Among the many announcements at Otomate Party 2015 this past weekend, Kyoukai no Shirayuki (officially subtitled as Nämlich Shirayuki), an otome game coming to the PS Vita in 2016, may very well be the most exciting. Well, if you’re as big a fan of Kinako, an artist best known for her work on Gatchaman Crowds, as I am, that is! It’s the first otome game with Kinako providing her illustration prowess and is partially based off of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. So far, it looks simply gorgeous. Check out the teaser trailer below and read on for a full translation and rundown of the characters!
Episode 27 of Chic Pixel Plus is full of princes and boyfriends! Prince boyfriends, if you will. Oh, and we also discuss our first Manga Book Club pick, Chii-chan wa Chotto Tarinai and reminisce about our youth. Ah, to be young and have prince boyfriends.
Other exciting topics include that absurd new Final Fantasy XV trailer, a comic called Otaku Dad, our bi-weekly anime recap, and a woeful tale of failure in Sarah’s Nippon Neighborhood Watch report. Enjoy, and don’t forget to send us feedback! We love hearing from you.
Opening ♫ – “This New Year” by Big Tree
Closing ♫ – Squid Sisters song
With the wealth of games launching Kickstarter campaigns every day, it can be very difficult to sift through and find titles worth supporting. Purrfectly Ever After, a English language otome game by new developer Weeev, however, is one title I firmly believe deserves some recognition, which is why I’m writing about it here today!
The year is 2015. In the greatest upset in gaming history, all video games are now otome games. There is nothing else, only otoge.
Okay, I might be going a little overboard here, but when I said I wanted to see more otome games (otoge for short) in English, I never in a million years expected to see three announced in the same year! Is this a dream?! This time, Aksys Games strikes again with Norn9: Var Commons for the PS Vita. Scheduled to release both physically and digitally in North America this fall, Norn 9: Var Commons is once again developed by Otomate, suggesting that Aksys and Otomate have some kind of agreement. Not that I’m complaining, but there actually are other otome game companies besides Otomate out there!
Regardless, I may be most excited for this announcement simply because this is the one otome game coming out in English this year that I don’t already own in Japanese. Shocking, I know! You can read Aksys’ official PlayStation Blog post to get the full rundown, but the most interesting aspects of Norn 9: Var Commons for me is the sci-fi narrative and three different female protagonists! I don’t think I’ve ever played an otome game with more than one protagonist before.
Also, the art is simply gorgeous, which is why I’m going to stop my gushing and end this post with a gallery of some images from the official Japanese website.
It’s raining otome games! First, Idea Factory International announced plans to release Amnesia: Memories for PS Vita and Steam this August, and now Aksys Games is following up with another Otomate title, Code: Realize! According to the announcement on the Official PlayStation Blog, the game will be released both on PSN and physically for the PS Vita sometime this fall.
I recently lamented the fact that Idea Factory International still hadn’t announced an otome game localization (this was before Amnesia: Memories), but the article could really have been directed at any publisher, so I’m extremely happy to see Aksys Games following suit. The fact that Code: Realize is the third otome game IP Aksys has localized says a lot for how well the genre is doing for the publisher, which is extremely exciting.
Last year, I even wrote that Code: Realize was one otome game I wanted to play before the end of the year, as its steampunk aesthetic and use of famous literary characters as romance options (Arsène Lupin! Victor Frankenstein!) looked like a lot of fun. The use of recognizeable characters may help the game appeal to a broader English-speaking audience than, say, Amnesia: Memories, so it will be really interesting to see how the two fare.
Aksys Games will be launching the official Code: Realize site shortly (update: the English site is now live), but in the meantime, you can head to the Japanese website for some promotional videos, wallpapers, Twitter icons, and all kinds of fun materials.
That’s right, Amnesia: Memories, one of the most requested otome games by the English community, is actually getting localized! I take back everything I said in my slightly scathing article about Idea Factory International not releasing any games from their Otomate library. According to folk son Twitter who attended the company’s inaugural press event, it turns out they’ve been hard at work localizing Amnesia: Memories for both PS Vita and Steam! Update: The official site is now live, along with an English trailer!
