Ayakashibito review

Hmm… I really don’t click with titles that involve so many guns… Either that, or there’s something about propeller that just doesn’t click with me. Anyway, Ayakashibito is one of Propeller’s earliest works, being released in 2005. I decided to play the Chinese localization (despite it being a Taiwan company) because it was really well rated all around, and is within the top 100 at erogamescape. This kind of showed me how individual tastes can vary though. Like Kanon and Symphonic rain, even with so many people praising it, I just can’t bring myself to say that I feel the same.

Premise:

This is an alternate world where certain people are “gifted” with powers, which range from being able to control countless guns to being able to distribute scents. They are called “ayakashibito” or demon people. Our protagonist is one of those people. After escaping a research facility with his one and only friend, a fox demon, they try to find a world in which they can exist and belong.

Characters:

There’s a whole lot of them, and each one has their own interesting quirks. However, there’s just too many of them, so I’ll just write about the main ones.

Kisaragi Soushichi (fake name) is kind of like an average protag. Kind, caring, incredibly dense, doesn’t think highly of himself, tragic past that he pretends never happened, kick ass martial arts skills. Okay, so he’s more like a protagonist of a shounen manga than an eroge, but the whole feel of this story is more similar to a shounen manga anyway. Not a bad character, although his voice kind of annoys me (yes, he is voiced).

Kisaragi Suzu (fake name, kinda) is a fox demon who has been friends with Soushichi for over a decade, although he never realized that she was a demon. She really dislikes humans in general (besides Soushichi, anyway), and has quite a strong power due to her being one of the last 9 tailed foxes (although she’s too young to have 9 tails yet). She’s a bit spoiled and thinks Soushichi is too naive. Sometimes though, she’s really terrifying. To see her without Soushichi by her side is to see her without mercy, and she definitely crosses the line to become a yandere at one point.

Her route is the true end (although there are actually 3 different ending to it, and I’m not quite sure which is the canon end). To get to it, you must complete the endings of the 3 other heroines.

A member of the student council where Suzu and Soushichi ends up going to school at. Ichinotani Touko is one of those kind, caring, and responsible people who’s extremely popular with everyone (that leads to some problems later on). Except when she panics over ecchi things, gets angry, or starts fighting.

Yeah, not one to me messed with.

I didn’t like her path much though, it’s definitely the weakest of the bunch. Stories involving lesbian stalkers are rarely done right. yes.

Tonya is a Russian transfer student (or foreign exchange student, can’t remember). Also the obligatory tsundere (although I have to say that Suzu is pretty tsun too). She has a sharp tongue and is extremely good at making fun of/teasing other people. But her dere… 

Yeah.

She doesn’t get along with Suzu at all, but I have to say that I liked her path the best out of the 4. It was really amusing and definitely the most touching.

Iizuka Kaoru is Soushichi’s other friend from childhood, although they got separated quite early on. She is now the head of Dominion (think ghost in the shell with weirder characters chasing down illegal Ayakashibito without the cute tanks). She’s a perfect police officer: calm, analytical, efficient, and really good with guns.

Her path was a bit different from the rest, because it didn’t have much of a “fun fun fluffy fluffy everyday school life” piece to it. I also thought that it had the most back story and explanations (besides Suzu’s path, of course).

Story:

Well, you can probably tell from the CGs already, but it’s really hot blooded. They spend a lot of time on action, and I’m not much of an action person unless there’s really nice animation involved. In this case, there is none, so my view of it went down quite a bit because of that. There’s also a lot of slice of life comedy, most of which didn’t sit well with me either. The transitions between scenes are weak. For instance, we have 1 scene where a character is lamenting over the fact that he just committed murder. He then gets a phone call and happily struts off to enjoy the school festival. Yeah, that’s definitely the best way to do things, I’m sure. The story also felt draggy at parts. There was more than 1 occasion where I asked myself: “is it over yet?” The excessive and somewhat random h-scenes doesn’t help (TWENTY-FOUR scenes, geez).

