Saturday, February 10, 2018

Chouchou Jiken Rhapsodic - Review

 Genre: Otome Visual Novel. 
Developer/publisher: Otomate.
Platform: PS Vita.
Release date: 2017-11-30

I dunno why I bought this... I imported the first manga volume and was intrigued I guess.
Erena/Elena the protagonist seemed okay, there was a mystery vibe and the art is pretty
though the first promo art the protagonist looks like a freaking twig ready to snap. -_-
 I got the feeling I wouldn't like it that much so I bought the regular edition and I am glad.
Sydney's character trailer should've warned me but yet... I still bought.
PS: Some say they spoiled some stuff like Sydney in the promo image... but honestly speaking
if you don't know what the spoiler is you'd think he's some sort of fancy earl.

There are some difference from the manga like Erena for example... she is more typical otomate
heroine template which disappoint me because she appeared to have more personality in the manga.
 Don't want to say Erena was that bad since she had her moments in the game  where she managed
to shine if only a little. The rest flowed almost identically from what I had seen from the manga
dunno but in the manga it felt like Erena had more spirit, hopefully you get what I mean.
Part of me think the manga is supposed to be the main and this game just fanservice.(who knows)
for all we know this was supposed to be an interactive shojo manga... hench why
certain stuff is a bit all over the place and some routes especially the initial two
(Masanari and Haruka) can feel like filler.
If you care for the story then I'd say Ritomo is the true route of the game since everything
make sense but it all depends on preference, personally the guy is anything but likeable.

Play order:
The last three route are locked... I do know that doing Masanari unlocks Sydney.
doing both Haruka and Masanari get you Iori's route which in turn unlocks Ritomo.
So you could do Sydney second but I don't think that's a good idea... just do the 
initial routes first aka Masanari and Haruka and the rest will be natural to get to the truth.

-  Just doing one route won't get you to the truth.
- Pretty art, well portraits look nice but CG's vary.
- Charming cast, atleast I found some of them to be 'charming'.
- MURASE AYUMU's stellar performance.

- It can get a bit draggy at times and two routes are essentially filler.
- This womans blooood uwaaaagh, zombies overall writing may leave to be desired etc. >_>
- Protag/heroine didn't turn out like I expected from the manga.
- You can't skip the credits, yep its 2k18 and yet they couldn't implement such a feature.
(There's no movie view feature either...)

The common route is basically a giant introduction and too long for its own good each
chapter sort of introduced a character, chapters are not long but combined? they are.
Certain stuff will never change even if events play out slightly different
part of this is normal atleast there's something interesting to find out in the actual routes.
As for length its average, not too long not too short but the problem lies that its rather dreary.
There are two endings bad/good but its not very exciting since its just the typical two-choice system
where the correct choice raises affection which in turn lead you to best end, no guide needed!
Art is pretty, the music is so-so... bgm awful in the long run definitely not worthy it
to buy an OST of this then OP/ED well I can say these are fine but it not my thing.
I heard people say the lipsync is awful but honestly its OK most of the time it
looks awkward in some way so I tend to prefer no movement all together.
Characters seem interesting so there was drive to do the non locked routes to get
to the more interesting ones but uh TBH in the long run most of the story wasn't very interesting
since nothing makes sense till the last two routes and even then... /shrug.

To get the platinum trophy you have to save the lines the characters say this is something
daisy2's games have had in the past, here's 60 slots but you only need a couple
to make a playlist and get the two remaining trophies.
In fact you can just spam the same line into all three playlist for the trophy.............
OTOMATE WTF ARE YOU HIGH? this isn't funny since there's not much
I'd classify as note worthy, if it had lots of comedy then yes but this is a waste
there's other games like for example Ninkoi that deserve this feature yet do not have it. -_-
Not saying there aren't any memorable lines but IMO... not enough to warrant this feature.

