Foreword: Well, this is quite an old game! As I’ve stated in the previous review, Oretsuba is actually the SECOND non-translated game I’ve played in my eroge career (the first being a Yuzusoft title). Obviously at the time, I wasn’t exactly sure of what the game was talking about since this is a Navel game actually slightly more complicated and possibly harder to comprehend.
But that’s not the case this time around! I have 5 years of experience and counting! Along with how there was an anime series focusing on more of the important points (plus blatant fanservice … … …), I’ll also discuss this game’s after-story as well.
For this reason, mild spoilers are included. Sorry!
Oretsuba itself is very unique in the sense it literally has 5 protagonists of varying personalities. Not many games actually have this kind of setting, and I’ll be placing each protagonist with their respective heroine within the review.
Title: 俺たちに翼はない (Oretachi ni tsubasa ha nai) [Lit. Trans: We do not have wings]
Release Date: January 30, 2009
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v1141
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=526725
Game Type: Slice of Life novel with themes of “life and reality”
Summary: Yanagihara is a mysterious place, but in reality, this individual named Haneda Takashi is actually a more interesting individual. While he’s very quiet, he seems to hold a secret that no one else knows. This is including how he’s dating the school’s prettiest girl, Watarai Asuka.
“Why Hello Sueko (Youngest Brother)!”
“Good afternoon, Mr. Death God!”
“…So who the hell are you?”
But this story is not about him. It’s about the 5 wingless brothers who are continuously oppressed from the winged people. It’s their story of hating society, the real world, and life itself.
Story Length: Long (35 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Easy
Comments: Contrary to its length, the story is actually quite easy. Since it’s already an older eroge, there’s going to be not much problem for people who are experienced with its system to achieve each and every route. The one thing to watch out for are “meaningless” choices that are exactly what they are; they don’t have an effect on the overall story and are designed to just “trip you up”.
Character Design Rating: 7/10
Story Rating: 8/10
Protagonist Rating: 8/10
Game Quality: Low
Overall Rating: 8/10
Rating Comments: Quite the higher scores indeed, the game does have many characters which is not limited to just the heroines and protagonists, but also subcharacters. This game has roughly 15 subcharacters WITH sprites who play quite important roles in the story, so that raised both scores quite a bit. This is the type of design I want the recent releases to learn from: Subcharacters that actually make a difference in the story and NOT just some random plastered commoner for the lawls.
Story rating is high since due to the multiple protagonists, their “viewpoints” may be hard to understand, but the game does a good job by putting whose viewpoint it is during the scene transitions. Frankly, this “shifting of viewpoints” can be slightly confusing at first, but my advice is to keep your eyes on the “date” of all these events, and gasp in amazement to how they all match up. In reality, they go through each protagonist one-by-one.
It’s quite interesting to see each protagonist interacting with the same character though, like this subcharacter “Misaki”, who has a crush on Takashi and pretty much stalks him.
Character design is not only raised by the subcharacters themselves, but also the heroines. My only complaint at this point is that the heroines seem a little bit bland: sometimes, the subcharacters seem to have more impact or spotlight than the heroines (e.g. Koda Ai vs Naru Ootori).
Despite having 5 protagonists (one which is actually for the laughs), the game makes the transition from each one to the other quite fluidly, using a mysterious floating church as the “Abyss” where the rest of the personalities “sleep” while one of them is placed in the cockpit.
It’s also pretty amazing how the game pretty much shows three protagonists’ normal days, and how they try their best to “not get overlapped with each other” to avoid chaos. That’s because they all have very different personalities, but TECHNICALLY the same appearance. The game itself shows that they’re significantly different in appearance (aka, they have different hair color), but that’s actually in the eyes of the reader, who can actually tell among them. In the eyes of others (especially the subcharacters), all the protagonists look the same. The real bonus is that when a heroine becomes close to the protagonist (regardless of which “one”), they are also able to differentiate between the protagonists. Asuka and Kobato are the heroines who are explicitly shown to be able to do this, while it is heavily implied the same for other heroines.