There’s one character within a student council who is somewhat of a zombie. He dies very easily, sometimes from small things such as holding hands. Turns out, his ability is something like a safety mechanism, letting him die when he feels pain so that he wouldn’t suffer much from wounds and healing quickly afterward. I thought that it was a very interesting concept and was disappointed that they didn’t touch on it further. With disappointment comes fridge horror, because I realized that aside from Suzu’s path, none of the endings are actually happy because of what’s going to happen in the future…

On the other hand, there were quite a few things that was done well. For instance, every character gets a chance to shine, particularly in Suzu’s path. I love the above scene, where the hot blooded sidekick character shouts in a way that reminded me of Gurren Lagann: “Believe in me! Believe in my technique! Believe in my bike!!!” By the way, the romantic partner of said character also changes depending on the path the protagonist takes, which is quite interesting and not often seen in eroge.

This is the greatest thing about this story: the characters. They are explored in the different paths, and the way that they interact and affect each other is very interesting, not to mention hilarious at times. The plot twists are well done, and I especially loved the true identity of the shouta god at the end. Hint: his love for Suzu isn’t what it seems~

Also, that is one badass teacher, yup.

Art: Again, there’s a good side and a bad side to this. On one hand, there’s a lot of CGs. On the other, almost half of that is h. On one hand, there’s a lot of character art and poses, on the other hand, some of the pose variations look odd and inconsistent.There was one instance where a character had a coat without pockets, then he put his hands into his previously non-existent pockets, which appeared seemingly out of nowhere, only to disappear with the next pose change.

Also, normally, Tonya would have her arm down in that base pose, but they changed the arm without really changing the rest of her, making the whole thing look slapped together and cheap.

I can’t call the coloring method anything besides generic, and the character designer doesn’t help things (especially not with what feels like an urge to choose the ugliest hair colors available). It felt like he had OCD or something, drawing excessive and stiff folds and creases in clothing. Speaking of which, he has an quite an awful fashion sense. Also, if you looked at the above image, you can see that they 2 girls are supposed to be sleeping. Just ignore the claws on the boobs (for something that sharp looking can’t be anything but claws), and the odd shape of the boobs themselves (no, a boob ISN’T a ball covered with fabric that you stick on a chest, the fabric won’t go under the boobs that way!). Let’s just focus on the girl’s head. It looks like her head is on the floor. No, it isn’t, it is on the girl’s boob. That’s perfectly fine, except for that angle which means her head can’t possibly be there unless some unseen force is defying gravity and stopping her head from slipping to the ground like it’s supposed to.

Uniforms look different on each person, I know, but this is a bit ridiculous. The style of the skirt is completely different, and the opening down the front is gong on the taller girl, not to mention the opening on the arm doesn’t look like an opening on the shorter girl (sorry for using the word “opening”, it’s been a while since I sewed and my memory isn’t that great when it comes to technical terms). It would hurt to fix the fact that the skirts look lopsided, or the fact that different line/shade colors were used on different characters, or change the shape of the skirt on the taller girl so that she doesn’t look she have a balloon for a butt. Don’t get me started on the bellybutton. Let me just say that every fiver of my being abhors it and leave it at that.

And the backgrounds… the generic, loveless backgrounds that are there just so characters aren’t standing in front of a white screen- Ah, oops, I’ve only been talking about the bad parts, haven’t I? Err… well… at least the action scenes look action-y! *Cough.

Music:

Sometimes, the littlest things can make all the difference. And in this case, I mean that I would have been a lot less annoyed at the music if I could skip the ending song, which was quite annoying to my ears.

There are 20 tracks the game, plus the opening and ending themes. The problem is that only 3 tracks are used for everyday scenes, and most of the tracks are battle music. This means that you get tired of some of the tracks very, VERY quickly.The battle music stays pretty good throughout though. The odd thing is that the recording quality wasn’t that good. In fact, it kind of reminded me of KID’s work (and nothing can be good about that).

