Kiss Him, Not Me Episode 1: A Prince with a Prince [First Impression]

When the anime adaptation of Watashi ga Motete Dousunda, or Kiss Him Not Me, was first announced I anticipated it would be difficult for it to be done justice. A controversial manga in itself Kissmotetedousunda8 Him Not Me succeeds by constantly throwing the story on its head. An otaku, specifically a fujoshi, finds out her favorite character dies in an anime and doesn’t eat for a week. Due to the trauma and stress Kae Serinuma loses all the excess weight on her and becomes one of the most attractive girls in the school. This premise sets up a lot of questions immediately: how will the anime handle the weight topic, are the guys only shallow, what message does it send to people who struggle with their weight?

That is why I think it is important I am covering this show. I read a good portion of the manga and while the anime’s beginning might deceive you, this show has no intention of forgetting that Kae was overweight and no intention of forgiving every love interest for their issues with her before she lost the weight. As long as the anime keeps the touch of the manga that it was written from, the show will be a much more interesting surprise than the summary alone gives.

this is the winner of the show

this is the winner of the show

I was worried from the start because shoujo anime tend to get weird adaptations. Orange changed a lot about the art style for some characters and had moments of genuine breath taking animation followed by some serious let downs. Kiss Him Not Me offers stunning animation and really good seiyuu work: hearing Kae freak out about yaoi in both her heavier self and her stereotypical shoujo self were absolute treats. What will sell you on this anime in the first episode has very little to do with what will come and all to do with the fact that Kae is one of the most relatable and interesting shoujo protagonists ever written. She’s nice, sure, she’s not mean to anyone, sure, but deep down her most defining feature is blogging about anime and obsessing over characters. (I am not self inserting here, nope!)

I give this anime my current recommendation both because I know what is coming and because what we already have is good. Even if you decide all the motetedousunda9guys who originally rejected her don’t deserve her there is still one OTP in the show that works the entire course: Asuma Mutsumi. Asuma knows it’s Kae immediately, barely notices she lost weight, and likes her either way just fine. So that being said if you hate the shallow characters just stick it out for how amazing both Kae and Asuma are. He literally has a scene where he comes to talk to her at the same time all the guys come to ask out her out, only he just came to borrow a book and gave in to peer pressure because he didn’t want to be left out.

Kae is my spirit animal. Join me, animu fangirls, we must unite in celebration. (Look, I owned a Makishima body pillow before. I buy custom plush dolls of everything. She is my spirit animal.)

Possibility of Watching: Yas plz, slay

Oki

91 Days Episode 12 [ Just Live – Final Impression ]

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Bananya Episode 13 [Final Impression]

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Bleach 686 and The End – A Fandom’s Disappointment

8 years ago when I was 16 years old I was a Bleach fanatic. My entire teenage fandom was Bleach and it changed my life in a lot of positive ways. For instance, I met a very dear friend of mine through Bleach. My art and writing all grew because of Bleach. I am a member of this blog because Eva and I met through Bleach. In a lot of ways Bleach is my origin story: my first genuine fandom and my first love. For years I followed it religiously, though when I picked it up it was about midway through the Arrancar Arc. I loved Bleach in the arc post-golden age. I was willing to forgive the inadequate pacing and unhappy direction that it began because I loved everything it had done. The first thing I ever bought with my own money was two plush dolls of Nnoitra and Nel, and so now you know exactly what Bleach means to me.

So I wish I could say this was good. Really, I wish I could say that Bleach had been genuinely good in a long time. There was an entire year I stopped reading Bleach because it stopped being what I remembered. Soul Society was an arc where we were learning about new things and being introduced into a blind zone, an inequitable area where Ichigo could not compete and was unable to go after anyone without it nearly ending his life. Once Soul Society arc ended a new enemy with mysterious unheard of powers was introduced, and then after that another group and then another. Eventually the series ended with the ultimate ‘other group’, the third one we ever learn about comes back as the Quincy reach for their revenge. What was established as a three party story ended up in. . .5…6? The Shinigami, the Quincy, the Hollows, the Vizard, the Fullbrings, the Arrancar and eventually the Quincy resurfacing. Humans were also a group as Orihime and Chad were never quite as powerful but never quite as weak. What was once deep interest and an amazing world of mystery was, well, Ichigo is 5 things now so what is he going to be next? Well, Chad and Orihime and Uryu are unimportant so when is Ichigo getting a new powerup? Complaints we had from the Soul Society arc ended up being complaints to the end, and every new piece of information was like WELL OKAY!!!