Character Summary: Right. Let’s get right to it, the first are the 5 protagonists, shown here:
The first character to appear is Haneda Takashi, the guy on the lower left corner wearing a muffler. He’s the protagonist seemingly dating the “School Princess” named Watarai Asuka, but Takashi is quick to admit that this is actually just a fake relationship since that allowed both of them to avoid unnecessary relationships.
Very quiet and passive, Takashi is often taken advantage of by his peers because they all understand that Takashi would pretty much do whatever they want. In fact, Takashi is shown to even appreciate this kind of abuse since he is often very lonely.
Takashi is the only protagonist to be paired with two heroines; one being Watarai Asuka, and the other being Yamashina Miyako.
Watarai Asuka is a girl very popular in school. With her good looks, good grades, while also being athletic, it seems that this “perfect girl” is just too good for anyone… Or so they thought.
During his first year, Takashi was being teased by his friends, who told him to go tell her that he liked her. When everyone was expecting the poor flustered boy to be rejected, Asuka accepts right at that spot, which bewilders everyone. However, even Asuka understood that this was just his friends teasing Takashi, and even afterwards, suggest that if he finds someone he cares for, he tell her so they can “stop” this fake relationship.
Strangely though, Asuka seems to be very friendly with Takashi, often calling him at times for almost no reason or to just “talk” to him, just like a girlfriend would. Takashi is grateful for these actions, but also apologetic, as he believes that his “condition” was not forgiving to hold a relationship with this girl.
It’s not hard to actually see them as “lovers”, either.
Asuka seems to be a very prevalent heroine, in the sense she plays a big role in Shuusuke’s route as well, of actually being rejected. She is the only character in the game who finds out about the Wingless Brothers’ secret during the story, and like the others who know about this syndrome, becomes very interested. In addition to her already being affectionate towards Takashi, her route mostly involves her past being of use in awakening Takashi to his senses.
Yamashina Miyako is the alternate heroine for Takashi, and is introduced briefly in the beginning scenes.
Miyako is a very unique character in the sense the reader can see a drastic change in her personality at different times: most of the time, she is very quiet and passive, but sometimes she becomes extremely hyper to the point it startles many people. She suffers from what’s supposed to be rare disease of the body being unable to control its autonomic nervous system, involving the “Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Systems”, which control much of the body’s responses to outside environmental stimulus.
For the not-so-medically-intelligent individuals, this just means that Miyako is completely unable to control how hyper she gets at certain times, while being so lethargic to the point she can’t even come to school in other occasions.
Miyako’s route takes the opposite route of Asuka’s route, in the sense Takashi’s “meaning to live” becomes this highly-dependent character who yearns for affection. She has been rejected by someone in the past and fears “love”, and as Takashi becomes closer to her, Miyako is lost at how to respond.
Miyako’s route does include a “bad route”, where due to her emotional instability and slight insanity, if you neglect this girl too much, she will literally kill both Takashi and Asuka.
The next protagonist is Chitose Shuusuke (he has the red-ish hair), a very light-hearted character shown to love playing around and jokes. While he works various part time jobs for short periods of time, he is currently a “freelancer” who writes reviews for various works and recently assigned to review a work by Tama Izumi. As he talks about this job with Kakeru, one of his very few friends, Kakeru actually points to a young girl saying that person is Tama Izumi.
After a bit of comedy and Shuusuke being heavily trolled by Kakeru, they soon find out that this girl named “Hiyoko Tamaizumi” is also working at Alexander, where Shuusuke often visits. Not only that, Karuo (the owner of this Alexander branch) asks Shuusuke to start working there as well, and assigns Hiyoko to be his “supervisor”. From then, it’s all about his days working this part time job while finding Hiyoko to be very admirable for being able to be so dedicated to something; unlike our protagonist.