Let me try to keep it short...
Takes place in the early Showa period, shortly after WWII.
So our heroine Erena is the unfortunate orphan who enjoyed a quiet life ever since an incident
in which her parents passed on from, she enrolls at this fancy school in the big city
after a sudden invitation and one day runs into these vampire zombie folks who want to devour her.
I kid you not I cannot even put it any other way,  for mystery driven chouchou jiken is decent
but it was too draggy and took forever to get somewhere. I feel this was meant to be a manga
 from the beginning like I already mention it but Erena is typical otome protag
aka meek and very otomate, I did had drive to figure out WTF was going on but my
first route didn't get very far nor did it make the guy feel relevant and it sucks if the dude
whom's route your on doesn't strike your interest at all.(like for me Masanari)
I think forced play orders are still good though but I think you are better off doing Haruka first
since it felt like he was a whole lot more relevant than angry navy boy then again it doesn't matter.
 Moving on...
The protag is 15 years old yet... most of her suitors are almost 10 years older, for the 
time period its ok but it is a little creepy. The plot only makes sense in the last 2/3 routes
This game seemed like a good mystery otome game that might be a little trashy
but it wasn't all that, it suffered from a rather cliche/over used protag has magical blood plot
which makes her wanted, the trashy bit never really gets that far, there's a somewhat decently writen
plot behind it all but you must have a pretty good attention span to get it, lots of TL;DR
 Well I wouldn't say its a kusoge downright since it had nice build up.
even then some stuff might not even add up to historic facts, partly that's fine but its not all
that great to get a load of bull so if you know your history of the period don't expect much.
In all honestly to me early on most of the plot was dull and only interesting if you like to have a
mouse nibble at ur toes like some characters could make it better which for me which
are Haruka and Sydney but that's it, Masanari's route was total filler and the plot
only picked up in Iori and Ritomo's route, Sydney? I like the guy but the route was still eh.
Most of the endings also gave me the is that it feeling like there could be more or better way
to end yet still... looking at you Iori suuuure let's go to sovjet together to look for more clues :eyeroll:
Especially with bad ends sometimes they tried too hard to make something of it; like bad fanfic
I think Haruka's bad end is exactly that lmao.
While doing route no.2 so much flew by me that I just gave up all expectations...
 each route was unique enough though but sadly the last unlockable route aka Ritomo
makes you sit through the whole game from scratch unable to skip common scenes
just for a bunch of new flashback scenes in between old scenes. I'm like come on otomate?
It is so very fun to sit through it all just for a few scene here and there, also yes I did force skip it. -_-
 I think Haruka and Sydney's route are most enjoyable but tbh it might just depend on taste...
 whichever character you like the most will depend on personal preference.
''Chouchou Jiken seemed like it would be a decent mystery otome game but it
turned out to be hilariously average, its not a kusoge but its not exactly that good either.''

Obvious spoilers warning minor or major, read the character babbles at your own risk.

Shindou Masanari.
CV: Ono Yuuki.
 19 year old Navy boy... his dad desperately want him to get a girl already and this guy seems like
he's important to the story but trust me he is not, if anything this was a filler route
the events in the route have its place in the bigger plot but too many questions, little answers.
I had no interest in him but to get to those I do you must do his route, I try to keep
an open mind but yeah.... he seems the typical guy who is a bit too serious and on edge.
His dad want him to get hitched and all however Masanari won't have any of that.
Dunno he cute when flustered but I found him to be pretty boring and/or plain overall
but eh other people may like him just not me, yeah that is pretty much it lol.
I am pretty sure it just the writing, like he had his moments so did other cute when angry characters
I just found most of it to be quite bland, sure they grew closer over the course of the route
but overall nothing much happened to the point I had it on auto mode and skimmed through
WHILE STILL UNDERSTANDING MOST OF IT, yeah it was that boring to me also the bit
of him almost losing himself over Erena LE DEEP SIGH... wasn't his fault sure but still.
I wasn't at all interested in Masanari and the plot didn't help, I sat through it to get it out of
the way, sure he's cool and has his charms but the writers didn't try very hard so why should I?
Masanari did get nicer in the end but yeah too much old fashioned japanese family stuff
AND screaming zombies uwaaagh i want ur bl00d for me, the latter is a thing that plagues
this whole game, hopefully other route will be better because the ending
of it all was very eh is that it? that's how they solve it? meh atleast they are happy.
Also lol they did not try that hard at all for the bad end... >_>
My conclusion is that Masanari was just victim as much as Erena was... and its funny
none of the problems he has in his own route are important elsewhere. N I C E
Yeah ok for a lot of VN that's normal but what is consistency?! the next route has more of that. 
I suppose out of all Masanari might be the most normal character... he's pretty pure 
but doesn't really know how to handle a lady that well and comes across as rude.
Can't find anything I enjoyed here... it was a slog to get through I think they way
I feel about this route is the same as Nagamasa from Hana Oboro, very forced
only thing that doesn't compare here is the lack of memorable side characters.

