A blog for reviews… that's really not much of a blog

Foreword: I personally found myself picking this game up when I heard from a person named Zen, who works with Micchi back in Hau Omochikaeri in delivering previews of new releases every month (for which they really deserve more credit to be perfectly honest). For the most part, he has a very pessimistic (and humorous) attitude towards these new releases, but you can rarely see him being optimistic for some games. These are the games I generally want to try, because as someone who has a similar mindset as Zen, I imagine I might have a relatively similar preferences or tastes.

For the most part, this game was hilarious. Like seriously. There’s a lot of nonsense humor which really works if you know much about the otaku subculture and its taboos. Obviously though, being funny alone does not create a good game, so let’s get on with the review to see if this is a title you should try!

Title: スキとスキとでサンカク恋愛
Producers: Asa Project
Release Date: November 25, 2016
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v19444
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=906632
Game Type: Nonsense Comedy Parody (?) Novel

Summary: Sousuke is a relatively normal guy with interests in the otaku subculture. He shares the same interests with his younger sister Nanaru, who loves cute things such as idols, and is involved in a club specific for the groups of people who enjoy anime, games, or even things like mobile games.

While his life is peaceful with this group of friends, two people are suddenly introduced to his surroundings. One is his actual biological sister who was separated from him at a young age due to a divorce, and the other is an upperclassman who stalks the boy claiming she fell in love at first sight!

This along with the current relationships he has with Nanaru and his childhood friend Maho, there will most definitely be some love triangles involved!

and ice cream. Can’t forget ice cream.

Story Length: Moderately Long (25 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Moderate
Comments: Asa Project did well in this first game I experience from them with the choices which seems relatively mindless, but rather interactive. It made me think about what choices would lead to which route, and even for characters like Shiina, she literally tells you which choices to pick to get into her route right from the beginning (I thought this was a joke, but it wasn’t!)

You can diverge into Cara and Akane’s routes as well, though I should mention unless you liked these characters specifically, they’re not worth going through.

Character Design Rating: 8/10
Story Rating: 3/10
Protagonist Rating: 3/10
Game Quality: Moderate
Overall Rating: 5/10
Rating Comments: So to the comments.

The characters are what makes this game worth your time, as colorful characters who are the center of all the jokes, comedy, and attention. The game doesn’t hesitate to serve the character’s traits or attractive features in front of you on a silver platter, so you immediately know which characters you genuinely like right from the get-go. As mentioned by the aforementioned individual who inspired me to try this game, Sankaku Renai was very simple and clean. No gimmicks, no trickeries, and no bullshit.

On the other hand, that same thing that made this game clean also made it TOO clean… or in other words, shallow and unmemorable. Jokes were funny, but they would be hard to understand for individuals who are not experienced with the genre (i.e. If someone who’s just coming into galge played this game, they would be thoroughly confused), and since the comedy was all this game had to offer to the readers, it got very awkward when the story went over to the resolution of the “love triangle” which was more serious than anything else (not to mention that said love triangle wasn’t even properly developed). Basically, the game has the extremes of comedy and drama and no in-between transitions to the point you’re laughing at one scene and the next is all serious and gloomy.

Though most of the game is more comical than anything else

The main problem with the story was that the game shouldn’t have taken itself seriously and it did. The “love triangles” used for the story were very poorly developed especially considering said “romantic transition” between characters were nonexistent. Expect archetypical stories in terms of the romance department with excessively blushed faces or the lack of taboos (in the case of Nanaru/Suzu), which admittedly was too great of a contrast from the otherwise funny introduction and the large amount of jokes presented in the game.

Protagonist is the least of the crew purely because even as the center of said love triangle(s), he really has nothing to offer to the heroines. He’s not unique like others, and it’s only his past relationships (or purely the design of the story in case of Shiina) which makes him a romantic partner for the heroines. He has comedy of his own and contributes to the story, but this was far too “typical” and not a good design. If at all, I really would have liked for him at least to be extremely knowledgeable about the otaku subculture or at least be intelligent in terms of academics; anything which would differentiate him from any other guy in his classroom.

