Neutral Drow reviews: Little My Maid

Doesn't look very mind-screwy like this, does it?

"So, don't be concerned about anything.
You don't need to worry about anything.
You can have fun each and every day...
That is, if you stay here with us."

______________________________________________________________

Ohji Kamogawa's life rather sucks at the moment. As if failing the university entrance exams wasn't bad enough, his girlfriend Yukari also dumps him soon after and hooks up with some other guy. This would be enough to get most any man down, but finally Ohji's parents have had enough and suggest that he take a short vacation; anything but having him mope around the house for another few months straight. He takes the advice and vacations to a beach where he and Yukari used to go, and proceeds to spread emo about the place.

However, his self-indulgent inner whining is cut short when he stumbles across a girl, dressed in an elaborate maid uniform, being sexually assaulted by a trio of punks! Before the three escalate it to full-blown rape, Ohji leaps into action, rolls his Manipulation+Subterfuge (difficulty 6), and successfully frightens the punks away, thus proving his worth as a human being*.

The young maid is understandably shaken by the whole ordeal, but recovers quickly with Ohji's assurances. Introducing herself as Mari, she invites him out of gratitude to stay for a bit at the mansion where she works, a proposition Ohji agrees to. The mansion turns out to be on an island off the coast, where Ohji is greeted (mostly) warmly by the owner, a woman named Hime, and the other three maids. He is then given a stipulation on his visit; as an honored guest, he has certain privileges...

Ha ha ha, no, of course not!  This means -exactly- what you're afraid it means...
Finally, people who can satisfy my desire for all-night ice cream and pinochle!


___________________________________________________________________
Line Break.

Little My Maid

...what? Don't look at me like that. It looked cute enough to buy, and was supposed to be difficult to finish (to get all of the endings, that is), so I bought it (in a fit of supreme irony, I bought it at the same time as Yume Miru Kusuri).

As for the game itself...well, this game has two very different faces. You'll see what I mean. I hope. Let's get started.

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Gameplay

This is the first game I've played that I feel comfortable (in a single sense of the word) describing as a dating sim. It does follow the visual novel format, in that you read and make choices affecting the course of events and Ohji's relationship with the people of Ryuguu Mansion, but this time around, there's more to it. A stat system is in place instead of simple relationship points, measuring the amount of love and trust each of the three primary maids feels towards Ohji, as well as how much stamina they have for sweet loving (Ohji also has a stamina bar, and the day ends when it runs out for whatever reason). Friendly interaction, in and out of the bedroom (or wherever), naturally tends to increase both of those things, though trust can also rise in some weird instances.

Meditate upon the implications of this screen.  Go ahead, do it.
You don't need to reference this screen all that often, unless you're playing the field.

Other than that, your main options are usually exploring the mansion and grounds or requesting the company of the maids (being as tender or coercive as you wish). Both tasks are necessary for getting any ending but the default one, as is deciding Ohji's reaction to various events as they pop up.

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Story

The story in this game is something I was totally not expecting: it's actually pretty clever. The story is strongly based* on the Japanese fairy tale of Urashima Tarou, a fisherman who rescues a turtle and is invited in gratitude to the Undersea Dragon Castle, where he lives for a while before returning home (only to find that 300 years have passed in the human world). This influence is seen, of course, in the general setup, as well as character names (Urashima's wife in the fairy tale was Otohime, for instance).

I'd consider the game divided into three parts, roughly according to ending type: the default ending, the five love endings, and the five sex endings (I'm stealing the labels from the walkthrough I wound up using).

The default ending ("Love is Reborn") is just that, the ending you get if you don't make headway towards any of the ten special endings (i.e. Ohji doesn't fall in love with or dominate any of the women). After three days, Ohji becomes disillusioned with the endless "present time" and leaves the mansion (one of two endings where he does) with Hime and the maids' blessings. Believe it or not, this is actually a good ending, one of the happiest ones even. I won't spoil what happens, but suffice to say, it's the ending where Ohji by far shows the most character development.

I refuse to put this image in context.  It's probably not what you think, though.
Of course! My girlfriend left me because I was a douchebag!