Romance ★★☆☆☆
Plot ★☆☆☆☆
Enjoyment overall ★☆☆☆☆

Koshadou Haruka.
CV: Murase Ayumu.
 17 year old actor, I feel that a lot of shock factor would be better delivered if they
didn't reveal on official site both Haruka's it blatantly obvious they are the same person
which might actually be fun to find out had we only know of the female version from the start.
So yeah while appear as female he is most definitely male and Murase's acting was really good
such a distinct voice between male and female version of his personality really showed his talent.
After skipping through the common route and raising Haruka's flags you get on his route
some parts early on are shared with Masanari but not everything, there's plenty of individual.
I like Haruka a lot more though and you can tell he cares for Erena more than Masanari ever did in
half of his route. Basically after u know who betrays and Haruka get cut the whole OMG  it a guy, no
way but pls understand? scenario plays out. Atleast Haruka is very sweet and like I mentioned
his va was very good at portraying but that didn't exactly save half of the story
 being screaming zombies uwaagh your scent I waaant it. Oh well atleast I can say this:
Haruka be like I can be your BFF/sister and your knight in shining armor.
There's indeed a story behind it but again this route doesn't fit into the bigger picture that well
I did like that it focused on him... which might've been a saving grace.
I did enjoy the more calmer moments of this route, the romance was sweeter as well
but I guess that depends on taste? it probably thanks to his CV and story wise
I'd say it ended up being better than Masanari's maybe I am just biased? nah
I liked how it just explained Haruka's past and purpose, it was interesting even if self-contained.
Haruka a man yet also able to be a woman(yeah it got deep) who for her sake
 will be here one and only to protect her. Romance wise it was a slowburn... perhaps too slow.
The whole duality was because he had a sister and he went and become actor for her
his clan believed the boy was supposed to have died, little did they know of his acting skillz.
The whole bit with his clan added a bit of world building, too bad this is exclusive
to his own route and we won't see it elsewhere. Haruka's a good boy... perhaps Erena's best suitor.
TL;DR this shit was better than the previous shit by a long shot, I liked the best end the most
even though sigh... power of love. Then there's the bad end? That was some nice 3p
KazuhaxErenaxHaruka but I could tell they didn't really try that hard though...
 and just ended it when we got the basic picture, the writers didn't try too hard there.
 Looking back Haruka doesn't fit in that well with the main plot he's just there but I do think he
and Erena are a good match they both find something in each other  and they didn't have
much left either. I'm not a fan for that destiny stuff but it depends on how it written I guess...
its still a bummer the whole thing with his clan is just wasted potential elsewhere.
In the end Haruka just felt more relevant to me than navy boy Masanari but not by much. 