I have no problems with most of the voice acting. The annoying characters sounded annoying (Ichina is… well, she’s one of the most annoying fictional characters I have ever heard, not to mention read about), the cool characters sounded cool. The protagonist sounded a bit TOO feminine at parts, but that was okay.  I remember that I said Suzu’s voice was ear candy. I take that back. She only sounds good when the seiyuu is trying very hard to be serious. Otherwise, she sounds squeaky, and in the worst way possible. I couldn’t believe how cringe/bleed worthy it was, I mean, she sounded like she was still doing Kurihara Touko!

Programming:

It’s simple, it works. That’s about all the good I can say about it. This is worsened by the fact that I had played the Taiwan version, which had an absolutely hideous font. There’s no attempt to make it GOOD, to add some flair to the presentation, when some small changes could have made it much better. Especially that eyecatch, oh, that eyecatch… There are few things that I want to obliterate from this world than that eyecatch! Just like the ending song, you can’t skip it by clicking or using the keyboard. Would it have KILLED them to add that function?

There aren’t a lot of effects, even in battle, and the interface is pretty hideous. I’m glad that they went on to fixing that in their later games though. Asairo was amazing, and even the Ayakashibito fandisc already shows a lot of improvement.

Speaking of which, there is also a fandisc available with system voices, wallpapers (not very good ones), and 2 extra scenarios. One story is a bit of a prequel, involving a spirit of sorts and her quest for love (kinda). The other is an after story to Touko’s ending, which is another way of saying another excuse for an h-scene.

Story:7×5=35/50

Art:6×3=18/30

Music: 5/10

Programming: 5/10

Total: 63/100 C

It was enjoyable, but not great. You might like it better if you like action-y eroges though.

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6 thoughts on “Ayakashibito review

  1. Interesting read. Not too long ago I was looking at Propeller’s pool of works, so this review ended up rather timely.

    It looked like the momentum it generates was a bit of a mismatch with your reading momentum.

  2. I kinda feel we didn’t read the same game the same way or something.

    No mention of one of the best villains, Kuki (wish you could read Chrono Belt and see exactly why) makes me really sad. His character alone is what makes the game great, and his story in Suzu’s route is what makes it why many people consider it a masterpiece (it’s kinda like houzuki, that you only entirely fully understand him in the fandisk).

    I disagree with the ED being called painful (it’s excellent and even nowadays I relisten to it frequently). Yes, some slice of life bgm grew tiring by the end, but I can’t really complain about this really.
    I disagree on the voiceacting being shit (Yes, suzu is deliberately irritating, she’s done a great job at that, however for the mother of god, Tonya’s VA is absolutely stellar in every way, and this performance she did there is the best I have seen in any medium among female seiyuus. I couldn’t even consider calling it collectively bad with her performance in the equation).
    I’m also puzzled what prevented you to find its humor funny personally. It was pretty versatile with a good amount of over-the-topness (the teacher or the shota) / silliness / VLADIMIRS / jokes/ ecchi humor etc. Feel free to show me a game which uses its comedy more variously, because I can’t think of any (preferably a non-comedy game like this).
    I agree on the cast being awesome (probably my favorite cast).
    I don’t think the art is bad so much (I liked the CGs), but I know some tachies are odd (well that’s to be expected from Higashiguchi). Still, seeing this at 18/30 for art and White Album 2 at 25.5/30 leads me to believe if we didn’t even play the same game.
    I usually don’t give a crap about the ero in scenarioges, but even this was hilarious here, when say you ejaculate inside Touko and angrily she’s all like “Jeez, what’s going to happen if I get pregnant and I change into my brother?”

    Tonya isn’t a tsundere. Suzu is. If Tonya fits any archetype it’d be kuudere instead, but even that’d be like stretching it.

    Anyhow, you can find out from Chrono Belt that Suzu’s ending where they revisit and repay the ossan in the epilogue is the canon end. Though I preferred the umbrella ending myself. It was so greatly executed that even the eyepatch was there for a well reasoned reason. On the other hand the all out robo ending was frikkin awesome too.

    I think it was way better than FSN so I guess we really have quite different taste.
    I’m actually thinking you probably would have enjoyed it more if you played it at a different time instead because (I don’t try being rude, it’s not my intention, so apologies if you’d take it that way) you appear quite down lately and this isn’t a game which should be played then imo.
    Anyhow thanks for reviewing it. Feel kinda bad that I asked you to and you didn’t liked it.