The love endings are also just that, resolutions to the story where Ohji and one of the mansion's inhabitants (not just the maids, but Hime or Aya as well) fall in love. These paths are the ones that actually explain the backstory (the reason for the strict rules, why Mari was on the beach where she was attacked, who and what the mansion and its inhabitants are, and the like) and are, as a whole, rather cute. Oddly, this grouping also includes Mayu's sex ending, which regardless of subject matter (Mayu and Ohji's happy sex friend relationship) actually shares more in tone with the love endings than the others, and has the added bonus over her love ending ("Precious Little Thing") of not making me want to smack Ohji upside the head for a selfish decision (that luckily doesn't pan out).

I really don't want to talk about the third part.

I mean I really, really don't want to talk about it. I've spent the week since I finished the game trying desperately to repress the memories of those endings. Now, you'd think that something called a "sex ending" would be self-explanatory. You'd be part right, and part horribly wrong. With the exception of Mayu's ending ("Be My Maid"), these endings are basically Ohji turning one or more women into his (semi-willing) sex slaves. Getting these four endings is actually difficult, especially if you're like me and the "discipline" options during sex are anathema. These vary in horror potential, from decidedly uncomfortable to twisted and disturbing to traumatizing*.

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Characters

Characterization is a little lighter in this game than I'm used to, but it's there. Ohji, of course, starts out emo (and unlike most of the internet, I don't use that as an insult lightly, he's really emo), and tends to be obsessed with the maids not "betraying" him like his ex-girlfriend, but he can develop in a few different ways. Depending on the ending and how much he matures, I either want to pat him on the back, punch him in the mouth, or beat him to death with my bare hands.

Yes, she also has an ending.  A surprisingly moving one, at that.
Aya, the head maid, immediately earns my approval.

Most of the mansion inhabitants start off sort of bland, until their love endings: Mari is friendly and soft-spoken, Hina is friendly and mildly dominating, Hime is friendly and horny as all get-out, Aya is a strict boss, and Mayu acts like a young girl (in one route even referring to Ohji as "oniichan," a cutsey way of saying "big brother"). Mayu doesn't really change all that much until her sex ending, and I get the feeling she's here specifically as fanservice for those who like "little sister" characters (though not lolicon, luckily), but the others all have surprisingly complex reasons for acting like they do.

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Technical

I wasn't terribly impressed with the artwork in this game, especially the backgrounds (which have good coloring, but kinda mediocre drawing). Only about half of the CGs struck me as worthwhile (not surprisingly, over half the gallery is hentai in nature), but that half ranges from decent to pretty good (Major Spoiler: a personal favorite, not entirely sure why). Character design is mildly better, if somewhat generic, but the game is sort of unusual in its inclusion of semi-animated character sprites (mostly with blinking and lip movements).

The soundtrack does its job all right, but isn't really worth commenting on (other than the interesting design choice that half the tracks used are specific character motifs). On the other hand, the voice acting is excellent. Hina and Hime in particular are rather soothing to listen to (something Ohji even comments on in-game), and Mari and Aya's acting isn't far behind. Again, Mayu is close to the only exception, since her voice actress makes her a little too squeaky for my taste, but she's still sort of cute to listen to. Still, if you read the rant, you'll probably note that good voice acting is a double-edged sword in this game...

Ohji, like almost all eroge protagonists, isn't voiced.

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Ero

I was tempted to put this first in the list, since it's pretty obvious I'd be a filthy liar if I tried pretending this wasn't a central concept of the game. Yes, this truly is an H-game, and the sex is abundant in quantity and qualities. Most of which I'm not going to be getting into, naturally. Suffice to say, it runs the gamut from tender to oh Jesus god please stop (thankfully weighted towards the former, which are pretty well-written erotic scenes).

To say the sex in this game is important would be an understatement, since it's pretty much the only way you can advance. Seriously, the most common way of ending a day is passing out from exhaustion. Other than that, just how you go about achieving this makes a huge difference in story progression; typically, the choice is between asking any given maid to just keep you company (which Mari and Hina tend to interpret naughtily, anyway) or just flat-out asking for sex, and then deciding how to go about it. While few of these choices lead intrinsically to any of the endings, being nicer or meaner tends to open up options that lead one way or the other.

