Go! Go! Nippon! 2015

Originally released in 2011, Go! Go! Nippon! ~My First Trip to Japan~ offered readers the chance to experience Japan from a tourist’s perspective, all while accompanied by two pretty young anime girls. The recent update, simply titled Go! Go! Nippon! 2015, takes the base visual novel originally offered four years ago, and spruces it up with enhanced visuals, more content, and general improvements to the experience.

Most importantly, there are more “…Hnngh!!”s than ever before.

While I wrote a post on the original version of the VN back in March 2014, this one is going to be written assuming that you know nothing about the story. So there’s not going to be a need to read both, as this is effectively replacing the original post.

Go! Go! Nippon! is brought to foreign audiences by OverDrive, a Japanese visual novel developer best known for selling galge, visual novels/dating sims focusing on a male protagonist and female heroines, and commonly including sexually explicit scenes. Go! Go! Nippon!, on the other hand, is not only aimed at potential tourists from overseas, but is also an all-ages visual novel, with only three moderately titillating events (according to the ESRB, it’s rated T).

The story opens with Protagonist-kun (who I named Big Moist) arriving in Japan for the first time, prepared to go sightseeing and enjoy his time with his internet friends, brothers Makoto and Akira. “Brothers.”

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I’m not sure if these silhouettes are based on what he would have actually expected, but I’m a bit worried if so.

As a surprise to nobody, Makoto and Akira are not brothers. In fact, they’re not even male!

Rather than two mismatched brothers, they are a pair of pretty young anime girls – Makoto, the well-endowed older sister currently studying English in college, and Akira, the resident tsundere, prepared to call Big Moist baka at every turn.

And also as no surprise to anyone ever, their parents are gone from the house for the duration of Big Moist’s visit. As is tradition.

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How come this never happened to me?

Since this was created primarily with potential tourists in mind, there is about a 15 minute infodump covering things you’d need to know right when arriving in Japan – SUICA/PASMO cards, renting a cell phone or SIM card, the Narita Express and much more.

While a lot of this information is certainly helpful, a bit of it is too specific.

2015-10-19_00024

Big Moist also spends a bit too much time adjusting to the toilet.

The next day, the trip truly kicks off! The player has 11 options for where to go for the day, and whichever location you choose will affect who goes with you – except SkyTree, which is a three-person adventure. For the first three days of the trip, you’ll be in Tokyo, so you can choose where in the city you’d like to go.

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During each day trip to some area of Tokyo, you’ll get quite a lot happening. First, you’ll see lots of info on what there is to see and do in each area. Second, you get to spend the day with one (or both) of the heroines, which leads to some enjoyable situations. And third, you’ll see prices for travel, certain attractions, and approximations for food.

On that note – why is pizza so expensive in Japan?

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The daily events are always interesting, even if they do always allow Big Moist to show off his stupidity/ignorance. You can go to SkyTree to check out the observation decks, or visit Kabuki-za for a play, you can go to Ikebukuro for an aquarium, or you can head to nearby Mt. Takao for a dose of fresh air. It’s not entirely realistic though, because the protagonist doesn’t fall asleep during kabuki. In each readthrough, you’ll only be able to choose three of these locations, so there’s definitely motivation to revisit the VN multiple times.

Which heroines you spend your time with will also affect a few special events. If you spend the first day with Makoto, and the second with Akira (or vice-versa), you’ll have the chance to go to Comiket on the third day – this is an event that you can’t simply pick from the above list. Similarly, if you spend the first two days with the same heroine, the second night will have a festival event.

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“Fan service can easily be surpassed by porn, but moe is special in that it gives you ‘a boner in your heart’.”

One nice little detail during all of this is that if you revisit some specific topic in a second place, the conversation will naturally acknowledge it. One example is visiting shrines or temples, and the proper ways to do things there. Rather than one of the girls simply restating the same details, they’ll say something along the lines of “Do you remember when we talked about _____?” or Big Moist will say “Ah yes, [insert previously established fact about the topic here].” So there aren’t any awkwardly redundant info-bombs.

After the first three days in Tokyo comes a bit of a side trip – the protagonist, Makoto, and Akira head to Kyoto to visit temples, shrines, and generally experience historic Japan for two days. While it doesn’t offer any choices for what to see or do, it still shows off the main sightseeing spots, such as Kinkakuji and Kiyomizudera. You know, the places everyone visits in Kyoto.