Romance ★★★☆☆
Plot ★★★☆☆
Enjoyment overall ★★★☆☆

Sydney Watkins.
CV: Suwabe Junichi.
 27 year old reporter, Erena seems to know this man for some reason or that's the feeling she got
when she bumped into and looked him in the eye when she was out at night after curfew
and ran from some guards. He is quite the gentleman but somethng tells me there is more
 to him that meets the eye and obviously I was not wrong. He seems like totally my type and I
could actually fall for him maybe because he reminds me of Darius from Harukanaru 6. >///>
Also Suwabe... man I like his gentle sweet tone of voice for Sydney, its his best.
I thought Sydney was going to be some fancy hakushaku or something judging 
from the promo image who just happens to be a reporter as some side job.
Turns out mr reporter is also a thief... ready to steal Erena away and to be honest
he should, in fact make it canon that this fine gentleman steals this pretty little flower.
I love chara's with secret identity makes it interesting and my initial impression about him
turned out to be a little wrong. You can probably tell but I am very biased towards Sidney
and Haruka aside I really liked his character a lot more compared to the rest.
Steal me away.
Also Sydney's CG's were really nice and gorgeous, captured the moments well
I suppose this was the most otome-like route in the whole game if that's anything to go by.
While Sydney was great and all but then once again there was the creeper Shizuka...
Why u do this?! even Sydney was like gurl are you dumb?why did you get close to him again
when you know what happen ''that night'' then this Yuan dude comes in who looks like
he could be Syd's long lost brother or something yeah well he sort of was.
Oh wow look at me actually writing more about the route, must've been entertaining for it to happen!
I'd say it was a so-so route and me actually liking Syd helped a whole lot... the plot was less
interesting than Haruka because half was literally trying to steal a fucking EGG shaped antique
while Shizuka going huehuehue Erena-san I can't contain myself around YOU.
I'm exaggerating that part but it was still interesting learning more about Sydney...
 All things considered this route story wise was probably the best so far because
at the very least I was able to start to piece a few puzzle pieces together but certain stuff
didn't exactly add up since Sydney's personal struggles don't matter anywhere else.
That aside Sydney and Erena might be a bit of a bad match but that doesn't stop me from
wanting his lovely ass though, maybe because I am near his age.
I do think he's a bit of a pedo... like it was normal for this age gap to happen back then
but I am still a little uncomfortable at the thought of a 15yo going out with a 27yo grown man. >_>
To say the least, his route was original(surprising?) and still had its place in the story...
Sydney was such a sweet heart with an almost honest personality, I doubt anyone could hate him
or be bothered by the age gap (i'm not just thinking too much of it)
this might've been the healing route of the game considering he like had the most memorable scenes.
The bad end might've been appropiate but I still prefer the best end, some of the story
bits also seemed to build up for Iori's route whom I actually do not look forward to.
 Romance ★★★☆☆
Plot ★★★☆☆
Enjoyment overall ★★★☆☆

