Visual Novel Review: Anoko wa Ore kara Hanarenai

Introduction


Didn’t I do this one already? Nope, this is actually the review, meaning that I sat through the entire game. Why would I do that if the preview wasn’t promising already? Well, there are two reasons: 1) I’m an idiot, 2) I’ve imported the game for PS Vita since I trusted the reviews on Amazon Japan, and since I paid good money for this, I thought I should freakin’ sit through it. Some parts didn’t change, of course, (art, characters, …) so I will just copypaste parts from the preview there. Anyway, here we go.

Who Would Like this Game?


AnoOre (the shorthandle for this game) has no major drama and overall no major events. It’s basically just an eventless rom-com. There’s romance, there’s comedy. Both aren’t exactly great, but I guess if you need something shallow and light, it might be okay for you.

Difficulty


As I said in my preview, it’s surprisingly difficult. However, once you’ve entered the individual character routes, it’s all downhill from there. There isn’t really anything new from there on, so once you made it that far, the game’s a 3/10 in difficulty (really easy). However, first you gotta get there, so I won’t change the overall score.

Difficulty 7/10

Translation Where?


Nothing I know of. It’s for the better. If you gotta play this, at least learn something from it.

Visuals


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 call its art the game’s strong point. The backgrounds are hardly hand-drawn, but very detailed and easy to look at; 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 regarding their idle sprites. 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’s not the 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 (Haganai, anyone?) 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


Since this is my first full visual novel preview, I thought it’d be a good idea to first write everything that happens in the individual routes and then rate which one of the routes takes what place among them. Since this is a huge spoiler alert, I will put these in spoiler tags.

Yuzuki

Yuzuki just wants to be with the protagonist, Hiroto, in a way that’s supposed to look like she’s clingy, but in reality is barely as needy as any girlfriend in Western countries. The unique characteristic of this route is that she’s often faced with embarrassing situations like Hiroto walking in on her when she’s on the john. In public, she’s awfully shy and tries to not act like a couple, not even hold hands or hang out in school with each other.

She’s isolated herself for most of her life and trained herself to be perfect for Hiroto. The “drama” in this route consists of him trying to get her to open up to her classmates, he bascially persuades her to not ignore them anymore. When he actually introduces her to the class, he – in my opinion – chooses to utterly embarrass her in front of them. Honestly, the writer who thought that was a good idea should try it in real life and enjoy a slap in the face. Anyway, the very last 10 lines or so finally explain why she would devote and isolate herself to become his ideal girlfriend. As a reminder: All we knew so far is that she saw him sprint in a sport festival at school and liked how he gave his all or something – a ridiculous reason to go crazy for someone. The final scene, however, shows how she’s alone in class as a kid, stuck with some kinda work, and Hiroto joins and helps her, and tells her that he thinks she’s a kind and good person as he’s seen her take care of the plants in class, which makes her happy to hear. It’s still not a good reason, but not as bad as practically no reason at all.

Anyway, there’s just nothing going on in this route, really. She isn’t a dirty girl, either – the route’s just plain boring. Even if you say this is a dating sim and you’re just supposed to get a dating experience, you don’t get that either. There’s just nothing going on here.

Interesting detail: She’s the only heroine that drops her panties the same night the confession happens.

Rank 5

Manami

Manami is pretty much Haganai‘s protagonist turned into a girl with dem huge boobies that asians seem to go nuts for: A blond-haired girl who’s being misunderstood for a delinquent because of her hair color. I think it’s even her mother she’s got her hair color from (in a genetic sense, of course). The first half of the route is just about fooling around with Hiroto, the finale and “drama” revolves around her hair color and a jerk school inspector wanting either the color or her gone, so that all her club- and her boyfriend need to stand up for her. Just by telling you that much, you can probably picture by yourself how the route developes and yeah, it’s exactly like that. Very, very foreseeable.

But that clichéd storyline isn’t the worst part about her route. The worst part is clearly the voice acting – hard to believe but true. The tone in which her voice actress was seemingly instructed to perform is just obnoxious. A lot of times she speaks in a forced childish kind of voice, hard to describe but you’ll know what I mean once you hear it. It might be cute once, but the frequency is what makes it really off-putting. It’s especially offending during lovey-dovey situations with Hiroto where they’re acting like those kinds of super-clingy couples that annoy their surroundings in real life and it’s not better in a visual novel. There’s just no connection made with this heroine that’d make you enjoy this kind of atmosphere, the scenario writer wanted to force something here.

The upsides of her route are the H scenes which aren’t great but better than most routes in this visual novel and that there’s at least some kind of event unfolding. Manami’s route is second to last for me.

Rank 4

Haruka

Haruka is the student council president. Her route is about Hiroto helping out with the student council president and her true self being revealed to other students. Her route is actually kind of interesting for a variety of reasons. One being that Hiroto’s daily life thus far changes: He’s now a helper for the student council and does cleaning work and whatnot. It also introduces a new character with the student council vice president. Haruka’s route is not as uneventful and boring to read as the aforementioned routes and has its climax in Hiroto and Haruka’s relationship being uncovered by the vice president, who gets angry at her for having messed up some work (thanks to an H scene the day before ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)) and slacking off more than usual in general. It’s immediately resolved so no huge drama there, but it’s something. And the journey to that point is also kind of entertaining thanks to Haruka’s teasy personality. Oh, and there’s no problem with her voice acting, either.

Rank 3

Aoi

I didn’t sort the characters by rank, by the way. Them being sorted by rank is pure coincidence – and we’ll mess that up now.