Bleach stopped being good when we could expect the same concept from the show. Many people thought it should end at the Fullbring arc and indeed what would have been different about that ending than this one? If we were to cut out the knowledge that Ywach killed Uryu and Ichigo’s mothers or even the Quincy in general then what would be different? If Ichigo was fine just running his dad’s clinic and chilling with everyone else then why was it really so imperitive that we go through so many arcs? Bleach 686 features Ichigo doing exactly what his dad does (even though he has never seemed to show any desire to be a doctor or to do anything in the human world) with a wife (Orihime) and a son. Now, here is the thing. At one time I really cared about Ichigo ending up with the ‘right’ girl or something, but every ounce of my shipping fight died when he stopped really doing much with anyone. The last time I felt a genuine connection between Ichigo and someone else was with Ishida, and the last time I felt a connection between he and a girl was even longer. I preferred him with Rukia but by the very end I was going ‘Well now he is CLEARLY setting up RenRuki endgame’ an endgame I don’t feel is developed much. Now for Orihime, that girl has been in the game for years. Despite shipping Ichiruki I always kind of felt she was showing her love and support even though I only ever once felt Ichigo return that (in his fight with Grimmjow) whereas with Rukia he had that heartbreaking scene where he could no longer see her and it seemed to cement it for me. So the ship I was vying for didn’t win, but that’s not really why I’m let down. If anything I’m mad because it feels like every loose end was given the same treatment. Sure, Ichigo and Orihime can get married! Why didn’t they get an ending scene where he looks at her fondly and declared his love?! Seriously, Renji gave more of a serenade and I actually think his child with Rukia is adorable enough I’m willing to give it a shot.

But what the hell is, HEY ORIHIME WHERE IS OUR KID? Why didn’t the IchiHime fans get the solid, groundbreaking, absolutely happy ending they deserve? If the 5 lifetimes 5 love speech was genuine and absolutely true then why didn’t Ichigo get his chance to reciprocate those feelings? Why are we left seeing the aftermath and not the true ending? Orihime never confessed to Ichigo while he was conscious and so everything we have from them is conjecture and one sided. Hell, where is Rukia and Renji’s heartwarming ‘I wanted to belong to YOUR family back then’?! I’m angry because Kubo Tite started Bleach as a man with a plan. He ended the rain, he made poems, he showed the importance of bonds and trust- but the only person who got some closure seemed to be Uryu and Ishida’s relationship. Not even with their mom’s, they didn’t get a flashback there, but they both got to work together to kill Ywach. No one in this manga got the ending they deserved, not even the protagonist. I’m not the only one who feels this way, one of the main thoughts is that Kubo had to end Bleach before the ten years he wanted because he had such horrible ratings in the end. Fans wanted something different than they got, and Bleach suffered even more for it. Yet after the Arrancar Arc the true villains seemed to be more and more boring. Tsukushima rewrote the past repeatedly and Ywach could alter the present to reflect the future: we didn’t even see all the bankais. We don’t know who ended up where, what life is really like in soul society. What even happened to Nel? I ship NnoiNel but she couldn’t end up interacting with anyone, Grimmjow, Halibel, or anyone else even one more time?

People are fighting over ships, disregarding each other, or even thanking Kubo for what Bleach did. But can I give it any of those things? Yes, Kubo Tite wrote an amazing manga that changed my life. But he screwed it up. He wrote half of a great manga and he wrecked the other half. He didn’t even do the winning sides justice: he didn’t even give my sweet baby Ichigo the proper closure. Where are Isshin and Ryuken’s smoking and crying over their wives? Where is Ichigo crying for his mother and Orihime comforting him, telling him she loved him and will be by his side for good? Where is Uryu’s happiness and his finality “This was for you, Mother.” and RYUUKEN BEING PROUD OVER IT! So yes, I am grateful to Kubo for creating Bleach. But I am not happy he made the ending of his amazing manga into what it is. I’m happy some people get to be excited over it: I’m sure if IchiRuki was canon even in the watered out way it is I might be somewhat happier. But . . . really? Would I be? Never hearing Ichigo say he loves his wife, kiss her, or hold her? Never knowing just how perfectly happy things are without exposition, not expression, to show it? I don’t know. I mean, the only thing that I can say would’ve changed my opinion of the ending is if Noitra came back to life and made out with Nel. Look, some people never change and I’m that person. I’m not shouting my crazy conspiracy theories anymore I’m just saying the ending of this manga needed more kissing. Or at least a real movie! What the hell, Naruto got a movie to fall back in love with Hinata and she already confessed to him in person! Everyone got an awful ending.

