June 2, 2011

Game review: Akazukin to Mayoi no Mori

Made by: Calameliatorte
Genre: Otome, 18+, Fairytale, Dark, Romance
Summary: After Tiana is lost in the Forest of Hesitation she meets various people with all dark secrets. Her own past is also revealed and the curse of the forest has more to do with her than she ever could imagine.

Tiana

Tiana's stepmother sends her out to visit her uncle in the forest, but when arriving at the location of the map there is nothing there. Heartbroken by the fact that her family tried to get rid of her, Tiana decides she is better off being eaten by wolves. She is a very strong character with lots of personality. I liked how quick-thinking she was and brave in many situations.

She learns from Okami-san that the forest is cursed in several ways. Rule number one is that you never can say your name out loud (you learn their real name after finishing their route), if you do, you turn into a small grey flower. This brings us to rule number two, which is never ever to go into the grey flower garden. It is the cursed place of the forest, where there are spirits only chosen people can see. Touching the red apple is strictly forbidden.

Tiana starts having strange nightmares of killing someone in the forest. She wakes up screaming and it increases as the story progress. She also remembers someone there together with her, a person she used to call big brother.

                                                        Okami-san
He was supposed to eat her, but instead brought Tiana back to his house and let her stay until is old enough to eat. He is the guardian of the forest and got a very playful and charming personality. Tiana loves living with Okami-san and enjoy her new life.They go for walks, have picnic and flirt around a lot and soon the girl finds herself in love with the wolf. Tiana wants to grow up fast so Okami-san could see her as a woman and fall in love with her too, but at the same time she knows growing up means he will kill her. So she asks Usagi-san for advice and the rabbit tells her to become his lover, that way he won't kill her. When Okami-san some days later mentions how grown up the girl have become, she confesses her feelings.


But of course love is ever easy, and Okami suddenly becomes cold and rude, like a different person. He rapes her and call her whore for going back on her word. A week goes by with the same proceedings until Tiana one day begs him to stop and asks him to kiss her. She's realized that kiss on the lips have a special meaning in the forest and the only true way of showing someone you love them. Okami-san refuses and then tells her to leave the forest forever or stay here as his toy and continues hurting her feelings by screaming how he can't look at her face without becoming angry and hates her beyond anything.

Tiana runs away and accidentally ends up at Yamaneko-san who starts molesting her before Okami-san runs in the room and saves her.

On the way back they talk and he finally kisses her on the lips, telling her he loves her. They go back to the usual peaceful days until Tiana starts recalling more childhood memories. Okami-san slips up and accidentally revels that he was the big brother Tiana remembers. She used to wander around in the forest and Okami-san always took care of her. When her mother one day came with her, with the intention of killing the woodsman, the wolf killed her for the sake of protecting the forest.Tiana's nightmares where the memory of that event.


Afraid that Tiana would hate him after knowing he killed her mother, together with the fact that she went back on her word about being eaten, was the reason he raped her and treated her bad. He did not dare to lover her in case she would remember but he still didn't want to let her go.

Tiana, kind as she is, forgives him and they promise to be together from her on.
The epilogue takes place some months later.

I found both his character and route a little too similar to Ijiwaru My Master to fully enjoy it. It was still a pretty good read but I somehow have a hard time accepting a character like this. Okami-san is a good guy and loves Tiana very much, although I felt he wasn't very trustworthy, even by the end of the game after it was all over. I know I expected something like this even before I started, but his reasons and way of handling the secret felt to me very selfish.

By the end of the game the thing I miss the most is the lack of character development.
The epilogue just shows that he is the same way he was in the beginning of the game and haven't really learned anything from the experience. Another problem I have is how he turn into the protective and kind big brother-type in the other routes, which just adds up the fact that he and Tiana doesn't go together as a couple.

Yamaneko-san
Glasses? Check.
Rapist? Check.
Yusa Kouji? Check.
I don't think I have to point out that I dislike this type of character very much. His background though was pretty interesting and it revealed a lot about Tiana and her mother too. He owns the restaurant in the forest called "Restaurant Solitude"

Yamaneko-san is of course very sneaky and deceiving, which (thank god) Tiana realizes pretty early. After he suddenly confesses he loves her and gives her a ring, Tiana decides to trust him anyway and says she loves him too.

