Release Date: 24th November 2006
Age Rating: 18+
Length: ~15 Hours
Links: Official Website, VNDB
Kazuomi has spent much of his life living with his workaholic older sister since their parents were working overseas. However, she then abandons him as well, leaving him in the capable hands of his childhood friend Izumi. They enjoy their peaceful days together until one day they arrive home to a strange sight – a girl & her two maids moving their belongings into his house! The girl, Alisa, claims to be a childhood friend of Kazuomi who has come to Japan from America and intends to stay for a while with the blessing of his parents. With no less than three girls under his roof, as well as his beloved Izumi checking on him daily & even the student council president taking an interest in the stiuation – just what will happen to Kazuomi’s peaceful days?
(note: I’m sorry if any of the romanisations of the names seem off – I’m going by what was written in the game’s gallery because they seem close enough & I didn’t even want to attempt tanscribing some of these lol)
Kazuomi is a relatively laid-back guy but even he struggles when all these eccentric women move themselves into his home and sometimes locks himself in his room to escape them. He’s the one with the most common sense amongst the group. His hobby is soccer, and is on the school’s soccer team but hasn’t had much time to practice lately.
Shiiha Izumi (CV Agumi Oto)
Izumi is one of Kazuomi’s childhood friends and classmates who has been by his side ever since kindergarden. She enjoys taking care of Kazuomi and was going over to his house every day to do his cooking while his sister is away. She’s also good at sewing. She’s been in love with Kazuomi for a while and is sometimes teased about the fact that they’re like an old married couple already but she’s easily embarassed and normally reacts to this teasing by punching Kazuomi.
Alisa Aixlesbains (CV Sumoto Ayana)
Alisa is Kazuomi’s other childhood friend, although the two only met briefly while she was visiting Japan many years ago. She normally lives in America (San Francisco) and comes from a pretty wealthy family. Alisa is quite spoiled and expects to get everything she wants, including Kazuomi’s heart, so is very jealous of all the other girls around him.
Kasumi Laoshan (CV Nogami Nana)
Kasumi is one of Alisa’s “maids” who came with her from America. Despite her petite stature and childish disposition, Kasumi is actually super strong and is trained in martial arts. She ends up getting a part-time job handing out samples to people and is especially popular with children. Kasumi has a very strong sense of justice and admires police officers in particular. She has a terrible sense of direction and often gets lost.
Toko Ferrarelle Tatsumi (CV Motayama Mina)
Toko is the other “maid” who followed Alisa to Japan. Unlike Kasumi, Toko doesn’t speak very often, prefering to remain stoic. She’s an inventor/mechanic so spends a lot of time locked in her room creating all kinds of fantastical devices – such as memory-altering guns and even a flying motorbike. She’s also a scarily good marksman. Toko also ends up getting a part-time job, hers is in a second-hand shop.
Kanbayashi Miu (CV Aoyama Yukari)
Miu is the naginata-wielding student council president of the school who values reason and order above all else. Unfortunately, Alisa’s eccentric antics rub her the wrong way and she often ends up trying to keep the situation under control. Miu comes from a wealthy, yet traditional family and spends a lot of time training in their dojo. One of her other hobbies is gardening.
Artwork for this game was handled by Kiba Satoshi, who’s artwork has definitely had a glow-up over the past 14 years. His most recent works are Marmalade’s Study§Steady & Prekano’s Oni Ama.
Opening: Primula Juliae – Saori Sakura
Ending: Remebrance – Saori Sakura
The game’s BGM was composed by “Romantic-Obsession”, who has apparently not worked on any other visual novels.
The title screen is actually quite well-presented and has more animations than I would expect for something from 2006 – there’s this cute little jellyfish at the start, haha.
The actual system of the game was decent enough, the textbox wasn’t too ugly or in the way. The game has a ridiculous amount of choices (as typical of games from this era) but most of them are fairly obvious.
Okay, I will make it absolutely clear here – the main reason that I’ve wanted to play this game (for years!) is because I love the opening song. However, as we should all know by now, picking what games to buy and play based on their OP is not exactly the best choice. Did I make the same mistake here?
No beating around the bush today – yes, yes I did. This game is really quite disappointing in quite a few areas, unfortunately. I’ll start with the common route – it’s just not humerous at all. I know they try to make jokes in a lot of places but I just never really “got” this game’s sense of humour at all, which made it pretty hard to read through. It all just feels so generic and forced…
The game’s main problem though is that it completely misses its potential. This will be a spoiler but I figured that this info is revealed at the end of the common route (I won’t spoil the character routes) and this game is so old and obscure that I doubt anyone wants to play it, lol.
Essentially, at the end of the common route, we’re introduced to the fact that Alisa & co do not come from America but in fact the world of Aqua (think of a sci-fi version of Atlantis) and have come to Japan because her father (one of Aqua’s leaders) was ousted in a military-organised coup d’etat and she had to flee the country to save her own skin. This is actually interesting. And explains all the weird technology they possess as well as why Alisa’s maids are military-trained.
This is pretty much never mentioned again & the idea surrounding Aqua is never really realised, with the protagonist never going to visit and fight for the people to accept Alisa back, ect. There’s only one route with a true Aqua ending & there’s such a ridiculously long time-skip between the end of the route & the epilogue that we literally miss all of the drama and interesting parts, lol. It was soooo disappointing that the writers failed to capitalise on this interesting setting they started to write, as though they realised they didn’t have the budget to pull-off a long and detailed story so they just reverted the routes to your generic moe-ge stuff. I’d genuinely rather that they stuck to a simpler story and worked on building better character interactions!
My other problem with the game was that Alisa is clearly meant to be the main heroine – the game essentially makes you feel guilty when you pick another girl & she is just framed as the “right” choice. However, she’s just so annoying that it made having to play her route a chore. She’s such a one-dimensional spoiled brat with absolutely no personality or development beyond that so it’s hard to like her. I don’t believe this was intentional on the creator’s part so it’s just poor writing again.
Izumi & Miu are also on the dull/forgettable side, unfortunately.
Toko & Kasumi are the more interesting heroines by quite a considerable margin, with at least some sort of backstory or development and are not totally annoying.
The artwork in the game was overall quite cute and has a distinctive style. Most of the CGs were of decent enough quality, although I wish there were a few more non-H CGs.
As mentioned, I really enjoyed the opening song – it’s definitely one that I listen to regularly. The ending song was nice but not particularly memorable. I also enjoyed the BGM, it had that nostalgic feel and reminded me of Nursery Rhyme’s OST for some reason?
The voice acting wasn’t particularly great – I found Alisa & Kasumi’s seiyuu to be a little squeaky for my liking but the rest were okay. You get used to them. Quality of the sound was what could be expected for this era.
H-Scenes were between 3-5 per heroine (yes, Alisa got the most). Scenes were fine, the typical vanilla that you come to expect from these types of games.
My Score: 4/10
Overall, Colorful Aquarium is a fairly mediocre game that actually introduced some fairly interesting concepts and then proceeded to completely ignore them for the rest of the game, making it a very frustrating experience in the end. It doesn’t help that the main heroine is an annoying brat that makes me want to skip her lines every time she comes on screen.
Despite Kasumi & Toko being (slightly) more promising heroines than the rest, I’d recommend giving this game a skip & leaving it back in 2006 where it should stay.
The moral of the story here is not to be fooled by the adorable opening song!
Thanks for reading~