Or else readers might wonder why the heroines like him in the first place

Character Summary:

Nanaru is the step-sister of Sousuke and not actually blood-related to him since she became his younger sister as Sousuke’s father remarried to a woman who had a child. Originally very quiet around Sousuke, our protagonist works hard to befriend this younger sister through various means, and soon they became the best of friends who enjoy the same preferences in cute “idol” anime.

Nanaru really seems like that character who is “too close” to her brother, to the point the re-introduction of a REAL younger sister startles her greatly and challenges her paradigm. Similar to how she was unable to get along with Sousuke in the first place, she is unable to get along with Suzu when she appears and seems to grab the attention of her “dear older brother”, which displays a love triangle (?) right off the bat.

Nanaru’s route focuses mostly on that very fact, that if Sousuke’s family weren’t torn apart in the first place, she wouldn’t have met with him at all, and she is now unable to be neither happy or sad about the fact Suzu is added onto this fray and she herself finally realizing her romantic interest for someone she knew as an older brother all along.

Overall, Nanaru was a nice twist to a typical “imouto” character which is usually locked on to an archetypical design. That isn’t to say that her route was any unique, but it didn’t make her route annoying, so that’s always a good thing. As with the rest of the routes in this game, I just found it unfortunate the love triangle was taken too seriously all of a sudden.

Suzu is the younger sister who is actually related to Sousuke by blood, and joins in the fray when her grandmother who was taking care of her fell ill. While Sousuke and his father was happy to welcome the once former family member in their homes, their main worry was that Suzu might not do well with Nanaru and Momiji (Sousuke’s step-mother). Their worries were for naught however, as Suzu is immediately welcomed by both of them despite having some kinks with Nanaru, and likewise participates in the B-Club with her own otaku-ness for fantasy and anything “cool”. The humor for this character often stems from how she has another, more darker side to this seemingly innocent imouto.

Contrary to the other younger-sister counterpart, Suzu is more traditional as a younger sister, being well-behaved, intelligent, and good at housework. She also receives attention after working at the beach house for her looks and skills at making yakisoba, and later events fuel Sousuke’s affection for someone who was once his younger sister.

As with any other characters in this game, I was okay with Suzu’s design. It’s just that like Nanaru’s route, the love triangle is taken too seriously and the romance between the two characters are more flimsy than wet rice paper (while also being rushed excessively). It’s the typical “I suddenly find my blood-related younger sister to be irresistible” and vice versa.

Probably the least of the routes out there (aside from the subheroine routes), Maho is that one character who is almost like a guy friend to Sousuke due to her preference in fighting games over anything else. She is always happy to join anyone to a good round of fighting games, and is very skilled at any kind; easily beating even the national champions.

Maho actually has a very good design of having a history of romance with Sousuke in the past, as Sousuke genuinely liked this girl who took care of him occasionally when he was down from his parents’ divorce. However, due to receiving joke confessions herself, Maho ends up treating Sousuke’s as such, and ultimately rejecting it once she realizes he is serious. The game hints that this rejection was due to her own embarrassment, but I felt that this concept wasn’t fully “pulled out” more, meaning if Maho really rejected Sousuke due to “embarrassment”, the game should have really gone through more detail on how she came to like him, her own monologues, and even maybe her point of view when interacting with Sousuke (though this last one is actually more prevalent in Shiina’s route)

Like other routes, the love triangle was not that great and I actually thought it would have been a “better” love triangle to have Maho and maybe Suzu/Nanaru instead, purely because the former has memories of the three of them when they were young and the latter has the time spent with Sousuke. I’ll explain what I mean in the comments section down below.

The last of the characters is Shiina, an upperclassman who comes to Sousuke with an immediate confession that he fell in love with him at first sight. There are jokes about how she comes to like his “looks”, but the real reason for this affection is never defined.

