Amaterasu Blog

31May/1212

Hoshi no Oujo Review

Apparently this is a classic otomege, so I was looking forward to trying and get myself emotionally involved with romantic issues from a female point of view. That did happen once in a while, but unfortunately the overall experience was closer to a cliche storm.

It's hard to explain exactly why, since the characters aren't that bad, the conflicts are legitimate and many events were reasonably clever. Probably the best way to express it is that almost none of the good ideas were utilized as well as they should have been. Some twists that should have surprised or moved me felt arbitrary because no justification was given. Some scenes simply lacked the detail needed to make me react emotionally. Some endings were so sudden I just felt baffled. Sometimes an event was too cliche for me to care. There's a very long list of little problems like this which, as a whole, makes the story feel like a very rough first draft. Even the art contributes to this feeling, since some images are completely unnecessary, some don't match the rest of the art, and some are just badly drawn.

The only thing the VN did consistently well was the choices. They were numerous, they felt meaningful, and often it wasn't obvious what they did (this was possible in part because most of them ask how you feel, not what you'll do). The amount of wasted potential is especially striking in the middle of the lawyer's route, since in that part there's genuine uncertainty as to how he feels about you, which was both plausible and engaging. Sadly, this was short-lived.

Score: 6.5/10

Polarization: (+1/-1.5)

This VN has a habit of transitioning instantaneously from scene to scene without any warning whatsoever. Although I got used to it pretty quickly, some readers will probably find it jarring the whole way through.
Also, the side characters' routes are just flimsy excuses to cram in a (somewhat creepy) sex scene. I usually ignore routes like this, but they might bother you more.

Routes/Endings Played: All

19May/1210

Suiheisen Made Nan Mairu? – Review

Typical premise: the protagonist's club is in danger of being disbanded, so they have to do something productive for once to save their club. For various reasons, that something is competing in a battery-powered glider tournament, but this VN is still primarily about the slice of life and character interaction, as you would expect.

First, the plots are usually very predictable, sometimes even contrived, to the point where there's almost no tension at all even near the climaxes of the routes. Fortunately, this isn't what the VN is trying to focus on, so a lot of it can be ignored.

The big selling point here is the presentation. Even to me, the artwork is consistently gorgeous, and it gets all the poses and facial expressions just right. This matters because it makes the characters more cute/attractive and certain scenes more romantic. The music is also unique and atmospheric. Partly because of all that, the dialogue with the characters is always entertaining or soothing or whatever other positive emotion the VN's aiming for, so the overall experience is satisfying.

However, the problem that keeps Suiheisen from being extraordinary is that most of those characters simply don't have enough depth. Long before you finish a heroine's route, you've already seen everything there is to them, so the appeal tends to shift from genuine interest in the character to a shallow curiosity about how the route will end. Not that that's bad, but it's far from amazing.

Score: 7.5/10

Polarization: (+1/-0.5)

Obviously, depends how you value plot vs character vs presentation.

Routes/Endings Played: All 5 routes.

P.S.: Since Sheeta and I were curious, I also read the yaoi route in the fandisc. The first half of it was hilarious, though the second half was kind of a cop-out.