The thing I really appreciate about Shuusuke is that within the afterstory, he plays a very important role for Watarai Asuka, who is the heroine for Takashi. This “love triangle” that’s created is a trait I found very favorable since it’s Shuusuke himself who deals with it using methods that he hates the most. In addition, his route involves the “past” the most, and explicitly mentions his biological father to be someone he already admires. This follow-up. I love it.
Shuusuke’s route has one of the best follow-up stories I’ve seen.
And this would be the heroine Hiyoko Tamaizumi. Very hard-headed and formal about pretty much everything, Hiyoko is almost seen as annoying to the people around her for being so stubborn about many things. Fortunately, she does have the good looks while also having the largest bust size which Shuusuke first becomes “attracted” to.
It really becomes a running-gag, both in the game and the anime.
Her first interaction with Shuusuke involves her second work, titled “Beiju”, which actually received lots of criticisms from both publishers and readers for being too confusing and lacking a proper theme. As ironic as it is, however, Hiyoko’s first work “Hohoemi Inside”, a romance novel, is considered one of the best novels ever created, and this sudden change caused much confusion and discouraged the young writer.
She’s may be bossy and mean, but even then she’s still human with feelings of her own
Another running gag is that Shuusuke does ask her about the color of her underwear as soon as they meet, which she replies as “Beige” (notice how the name of the color sounds ridiculously the same as her second work), but Hiyoko’s route mostly involves how Hiyoko comes to truly respect Shuusuke despite various accidents resulting in fanservice scenes.
The last push comes when Shuusuke finds out that Hiyoko has a THIRD work titled “Itsudatte Prism”, but she’s too scared to publish it, and now that she’s disappointed the publishing company, they’re also hesitant to publish this book. Despite avoiding close relationships with anyone, Shuusuke feels that it is completely necessary for him to lend his help to the young girl whose stubborn and hard-headed attitude was just a defensive shell for her fragile mind and heart.
The third and last of the “main protagonists” is Narita Hayato, a self-proclaimed hardboiled character who is apathetic and tries to act cool. In reality, he has the heart of gold and even his ridiculous efforts to earn money is for a greater good.
As ironic as it is, despite seemingly the oldest of the protagonists, Hayato is considered the “youngest”, being called “#5” and being created later than anyone else.
Hayato’s environment is during the nights, when the sun has set and only illumination of electricity fills Yanagihara. He has a policy of taking pretty much any job that he can do to earn money, and often relies on the Crepe Store’s owner to introduce him to work. Outside of this, he occasionally works single-days at the Road Construction, which is always open for him should he be unable to find a job himself.
And this is the owner of that Crepe Shop, also known as Pal (she does have a real name though)
Very athletic describes this character, and it’s much needed, considering how a year before his story takes place, he was assaulted by a gang called “Yanagihara Flame Birds”. He was an even match with their leader, Ootori Kakeru, who invited him to be a part of them. Since then, Hayato became this supreme VIP for this gang.
This would be Ootori Kakeru. Remember how he looks like, since I’ll show you another picture of him, considerably different.
Hayato’s route starts with the introduction of who is actually Ootori Kakeru’s younger sister, Ootori Naru. She had lost her bike and wanted someone’s help, but couldn’t find anyone. Consulting the Crepe Shop’s owner mentioned previously, the two characters soon meet. Hayato is of-course, reluctant at first due to the fact he is only looking to earn money, but accepts nonetheless, saying he’ll do as much as he can.
Hayato’s story is arguably the longest and involves many characters, including the rival gang R-Wing, full of members who are most accurately described as “gothic” or “emo”. Hayato’s route involves the two groups often fighting each other for the “territory of Yanagihara”, and because of Hayato’s great fighting skills, the two groups try to force him to join their side.
…I swear these “Flowers on Both Hands” scenes…
Outside of this, Hayato slowly comes to become more affectionate towards the cheerful girl who makes his dull life at least a bit more exciting.
