Recently, we got nice visual novels such like Kamipani! and Chaos;Head, and this month wasn’t an exception either: Ef ~ the latter tale ~ finally got released.
However, today, I will rather present you another eroge, which deserves as much attention as the new release from Minori, if not, even more. Ｇ線上の魔王 (G-Senjou no Maou – Devil on G-String), by Akabeisoft2.
Why is that? Basically, this eroge offers a breath of air for those who are willing to adventure themselves in the “dark realm of ero” (okay people, that was a lame gentle pick on those who cannot stand some VN, for sake of containing ero stuff): Detective/thriller with well balanced action, drama and romance.
You dreamt of Death Note in a VN/eroge format? That title is fitting your expectation like a glove, however: with less crappy “KEIKAKU DORII” (or if you prefer: less incredible lame stunts of convenient expectation of either Light or L/Near), True hide-and-seek / cat & mouse games, colorful cast, drama and romance.
Of course, this is a bit exaggerated and in the end, everything will depend of your tastes. That is to say, G senjou offers a very solid and rich plot, that I will introduce to you.
For starters, let me clarify few things: no, you won’t ever see a demon with some unsafe woman underwear. The references of the title is in fact from 2 things: G-string stands for a specific string on the violin, but also for the “Air on the G string“, famous masterpiece by Johann Sebastian Bach, adapted by August Wilhelmj. Maou (魔王) literally means “Demon King”, which can be related to your usual antagonist in a heroic fantasy tale/RPG, but also to “Der Erlkönig“, which is another excellent piece by Franz Schubert.
As you probably notice, the title itself uses already 2 specific classics reference, and this isn’t trivial: the game uses lots of classics reference, and the OST itself is made of lot of these, but remixed and adapted for various scenes of the eroge (I will talk about it later).
Singer: Katakiri Rekka
[Youtube link to full OP]
Now, what this VN is about? Well, here goes a little summary:
You are incarnating Asai Kyousuke, the adopted son of a infamous Yakuza, Asai Gonzou, a fearsome godfather that is respected in the underworld. Kyousuke is seemly living a normal life at school (chatting with some friends, doing idiotic stuff such like playing “god” with a ridiculous costume, being a lazy bun for tests etc), but this is merely one side of his daily life, as at night, he begins to use his outstanding business senses and skills to make profit, under the flag of his adoptive father.
Slave of money, Kyousuke will keep this routine until a peculiar girl transfer to his school: Usami Haru, quite the bishoujo, with insanely long hair and mysterious personality. This fated meeting will generate another: the arrival of a dangerous international criminal, known as “Maou”.
As the time passes, Kyousuke and his friends will be involved in Haru’s and Maou’s hide-and-seek game, suffering from chaotic collateral damage…
Sounds interesting? Well this is the mere synopsis, and trust me: things will go even more insane as Maou will multiply his schemes against Haru and the rest of the cast.
Speaking of characters, here they are ! Note that this is a non exhaustive list of the characters, for sake of focus and avoiding spoilers (and also by laziness of my part, I confess.)
浅井 京介 – Asai Kyousuke
The protagonist you incarnate. Seeing school as a mere method to avoid stress, Kyousuke is an average high schooler, lazy with studies and hanging around with his friends, especially Eiichi. What he likes? Money but that’s related to his lifestyle which isn’t exactly as the appareances seem to be. The other true hobby he has a fond of is classics, especially Bach, and “Air on the G string“.
Kyousuke will quickly show some deviant morals as Gonzou’s “education” will have a certain impact on him: because of specific circumstances, Kyousuke will be obsessed with money and his efforts and genius business skills will permit him to be trusted well by Gonzou.
As the story goes on, Kyousuke will be hit by the reality and will soon realize what he lost during all these years, with his bound with either girl, but that’s not as easy as it sounds to be.
宇佐美 ハル – Usami Haru
At first glance, she is very odd, asocial and hardly talkative. However, as soon as she is acquainted, she is very friendly, caring with everyone. With such “normal” personality, Haru is also gifted with sharp senses of observation and deductions, which will be unvaluable against Maou and his schemes.
Very little is known about her past and her connection with Maou. However, Haru will reveal a darker side of herself…
浅井 花音 – Asai Kanon
Daughter of Asai Gonzou, Kyousuke’s sister-in-law. She is the “genki” girl to be short: very energetic, easy going. Naive and a bit childish, she is very clingy with Kyousuke, whom she considers as a sibling despite they aren’t related by blood.
She is an famous figure skater, candidate for Olympics selection.
However, too much pressure on her shoulders will…
美輪 椿姫 – Miwa Tsubaki
Kyousuke’s classmate. A very sweet and gentle girl, who has the tendency to be friends with everyone. Slightly airhead and naive, she has however a strong sense of friendship and family.