After she lost her virginity Yamaneko says to her that if she tries to leave, he will kill everyone. Shocked and scared she asks what the hell he is up to and the cat explains that by sleeping with Tiana he will gain more magic powers (he already had some from the beginning of the game).
He reveals that he was the one who put the curse on the forest.

During the time when she is locked up in the restaurant she get to know Yamaneko-san a bit better. Apparently his whole clan is gone which leaves him to be the only wildcat left. Their old empty village is still hidden in the forest, and the corpses? They are all the grey flowers in the flower garden.

One day when Tiana is confronting him he tells her about the witch Claudia. Tiana's mother.
She and Yamaneko-san were lovers in the past, both very dangerous magicians who craved power. They had many things planned to do in the future, killing everyone in the village for example, until Claudia one day met Tiana's father. Yamaneko-san promised to fulfill their goals on his own and waited for the day when she would return. But the years passed and then came the day when Okami-san killed her.

Yamaneko was heartbroken and buried her in the grey flower garden. He figured out that by turning people into grey flowers and planting them around her corpse, she could be revived by the magic of their souls.So Yamaneko-san killed everyone in his clan as a sacrifice to Claudia. The next day the magical apple tree was there.



After he finished the story, Tiana realizes that if she leaves, he can do nothing (unless he knows peoples true name) so she turns around and start walking out the door. Yamaneko starts screaming that he will kill everyone if she takes another step but she just looks him in the eyes and says she will kill herself so he can't do anything bad ever again. He then grabs her hand and hugs her while crying. She pats his head and forgives him for everything, feeling sorry for how lonely he must have been all these years. Tiana promise they're going to be together forever, as long as he doesn't use his magic for bad things.


His after-story was really great. Much better compared to his actual main story and his route was worth playing just for the epilogue.
I couldn't really forgive him even after he soften up, and all the rape and lies speaks for them self, but he had one of the most interesting stories and I admit it was a pretty good read.

Kitsune-san
Happy-go-lucky fox who also turns tsundere when arguing with Tiana. He is the closest (age-wise) to Tiana and also my favorite character in the game.

Kitsune-san works at Restaurant Solitude where he tries his best to cook, even if it always doesn't work out. He is a little clumsy and easily get discouraged. The reason for this goes back to his childhood:

When Kitsune-san was younger he always stayed inside and never played with the other kids. After Tiana came to the forest he started going out more but was still very shy. Tiana doesn't remember him well but have a faint memory of a timid boy.

The day when Wolf killed Tiana's mother Kitsune-san had run out to help him, even though his parents begged him to stay inside. He lost track of the two and when he returned home that night, the witch (Tiana's mother) had been there and killed his parents.

Blaming himself for not listening and not being strong enough, the fox decided to become more like Okami-san, whom had killed the witch in the end, and ever since that he's been following him around and tried to be exactly like him.

During his story Tiana tries to teach Kitsune-san that she loves him as he is and that he doesn't need to change. He answers by saying it's because he wants to protect her and will still aim to become a better person.

He (unfortunately) becomes yandere and rapes her at one point, panicking when he thinks she is cheating on him. After he apologizes and explains it's because he loves her and is afraid of loosing her, just like his parents.

I really liked his story and there were lots of funny moments where I couldn't hold back a laugh. An example is when Kitsune meets Tiana in the forest, riding a big fluffy deer (or so he calls it?). He proudly says it's Okami-san idea who told him he can get any girl he want riding it and thats it's a real chick magnet.Tiana wasn't very impressed.
HNNNNNG Adorable in uniform
Another thing I loved was how they actually felt like a real couple. They helped each other when the other was having problems and tried their best to make the other person happy. I guess I have a weakness for romance and happy endings.
Their quarrel about guys only liking "Muchi-Muchi" and "Boin-Boin"-girl was super funny, though I think myself that Tiana got pretty big boobs actually ( ̄□ ̄;)



Hunter
Tiana follows a squirrel to a part of the forest she haven't explored before and finds the hunter passed out on the ground. After she helped him back to his house she starts visiting frequently, brining pies she baked and other gifts.

