The heroine, Kisa Tachibana (CV: Terasaki Yuka; she’s a voiced heroine!!) grew up doing plays along with her brother and childhood friend, Yonaga Soushiro. The heroine’s brother attended a famous boys-only drama school called Univers. Kisa always wanted to attend along with her brother but since it’s all boys school she couldn’t and gave up her dream. Her childhood friend Yonaga Soushiro (CV: Satou Gen) also moved away after he started junior high school so she had been alone ever since. But one day she meets the principal of Univers who’s bored of the traditions of the school and wants to see how it’ll play out inviting an actual girl to the mix. So he invites her to attend so as long as she passes the entrance exam like everyone else and hides the fact she’s a girl. She also needs to land a lead role in one of the Univers performances.
In Univers, a person is either a ‘Jack’ (plays a male role) or a Jeanne (plays a female role). The first person she meets is Orimaki Suzu (CV: Uchida Yuuma) who is looking to be a Jack. When he first meets Kisa, he’s impressed at how much she looks like a girl and believes she would be suited to be a ‘Jeanne’. So, a month later Kisa takes the exam and passes. She’s assigned to the Quartz group along with Orimaki Suzu (whos assigned to be a Jack) and her childhood friend Soushiro (who wanted to be a Jack, but is assigned a Jeanne). Soushiro is the only one who knows that Kisa is actually a girl. The other classmates in the Quartz group is Mutsumi Kai (CV: Kasama Jun) who is a Jack and rather taciturn but kind, Neji Kokuto (CV: Kishio Daisuke) is the eccentric genius who plays both Jeanne and Jack but also is in charge of writing the scripts. Then there’s Shirota Mitsuki (CV: Kajiwara Gakuto) who’s known for his beautiful singing voice but also comes off as standoffish and takes his work seriously; and Takashina Sarafumi (CV: Kondou Takayuki) who’s a skilled dancer and the most down to earth and casual character.
There’s multiple performances that they must do such as the rookie performance, fall performance, winter performance, spring performance, summer performance, and Univers performance. One of the interesting things I found is that there are literally no unvoiced lines aside from the short relationship building events when you go out with a character (not to be confused with the “intimate scenes” which have a “!” mark on it, to show its an important character scene. The heroine pretty much narrates the descriptive parts of the story with her thoughts so ALL of the lines are voiced (this is especially nice if you’re a better listener than reader). That being said, there are unvoiced scenes but they’re rather short and just happen randomly when you build your parameters or when you go out to hang out with a character.
So basically, there’s a basic stat building system and then there’s a rhythm part. There are different parameters you must raise that affect how well you’ll do in a performance but also correlate with who you want to build your relationship with. I did like, two playthroughs where I focused on different parameters and found that you’ll get different intimate events depending on what parameters you choose to build and how high their relationship is with you. On the weekdays, is when you train and build your parameters and on weekdays you have free days where you can go out and hang out with one of the characters to build their relationship. You do lose energy if you do enough (it usually subtracts -10 per activity and you have 100 energy points) so you’ll need to rest if you run out or you risk failing an activity. Also, when you have free days to hang out with someone, you can trigger “intimate scenes” where you have scenes with certain characters (which usually follow up with CGs according to all of the scenes I did). These scenes were really cute because there was a CG with each of them and you could see how the dynamic with Kisa and one of the other characters would be. These scenes also made the game really feel like an otome game (which I mean, it is but you’ll definitely get a sense of romance from some of them).
Anyway, as for the rhythm portion, there’s a “singing rhythm action” and a “dancing rhythm action”. In the Singing Rhythm Action, you’ll have a music video in the background and in the Dancing Rhythm Action you’ll have 3D models in the background. All the while you have to press certain buttons according to what type of action it is. You have the option of changing the difficultly too, but it doesn’t change the outcome of the performance (so it’s really just if you want more of a challenge). I thought it was neat to see the 3D models of the characters dancing. I was so distracted by them I could barely focus on keeping a good score LOL. They actually perform the play as well too and honestly it was really interesting to see the characters dressed up and performing. The songs were super catchy too. The demo ends once you finish your first performance.
Thoughts: Honestly, I really enjoyed this demo. I love seeing Sui Ishida’s artwork so to actually get it in an otome game is pretty surreal. I personally enjoyed all of the characters and didn’t have an issue with any of them honestly. I do wish that Kisa had a character portrait in the corner, but I’m glad she’s at least voiced. If you want my honest opinion, this game really feels a lot like Kenka Bancho Otome in a lot of different ways. Especially with Kisa (who has pink hair) who is hiding her identity and needs to basically become a top performer (like how Hinako had to become a top fighter in KBO). But not only that, KBO had a similar system where you could hang out with the characters and trigger scenes with them (it was very similar to this). I mean, even some of the main characters reminded me of characters from KBO. Suzu is a lot like Totomaru and Kai is a lot like Kira (so far anyway, I think he mentioned he was an orphan too). I liked Tokyo Ghoul so perhaps I have a bit of a bias, but the game is also a trope I really like (girl hiding identity to enter a all boys school lol). I’m personally not good at stat building games, so I’d probably follow a guide. But obviously, being a demo, I just winged it honestly. I think I got all the CGs I could manage to get throughout the demo though; there was quite a few! I think I remember Ishida-sensei mentioning he drew over 100 CGs for the game. He clearly put a lot of effort in it so I definitely want to support this game. I’m glad they released a demo first because I really wasn’t sure what to think of this game. So a lot of people keep wondering, is this an otome game? This was actually on their Q&A page on the main website.
So they don’t directly say it is, just that it has romance but since it’s also “ensemble youth drama with friends working together for victory” that can be enjoyed by all (they clearly want to broaden their audience). I mean regardless of what they say, if there was still any doubts, it’s definitely an otome game. I’m guessing they didn’t want to solely classify it as an otome game to draw in different audiences (this makes sense since its Sui Ishida in charge of it & he has a broad manga audience) but I mean, it really does feel like an otome game in my opinion. You play as a female character with a bunch of guys who you can romance; I mean, that’s an otome game, no?? It’s really just a dating sim with rhythm games thrown in (at least so far it seems that way). I pretty much got otome vibes from it the entire time.
It even got it’s own banner on the nintendo otome website. I don’t know what the plans are in regards to localization for this game. I think Sui Ishida probably wants to make this game available to other countries based on this tweet, but I guess the biggest obstacle is whether or not Broccoli is willing to have a company publish it or not. I don’t think we’ve ever seen a Broccoli game get localized before so, I honestly have no clue. Sui Ishida has a big fanbase in both the west and in Japan so it makes sense he wants to share his game worldwide. But anyway, I recommend trying out the demo and getting a feel for it. I definitely have enough interest and already have it pre-ordered.