Foreword: Finally completed! As a sequel to Tsuki yori, which was Navel’s 10th anniversary game, Otome Riron APPARENTLY follows the game’s bad route, where Yuusei is found out to be a crossdresser and expelled from the Sakurakouji Household. (I say apparently because I never really saw the bad route myself, but agree that such a “bad route” is completely plausible).
Pretty similar to its predecessor, there was a HUGE difference in quality between routes, and despite me having a relatively favorable review for this title, you may also see a lot of rants as well.
Set in Paris, the game DID have an element where it “automatically translates” every word that the Europeans say into Japanese. With the setting that Yuusei (Asahi) was multilingual, some characters were fluent with some languages, but not in others. This may create some confusion if you don’t understand the settings of each character.
As a final note, “Ecole de” apparently means “of relating to School”, so the Ecole de Paris means “School of Paris”.
Title: 乙女理論とその周辺 – Ecole de Paris- (Otome Riron to sono shuuhen) [Lit Trans. Maiden’s Logic and its surroundings]
VNDB Link: http://vndb.org/v12246
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=768379
Game Type: Slice of Life Novel
Summary: Yuusei is kicked out of the Sakurakouji household by Yamabuki (the head Maid), after they had an accident in the bathroom. As he was wondering around the streets, Yuusei is saved by his older brother Ion, who takes him in his care as a chef in his house. While extremely grateful, Yuusei still spends his days without smiling, and this concerns the cold-hearted older brother, who takes him back to Japan thinking Yuusei would smile again.
Living in guilt, Yuusei continuously fears relationships with everyone, including his younger sister, because he has ruined everything with a simple mistake of falling asleep in the bathroom. However, this younger sister Risona soon makes an offer to Yuusei that he cannot resist; to transfer to Paris and attend the Philia Academy there.
However, reality isn’t as sweet as the siblings would expect; Risona is immediately subjugated to bullying, and being soon found out that Ion also found out about the sibling’s escape, they will have nowhere to hide.
Story Length: Moderately Short (20 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Easy
Comments: 3 Heroines, consisting of Risona, Bruette, and Meril. The prequel’s cast makes a brief appearance in some of the scenes, but they’re pretty much insignificant otherwise.
Character Design Rating: 6/10
Story Rating: 5/10
Game Quality: Moderate
Overall Rating: 5/10
Rating Comments: Don’t get me wrong with these ratings. I’ll say this here right now: Risona’s route was absolutely one of the best stories I’ve ever seen!! Despite this, Meril’s route and Bruette’s route simply killed everything. One can probably argue that I may have had a personal bias towards “deredere imouto” characters, but take my word on this one: Risona’s route is awesome, and is seriously comparable to even Luna’s route of the original game.
Otherwise, it’s possible to see that while Risona’s route is fairly long compared to other stories, Meril’s route was far shorter, and Bruette’s route was pretty much nonexistent. But no need for me to tell you what routes I enjoyed; I think the character summary will do just fine.
Let’s start out with Risona, arguably my favorite character who was the main character of a series of stories I found to be immensely thought-provoking.
Originally a hikkikomori (Someone who refuses to physically go outside due to reasons), Risona’s identity was only found online in games, as well as between Luna. However, this character is the one who suggests Yuusei transfer to Paris despite her discomforts; it’s seen that she is still in love with her older brother, and wished for him to be happy.
This is why she says “He (Yuusei) will never be able to smile genuinely if he is by your (Ion) side!”, to her powerful oldest brother. From the very beginning scenes, the reader can see that Risona is a character with lots of ethics, morals, and kindness; she just has trouble expressing them.
Risona is the main heroine for this game, and seeing how her route was over two times as long as Meril’s (and at least four times the length of Bruette’s), other elements show that Navel put most effort into this character. Bullied almost immediately upon her arrival, this character is seen smiling despite her circumstances, and her continuous “shy” aggressive approaches to her older brother makes this character extremely adorable. She would continuously invite Yuusei to marry her or kiss her, but if he actually tries to do it, she chickens out then falls in self-hatred for not being able to accept the affection from her older brother. The beginning scenes, I think, with only Risona as an active heroine, the game tries to increase the affection for this character as high as possible.
