Once upon a time, there was a very weird guy called Tomokazu Sugita. He was a talented voice actor and was even considered to be one of the best seyuu of his era by the peverted people from 2ch (and in a world where K-ON and AKB0048 are the law, this is impressive). Wishing for more, Sugita decided to write a novel. Feeling the smell of profit, Arc System Works used the same engine from XBlaze to make a visual novel out of Sugita’s work. The result is quite something…
Touyama Kou transfer to a new small city where he is suddenly attacked during the first night by monsters called Hazards and finished by a mysterious girl equipped with a demon-like gauntlet. Since he is the protagonist, he awakes in the morning of the same day and notice that time looped. Seeking help from the girl he makes an alliance with the Student council of his school and finds out they fight those monsters every night. Now he must solve the mystery behind what is happening with the city and himself.
What I first noticed by playing this game is that Sugita is more of a good writer than I expected! He gives some very interesting twists to the old school-life formula. For example: The main heroine Eiri is totally in love with her brother, however, she is not the protagonist’s sister. She also never comes to love the “real protagonist” (even during her route) and it’s necessary to change the very fabric of reality just so she can start to treat the main character as a human being during the true route. The inverse also occur in a route with other of the heroines, where the protagonist spend months living alone with a cute girl in love with him, yet he never comes to feel nothing more than friendship for her.The characters are very charismatic and interesting, not being as generic as most school themed games also helps a lot! I just hated Eiri, she is such a bitch! I also don’t get why Kou falls in love for her as default. I get that she is a beauty, but everything else isn’t at the same level, which makes me feel like Kou is a materialist bastard, just like in real life! Which reminds me there was an event where Kou takes advantage when Eiri is feeling very scared and insecure to finally have some “sweet talk” with her, just like in real life!The plot is very complex and well-written. I am not personally a big fan of the “type of plot” they use for the twist in the true route, but I thought it was enjoyable nevertheless.
You can feel many of Sugita’s personal tastes influencing the characters and setting. Like the fact that there are at least 3 incestuous relationships in the game. There are also many one-liners and references taken from mangas and games that Sugita had said to love on his radio show. By the way, one of the characters is a fan of a fictional anime series called Shadow Mirage, which the protagonist is AGRS – the mascot of his radio show.The graphics are great! As aforementioned, the game runs in the same engine of Xblaze, and just like the BlazBlue’s prequel, there are many poses, effects and animations to pass the sensation of deep in the background and interactions between the characters and while there are less graphic variety than XBlaze, they are still as effective.The music is not as good as the tracks from Xblaze, but are at least as good as those from most quality Galges, in other words: Effective and enjoyable, but forgettable as soon as you stop playing.
Also different from XBlaze is the narrative style, where in this game It is mostly made in a first-person perspective and features a protagonist that stays silent and voiceless for the most part (except for some parts during the end of some routes and during the true route). Just like any other Galge, the game is heavily narrated by the protagonist, which I consider it to be a regression from Xblaze’s fast-paced narrative.
The original work was called Getsuei Gakuen – ERGØ. The information about this is very scarce even in Japanese sites, but what I could find was that the original material was a novel written by Sugita and a friend by the nick name of Mitachi Tama, they sold their work as a doujin novel in conventions and later they formed a doujin group called ARGS to create a doujin game based on the novel. I could say it has much of the same characters and settings, but some characters have very different roles and focus. Some characters lack graphics and other simply doesn’t exist at all, like Touyama Kou for example. Yes, the main character in the original was Eiri, she had a different personality, being was much more friendly and less self-centered. The graphics are much grittier than in the version made by Arc System Works. There are no voices or animations, there are much less variety in poses and CGs (what was to be expected from a doujin title). Still, it is very clear that the original contributed much with the pro-version and it should be an interesting read for those who liked this game.This game was great! I am really starting to become a fan of those visual novels from Arc System Works! I am also honestly impressed with Sugita’s talent, even though he had help, it was a very solid and deep plot and sometimes a whole team doesn’t get to do those things right. Just make sure to not come with another Eiri next time, ok guys?!