Beyond the gate, the entrance to the concealed garden of yore lies where spirits reside, peculiar mushrooms quickly sprout, and fairy rings are numerous. For a fresh faced Christopher Luckenbooth, he is about to step forth into this mysterious land to work at the Wingfield mansion and serve Vivian along with the other servants.
As I previously mentioned, Tsubasa no Oka no Hime (TsubaHime for short) was most likely going to be my final foray into the sparkling land of otome. Earlier I told myself that if I wasn’t enjoying it, then I would exit the program, delete it, and never look back. The genre would not be for me, yet I’d quietly salute all those who like it.
TsubaHime is a far cry from the modernized and simplistic world of Starry Sky, being set in the Victorian times, in a rural land with a dark past that the opening hints at as being Tír na nÓg. The names of some characters are a mouthful (Dowth Moddey Dhoo Barguest, anyone?), but it’s clear that Snapdragon carefully chose those symbolic clusterfuck names with the best of intentions. For example, our protagonist’s surname is taken from a brooch which has a pair of hearts intertwined. A traditional Scottish token of love, which also ties in as a present for marriage. The first name of who seems to be our antagonist is taken from a passage tomb along with mentioning mythical black dogs, a butler is named after a place where high figures of authority were buried, and the cook could be based on a womanizing king of the faeries. With TsubaHime heavily taking inspiration from various Celtic mythology, it wouldn’t surprise me if it were to incorporate other well known figures (both real and fictional) from around that time into it. It’ll be like Shikkoku no Sharnoth all over again, which I have absolutely no problem with.
Unfortunately, this was not a full trial. As derp said in my previous entry, it was more like a teaser, or a snapshot of things to come. After piquing our interest with the short if scattered prologue telling us about the world, after the opening we see events from Christopher’s perspective, where he gives the reader a short tour of the mansion. He even apologizes (on Snapdragon’s behalf) for having the full game being delayed (from December to April), and also apologizes for the lack of voices during the tour. During the tour nobody is introduced properly, but we get a feel of what kind of characters they are. Grim is the playful hound who claims to be always serious, Petunia speaks in a gruff manner which I didn’t expect, Tees is the easygoing cook who likes to mess around, Edric is the caring yet meticulously efficient butler, Dowth is a fear instilling alcohol swigging tyrant, while Vivian is a relaxed person who knows full well that she’s in charge. It’s a lovely cast we got here.
I’m not a fan of posting ero screens here, mainly because I don’t want someone to innocently scroll down a review of [x], only for them to be faced with an image of someone J-J-J-J-JAMMING IT IN. But I felt pressed to post the following screen, because it’s tasteful, and most likely not meant to be titillating. It’s something that one could appreciate without feeling the urge to fap. It’s also very nicely drawn.
The opening evokes the right sort of mood – it suggests that TsubaHime is even more twisted than the trial led on, and brings up all sorts of questions. What will happen on that day, where Vivian (or at least, I presume that it’s Vivian) will turn ‘zero years old’? Why do the characters of the pair waging war at each other look like Vivian and Dowth? There are all sorts of suspicious phrases in the opening too, like ‘blood of knight that serves a maiden’. I can’t help but think of something like alternate selves, considering that at one point there’s a defiant looking young Vivian looking at something with tears in her eyes while there are people on the ground, presumably dead. The screen fades to white, and Vivian smiles. Now, why would she smile in a situation like that…?
Right now I’m entertaining a romantic and utterly girlish thought of Vivian being a great warrior, wanting to defeat the dark side. Or perhaps she has done so before in a previous lifetime, or the current her has just lost her memory. Either way, a darker her emerges, and it’s up to foolishly naive Christopher to save her from it all. Oooh, now this is what I was looking for in an otome.
TsubaHime will be out on the 22nd of April.