Sex Should Be More Prominent in Anime

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I know what you’re thinking. “But how could sex be any more prominent in anime?! There are ecchi shows being released every season, and sexual fan service/tension has been a staple of even the most innocent anime out there! Why would you want to add more?!” I can see why one might assume this based on the title of this post alone. Though, perhaps, one should take it in a more literal sense.

There should be more sex in anime; the actual act of two (or more, why not?) characters performing sexual intercourse. It will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever happen, but I think a more liberal mindset on the topic could benefit the medium (along with others stringent about it) in a multitude of ways, whether carnal or artistic. (more…)

Nympho Waifu++ Review

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Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this game by its producers, Marble Syrup, for the intention of review. This in no way influenced my overall rating or my thoughts on the game in general.

About a year ago, this blog took the first step into the world of indie adult visual novels with my thoughts on studios Marble Syrup and Paper Waifu. Despite not writing about anything of the two—or anything within the specific genre—since, I’ve quietly been keeping tabs on their progress and their future plans, as well as supporting them (one of them financially) from the sidelines. Paper Waifu is still updating their first full-fledged game, The Ramen Prince, and a text-based novel/RPG called The Godhood Chronicles, while Marble Syrup is hard at work with other games. A few weeks ago, one of the heads of the studio commented on my blog asking if I would like to receive a review copy of their latest game. Under the whimsy of being asked for my opinion specifically for the first time ever, I gladly accepted and we rolled from there.

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Nympho Waifu++ is an updated version of the original work which I could’ve sworn was called Nympho Wife at one point. It comes prepared with the tried and true visual novel experience, complete with choices to make, intertwining paths, and specific to its “adult” moniker, sex scenes to peruse. Plentifully so with this last point, as the concept of a nymphomaniac as a wife is guaranteed to create every opportunity for sex and things of the like. If people were irritated by the general lack of sex scenes in the studio’s last game, Re:Maid, they more than make up for it here, with more sex scenes than I can count on both hands. With the premium version (the one I used), one can also exploit cheat codes to make the experience somewhat different for added replayability and diversity of dialogue.

The one thing that should be made perfectly clear is that for those looking for a splendid story and developed, heart-warming characters more akin to the studio’s work with Re:MaidNympho Waifu++ will not be for you. Indeed, while the idea of a riveting narrative in an adult visual novel may seem far-fetched to some, some prefer to, how should I say, cry with their dicks, instead of crying out of them. Unfortunately, I am one of those blasphemous people, as I prefer my sex-filled games with writing geared towards making targets as submissive to the player as possible to have said targets feel realistically inclined to favor my player’s strengths and charm. Or, the desire to have the player feel as though they deserve and/or work for the “prize” of sex.

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My biggest issues with Nympho Waifu++ are predominantly personal issues. Preferences that are not accommodated by the overtly sexual nature and specific taste of the game’s purpose. To say this title is vastly different from Marble Syrup’s past work would be both right and wrong. It is right because it is, by far, the most blatantly “It’s a sex game”-type of approach to writing and character interactivity. It is wrong because all of their games are within that degree; the argument is that it is far too much so, at least for my taste. This isn’t to say it cannot work, but that it is only geared towards a certain niche of audience, one I’m not part of. Every character has tremendously large breasts. Every character is familiar with the main character in some way, whether his wife, his childhood friend, or his co-worker—all of whom developed feelings for him before the start of the game. The game’s cheat codes allow for players to indulge their incest fetish, and also has a few endings touching on rape fetishes. Note: the prior sentence also has no effect on the overall score or thoughts, as I believe fantasy is fantasy for those mature enough to handle it. Nympho Waifu++ has the intentions of getting the player horny, though not necessarily involved mentally.