Minamoto Iori.
CV: Matsuoka Yoshitsugu.
Surprise bitch.
 24 years old and the principal of the school, from the manga it seemed like he plays a bigger part
in it all or atleast I got that idea (he did). He is also sort of scary... claiming Erena's his property
because she goes to the school he owns, he got a bit of hate towards her as well.
Iori shares common parts with Sydney soooo this went by a bit quicker(thankfully) not much though.
I guess I should say, I don't really like Iori at all because of the shit he is responsible for.
HE'S A TWO-FACED JERK!!! If you like that hate to love thing or if you like twisted characters
then maybe you'll like this... I do too sometimes but Iori? no... some writers know how to
make trash characters still likable but I guess this isn't KOEI and the magic
is just not there, so they just rely on pity and forgive and forget.
I can make exceptions here too but Iori had too much of a hand in things in other routes.
 ''PSssst just because you had a shitty past doesn't mean you have the right 
to make others miserable and/or hurt them, threatening to kill them even, Erena included''.
They're really pushing it... he downright hates Erena and is responsible for letting terrible
things happen to her, I could almost not even see why Erena would ever fall for Iori?
If anything... its pity and her being naive, giving him the chance he so neededly deserved.
IMO Half of the cast is a better choice, even Sydney or Masanari but this... might be a case
of stockholm or well perhaps she was genuinely touched by his past, his reasons/the truth
to start to pity and/or care. Guess what he had the nerve to become a moeblob tsunshun
 when they got closer...sorry but had he not be antagonistic 80% of the game
and in his own route then maybe but it was too late for me at that point.
Good end? meh there's obviously still matters unresolved but atleast their affections be mutual
the rest... well they go to sovjet together to find more clues, the writers didn't care why should I?
In the bad end he offs himself, he's happy in doing so because he's no longer running away-
well he's running off into an early grave that's what he's doing. >_> nice...
I didn't like this route at all but storywise it was decent I suppose... since at the very least
his character was interesting (even if he's a crazy) and it actually revealed story that was build up thus far.
TL;DR Iori was a fucking rejet character in more ways than one...i'm surprised to find such chara here!
I guess the good naive heart of a maiden saved him. /shrug.
 Romance ★★☆☆☆ (I guess they just expected us to pity him...)
Plot ★★★☆☆ (If anything it did reveal what was build up thus far.)
Enjoyment overall ★☆☆☆☆

Shindou Ritomo.
CV: Namikawa Daisuke.
 Masanari's older brother (24yo) he's a nice guy, IDK like Masanari he wasn't on my radar at all
and doesn't have that big of a presence either early on but definitely an important character
the former makes it worse since due to locked play order he's the last route one can do, most of the
route is told in flashbacks making it plot heavy and boring but there's still enough relationship
development. You are also forced to sit through most of the same-ish events
without being able to skip it, so if you got tired of the same-ish plot by now R.I.P you.
If you thought I was going to sit through an unskippable version of the common route
you are sorely mistaken, I saw it once there's no need for a 2nd time.
Sure I might've skipped over a flashback or scene with him but otomate you brought
this upon yourself, I don't have time for this crap you're pulling right now
and I doubt they revealed much that wasn't already revealed.
Ritomo is basically a nicer version of Masanari whom is pretty cold at first OR SO IT SEEMS
like idk Ritomo's the perfect young man but something is off about him people aren't usually this
nice and friendly for no reason. We already knew that Ritomo's involved with Iori and the
 two have similair past but at the very least Ritomo wasn't that crazy compared to Iori.
If they wanted me to care for Ritomo... they did an ok job i may not be heavily
invested but I was a little moved but juuuust a little.
I think the only good thing is that we finally get how and why, what the deal was
Shizuku, Iori and Ritomo, hint they all friends and strife to make some scientific breakthrough
and they needed people with Erena's blood which is why its an all girls school basically
everything starts making sense and Ritomo is very involved in everything behind the scenes.
Not going to bore you the whole thing was more or less a TL;DR
of how they want to make a god(des) that leads the world with a virus Ophillia
that makes people all zombie like bidding to their will and no more suffering. >_>
I might just have told you their actual keikaku in the worst possible way but who cares!
Romance wise it works but Erena is too naive and Ritomo has no experience with affection
due to his past hench why he's so dense at times, he's been through some shit like Iori.
All Ritomo really needs in life is love and affection... well Erena can give it to him if she wants
because honestly Ritomo is as bad as Iori except Ritomo isn't as crazy THEN AGAIN
I'd say Ritomo is like a crazy scientist that still has a bit of reason left. (too late for me tho)
Also when I really think about it Ritomo reminds me of Takato from Clock Zero(same seiyuu even)
but I think Takato's reasons for doing what he does for Nadeshiko was much sweeter.
No matter how I look at it... Erena is just a tool for Ritomo,Shizuka and Iori
to get what they want Erena might die... somehow in the best end Ritomo realizes he is in love
with Erena and is unable to progress his plans... gives up and convinces the others.
Sigh part of me thinks this is good and other part is meh, imo Haruka's still the best suitor.
Don't get me started on that bad end... that's just downright Takato levels of creepy
and you know what's worse Takato was actually likeable.