She is living with her big family (her parents, and 4 siblings) in a modest house. However, a famous building company wishes to construct a hotel on this location, and this will lead to problems…
白鳥 水羽 – Shiratori Mizuha
Kyousuke’s classmate. Kyousuke barely knows her from afar, as she is very distant and silent.
Despite his attempt to befriend her, she gives him a very cold shoulder and seems to dislike him a lot, as she exposed him and his obsession with money.
Her father is the principal of the school, and it seems he isn’t exactly a saint, as he is involved with some corruption cases.
時田 ユキ – Tokita Yuki
Haru’s friend. Yuki is a very intriguing girl who seems to enjoy teasing people with her words and sharp understanding of behaviours and the like.
Playful and mysterious, she likes Haru a lot, though the later is a bit reluctant and uneasy with her.
Being the daughter of a Elite Police Investigator, Yuki learnt early human psychology and negociations basis, and soon, her outstanding skills became aknowledged among her father’s surrounding, but by Haru as well.
G senjou is articulated on a linear succession of the different chapters involving one of the heroines. With the appropriate “score”, a branching flag towards the end of the chapter can either let you continue on the Main plot (thus Haru VS Maou), or you will be redirected in that girl’s route, for more insight of their problems.
The order is as follow: Chapter 1 (introduction) => Chapter 2 (Tsubaki) => Chapter 3 (Kanon) => Chapter 4 (Mizuha) => Chapter 5 (Haru).
So for instance, if you are in Kanon’s chapter and you select her flag, you will enter in her route, and you will get her end (granted if you don’t mess up, otherwise it is the bad end), so you won’t get through chapter 4 nor 5.
This is actually a problem for G senjou, as aside of Haru, going in any girl route will cut short the main plot which is basically against the whole idea of the novel.
Nevertheless, it is a good opportunity to cover these girls in their backstory and development, even if it is hardly relevant to the main “attraction”.
As for my opinion, the real problem of G senjou is the sub routes: they simply don’t give enough impact in comparison with Haru’s, hence they feel like some placeholders, for sake of being able to “win” them instead of Haru.
This will lead to some sidetrack effect in Mizuha’s route, but also gigantic inconsistencies in Kanon’s route who is probably the weakest of all, considering the content and the scrapped build up (concerning Maou, notably).
That said, this flaw is counter balanced by the main plot, which is Haru’s route. As I used this analogy in AS, Haru’s route is basically the Cake, the Icing and the Strawberry: yes it is THAT awesome. Not only her character has the best develepment and depth, but her story and her battle against Maou worth the whooping game alone. So unlike most recent productions in eroge market, G senjou bases its assets on the plot and its executions instead of the Bishoujou.
That said, I think they could cover much with some character, especially Yuki who deserves a proper route!
As you probably notice, I enjoyed a lot this eroge, having a nice share of adrenaline, twists (though many will argue that some were lame), and drama/romance.
That would be enough though, but the game offers solid visuals especially characters sprites, very colorful and large in expression patterns (I’m really fond of Yuki’s sexy yet teasing expressions, and of course, lovely/sexy expressions of Haru :3)
I would however complain how many CG weren’t consistent in proportions, especially some characters’ cheecks (see some of Haru and Yuki), but some others don’t work well with the ongoing scene, either underplaying or overplaying the character’s feeling (the 3 girls in the epilogue is the best example). Meanwhile, BG aren’t exactly special, and they really lack of depth (the lack of figurant characters on most of them kill the immersion in some cases).
The music in this game is quite different from your usual eroge: Akabeisoft didn’t pull some classics references out of nowhere: they use remixes of grand masterpieces such like Wagner‘s “Ride of the Valkyries“, Beethoven‘s “Für Elise“, and of course Bach’s “Air on the G string” and Schubert’s “Der Erlkönig“. And to be frank, I didn’t expect that classics would work well with such pace and plot (especially Fur Elise remix, which is nicely wrapping the slot of “chase” in the game). Of course, considering how they are used and remixed, you can’t really consider them as good as the original, but whereas the original would sound “weird” in the game, the remix is actually fairly appropriate.
As for the Seiyuu, the most notable part would be the fact that… Fukuyama Jun is there (obviously with a pseudonym). Voicing Maou, he is using his Code Geass “Zero/Lelouch” voice and this is perfectly matching and sexy, reflecting an obvious arrogance.
Haru’s seiyuu is very nice as well: warm but also very quirky, to the point she sometimes reminds me of Konata from Lucky Star with her mumblings. The rest is pretty much on par with their characters except probably some few odd generic men voices, but nothing troublesome.
I think I covered pretty much about that title. Obviously, it has inherent flaws of the genre (unabalanced importance of X characters, hit or miss for some things, some twists are a bit questionable etc), but the enjoyement and execution just push many WIN buttons.
Definitely one of the best Eroge I could have read, which doesn’t say much considering I’m not close to the count of people like micchi, but I believe the point still stands, regardless.