On a more technical light, the game is fairly good, but not great. Through my multiple runs at the game, I found a few glitches, two of which are pretty jarring. At one point in the game, the player is sitting with his childhood friend in the park eating lunch. At the beginning of the game, the player has the choice of naming themselves whatever they want, but the default name is “Minoru.” At one point in the conversation, no matter what the player’s name is, the childhood friend will playfully call out “Mi-no-ru~.” Another instance is along the later portions of the game, when the player is out to dinner with his nympho waifu. If I recall correctly, the player can compliment her dress or tenacity (or something), to which she responds with disappearing entirely. Her model just fades out of existence for the next line, then reappears as if nothing happened. Some spelling errors here and there also popped up, though a few glitches are not too harmful to the overall experience, just somewhat alarming.

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The pride of Marble Syrup lies within their art, which once again, completely knocks it out of the park. Somewhat too sexually-stimulating for my tastes, but there’s no questioning the talent behind whoever the head artist is, as they create some truly spectacular work. It helps to embody the purpose of the game and makes the girls’ every expression instantly charming, especially the childhood friend. Text works quickly and efficiently, the skip feature had no issues, everything worked correctly and as intended, and the gallery is bursting with sexual imagery, in case anyone wanted to skip to “the good parts.” A cleanly-coded game with great art and only few bugs and glitches is sure to please just about anyone not looking for a story to go along with it, which is admittedly far too short and simplistic here.

In the end, it’s almost pitiful that I found so little to like with Nympho Waifu++. It’s a case of not being able to fit the pieces correctly where they should, as the game isn’t really directed to my priorities; a contrast to Marble Syrup’s other works. Even Crusoe Had It Easy, with its incredibly short timeframe, held a little more impact on me than this latest entry. By game’s end, I remained passive and calm, without any desire to really go back to it, lest I were in the right, er, mood. I suppose the one truly great thing I could say is that its Title Screen theme is seriously fantastic. Go play it just to listen to that.

Final Score: 4.5/10

Kuzu no Honkai: A Case of Sexual Timidity

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Not to sound unsure of myself, but I would like to briefly note that my opinions and thoughts on this particular criticism of Kuzu no Honkai to be somewhat incomplete. It’s more of a gut feeling that I had watching the anime and having experience with other forms of dark, introspective series. This argument is something I don’t actually have too much evidence for, as some of the things I’ll go more into detail about can be debated against with ease. Consider this a messy opinion piece, something that I feel is present without the sort of solid foundation to legitimize its bearing on the quality of the series.

And I felt I needed to say this before I go on, as I feel it’s important to be honest with my readers about how I feel during such debatable pieces as this one. Too often I wonder if people who make extraordinary claims and back them up with such flimsy details aren’t conscious of how it makes them appear. Call it my own pride, but if a claim I make sounds sketchy even to me, I feel it should be noted before it’s said. It could also be a defensive mechanism because I’m too honest and I’d feel too bad about “deceiving” people.

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Now then, the claim in question is that Kuzu no Honkai is too naive. The manner in which it tells its story and the way it introduces sex as a means of showing the emptiness of the characters is incredibly simplistic and immature. Sex itself is something of a hot topic within the world of anime, but the fact that Kuzu no Honkai has it so prevalent within itself shows some lenience that rarely comes from mainstream anime. Unless, of course, the sex is used for laughs and giddy temptation. Really, one simply need to look at the ocean of harem anime, or anime that simply have characters show sexual attraction to those around them.

One could praise Kuzu no Honkai for portraying sex in an artistic or mature way, however I would disagree. The way it portrays sex is simply a refreshing spin within a medium where sex is taken too lightly. To have one go through a marathon of To Love-ruHigh School DxD, and Sekirei, then watch Kuzu no Honkai, one would definitely appreciate the change of pace. It’s not only limited to these types of anime, either, where sex is a blatant device to entice viewers, but others where even the prospect of holding hands is considered too risqué. A fellow blogger once made an intriguing point about how Kirito from Sword Art Online‘s quick path to OP status was a refreshing spin from the typical Shounen protagonist’s zero to hero approach. While that may be true for certain eyes and times, it’s something that doesn’t always work to make characters or stories better (further referenced for my disdain for SAO), as is the case here.