Romance ★★☆☆☆
Plot ★★★☆☆
Enjoyment overall ★★☆☆☆ (Well atleast mostly everythig made sense at the end...)

Fav route:
Ritomo > Haruka & Sydney > Iori > Masanari .
Basically what I thought was the most enjoyable and most balanced...
Can't say Ritomo was all that great but atleast mostly everything made sense now...
I don't have a place for Masanari never thought much of his route, even if Iori's an ass
I think his route was better overall and that is coming from someone that dislikes Iori.

Fav character:
Sydney & Haruka > Masanari > Ritomo & Iori.
Masanari... as a character he's okay, Ritomo is more a bit more acceptable to me than Iori.
My fav is obviously Sydney with Haruka a close second ah well may as well group them.

Final Thoughts
Since there's no fulcomp CG... here's my best boi instead.
 NOT WHAT I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE is a good way to sum this otome up
like I said I expected a mystery VN with a bit of trashy but almost got horse shit instead
still managed to be a bit enjoyable but think twice before you buy it and I honestly
am going to recommend you trying out the manga first. Some stuff is all over the place
half of the plot was a bit cheap there's an obvious problem and a lot of endings
just leave to be desired and are rushed. Elena the protag wasn't anything special
like okay she had her moments but she's a typical young girl who's a bit naive.
 Chouchou Jiken was no Kusoge(crap game) but its no Kamige(god game) either.
Overall mostly every route was interesting enough, it was nice to slowly understand
the character in question but I think they dragged some parts out too long.
Its a shame they had to hide the good plot behind such a cliche magical blood/zombie premise
that will only make sense once you get to the locked routes such as Iori.
Iori and Ritomo's route did more harm than good the latter specifically  also not being able
to skip the credits or being able to view the movies at will doesn't help either.
As for the art, its pretty but I think its 50/50 shouoto Aria and the other half are otomate tracers
at work like the sprites are all gorgeous and some CG's as well but others just look meh.
Music? meh nothing memorable... some fit the mood but that's it.
Well atleast Haruka and Sydney's route turned out to be good, I cared more for some of
the characters more than I did at Usotsuki Shangrila... but part of me thinks if some of
the endings are anything to go by is that the story of chouchou jiken is not quite finished yet.
ALSO I do not recommend investing in this if your japanese isn't good enough...
this isn't a simple otome game very plot driven, the romance happens along the way
but in some cases like Iori's route it was questionable why they fell for each other to begin with.
Chouchou jiken was very long and dreary, mildly interesting plot... it could be told
in a more condensed matter but they chose to not do that, glad I got this out of the way
these were some long three weeks that's for sure. I just wish some of the endings
aren't so meh because i can't say it enough; some just give me the is that it feeling?
I'm also a little bit insulted at the naming of the platinum trophy its like its making fun
of us, it literally says ''who are you'' well someone that sat through your shitty
record lines and fill the three playlist for no good reason other than trophy. -_-

Characters ★★★★☆
Art  ★★★★☆
Scenario/plot. ★★★☆☆ It could be a better mystery VN but its not that bad.
Music ★★★☆☆ Average but it gets a pass...
System  ★☆☆☆☆ Unskippable credits and classifying half a route as new... smh.
Enjoyment overall ★★☆☆☆

Next? TaiAli FD... I do not have many otome games preordered and I think that is a good thing.
I still have WOF2FD and Harukanaru 3 unmei no labyrinth among other psp titles
so its not like I don't have anything while waiting for original Harukanaru vita port.

I'm pretty much done with story heavy otome games for a while, part of me
just want more stuff like re:viced for example something with a fun cast, comedy
and decent plot and romance. Seems like I won't get that till Variable Barricade... -_-
Its not like many new ones that catch my eye are coming out so this is a good thing!

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