Release Date: 20th October 2016
Age Rating: 15+
Length: ~20 Hours
Links: Official Site, VNDB
Hundreds of years ago, 10 families came together to create the town of Soyogi. By initiating a contract with a minor god, they became the “Number Families” who’s ranking is decided by a number of sword duels during a period that is known as the “Number War”, with the winner becoming the leader of Soyogi. These Number Wars originally happened every couple of years but when the Reisaki family cheated in a duel, they incurred divine punishment for this breach of rules & had their bloodline wiped out. Therefore, there has not been any more number wars for the past few hundred years, with the families staying in the same positions as they were at the time of the last war.
Fats forward to present day Japan & our reluctant heroine Hiroka is enjoying her winter break lazing around the house. Until her adopted parent Yatsugu tells her that she will be transferring the the prestigious Soyogi Academy shortly. Hiroka was pretty annoyed about this but begrudgingly attends, only to discover that she’s actually the sole remaining member of the ancient Reisaki family & her presence at the academy starts a new Numbers Wars – thrown into not just duels but the politics that come with these revered Number Families, just what has she gotten herself into?
In all honesty, Hiroka is a pretty lazy person – her hobbies basically include sleeping, lazing around & napping. She used to be a member of the Kendo Club at her previous school but gave it up due to it being too much hassle. She can’t really be bothered with the Numbers War but has a strong sense of justice and won’t stand around watching the weak being picked on.
Ichizono Ousuke (CV Yusa Kouji)
The Ichizono family are currently the highest ranked of the Number Families, and are incredibly sucessful. As the family heir, Ousuke is expected to be perfect at everything he does & he has risen to the challenge. He’s an expert at Kendo & no one has ever beat him in a match. He’s also the student council president & is the school’s top-ranked academic student. For some reason, he has taken an interest in Hiroka, much to her displeasure.
Nitou Mitsu (CV Nishiyama Koutarou)
Mitsu’s family are on the lower end of the ranking & he’s determined to change that! He’s incredibly competitive towards Ousuke, challenging him to all manner of matches yet never winning a single one (but he doesn’t let that get him down!). He has a bright, cheerful personality & refers to himself as a hero of justice. He’s the leader of the “Numbers Research Club” that is where the lower-ranked family heirs basically just hang out. His hobby is sewing & he’s also a member of the sewing club – his speciality is making the little stuffed animals that decorate the club room.
Shikata Yuuhi (CV Suzuki Tatsuhisa)
Yuuhi’s family is the lowest ranked out of the Number Families. This, accompanied with his meek personality lead to him getting bullied by others. He actually has a very kind heart but is scared of others so is often alone. His hobbies include the occult & watching horror movies, when he gets talking about his interests he finds it hard to stop. He also knows a lot about the history of the Numbers War.
Rokuhira Takagi (CV Okitsu Kazuyuki)
Takagi’s family are the second-lowest in the ranking but refuse to fight in any duels. Takagi in particular is totally adverse to any type of conflict or argument – even a simple game of “rock paper sisscors” is a no-go for him & he carries around an omamori charm from his father reminding him of this. He’s an incredibly stoic character, whom can most often be seen quietly reading a book in the club room. He’s actually a decent cook & his other hobby is cooking on a barbeque outside the school dorms.
Shichihara Keitarou (CV Maeno Tomoaki)
Keitarou’s family are in the upper-rankings of the Number Families & as such, he’s a member of the student council. He’s an incredibly lucky person & everything tends to go his way, leading him to live a very peaceful and easy life so-far. Keitarou is the friendliest + kindest member of the student council & is always the first to offer to help out Hiroka. He’s a great student, one of the best in his year. His younger siblings attend the elementary school on campus & sometimes come to visit him since they have a great relationship.
Kuori Meguru (CV Morita Masakazu)
Meguru’s family are second-highest in the rankings & as such have worked for the Ichizono family for decades. Meguru is Ousuke’s right hand man, the vice-president of the student council & is in charge of the diciplinary comittee. Meguru is a cruel man with a sadistic streak that views everyone as worthless, except for Ousuke, whom he idolises. He won’t let anoyone stand in his (or Ousuke’s) way & views Hiroka as a potential threat to the current order of things so is particularly harsh on her. He’s unpopular with pretty much everyone.
Character design & artwork for this game was handled by Melo, an illustrator whom has worked on various projects outside otome games (drama cds, light novels, manga) but is known for her work on the games Gakuen Club & Taishou x Alice.
Opening: Rei -Zero- – Yonekura Chihiro
Ending: Sirius no Matataku Hoshi ni – Yonekura Chihiro
The game features 20 BGM tracks.
The starting screen has different versions for each of the characters belonging to one of the Number Families.