Regardless, Shiina’s hobbies are mostly eroge as she boldly claims, and it really seems that this stalker has no sense of shame or humility in her hobbies. This translates to how she literally tells the reader the choices he needs to make to enter her route (you think it’s a joke; but it’s actually accurate). On the flip-side, most of her brazen attitude is just a facade for her being unable to make friends or get close with anyone, which is slowly peeled in her own route as Sousuke genuinely feels affection for the upperclassman who accepts him purely for what he is.

Overall, I enjoyed Shiina’s character the most (and maybe Nanaru as well) purely for the fact these two were the characters with the most amount of humor. Even though Shiina’s romance was arguably the most shallow one out of all four heroines (due to completely lacking a background), she compensated that with a large amount of “deredere” and sexual innuendos which added to the comedy of her route. Not surprisingly Shiina was my favorite character despite having one of the worse routes.

Her design itself was pretty cute in my opinion

Sexual Content: Moderate

Comments:

So this game is simple; it’s a lot of jokes and nonsense humor along with occasional breaking of the fourth wall in regards to the otaku subculture, but that really seemed to be it. The romance was never a main thing (and thank god it wasn’t), but the game gives the “love triangles” too much seriousness later in the game which was a big contrast. It’s almost as if the producers realized that there was a limit to how much jokes they can have in the game and decided to end the story with two characters hooking up and stick some H-scenes in there and ta-da there you have it.

It was indeed simple, but extremely shallow. There wasn’t any “story” or anything to learn from this game. It was definitely not like some dramatic love triangles such as the ones from White Album 2, but on the other hand (and to be fair to this game), Sankaku Renai wouldn’t have “ended” with said love triangles giving a proper conclusion. Not like you can keep using the same jokes for endless hours though the jokes are the real “meat” of this game.

Even the heroine interactions weren’t too meaningful (but at least it was there >.,>)

So it’s sufficient enough to say that at least regarding this game, you should only play it for its jokes and maybe the route of a couple characters you found to be interesting or pursue Cara because Tono Soyogi is a fucking goddess (and holy shit she actually says the word “fuck”. GIVE ME BACK MY INNOCENT SOYOGI), but keep it as such because aside from the humor, this game isn’t really worth it. It’s only average at best and at least for a player who focuses on story much more than anything else, the spontaneous serious atmosphere of love triangles was more OCD-inducing due to the lack of background or development.

More like I personally thought the “pairing” for said love triangles were rather awkward. Why have it such that even though the common route suggests all four heroines have feelings for the protagonist, the game divides into two arcs depending on the choices you’ve made, so that either both the younger sisters or the childhood friend + upperclassman combo loses that affection? If at all, they should have made the game something similar to Aozora Stripe or at least “pair” up the characters in a much more intricate and meaningful way. It’s just unnatural for say Shiina to suddenly stop pursuing Sousuke just because you entered the “imouto route”.

Like why wouldn’t Suzu be jealous of her brother’s relationship with other girls, regardless of who they were?

One other thing that rustled my jimmies about this game was that there were no traditional save/load feature. It was instead “bookmarks” that you literally had to create and delete the old one, and as someone who likes to be organized with my savedata, this annoyed the living daylights out of me.

Affection for the Characters: Moderately High

CG Score: 6/10. Decent artwork, though the game lacks normal CGs almost excessively
Music Score: 4/10. Pretty generic for the most part. Not too much of a fan of the Opening nor the Ending

Addictiveness: Low

Conclusion:

Pros

  • The game has amazing humor for which it should be recognized. Take note, however, that it may be harder to understand for someone who is not too familiar with the otaku subculture or other things like mobile gaming.
  • Heroines are generally very colorful and contribute much to the humor
  • The two subheroines also receive routes of their own. I generally marked this as a plus because of how much character they have as well.

