Foreword: Here’s a question: what do you do when a friend who knows a lot about Galge tells you that a certain game is a kamige?
The answer? YOU FUCKING GO PLAY IT.
AND HEEEEELLL YES THIS IS AN AWESOME GAME!
As expected from Nitroplus, this is really badass. No moe here, no weeaboo material, just plain badass story with a touch of human morality and philosophy. This is definitely a type of game that will shock the readers if they’re not prepared for what’s going to appear in front of them.
What I also appreciate is…
… Hm, actually, screw it. I’ll discuss it in the body of my review, so go on!
Read this review that doesn’t do justice for the game, Axanael!
(P.S. As I’m writing this review, my hands were trembling from sheer amazement and shock, so if you see typos or grammatical errors, that’s probably what happened)
Title: アザナエル (Axanael)
Release Date: December 17, 2010
VNDB Link: http://vndb.org/v3971
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=682695
Game Type: Psychological Thriller Novel with themes of Human Morality and Philosophy
Summary: Axanael is a gun that grants the wish of whoever is hit by its bullets… However, this comes at a cost: whoever uses this gun to shoot themselves risks their own life… at a 1/6 chance. In reality, the 5/6 chance of getting your wish granted is enough to overcome the chances of dying, right?
Well, what if your wish was granted the first time…? Wouldn’t you wish for more, more and more? Each time, you’re risking your life, and someday… your luck will meet its end.
1/6 chance… For that, are you willing to risk your life?
Six characters in the game are going to answer that for you. Most likely, one of the six will die according to probability, but… It’s… just a probability… right?
This CG… I just can’t comprehend…
Story Length: Slightly Long (25 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Very Tedious (Walkthrough Recommended)
Comments: For the length itself, it’s actually quite long, despite the fact that the entire game only takes place over 6 hours! (So essentially, you’re looking at what happened in that 6 hours in the game, for about 25 hours). This actually kinda threw me off, and at one point, I was wondering what the passing of time was, then it hit me.
I felt so dumb after that.
Character Design Rating: 5/10
Story Rating: 9/10
Protagonist Rating: N/A
Game Quality: Very High
Overall Rating: 8/10
Rating Comments: A very good game, it unfortunately doesn’t come enough to be called a “Kamige” due to its lack of focus on individual characters and a plot that you simply “cannot come back” to.
Despite this, note how there are six protagonist of varying genders (2 male and 4 female), but all their actions within the 6 hours of “in game time” all match up perfectly. While you DO look at 6 viewpoints total, it’s just so amazing how such design was done: Just the mere words that were used becomes a foreshadow, and holy shit I can’t contain my excitement for game designs like this!
Did I say excitement?
Game Quality is “Very High”, in addition to the RNG (random number generator) when you go through the game for the routes you haven’t seen yet. What does this mean? When you’re actually going through the game and the characters uses the Axanael, the following storylines are subject to that 1/6 Deathrate. As surprising as it is (Well DUH), some characters will actually die by using the Axanael, and I seriously wet my pants when I saw some of the CGs depicting this.
Character Summary: A brief character summary is used in order to give a brief detail about the characters without spoilers! Frankly though, this made it so hard to give a long description for each of the characters…
Let’s first go to Sakura, and despite her name, it’s not spelled like we’re used to, but rather “沙紅羅” instead. Her name also corresponds to how she says “Itadakimasu” or “Yoroshiku” differently, and if you can read kanji, some of these phrases will make you laugh.
Sakura is a blonde “gangster” who is strangely looking for Doujinshi on New Year’s Eve for her brother who is hospitalized. Despite seemingly the main protagonist, she shares the same amount of spotlight as the other characters. (Although the true route involves her the most) Being a gangster, Sakura has two comrades named “Miso” and “Buu”, who share most of the comical spotlight.
Next is Chiaki, and despite the name and appearance, this character is a guy. With feminine features, the beginning scenes show that he is forced to crossdress by someone named “Suzu-ne”, and the details of this relationship is soon revealed.
Chiaki is normally a coward, being easily startled or intimidated, but with his relationship with Ena, another character, this character slowly changes throughout the entire game. Honestly, one of his quotes, I found to be really favorable:
I thought about who I would save gambling my life (using the Axanael), and your (Ena’s) face appeared in my mind.
Woo! This guy’s a man!
Okay his face kinda ruins it.
Ena is next, and paired with Chiaki, it’s quickly shown that she is the childhood friend of Chiaki, and not exactly on the best relationships with him. Despite this the reader can easily see that she is a tsundere character, and with the CV as Sakikabara Yui, this was quite a nice gap-moe, or whatever you call it.
Being the daughter of a police officer, Ena wants to be a detective, and uses the phrase “これは事件?!” (Is this a mystery?!) rather frequently, with the similar background to the popular series, Detective Conan.
As it turns out, Ena doesn’t recognize Chiaki’s crossdressing and ends up believing he is actually Chiaki’s cousin. Let us enjoy the outcomes of this misunderstanding, shall we?