Unfortunately, quantity and moral choice can lead to violations of my coveted "no fetish, no rape, no lack of emotion" standard. It's perfectly possible to play through the game to more than half of the endings without coercive sex or bondage...and dear god I wish I'd just done that part.

Well, at least it applies for most of the way.
Ideally. I just wish the game stuck with this idea throughout.

Humorous note: though the art is uncensored, this game, like most Japanese games I've seen, censors the words "chinchin" and "manko" (slang terms for male and female genitalia) in the voiceovers. The only Japanese work I've heard use one of these terms uncensored? Lucky Star.

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Verdict

A verdict? I'm still trying to sort out what I think about this game. Impassioned rant aside, I do want to be fair after all; most of this game I wound up enjoying a fair bit. It's just that there's a portion of it (two endings, Hina's sex ending "Silent Siren", and the full harem ending "Path of Darkness...And Its Destiny") that the softhearted me found so utterly nightmarish that they rather overwhelmed the other parts...though that might also be because I left those endings for last, and they're still fresh in my mind. The irony, of course, being that I had to consult a walkthrough to get those endings in the first place. I felt terrible enough one time with Mayu begging me not to yell at her, there's no way I could have conceived of what I'd need to do to finish the whole game.

Would I recommend this game? ...I don't know. I guess I would, but while the story is decent and the ero is all right, I think I'd only recommend this to someone with pre-existing interest in eroge.
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Line Break.

Okay, that's over. If you're wondering why I didn't review Hourglass of Summer like I said, it's because I ran into some technical difficulties. Turns out Hourglass is literally an interactive DVD, and my poor laptop wasn't running it too well, so I grabbed this game just to get it over with. I think I've solved the problem, though playing on a DVD player will make for slow-going, and screencaps are going to be a nightmare...

Next Review

Hmm, as far as vices go, I think I'm overloaded on sex for a while. How about some good old-fashioned violence to complement it? I think I'll do that Devil May Cry retrospective I've been thinking about...

Nice review and you really are going out there to review games that few dare to review. I salute and support your efforts. I'd make a joke about shaking hands but I'm sure that joke has been done before.

However I do have a request for a game. An old Windows 95 game H-game titled True Love. If you have the time I'd like to know your thoughts because you do such a good job writing reviews.

I do enjoy reading these reviews. I just hope you dont get in trouble for these.

Again, a very nice job, ND. I'd probably never play a game like this (since it doesn't appeal to me for several reasons), but your reviews hold geat educational value.
And definitely keep up the alt-text. XD

Hehehe, sounds quite fun.
although I don't go for eroge, and unfortunately if I played this game, Me trying to be nice, it would probably be an inevitable part of it...
But that was a great review... and one thing...

NeutralDrow:

Next Review

Hmm, as far as vices go, I think I'm overloaded on sex for a while. How about some good old-fashioned violence to complement it? I think I'll do that Devil May Cry retrospective I've been thinking about...

Violence? :D Does that mean Higurashi? :D
(Probably would make that annoying sound that fangirls make, but I don't do that. maybe 04 does, but they're not typing this.)

Tenmar:
However I do have a request for a game. An old Windows 95 game H-game titled True Love. If you have the time I'd like to know your thoughts because you do such a good job writing reviews.

Thanks! I think I've heard of that game before (in a good context, too). I'll definitely look it up.

RavingPenguin:
I do enjoy reading these reviews. I just hope you dont get in trouble for these.

I hope not, too. I wouldn't think I would, though, I'm trying to be careful (though frankly, even if the forum rules allowed it, I still wouldn't go into much detail on...certain things). The most questionable thing I can see is maybe one of those linked images, for slight upper-body nudity (non-sexual context).

In any case, I'm pretty sure this is the one game I have that pushes the envelope the most ('cept maybe Tokimeki Check-in), so if this works out, I don't think I have anything to worry over.

