Finally! A Nounai Kanojo title that doesn’t involve traps. How long has it been? So many things have changed on these last years, specially my tolerance to stupidity, so I hope this one turns out to be one of their best games to date.
Story & Characters
Meet Saijiyou Kirio and her marry group of childhood friends. The whole group revolves around her and respect her so much that they call her “Leader”. Because of her family circumstances, she was raised like a boy, as such, she got used to play with boys since early on her life.She has a crush on her childhood friend Hishikawa Riku, but her condition influenced him to not treat her like a normal girl, so she usually takes her anger out on him by punching and binding him for nothing.Her frustration just intensified when Riku started to date with Amatsuka Misora – another of her childhood friends. Even though they were just little children at the time, the two were on a intense iccha-rabu relationship. However, Misora passed away on a tragic accident, leaving Riku on a deep depression. He never fully recovered and didn’t want to form a new relationship with anyone else.This was until Riku met with Aiba Miyako, who had just transferred to his school and looked exactly like a grown up version of his late lover. Even though her personality was nothing like Misora’s, Riku just couldn’t help but confess to Miyako on first glance. Given her eccentric demeanor plus their situation at the time, she accepted to become his girlfriend. After cooling down a little, Riku was ready to take his confession back, but Kirio decided to kill her own feelings to cooperate with Miyako, seeing her as the only solution to cure Riku’s heart.However, she wasn’t expecting Amatsuka Suzuho – Misora’s little sister – to become their enemy. She is a dumb brat who considers herself as Riku’s imouto and was working to make Riku forget her sister. The arrive of “Misora’s ghost” ruined everything she did to that day (which wasn’t much).Rivaling with Suzuho is Hishikawa Karen, Riku’s true little sister who was living abroad with her parents on Bangkok because she couldn’t resist her sexual urges while living with her beloved brother. She is a cultural sponge, mastering the Thai cuisine and becoming an unbeatable Muay-thai fighter. After 3 years away, she finally returned to Japan, but since her feelings had not died out, she tries to act cold around her onii-chan while asking for advice from Kirio.Karen enrolled on the same academy as Shiina Yukari, a very respected senpai from a filthy rich family. Unknown to her, Yukari knows her brother from her part-time job on a restaurant. Thanks to a (really lame) misunderstanding, she thinks Karen surname is Amatsuka, and they give each other advices about their love interests, without noticing they could become possible rivals in the future.
Routes & Themes
Riku is a ridiculously weak protagonist, both physically and mentally. He doesn’t even feel like the main character, since a good portion of the story could have been told by other characters perspective without losing much. He doesn’t have anything interesting about his personality other than a dead girlfriend, and even this is not exactly about himself.The heroines, on the other hand, get complete control over every situation, and they are always the ones to move the story forward, specially Kirio, who is always many steps ahead of anyone, even outside of her route. Without mentioning that, for a long period, you continue to see the story mostly by her perspective, while the “protagonist” keeps getting lamer and lamer by the day. This never changes, even after he chooses an official partner.Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean other characters are much different, as they are based on a series of stereotypes…very boring and annoying stereotypes! The only exception for this would be Karen, who reveals to have a sick obsession for her brother. It is kinda creepy and I love it!At least, they stay true to the title name and have one single choice for you to decide whose route you will get. Until this moment comes, they just keep throwing the same joke at you where Riku asks if it’s not about time for some options to show up at the screen. That repeats A LOT before you get to this screen:However, there’s no end to Riku’s “hetareness” For example: The presents he picks for his girlfriends are always epic fails, usually getting awkward reactions or, in the best case scenario, the girl forces herself to enjoy the lame gift.Riku is always treated like a pathetic and disgusting loser, while the girls are able to solve their problems by themselves, rendering him useless. For those and other reasons, it becomes really difficult to put yourself in his shoes…
Aogiri Penta was the regular artists for all Nounai Kanojou titles until now, but this changed for this one. Maybe he has become an adept of the “trap religion”. They did post an apology & warning about the lack of traps in this game for a reason…The art is by Agekichi and Sorai Shin-ya. They are not the usual artists behind most Nounai Kanojo titles, but they are not half-bad. I like Karen’s design, the rest is ok. The problem are the proportions and poses.The artist seems to believe that, as long as you draw the same type of hands, it’s super feminine! So, almost every heroine has to do the same kind of gestures. It’s weird, tiring and makes their poses very repetitive.Furthermore, men look very bad compared to female characters. This can seem obvious, since it is a Galge, but I mean REALLY BAD!
Good voice acting…for the most part, at least. Like most Galge seiyuus, they are not exactly at the same level as the ones who work on the non-ero stuff, so it’s pretty depressing when they try something more, like speaking English…oh! Sorry! I mean “Engrish“.Ah! And the men folk also have unfitting and low-level voice actors. Do they even care for those poor beings of the male gender? I should also mention that mob characters get no voices at all, so the game could feel very silent sometimes.The BGMs are mediocre as usual. Although, I must admit I like the 8-bits style track from the title screen, but that’s it…
I didn’t appreciate this game as much as I think I should, after all, the theme of “moving forward after a terrible loss” is very interesting, I just think it was poorly used here. But, I believe people who are not as bothered by those clichés as I am, can easily fall in love with this story and its characters. After all, it’s a Nounai Kanojo title, they are not a famous brand for nothing, right?!