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

Foreword: I’ve been following Whirlpool’s games since a very long time ago and is one of the very few producers for whom I’m knowledgeable about all their games. While they’re not extraordinary, some of their titles are quite decent and a good read, and over the years they haven’t done anything absolutely retarded like other eroge producers.

It’s also actually quite pleasing to see that they’re utilizing more proficient scenario writers, seeing how they put the writer for Koidoll and World Election in full charge of writing this game, which gave Hatsujou Sprinkle that charage-like environment which allowed it to have value in the sense all the characters had superior designs

Title: 初情スプリンクル  (Note: Hatsujou means “in-heat” or “sexually excited”, but they use a different kanji meaning “First Affection” within the title) is it supposed to make this title more pure or something kappa
Producers: Whirlpool
Release Date: July 28, 2017
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v20975
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=952535
Game Type: Comedy Fantasy Charage with various real-life references

Summary: It was supposed to be a normal day for Souta… If he wasn’t suddenly pulled into the alleyway by a girl ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) who questions him with things he didn’t understand. She claimed he had magical powers of turning on women around him, and he was one of the “awakened” due to someone stealing a precious heirloom from her family. Without having any idea what the hell is going on, Souta really has no option than to allow this girl to watch over him in his daily life to make sure nothing goes wrong, which will sooner or later involve more people in his life.

I’d like to be involved in that uhhhhhhhhh…. battle

Story Length: Moderate (20 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Easy
Comments: Relatively typical charage length, it should be noted there’s an extra route for Kanade which opens when you finish one of the four heroine routes. Personally, I thought the turtle (who’s pretty much the initiator for all this mess) would get a “final route” or something like that, but it was disappointing it did not.

Character Design Rating: 8/10
Story Rating: 4/10
Protagonist Rating: 5/10
Game Quality: Moderate
Overall Rating: 6/10
Rating Comments: A full-on charage indeed, though there are some efforts here and there to have it contain some serious elements, the characters are really the thing that will make this game worthwhile with very colorful personalities of heroines often taking on various roles in the story. The beginning portions are filled with senseless silliness which should at least incite a dry laughter here and there, and it was hilarious seeing various references from things like Mario Kart and Dragonball, while words like Febreeze are also mentioned (censored though) to add onto the story. All of the characters were attractive and even subcharacters were well designed which was rather surprising.

In retrospect, you should really play this game only for the heroines and it’s really not a bad idea to skip heroines who aren’t as interesting for you (if any). This is really shown with the relatively poorer story rating, which signifies that even when you get into heroine routes, there’s really not much other than one additional conflict which is used to wrap up the story. Comedy is literally the only thing that this game does well in terms of story, and as with other Whirlpool games, the romantic transitioning is also missing to a large extent… though to be fair to the game, it did have some hints at love triangles especially for characters who had affection for Souta from the start (Koharu/Shizuku)

I found these two to have a bit more value than the other heroines

Souta is more or less given a comical role throughout the beginning portion of the game and into the heroine routes as well, as that boy with a high sexual innuendo (which he displays rather publicly) and unfortunately (?) cursed with his demon bloodline which allows his powers as a Porno Switch to awaken and whenever he gets aroused so a double whammy, if you know what I mean ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°), so does the women around him. I just wish that this ability was elaborated more, especially by comically showing how normal people would be aroused around him and him having problems about that (without regards to other heroines; this happens with the heroines for obvious reasons). How he received additional abilities in the end of heroine routes was really a shitty excuse and poor development from the fantasy setting, which was why this score was greatly lowered than what it should have been.

Character Summary:

As the central heroine of the story, Hazuki is somewhat fitting for the role of an elite witch, having that haughty attitude with self-confidence through the roof it almost gets annoying to read how much esteem she displays throughout the game. Originally meeting Souta to the backalleys because she sensed strange magic in him, she in turn gets affected by his “Porno Switch” but just barely manages to suppress his magic before additional ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) things happen between them.

A girl raised with a single goal of continuing the family heritage, Hazuki has very little knowledge about the city life and actually a bit more gullible in that sense. She seems to be who you can call an idiot, despite having a rather chuunibyou power called “Sword Master” and a superior magical ability.

