Jooubachi no Oubou – Menou Chapter’s Trial: Queen Bees and Wannabees

If you hear anyone speaking about that one otoge where the protagonist swoons more over her sister than any of the heroes, this is it.


Once upon a time, in a kingdom far, far away a pair of beautiful princesses did lay. One so bright that she continuously dazzled the other, her smile enough to capture her heart. Although they were sisters, and although they were near, they seemed to live in different worlds. A day came where they escaped the castle to go on a stroll together; the beautiful sister forever escaping the other’s grasp, calls of ‘please wait!’ ignored. From their world in the sky, they look down at another – it’s like trash, one of them says. Laughing. A heartwarming tale, right? This may have all the makings of a fairytale, but it’s one that quite literally has a sting to it. Several years later only one of the sisters lives on. With the other long since dead it’s time for her to take up the role of being queen bee – until she’s told to assassinate her beloved sister who supposedly died, that is…

From beginning to end, the trial of Pure Wool’s first venture Jooubachi no Oubou was explosive stuff. Catching me completely off guard, what I admittedly expected was a flimsyish nukige, albeit one with gorgeous art and a unicorn among otoge heroes taking the form of a comically subservient M character (who is also the best boy). What I didn’t expect was to be thrown into the thick of a plot concerned with revenge, rife with political intrigue that seeps into narrative like honey. One of the first scenes has the queen – quite literally a queen bee – devouring red meat presented to by a loyal manservant. Something’s amiss with the way she hungrily begs for it; your ears filled with ripping and chewing, you soon learn that the meat the oh so regal queen is tucking into is of the human variety.

Jooubachi no Oubou (now referred to as QB) is split into two parts. The first part comprising Menou’s chapter will be released next month, whereas Kaguya’s will be released in March. Seeing her mother doing this Menou obviously feels ill at ease. Her mother was once highly revered, a perfect fit to rule over the kingdom. But now she has drones wiping away the blood from her mouth as she huskily chastises her daughter for refusing to eat the same delicacy. Does she want to become a source of ridicule? Does she want their kingdom to fall into ruin? Our heroine is unable to say anything. She’s told to become stronger, so that her heart won’t be stirred by anything – and this includes the inevitable death of her mother.

She’s powerless, evidently the runt of the litter compared to her wonderful sister. Yet when she hears Kaguya is alive, Menou isn’t sure whether it’s hope or dread that fills her. They will have to fight to the death at some point, the punishment prize being to rule over the kingdom and its many inhabitants. Although she’s pragmatic enough to realize that when her mother dies things will change, a new dawn ushered in by Kaguya, she’d like to leave. All Menou could ever want is peace; a world without conflict. For bees and humans to coexist. It’s what Kaguya would like too, right…?

The person she so dearly admires has become more beautiful, yet there’s something sharp at the edges. When Kaguya saunters up her in the castle, Menou’s thoughts beg for someone to help her. Even though she’s filled with such adoration towards her, these dark feelings come bubbling to the surface. Earlier Kaguya left her tied up in the middle of a forest knowing full well that something terrible could so easily happen (and in a bad ending, it does). Can Menou kill Kaguya? Hell, can she even become the queen? Her mind is incapable of offering an answer. Can they live together from now on, just like they used to when they were younger? Kaguya doesn’t answer. Instead, she makes an aggressive declaration of war through a salacious spectacle of her trio of menservants pawing at her.

From what I’ve said about her so far, you may think that Menou is a weakling who cries into her pillow at night, carelessly willing to pass over the throne without a fight or care. But she’s wonderfully regal and carries out everything she does with grace and conviction. She’s almost as likable as her sister with the way she refuses to put up with anyone’s shit. Menou may be full of self-doubt when it comes to being the queen (likening herself to a frog rather than a princess, even) but she’s anything but weak. She’s clever. She knows Ruby is full of shit, and she knows that he knows that she knows it, but they continue on like they usually do, all smiles. It’s obvious he’s just messing about but they like each other anyway so they’ll deal. When he brings her flowers she frankly deals with the elephant in the room: did Ruby bring them because he sincerely happened to be worried about her, or is the queen’s dog plotting something and trying to get on her good side?