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Through another perspective, there’s the fact that while sex is led up to and hinted at, sex is never actually shown. Natsu no Zenjitsu shows plenty of sex, and not just the interpretation of it, but the act of it. The sights, sounds, movement of characters’ bodies and faces. Kuzu no Honkai‘s use of sex is little different to me than the way ecchi uses sex; both are used for enticement, only Kuzu no Honkai‘s intentions aren’t to lure viewers to drop their shorts, but to drop their hearts. I found it humorous that, try as the characters might, not a nipple was shown, never anything past foreplay, and the characters, despite how empty they seem to be portrayed, have enough humanity within themselves to cover up at the last moment. This could almost sound like a positive for the show’s characters, though not so much for the argument. This gave an air of the author knowing this would be shown on TV at some point, so they cut their losses and went for what would be most suitable for the general mass, instead of pushing it further.

Something that could be used in association with the previous point is the anime’s penchant for telling, not showing. While not always the case, there’s definitely a lot of telling within the plot, particularly by whoever is the focus of the individual development. Whether it be Hanabi, Mugi, or Akane, (though usually more Hanabi and Akane) the dialogue is definitely something one cannot help but feel overwhelmed by. Whether this overwhelming is good or bad depends on the viewer. For me, it was obviously very bad. Too often I felt what was being told to me was very clear based on their prior actions and train of thought, something I feel the series took too much advantage of. Watching Kuzu no Honkai was like listening to a teenager in high school monotonously overexplain the story of their first Facebook lover. Lots of angst, lots of self-reflection, lots of crying/cringing, and not a break in sight.

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Through the use of sex, this tell-a-thon mixes in with the fact that sex is never actually shown. It combines with the type of storytelling that relies on the viewer to fill in the blanks themselves, taking sex at face value as a symbol of one thing depending on the situation. It would be really nice to see the characters actually react to the sex, rather than the build-up to sex. Many times the characters fantasize about the idea of sex and what it would mean to them to have sex with the one they love or “love,” but fantasizing about sex and having sex are two completely different beasts. Not just foreplay, either. If Hanabi is wincing and in tears at having her genitals fondled, I would like to see her reaction to actually hitting the home run. That sentence sounded incredibly disturbing. Still, it would be intriguing to see if she continues to fight her overwhelming negative emotions or if she’d abandon them and simply let it happen at the expense of comforting pain. If only I had that chance.

On its own, Kuzu no Honkai is a decent series with an intriguing premise that can stand with the best of teen dramas. What the series lacks in subtlety, however, it more than makes up for with dialogue straight from an early Linkin Park album. Its dedication to its craft is admirable, though many (including me) could be easily turned off by how painful the amount of depressing self-deprecation the characters spew at themselves, to the point where they can’t take it seriously. It doesn’t surprise me that the series is so highly-acclaimed, taking into account that the average anime watcher is in their teens and are attuned to sensitive jargon. Still, I can’t help but wonder what the series could’ve been if it hadn’t been directed so heavily at only that demographic.

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

Ruining SE (System Engineer)

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(Note, as always, that “ruining” is akin to “spoiling in a mocking way.”)

It’s humorous to me when a manga goes so far to tease every sexual urge of its demographic while also trying to maintain an air of sincerity. Of course, going into a manga with a premise like SE‘s, one shouldn’t be surprised by the abundantly ecchi atmosphere that is to arise from almost every situation. A college boy who’s very competent in computer programming decides to talk to a girl who often rides the same train as him, only to accidentally knock over her bag and reveal that she has something referred to as a “sex sleeve.” Well, sex was mentioned in the manga, may as well make it the driving force behind everything that happens.

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Much to the boy’s surprise, the girl is conveniently a genius, responsible for an aspiring company focusing on the construction of the perfect… sex sleeve. Her hopes and dreams lie on the ultimate sexual pleasure of the male kind. Yes, of all things a young, attractive, docile woman can go crazy for, it’s masturbation tools. And crazy she goes, leading to an overdrawn, tensile display of getting the reader up just enough, only to delay the finish to another time. This is no Super Mario Bros., either. The journey there isn’t exactly memorable or fun.

