Foreword: Two exams this week + one this morning for which I pulled an all-nighter for (Oh man, I’m getting old. I used to be able to go 48 hours without sleep) is a recipe for a tired reviewer and possibly a crappy review.
Despite this, I have a few things I want to mention favorable for the newest game from Yuzusoft, “Sanoba Witch”, which is actually pretty funny because us Westerners know what that’s a parody of, and in context of the game, it’s actually true–so that was a good design.
Considerably superior to other titles being released, but that’s only because the “other” titles suck balls. Nonetheless, I gotta give it to Yuzusoft for creating another “good charage + fillers”.
Despite this, the entire game was your typical Yuzusoft game. I’ll try to explain this over at the character summaries section as I go along.
Title: サノバウィッチ (Sanoba Witch) [Lit. Trans: Son of a Witch, which is a parody of a common swear phrase… The company also uses the translation “Sabbat of the Witch”, where “Sabbat” can also mean a “meeting of”, effectively making the title “Meeting of the Witches”.
Release Date: February 27, 2015
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v16044
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=828103
Game Type: Fantasy romance novel with themes of self-realization
Summary: Shuuji is a teenager who holds a secret, of being able to perceive the emotions of people around him as a “taste”. While this seems like it may be an interesting ability, the superpower was crushing the poor boy since he was young, to the point he suppressed his own desires and needs and lived his daily life with the eyes of a dead fish according to his friends and father.
One day, he accepted another request from a girl just so he didn’t have to experience the bad taste of contempt if he refused. As he worked in the library alone, a girl named “Nene” also entered, and much to his surprise, the girl started masturbating on the corner of one of the tables!
Extremely startled, but completely unable to hide himself, the girl finds out that Shuuji has watched all of this. The next day, he visits this girl at the “Occult Research Club” to console the girl, thinking he may be able to help her with her masturbation impulses.
This would be that girl
Instead, Shuuji ends up stealing the “fragments” from the girl, who then reveal that she is a witch collecting these “fragments” of people’s emotions in order to fulfill a wish. Nene also admits to the impulsive masturbation as a “side-effect” of the contract she shares with a mystical being called an “Alp”, and now that Shuuji “stole” the fragments that she has worked so hard to collect, the two start to work together in the Occult Research Club to somehow return it back to Nene.
As new members including Meguru and Tsumugi join the fray, Shuuji soon finds that his life is slowly starting to change.
Story Length: Long (35 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Comments: Pretty clear-cut choices again, although some choices may be a bit ambiguous. The game does have several unlockable stories, which include “after” stories (which is just an additional H-scene) as well as a “True Nene Route” labeled “Restart” when you clear her route.
Character Design Rating: 7/10
Story Rating: 4/10
Protagonist Rating: 7/10
Game Quality: Moderately High
Overall Rating: 6/10
Rating Comments: Be surprised: this is another game where the protagonist score is actually comparative to the heroines or story score (The first one being this game). This is actually a good thing, where the heroines and the protagonist have an equivalent balance of “showtime” within the entire story. Neither of them shines above the other, which can be analyzed to a good or bad trait if you really wanted to be picky, but for me, this kind of quality was unique so I just considered it a “good thing”.
Not too big of a deal with the character design, except the game does increase the affection and attractiveness for each character by giving them relatively unique characteristics and backgrounds, the most prevalent of this being Nene’s “dark side” which I’ll explain in her own section.
There are a lot of characteristics for Nene
Story on the other hand is very generic and even poorly planned. The theme of “magic and witches” played very VERY little role in the entire story and was essentially nonexistent, and how the game only maintained it just enough to utilize in the climax of the heroine routes was something I didn’t find too pleasing. In retrospect, I seem to enjoy Yuzusoft games if they DON’T have some bullcrap fantasy theme like magic prevalent in the story (like Amairo).