Menou’s feelings towards Kaguya are amazingly complicated. Although they’re sisters, and although she has a host of guys waiting at her beck and call she can’t help but be drawn to her or comment on how beautiful and all that she is – constantly. You almost start to wonder whether it’s really the guys who ought to have routes here and to say that she has something of a complex towards her would be an understatement. And being honest, I can’t blame her. Everything in QB revolves around Kaguya the way the characters do; you need a marvelously captivating character to pull this off. How can you have a girl so alluring that even her sister wants her? That even when she commits regicide you’re still cheering her on? If she weren’t such a magnificent asshole it would all fall apart. She’s rotten to the core but if she asked you to jump you’d ask “how high?”. Her charisma so potent that she’d be able to sell stocks in jars of air to Kaiki. The reader ends up disliking her nearly as much as Menou does.

“Why are you doing this?”
“In order to live.”

But why would she put this grand plot into motion for the sake of dragging her treasured sister’s name through the mud? It’s not like one was given preferential treatment over the other in their childhood, right? Why was her being alive concealed all this time? No reason is given except ‘revenge’. It would be easy to hate her. Too easy. Yet when Takanemaru offers to eliminate her you know that although it may be better for Menou (and possibly, the kingdom) in the long run, you don’t want him to do it. He’d even get rid of the queen if only she’d give her approval. Same with Ruby. But Menou being the majestic type she is rejects these offers because like her mother said, she must become stronger in order to lead the kingdom. After all, if a kingdom’s leader is corrupt or weak-willed it won’t be long until their country reflects them and their choices. But with whispers of rebellion and human meat being their main source of nourishment, maybe it’s already reached the point where it’s too late.

In a grand speech Kaguya speaks of wanting their kingdom to prosper and rise to greater heights. They’re bees, nothing at all like those filthy humans. With them obviously being the superior creatures it’s all but a given that they should bow down before them. A bright future awaits them, and all they have to do is follow her lead. In contrast Menou isn’t a leader; in fact, she isn’t much of anything at all. Everyone knows it, so when suspicion falls on her for an assassination attempt involving Kaguya it’s almost too easy. Menou and her loyal retainers try and set things right but of course, it’s what Kaguya and her retainers anticipated. When the pair get locked away and the queen’s body comes rolling in you’re marveling at just how easy it really was. Kaguya’s menservants are dangerous guys. Very dangerous indeed and they would kiss the ground she walks on – and in the case of one, that probably does happen.

With me going on and on about the sisters you may wonder if, y’know, this being an otoge and all if the guys are any bit likable. Out of the six heroes presented (three each for Menou and Kaguya) I found myself quickly growing fond of them all which personally, is quite a rarity as usually there’s always one or two I just can’t warm up to so I end up putting off their routes, maybe only doing them for completion’s sake. I have no doubt these guys will come into their own as QB progresses so I’m looking forward immensely to that as well as the resolution of this gloriously poisonous affair.

There’s a Jimmy Hart version of ‘He’s a Pirate’ too – how can you not love that?

The trial can be downloaded right here, and Menou’s Chapter will be released on the 28th of February.

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16 thoughts on “Jooubachi no Oubou – Menou Chapter’s Trial: Queen Bees and Wannabees

  1. thinkerbee says:

    Thank you for your trial impression.

    Glad to hear another -possible- good, rich plot finally tucking your interest, I think recent VN -especially otome- are quite stale.

    I was never interested in JnO because I thought it’s the usual otome market for do-M-loving-fans / ero-yandere-haven with no actual solid plot (I don’t know if you’ve heard of the drama CDs…), but stumbling upon your post changed my mind, in a good way I suppose.

    I’m gonna download a trial and pre-order if necessary lol xD
    Warm regards from your years-worth-stalker, you sure has good taste in VN.

    • goldensneer says:

      No problem!

      >I think recent VN -especially otome- are quite stale.

      Yeah, I know what you mean. I usually aim for scenario intensive titles but it feels like lately there’s been a dry spell when it comes to that kind of otoge (save for Rejet’s titles).