I have to say this and it pains me: Naruto ended better than Bleach. I had a lot of issues with Naruto and it was definitely my least favorite of the big three. Why don’t women do more, I don’t like the art style, I like Bleach’s powers more. But.. . well, Kishimoto ended up making a better manga. Bleach ended in a very unsatisfying way. Kubo Tite let me down. If he had written the manga the way he did until the end of the Karakura Town arc that would have been fine. . .but what is Keigo even doing?! And don’t get me started on fucking.. . Rukia. . . WHERE WAS HER AMAZING FINAL BANKAI BATTLE? WHY WAS SHE MARGINALIZED? SHE WAS THE DEATHBERRY AND NOW HER VAGINA SOMEHOW PRODUCES THE MAGIC OF DEATHBERRY? Where was the ultimate show of their friendship? Dead, apparently. Even if you don’t ship Ichiruki those two are connected at the hip and to see them kind of. ..talk to each other more than anyone but get a virtually meaningless ending sucks too. Everything sucks. Everything!

That being said, I will now talk about what I liked. What a fucking precious button cupcake this little shit Ichigo has is. I seriously want to smother him with love and kisses. And what happened to Karin, oh my GOD! And Renji and Rukia’s kid, wow. If they get together when they’re older. . .does…does that mean EVERY ship won? Well no, but Chad. Chad is the real star.

hiimchad

hi i am chad and i got as far away from this ending as possible while still winning

HOLY FUCKING SHIT. CHAD. CAN I BE YOUR WIFE NOW? plz. Chad. HE IS OLD ENOUGH TO MARRY ME AND I AM INTERESTED CHAD PLEASE RSVP IMMEDIATELY. Uryu is a doctor but I demand he have a sexy wife. I’m serious. I want an update to this chapter where he has literally the hottest wife in the series. GO. THERE IS NO TIME TO WASTE KUBO, IT WILL ALL BE FIXED WITH A HOT WIFE AND CHAD MARRYING ME. And sadly, that’s about it. There is so much more to discuss with the series and my feelings but honestly, I can only do it by answering questions. Feel free to comment and further discuss this topic. Even though I am happy to expand the truth is pretty much this: I don’t think Bleach 686 is the ending any fan deserved.

But guys there is one last thing. The true loser of this comic, the true loser of the entire story. I am sorry, but the ultimate loser is. . .

ichigos hairline

Ichigo’s fucking hairline.

ichigos hairline2

Bleach Ending: Disappointment

Oki

91 Days Episode 1 [First Impression]

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Bananya Episode 1 [First Impression]

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Orange Episode 1 [First Impression]

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Ace Attorney Episode 1 [ First Impressions ]

The Ace Attorney franchise focuses itself on a set of characters that many have come to know and love with dedication and intrigue. For the longest time I can recall the notion that there should just be an anime- something I completely agreed with. For the sake of this review I will slowly interchange Japanese names with American ones. Keep in mind that as I review this show I am reviewing it as a long term fan of the video game series; and if you are looking for a review of a show as a standalone series then this is not the place for that. I intend to review the Ace Attorney anime under the simple concept of: Can the idea of Ace Attorney exist outside of the games they inhabit, or can they be successfully adapted?

[HorribleSubs] Ace Attorney - 01 [720p].mkv_20160403_004508.281

The first episode of Ace Attorney focuses in on the series as the first game does. ‘Phoenix’ is the name the english speaking audience will recognize, and he starts his adventure in the same way as he does in the first game. In Japanese every name is a pun and every concept might as well be one too: Naruhodo Ryuichi is the main characters Japanese name and if you don’t know, Naruhodo means ‘I understand’. It’s a blatant pun. Now Phoenix, or Naruhodo, is a rookie who is just starting out under Ayasato Chihiro in order to defend his clients against charges they claim to have not committed. We get a glimpse into a murder that has been committed and Phoenix must defend someone who is actually his friend.

