June 29th, 2007 is a day that will go down in eroge history, not only for the earth-shaking announcements JAST USA has scheduled for their panel at Anime Expo but also for the absolutely insane release lineup of games scheduled to come out in Japan on that most fateful of days. While the wallet impact has lessened somewhat with the news that two of the heaviest hitters will be delayed, it’s still an ero-ero tour de force that should keep otaku everywhere busy for weeks and months to come. What follows is a completely biased take on this week’s eroge releases, featuring the seven titles I personally deem most worthy of attention as well as three that were delayed (a bit of anticipatory glee never hurts!). In no particular order, we have:
Ane wa Erokomi Henshuusha
I have a stated weakness for fantasies based in the realm of otaku hobbyist pursuits, and while they often fall short of their potential that doesn’t stop me from salivating over the next improbable scenario even more than the last – and this one is pretty darn improbable. Your older sister is an eromanga editor and she needs your help to visualize the scenarios she’s in charge of editing? I’ll take it, by Jove! The game also has the most insanely denpariffic opening movie of the year, rivaling even the work of MOSAIC.WAV; definitely a must download even if you’re not interested in the game.
Another oft-confessed weakness of mine is the two-dimensional bosom, the incredibly, unrealistically larger the better. Artist Gunner-L is certainly a soul mate in this regard, as are the entire staff of this unabashedly stupid game; if gimmicks involving radioactively huge physics-defying breasts are your thing this game is for you, if not I heartily recommend looking at the page anyway for a laugh at all the wackos who actually go for this stuff.
Sensei wo Settoku Shiyou
We haven’t seen a game from vanilla Lilith in awhile, but now that they’re back this looks like a splendid offering indeed. Fans of ample chest real estate should probably give this one a miss, but Lilith’s combination of brevity and quality at a low price is sure to win the rest of us back for this installment of the eroge equivalent of snack food. A bit of trivia: according to the profile on character designer Ryuuki Yumi’s official site, she is a MILF. Maybe the Anekomi scenario isn’t so improbable after all…
Double Sensei Life
I haven’t looked into this very closely, and I probably should, as it would no doubt prove a useful manual should I ever be faced with a housing shortage and forced to move into an apartment with a pair of young and nubile female teachers. I’m mentioning it mostly because the ridiculously low price and high Alice Soft quality make this a worthy purchase for almost anyone not allergic to the world’s oldest profession (teaching has to have come before the other one, right?).
Toriko no Hime
What would otherwise be just another straightforward dark fantasy themed “training game” is transformed into something far more ephemeral by the sudden evolution of M&M‘s designs, long a staple of B-rank Kaguya games, into something honestly beautiful. I don’t know what they did differently this time around, but the formidable duo of line artist and painter have managed to produce what may be the first Kaguya game to earn the vote of my game-buying yens. Bravo, good sirs.
Dragon Knight 4
Mentioned here because in the broader universe of fans with actual taste this seems to be the most anticipated release of the weekend, I’ll be ignoring it due to the uncomfortably dated designs and boring event CG. I’ve passed up more good eroge than I can count due to distaste for the art, and my skin is hardened against the flames such shallow decision making inevitably brings; that said, I’ll be saving my RPG love for an entry we’ll get to later in the post. Moving on…
Essentially the same game as Atelier Kaguya’s offering (and many others like it), only with more extreme wacky fetishes and worse art. Despite the fact that these games tend to be uniformly mediocre I keep coming back for more; someone has to play these training sim yaruge, or what will alien anthropologists have to write about when they arrive on Earth and find our species extinct? That said I’m not quite as taken with this as with some other offerings in the genre, so given the competition I may pass it up…
Seien Tenshi Eleanor
Kusaka Souji is the reason to buy this game. It’s got tentacles and other stuff too, but the Kusaka designs are what seal the deal; ultimately this may be one of those I’ll be content to admire from afar as I have a feeling it’s a bit too screamy and whimpery to be much fun, but boy does it look good… I’ll try to pick up a copy of Kusaka’s Kagami book at C72, at any rate.
revised release: July 6th
Because there can never be enough ridiculously endowed heroines in the world, H+ presents what would have been a fine companion and/or rival to Oppai Baka had they seen the light of day together on the sales rack as originally planned. As is it seems we’ll have to contend with a one week release delay, but that makes the anticipation all the sweeter… Just to clarify, this game has no redeeming aspects whatsoever aside from the art (and that only if you happen to swing that way), quite unlike our next offering from Propeller:
revised release: July 27th
He’s neither a valet nor a servant. But, a butler, with a bullet… So says the utterly kick-ass opening movie for this game, and you’d better believe it. For those who are tired of endless streams of generic moe pablum based in generic Japanese high schools starring vacuous limp-wristed protagonists and even more vacuous and formulaic heroines, Propeller has your antidote – a dashing hero in a startlingly unique and subtly conceived fantasy industrial setting where everything positively bleeds of beautiful production value, from the Porcupine Tree-channeling OP through the Chuuou Higashiguchi designs, the intricate world architecture and the extras coming with the limited release – this game is clearly orgasm-worthy without even looking at the ero CG or having a firm handle on what it’s precisely about in the first place. All I know is that I have a massive man-crush on Rick Arrowsmith and there are very few things that will stop me from buying this game when it comes out. Death to shitty milquetoast protagonists everywhere!
revised release: August 3rd
One of the very few games that could possibly put one up on Bullet Butlers is Xuse’s Seinarukana, the long-awaited RPG sequel to their popular Eien no Aselia released back in 2003. This richly crafted 2D / 3D hybrid takes us on a world and dimension-hopping adventure that I know even less about than the plot of Bullet Butlers, but the Masaharu designs are solid, the OP is suitably inspiring, and the gameplay looks wicked cool – check it all out in the demo movie and tell me this isn’t one of the niftiest games you’ve seen in awhile. This is perhaps explained by the game’s low ero yield and the nearly inevitable prospect of its port to the PS2, but still this summer’s 800-pound gorilla in the eroge room (as measured by the anticipation ranking in Tech Gian’s August 2007 issue, at least).
And that’s a wrap! After this weekend we’re looking at a bit of a lull in the eroge scene until late August / September on my personal release anticipation barometer, a welcome dry spell that will probably be filled anyway by things I’m forgetting about at present. Regardless, we’ll be keeping up with the news on these and other titles as their development continues. Otanoshimi ni~