Hazuki’s route is rather unique in the sense despite feeling affection for Souta, she is unwilling to admit it until the very end of the game. Before that point she makes various excuses such as Souta’s abilities for her affection for him, giving her that significant tsundere vibe, if you’re into that thing.

Pretty sure there’s at least one person out there who would love a good archetypical tsundere

Generally, Hazuki was that central heroine who didn’t shine or fall back too much. She was just right as a central heroine involving in other heroine routes while having that small but rather significant dilemma in her own for which she needed to fight for. The only complaint I would have is that I just wish the game slowed things down between her and Souta in pretty much all aspects because upon retrospect Hazuki’s route seemed a bit rushed, and the magic element in her route utilized too conveniently.

Arguably my favorite character, Koharu is that older-sister type heroine who also happens to be a childhood friend and the student council president. All of those roles are insignificant though, as her main contribution in the entire story is something I like to call “Mega-dere” to Souta, which is publicly displayed via her efforts to take care of him and/or vigorous skinship. It’s pretty tiring to see older heroines putting up tough facades in eroge just to have dignity, and in all honesty, Koharu is perfectly within my “strike zone”, allowing me to feel much more affection for this character than anyone else.

As if that wasn’t enough, it turns out it’s none other than Koharu’s older sister who is the thief who stole the heirloom which “awoke” itself into a form of a turtle. Saki (Koharu’s older sister) comments she did this because the turtle was lonely being in the same place for over 1000 years and wanted to see the outside world, but in reality this causes more trouble for Koharu who now has to guard that secret to both Souta and his group of friends which includes Hazuki.

Outside of this, she is, not surprisingly, often teased for her sultry physique which really becomes a running gag. She does participate in a large amount of comedy with her “mega-dere” to Souta which might even seem excessive at times.

Nope; not excessive enough

Overall, while Koharu was indeed my favorite character within the title, I felt her background was heavily lacking. As a childhood friend, literally one reminiscence scene lasting less than 1 minute was used to explain the affection she held for Souta, so there’s that.

No Whirlpool games are complete without a loli character, which Mio fulfills extensively. Despite being the same age and year as Souta, she is still smaller than Shizuku, an underclassman, and occasionally compares herself to Koharu.

Mio is shown to be highly athletic at first, participating diligently in the school’s track team. However, it is quickly shown that she has admiration for “Mahou Shoujo” or Magical Girls, especially because her deceased mother was considered one. With the turtle on a rampage awakening people’s magical abilities, Mio turns out to be one of the victims and starts to consult people about her dreams and surroundings.

This “awakening” is generally slow and insignificant until the introduction of a familiar, which is essentially a white ball with giant lips attached to it. Not only is it creepy as hell, it apparently has various abilities relating to Mio’s “greed”, which causes trouble for both her and Souta in the beginning of Mio’s route. On top of this, Mio doesn’t like the appearance of her familiar, obviously because it looks hideous and not fitting for a magical girl.

OM NOM NOM

Mio really had the physique of a child, and even had the mentality of one as well which was why I found her to be cute, but rather annoying. Her recruitment into becoming a celebrity in her route was something completely random and unrelated to her “desire to become a magical girl” (which is already pretty childish already), and most of her events were more or less incoherent with each other often making it confusing what the hecky is happening in her route.

Last is Shizuku, a rather quiet underclassman seemingly without anything special except for the fact she’s strangely obsessed with ramen. Even the club that she’s in with Souta is called “Ramen Research Club” (which gets overturned and renamed into Witch-Hunting Club by Hazuki later), and most of her comments involve her knowledge or desire to eat ramen. At this point, it’s probably a good idea to have a stock of instant noodles because Shizuku makes you want some.

What’s really adorable about this calm and relatively stoic character is that she is the embodiment of jealousy; meaning that she is also awoken as a demon, but the trigger for her powers is only when Souta is in company of another girl. This makes some heavy implications along with a short reminiscence scene of the two’s past (which really involves Souta randomly hitting on her and taking her out to eat ramen) that Shizuku fell in love with the protagonist then and even created this club just so she would be able to be with him more.