The hunter tells Tiana that he is trying to kill a special wolf (Okami-san) and she tries to convince him to change his mind. He suddenly becomes very angry and says it's something he simply has to do no matter what, because killing Okami-san would mean revenge.

Tiana doesn't mention the matter again and instead starts focusing on making Hunter fall in love with her. He, on the other hand, keeps calling her "Little girl" and "child" but that doesn't stop her from giving up.


When walking in the forest one day Tiana tries to flirt and says they must look like lovers from other peoples perspective. The hunter then stops her and says she needs to find a guy appropriate for her own age but Tiana just smiles and insists on liking him. Hunter explains that he actually already love someone else, even if its one-sided, and he will never ever love anyone else beside the woman in his heart.

Tiana is heartbroken and goes to ask her friends for help. Yamaneko-san gives her a bottle of perfume which will "surely make him see you as an adult".
Things doesn't work out good in the end, since the perfume was intended for animals and not humans.

While I don't really have anything against ouji-san characters, Hunter was a pretty boring guy. I wouldn't have minded him flirting with Tiana some more, instead of complaining about the age and revenge all the time. His route was a bit repetitive and you could guess the ending after some hours in. One thing I did like though was the fact that he was the only character without a rape scene.



Nightmare
Since the creator did such a good job not leaking any information or CGs about him, I've decided to do the same.
I think he and Tiana actually is the "true" main couple of the game.

Nightmare is a mysterious ghost-like man whom only Tiana and the seven little dwarfs can see. After Tiana meets him she can't stop thinking about him and visits the flower garden day after day.

The dwarfs tells Tiana that there is a way to make Nightmare human; He have to eat of the magical apple in the garden.

When she goes there  the next day the apple is ripe and the color changed to a golden yellow, but because Nightmare is invisible he can't touch it. Tiana takes it down for him, takes a bite, kisses him and pushes the apple piece in his mouth.

What happens after that, well you have to play it yourself~

I loved the first half of his route. It was so bittersweet and lovely (´;ω;`) I've re-read it twice already. The later half of the game wasn't as impressive as the first but I really enjoyed how different it was compared to everything else. New characters, new background and places, almost like a whole new game.

Gameplay:
Plenty of choices, nice menu and lots of things to unlock.
I was a little chocked that the characters only had one good ending (+ after story) and two bad endings (+ bad after story), but then again, it is focused on the dark fairytale theme. My biggest problem when reading visual novels is that I hate re-reading the same thing over again (which is why I end up playing only one route in some games) but Akazukin really made the effort to make all the routes different. One thing I did miss is that most new otome games have a function that if you keep the default name, the others say it out loud. unfortunately Akazukin didn't have this.

Final Score:
Story 7/10

Akazukin goes the extra mile to make a new and different story. There isn't the usual reverse harem where everyone fall in love with the girl on first sight, it takes time to build a relationship, like it does in real life. I like how the story unfolds and brings in new elements like magic and I had a hard time to stop playing because I always wanted to know what happen next. Sidecharacters were great too, I loved the 7 dwarfs and Usagi-san made me laugh every time.(and for those wondering, yes, you will he his face, and yes, he is very handsome). The good endings were sweet and the bad endings were creepy, some of them very creepy. I had troubles sleeping actually. If there was less rape I would give it a higher score.

The tokuten CD is about all the different characters taking a bath (and doing some ecchi stuff) with you (Tiana).

Music 10/10
I'm so happy I got the OST and bought the OP & ED single, because I simply can't stop listening to it! The opening song is sung by Kazuya Sugisaki (Okami-san in the game) while ending is sung by Hiroshi Sakura (Nightmare in the game). Both of them are really good and fits the game perfect. There was also a flute version of the ending song but it wasn't on the soundtrack unfortunately. Nightmares theme is my favorite out of the bunch.