Amnesia: Memories is a relatively unique otome game that starts you out in the shoes of an amnesiac protagonist (okay, that part’s not that unique) who is thrown into a reality of your choice where she’s already in an existing relationship with one of the game’s dateable men. Each reality is slightly different, but the ultimate goal is always the same: figure out what caused the protagonist’s amnesia and get lovey-dovey with your sweetheart of choice.
Amnesia: Memories is slated to launch digitally for PS Vita and Steam in August. Stay tuned for future posts where I’ll talk about my experiences with the Japanese game!I honestly believe Amnesia: Memories is a great choice for an English release, given how popular the title is in Japan and among English-speaking otome game fans. But, while you may find yourself so excited for the game’s impending release that you’re tempted to watch the anime adaptation, I’m going to advise against it… Unless you enjoy things that are laughably bad.
While the rest of the world struggles to grasp how to market niche media to woman (and whether it’s a viable market in the first place), Japan continues to be leagues ahead in catering towards fans who want something a little different than the usual mainstream anime/video game fare. New otome games are released nearly every week, and the success of anime like Free! shows that there is definitely a large market outside the straight male demographic that is more than willing to spend oodles of money on series that make the effort to appeal to them.
As such, it’s no surprise to see events like the Animate Girls Festival, a two day celebration of everything from otome games to BL manga. Taking place on November 8th and 9th in Ikebukuro Sunshine City, the festival is now five years old, and is even hosting a special “Real Otome Game” for attendees to celebrate the occasion!
While there are a variety of events held on the main stage, such as voice actor appearances from series such as Photograph Journey and World Trigger, a Sailor Moon Crystal special event, and even a fashion show from the anime/manga-inspired label Super Groupies, the main draw of AGF is undoubtedly the company booths and wide variety of exclusive merchandise they bring. There’s no way I could possibly cover everything in one post, but here are a few (personal) highlights:
Perhaps one of the biggest figure-related announcements will be the Makoto figma, which Hobbystock plans to unveil at AGF. Fans are hoping to see the preliminary sculpt for Rin’s Altair figure as well, but since there’s been no word on it so far, we’re unlikely to see it at this event. [UPDATE: Turns out Rin was unveiled after all!]
Mink may not be the most popular DRAMAtical Murder character, but his new drama CD will be debuting at the event. You’ve got to admit, the cover art is nice! Nitro+Chiral has a number of other merchandise from their BL games that they’ll be bringing to the event, as well:
There are also these AGF-exclusive merchandise sets that feature the characters of DRAMAtical Murder dressed up as their AllMate familiars. Be sure to head over to Nitro+Chiral’s AGF 2014 site to see the full adorable series!
Broccoli will be touting a new line of themed Uta no Prince-sama merchandise called Shining Circus, which seems to be catering especially to fans who like vests. I’m certainly not complaining! They’ll be selling everything from clear file folders to phone straps and pouches that will likely go for insane prices on the aftermarket following the event. If UtaPri is your thing, you can drool over all the exclusive items on their website.
In addition to more merchandise than you can throw your wallet at, Animate Girls Festival will be holding a “Real Otome Game” in honor of their 5th anniversary! What is a Real Otome Game, exactly? According to their site, attendees can participate in the game, titled Koi suru AGF (Love AGF), by purchasing a game book for 550 yen at the event. By reading through the book and going to different locations depending on how you want the story to progress, you’ll be able to “fall in love” with one of the three characters pictured above, each with two different endings!
While I can’t imagine how busy it will be if there are actual actors playing the men in the game, this sounds like a really fun idea in the vein of the otome game scenario reenactments that were at Tokyo Game Show this year. Hopefully attendees will be able to take photos so us poor souls outside of Japan can see what it’s like! I know I’ll be scouring the AGF2014 hashtag on Twitter throughout the weekend so I can live vicariously through everyone there…