Nene is first, as the central heroine for the entire game, and when I say “central heroine”, it seems that Yuzusoft performs quite a bit of design with these heroines to amplify their presence more than others. In short, they’re CLEARLY the central heroine and not just some random plastered girl that appears more conspicuously on the box cover (I’m looking at you, Whirlpool).
In this game, it’s by giving Nene an additional route labeled “Restart”, which is a spoiler in itself. That’s all I have to say about that.
As the CV as Kiritani Hana (Holy shit, I just noticed VNDB is now keeping a record of CVs too. WHOA), who’s been becoming more and more prevalent in the eroge market, her character was portrayed very well: as a very calm character, but around our protagonist Shuuji, she would often expose her embarrassing sides, which would bring out the “other, more darker personality” of this girl. In short, the character Nene and CV “Kiritani Hana” was a perfect match and a great choice of CV.
More about the character herself, Nene is actually one of the most popular girls in the school, but she is very shy herself, always being cautious around others since she never knows when the “rebound” effect of her contract will give her the intense sexual desire that she hides from everyone. She does work around the school by performing counseling to girls within her club, but this was a way for her to harvest “fragments” from the students effectively.
Her masturbation habits seem to be a running gag… Poor girl
As Shuuji is added to the equation and Nene receives lots of support from him, she feels very comfortable around him. However, as the “wish” of Nene is revealed, the two characters start to distance each other…
Nene had a splendid design; don’t get me wrong when the character design score is 7/10–this score is because of other heroines that had not-so-great designs themselves. As stated previously, the character “Nene” was matched perfectly with its CV, and her “dark moments” in addition to her tendency to use a very aggressive “え、何ですか?” (Huh? What is it?) to feign ignorance avoid topics she doesn’t want to talk about was a hilarious trait that I found attractive.
However, aside from the character design, both her story (in the main story and in Restart) could have been improved greatly. The most prevalent thing in the “Restart” chapter was that I would have liked to see a bit more transition and have the story take it slow and steady, something that would have really made me hype about it.
Okay, enough about the central heroine, let’s get to the first heroine outside of the Occult Research Club who joins after receiving counseling: Meguru!
I’ve always been a fan of Haruka Sora (the CV for Meguru). I don’t know, it’s just that it sounds childish, but always have some sort of “bitterness” or “maturity” in it to suggest as if the character is young, but relatively intelligent. Either that, or she sounds ridiculously similar to “Mai Goto”, one of my favorite CVs.
I’m blabbing too much about CVs. Meguru herself is a relatively unique character who visits the Occult Research Club and asks to “make her famous”. While being a strange request at first, Nene and Shuuji take up on her request serious and think of ways to make this girl who made attempts to be popular in the past and failed, actually popular.
Meguru: I wanna be popular!
This is where we come into her hobbies with gaming, which involves the relatively popular game series in Asian countries: Monkari (Monster Hunt). Using this tactic, Meguru quickly befriends the guys in her class, and with a bit of conflict, the girls as well.
Meguru is the only character within the heroines that do not have connection to Witches, except for the fact that she did have a friend in the past who disappeared all of a sudden without saying anything to her. Meguru was always worried that she said something that offended her friend, and Meguru’s route goes deep into figuring out where this “friend” is, and why she disappeared.
Aside from the main plot of Meguru’s route, I also enjoyed the romance presented in her route the most, which was mostly “sweet and sour” unlike other routes which just seemed random. The ending was weird though…
Next up is a weird character name Tsumugi who is also revealed to be a witch with a side-effect similar to Nene. Her disability is that she is completely unable to perform girly activities or wear girly clothes. If she tries to do any of this, a lovely hand-drawn transition window with rainbows and flowers fills your screen as sounds of barfing noises fills your ears. Yep, you guessed it; Tsumugi PHYSICALLY regurgitates when she does or wears anything girly.