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SE is a manga that pleases its audience through use of both sexual fan service and narrative fan service. Sexual fan service needs no explanation, but narrative fan service may need some elaboration. When reading a story, one might notice some odd events transpiring without any sort of build-up, commitment, or any contextual continuity. Something along the lines of a hero saving a princess, only to end up with a random cohort they met along the way, with an added ending scene where the couple live peacefully with children and all their hopes and dreams fulfilled. The sort of fairy tale “Happily Ever After” fill-in that occasionally feels shoe-horned in to appease the major audience. While I understand the peace that comes with revealing a satisfying ending and giving every character a “good end,” there are moments when I feel the intentions behind it feel arbitrary, leading to a metaphorical blow to the jaw rather than a warm hug from Heaven.

What most dissatisfies me with the execution of SE is that everything feels so two-faced. To appease the audience, to appeal to those primal urges. To give the smug sense of the author knowing what the common reader wants and doing so without doing enough to conflict with the impact of the story. The main couple almost had sex. They’ll be embarrassed about it tomorrow at work, hahaha! Let’s repeat the process about eight times before having them actually do anything substantial! That’ll fill the chapters up! It’s so convenient that the female lead was in love with the male lead on first sight because he looked in her general direction like a stalker. It’s common sense that women are attracted to potential sexual predators because they’re secretly super horny!

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The carefree nature of the manga only adds to the narrative fan service I’ve previously alluded to. Nothing is at stake, and whatever is will obviously come to fruition because everything has to be accomplished for the sake of a good ending. That’s assuming anything is at stake, as despite the fact that the female lead’s company sports a whopping five employees, including herself, who single-handedly develops most of the shit she thinks of because she’s a “genius,” nothing ever really gets done. There is a false assumption that something may get done during the opening chapters when everything is being explained to the male lead, but is quickly derailed once the power couple finds an interest in railing each other. Whenever something is getting done, then faces a problem, it’s usually the fault of the female lead, who’s too occupied with thinking about sucking dick (Not exaggerating) to use her “genius” abilities to get said thing done. The manga in its entirety feels like a show, a raunchy, empty show about a girl who wants to fuck until she’s ripped in half playing Bill Gates with her “supreme intellect” and a boy who happens to wander inside and become the object of the female lead’s sexual urges. It’s okay, though. It’s totally consensual. She’s super hot, why wouldn’t it be? Icing on the cake, nothing ever goes wrong long-term. Everything is resolved and the company becomes successful and every conceivable couple becomes a couple and everyone is happy. Fuck me.

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There is a glimmer of satisfaction, however, to those hoping for any sort of positive feature to SE. Despite the story and characters being gobs of gleefully sexual goop, there is a single character who is, to some extent, tolerable. He joins the cast late and is implied to have a sort of romantic connection to another established character who is actually two-faced. Non-affectionately referred to as the “Silver Bullet,” this old man has a tendency to insult the ever-shitting fuck out of the little puny-pussies in the office, similarly to the way I’m phrasing his introduction in this post. Call it my cynicism identifying with a character who has zero-tolerance for others and takes their job seriously, but despite him being an obvious pain in the ass and only slightly useful to the tasks assigned of him, he makes the pages go by with more enthusiasm. This character is probably the only good I can really say about SE as a whole, as its attempts at comedy, romance, and THE POWER OF EMOTIONS! are all putrid. The art isn’t too bad, though compared to more chic titles that have come out in the last few years, it doesn’t much hold up. Need any more indication? Look at the cover image of this post and look how s-k-i-n-n-y the female lead is.