SharPhoe:
Again, a very nice job, ND. I'd probably never play a game like this (since it doesn't appeal to me for several reasons), but your reviews hold geat educational value.
And definitely keep up the alt-text. XD

I expect that to be a common feeling, actually. Knowing that made it difficult to try balancing the review: enough detail to show skeptics what parts I found cool, but without spoiling too much for people who would be interested.

I think that might have been why I posted that one of my favorite game images. It reveals one of the biggest secrets in the game (and each of the love endings has that revelation for the subject). That particular image is actually "Rebirth of Happiness," Aya's Love Ending.

Greyfox105:
Violence? :D Does that mean Higurashi? :D
(Probably would make that annoying sound that fangirls make, but I don't do that. maybe 04 does, but they're not typing this.)

No, sadly not (I don't even own Higurashi). Like I said, it'll be Devil May Cry (the first and third games). Hourglass of Summer is going to take a little longer than usual, so in the meantime I'll be doing my first non-VN review (and only one until I get to Melty Blood).

However, that's for inadvertently pointing me to Wikipedia. I didn't realize; apparently Higurashi (the first one) is going to be released in English some time this month!

NeutralDrow:
-snip-
However, that's for inadvertently pointing me to Wikipedia. I didn't realize; apparently Higurashi (the first one) is going to be released in English some time this month!

really? What a pleasant coincidence.
Too bad I can't find Any shops that sell them... not even Forbidden Planet...
I'll never be able to get it :(
Waaaaaahhh

And, on a side note, I didn't realise Devil May Cry... wait... are you reviewing the games? or are there more obscure things out there in hiding?

Good review, though I've still got to find Tsukihime and Fate/Stay Night in playable and English formats (especially the latter, what with my wanting to do a collaborative review and all).

As for this game, I probably wouldn't play it just because, as you say, it's not as much of a visual novel as a dating sim. I would focus on story with these games.

A random person:
Good review, though I've still got to find Tsukihime and Fate/Stay Night in playable and English formats (especially the latter, what with my wanting to do a collaborative review and all).

For those games, "playable" and "English format" have to be found separately (Mirror Moon has the English format, "playable" has to be found through torrent). Then again, the setup is kinda weird for the second one...

Greyfox105:
And, on a side note, I didn't realise Devil May Cry... wait... are you reviewing the games? or are there more obscure things out there in hiding?

I'm planning a retrospective of the first and third games (widely considered the best ones, and the only ones I've played so far), and how they measure up as a whole and to each other.

NeutralDrow:

A random person:
Good review, though I've still got to find Tsukihime and Fate/Stay Night in playable and English formats (especially the latter, what with my wanting to do a collaborative review and all).

For those games, "playable" and "English format" have to be found separately (Mirror Moon has the English format, "playable" has to be found through torrent). Then again, the setup is kinda weird for the second one...

I tried, but it seemed that I couldn't download a torrent without doing some weird things I'd probably screw up, and that even after all of that I might have downloaded a version that doesn't work with the translation patch. That, or some weird thing happened with downloading and it didn't actually download.

I know you sent me a PM about downloading it, but I'll probably need a good bit of help with it because I'm an idiot. My torrent program is Free Download Manager, if that helps.

Good work, Drow. I'm just sorry you had to lose SAN reviewing this thing (Seriously, some of these "Dating Sims" make The Necronomicon look like a trashy romance novel).

I must say Drow if the event which you describe is truly the most nightmarish thing you've seen in a VN... yeah Saya No Uta is not for you. I believe I've told you that I'm not big on horror but an intersting premise will usually brush that aside right? Well Saya no Uta's premise is certainly such and I WAS going to play it... then I saw a screen shot.

I will not be playing Saya No Uta.

What I WILL be playing for the premise:

Edit

On a more on-topic note: The concept is quite interesting. Based on your description, I would agree that the game probably would have been better without the sex endings. Not having played it myself, I can't say for sure, but that's the impression I get. The art leaves a lot to be desired.

A random person:
I tried, but it seemed that I couldn't download a torrent without doing some weird things I'd probably screw up, and that even after all of that I might have downloaded a version that doesn't work with the translation patch. That, or some weird thing happened with downloading and it didn't actually download.

