Visual Novel (P)Review: Anoko wa Ore kara Hanarenai

Introduction


This kind of “(P)Review format” allows me to introduce stuff that I’ll probably never be able to see through, so hooray for me!

It’s basically the eroge that I introduced in the porting review. So we know the port sucks, but how’s the source?

To find that out, I’ll slightly modify the approach.

Who Would Like this Game?


So far it’s a bunch of slice-and-life flavored with comedy. No drama. Really none at all.

For: People who want a comedy cherry on top of their slice-of-life eroge cake.

Difficulty


Ugh, it’s probably harder than its setting might suggest. Lots of slang, terms you’ve either heard of before or (likely as a beginner) didn’t. You probably won’t even get the gist of it if you’re not advanced.

Difficulty 7/10

Translation Where?


Nothing I know of.

Translation: Nope.

Art


I tried to capture a mouth movement here. Err... nailed it!
I tried to capture a mouth movement here. Err… nailed it! Anyway, nice, clean text window, detailed (but blurred) background; I’ve little to complain.

Personally, I’d make out the art as this game’s strong point. The backgrounds are hardly hand-drawn but are mostly detailed and easy to look at as they seem to be real photographs with a bunch of filters/manual fixes added to them. The characters look good and feel right, apart from a few exceptions that I’ll add as screenshots. Considering it’s a static visual novel, it’s highly animated (eye/mouth movements, blur, an awful-looking complicated-feeling-sweatdrop-thingy, etc.). They’ve also got a whole bunch of different expressions. The art shouldn’t be a reason to avoid this novel.

Premise


The big idea is that in the past the protagonist moved around a lot with his family and hadn’t had much chances to make good friends not to mention a girlfriend. In the present, our protagonist finally managed to get his parents to pay for his own apartment and so he’s a high school boy living on his own now; and he’s aching to live the “riajuu”-life he’s always dreamed of. He stumbles upon a girl who’s willing to turn him into one, hence they form a club with said goal. Before long, other girls join too and it turns into a slice-of-life-ish thingy.

Characters


Yuzuki
anoore - 6She’s the first girl the protagonist meets and with whom he founds the club. Her reason basically was that she didn’t even know what “riajuu” meant and due to the situational context made it out to be “doing dirty things,” hence she agreed to help the protagonist become one. As you might’ve guessed by now, she’s a dirty klutz. Basically the this game’s “Yozora”.

Manami
anoore - 3Blonde, big boobs, said to be a yankee. This game’s “Sena” isn’t much of a rich girl, but just the misunderstood yankee. She’s basically a mix of Haganai‘s protagonist and Sena. Her reason for joining the club is our protagonist being the first person who really approached her without prejudice and fear – which is just a misunderstanding in reality. Likes puzzles and is in permanent controversy with Yuzuki ’cause of booby-envy.

Haruka
anoore - 7She’s the student council president and joined the club because the protagonist seemed to her like the little brother she never had and always wanted. In reality, she’s not the role model student everyone thinks she is, but a lazy bitch. Not sexually bitchy, but just a bitch. During club activities she doesn’t have to keep up the act, so that’s nice for her.

Aoi
anoore - 1President of the tea ceremony club and closet-otaku. I think she’s a fujoshi, but I don’t think the game states too precisely what she’s actually drawing. It’s dirty stuff nonetheless – she’s a doujinshi artist. And a popular one at that. However, as she’s an ojou-sama to boot, she has to keep it a secret and so she did, until our protagonist found her out but told her he’s either impressed by her abilities -> love. She’s the most aggressive of the harem regarding her approaches.

Momiji
anoore - 2Haruka’s little sister, the one with the most horrible name reading (紅葉 = Momiji, “usual” reading would be “kouyou;” thanks, Japan), youngest heroine, and – since this kinda character was popular when the game came out – quota chuuni. She joins the club since she’s actually not chuuni anymore and wants to be able to act normal around people at times, which she can in the club. She can’t do it outside club activities since her friends had been so supportive during her chuuni period and still are that she can’t bring herself to tell them she’s not chuuni’ing anymore.

