Hatsukoi 1/1 was a fairly decent title, but after releasing it, tone work’s became infamous for taking forever to go anywhere with it’s romantic developments. Now, they are trying to change that by making a pure-breed chara-ge! Read further if you dare to see the results!
Hino Riyousuke moves back to Shionagi in order to fulfil his dreams of becoming an architect. Consequently, he ends up meeting with many girls on his new school life. Some old and new faces. They all would become inseparable friends.
Ousaka Sora is a slow-paced girl who doesn’t try to become closer to anyone and is always alone as the sole member of the astronomy club. This is until she has a fated encounter with Riyousuke, which eventually results in her becoming friends with the other girls he befriended. She loves stars above everything, and Riyousuke is part responsible for that. If only he could remember it…Shinozaki Marika had a very weak body during her childhood, but thanks to her swimming practice, her body became much healthier. She was inspired by her childhood friend Riyousuke, who always visited her to say how fun his daily-life was, making her wanting to experience the same things as well. Hence forth, Marika feels like he is her savior, and she is unable to say anything other than compliments about the boy.Segawa Natsuki is the ultra-loud and mischievous photo-addicted girl who is responsible for the graduation album. She is always planning new ways to tricky and make fun of people. She also has a thing for forcing people to do heavy labor for her.Okihara Misa is the younger daughter of a famous aquatic biologist and, by the influence of her father, she loves any aquatic creature (specially jellyfishes). Much like Sora, she is the president and single member of her club: the aquatic research club. She would be very popular, but no one was able to keep up with her when she started her non-stop aquatic babbling. But then, Riyousuke came into her life…Narusawa Rikka is the daughter of a famous pianist who has a inferiority complex because of her much more talented little sister. When the opportunity to study abroad and eventually become a pro appeared for the siblings, she choose to stay in Japan and live by herself. For this reason, Rikka became known as the cold beauty who never speaks with anyone. But, one day, a transfer student named Riyousuke sits beside her during class and is able to become her friend by ignoring everyone’s warnings.Yukimura Touko was once a normal human being, until she was abducted by mysterious entities who proceeded to perform a cyborg surgery in order to make the perfect soldier to be used in the plan of conquering Earth. However, She was able to escape, and now lives as normal life as a Japanese student. Well, this is actually the origin story of Kamen Rider, but this would be a good explanation for how she is able to be better than anyone (and I mean ANYONE) at anything without even trying or practicing. At least it would be better than the official explanation: “She is really really talented since birth” (-_-‘). She becomes acquainted with Riyousuke when the two start to hang out in the same abandoned room in the old school building. She used the place to hide from the many club-captains who she smashed, since they were always begging her to join their club, which she has no interest in doing so, since those easy games are boring for her. In exchange for Riyousuke helping her to ge rid of those annoying club scouts, they become friends.
Themes & Routes
This game is full of ups and downs. Few characters are truly interesting and charismatic, but for the most part, they become really boring with time, or they were already boring or/and annoying from the start.Representing the boring side is Touko, as her Mary Sue stereotype always makes everything look dull and banal, and by remembering which was the last game that used this type of character, you can know just how “good of an idea” this element is. Natsuki is the most annoying one, since she is always barging in where she isn’t wanted and proceeds to try becoming the center of attention by making a fool of Riyousuke. It’s not even a bit funny and doesn’t make her likable, but at least she settles down a little during her route.The main problem is: How the hell did this annoying bitch become Riyousuke’s girlfriend? Actually, there isn’t a good reason for why the characters start a relationship, for most routes. In Natsuki’s case, it’s because he helped her a little with work and became attracted to her when they were in the beach. There are also some cases that are just too ordinary, like with Marika, whose affection levels for the protagonist are already at max since the start, so you just have that feeling of “finally, huh? Took you guys long enough!”