Cons

  • Other than the high quality humor, the game has literally nothing to offer to the readers.
  • The Love Triangle was an awkward, spontaneous, incoherent, and mismatched conclusion for each route. The seriousness was too great of a contrast with the otherwise humorous atmosphere created in the beginning
  • Considering said “love triangle” was supposed to be the core story, the romance behind it are flimsy and weak, making this game have one of the worst “story” you can have.
  • Protagonist is not considered ideal, and offers nothing to improve the game’s quality.

Overall, Sankaku Renai was that game that you’d probably pick up so you can laugh mindlessly for a few minutes. The parody works nicely to lighten the mood and induce laughter, but that really seems to be all the game has to offer. If anyone plays this for the story or love triangles, they’ll quickly find themselves thoroughly disappointed at how undeveloped it is in the first place.

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Comments on: "When Romance Meets Triangles and Comedy! Review of [161125]Suki to suki to sankaku renai" (13)

  1. […] introduction and is something I think requires more work by the scenario writer; similar to how this game failed in a similar sense. Basically, keep this game silly, cute, and as a […]

  2. […] conflict throughout the game. The entirety of the game reads and feels like a nonsense comedy like Sankaku Renai, and as with any of these games liberally displaying jokes, their effort to create a serious […]

  3. I think I can relate to Shiina and will befriending her if she’s real haha
    VN-eroge fandom lack of girlgamer XD

    but… is this game has 3p? :/

  4. Before I begin, Sousuke’s “real” sister isn’t named Momiji but Suzu, Momiji being his step-mom (Nanaru’s mother) and I can’t remember anyone named Kaede.

    As for the game, you’ve pretty much stated my thoughts exactly. Unfortunately, I didn’t have quite the laugh you seemed to have as I don’t know much about anime, doujin, idols or even Japanese games in general apart from RPGs and eroges. Searching for the references of the various jokes would have required more effort than I was willing to put into the game, I can’t really fault the game for me being lazy but eh. I have to say that Akane’s little lesson on fujoshi and BL was one of the most interesting part of the game, I wish the game had made some amount of effort into trying to introduce otaku subculture a little more. It’s a vast field and I doubt I’m the only one with only very partial knowledge of it. Still, Nanaru’s shimoneta was occasionally funny and Shiina’s eroge references were spot on, so I imagine the rest of the jokes strike home if you know the subject matter.

    I also think the love triangle was treated the opposite of how it should have been for this sort of “baka-ge”. As the story gets serious, seeing character doubt themselves or regret past actions, blush silently or get depressed when the protagonist befriends the other party is the exact opposite of the kind of mood the game is otherwise trying to set. It’s a shame as it IS possible to handle love triangle humorously with over the top jealousy, various approaches and defenses from the heroines around the protagonist, etc… (there’s a little bit of that with Shiina and Maho but too little). I’m currently playing a game called 恋春アドレセンス and it has characters doing just that, unafraid to shout out their jealousy as one heroine gets a little too aggressive or constantly trying to break the couples once they’re formed. As it manages to stay light-hearted it’s actually very funny.

    It’s a shame as the various characters had comedy potential that isn’t exploited. See Suzu’s apparent innocent-self hiding a calculating and cold mind. Nanaru’s love of shimoneta could have lead to something like Emiri from Koikuma instead of reverting to a standard imouto once entering her route. Maho’s fighting spirit apparently doesn’t translate to her relationships as she too easily backs down. Shiina is pretty nice but I found the hazukashigariya early part of her route to be a little too much, I was expecting some more bashing of eroge tropes but alas… There’s plenty of it from her elsewhere, especially in ecchi scenes (of other characters even) so she’s easily my favorite character of the bunch.

    The two “extras” were also a wasted opportunity in my book. They’re both introduced in the most lazy way ever : “stuff happened, we’re now a couple”. Even your average sub-character route should have a least a small event leading to the formation of the couple… Here the protagonist called Cara cute once, and there is absolutely nothing between him and Akane. The latter had some real potential as an atypical heroine, if only her route was longer and involved Sousuke trying to understand BL a little more. As for Cara, I love Tooni Soyogi’s voice but I was slowly getting tired of that strange accent she was going for.