[HorribleSubs] Ace Attorney - 01 [720p].mkv_20160402_223325.515

The show did a great job at adapting the very distinctive GIFs that made up the games, showing the characters emotions much like they were originally displayed. Truthfully, I am actually impressed with how genuinely the show seems to be capturing exactly what it needs to be. I can’t imagine thus far a more accurately executed adaptation: the show literally took every inch of what it is from the game and took every speech, moment of truth, and details about the case almost identically. It wasn’t a complete carbon copy (at least I can’t say it was having not played the first Phoenix Wright in a few years) but it definitely made me go: yup, this is Phoenix Wright.

[HorribleSubs] Ace Attorney - 01 [720p].mkv_20160403_004710.953

Here is the trouble: This episode is not a good place to judge whether this is a good thing or not. There were moments of excitement and intrigue but I know what’s coming next. As a person who has played the game it is hard to be impartial and say ‘well, this was dull at times’ like I felt the atmosphere could be, because I’m too busy being interested in what will be displayed next. Sometimes this episode made me go ‘okay, now can we move along for the good stuff’?’ so I had to stop, pace myself, and ask questions. Phoenix captures details in his mind visibly on screen, and we can’t as actively review the evidence as we did in the games. This means that a lot of the mystery plays out in a more solid narrative because we can’t review it all and decide how the case went ourselves immediately.

[HorribleSubs] Ace Attorney - 01 [720p].mkv_20160403_005248.593

Simply put, the way this episode displays Phoenix Wright both troubles and excites me. I am worried the translation can be so literal it might stamp out all emotion but I am ecstatic to see that this medium might give us a better mystery when we are sort of forced to learn the details of the case in the same order as Phoenix. In the games, sometimes we would look at several pieces that Phoenix didn’t think about and go ‘well clearly this is the answer’. We might not have the same tedious answer the game wanted, but we figured out the mystery. This might give us a better chance to experience the story.

[HorribleSubs] Ace Attorney - 01 [720p].mkv_20160403_004621.218

As a player of the games, I can so far recommend this as a faithful adaptation. As a reviewer of anime? So far Ace Attorney is interesting but not griping enough to scream show of the season. I will be giving this show more time to show me how it will display a story I both know and anticipate getting to know again, as I hope new and old viewers alike will do. Also, fine, I admit it. . Naruhodo is a hilarious name. Furthermore, Chihiro is perfection, and Larry/Yahari is just as I always pictured him to be.

[HorribleSubs] Ace Attorney - 01 [720p].mkv_20160403_005352.640

Possibility of Watching: Yaaas

Possibility of Blogging: Guaranteed

Oki

Dimension W ep 1 [First Impression]

The first episode of Dimension W drew me in almost immediately with an incredibly smooth animation quality that I don’t see very often. If you have not yet seen Dimension W a great example is the opening, which shows fluid animation in a momentary dance scene. Openings may not always be indicative of true quality, but Dimension W maintained a very continuous animation quality that I have yet to see matched. That being said, I think the other show I have spoken of (Active Raid) is actually very good quality as well, so I don’t say that lightly. The animation quality in Dimension W is such a refreshing reward from the last seasons of anime I’ve had to cover, where the quality could be a little inconsistent.

[HorribleSubs] Dimension W - 01 [720p].mkv_20160110_224536

Dimension W very quickly sets up a specific world: Electricity is the main form of power, and therefore the currency of power, through a system of inventions known as Coils. Coils are highly regulated to the extent that illegal coils are hunted down by everyone from legal agencies to the equivalent of bounty hunters: in this show they’re called Collectors. Very quickly we see an older jaded kind of main character who flat out hates the stuff despite being a Collector himself. He asks for half of his payments to be in gas, which we learn early in the episode is about 30 dollars per litre at this point. It’s a fun thing to wonder what makes him bitter, but the character archetype has definitely seen its day.