A long, hard, and stiff story short, SE would be good as a mindless, sexual guilty read. Something along the lines of Yomeiro Choice, but more grounded in reality (in some ways). It doesn’t challenge itself and only gives the reader the most mundane of narrative and character foundations. The intrigue presented by the premise baited me into a victim. Don’t let it get you, too.

Oh, and the female lead has some sort of disease that is possibly fatal but she lives in the end anyway so whatever.

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

Thoughts on Marble Syrup & Paper Waifu

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I enjoy anime and manga. I enjoy video games. I enjoy football. I enjoy critiquing and reading and writing. You know what else I enjoy? Indie adult visual novels. Not just visual novels in general, as those tend to bore me within an hour or so, but visual novels developed by aspiring game developers, with a pepper of sex to add to the appeal. You know how the saying goes: “Come for the H scenes, stay for the charmingly-inadequate or otherwise feel-good attempt at an immersive story and likable characters.” Is that really a saying at all? Or did I just make that up? One thing’s for sure, I didn’t make up the enjoyment I had playing the games available from these two fledgling visual novelists.

And as a precautionary statement, I will not be displaying said H scenes in this post.

Quick note before diving in, I found these games on Newgrounds, in case anyone were to be interested in playing them. You can also support both Marble Syrup and Paper Waifu on Patreon.

I’ll begin with Marble Syrup, as I discovered them first a few months back. The games they have available right now are Crusoe Had It Easy, where you play as a young man stranded on a deserted island with his “hot” cousin (Marble Syrup isn’t opposed to playing with incestual storylines) and Re: Maid, a story of a young guy’s days in college. It has little to do with maids, actually. The premises may sound a bit dull, but what they make up for in unoriginal starting points is the sleekness of its design. Marble Syrup has some really good looking games. The environments are tender in their tone, the characters models transition smoothly and move just enough to evoke a feeling of realness; everything about their games feel calculated and specific. It’s hard to even consider them an indie studio, with a team so small. Their games exhibit glorious appeal through aestheticism alone. Look at the girl up there, to the left. Isn’t she adorable? She’s absolutely adorable.

However, the biggest complaint I have with Marble Syrup’s games is their writing. It’s not to the extent that their characters are unrealistic or the pacing is too poignant in either degree of speed, but I feel there are points where characters act out of their character to have sex with the player. One example of this is with Erika, the shy character in Re: Maid. She is, as I stated, shy. It’s harder for the player to have her open up to you. She’s quiet and calm, if not a little flirty when tipsy. Should the player almost outright ignore her until a certain point near the end of the game, all they would need to do is trigger a final flag in order to have sex with her. No emotional connection attached. You will achieve her ending by triggering one event, should the player manage to get there. I managed to unlock her ending by complete accident my second run through the game, and I was appalled by how abrupt it was. Not only did it make the ending feel silly seeing as I hardly interacted with her, but it tainted the image of the shy, unconfident girl that the game painted her to be. I understand that sex is the selling point here, but when trying to tell a story that allows the player to care about the people they’re having sex with, it’s a bit of a black eye.

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In terms of character writing, I feel Marble Syrup does a decent enough job to hold the otherwise stagnant story steady. However, I feel their sole and shining star is the aforementioned Erika, who suffers from a lackluster ending. She effortlessly trandscends the shy, timid character into a relatable story of introverted growth. I was immediately attracted to her story more than anything, though I might have a bias based on my own innate introversion. The other romanceable character of Re: Maid, Hana, has some nice spunk, but doesn’t really have any flaws, making her seem less of a person and more of a 2D sex target. Sophie, the hot cousin from Crusoe Had It Easy, also suffers from an overall lack of personality, but at least she has some vulnerabilities to her character. Then again, that game is much shorter in total content than Re: Maid, so I can forgive it a little more for that.

