Slightly zany slice-of-life moege written by that one guy who wrote nothing of note last year. Ahem.
As I’ve mentioned more than once, moege and simple slice of life stories aren’t my forte. I find myself getting restless unless there’s something extra special about them. A first look at Ikinari Anata ni Koishiteiru (Ikikoi) seems like something I wouldn’t like at all. As if the title wasn’t generic enough. But there was something different about this fluffy if slightly deranged looking moege, something which managed to catch my eye. Reading that the highly esteemed Sca-ji (and Yuzuriha) was behind this moege made me want to look at it in another less critical light. This is their first title since 2008.
The protagonist wakes up one morning to find the walls of his garden after turning into Versailles Palace. As he wonders why the hell something so odd happened, he tries to remember what happened the night before.
Chouji is a pretty boring, if slightly moe guy. He lives with his tsuntsun family, and is the student council president. He’s also an otaku. Within the game’s first few minutes he’s already specifically namedropping Ikeda Riyoko’s shoujo classic The Rose of Versailles and more recent titles like OreImo, and laments that cute and kind younger sisters are a rare breed which are only found in eroge nowadays. There were other some references which must have went over my head, but I did catch To-Love ru near the end.
None of the four heroines presented were especially likable or exceptional. Eika was another forgettable snarky tsuntsun~ imouto but I did enjoy her quick snipes towards her brother even if they were lacking in creativity. I mean, it’s not as if she had any reason to be smug calling her brother things like ‘a virginal cockroach of a brother’. It’s not like the rest of the heroines or side characters are any better. Admittedly, I started to get so fed up with Ikikoi that I started to ctrl through the story not too long after the second day begun and only stopped when the setting shifted and shit started getting real. The girls were in miko outfits, at the school at night, and looking serious for some reason. Continuing to ctrl on, I only stopped when ominous music played and scratchy blood red text appeared on the screen. Yikes. It seemed like the girls were trying to find ghosts in the school. I started feeling confused then. Ghost hunting? In my moege?
Ikikoi‘s humour is of the random sort, for better or worse. Within the first few minutes the maid is loading bullets into her broom/rifle hybrid, and later on we have dear old Commodore Perry roaming around the school, the group having mistaken the name Perry for Mary. Chouji keeps calling Tane’s associates Furyou A and B despite their freaking out and saying that that’s not their names. When they’re talking, their names still remain as Furyou A/B in the text box. And then there are the jokes and set-ups which come hand and hand with tsundere characters and the genre – stupid put downs and the protagonist managing to pull a skirt down, exposing the character’s underwear though of course he didn’t mean to do it. One of the more silly set ups was when Ryo got all defensive and said that the smell of Chouji’s mattress would bother the neighbourhood.
Its soundtrack is full of upbeat 8-bit music, with some lovely piano pieces reminiscent of SubaHibi‘s soundtrack. The opening ‘iを解きなさい’ is a hyper sugary number composed by szak and sung by Hana which fits the kind of game Ikikoi is, but it’s no ‘空気力学少女と少年の詩’. Its visuals following a retro game motif. The character designs aren’t at all appealing, and actually weirded me out given that they’re supposed to be moe. That sort of bug-eyed design the characters had worked well in SubaHibi because their almost sketched looking faces and wispy hair provided a stark contrast to the story’s subject matter. Unnervingly so. In Ikikoi, Chouji looks like Mamiya Takuji. Eika is a longer haired version of Mamiya Hasaki. No other design really stands out, but the worst has got to be Tane’s. Especially on the main promo image of the our girls. The way she’s smiling makes her look possessed, and the way her hair falls thickly in the middle of her face doesn’t do her design any favours. She’s also one of the two big breasted characters, and in one sprite her breast is nearly up by her chin while the other goes down for some ungodly reason.
I’m most definitely not going to check out the full version of this. Makura are marketing this as what the trial made it appear to be – a fluffy moege. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course. People who were interested in Ikikoi for the initial design and moemoe~ won’t find any faults here. After looking at the rest of their titles I don’t think that I’m going to check out anything else. Sakura no Uta vaguely interests me, if only for being reported as having a script size twice the size of SubaHibi and being in production for an absurdly long time (close to six years, I believe). Yet its synopsis seems like standard love-love fare – childhood friends returning, yada yada yada.