[HorribleSubs] Dimension W - 01 [720p].mkv_20160110_224316

While Kyouma is definitely not a new character he is refreshing given his age. I find in anime when someone is older and bitter it provides a lot more lee way to see them from a different perspective than a younger character. Younger characters typically go through one traumatic event that is sometimes not even relatable: and generally don’t become understanding of anyone around them. Despite Kyouma’s hard ass insistence that he doesn’t have to save anyone and pulling a very typical ‘I’m not here to save the girl’ shtick, he reveals himself in a scene by preventing the main female character, Mira, from being touched by a villain. I appreciate that despite the trope he still showed a moment of decency before succumbing to a very predictable dynamic.

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Mira however, is another can of worms. From the beginning the two main characters kind of mirror one another and begin to converge on a location, however Mira is much more demure and very similar to a high school girl. She even comes built in with fanservice! It was shocking to me when she showed up as fanservicey as she did, but not at the same time. I think she is one of the only sources of it in this show, so she has a lot to make up for it. (I forsee she won’t have any issue getting to that point at all.)

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The main appeal of Dimension W to me is that Kyouma is not a complete idiot. He, and the show, feel a lot like pieces of a much older anime, Darker than Black. I got the feeling right away when the plot was being introduced that the show had very big allusions to that show. While coils are not completely otherworldly, it is basically shown they possess an incredible power that many people want to get their hands on or imitate. We may see more of the premise of otherworldly when we learn more of Mira, who refers to the Doctor responsible for coils as ‘father’. Mira’s Father is given a very quick backstory the first, and last, time we see him. The company that oversees coils comes to reconcile with him. For what? They just killed his whole family, no big deal. But the company assures him the people behind it were ‘punished’ and the board of directors is ‘sorry’. Understandably the doctor tells them to go fuck themselves by using a special coil to create a black hole and destroy an entire section of town, as well as himself. Oopsie! Mira’s motivations aren’t quite clear but she certainly is aligned only with her father. Er. You know. His memory.

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I immediately loved this show. On its own merits the show is very good at capturing your interest in the plot while also wrapping you up with the characters. While I’m not in love with any of the characters yet there is no one I dislike and already many people I am fond of. Here’s to the hope that Kyouma and Mira can engage us with their banter and growth, while keeping the mystery and intrigue of the coils alive for the length of the season. As for me, this is definitely a must watch!

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One thing though: Nice faux catgirl show. We all know what you did and you’re not fooling any of us.

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Likelihood of Blogging: Blogging so hard I can’t even.

Oki

Labyrinths of Astoria [ Hydra Main Routes ]

So a young adult with an obsession with Greek mythology alongside romance would probably be the ideal candidate for a game where you can date figures from Greek mythology, right? As it happens this game was exactly the kind of thing people like myself would love. They couldn’t have aimed this one better, as soon as I heard it was coming out I essentially freaked out. There was nothing I could do but just eagerly await the entire experience. I can happily say- this game met a lot of my expectations.

hydra

First off, I’m in love with the mythology the game created. The gods just are, the mythology just is, and their powers are manifested in ‘auras’ that they can wield. Then you have H.E.R.A., the organization essentially meant to monitor that and keep an eye on them. You work for H.E.R.A. and it’s pretty interesting to see it, but I really love how they adapt ancient Greek mythology into truth. For one, I don’t know if they actually researched, but despite his frequency in love affairs Zeus went out of the way to protect his children, making his preference and protection of Hercules completely believable and in character.

hercules

If you’re a fan of Greek mythology then the interesting way this story combines myth and modernization pretty well. To explain the auras I mentioned before, every ‘monster’ has an aura that is their powers, in the form of the monster they ‘are’. These auras basically also stand for their importance and what they can do because how powerful you are is really important. You have this co-existence with gods and humans and to a degree gods are still waving their more important sticks, they have sort of rules that demi gods and beasts follow but ultimately getting to interfere with say ‘Zeus’ favorite child’ would be difficult.

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This made for some interesting plays. Add on that Heracles, known in this as he is in Westernization – Hercules, has his entire lore in tact but reinterpreted is super cool. Megara exists, the Trials to godhood exist, even going so far as ‘losing his children’ before performing his Trials exists. That was super cool and really thorough, especially given how long the route is. In fact if you buy all three it is the exact length of Sakura Amidst the Chaos with some similar themes! That really shows how much dedication goes into adapting history and popular myth for Voltage.

