Foreword: As with a lot of veterans of this genre, I don’t really like it when producers “ride on” the fame of certain titles to profit as much as they can, although I can’t blame them since that’s what they’re there for in the first place: money. However, I feel like this is much less significant for producers like Navel who actually change things up with their “sequels” unlike other producers (like Circus *coff*) who literally utilize the same general plot or setting.
Overall, I found this Otome Riron’s sequel/fandisc to be quite impressive for some reasons, while finding it poor in other parts. I would most definitely say however that it’s a game worth going through if you enjoyed any portion of either Tsukiyori or Otome Riron (first title), and there’s a reason why I finished this game in two days.
While quite obvious, as a fandisc, this review will contain spoilers to the main game. Please do not read this review if you have not already played the first Otome Riron title!
Title: 乙女理論とその後の周辺 -Belle epoque- (Otome Riron to sonogono shuuhen) Lit. Trans: Maiden’s Logic and the Surroundings of its Aftermath; Belle epoque is “Beautiful Time” in French (Thanks Google Translate!)
Release Date: May 27th, 2016
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v18130
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=867748
Game Type: Sequel to Otome Riron
Summary: This game is a sequel/fandisc for the Otome Riron series, including a brand new “Alternate Route” featuring Bluette as the main heroine, but also including afterstories for Resona, Meryl, and Bluette’s “Alternate Route”.
Story Length: Moderately Short (15 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: N/A
Comments: No choices made within the game except to start which story first. I HIGHLY recommend finishing the “Alternate” route before moving onto afterstories. I personally thought it was a good flow to finish said main route then to move onto Bluette’s after story, which connects pretty well.
Character Design Rating: 7/10
Story Rating: 7/10
Protagonist Rating: 4/10
Game Quality: Moderate
Overall Rating: 6/10
Rating Comments: To be fair, this is a pretty damn good score for being a fandisc. This is because if you remember the first title, my major complaint was that Meryl and Bluette’s routes were abysmal compared to Resona’s (Bluette’s especially), and this time around, Navel just re-hauled the entire route for Bluette into a full-blown “Alternate” story where she becomes the main heroine. After stories continue from where they left off in the original Otome Riron title, with Resona becoming the next head of the Ookura family in her route, Meryl slowly becoming accustomed to her new family, and Bluette who has a unique route of her own.
They’re all a big family! :D
Yuusei really played less of a role in this game, as most of his “protagonist” moments have already been displayed in the main games. In this title, he mostly acted as that “filler” for running gags and more of a support role than anything, making him seem more like a subcharacter instead. Though it is fair to argue that he plays a role in the Alternate Route. Yuusei does have full voice acting in this game though! I think this really made the game feel a lot more alive than it would have without the voice acting.
Character Summary: Same characters, but let’s go over them again
Resona is the hikkikomori imouto for the protagonist who always keeps to herself and doesn’t involve herself with anyone. However, after being exposed to hostility from the people of the new school and with no one else to trust but Yuusei, the siblings tighten their bond and decide that being passive is not the way to go. This pressure is then enhanced by the choosing of the next head of the Ookura family, and Yuusei himself becoming a big key to becoming that said successor. This route also involves the cooperation of the siblings with Aeon, who is revealed to actually be someone completely unrelated to the family.
Resona’s route starts from the point Resona is chosen as the next successor following her Grand Prix at the Paris Collection, and the family slowly coming together, albeit with some conflicts still present among members. Resona’s passion to still create her own brand is compiled with the slump she’s been having, in addition to more expectations placed on her shoulders as someone who won the Grand Prix and will be invited to the Japanese Philia Collection as a special guest.
Frankly, while I really liked Resona herself as a character, she seemed much less significant than Bluette (I’ll discuss in a bit). She doesn’t really have that pattern of being flustered with Yuusei’s affection like the main game so that was a shame, but there’s a certain scene in her afterstory which is sure to warrant some “aww” because readers will remember it from somewhere *hint hint*
Meryl is the short girl who was raised in the mountains and is the servant to Bluette, one of Resona’s classmates. The special thing about this girl is that she is extremely talented with designing, AND sewing to the point Aeon can only utter praises for her work. In reality, however, it seems that Meryl, being a girl who is completely ignorant about various things, comes to depend on Asahi (Yuusei) who was kind to her when she was insecure.
Meryl’s main story in the first title reveals her to actually be a child of the Ookura families. Her parents were killed (please correct me if I’m wrong) by the parents of Anthony and Suruga, and was actually placed in said monastery by none other than Aeon himself, who essentially became her guardian and “father”.