This design is made more interesting with how Souta loses his memory at a certain point as well, making Shizuku feel responsible and adamant on taking care of him. While relatively short, this event really places the two together to verify what emotions they hold for each other.

Shizuku’s route wasn’t necessarily BAD, but it could have been improved. Along with how Souta’s amnesia is very short-lived or how she herself doesn’t really display jealousy outside of her route. It seemed that Shizuku and her route was “missing something” which I can’t really pinpoint.

Kanade is originally displayed to be a guy (who is also a distant relative of Souta wincest), but we know no guy can look this cute. She’s actually a girl being forced to crossdress and pretend she is a male because of family rules/teachings, and this is “accidentally” exposed to Souta with awakening of her own magical abilities.

Obviously a fanservice route, this story is extremely short and has a rather inappropriate placement of being available after finishing a route because it’s also the one that’s less memorable. The fantasy setting just goes wild at this point as whatever setting the game created regarding this magical abilities are thrown out the window, and I would really recommend against playing Kanade’s route purely because of how it can ruin the game further for the player.

Just like how Souta’s gonna git rekt by these girls

Sexual Content: Low

Comments: Okay so for some comments I wasn’t really able to discuss previously.

So we have what’s almost a nukige-like setting with the protagonist having a strange ability to turn on girls. While it is definitely a strange… trait? Addition? Gimmick? to the title which makes you want to go “what the fuck”, but it also provided that much-needed interaction between Souta and the girls themselves (although in a sexual way… Not sure if that’s a good thing or not). Most of the beginning portions of the game are comical in accordance with this kind of design consisting of various boke-tsukkomi and references which give this title a unique vibe from other games which has to resort to the protagonist’s sexuality to create jokes.

Whirlpool does specialize in various fantasy elements within their games, and for the most part it doesn’t really really go extraordinarily out of hand and it’s more of a secondary element to give a feel of fiction. It was slightly different this time around with magic being a bit more descriptive and having much more of a role than just another setting, which unfortunately gave room for contradictions and convenient conclusions for pretty much all the routes. This serious atmosphere of dealing with each of the heroine conflicts with magic was too great of a contrast to the silly, humorous 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 nukige.

Though on the other hand, the game spent too much time on the characters to make it seem like a nukige :|

I actually can’t really find much to say about this game other than that; the game was really designed to be a charage, it met those expectations with relative satisfaction plus the hilarious addition of having sexual innuendos be a main component of the common route. As a typical Whirlpool game there wasn’t much to expect in terms of story so it’s pretty much a sit-back, relax, and enjoy the characters kind of game.

Affection for the Characters: High

CG Score: 7/10. I honestly like Mamizu’s artwork–I’ve liked it since she drew 77-Sevens. It’s just that other artwork this time around including backgrounds seemed lacking and the producers tried to cover it up with animated effects which was more of a bother than anything else. I guess this title would be one example of how NOT to use animated effects as a visual element

Aside from how Mamizu draws H-scenes, she’s getting better and better each game she works on

Music Score: 8/10. Decent tracks this time around, just sucks that both the Opening and Ending songs weren’t really up to par. As usual, expect pop-like music common in Whirlpool’s games as the BGM.

Addictiveness: Low

Conclusion:

Pros:

  • The game has superior character design as defined by originality, impact, and interactions. It’s great to see all the heroines active and contributing even outside of their routes, which is really what the game should be doing as a default. We know it doesn’t happen all the time though
  • The humor in this game is something I can appreciate. “Censored references” are funny for the pure reason it’s censored in the first place, and this relativity it has to real world gives a feeling of personal closeness to the characters and the game, allowing further engagement.
  • For the most part, the game has a very lighthearted atmosphere perfect for a quick read
  • Mikagami Mamizu

Cons:

  • Story is more or less flawed and should be considered non-existent. In addition the game really needed some more information/story on the Turtle who caused all this mess, but there is none, making this game seem very incomplete.
  • The excuse of “magic turning on girls” wasn’t thoroughly elaborated and also a relatively poor choice when creating interaction between heroine and protagonists
  • Protagonist is much less than ideal. Even though he has his good traits, many other things like his deus-ex-machina of obtaining additional magical abilities were inappropriate as a conclusion for much of the heroine routes.

