Leading the Lost Sheep, Like a Good Shepherd: Review of Daitosho
Foreword: The most recent game by August, I was actually pretty hesitant to play this game. Yes, Fortune Arterial and Aiyoku no Eustia were very good titles (at least in my eyes), but the problem was that Daitosho recevied various bad impressions from the general community.
What happened? I did play it (captain obvious here), but I didn’t like it. It contained the “true route” that is present in other August games, but it was rather incomplete (as I’ll try to explain in the later sections), and the humor was weak. There was even a dramatic love triangle, but that was turned into a rather comical one with one of the appendix stories, and not emphasized enough.
In a sense, this game resembles Fortune Arterial greatly: Light, shallow game, but with LOTS of symbolisms (which is unlike FA in my opinion).
On the other hand, sorry I’ve been delayed with exams! To make up for it (not really), I’ll post TWO reviews today (well, at least I’ll try to…)
Title: Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai (Shepherd of the Great Library)
Release Date: January 25th, 2013
VNDB Link: http://vndb.org/v8158
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=724555
Game Type: Novel with various symbolisms
Summary: The “Shepherd” is a mysterious individiual who helps various individuals throughout the school with their problems. The strange thing about this is that while all of these students received something of great benefit, they cannot remember these “Shepherds” who changed their lives. Kyotarou Kakei is one of these individuals whose experience with the “Shepherd” started with a simple message saying “You’ll have a meeting today that will change your life”.
This message does come true as he finds a girl handing out fliers in front of the station, and suddenly sees a vision of her being hit and seriously injured by a malfunctioning trolley. Rushing towards her, he knocks her down to the confusion of everyone in that area…
But at the next moment, a trolley that was entering the station crashes in to the very location where the girl was standing.
This is the meeting of Kakei and a charming girl named Shirasaki Tsugumi. Together, with various other members that later join the group, form the “Library Club” to “Make this school a better place”, while trying to figure out the mystery of the “Shepherd”.
Story Length: Moderately Long (30 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Moderate
Comments: Nothing really hidden here; just a story for each of the characters, as well as a true route featuring Kodachi Nagi, the Library Committe Member. There’s a “true route” for all the other members (Tsugumi, Kana, Tamami, and Senri), and even subcharacter routes for Sayumi (the loli assistant manager of the cafetaria), Miyu (the pink haired voice artist), as well as Maho, the student council president who continuously tries to recruit Kyotarou into the Student Council.
Character Design Rating: 4/10
Story Rating: 5/10
Game Quality: High
Overall Rating: 5/10
Rating Comments: A generally lower score compared to many other of August’s games, most of the score is dropped drastically due to the story being incomplete, and the reader is left with the feeling of “What next?” rather than “That was a good story!”. (This was actually my exact thoughts). As stated previously, the “True Route” for the four heroines were essentially the same thing, minus an H-scene for each of them, so I was pretty disappointed. Even Nagi’s true route contained no important elements that contribute to wrapping up the story.
I also found it strange how the game insists on using the character’s last name throughout almost the entirety of the story; even at some of the heroine’s routes too! If you’re confused about “who the heck is that?!”, it’s probably because I use the character’s first names instead of the familiar last names used in the game.
Tsugumi is the character that Kyotarou saves in the very beginning scenes, and is a strange character. While she isn’t introverted, she claims that when she addresses an audience above a certain number, her voice shakes (so she’s afraid of public speaking) to the point Kyotarou and Takamine finds it rather erotic. Her large breast size doesn’t help to defer the attention when her phobia arises, and it’s usually her good friend Tamami who offers a helping hand.
Originally trying to make the school a better place, Shirasaki makes a “bet” with Kyotarou, saying that by Golden Week, she’ll make him want to be a part of the Library Club on his own accord.
For a character designed to be the main heroine, Shirasaki isn’t really too unique, and doesn’t even stand out from the other heroines. On average, I’d say that she has even less “lines” than other characters, and this makes it rather confusing. (Since other games by August seems to have a “main character”).
Her route is paired with Mochizuki Miho , the student council president.
Another strange character, Tamami is introduced along with Shirasaki, and is shown to be very resourceful and responsible. Taking on multiple tasks of the club by herself, she encourages the others to “take the spotlight” while she works in the shadows supporting her friends.
Kyotarou soon realizes however, that this girl has her own problems. Along with her family background as someone “important”, he will soon realize that it’s not only him that that keeps a close eye on this “princess” (*hint hint*).
According to Kyotarou, Tamami, despite being rather stubborn, is actually a masochist, and likes to be “disciplined”. While this fact is only mentioned slightly in one of the scenes, it is possible to see that this characteristic is continued throughout the story.
Tamami is the only heroine not paired with a “targetable” subcharacter
Energetic and bright, the first scenes involving this heroine shows the joking of Takamine of ordering a “smile”, of which she charges 1000 en (about $10) for. This humorous character immediately becomes involved in the Library club since she also enjoys reading, and this originally creates the very first element of affection between Kana and Kyotarou.
Kana is very attractive in my eyes. Not only does she create the bright mood for the entire group, she also has the most sense of humor, and can even be seen as the “most honest” character. Despite this fact, she hides a secret from the rest of the members that Kyotarou soon tries to pry from her.
Nonetheless, Kana is involved in the love triangle with Senri and Kyotarou. It can be seen that she reacts much more dramatically to Kyotarou’s rejection (in Senri’s route), and in all of the routes, it hints that Kana is skilled in writing stories.