If I had to list a fault I would say the localization can still feel a little strange. Voltage is slowly progressing in making their stories feel correct, but this story has a major issue. The protagonist gave me a lot of negative emotions and I didn’t really relate to her. She feels like a gimmick to me by talking a way I’d never talk and behaving in a way I’d never behave. I feel like they need to survey American girls around the appropriate age. For instance there is a time where you find out information about Hercules that doesn’t match what you know: The protagonist says “That doesn’t jive-” and the rest of the sentence literally doesn’t matter. No one in America in their 20s that is relevant and relate-able says the phrase “doesn’t jive”. It immediately took me out of the story.

I am about the age of the protagonist, I’m 23 years old, and I could tell you in every situation how a girl would normally talk. I don’t feel like the main character is really me, or a girl, but an ‘idea’ of what a girl in NYC should be. I lived in the Tristate area for years, no one really behaved that way. I’m also really miffed that the cost has skyrocketed from the normal 3.99 per one route. I think it would be a better business move to split it into two, so 9 each, for a 2.99 cost. That would save money while still allocating a slightly bigger cost. Right now it feels like a 5 dollar increase is incredibly high, add on that you need to spend another dollar for the epilogue? To a fan who loves Voltage games, it feels very steep to go from an average 4-6 dollars for a characters content to a whopping nearly 13 dollars? I would highly recommend the product but I think that is steep.

Do these problems override the content? I don’t feel it does. There are a lot of really amazing things about the content they did to localize a new experience. We got an incredibly interesting lore and a main character who seemed to more visibly fall for you over an extended period. I feel like this was the absolute best job at a localized game so far. While I had a lot more trouble recommending some of the first games, I can say I enjoyed this. You get an engaging story and a much better art choice than you would before- I love that about it!

i love this guys faaaaceee

i love this guys faaaaceee

It all comes down to story and love interest. The story is engaging- especially if you’re a fan of Greek mythology. Those kind of interpretations are popular lately and seeing a take on the monsters into a love interest was kind of refreshing. I’m really excited for the Lord of the Underworld route eventually because I am very big into Hades x Persephone myth, so I am eager to learn that. I will be buying other routes, and that’s probably my best recommendation.

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Hydra was actually interesting. It was nice to see a love interest who was willing to say ‘I’d do this because it was right’ even at the cost of his own life. I so love Greek mythology and they were able to capture him into this modernization so well that this new interpretation felt really unique. Even a picky fan can find something to enjoy in this tantalizing new romance.

also there's this guy

also there’s this guy

Overall, the story has problems, but even the heroine grows on you over time. Everybody has their own story and there is a complicated mythology to follow, or alternatively a mythology you might be familiar with to dissect and rearrange in your mind to the way Voltage has re imagined it. I actually enjoyed the plot of this story more than any other Voltage game in general, it was a fantasy adventure with a lot of themes and a really engaging adventure. The characters really become intense once you get into the plot. How can you hate all your friends on a huge adventure?

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At the end of the story I was so swept up in the amazing adventure with excellent writing that I actually felt more engaged than any Voltage game had done before. Well, mostly. I felt more in love in the other Voltage stories but in this one I felt the drama didn’t just come from my romance but instead the adventure I was on. In that regard I felt the localization team did a pretty good job. I definitely felt more independent and competent.

Overall, I give this a solid recommendation. While I would urge Voltage to lower the prices to something more affordable, otherwise it is mostly good. My major concern with the price is that to buy 5 routes at 13 dollars for major content is 65 dollars, the price of a brand new retail game. This would alienate some customers who want to buy all of the routes and given how crucial their position is to the advancement of the otome genre in America, I would say it’s important for them to remain lower in price to encourage buying sequels. There will be sequels right? …Right? Please buy at least the first route, it really is such a good and engaging story. I can’t recommend it enough if you’re a fan of the Greek mythos like myself!

megara

I won’t be linking all the major CGs this time around, I urge you to try the route out and discover them yourself! In a few months by request I’d be happy to do Hades and give some of his CGs, so let me know if you’re interested and we’ll catch that one as soon as it drops! Mmmm….God of the Underworld. . .

Oki