Next is a really really really creepy character named Noko. As it turns out, this crazy freak wears an eyepatch and swings a cutter knife around as if she’s a yandere… Wait, she is one!
From the beginning of the scenes, one can see that this character has some kind of grudge(?) for someone named Nitori, slashing people who get in her way, and finally jumping off a building when she can’t find him.
Noko is a strange character indeed, but when it comes to Nitori, everything else becomes second to her: she simply loves him so much that it’s actually kinda scary. At some point throughout the game, I couldn’t help but sympathize with Nitori who had to deal with this kind of girl.
As ironic as it is, this character seems to be the main point of the story most of the time (or at least feels like it because she has that much impact due to her design). With the CV as our little loli humanoid puppy, my reaction as I realized it was something equivalent to the following picture:
And this is the person that the creepy yandere was looking for: Nitori. At first glance, he is a cynical otaku who is a failure at everything: college, hobby, and even his life. Even his beginning scenes involve him losing horribly at the Pachinko (a gambling game) Center, and returning with absolutely no money in his pocket, the reader is suddenly pushed into an H-scene. (… What the fuck?)
Regardless, like Chiaki, it can easily be seen that this character is also very cowardly, and severely lacking self-esteem. However, like Chiaki, Nitori gains more confidence throughout the story, and is a dynamic character. Nitori in some of the last moments of the game show him becoming so confident in his abilities, that people around him start to call him an idiot, but he doesn’t care about what the other people think.
Last and probably the least (yes, I know) is Fuuri. Frankly, this was a character that I hated most due to her design being a simple fanservice character seeming to not change from a shy and indecisive character until the very end of the true route. This is in addition to her being in love with a subcharacter, and while it’s already an insult that this was while she has a fiancee, AND the person who she loves (that very subcharacter) is dead, but the fact that she is in denial of her lover’s death AND the origin of affection is not explained to the readers. What is she, a DV victim?
It’s rather unfortunate that Fuuri doesn’t shine as much as other characters, and plays very little importance compared to other characters. On the bright side, she has large boobs…
That’s probably the only good thing about her. (Nico is larger though huehuehuehue)
Is it just me, or does Noko look surprisingly human-like? O_O;
…and what the living fuck happened to her here?!
Sexual Content: Slightly Low
Comments: So first, the usage of RNG for the first playthrough is definitely a plus, but the story itself DOES follow a timeline, which you can choose your stories, and after the first playthrough, whether or not Axanael succeeds or fails. This is how the various endings are reached, as well as the H-scenes. Despite there being merely 5 choices (succeed or fail), the mere fact that theoretically there are 16 possible “paths” make this game relatively tedious to go through completely. (There’s actually less than that. Don’t worry)
But these guys make it not-so-boring… Props if you can guess who that pink-haired character is!
One of the minuses on the other hand, was the excessive use of references and previous titles. Sumaga is a different title that is produced by Nitroplus, but they use it too frequently, and becomes a huge element itself in the beginning games, as if they were trying to market it. References were also used inappropriately in some places, and could have been left out.
Frankly, I blame Nitroplus for being one of the major producers that incorporates reality excessively into their games, as if that would get more buyers. While the setting is much more interesting, it often makes players fantasize about the plot too much to the point they become what I call “weeaboos”. Nitroplus seems to focus too much on the Japanese Otaku as their audience and while it’s probably the right action, some of the paradigms presented in the game are wrong.
So yeah… references. (No seriously, you’ve been living under a rock if you don’t know who this is)
Connecting storyline throughout the 6 protagonists were definitely another plus, however, and because you get various point of views, you are pretty much forced to pay attention to even the smallest details if you wish to understand the storyline. Simple fact that changing the result of “Kagomeasobi” reveals new plot that you didn’t even expect was another plus, and another side of this game which I thoroughly enjoyed.
But really, Nitroplus? Hooking up two of the characters with a seemingly abysmal subcharacters? That ain’t cool man: some players are going to sue you for NTR. #dumbweeaboos
Affection for the Characters: Very Low. Unfortunately, the game seems like I’m reading a thriller book, not a character-focused galge. It would be a DAMN good book, but unfortunately, not something that can be used to make character goods to earn money (Honestly, this is a good thing!)
CG Score: 7/10. Both the CG and BGM are rather low quality, but most of the points are from the various special effects throughout the game. Can you believe this is a game from 2010?!
Music Score: 4/10. Pretty average music, which would’ve been better if there were more “horror” tracks which this game really needed at some points. SFX also saves this score a bit.
Conclusion: A shocking thriller game that should be on ANYONE’S list if they’re experienced with galge or eroge. It’s definitely not something we’re used to seeing, but that “difference” is what makes this game stand out above the others, and despite how it has its own flaws, just the mere fact that it’s “different” hides those very flaws that I criticize.
For this reason, this game is NOT for the weak of heart or the players who want charage/moege.
Finally, Special Thanks to gangrelion for introducing me to this game!