Overall, Hatsujou Sprinkle was and should be kept as a comedy charage and be treated as such. Don’t expect a deep and meaningful story here because you will likely be disappointed (and let’s be honest, that’s pretty much all of Whirlpool’s games at this point until they bring back Daisangen again or something and have him write a game from start to finish), and let the heroines in this game be an eyecandy as you laugh at some of the silliness and jokes presented. Hatsujou Sprinkle might be a game that you’d play alongside an MMO or something to let the time pass by, but isn’t something you should let become a mainstream of eroge.

We should have “loli on top of you” become a thing

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Comments on: "The Magic of Innuendos?! Review of [170728] Hatsujou Sprinkle" (10)

  1. Kaname should be Kanade in the score section of the review.

    I’m right in the middle of playing this, so reading the review was probably not the best idea, but it confirmed my idea of the game. I have cleared about two third of the games anyway (Hazuki, Shizuku and currently on Mio). You mention some elements I haven’t seen yet, but oh well.

    It’s not a game I thought I would enjoy at first, as I tend to not find the kind of arousing powers the protagonist has either interesting or humorous at all. It could have veered towards the hypnosis themes that I just can’t stand, but the game despite this central element managed to stay rather tame in what sexual acts were conducted in the common route, before the protagonist committed to one heroine. In fact, I have seen many a eroge in which the common route contained much more direct acts (blowjob/tittyfuck), and without the “excuse” of an outburst of ero-magic. For an open-pervert and horny teenager, the protagonist actually has more self-control than I would have thought and doesn’t jump at the first opportunity to lose his virginity. That said, his libido was a little difficult to excuse when he abuses Hazuki’s ignorance to do things to her, or if he abuses Koharu’s dedication to make harsh requests (bondage from the CG in the review? yuck).

    I liked Hazuki’s stubbornness even to the very end. I didn’t find her attitude that annoying, she has that gap-moe from being so arrogant but also so incompetent at the same time, and constantly relying on Souta while making excuses. Shizuku was fairly cute but the story tried to force “jealousy” events in her route that I felt were out of place and didn’t make sense. The characters even admit they did the exact opposite of what they should have by the end of her route. Currently playing Mio and her story is alright, but two third in it doesn’t really go anywhere once past the romance development. Koharu… I’ll probably not play because I don’t like these kind of overprotective/motherly characters that just cling to one person, too afraid to step any further but unable to let them go, hiding behind the “oneechan skinship”. I often wished Souta would just tell her to back off, especially in Shizuku’s route as it was clearly making things worse for everyone. I guess the plot needed a vector for jealousy and it naturally fell on her, but that and her constant sobbing in other characters routes is just annoying.

    I’ll skip Kanade by your advice, it doesn’t look that interesting anyway. I would have preferred a Saki route, even a short one, mainly because I kinda like Ui’s voice and yet don’t hear her that often in a “main” role, one that has ecchi scenes.

    • Great feedback as always! It really helps me as well as gives my reviews a sense of security to see another expert who might have similar opinions, and while we do have slightly differing opinions on some places they’re completely valid points that I can’t and won’t try to refute.

      The “arousal” element was indeed very strange. I share the same opinion it caused me to be more cautious of the story at first but as mentioned in the review I think it worked out by allowing more heroine involvement with the protagonist, even if it was via mild H-scenes.

      On the other hand, the bondage with Koharu is actually not an actual H-scene nor does it lead to one despite its suggestiveness; within the context it’s actually a “trap” for Hazuki/Mio/Shizuku because Souta ends up working with the sisters in her route instead. So nothing coming close to “rape” or Souta taking advantage of Koharu–his personality as someone being able to restrain himself has already been proven in the common routes

      I agree Shizuku’s route was a bit more awkward, ESPECIALLY they used a magic themed conclusion and included their own logic that this duplicate Shizuku was caused by them restraining themselves. It’s just fantasy logic and something I’m not too happy with in general. That’s kinda what happened with pretty much all routes in the first place so ehhh. I’m guess more picky and critical of writers using magic and fantasy elements.