      >I was never interested in JnO because I thought it’s the usual otome market for do-M-loving-fans / ero-yandere-haven with no actual solid plot

      Honestly, I pretty much thought the same before I gave the trial a spin. I did listen to some of Utsuro’s CD when it was released and while I thought it was amusing enough (Shiraishi Minoru being his gloriously OTT self whining about Kaguya calling his cake crap), I wasn’t exactly hyped. I knew hardly anything about QB save for there being two protagonists, and it being sort of lewd so the trial basically defied all my expectations. Good stuff.

      >but stumbling upon your post changed my mind, in a good way I suppose.

      Glad to hear it! The trial is pretty short too so that’s a plus.

      >Warm regards from your years-worth-stalker, you sure has good taste in VN.

      Y-you too~.

  2. thinkerbee says:

    Do you think they will delve into psychology-stuff in here? Because that’s what I usually hunt in VN. Sorry for the double posts.

    • goldensneer says:

      I’d like to think so!

      There’s so much potential to be had with the Menou/Kaguya conflict and I can’t wait to see how they (and the rest of the characters) end up dealing with it. I’ve a feeling that the heroes won’t get as much depth, but I’d actually be okay with that.

  3. lauren says:

    Thanks for giving a mini review of the trial! I’ve played through it, however with my own personal limited knowledge of Japanese, I was only just able to make out most of the situations, its nice to know definitely what went on. Despite that I’m thinking of pre-ordering the game just to support the company. I’d be eternally grateful if you ever decided to fully review the game once its been released <3

    • goldensneer says:

      No problem!

      I like what I’ve read so far so I’ll definitely review the full thing when it’s released. I’ll most likely end up reviewing Menou and Kaguya’s chapters together since they’re two sides of the same coin and all. Would end up being neater.

  4. awesomecurry says:

    Weak MCs who strive to become stronger are always the best. I didn’t expect to like Menou at all, but she turned out much better than I thought.

    Of the six guys introduced, I’ve got my eyes on Ruby since he is oh-so-entertaining and ramps up his suspicious meter so high you’d want to just play along.

    • goldensneer says:

      > I didn’t expect to like Menou at all, but she turned out much better than I thought.

      She’s almost as likable as Kaguya, which is kind of impressive in its own right. I honestly never would have expected her to be so ballsy. At this rate she just might end up taking Kaguya on after all.

      >I’ve got my eyes on Ruby since he is oh-so-entertaining

      Glorious taste. Out of Menou’s group Ruby is definitely the one that keeps you guessing, a smile on your face all the while.

      >so high you’d want to just play along

      Exactly. He’s suspicious as hell and doesn’t bother hiding it, and Menou knows what he’s up to too but why should that get in the way of their fun?

  5. chabashira says:

    I felt absolutely the same way before I played the trials. I’d only listened to Utsuro’s CD, which was really just lulzy and I expected the rest of them to be the same, flimsy ear porn :P

    But oh my god the trials. I don’t think I’ve ever been this immediately drawn to the main characters of any otome game before. Chou no Doku and Koezaru ha Akai Hana both had great plot and strong protagonists, but this interplay of two brilliant heroines is something new to the entire genre.

    And I found it amazing that they managed to balance that tension out and still make the heroes all attention-catching. Have you played both trials or only Menou’s? I’m highly wary of Sumeragi from Kaguya’s, he’s completely insane and terrifying. I’d love to hear what you think of Kaguya’s trial as well, you’re a very eloquent writer :P I actually can’t even pick which one is my favorite though… they all have their charms! I absolutely can’t wait to play Utsuro though xDDDD

    I really hope that the rest of the game can live up to this delectable trial they’ve served up… This game just seems to have SO MUCH potential, I’d be sad to see it go to waste.

    • goldensneer says:

      >I’d only listened to Utsuro’s CD, which was really just lulzy and I expected the rest of them to be the same, flimsy ear porn :P

      Same here, lol.

      >but this interplay of two brilliant heroines is something new to the entire genre.