Despite having no talent in both designing or patterning (actually sewing or creating the outfit according to the design), Risona soon loses her motivation in the France’s Philia School. Originally wishing for her older brother’s education, Risona spends her time completing the coursework with minimum effort, until Yuusei secretly uses Risona’s own design to create a coat for her. This action, which I cannot express merely in simple words, is so beautiful, that the poor girl who doubts everyone including herself bursts into tears.
As Risona is soon exposed to even greater levels of bullying, the siblings will realize that they cannot trust anyone around them. Despite this, Yuusei swears to protect her; his loyalty switches from Luna to Risona. Meanwhile, back at the Okura family, problems start to arise…
Meril’s is next. With CV being Oto Agumi, I was pretty much fanboy-ing this character, but soon lost all of that after I found out how boring her route was.
Nonetheless, Meril is a countryside girl who is abnormally skilled with both designing and patterning. Her skills initially attract great jealousy from various people around her, who tries to take advantage of her. However, being the pure girl she is, Meril has no knowledge of society or taboos, and is seen to not understand anything even in certain situations (such as Kaka making sexual jokes or selling her handmade premium-quality clothes for giveaway prices).
A very nice character design regarding this character, but I found the H-scenes to be extremely unsatisfying. I also felt as if Oto Agumi’s voice wasn’t expressed to the fullest extent, but that’s probably my own bias anyways. Story was also pretty crappy, and was one of those “Everything-hidden-in-the-past-suddenly-pops-up” elements that I pretty much hate with a passion. Predictable elements wasn’t a plus either.
Finally, it seems that this character has some form of relationship to the Okura family…
Last we have Bruette. As the master and a childhood friend of Meril, Bruette’s bright and cheerful personality helps her easily get close to people like Yuusei or Risona.
Despite her family’s powers being as strong as the Okura family, Bruette pays little to no attention to her family name, and often acts childishly or selfishly. All of the routes involve her fighting with her parents in some sense, and “ranting” to either Yuusei or Meril.
Skilled with neither designing nor patterning, Bruette’s attendance of the Philia Academy is similar to Risona’s; provide an environment for learning for her good friend Meril. It is explicitly stated that her parents are not too fond of Meril in the first place, and this is the element that creates the most conflict between them.
It is soon shown that Bruette is actually romantically interested in Meril, and Meril had repeatedly rejected this form of affection. It has gotten so serious that Bruette started to assault Meril, and sniff her belongings. The reader will soon see that this affection switches to someone else when Bruette learns of a certain secret.
Resona crying after she receives a priceless gift from Yuusei
Sexual Content: Low
Comments: So yeah. Don’t even bother going through Meril’s or Bruette’s route unless you’re a perfectionist like me. Two crappy routes vs. One really good one… The rating might suck, but that’s really for the entire game, so please don’t hate Risona’s route because of me.
Incidentally, did you notice that the game presents Risona’s name as “Resona”? After Resona finds her interest in clothesmaking, she mentions that she wants to make a store named “Resonance”. Props if you see why this is symbolic x3
In addition to symbolism, I saw a lot of foreshadowing in this game. Navel does a really good job at writing scenario in general, and I really think that’s because they use a lot of literary elements such as symbolism, foreshadow, and irony. You don’t see a lot of this in other games, either…
Affection for the Characters: Moderate
CG Quality: Moderate
Music Quality: Very Good
Despite having only one “good” route, that one particular route is REALLY good. Even if you haven’t played the prequel, I would strongly suggest playing Resona’s route, because it explains every little bit of the storyline very clearly.
Conclusion: A very nice sequel to the Tsuki yori game, ONLY if you really play Resona’s route. Otherwise, you might as well play some of the better releases because the routes for the other two heroine frankly sucks.
On the other hand, I’ll be replaying Tsuki yori, since it has Yuusei’s voice now, as well as the Afterstory patch Append. Toodles~!