      Funny you mention Saki and Ui, because I imagined her having a route instead of Kanade (because Kanade literally has nothing to do with the main story at all). When I hear Ui I always think of Tsukiyori but I’m sure you’ve played that. Funny I can’t really think of other titles where Ui voices major characters in H-scenes. On that thought though, if you wanted to see more Ui, you might consider playing Koharu’s route (shameless advertising) purely because she gets a bit more involved.

      P.S. Thanks for the correction! XD

    • I quickly skimmed through Koharu’s route after finishing Golden Hour but alas, although it did feature a little more Saki than the others, it was otherwise pretty bad. Seeing Souta openly betray Hazuki’s trust was a little heartwrenching, and that last plot twist with the turtle fusion thing was just WTF. Mio’s route wasn’t much better, with the idol stuff behind thrown out of nowhere.

      I haven’t played any of the Tsukiyori games, what with them being pre-2014 and featuring cross-dressing as one of their major elements. I don’t like secrets and lies in a relationship and cross-dressing is up there as far as deceptions go.

      As for Ui, I should be able to hear plenty of her acting with the upcoming Wagahigh OC and Noratoto 2.

    • Yep, Whirlpool games pretty much throw logic and common sense out the window when it comes to introducing and utilizing its fantasy elements. The only one that doesn’t do this are titles from a long time ago like Suzukaze but ehhh…

      That’s good you went through Koharu’s route though. Even if you hated it at least you can tell people you’ve played through it and can say with confidence you didn’t like it.

      That’s quite a pity you haven’t played the Tsukiyori series! I would REALLY urge you to at least play Luna’s route for the original Tsukiyori title (or more like play only Luna’s route; the other ones suck), which will be a bonus on top of Ui voicing Luna pretty proficiently in my opinion.

    • So I’m really sorry to give you another notification and a question, but I’d like to ask what you thought of Golden Hour. I’m literally still in the common route and I already hate the game for Yuki and Yuuya alone and that’s really not a good sign if you already hate what’s seemingly the main heroine and the protagonist in the common route.

    • I’m actually happy you think my opinion is valuable enough to ask for it while still playing a game. If my long winded comments weren’t enough of an indication, I like discussing games so feel free to ask whenever you need some input.

      Golden Hour then. I actually liked it, though it certainly has its flaws. If you’re still in the common route I’ll try to refrain from spoilers, but if I write too much please forgive me.

      I can easily imagine why you hate at least the protagonist. He’s the typical MORE ex-“sports champion” that is now lost and just wanders around while the world moves on around him. I swear I’ve seen the exact same archetype in at least one other MORE game. Seeing him ignore the problems of people around him, mostly what happens surrounding Ruri while he wallows in self-pity, can be quite infuriating. Yuki and her apparent obsession with hooking him up with Natsumi can easily be seen as cold and calculating, especially as she’s the one to advise the protagonist to focus on Natsumi while ignoring the problems of the other characters in the process.

      However, rest assured that the protagonist does eventually stand up to both the Ruri situation, in her branch and also in the common route if you don’t fall for her, and eventually to his own trauma. I actually recommend you pursue Ruri’s route first, as the events make much more sense in the context of her route. Seeing him overcome his own insecurity was something I appreciated, not everyone is born a hero, and he actually grows into a likable fellow by the end, in Yuki’s route.

      Is that enough to forgive his behavior on some on the other routes, mostly Marika’s, I don’t know, but I’m willing to brush that aside as typical teenager insecurity and flawed views on romance. Marika was also a little too willing to sacrifice herself. Suzu and Natsumi’s branches see the protagonist find a new goal in life, but they both felt a little empty after finishing Yuki’s route, who is as you guessed the true heroine. As for Yuki herself, she has her reasons for her behavior, and while the fantastical elements of the game (as hinted by the mysterious photo) are really not that well thought-out, they provided a decent enough context for some of the more moving scenes of the game at least.

