Naoshi, the sand artist I recently met at Takumi Alley, has just launched a Kickstarter campaign for a picture book called Tako Knows! Follow the short but endearing life of Tako, a tako (the Japanese word for “octopus”), through 88 pages of colorful illustrations designed to bring joy and humor to readers of all ages.
Naoshi writes that after learning that some species of octopi’s lives can be as short as two years, she was “struck by their strength to live out their lives in earnest” and thus was inspired to write a picture book about a tako living its life to the fullest. I love the vibrant colors and whimsical themes in Naoshi’s art, and Tako Knows definitely excemplifies that. Plus, it’s all the more amazing when you realize all of the art is created from colored sand!
While the Kickstarter was already fully funded within a four hours of launching, there is still plenty of incentive to back, including a stretch goal where all backers will receive two postcards with their other rewards!
The picture book itself is $20, but there are a plethora of add-ons to choose from, including an art print of “The Great Tako Wave” inspired by “The Great Wave Off Kanagawa,” a sticker sheet, washi tape, and even a sand art DIY kit.
To learn more about the various tiers available to backers, check out the official Kickstarter page. The campaign runs through June 14, so hopefully we will see even more exciting stretch goals in the future!
Norn9: Var Commons releases for Nintendo Switch on March 30th, and I couldn’t be more excited! Of course, a localized otome game release is always cause for celebration, but this time I’m extra excited because I worked on the game!! Read on for more info and lots of news and fun to celebrate the launch this week!
Aksys Games hosted a panel today at Anime Expo, and while unfortunately it wasn’t live streamed, a ton of game localization announcements were made! Of course, there were a few otome titles that I’m especially excited for, but there are a number of other awesome titles too. Read on for the full list!
The All Aksys stream this past Friday was chock full of exciting news for otome game fans! Aksys Games was kind enough to invite me to record a segment about the games to air during the stream, so I’ve been sitting on this news for a little while now… I could hardly contain myself! Anyway, if you missed the livestream, Aksys announced that they will be localizing four additional Otomate games, bringing their upcoming otome lineup to seven!
The new titles announced are Lover Pretend, Paradigm Paradox, Kimi wa yukima ni koinegau, and Piofiore: Episodio 1926, the sequel to Piofiore: Fated Memories. Plus, the upcoming three previously-announced otome games, Olympia Soirée, Dairoku: Agents of Sakuratani, and Variable Barricade each now have a special Aksys store bonus soundtrack CD version available for preorder for an additional $10. Olympia Soirée is coming out very soon on September 9, so there’s not long to wait for more otome game goodness!
If you’d like to watch the recording of my appearance on the All Aksys stream and learn more about the titles, you can do so below! I’d recommend checking out the trailers over on the Aksys Games YouTube channel first so you can visualize the titles as Sami and I chat about them.
Since I already did a pretty summary of each title in the video, I’ll refrain from doing the complete overview again here. But since I didn’t really share my personal thoughts on the stream, I’d say I’m most excited for Lover Pretend, since it looks like a really fun romcom with gorgeous art and bright colors. Plus, it has Tomoaki Maeno, who plays Lupin in Code: Realize along with a lot of other great characters! Visual-Novel.Info has a great overview of the VAs in each announced title plus other otome/joseimuke roles they’ve had if you’d like more info (the site is in German but can be translated at the top left).
Paradigm Paradox also looks amazing because of the magical girl theme and the gender-bending aspect: each of the eight guys transforms into a magical girl! I don’t think that’s something I’ve seen in an otome game before (though as soon as I post this someone will probably remind me of one I’m forgetting) and I’m really excited to see how it plays out in the game. KimiYuki also looks great, though it’s a more series story and a historical setting, which is not always my favorite. But it has a killer voice actor cast and great art by the artist behind Clock Zero, so it’s shaping up to be really good, as well!
Of course, Piofiore: Episodio 1926 is a wonderful announcement for all of the fans of the first game. I haven’t played beyond the common route yet, so I need to get on it ASAP! What title are you looking forward to most? Let me know in the comments!
Idea Factory International, the international branch of Otomate’s parent company Idea Factory, recently had a summer event stream where they announced not one, but two otome game localizations, and teased a third! Cupid Parasite was announced fall 2021 release (for those in the Northern Hemisphere), and a Birushana Senki: Genpei Hika Musou localization was confirmed without a release window specified.
This news is especially exciting as it marks IFI’s return to otome game localization! While Idea Factory is Otomate’s parent company, IFI hasn’t published any English otome games in quite a while. Previously, they took over the Hakuoki series from Aksys Games and put out Amnesia: Memories on PC and PSP, but there’s been nothing from them since then. And personally, Cupid Parasite is an otome game I’ve had on my wishlist for a while, so I’ll definitely be picking it up when it comes out! In fact, there’s even a limited edition available to preorder, though the contents haven’t been revealed yet.
