I wrote up a new post on the 2015 update, so this post is pretty much irrelevant now. You can see the new one here.
This visual novel is brought to you by Overdrive, a company well known for making eroge (hentai games). But this isn’t an eroge. This is an advertisement for Japan. No, seriously.
And rather than just showing you the pretty young anime girls, I’m including relevant real life pictures! OH SNAP
This visual novel was brought to my attention by GameGrumps, who are doing a playthrough of it. And unsurprisingly, their playthrough is strange, so I decided to try it out myself.
This VN is marketed as “The first game ever produced exclusively for overseas players,” so it’s obvious that this being a big advertisement of Japan makes sense. On another note, if you’re worried about spoilers, I am afraid that I’ll be vaguely covering the entire story (sort of). Shucks. Not that there are any plot twists or anything.
The story begins with your stereotypical American male protagonist sitting on a plane en route to Japan. And the only thing I remember him saying is “hnnngh.” Mr. Protagonist (who I named Fwajajajaja), lands and prepares to meet “brothers” Akira and Makoto, who he will be staying with for the week.
But instead of two highly contrasting brothers, he instead finds out that Makoto and Akira are, in fact, PRETTY YOUNG ANIME GIRLS. Nobody saw that coming. While Akira is the resident tsundere, Makoto’s defining characteristic is her large… hair.
And since Mr. Protagonist is a perv, he HNNNGHs a lot more over the situation he’s found himself in. There’s a lot of hnnngh-ing in this VN. Between their meeting and the time the trio arrive at Makoto and Akira’s house, they manage to shove in plenty of information that would be relevant for tourists in Japan. For example, they cover the basics of SUICA/PASMO cards, how cell phones can be rented easily at the airport, what the Narita Express is, and what a konbini is, because despite the stupid Welsh protagonist speaking in fluent Japanese, he doesn’t know the word for convenience stores.
There’s even a scene later on where he tries to be all chivalrous and not allow Makoto to go out on her own at night. He’s clearly too used to life in Australia, where anything and everything will kill you.
And when they get home, another complete surprise comes out of nowhere – the parents will be gone for the entire week. So, we’re left with Mr. Perv and two pretty young anime girls under the same roof for a whole week with no parental supervision, as is tradition. Everyone knows how this is going to end. Anyways, after he’s done weebing out about sleeping in a tatami room, dinner and stuff happens. Blahblahblah.
But anyways, the following day begins the true journey of Mr. Protagonist in big ol’ Nippon. The player is given the option to travel to one of six locations in Tokyo, and which location you pick will determine which of the pretty young anime girls is your guide.
It’s at this point that two things start to happen. First, how you spend the final day of the week depends on who you tour the city with in the first three days, but you won’t know who you’re going with until after you pick a location (2/3 determines it). And second, you start to see accurate costs of various things you do, such as train fare, food and admission prices, etc. Of course, there isn’t much player choice in most of these decisions besides the occasional food selection. But the best part of the whole tour guide thing is –
But anyways, the little tours of various areas come complete with background history, information on activities and places in the area, and more. So that’s nice. As someone who has actually visited most of the places before, it was interesting to hear a bit more background on them – things such as the rivers that still flow beneath many major roads, that you can apparently dub over anime in Akiba, etc. It was interesting to see Mr. Protagonist’s reactions, but it really felt like he knew pretty much nothing about Japanese culture and history, which doesn’t make sense for someone who’s supposedly obsessed with Japan. Maybe New Zealand doesn’t have very good internet.
But of course, you can’t forget that this story follows the baka gaijin who’s living with two pretty young anime girls for a week. So it was inevitable this would happen.
The most shocking revelation of the entire story comes during these first three days (as long as you go to Ikebukuro or Shinjuku) – the main character has no eyes! I would have named him Brock if I had known that was the case.
After the first three days are out of the way, you get to spend the next two on a trip to Kyoto! Yatta! And of course, Kinkaku-ji is on the list of places to visit. Big surprise. Too bad there isn’t a beach episode. Because Makoto has nice mammaries potential for a ponytail. Two pretty young anime girls with ponytails in very close proximity? Extreme hnnnngggh.
After a dose of moe that can overload the hearts of the weak-willed, the Kyoto arc comes to an end, leaving Mr. Protagonist with a burning question – what do I do on my last day? But alas, the decision is made for him by whoever he spent more time with, and then he goes on an adventure.
Depending on whose route you’ve ended up on, you’ll either go to Kamakura (with Makoto) or Yokohama (with Akira). And then they talk about stuff there and for Makoto it’s all lovey-dovey cheesefest and for Akira it’s all tsundere “Baka! Baka!” *severe blushing*. So yeah, about par for the course.
As a whole, the VN was pretty interesting, and you can go through everything in two playthroughs – obviously, it was created with that in mind. From what I could dig up, this VN was only released outside of Japan (you know, as an advertisement for Japan), so it sort-of kind-of makes sense that you can’t set the language to Japanese only, although it should be an option. At many points, I’d try to read the Japanese portion only to be distracted by the English beneath it, so it never really got me anywhere. Reading stuff in another language is a lot easier when you already know the English meaning.
I can relate to a lot of things that happen to Mr. Protagonist (besides the whole being Scottish thing), such as waking up extremely early (although I certainly didn’t get up at 5am 5 days in a row intentionally), experiencing how convenient tons of things are, oh my god the food, etc.
But this South African loser doesn’t even sound realistic because of how little he actually knows about Japan. It’s really like he somehow managed to go there only knowing the language. Culture shock isn’t something I really dealt with but this knob seemed to go into things completely blind. For someone interested in a lot of the sightseeing of Tokyo and Kyoto, this VN might be an interesting introduction. After finishing the story, you can actually go back and see info on where you went.
This is a nice touch for letting people see the info again without requiring a replay of the scenes. Granted, the info could be found much faster elsewhere.
Recommendation – Pray to Based Madoka that they adapt this into an anime.
If you’re really interested for some reason, the game is available on Steam and via physical release.
In case anyone’s interested, here are a bunch of in-game/real-life comparison pictures I threw together. More or less. I wish I had pretty anime girls giving me a tour of the city.
The featured image consists of images from the game, with the background being an edited photograph that I originally took at Sensou-ji in Asakusa, Tokyo last summer. The photos for the comparisons were also pictures I took.
On a related note, I just saw this on my stats page yesterday.
I’m not sure if I should be more worried that there’s apparently someone out there searching for that, or that it somehow leads to my blog (specifically to this).