I know you sent me a PM about downloading it, but I'll probably need a good bit of help with it because I'm an idiot. My torrent program is Free Download Manager, if that helps.

Hmm...never heard of it, sadly. I've been using uTorrent.

A better help would be to know what torrent you're using. If it's like the one I found, it requires some other programs to use image files. We'll have to go to PM for those, though.

Wildrow12:
Good work, Drow. I'm just sorry you had to lose SAN reviewing this thing (Seriously, some of these "Dating Sims" make The Necronomicon look like a trashy romance novel).

And I've still got two (Tokimeki Check-in and Casual Romance Club) to go...wait, three counting True Love. It might be tempting fate to say so, but I strongly suspect I won't have a similar experience with those...

Off-topic, so now we've got World of Darkness and Call of Cthulu references on this page. I'm disappointed no one managed a D&D one.

lordlee:
I must say Drow if the event which you describe is truly the most nightmarish thing you've seen in a VN... yeah Saya No Uta is not for you. I believe I've told you that I'm not big on horror but an intersting premise will usually brush that aside right? Well Saya no Uta's premise is certainly such and I WAS going to play it... then I saw a screen shot.

I will not be playing Saya No Uta.

You're braver than me. Saya no Uta's wikipedia entry alone was enough to put me off my lunch. I'm simply too frightened to find screenshots. That's why I tried to put my reaction in context; I know there's much worse out there. It's just that I will never, ever seek it out.

In other words, if there are people out there wanting me to review Bible Black or Divi-Dead, you're shit out of luck.

What I WILL be playing for the premise:

I still have to look for that one...but what I will be playing (and reviewing!) for the premise:

Edit

On a more on-topic note: The concept is quite interesting. Based on your description, I would agree that the game probably would have been better without the sex endings. Not having played it myself, I can't say for sure, but that's the impression I get. The art leaves a lot to be desired.

I'm still not sure if I can fault the game for it, though. I suspect that they're meant to be Bad Endings (partly because they're so disturbing, and partly because they don't contain any plot exposition), but I have to entertain the possibility that they might just be fanservice. The fact that they're more difficult to see doesn't really say much one way or the other; I've found at least one game (Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World) that has a Bad End that's significantly harder to achieve than the good.

Funny note: S&M lovers apparently have the same reaction that I do to "Silent Siren" (including the guy who wrote that walkthrough I used). Pain and domination are a good thing, permanent harm means something went seriously wrong.

Sorry, but that was the biggest wall of text I've ever seen. Also, I never would have thought of people reviewing those kinds of games. Good job, I guess.

P.S: You should review Newground's "High Tail Hall", not that I've ever seen it. [Coughs, then starts to cry ever so slightly, then considers putting a gun to his head but decides against it because of thoughts that scientists might make a machine that erases bad memories, then giggles like a small girl].

GreyWolf257:
Sorry, but that was the biggest wall of text I've ever seen. Also, I never would have thought of people reviewing those kinds of games. Good job, I guess.

I take offense to that! This is the biggest wall of text you've ever seen!

P.S: You should review Newground's "High Tail Hall", not that I've ever seen it. [Coughs, then starts to cry ever so slightly, then considers putting a gun to his head but decides against it because of thoughts that scientists might make a machine that erases bad memories, then giggles like a small girl].

NO!

No, no, no no no, and NO!

Dear sweet Bob Jeebus Buddha III on a segway in Heaven, no!

NeutralDrow:

GreyWolf257:
Sorry, but that was the biggest wall of text I've ever seen. Also, I never would have thought of people reviewing those kinds of games. Good job, I guess.

I take offense to that! This is the biggest wall of text you've ever seen!

P.S: You should review Newground's "High Tail Hall", not that I've ever seen it. [Coughs, then starts to cry ever so slightly, then considers putting a gun to his head but decides against it because of thoughts that scientists might make a machine that erases bad memories, then giggles like a small girl].

NO!

No, no, no no no, and NO!