Cupid Parasite follows a top bridal advisor for a company that specializes in finding the perfect match for their clients, but the secret to her success is that she’s actually the goddess of love, Cupid! She’s been tasked to find love for the company’s five most difficult clients, so she comes up with a plan to host a reality sharehouse-style TV show starring the five men.
I love the vibrant art in this game, which is done by Café Enchanté artist Yuuya. The scenario writer is Ririka Yoshimura, who also worked on Café Enchanté and the very well-regarded Ken ga Kimi. In terms of voice actors, if you enjoyed Shiraishi in Collar X Malice or Nicola in Piofiore, you’ll be pleased to know that their voice actor, Makoto Furukawa, plays the role of Allan Melville! Not only that, but Allan is an incubus who works in a luxury pillow store… No, I’m not making this up!
Other notable voice actors include KENN, voice of Shelby Snail (yup), who you probably know from at least half a dozen other anime and video games. He features as Limbo in the recent English otome game release Bustafellows, and plays Urianger in Final Fantasy XIV. Junya Enoki plays the fashion designer Ryuki F Keisaiin – you might know him from OZMAFIA!! as Hansel or Yuji from Jujitsu Kaisen. I could go on, but then we’d be here all day!
As for Birushana Senki, I’ll admit I haven’t followed that one as closely due to the fact that I’m not always that keen on historical dramas, but I know a lot of folks who have very good things to say about it, and the art is certainly gorgeous! This one takes place during the Heian period and features a heroine who is raised as a man to fight in the Genpei War after her father is killed.
Makoto Furukawa also features in Birushana as Minamoto no Yorimoto, and if you’ve played NEKOPARA – Catboys Paradise, you’ll recognise Sage’s VA Yuichiro Umehara as Benkei Musashibo! Taira no Shigehara is played by frequent otome game and anime voice actor Jun Fukuyama, who is also Mozu in Bustafellows, Tokiwa in the upcoming Aksys Games otome game Dairoku: Agents of Sakuratani, and perhaps most famously, Lelouch in Code Geass.
As for that final, mystery game… Who can say? I’d love to hear your guesses in the comments! I’m still holding out hope that Otomate will give Moujuutsukai to Oujisama a second chance after its failed Kickstarter a few years back, but I’m not counting on it…
Moonchime Studios announced today that they are localizing two new Japanese indie games for PC, the 18+ BL title Tokyo Onmyoji -The Tale of Rei Tengenjibashi- (Japanese title 東京陰陽師) and the point and click adventure game My Dear Frankenstein (Japanese title 愛しのフランケンシュタイン). Tokyo Onmyoji is scheduled to release for PC on JAST USA and other unannounced platforms in Q4 2021, and My Dear Frankenstein will release for PC and Mac on Steam this summer (winter if you’re in the southern hemisphere).
Both titles look really fun, but I’m particularly excited to see another publisher releasing BL games in English, and this is Moonchime‘s first foray into the genre after their first localization, the otome game I Love You!, released for PC for free in late 2020. Tokyo Onmyoji by Holicworks was originally released in Japan in 2014 and centers on Rei Tengenjibashi, an onmyoji for hire who exterminates demons. There are four romanceable characters, gorgeous art by Akira Sakamoto and fully-voiced characters. For more information on the story and cast, see Moonchime’s official announcement.
My Dear Frankenstein has a lovely fairytale-like art style and features a story inspired by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Players control Adam, a newly-created monster who must explore the City of Shipberry for pieces of his heart that were scattered throughout. Players who like point-and-click adventure games and moving narratives should keep an eye out for a release date in the upcoming months! You can read more about My Dear Frankenstein on Moonchime’s announcement page.
Both of these games look right up my alley, so I’m really excited to check them out when they’re released! Moonchime Studios is shaping up to be a publisher to follow closely if you like visual novels and alternative indie Japanese games. I can’t wait to see what titles get added to their lineup in the future!
Otomate Party 2018 was held on September 8th and 9th this year, and with it came a slew of new otome game announcements! Otomate holds the yearly Otomate Party event to celebrate its recent and more popular titles with events featuring voice actors from the games and reveal some brand new games while they’re at it.
Following the company’s announcement earlier this year that they would be shifting focus to the Nintendo Switch, all console Otomate game announcements were for Switch, rather than PS Vita. I’m excited for more Switch otome games, but sad to see companies slowly dropping support for my beloved Vita! Luckily, there are still lots of otome games for the PS Vita being announced, like the Kenka Bancho Otome sequel, Kenka Bancho Otome 2nd Rumble!!.
Otomate, however, is all about the Nintendo Switch now. Watch the reveal trailer to see the whopping nine new titles and ports for the Switch at Otomate Party 2018 and read on for further explanations and impressions!