Art 6/10
Akazukin got beautiful art and character designs, no need to argue about that.But some of the CGs were awful! I was really chocked when playing, since the normal character sprites are great and the background pretty and then all the sudden a CG were you barley can recognize Tiana. Very disappointed with the lack of quality in some of them.Tianas hair is also ridiculously long in some pictures, but I really like her design except that.

Voices 9/10
It's a really big plus when the heroine is voiced, and Natsuno Koori did a great job. I can find her voice to squeaky at times but not in this game. Nanjou Hoshino did the voices for the dwarfs and I actually made their little "Heigh-Ho" song my new ringtone lol.

Total: 7/10
A dark fairytale that brings you in to their world with a great soundtrack and interesting characters. I never had a boring moment when reading Akazukin and I doubt anyone will. Akazukin is one of the best 18+ otome games there is, flaws and everything included.

16 comments:

Blanca said...

Thak you a lot for this review, I can see you put a lot of effort and time into it! I am studying japanese but there are always some scenes which I don't fully understand, so these kind of things are very handy (and also very interisting and amusing to read).

Since I played the trial version i could tell this was going to be such a great game, I'm glad to know I was right. Now I just have to get my paws on it.

Btw, up to now Kitsune's also my favorite, it seems a lot of people really liked him :3

Yumii said...

@Blanca
Don't worry about not understanding! I'm also working on my Japanese so I always use AGTH in the end OTL

Kitsune was definitely my favorite too, but now after finishing the game and replaying some scenes I like everyone, even Yamaneko-san ^^;

twentyninenights said...

Thanks for the review for this title! I did love the art, but sadly couldn't play it in my home. Oh by the way, can I have your blog link, please?

Yumii said...

@htwentyninenights

Sure! I'll gladly add you

twentyninenights said...

Hehe.. Thanks! ^^ Pleased to meet you...

shadowberry90 said...

Hey there, I have a small question:
I can't play the game (syntax error) and I believe its because I dont have the japanese language thing..
Do you know by any chance where i can download it?
Or do i ne4ed to have a japanese PC or sth? xD

Yumii said...

@shadowberry90
You need to chance your computer to Japanese. Just google how to do it if you don't know.

Anonymous said...

i thought ookami-san was voiced by taniyama kishou am i wrong?

Yumii said...

@Anon
Sugisaki Kazuya is Taniyama Kishou secret seiyuu name he uses for 18+ games (*・ω・)

Anonymous said...

Hey! i just got into reading your blog and i just wanted to ask a few short questions.
1. Did you have an english patch/you learnt japanese?
2. Did you download it or did you buy it? i want to buy it but theres only 1 in stock >_<;; do you think i should download it instead?

Lastly, thanks for writing this =D

Yumii said...

@Anon
Hi!
1. My Japanese is far away from perfect, but it's good enough to understand basic conversations. I use translator programs when I play visual novels on PC called AGTH and ITH to make sure I don't misunderstand anything and help me learn some new words on the way. If you buy Akazukin I recommend you use AGTH to translate it with :) A quick google search and you'll find what you need.

2. I bought the game when it was released. As always I think it's important to support the game creators and companies, but only you can choose what you want to do.

Anonymous said...

Ah i see ^^ I'll take your advice then, if i ever do get my hands on it. I want to support them, but the game is REALLY hard to find XD;; (I don't really want to download either.)

Ps. You should play the otome game - Shall we date: Ninja love, because i've played it and it is very promising so far ^^

D_A Renoir said...

So nearly everyone are rapists. Nice! =____=

Yumii said...

@D_A Renoir
Yeah sadly it's like that with almost every 18+ otome game :I

TheWild Howling said...

Wow omg hahahaha first I get Wolf killed and now Fox eats me x'D I can't win can I!? Is it possible to post the paths you have to take to get different endings? I'm having trouble getting the rape scenes :D Lets see if we have more luck with Wildcat this time around hahaha! This game is pretty addicting and it's great, though it can be a little hard getting the endings you want. The twists along the way though! Wow... I wasn't expecting Foxes one at all! Caught me completely by surprise! This game is amazing. I recommend playing it!

Anonymous said...

can anyone tell me how to download it? Link or page (in english) ? comments would highly be appreciated, Thanks!

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