      I’ll finish by just mentioning that you should play to at least the first couple H scenes. I found they were actually fairly well done, full of that typical teenager foolishness and uncontrolled libido, and with more realism than you can usually find in eroges. I also liked the “animation”, if you can call it that, I found it was well done and more exciting that the “disjointed robot” feel I usually get whenever studios try to animate wide motions. Maybe the game will work as nukige if nothing else, though some of the context behind some H scenes can be off putting.

    • That’s such a relief to hear you’re completely okay with discussing games like this. There are way too few players and communities where I can take this kind of genuine concern and not be trolled/spoiled/otherwise ridiculed. Rest assured that I was the one who asked for your advice on the game, so I’ll be reading whatever you write and taking it into consideration, regardless of how long it might be.

      You’ve pretty much hit home on why I hate the protagonist; he’s almost the complete opposite of what I would expect from a good protagonist with literally nothing setting him apart from other normal males than the “history” of being a soccer ace. It’s almost irrelevant even now that he uses various excuses to avoid it entirely, but literally all of the heroines are hinted to have feelings for him even from a single event (in the case of Suzu). I appreciate that you mention that he does pick himself up in the later portion of the game though, so that gives me an incentive to continue reading.

      Yuki is actually more disdainful in my eyes due to the trope common in eroge. Oh, a super-mysterious heroine just randomly appears in the beginning and the protagonist is pretty much “set up” with this heroine for the entire common route to the point he refuses to actually ask his crush out and they both eventually end up falling in love and tada it’s the true route.

      It’s so obvious that Yuki has SOMETHING to do with Natsumi with the same eyes + various hints that suggest Yuki is either Natsumi herself from another timespace or her ghost after she died or something along those lines, and I hate how the writers had to use this kind of “fantasy” in an otherwise realistic story. It’s literally the same thing happening in Re:Lief–the slice of life atmosphere was nice until it brought in the fantasy and destroyed everything. Plus I’m actually not that great of a fan of Ayumi Sarah as a CV so that just added on top of this seemingly poor design… I just can’t see how Yuki as a character would have a good route based on what I’ve seen so far, and you mention that’s the True Route. Fuck me.

      After getting your feedback I definitely feel that I should finish the game, and will make all attempts to complete Ruri’s route first as suggested. I really just hope my patience can last until the end of the game because the tropes have already annoyed me into stepping away from the game twice already in the common route alone…

    • Yes, Yuki’s appearance is a little convenient and the game is setting them up, even though they both don’t seem interested in getting together : Yuuya is fixated on Natsumi, and Yuki is doing all she can to set him up with her. Again, by the time you hit her route it will become clear why they both act this way. It’s directly linked to the mystery/fantasy elements of the game, and while I agree that they are not that deep or well done, I still prefer this sort of thing to the usual amnesia or what-have-you. You’re not too far off track with your hypotheses on Yuki, but it’s still a little more complicated than that.

      I forgot to warn you that Ruri’s route contains some elements of NTR, because you know : she currently has a boyfriend. I know some people are allergic to this sort of thing. Even though I think I’ve seen you mention of few NTR parts in games in the past, it may be better to skip it (even though the story makes less sense) if that will lead you to dislike the game even more.

    • I wouldn’t say I hated Koharu’s route, but as you can probably imagine it’s difficult to get engaged in routes featuring characters you don’t particularly fancy when playing a charage. I agree that once the magic and mystery elements starts to surface the game begins to fall apart. It’s a shame as the charaege elements are pretty good otherwise. Maybe I’ll try Sukukaze no Melt as you’re not the first one to mention it being one of the “good” Whirlpool games.

      I’ll keep Tsukiyori in mind, I sometimes do feel adventurous and purposefully try out a game that heavily features one of the eroge tropes I just don’t like (be that jousou, harem, rape, etc…), and while rare sometimes it can lead to good surprises. Usually I need an extra something to push me forward, like having enjoyed the same studio’s previous games, or wanting to hear a particular CV, so my recent interest in Ui as well as your recommendation may be just the thing.

    • Suzukaze is definitely one of the best Whirlpool games if you can stomach a slower beginning and crappy romance, so I’d really push to give it a try. Same with Tsukiyori because throughout the series the crossdressing is relevant as an actual element and not a cheap tactic for writers to begin writing something. Please do let me know what you thought of both after you’re done!

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