Dear sweet Bob Jeebus Buddha III on a segway in Heaven, no!

My apologies. I stand thoroughly corrected and humbled.

DONT LISTEN TO THEM! the internet needs you to tell it what a good hentai game is and what isn't lol. I didnt read the entire thing but found the premise of the review Funny as hell lol.

NeutralDrow:

GreyWolf257:
Sorry, but that was the biggest wall of text I've ever seen. Also, I never would have thought of people reviewing those kinds of games. Good job, I guess.

I take offense to that! This is the biggest wall of text you've ever seen!

P.S: You should review Newground's "High Tail Hall", not that I've ever seen it. [Coughs, then starts to cry ever so slightly, then considers putting a gun to his head but decides against it because of thoughts that scientists might make a machine that erases bad memories, then giggles like a small girl].

NO!

No, no, no no no, and NO!

Dear sweet Bob Jeebus Buddha III on a segway in Heaven, no!

Hahahahaha... I guess Drow has already seen it. Before I say nice review, I have to say the 2 minutes that I ended up experienceing that game, made me feel like I should call my grandfather, and ask him if I could borrow his old Mosin-Nagant for a few minutes. It is the game that made me understand a bit more about why they're the internet's punching bag. That and anything to do with Jeffrey Bernal.

Oh fucking god, if you want to lose at least -100 faith in humanity, do maybe a 15 minute search on that guy.

(But you probably shouldn't.)

Anyways, nice review. It made me laugh like crazy.

Again very well written review. I have gotten hold of all the titles you have reviewed so far, except Xchange, so thanks for reviewing them, and letting us know what's good in the world of ero.

Also, I like the style of your reviews, with the sub headings for each part. Some people don't like it, but I personally feel it's easier to read when it's split up, and it makes your review more organised than others.

RavingPenguin:
I do enjoy reading these reviews. I just hope you dont get in trouble for these.

There's no issue with it, trust me.

NeutralDrow:
Snip.

Good review as always. I like the jokes that you've attached to some of the pictures.

I suppose that this "High Tail Hall" game is something to be avoided? I mean, I've seen what Newgrounds likes to pass off as "Dating Sims": "Get physically/emotionally abused by slutty/horny women that do not exist in reality until they become your willing sex slaves" would be more appropriate.

Greyfox105:

NeutralDrow:
-snip-
However, that's for inadvertently pointing me to Wikipedia. I didn't realize; apparently Higurashi (the first one) is going to be released in English some time this month!

really? What a pleasant coincidence.
Too bad I can't find Any shops that sell them... not even Forbidden Planet...
I'll never be able to get it :(
Waaaaaahhh

And, on a side note, I didn't realise Devil May Cry... wait... are you reviewing the games? or are there more obscure things out there in hiding?

As I've told Drow, MangaGamer is doing them. They're a digital distribution-only group, just use Google. Based on what I've heard on /jp/, they're in bad need of an editor to catch all their spelling and grammar errors. That's just what I've heard though.

BrotherhoodOfSteel:
Hahahahaha... I guess Drow has already seen it. Before I say nice review, I have to say the 2 minutes that I ended up experienceing that game, made me feel like I should call my grandfather, and ask him if I could borrow his old Mosin-Nagant for a few minutes. It is the game that made me understand a bit more about why they're the internet's punching bag.

I saw the name on this one other flash site I go to. Thing is, I don't even have a problem with them. Their porn just frightens me.

scotth266:
I suppose that this "High Tail Hall" game is something to be avoided? I mean, I've seen what Newgrounds likes to pass off as "Dating Sims": "Get physically/emotionally abused by slutty/horny women that do not exist in reality until they become your willing sex slaves" would be more appropriate.

I don't know, I haven't actually played it. Furry porn just doesn't do it for me.

razer17:
Again very well written review. I have gotten hold of all the titles you have reviewed so far, except Xchange, so thanks for reviewing them, and letting us know what's good in the world of ero.

Also, I like the style of your reviews, with the sub headings for each part. Some people don't like it, but I personally feel it's easier to read when it's split up, and it makes your review more organised than others.