In addition to this weird-ass rebound, she is also a rival witch for Nene, and according to Souma (Nene’s Alp), Tsumugi is not supposed to “hunt” for fragments in this area; it’s as if the Witches have a territory of their own. This introduces a rather haughty loli character named Akagi, who doesn’t get along with Souma and causes troubles of her own.
Despite this, Tsumugi and Nene often get along very well, with the fragments often being yielded to Tsumugi since most of the fragments that Nene collected is stored in Yuma.
Tsumugi’s route involves her and Akagi mainly, but also include Nene and Souma as well.
Overall, I didn’t like Tsumugi’s route, primarily due to Akagi being pretty much a bitch all the time (and the game goes to show that she actually wasn’t at the end), as well as how the entirety of the route was convenient and didn’t make much sense. Yuzusoft tends to do something like this to at least one route in the entire game (make it really crappy) for some reason.
Now we get to Touko, the “upperclassman” character who also doubles up as the former student council president who would soon retire since she was graduating. The unique thing about this character is that Shuuji is completely unable to detect this character’s emotions. This becomes a big foreshadow on who Touko actually is, as the game slowly reveals Shuuji’s interest for this upperclassman.
Touko herself is also relatively unique, in the sense despite being a “former” student council president, she makes quite a few sexual jokes or suggestive double entendre. In retrospect, that’s all she even presents to the table in the beginning of the game before her route. Despite this, she still has a secret admirer who has a crush on Touko, and creates some humorous love triangles.
Touko’s route actually involves Shuuji’s deceased mother to the greatest extent, and was extremely unfortunate in the sense it had potential to be even BETTER than Nene’s route–the story just needed a bit slower transitioning, a bit more foreshadow, and more descriptive CGs regarding Touko’s past. Instead, the game just solves everything with a semi-deus-ex-machina and there’s your Touko route.
In review, Touko herself wasn’t that great of a character either. There were simply too little characteristics about this character that stood her out of other heroines like Meguru and Nene. In addition to how her H-scenes sucked and she was purposely given the largest breast size, I’m not sure what happened with the planning over here.
Last and in my opinion the least, is Wakana, the small loli character seen at the beginning of the game to be Shuuji’s friend. Cheerful and friendly describes this character perfectly, as she often plays along the jokesthat Shuuji and Kaido make.
Wakana’s route begins with Shuuji’s joining of the band, and how Wakana begins to take care of him. Finding the “care” grateful, Shuuji does many things to try to compensate, but one of this leads to the two accidentally kissing.
Probably the typical “affection starting from an accident” plot that we may be more familiar with, the game then goes through many scenes involving the relationship between the two, and their past. Wakana arguably had the most crappiest route due to the lack of building up the affection between the two, in addition to her rejecting Shuuji’s confession at points for apparently no reason at all.
Touko’s personality also changes drastically after a certain point
Sexual Content: Moderate
Comments: So we have here quite the unfortunate game. It was decent, but that’s all it got to. With most of the climax completely overshadowed with “magical” solutions and little to do with actually contribution from the heroines or the protagonist, the game was kinda half-assed since it makes significant effort to put sympathy for all the characters present, especially Shuuji with his “flashbacks” and memories. (By the way, this is why the protagonist score is so high)
Affection for the Characters: Moderately High
CG Score: 8/10. Animated SDCGs are always really nice. CG is quite decent and of “Yuzusoft” quality.
Ignore the scroll bar on the side…
Music Score: 4/10. Music falls unfortunately. Lack of variations and generic tracks made to accompany “charage” won’t do so great in this field.
Addictiveness: Low. Despite being a decent story, it’s definitely not something I’ll come back to.
Conclusion: A “good” game from Yuzusoft, but that’s in quotations because I’m talking relative to other games released recently. As a typical charage, the game does meet the standards, but that seems to be all it becomes. Now that I hear favorable reviews for older titles, those should be next on the line… OH SHAT I TOTALLY FORGOT ABOUT MARCH RELEASES.