    • Oh boy, thank you for pointing out my fatal mistake. I definitely think I was looking at the wrong game (since playing 3 to up to 7 at once is not a good idea to remember things clearly), so I appreciate players like yourself setting me straight. I’ll make sure to fix the body of my review immediately.

      On the other hand, I pretty much share the same views as you. The game itself was very shallow, and unless you have no life (like me xD) and extensively involved with the subcultures, you’re not going to laugh at these jokes, which are supposed to be the main thing you come here for. I can only imagine how boring the game became after a while! (Don’t worry; some of these jokes required reading between the lines, so I wouldn’t be surprised even if a native Japanese didn’t get them)

      I also think the poor utilization of the subcharacters were unfortunate, and it seems we also agree again on Cara’s accent was quite annoying! (Though Tono Soyogi is one of my favorite CVs). Hearing your opinions on how the route could have utilized “hidden” heroine traits is definitely another place you can add humor/general storyline, and that really would have saved the scores I would have given to the game.

    • I wouldn’t say the game was boring, though my motivation dropped seriously during the last portions of the game (Suzu & Maho routes). Most of the situations are humorous in themselves and the CV cast does a good job at conveying cheerful high-tension dialogue. It’s just that more often than not it felt like watching a group of friends talk about a movie I haven’t watched. Shiina helped a lot in me not dropping the game, for her character and because she was the one whose jokes I got the most.

      By the way, thanks for mentioning Hau Omochikaeri, I’ve made a little visit and it looks interesting. I tend to get my eroge news from Holyseal and Tsudepafu, but a few comments in English are always welcome. The mini-reviews of each month’s titles is a nice idea but I’m not sure I would put much credit on opinions based on trials or story synopses. I much prefer full fledged reviews like you do. If you happen to know of other blogs that deal with eroge and you frequently visit, links please!

    • I’m glad the links helped! I generally agree with you that “previews” are not sufficient to use as a basis for whether a game is good or bad, but like to see it due to the lack of spoilers (since reviews often require it >.<), and how the aforementioned site has two viewpoints on the game.

      Have you played any other AsaProject titles that you found interesting? Purely from this title alone I feel like trying Puramai Wars, but I'm not sure if I should be prioritizing it since I might just get a couple of laughs and that'd be it

    • The only other Asa Project title I have played is a tiny little bit of Puramai Wars, but I don’t think I even finished the trial. From what I can vaguely remember, I found some characters extremely annoying (the queen bitch older sister, the little brother in love with said queen bitch, the parents of the other family, others maybe?) so it failed to catch my interest. I was not at all expecting or looking for a bakage at that time, that’s maybe one of the reasons I lost interest so quickly. It might be worth a revisit now that I think about it, but probably not, I already have too many games in my backlog already.

    • renai 0 km is the best game from asa project up to this moment, i do seriously recommend you to try it

    • @sapi : I didn’t like Renai 0 km, mostly because of the creepy insistence of the MC in making his temporary family recognize him as their actual brother. He’s not, will never be, shouldn’t try to force it upon everyone. Having now played through all ASA project game to various extents, my favorite is ひとつ飛ばし恋愛 by far. It’s the “tamest” game as far as crazy jokes are concerned, but Risa is certainly out there. I also liked the theme of romancing characters that are usually subs while avoiding the usual suspects, and thought it was fairly well executed rather than just another gimmick.

      @joyjason : I hope you’re well and still VNing even if not writing comments on this blog. I can imagine the disappointment with 9-nine-ここのつここのかここのいろ could warrant a little break from the genre, seemed like you were pretty hyped for it and yet got only a fourth of a game.

  5. Sometime theres some jokes use at wrong place and wrong time which I find it annoying

    • Definitely a valid point! You can see some jokes placed inappropriately during the “serious” scenes, which could be very disengaging.

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