      When utilized to its full potential, dual protagonists can be used very effectively and it looks like Pure Wool have something really special going on here. Both Menou and Kaguya are incredibly likable, and it’s a testament to Pure Wool that after reading both of the trials the reader comes out of them being more concerned with them and their relationship than which hero to pair the heroine off with. Props to them for releasing Kaguya’s trial before Menou’s full game came out too, so the reader could understand where she’s coming from. It enables us to see her as a more humane character rather than this gloriously charismatic, untouchable figure and I can appreciate that. It adds a more tragic slant to their relationship with that being exactly how she wants to be presented. What really got me was her meeting Menou again in the castle – from Menou’s POV she’s all smiles, brimming with confidence… But on hers, she’s holding back tears. Poor Kaguya.

      >And I found it amazing that they managed to balance that tension out and still make the heroes all attention-catching.

      Exactly. Although the emphasis here is on the heroines it doesn’t feel like the heroes were thrown in for the hell of it either. They all have vital roles to play, along with game-changing secrets. Each holds an element of intrigue.

      >I’m highly wary of Sumeragi from Kaguya’s, he’s completely insane and terrifying. I’d love to hear what you think of Kaguya’s trial as well

      While I liked all the boys to some degree going from Menou’s trial, the way Sumeragi carried on in Kaguya’s made my skin crawl. He has no business treating her like that and I’m looking forward to her getting revenge (possibly more than anything else!). He’s just an awful guy without a single redeeming quality, but the narrative suggests some kind of inevitable Stockholm Syndromey tint to their relationship and I seriously hope it doesn’t go down that route. Kaguya is better than that, but some comments she made about him are sending off major warning signs.

      As for the rest of the trial, I actually was writing a post but it ended up not saving, frustratingly enough! I loved it, but it raised more questions than it answered. Most notably the stuff with Takanemaru/Ruby attempting to kill Kaguya. Holy shit, I did not expect that. Takanemaru’s words about being willing to kill Kaguya (or anyone else, for that matter) if Menou just said the word suddenly takes on a much more chilling meaning.

      >I actually can’t even pick which one is my favorite though… they all have their charms! I absolutely can’t wait to play Utsuro though xDDDD

      I know how you feel!

      Utsuro is just too great. He’s easily my favourite among the heroes, yet I find myself resisting the urge to laugh every time he opens his mouth.

      >I really hope that the rest of the game can live up to this delectable trial they’ve served up… This game just seems to have SO MUCH potential, I’d be sad to see it go to waste.

      I agree completely; both trials were so wonderfully solid that it’d be a right shame if QB ended up falling at the final hurdle. I’m choosing to be cautiously optimistic though. Fingers crossed!

  6. Moe says:

    This games plot line is very interesting. :3 I am wondering where I can buy the game, and the trial was just awesome. The suspense is killing because I would love to see the full game beside the heroines are both likable.

    • goldensneer says:

      Amiami has both of them up for sale. Amiami is a great place in general for purchasing VNs and other related goods. The shipping is cheap and you thankfully don’t have to go through all the fuss of securing a proxy.

      >The suspense is killing because I would love to see the full game beside the heroines are both likable.

      I know how you feel! Soon my friend, soon.

  7. boizanberi says:

    Nice read! I didn’t wanna get in the hype of this game but after the trial, and seeing what the current queen looked like, it got prettay interesting to me :D Anyway, looking forward to your review of the game.

    • goldensneer says:

      Thank you!

      >I didn’t wanna get in the hype of this game but after the trial, and seeing what the current queen looked like, it got prettay interesting to me :D

      Glad to hear it. I think a lot of people were probably hesitant at first considering how 2lewd the drama CDs were, but the trial certainly was interesting. You definitely don’t expect to see the queen looking like that, and you definitely don’t expect to see her devouring human flesh right in front of her daughter like that. Quite a nasty surprise, but it’s one that manages to reel in your interest.

      >Anyway, looking forward to your review of the game.

      Thanks~. Although Menou’s game has been released now I won’t end up reviewing it until I’ve finished Kaguya’s as well. It’d be neater to review them together!

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