Well, Sturgeon's Law, you know? I'm only playing and reviewing a shortlist already (well...a second shortlist, since there's no way I'm touching some of the stuff that's already been translated).

And the other, that's good to know! That's actually my exact reasoning for the format; kind of funny, since the first time was just ad hoc (and someone pointed out that Technical wasn't well-defined, which certainly helped). But yeah, paragraphs are all well and good, but I can't help but feel I'm just writing an essay instead of a review with just those...

NeutralDrow:
Snip.

Oh god, now I'm definitely avoiding that.

Hmmm... I need to write a review soon. Transformers 2, here I come.

(Yes, I'm going to buy it on DVD, for the sole purpose of reviewing it properly.)

Review Request: Fate/Stay Night, the Anime

TsunamiWombat:
Review Request: Fate/Stay Night, the Anime

That is, in fact, on my to-do list (along with the manga). I think it'll be a while, though. I'm planning it to be a corollary to the game review (like I did with Tsukihime).

Tide-over summary:

The Fate/Stay Night anime is a surprisingly good adaptation of the game's Fate route (Saber's scenario). The characters are recreated with marvelous faithfulness, and most of the points in the route are at least touched upon, if not explained in as much detail as the game.

Two additions to the Fate storyline are worth mentioning: the confrontation at school between Shirou and Rin (and then Shirou and Rider), which is transplanted from the game's Unlimited Blade Works route, and the Archer vs. Berserker fight at the castle, which was in Fate, but offscreen. Both add a bit of well-done tension to the story, and the latter even catapulted Archer to instant internet fame (if you speak 4chan, he's the source of "Gar"). As well, the late Caster arc is a rewritten composite of spliced-together elements from the Unlimited Blade Works and Heaven's Feel routes. This arc does a good job of providing needed screentime for the characters Caster, Assassin, and Kuzuki (who played only small roles in Fate), and also gave part-fanservice (no, not that type), part-exposition to several other things about Sakura's past that would have gone unnoticed (including strong hints about Rin and Sakura's prior relationship, and a cameo by Zouken Matou).

The artwork is a little harsher than Takeuchi's style, especially with regards to shading and coloring, but such a style still works very well. The soundtrack is also very good, and I personally think Kenji Kawai's rendition of the song "Emiya" is even better than the game's. However...the animation sucks. I mean it's awful. I don't know if most of the budget just went to the other aspects of the anime, or what. I'm aware anime as whole is known for certain "false motion" tricks when it comes to animation, but the over-reliance on those tricks here and the way the characters move make the anime feel just plain lazy, something that's near-crippling in a series that's heavily action-based. There's something wrong when the original visual novel beats out the animated adaptation for exciting, fast-paced fight scenes (nothing against the visual novel, mind you; they really did do those scenes well).

As a small note, that animation weakness thankfully doesn't apply to the opening and ending animations, which are some of the coolest I've ever seen.

Of course, the game is much better, but that probably could have gone without saying. This anime is still pretty good. The only other complaint I can think of is that, for some reason, people who only watch the anime tend to have dreadfully mistaken impressions of Shirou, but that's a rant for another topic. I don't blame that on the anime itself for it.

Mistaken? In what way? I really liked Shirou, especially the man he had become at the end - great character growth.

Ahh the ending to that anime...so sad ;-;

TsunamiWombat:
Mistaken? In what way? I really liked Shirou, especially the man he had become at the end - great character growth.

A ton of people don't see that, and come away with the mistaken impression that he's just a naive chauvinist. I don't mind people not liking the guy for whatever reason (though I think he's a great protagonist), but I see that particular unfounded impression so often that I actually have a pre-prepared rant on the subject.

Ahh the ending to that anime...so sad ;-;

Very, very much so. Except the tears I cried weren't manly in the least. And the scene I was actually sadder at was at the end of their date, when they were fighting, when Shirou finally realizes his feelings...and I have sudden premonition of how it will end.

Didn't stop the ending of the anime from making me cry, though, even when I knew what was going to happen.

<_<
>_>

That's part of why I love that main ending sequence so much. Because of what it resembles...

Really?

 

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