Crusoe Had It Easy was the game I played first, and while I didn’t think much of it at the time, the more I thought about it, the more I realized how impressive the game was when compared to other indie visual novels/dating sims I’ve played. I don’t recall the exact date, but it was sometime before summer. Maybe around the end of April. I was immediately intrigued by both the title and the accompanying thumbnail. The intro screen and the set-up of the game felt immediately accessible and easy to handle. Everything was perfectly assigned and the options made the game all the more my speed. While I wasn’t too keen on the character interaction by the end, I ended up playing the game multiple times to satisfy my curiosity… what? I was genuinely curious about the different type of endings. Don’t look at me like that.

Marble Syrup’s replayability is another giant plus for their games. They incorporate many different endings to a single game to keep the “branchiness” of the paths open and flexible. To make this easier, they have an option where dialogue can be completely skipped unless dialogue the player has never read comes up. This is incredibly nice, as it allows the player to know that when they’re skipping dialogue, they aren’t missing any content they’ve never come across, further allowing quick runs through the game when the player just wants different endings. However, there is a slight negative to these multiple ending pathways. Marble Syrup games rely on a lot of trial and error, as some paths are only open to people willing to act outlandish in general or outright bizarre. There are some endings that need very, very specific inputs from players in order to even open up the path, which can be frustrating for people who want all the endings, but always get stuck at certain points. It’s at this point where the games start to feel incredibly grating. You messed up on one decision? Better skip dialogue and make sure, or start all over again because you’re fucked. Not literally.

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I think Re: Maid, when compared to Crusoe Had It Easy, is better in terms of quality of artwork, overall immersive story, and enjoyability. One can tell that the creators had fun with Re: Maid, setting up endings that feature the player choosing to be gay (or so I’ve heard) or having the entire city be bombed, randomly. One of the casualties of said bombing is actually a cartoon-ish depiction of the writer of the game, according to the Creators’ Commentary. Good relationship the two must have. The only thing I have against it are the characters, one of whom is too perfect and the other ruined by satisfying the goal of sex. While Crusoe Had It Easy was nothing innovative with its story or characters, it never felt like things happened simply for the sake of sex or out of nowhere. For that, I can appreciate what was shown despite the small sample size. It’s decent, if not a little lacking, while Re: Maid feels rushed in its ending execution. But despite everything, Marble Syrup games can always guarantee one thing: perfected weeb design. Lovely looking anime-esque characters, like taken straight out of a big production studio, grace the roster of these games. It’s almost enough to forget about all other faults the games have. Almost.

I think I’ve waited long enough to say, but when one thinks indie adult visual novels, they expect H scenes. They expect sex. Do Marble Syrup games provide good H scenes? Yes and no. The sex in Marble Syrup games are not animated. Everything about the games are simply pictures, moved around to a degree by special effects, but nothing is ever actually animated. The pictures are top-notch, and at times better than the non-H scenes, but the most the game does to simulate the act of sex is adding thrust noises and shaking the camera to emulate impact. If you’re into that, these are the games for you. If not, don’t expect anything more. Personally, I enjoy the pictures, and appreciate the effort put into the, er, simulation, but it could definitely be more with more work. Though perhaps that would ruin the flow of the game, randomly going from slightly-moving pictures to fully-animated cutscenes. Whatever the case, for people who appreciate simplicity and making the most of their imagination, Marble Syrup’s sex scenes will definitely hold you over. Guaranteed.

I think it’s at least worth noting that Marble Syrup was caught up in some controversy some time ago. Apparently, the creator had stolen character models from an old maid visual novel to put into Re: Maid and took credit for said character models. As their popularity grew, people began to recognize the characters from the old game and called him out on it, causing a shitstorm of bad press and, uh, bad publicity(?) on reddit. (I don’t use reddit. I’m not sure how it works.) The creator has since apologized (extensively) to fans and the creator of the game old maid game, and the Creators’ Commentary mode on Re: Maid gives very specific detail about the ordeal of the event. I think the creator has good intentions, especially for one so willing to make himself look bad and own up to their mistakes, that I’d be willing to overlook it. Quite frankly, I don’t think it’s really that big a deal, but I can understand art theft’s importance. Use this information as you will.