.Some of the better developed romances are with Sora, Rikka and Misa, but even those get some problems of pacing or the heroine’s special traits eventually become tiresome, especially with Sora’s “slow-motion-taking” or Misa’s way of pretending Riyousuke isn’t her boyfriend while talking with other people accompanying him, which gets really repetitive during her epilogue chapter.Talking about the epilogue chapters, this is a thing in this game. All heroines got a long epilogue which is almost as long as their normal route. This story covers the heroines living their adulthood together with Riyousuke and leading to their marriage.Most of those after-stories don’t have much of a point and are merely a sequence of events where everything is great for everyone and even better things happen for the main couple. Those super-happy scenes have many intermissions with H-scenes that usually take longer to end than the other events.H-scenes, huh? Yes! There’s a lot of them! Enough to rival any Nukige, but they take long to come and there’s a proper building up for them with all the romance, conflicts and drama coming before them, but once they begin doing it, they never stop.Yeah, whatever! This IS a Chara-ge after all, so those type of things are to be expected…I guess! However, the thing that is truly unforgivable is how the developers give you the illusion of choice and rub it in your face just to tease you, which is a pretty disgusting feeling that I just recently experienced through my Semiramis no Tenbin playthrough. In the case of this game, there’s really only one choice that has a real effect in which route you will get.All other choices are there just to make this game look more complex than it really is, but when you actually decides to choose something different than you would normally do, there’s no change to the story. Riyousuke will have a second thought and choose to do what HE wants, or one of the heroines will insist or force him into doing what they want.This is particularly irritating during an event where Riyousuke has to do a series of challenges, where he will be punished by the girls if he ever fails once. You get to choose his actions, but none of the choices are correct, thus the pay-off is always the same, with your main character losing and being humiliated several times…GREAT!!Mr. Okano Touya, Mr. Shiroya Tsuki, Mr. Ni-shi~ and Mr. Imaka Rio, would you gentlemen please go Fuck Yourselves deeply?!
Mutou Kirihito, Iidzuki Tasuku, Koizumi Amane and Akino Tsubaru! Wow! And this is without mentioning Yuuki Gao’s SDs! I have to admit it’s impressive how the art-style keeps consistency among 4 different artists! I appreciate this game’s graphics for most part. The girls look sexy and cute without looking overly moe.But once you get to the epilogue, it’s difficult to not notice at least a bit of laziness from the artists, since those chapters usually take place 8 years after the main story, but the girls look about the same. While Marika and Touko get longer hair, the other characters only get a change of clothes and that’s all! THEY ARE ADULTS NOW!The characters use a smartphone app called LIME, which is similar to twitter or Skype. There’s a lot of conversations taking place through this cellphone app, and they use some emoticons and illustrations that are kind of amusing.
And this “LIME-thing” also is one of the bigger problems in this game, as it is a lame excuse to have long plot-driven conversations that don’t use any voice-acting. Maybe some could see this befitting a story about nowadays teenagers, but this just feels cheap for me…The voice acting is pretty excellent, which makes sense, giving the high budget spent in this game. While there’s no famous seiyuus outside of the Galge world working here, it feels like everyone gave their all. If you think one of the character’s voices is annoying, I believe it’s the fault of how this character was written and not the seiyuu’s performance.Even minor-characters have good voice actors, but there aren’t many different seiyuus to this job, so you end up hearing many voices over and over again, and eventually, it becomes really easy to recognize them, especially for Horikawa Shinobu, who did Roa’s voice from Racial Merge, Here he plays Nirasawa Shiyuichi – Riyousuke’s best friend. His voice is used for almost every male sub-character in the game.
It seems like many people have great expectations for the musics by Tenmon, MANYO, Meeeon and many other composers and artists. tone work’s has really gone out of it’s way to make this game’s soundtrack be something special. The result was pretty good, actually! It’s many times better than the forgettable shit we usually get in most Galges! It has a big focus on piano and violin, which makes for many relaxing tunes. The vocals are also excellent and many heroines have songs especially recorded for their routes.
A okay chara-ge! It’s a good distraction, just the way this type of title should be, but nothing more than that. At least, it’s not bad in general. So you can go ahead and play it…if you have nothing better to play and lots of time in your hands…Well, it IS a Chara-ge, after all…