Of course, this is all aside the fact that “Number 2” is breathing down his back at his own attempts to steal the “Cockpit”. This insane older brother has his ways to force Hayato’s emotions, and will do so at any cost.
And here is Ootori Naru. A cheerful character, except she is very shy around people she does not know.
In a literal sense, she is a delinquent who doesn’t go to school and instead hangs around in the streets doing pretty much nothing. Her family is rich enough to leave her with the money she needs to get by everyday, and with her bike that was stolen, Naru becomes close to our 3rd protagonist.
The protagonist originally finds this heroine to be interesting with how she created the impression of a frail girl, but was actually a very cheerful and friendly individual who becomes friends with almost anyone she meets. Unlike our hard-boiled protagonist who avoided relationships at all costs, Naru’s bright aura likely drew him in.
As stated previously, this heroine is the younger sister of Ootori Kakeru, and it is first suggested that the two are relatively distant from each other, making awkward faces when the “sibling” topic is brought up. Otherwise, Naru loves to joke around and often teases Hayato for having weird fetishes. In return, Naru herself seems to have a fetish for “Construction Worker Outfit”.
As Hayato becomes more involved in the battles between R-Wing and Yanagihara Flame Birds, the character named “Archbishop” threatens Hayato’s closest friends, and even manages to shoot some of them. Enraged, Hayato manages to keep his cool and become even more protective of Naru, thinking that Kakeru won’t care even if Naru was harmed.
Hayato and Naru’s story ends abruptly with the introduction of Itami Karura, who is considered “Number 2”. There was a condition for this character to appear, and Hayato was simply the easiest to incite for this condition.
And that would be Karura on the left. As surprising as it is, that’s Ootori Kakeru on the right over in this screenshot: notice how he’s smiling harmlessly like a child as opposed to his aggressive and fearsome personality shown previously.
More of a joke character, Karura considers himself the “Successor” of Greatgard, and is completely clueless to the world that he is placed in, which is not the place he remembers. In addition, it seems that he and Kakeru have met before and even made a vow to each other. This promise is displayed slowly throughout the rest of the game and into the main protagonist’s route.
Karura, as a joke character, is not paired with any heroines.
Last protagonist is the “Real” Takashi. Actually, his name is Youji; it’s just spelled as Takashi and people think that’s how you read his name. Youji is the “Creator” of these four very different personalities and not really introduced until Karura comes in and confronts the central heroine: Youji’s younger cousin, Kobato.
Youji’s route is available last only after all three heroines are cleared. It involves the past of Youji and the “Why’s” of this story, including how these various personalities were created.
Appearance-wise, Youji is nearly identical (even in the eyes of the readers) to Takashi, and there’s actually a reason for this. It’s just that unlike Takashi, Youji is very comical and carefree; similar to Shuusuke.
At first, the appearance of Youji is of that a child. This is because his mentality is young from the time he locked himself up in the Abyss and refused to come out. Kobato’s route goes into full detail about what the hell happened with the poor boy and his mother. It turns out, despite calling him “Onii-chan”, Kobato is actually Youji’s cousin. Due to her parents leaving on a trip, Kobato started staying with Youji, and they got along very well… Until his mother became insane. The reason for this insanity is then solved in Shuusuke’s “After Story”, which was again, another great follow-up.
And this is his younger cousin, Kobato.
Very young, but highly reliable, the beginning of the game shows this character to be relatively cold to Takashi, Shuusuke, and Hayato. Despite having the same appearances, Kobato is very skilled at noticing the protagonist’s changes, perhaps even better than the “Observer”, because she was next to them for so long. In the anime, this is displayed by her making five meals every breakfast (they each have different tastes).
Obviously infatuated with her cousin, Kobato holds romantic interests in Youji. The reason for this affection is hinted in Youji’s route, and it reveals this girl to have been “waiting for her oni-chan” to come back for years, carefully watching Takashi, Shuusuke, and Hayato.