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All in all, had I any financial security, I’d definitely support Marble Syrup. Their games aren’t by any means perfect, with work typically needed in the character department, but their artwork is among the best I’ve seen from indie titles, and their games are fun to read along with (no voiceovers, just text). The effort they put into their games is easy to see, and it has a great amount of charm to it. Their love of visual novels is prevalent, and above everything, I appreciate Marble Syrup for doing what they love and providing for those who love it with them.

Which leaves Paper Waifu, another up and coming studio specifying in adult visual novels. This group is a little more fresh out of water, having only one game released which isn’t actually completed yet. It’s in the alpha stages, with continuous updates being provided as they come along. Thus far, their one and only game, The Ramen Prince, is their main priority. After all, it was released only a few months ago, in June.

The Ramen Prince doesn’t have too much content to it as of now, with only one and a half routes to go down. One and a half? Yes. One girl’s route is completely done, while another girl’s route is still in development. But for what it’s shown me, it’s definitely worth checking out. With Marble Syrup, their games always look great, but lack a tad in all other regards. Paper Waifu, based on only two and a half total hours of game time from one game, beats Marble Syrup in all regards except for art and animation. In a weird twist of fate, The Ramen Prince provides all the narrative energy and character likability that Marble Syrup wishes it could provide, while also looking like a high school student’s first attempt at a game. I can’t say the storyline for The Ramen Prince is anything Emmy-worthy, but it takes the cake for being incredibly entertaining and mature. Albeit over the top, the types of stories being told thus far in this game are far more interesting than “Boy goes to college and fucks chicks.” It feels almost like a full-time drama, without a lot of the cheesy twists and turns of standard soap operas. The characters help this story along by being vibrant and ripe with potential. They feel like real people. They feel like people I would meet in real life. All of this and more makes The Ramen Prince a genuine joy to play through.

The only real downfall is the art. It’s not too appealing. It’s not all that sexy. It’s passable based on standard human make-up, but it blends a weird color palette with characters that look drawn by anime studios from the mid-80’s. I don’t mind some characters, but others look just not good. The eyes are too Shoujo. The shadowing isn’t stark enough. It feels too much like… paper. The designs are okay, specifically for Ren, the maid, but otherwise it’s forgettable. This goes double for the sex scenes.

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I’ll say this first: I believe Mie, the ninja character, came after Sango, the original route available with the game’s release. Mie’s sex scene (aside from some light groping) is far better animated than any of Sango’s sex scenes. I wrote the opening sentence because I believe they had some time to put more effort into Mie’s sex scene. While better, I’d still hesitate to call the sequence “good.” It has smoother animation than any of Sango’s scenes and feels more real (by way of the positioning of characters). If I may be blunt though, Mie’s tits are weird. The other sex scenes available exclusively for Sango are all really bad. The drawings are oddly proportioned and there’s even an animated, suspended penis going in and out of her holes. I wouldn’t call it repulsive, but I was certainly not in the mood to, err, satisfy myself. For those only looking for that kind of amusement, The Ramen Prince is not going to be your calling card. It’s a game that relies on character relationships and an immersive story to hold you over.

Sexy or not, Paper Waifu seems to be perfectly capable of creating a game that is well worth a person’s time. If one were to believe in that garbage about sex being better with love, it will definitely make up for the otherwise unsatisfying display of artistic quality. It did so for me. Sango’s story is a breath of fresh air, and Mie’s is off to a good start, while Mie herself is proving to be a very likable character. Once again, had I any financial funds to spend, Paper Waifu would be a studio I whole-heartedly support, despite the lack of overall criteria.

Both of these studios have a lot to offer, and I’m excited to see any upcoming projects both Marble Syrup and Paper Waifu have to offer. Based on their Patreon page, Marble Syrup is hard at work with a few projects, while Paper Waifu still needs to complete their first game. Until that time, I can go back to Crusoe Had It Easy and try and unlock all the endings. I don’t seem to be very affectionate towards that game, for whatever reason.