Completely oblivious to Bluette’s romantic approaches, this girl seems to have a very similar mindset to Yuusei, but as characters mention within the “Alternate Route”, the thing that differentiates the two are that Yuusei has the experience and past that Meryl lacks, while Meryl possesses the godly talent that Yuusei does not have.
Meryl’s role in the afterstory was disappointingly abysmal, but it was to be expected since there wasn’t much you could do at all for this character with such a young mindset who suddenly became a member of the most powerful family in the world. If at all, the majority of Meryl’s route was how her family and friends work hard to transform her simple needlework into something professional.
Last but definitely not the least is Bluette. In the main Otome Riron game, the game shows how she accidentally finds out about Yuusei’s gender and comes to fall in love with him. The similar happens in the Alternate Route presented in this sequel, except it is elaborated MUCH more with additional subcharacters who comes to shine greatly. Unlike in Resona’s route where Aeon works together with the siblings, he comes to antagonize Yuusei and Resona in this alternate route, and this is where Bluette comes in and offers her assistance.
In essence, this “alternate” route not only involves Bluette to a very large extent, but it also gives the viewpoint of Anthony and Suruga during this family feud. Anthony as a character is glorified greatly with many of the scenes, and even I felt great sympathy for this character who really had no role outside of this route except for gags.
I found this character slightly annoying at times, but this Alternate Route really made me come to like Anthony.
The after story for Bluette was also rather well designed, as it involves the direct love-triangle involving Resona, who now struggles to produce designs for some reason, and Yuusei seems to know why. It has to do with Bluette as well, and while there isn’t especially too big of a strife in the first place, I think it was enough to create a story with impact.
While they’re not really an expert at it, I really appreciate how Navel performs character development as a personal perspective.
Sexual Content: Low. I especially love the H-scenes that Navel creates, because it’s often funny to read through. I admit that if there were any H-scenes I don’t CTRL-skip over, it’s for Navel games.
So in all, it’s what I expected from a fandisc, although I did have a bit more expectations such as it maybe having additional characters. I appreciated that Bluette received a full and satisfying route of her own, though this really made me wonder why the hell Navel didn’t make her route as such from the start (trust me; Bluette’s route in Otome Riron is pretty retarded). Like seriously. It was so good that I really thought it was better than Resona’s original route minus the length.
In addition to this, the humor is absolutely amazing. You really need to be someone who has been following Navel’s games for a while to understand it, but if you do, it just works perfectly with the given scenario and I can’t help but praise the writers at least for this even if everything else was just crap. You’ll laugh a lot in this game whether or not you enjoy this kind of humor.
Oh yeah, the cast from Tsukiyori briefly make an appearance at Resona’s after story too! Read it for Luna!
On the other hand, Navel managed to troll me yet once again. After finishing the entire game, there’s a button that presents this one “skit” which is more like an April Fool’s joke kind of thing, except it’s much more cringy.
My face after I watched it:
Affection for the Characters:
CG Score: 3/10. Nishimata has really taken a turn for the worse. A lot of poses are awkward and vanishing points are absent, with some angles quite weird or distorted. Same with Suzumiya, so I thought it was quite unfortunate. I’m not sure if this matters at all, but Dietlinde (the German military girl) and her servant received a new artist.
Music Score: 7/10. The same tracks are used from previous games, but there are four brand-new tracks specifically for this title.
I personally think Resona’s really pretty
- Full of humor so you won’t find yourself getting bored at all
- The game really keeps the readers on their toes in certain scenarios which are highly climactic
- Characters previously insignificant are given much more attention (Bluette and Anthony) and glorified greatly for a fresh feel
- The offering of the after stories allow readers to have that one last bit of enjoyment before having an official end of each route
- Some of these “family feud” may be hard to understand if you haven’t played the previous games
- No seriously. You NEED to have played both Tsukiyori (at least partially) and Otome Riron (completely) to understand this game at all.
- Meryl’s route still sucks :(
Overall, I would highly recommend this game, only to readers who have played the previous titles to a great extent. While this is the standard for veterans such as myself, this also means that this game isn’t something you can simply pick up and go through. Though to be fair, if you haven’t experienced any of the Tsukiyori or Otome Riron titles, you’re seriously missing out on a lot.
I also think this game was waaaaaaaay too short.
If you’re really reading this without having played these games, you should get off your butt and go play them!