Kana is paired with Ureshino Sayuri, the loli assistant manager.
So cliche that I can’t even laugh, Senri is the typical “coodere” heroine present in other games. (For the reference, the “coo” part refers to “Cool” or Japanese’s term to describe a girl who is insensitive to romance). Her first appearance is involved with the rumor that there is a highly talented singer who doesn’t attend class regularly. Shirasaki is the first to suggest the invitation of this girl into the club, and with the help of Giza-sama (the fat cat), the girl who avoids human contact soon joins the crew.
There’s really nothing to explain about Senri except for the fact that her personality is really similar to other “coodere” heroines in other games. It is her route where the “Love Triangle” with Kana is most detailed, but other than that, there wasn’t many details about this character.
It is shown that Senri is an extreme sadist, however, and greatly enjoys the company of Giza-sama, the fat (and possibly perverted) cat. It seems that she can control the cat according to her will, and uses this to her advantage when knocking out Takamine or threatening Nagi.
Senri’s route is paired with Miyu, the pink haired seiyuu who seems to have a direct and important connection with the talented singer.
A girl with red hair and a sadistic (?) personality, her role is very vague in the beginning, but becomes clearer as the story continues. The first real encounter with Nagi is when the Library Club is too noisy, and Nagi continuously barges into the door demanding silence. Because of this, Nagi is not on too good relations with Kyotarou…
But they are next door neighbors.
Nagi, however, uses this irony to her advantage and “barges” into Kyotarou’s house to borrow his TV since hers is broken. She likes watching drama, and doesn’t want to miss out on a single episode.
Nagi has the largest breast size of the entire character list, making her a “threat” for the other girls who aim for the affection of Kyotarou (she is especially targeted by Senri and Kana). Finding this enjoyable, this sadistic girl will cause various misunderstandings that expose the poor guy to cold stares from his peers. However, her sadistic personality is crushed in her own route, when her paradigm is overturned by our intelligent protagonist.
The Appendix story shows the complete reversal of her personality when Giza lands on her head. (For the reference, she is really weak with animals)
Sexual Content: Moderate
Comments: A surprisingly inferior August game. Although it does have a fandisk as well as a spin-off, I don’t think I’ll be getting to them any time soon since the spin-off is unrelated to the characters completely (assuming that it’ll be the same setting though), and I generally don’t go for a fandisk when I didn’t really like the main game.
All in all, I didn’t like the game overall. As I’ll say for the 3rd time, the “true endings” were repeated 3 times (4 times total), which really made my head hurt as I was trying to collect the last bit of CG (which were HCGs too…), and while the appendix story is funny, I’m afraid to report that the appendix story only contains the “ichaicha” of the heroine and Kyotarou, and the other members pretty much cringing continuously. Along with this, I found these “extra stories” to contain more humor than the main game. Does this mean that the game was supposed to be a drama? I don’t think so… But nonetheless, this mismatch (or I’d like to call it a poor wrap-up) makes, actually, a lot of August games turn out rather crappy. (Another example would be Eustia. If you’ve played it, you’ll know what I’m talking about)
With the Senri + Kana route, it is shown that there is a love triangle, but it wasn’t displayed as much. There ARE scenes where either Kana or Senri will become depressed due to being rejected by Kyotaro, I feel like there could have been more to it. As an example–Kana, who returns after being rejected by Kyotaro, meets the Shepherd, who suggests her to become a writer. Even in Senri’s route, I would’ve liked to see Kana’s lingering feelings for Kyotaro, as she works hard to becoming what she wants to become.
Additionally, this game (as well as Fortune Arterial for that matter) has 2 opening movies. However, the second one is REALLY unnecessary because it only re-introduces the characters again, and each movie uses the same freaking CGs again. On that thought, let me also complain here that due to an element (which I’ll explain in the “CG Quality” section), there are very little number of CGs compared to other games of similar length.
Oh… shit shit shit shit shit…
Finally, my last complaint is that Shirasaki Tsugumi, who was supposed to be the “main heroine”, didn’t really seem like one. According to the story, I found one of the other characters to be more prominently “important” than the mascot girl, and perhaps in some players’ eyes, other characters may have been much more attractive.
All that aside, pay attention to the symbolisms. Many of the elements presented, including “shepherd”, “book”, and “happiness” is present here, and while I complain about the story being pretty crappy overall, August’s games are very effective in presenting fundamental morality to the audience.
Affection for the Characters: Low
CG Quality: Low
Alright. In Daitosho, August uses the sprites to its fullest extent. By “cutting off” parts of the sprite with the screen, and enlarging some while making some small allowed them to create “background pictures” with just the sprites themselves. Many scenes involve these “modified sprites” that actually are placed in lieu of CGs themselves, and this is pretty much why there are more HCGs than regular CGs (and why the movies use the same freaking CG =3=).
That’s bright :O
I would only find this trait a plus if the game actually had other CGs besides these “semi-CGs”.
I can’t find the “Oh, we didn’t have enough time to create full-blown CGs with all this programming we did for sprites” a good excuse.
Music Quality: Moderately Low
Conclusion: A very inferior game when compared with both other games or even August’s previous titles. Much of the storyline is based on symbolism (which I generally find favorable), but the characters are so cliche (you should definitely try other August titles and see if some characters’ personalities match up even across games), and there are many other factors that made this game receive a far less score than what it could have received.