The system is pretty standard, with the exception of the fact that there are two common routes – one for the student council & one for the Numbers Research Club. However, two of the routes actually branch from common routes opposite to what you would think so a guide is recommended.
There are also quite a lot of short stories to read after playing the routes, many of which contain CGs so are worth taking a look at.
When I originally tried to play this game a number of years ago, I got as far as halfway through the first chapter before the heroine was dull enough to put me to sleep & I ended up forgetting about this game. However, in my quest to stop half-playing games, I decided to go back and give this one a real go. Was it worth the hassle or was my gut instinct about this one right?
Overall, this game actually had a pretty interesting concept with the whole “Number Families” thing – the interactions between each of the characters and the value placed on their position in the ranking created an interesting caste dynamic. This is definitely apparent in the routes for the lowest ranked characters and the common route especially.
However, the game really falls short on selling the action aspect of the “Number Wars” – the characters can all tell when a duel is going on due to the markings on the hand lighting up but more often than not, Hiroka looks at her hand & is just like “well it doesn’t involve me so I don’t care”. While this does match her personality, this means that there ends up being very few actual duels that we as readers get to see. This was a bit of a shame since I felt like a lot of the marketing made the game appear more action-packed than it actually is.
In my opinion, Hiroka was a pretty boring heroine overall – yes she had some moments where she shined but more often than not she was just looking for a place to nap. I liked that she was competent with a sword whilst not being overpowered though.
The romance in this game was generally pretty weak (which is like the one thing I can’t forgive!) but Ousuke’s route was hands-down the best in this regard. I thought it was quite funny to have the dynamic of a guy who’s clearly in love & a girl who’s just like “ew, why me?” (but not in like a creepy way). His route is probably the “true” one in the game & deals with a lot of the main plot so is one of the better ones. He’s just not my type though, sorry~ ;u;
Mitsu is utterly adorable in every way & his ridiculous rivalry with Ousuke was hilarious. His route was surprisingly weak though considering that he looks like the other “main” guy, which makes me sad.
Yuuhi was another character that I really liked from the get-go & I ended up doing his route first – there’s just something about timid characters that’s irresistable~ Anyways, his route takes a *very* unexpected turn which actually made it a little more interesting – I liked how the supernatural themes really played into this route to match his character & found his route gave some very interesting backstory to the main plot of the game. Overall, pretty good & Yuuhi’s still such a sweetheart!
Takagi, on the other hand, was a character that really is just not my type at all. He takes stoic to the absolute extreme which is just too hard to read for me. His route focuses more on his own “problems” rather than the main plot, which made for a nice change of pace though!
I suspect these final two characters are highly contentious – I can imagine that many players probably either love them or hate them (although I note that they came first & second in the character polls so I don’t know what that says about the trashy taste that all us Otome game regulars have!).
First is Keitarou – he’s the adorable kouhai (that’s too rare a trope) & I was super happy to find such a kind character from the student council side (he makes their common route worth reading!). His route took a completely unexpected direction but I thought that he was a pretty interesting, if a little unusual, character. Surprisingly, he ended up being my favourite from the game.
Lastly from the main characters is Meguru, who is a complete psychopath. Sadistic characters really aren’t one of my favourite types unless very mild but unfortunately Meguru just comes across as an asshole. Finding out his obligatory tragic backstory does help you understand his behaviour but not forgive it & he doesn’t really develop/grow enough for me over the course of his route so I’m not a fan.
With 10 families in total, the representatives of the remaining 3 are side-characters (although there’s technically 4 since 2 are twins). They all have pretty fun/interesting personalities and do add to the game. There’s bonus side-stories for them at the end which I definitely appreciated!
I’m pretty bias towards Melo’s artwork so I was a fan. There was a reasonable amount of CGs, with some group ones (always appreciated!). The fact that the characters are only ever wearing their school uniform was a little weird/lazy though – normally one set of casual clothing is pretty standard. (Probably a weird thing to point out but it kinda bugged me).
The BGM was okay but nothing particularly memorable. I enjoyed the opening song in particular.
Voice acting was of a good standard, with a mix of newer & older voice actors. This was my first otome game featuring Nishiyama Koutarou and I think he did a really great job! I clearly never looked at the voice cast list when I first started playing because I literally couldn’t get over Suzuki Tatsuhisa playing a quieter character – it really suits his voice surprisingly well!
My Score: 6/10
Whilst this game had an interesting concept, it really fails to deliver on the action promised by the promotional material. Some of the character routes were enjoyable but a lack of romance & the repetitive nature of the plot means that this game is definitely not one of my favourites.
Overall, unless you’re particularly keen on any of the characters, I wouldn’t really recommend this game.
Keitarou > Yuuhi > Mitsu >>>>>>>>> Ousuke > Takagi > Meguru