Kobato isn’t the most attractive heroine when it comes to the impact on the story, but it did warm my heart to see that her affection for Youji made her do many things that would have otherwise been impossible for any frail little girl to do at that age. Considering how the two only really had each other during their most difficult times, their affection for each other also had at least a bit of validity.
From starting the game, the protagonists will actually talk to you, the player and reader of this game. As the “Sixth” brother, you are very silent and in fact, do not respond to any of their “chats”. As the name implies, you are an observer, or someone who listens to their story and makes their decisions for them at certain points. While all the brothers react differently to the Observer, they all understand that this “Observer” has the power to solve their problems, and become very trusting. In a way, the reader himself is given a personality through the various dialogue given in the game.
Sexual Content: Low
Comments: Alright. For some comments.
Generally, I’m quite the critic with games that may have multiple routes resulting in inconsistencies, but this game was actually quite different; most of the story was “linear” and utilized various words like “Cockpit”, “Abyss”, or “Scramble” to actually bring out the proper protagonist once you get into a heroine route. The game has an amazing flow that even after all these scenes where the protagonist is constantly changing, there’s a point of “imbalance” that causes each personality to suddenly pop up or disappear, which Shuusuke and Hayato identify and imply that they need to solve it ASAP.
This would be said “Abyss”
Now you may ask how the hell do “Wings” play a role in all this psychology bullshit? Good Question!
Wings are scientifically proven to be allowed “flight”, or the defying of gravity by using air pressure. In other mythologies, wings are represented as celestial or powerful beings. In many anime series or entertainment genre, it’s used to portray the character’s purity or innocence.
Personally, I feel that all of these analysis are wrong; meaning that the symbol of “wings” are used incorrectly. This game is an exception however, in the sense that they use the symbol of “wings” to represent Hope, Future, and Life. It’s not some “angel” that’s more special than anything else or some fantasy element that idiots would scream about. It’s an actual metaphor that plays a key role in the story.
Remember how I said these are the 5 wingless brothers? That’s exactly what I meant: 5 characters with no hope, no future, and if you think about it, no life. They’re living their dull lives with nothing accomplished until each respective heroine comes in and changes that; the heroines are represented as having said “wings”, and you can take it from there.
What I really appreciate is that subcharacters like Kakeru are also subject to this theme of “Wings”.
Another thing is that this game did hit me a little close on the feels due to the fact that I also felt the same emotions some of these protagonists felt. This on top of the fact that I did have a mild case of DID (MPD) as these protagonists had as well. In short, I was easily empathizing with some of these characters because I was very similar That may be the case with a lot of other players as well.
Last but definitely not the least is the fact that this game gives the readers the cold hard truth. No moe school-life romance. No popular idol falling in love with some random normal protagonist or harems being created (although the anime challenges this concept), and definitely nothing “fantasy” despite the fact we’re using “wings” as a frequent keyword. This game has swearing. This game has fighting, gangs, and even drugs. It’s about as closest you can get to “reality” you can with a galge.
Affection for the Characters: Moderate
CG Score: 6/10. Yep, so it’s “same-face” Nishimata with most of the character artwork here. She does derp around with a lot of proportions, but I want to mention that this game does regain most of the points in this field for having so many character sprites and backgrounds to give the reader multiple viewpoints and environments.
I’ll have you know that when I first started playing galge, Nishimata was my favorite artist
Conclusion: A great game from Navel which is different from “Tsukiyori” since that game only had one good route while others sucked. This game is decent throughout and gives a great finale in the afterstory with many of the questions from the main game answered. To be perfectly honest, the romance seemed a bit choppy in this game; there was the development, but it was poorly done :|
In that sense, this would be one of those games that would be amazing as a novel and not a galge. I’m sure many of you saw the anime which was pretty much screaming fanservice everywhere, so… yeah
I think this is the longest review I’ve written in a while. The word count reads over 4000, so I better stop! Here’s one last picture of Misaki who is voiced by Tono Soyogi (WHYTHEFUCKISSHENOTAHEROINEGAHHHHHHHH!)