Aoi is an otaku. I can’t quite recall whether she’s into BL (Boy’s Love), but she’s drawing doujinshi either way and holds a passion for anime and manga. Being the daughter of a rich, distinguished family – an ojou-sama – her parents would, of course, never approve of this, and so her route revolves around Aoi trying to get into Comiket while keeping her hobbies a secret from her parents. Her route also introduces a new character: her maid. It’s the lewd kind of maid who wouldn’t mind you banging Aoi on the table in front of her. Oh, and there’s also Aoi’s dog, who Hiroto keeps talking to only to finish with “but you’re a dog, so you wouldn’t understand me anyway,” shocking the dog since he appears to have understood him. Aoi’s personality is also pretty refreshing since she’s one of those characters who keeps poking fun at heroines and eroge developments in general when she’s a heroine in an eroge herself.

There are, of course, also flaws with her route. One being that pretty much all of her route you’ll just be revisiting places from the common route. And the climax of her route happens in the freaking summer house you’ve been to before, too. That, and the climax itself is just sooo clichéd with all of her club friends coming aorund to help her finish the doujinshi she, of course, almost kills herself over to finish. The usual and common fever outbreak and collapsing from trying to hard that you see in anime etc. all day every day. Disappointing.

Another weak spot is that really all of her problems are connected to her strict parents, yet you will never see them even once. They’re not even involved as picture-less and unvoiced oneliners or anything, they’re completely absent. What the fuck? Hiroto even visits her house, yet all you get to see is Aoi’s maid and her dog. For all we know, she might not have any parents and she’s just scared of angering her late parents’ ghosts or something.

But that aside, the voice acting is good and her personality and lewdness put her in first place.

Rank 1

Momiji

Momiji is the quota chuunibyou you needed when this game was released. She’s Haruka’s little sister and her route actually revolves around a more interesting approach: Actually, she’s realized that being a chuuni is stupid and only keeps up the act for her friends who’re so supporting of her being a chuuni that she doesn’t what their kindness go to waste. As such, she’s determined to keep up the act until she graduates. During her route, there are two things happening: First, she’s being scouted as a model by a goth/chuuni/whatdoIknow agency. Second, she meets a former chuuni comrad who had moved away. I dunno why the former is a problem, but apparently Momiji thinks that it might be unpleasant for Hiroto if she modelled and it turns into somewhat (not really that big) a deal. The latter is a problem because Momiji doesn’t want to act as a chuuni more than she does already and yet her former chuuni friend is so happy to see her comrad that she’s fearing to break her heart confessing that she’s not chuuni herself anymore. Anyway, it turns out that her friend isn’t chuuni anymore either and was fearing for the exact same thing as Momoiji – yet kept wearing those clothes now and then since they’re just cute. And the modelling, by the way, only involves their hands for accessories like rings. Kind of anti-climatic, but I dunno what I expected. The H scenes are the most boring among already pretty boring H scenes, by the way.

The biggest flaw of her route is that she really does hold up her chuuni act until the bitter end. There’s no big come out or anything although the whole outset of her issues was that she had to fool her friends with a white lie of sorts. So her issues remain unresolved with the moral of this story being that you better keep up lying until you don’t have to anymore ’cause they’re gone! Another small issue I’m having are her “sprites” – the images used for her during dialogues. None of them look natural, it’s like someone’s talking to you and striking poses all the time – just weird.

Anyway, there are two things going on (model, old friend), her chuuni episodes are funny to read, the voice acting is good, and the general outset of her problems is a fresh approach. All in all, Momiji secures the second place.

Rank 2

When I was planning to import AnoOre I did my homework: I read reviews to make sure that I wasn’t buying crap. I still remember some of their key words: “As you’d expect from GIGA!,” “Just like a light novel!” No. It isn’t like a light novel. Any light novel as boring as this would die before it even started. And no, it’s not a typical GIGA game. I tried BALDR;HEART and it has more going on in its first 60 minutes than AnoOre has all game. It’s weird, really. There are so many possible reviews on Amazon Japan and it’s gotten so many ports to consoles and whatnot, yet I can’t see how anyone could receive this game so positively. And I’m usually all for rom-com.

I thought that the real game starts once you get into the heroine’s respective routes, but all the routes together are shorter than the common route. They end before they really get started and there’s hardly anything going on during those (see above).

Unusual for Japanese releases, the voice acting for some characters is pretty annoying, too. Yuzuki doesn’t seem to be able to put the intended emotions into lines and Manami has a very annoying kind of childish voice she forces. Whether it’s the actresses or the director or even as intended, is beyond me. There’s no issues with the other three heroines, though.

While Aoi reigns them all, the second most interesting character is actually your female classmate sidekick, she’s more fun than four other main heroines. Now if that’s not telling you something.

Came here for the eros? The art’s good, no doubt. Alas, typical for these kinds of games, all you’ll get is a bunch of awkward first times and as I don’t see how you could’ve bonded with the characters considering how little they give you, I don’t see how you could be moved by some clumsy H scenes. Everything’s just too clean and ‘run by the book.’

All the game has going for it is, one, the Haganai kind of story for the nostalgia – but poorly executed. Two, the art, which is just well done. You start appreciating mouth movements, blinking, and character design that is kind of realistic once you played something that lacks all of the above. Three, the music, it just fits the atmosphere really well and you don’t get tired of listening to it even after the 126th loop. Altogether, this adds up to something plain average. I wouldn’t play it if I were you and, personally, I’m just glad I’m done with and regret having bought it.

Rating 5/10

 

vndb

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