Side Characters
There’s a bunch of side characters and I’m bad with names, so here are their roles: the quota female cousin teacher who’s lazy as hell and drinks a lot; the female classmate who’s taking on the tsukkomi part; Momiji’s supportive female friend who seems like an airhead; the female student council vice president who basically does all the work. Yes, there aren’t really any male characters in this game – at least none with sprites. And I’m interested to have a route with side characters #2 and 3. They’re kinda hawt.

Conclusion


Let’s try and split this up again, to hopefully get a conclusion that’s reasonable for everyone interested.

anoore 4

How’s the programming? In case you’ve read the PS Vita porting review, you might be worried whether this game’s playable to begin with. But in this point I can assure you that there’s nothing to worry about. It runs properly and has a vast range of options to set. You can even run the game in “borderless fullscreen,” which is goddamn rare for visual novels. Though I would like to warn you that the overall recording quality (voices) might be poor. At least that’s my thinking with headphones on.

Weird sprite #1
Weird sprite #1

How’s the plot? I’ve roughly played past the first one up to three H scenes of a route and hence only know the gist of it. So far, there’s no drama at all, it’s just slice-of-life on all fronts. In case there’s gonna be drama, here are my predictions: Momiji = it’s lifted that she’s actually not chuuni anymore and there’s retarded drama resulting from it; Haruka = it comes to light that she’s a bitch and erryone’s about to hate her guts for being a fake; Aoi = her rich-ass parents find out she’s drawing dirty doujinshi and want her to drop it – and while she’s at it, drop the protagonist too; Yuzuki = it’s way too obvious how clingy she is right from the beginning, so she’s probably a forgotten childhood friend of his and they made some kind of promise (that’s childhood friend relationships 101); Manami = people start to avoid the protagonist too, she feels guilty about it and distances herself from the protagonist. Those are all just predictions, nothing of this happened (yet) in the slightest, mind you. Let’s get back to topic: somehow, I expected much more from this premise. It’s boring so far, to say the least. It’s basically just “living the relationship with the heroine” without any salt or flavor. You hang around with them with nothing happening. This makes playing routes of characters you don’t like really hard, since you only get more of what you don’t care about. Dating sim has never been a more fitting term, so to say. I’m also pretty disappointed with the “choices” I got to make so far. It’s, yet again, another of those eroge where all I do is to literally pick the route. You just click on the character and eventually you’re on the route. Great. tl;dr: what plot? Slice-of-life all the way.

Weird sprite #2
Weird sprite #2

How are the characters? I like the premise behind four out of five heroines. The embodiment of cliché (female cousin) really just hurts to watch, she’s plain annoying and drags every scene she’s in down, her kinda character’s plain overused. I don’t dislike the other three, although the vice president is another of those “ugh, I know your kind plenty already”-kinda chars. But back to the heroines, which should matter most. The one heroine that falls behind in terms of the “deal” she offers is, in my opinion, Manami. Blonde, yankee, misunderstood. That’s not enough. There’s literally nothing interesting about her, so I don’t even know what to say. She’s just boring. How can I prove that? Well, there’s just nothing interesting, the absence of stuff’s exactly what makes her boring. She’s also poorly written. Her lines feel really, really fake and forced. So much that it hurts. Yuzuki would be another candidate of being bad, but her being a closet-pervert makes it kind of interesting. It’s not all too overused and the combination of “aloof beauty” (she usually doesn’t talk to no one), hints of a past relationship, being an airhead, and – last but not least – being a closet-pervert makes her interesting for me. Personally, I dislike Haruna since she’s noisy, but objectively she’s rather on the more interesting side. Aoi’s behaving and making remarks as if everything was just an eroge – which it really is; so she’s fun to read. Momiji is most interesting when talking with others, being alone with her she’s probably just too normal and boring, which is the dilemma. On one hand, she’s an ex-chuuni who has to keep up the act in front of others, on the other, since she now is normal and doesn’t have to keep up the act in front of the protagonist, she’s becoming plain. She’s the character where the actual happenings within her route will decide her level of amusement the most.

