On a separate note, the Japanese release has been taken down in January 2017 to revamp the system in order for new OS. No date of release has been decided.)
Byakkotai – Shishi Ibunki is an otome game that I got to know recently. The game runs on smartphone devices (Android and iOS) and is fully voiced by a stunning cast consisting of Morikubo Showtarou, Terashima Takuma, Kishio Daisuke, Suzuki Tatsuhisa, Tachibana Shin’nosuke, Taniyama Kishou and Shimono Hiro who voices Yamamoto Towako, the female friend of our protagonist, Kanome Chisato.
A rough rundown of the story’s setting. The Byakkotai is one of the four military units to modernise the military forces in Aizu, being the reserve unit, it had the youngest members among the four units, all named after gods of each compass direction. (wiki) According to the game, the members of the Byakkotai were admitted once they turn ten and they have to abide the following rules:
1. You would not go against the word of your elders.
2. You must bow to your elders.
3. You would not tell lies.
4. You would not act cowardly, meanly nor unfair in any matter.
5. You would not bully those who are weaker than you.
6. You would not consume anything that are outside of the Nisshinkan.
7. You would not exchange words with ladies outside of the Nisshinkan.
The things that can’t be done must not be done.
This is the story of the members of the Byakkotai threw themselves in the storm of their domain’s upheaval.
(note that my Japanese is self-taught, there would be errors in the translation you find here ^^)
So I’ve played the prologue and the first chapter (they are both free) and I am amazed by the quality of the game along with several aspects. #1, the game is very much similar to the systems I’m used to seeing in story-based otome games (make choices, the story would branch out to different routes); #2, the art style and colours are gorgeous (though I would think Agatsuma-san is a bit pale in some illustrations ^^;), #3 is the cast and the game is fully-voiced! From the narration to each dialogue. (I’ve seen reviews left by users saying that the game exited on its own or that the voices aren’t synced well – that’s for Android but I’m playing on the iPad and it’s been smooth sailing :D) and #4, there is the ability to save, load and delete your saved data at any point of time. I love it as I often abuse it because I save every time there’s a choice (but often overwrite them because there isn’t many games that offer the ability to delete, not that it’s an important criteria, it just makes it easier to control where you can save it).
I stumbled upon the game before on iTunes or the App Store but didn’t pay any attention because after reading the prologue and the first chapter, I would have to pay to read the stories! I wasn’t very convinced by game systems like this because of prior experiences. It felt so obvious that they want you to pay for extra energy/tickets to read the chapters and all, I was quite happy to finish that particular game’s story and not play any similar sort of game after that.
So after a friend mentioned the game (who was curious about the story), I went to find out and found myself falling in love with the character song and the background story. In the Battle of Tonoguchihara, 20 members of the Byakkotai were cut off from their group and found themselves retreating to Iimori Hill where it overlooked the castle town of Aizu. They saw smoke from the castle and thought the castle’s defenses have been breached; they committed suicide.
I was absolutely curious of the Byakkotai because Taniyama-san mentioned in an interview that it isn’t as well known compared to the Shinsengumi’s Saitou Hajime-san and that the fact that they committed suicide thinking their lord and families had fallen to those who attacked them. I knew the Shinsengumi from Rurouni Kenshin’s anime but not more than that. The Byakkotai’s story is a really sad yet romantic(?) story to start off with and I’ll write a little of the prologue and not send you off with spoilers.
Kanome Chisato, 16 years old has been asked to join her brother, Kanome Chitose (CV: Morikubo Showtarou), 24 years old to assist him in training the Byakkotai members who live in the Nisshinkan (日新館) in swordsmanship. Her childhood friend, Sakai Mineji (CV: Terashima Takuma), also a member of the Byakkotai was surprised to see that Chisato is joining them at Nisshinkan. Being a boys-only place, Chisato and Chitose’s father had asked special permission from their lord to admit Chisato into the Nisshinkan. He felt that it would be much more safer for her to be with her brother.
After entering the Nisshinkan, she adjusts to the life there and meets two other students under her brother, Itou Matahachi and Shinoda Gisaburou. Matahachi was absolute curious when Chisato came, thinking she was Mineji’s betrothed or younger sister (laughs) Shinoda (CV: Suzuki Tatsuhisa), in their first meeting, had the guts to say that Chisato, a woman had nothing to teach them. Chitose enters and took the advantage to show Chisato’s skills by having a duel(?) between her and Shinoda.
When they entered the dojo, they meet another female, Yamamoto Towako (CV: Shimono Hiro), who trains the members of the Byakkotai in using guns. Towako was keen to see Chisato’s skills and was glad to have a female friend at the Nisshinkan. Later on when Chisato was walking about town, someone had bumped into her, hurting her leg and insisted on carrying her to a place to treat her wounds. It turned out to be the young master of Nishiki-ya, Saitani Kotarou (CV: Taniyama Kishou). He treats her wounds and then, Agatsuma Narihira (CV: Tachibana Shin’nosuke) enters and Kotarou introduced him as his house guest. A very mysterious character who doesn’t say much about himself nor his actions!! (laughs) but I expect to know more in the coming chapters 😀
The game’s prologue and first chapter are again, free. In-app purchase of the second chapter with three variations of the third chapter available. The third chapter would only be buyable once you get the second chapter. If you buy all the stories, you get a special chapter featuring Yamamoto Towako 😀
There is a theme song for the game featuring St.Smiley Gakuen called Eien… on iTunes and other places. You also can preview the song at NicoNico. Two CDs has been recently released with a character song and several drama parts were included. You can find previews and cast interviews here. CDJapan has them stocked, volume 1 and volume 2.
It’s been so long since I wrote a post like this and the word length xD”
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