Last up for Big Moist’s adventures in Japan is the final day. There are four different places you can go, but instead of making a choice, the choice is made for you – whichever ending you are on track for decides where you’ll be heading. For the “good” endings, you need to spend each day and side event with the same girl, and for the “normal” endings, you just go with whoever you spent the majority of the trip with. So, for example, you’ll head to Yokohama with Akira for her normal ending, or Shinjuku with Makoto for her good ending.

If Akira's chest was really that large, it would have been obvious before she put a swimsuit on.

If Akira’s chest was really that large, it would have been obvious before she put a swimsuit on. Just saying.

Originally, there was only one ending for each heroine, and Akira’s specifically was a bit… lacking. The good endings not only offer variety to the potential outcome, but also more satisfying conclusions and new events in the leadup, which is definitely an improvement. And thus, Big Moist’s adventures in the glorious land of Nippon/Nihon/Japan come to a close and he must bid farewell to his pretty young anime girl companions.

Now, for a few general comments that aren’t really story-related:

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Once you’ve completed a trip, you can revisit the scenes, or simply pull up a mini-guide on the area, which includes what train lines can be used to access it. This way you can check how to get somewhere and read a summary of what’s available instead of having to go through the entire VN scene again for details. At many points during the regular scenes of the VN, you can also click a popup that will bring you to Google Street View for that area, which is nifty.

At several points, the characters will be talking about things while staring at the sky. Or at least that’s what it seems like, because instead of showing something related to the topic at hand, you just see the sky while they keep talking about whatever it is. On the other hand, there is definitely a lot of visual variety in backgrounds and CGs as a whole, so it’s not the worst thing ever.

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My biggest issue with the update is that voice acting has still not been added. This would have been a great touch, even if only for Makoto and Akira’s dialogue – I think it would be weird for the protagonist, because they’d likely use a fluent Japanese voice actor rather than a semi-fluent gaijin. Regardless, without voices to focus on, it’s pretty easy to just click through the dialogue fairly quickly while reading everything, without the extended immersion that character voices would help provide.

Regarding actual changes provided by the update, they are universally positive. The most noticeable are the changes to the visuals – the VN is in a 16:9 ratio now (rather than 4:3), fitting neatly onto widescreen monitors, and it also has a much improved user-interface. And rather than using static character sprites, characters move naturally while talking, even if it is from a single angle. So while not as extensive as Nekopara’s system, it’s still a definite improvement. There is also a greater variety in music, which was certainly needed.

Another change that I am super happy with is that you can pick what language the dialogue is displayed in. Just English? Sure, that’s an option. English and Japanese (via kana and kanji)? Okay, great! Just Japanese so that you can practice, with or without romaji? YES!! This was one of my main complaints about the original version, but now it feels like the Japanese language option actually has a purpose. So I’ll probably reread it at some point in just Japanese to see what I can read and look up what I can’t.

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As far as exploration goes, the update offers plenty of new locations – originally, there were only six options to pick in Tokyo, there were no Comiket or festival events, and there was only one ending for each heroine. This not only provides more information, but better development between the characters and higher replay value. And with four endings now – the “good” endings being the new ones – things have a more satisfying conclusion for each heroine.

Of course, one thing certainly did not change from the original version – the protagonist is still lacking eyes.

eyes

+ Plenty of improvements from the original version
+ A simple but enjoyable little story
+ Four endings, a bunch of re-read value
+ Tons of relevant information for potential tourists
+ Akira has a nice ponytail

± Backgrounds are commonly generic rather than related to the conversation
± Makoto would look even more HNNNGGGGGGGHHH with her hair in a ponytail

− No voice-acting

Price – The 2015 update is treated as downloadable content, so you need to have the base version of the VN purchased as well – you can get both in a bundle for $14.99 US, or the 2015 update itself for $7.99. All of the options are listed here on Steam, or you can get the bundle here on MangaGamer’s website.

Read time – About 8 hours for 100% completion

Rating – 8/10
Recommendation
 – If you’re interested in this, skip the original version and jump right into the 2015 update. The higher cost is definitely worth it for the amount of content that’s added, along with the general improvement to the presentation and enjoyability. Don’t try and compromise by going with the original version.

Moral of the story – Don’t make lots of grunting noises, because they can easily be taken out of context.

hnnngggggh

Yes, these are all lines from the VN. And I know that I missed several more.

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