Best girl in bath towel = win.
Best girl in bath towel = win.

How’s the voice acting? Although I’m really no expert and generally disinterested in voice actresses as I personally think that no Japanese voice actress is really bad (if you’re used to German dubs, you’ll take any Japanese VA with kisses), two characters fall behind in my opinion. First of all, the gravest one: Yuzuki’s voice actress. Her lines are, in my opinion, poorly voiced. They aren’t particularly poorly written, but the voice acting just falls behind. This makes it hard to listen to her at times and overall damages the character. It might be the recording director’s fault though, who knows. In my mind, Japanese voice actresses are highly esteemed in general, so I’d first blame the director. And second, it of course has to be Manami. Her lines are mostly poorly written to begin with, and the voice acting does the rest. Just as the lines, she sounds forced and super fake. It reaches its worst point when Manami and Yuzuki are having an argument, the lines are horrible and so’s the voice acting. One example that’s been burned into my memory: “Shut up, boob-monster.” “That’s so cruel! I already told you to not pick on other people’s outer appearances!” (OWTTE) – that line or something similar happens a bunch of times. Makes me shudder.

Random comed-ized (?) CG.
Random comed-ized (?) CG.

How are the H scenes? I’ll be frank with you: if you’re a virgin and overall not too familiar with Japan’s H stuff, you’ll be fine. Of course there’s to consider that it’s a bunch of first experiences and overall it’s probably fitting. But the H scenes are short, don’t have much CG variation, and the stuff that happens is so vanilla and pure, that you can hardly even taste the vanilla. In my opinion, the drawings aren’t very erotic either. However, you should be very careful with my opinion here, since – as I said – I’ve only played past the first bunch of H scenes, so there’s hope there’ll be more action later. If stuff stays like this, though, then yeah, boring. I’m mostly tempted to just skip the scenes.

I could've drawn that mouth!
I could’ve drawn that mouth!

Another addition to the art. Momiji’s sprites look pretty awful, they’re all unnatural stances which sucks considering they’re “idling” sprites. Also, Manami’s mouth itself and its animations sometimes look as if a 6-year-old had drawn them. I’ll add screenshots of all of that to the (p)review, in case you can’t find it, check out the gallery.

That's about all you get to pick.
That’s about all you get to pick.

An Amazon.co.jp review described this visual novel as just a digitalized and pictured light novel on the platform of your choice. I don’t disagree, the overall happenings are as light and fluffy as you’d expect from a light novel, but if I picture this game as a LN, it would probably be a pretty boring one since the big originality as in “GJ-bu” isn’t there. I’m comparing it to GJ-bu here, since hardly anything happens in both, GJ-bu and this game. It doesn’t fail to entertain and its technical muscles (considering it’s an eroge) help its point, but it lacks the “I wanna know what’s gonna happen next” kind of feeling. The characters don’t feel substantial enough to carry the whole game on their own, and there’s just no point so far to help the game’s case and make up for that. I mean, the big idea (become a “riajuu”) is basically done after you’ve entered a route – if you’re strict it was done the moment the protagonist had a club with five hot girls. So what’s the point now? It basically has the same problem as this more or less Reverse NTR game I’ve (p)reviewed before: if it can’t hook you after hours, then how’s it planning to ever hook anyone? Since I liked a bunch of heroines – although I had to skip their H scenes (yaaaaawn) – it wasn’t all too trivial to me, and it’s technical aspect really deserves some praise. I’ll give it a 6, for a 7 it doesn’t give me enough of an impulse to play on. If you’re said virgin with little experience in the otaku world and can actually read and understand this eroge, it’s probably a good 101 for… everything. Advanced weebs will probably miss unique features. The users at VNDB give it a lot of 8s, by the way. I wonder, have they actually played it or just skipped from CG to CG and rate by their looks? Hmmm.

(P)Rating 6/10

 

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