    • I actually liked Kuki though. When the (jet pack? Rocket? I don’t know what to call it) crashed into her, there was that “AHHHH! WHY THE HELL DID THAT HAPPEN?!? JUST LET HIM GO!” moment on my end. I like him more than Houzuki (before I read the sharin fandisc anyway, after that, no one’s getting near him ^.^).

      Hey, I never said the voices were shit. I said that the cool characters sounded cool and the annoying characters sounded annoying, which is my own tsundere way of saying that they did a good job with casting. I thought that Tonya’s seiyuu did a great job (along with many others), it’s just that Suzu really stands out and the recording quality didn’t do it justice.

      I think that it might be the overall balance that threw me off. I have a hard time with most slice of life stories, and some just doesn’t click with me. To compare with White album 2, Ayakashibito had more out loud laughing moments, but the stuff in the middle went in 1 eye and out the other. WA2 had less out loud laughing moments, but the stuff in between was much more my pace. Same with the art. The character lineart was of similar quality (or at least around the same level of potential), but the CG team for WA2 was much better, plus they had great backgrounds and menus/boxes that went well together. It’s kind of like how my rating for the story of Kitto, sumiwataru asairo yori mo wasn’t a LOT higher than Ayakashibito, but the rest of the stuff bumped it up.

      Tonya has a prickly side (where she insults people, plus she’s quite proud on occasion) and a fuwafuwa side. That qualifies her as a tsundere in my eyes.

      Wait, the repayment was the true ending? Not the one with the epic final battle? I won’t accept that! I mean, it WAS the one without the drug, but it was definitely the most mundane of the endings. Although, I guess that would have been what they were going for?

      It’s fine, I don’t think you’re rude. I’m a bit worried though, because this feels like that transition point that so many other people talk about, where I feel like the medium is losing its magic. Hopefully it hasn’t, I’m not ready to give this stuff up yet!

  3. Ayakashibito spoilers below
    ============================

    And guess what, Kuki is one of the protags of Chrono Belt where after the events of Ayakashibito he is being led to Bullet Butler’s world, so he can track down and get his revenge on Ichina. Things aren’t this easy because the Ichina there is only like 10 years old, and she not only doesn’t have any memories of being a coldblooded murderer + bitch, but she doesn’t even control her abilities or anything, so she’s almost just like a normal loli there. Then it’s up to the reader what to do and whether to satisfy his vengeance or don’t.
    Chrono Belt’s ending make me cry really hard because you see the event which Kuki so desired for all this years, and that scene is delivered so excellently, it’s impossible not to feel touched. Considering everything there + Ayakashibito, he’s probably a better developed villain than Houzuki in my opinion.

    No, don’t consider it a true ending. Without spoiling anything further, the world where this ending happened is what’s being directly copied in Chrono Belt (the dimension world). Calling it true ending doesn’t feel right, it’s just the world with the ending which works best with CB all things considered. This doesn’t make it true ending. (CB is more complicated than just being a sequel/fandisc due to its crossover being, and how both worlds of these two games are integrated into it).
    The true ending imo is the ALL OUT GIGA FIGHT, since one can see how much effort went into this. Did the chinese manage to translate that part too anyway? AGTH couldn’t grab anything there within that movie section bit and it displayed so awfully fast I could only guess the meanings.

  4. Speaking of the character designers and illustrator,Chuuou Higashiguchi…hm. I don’t know how his artworks become so bad in Propeller’s game,because his artworks when still working in Nitro+ (Saya no Uta and especially Kikoukugai) are awesome.

  5. A great VN. I’m not so much into the fighting stuff and I skipped some of those scenes, but the characters and their interactions are well written and extremely funny.

    But I too can’t see Tonya as a true tsundere. She’s a perfect Kuudere in her route.
    Her personality does have some tsundere-ish aspects, admitted… but it’s not like she’d instinctively cover for embarresment or her true feelings with insulting or arogant behavior.
    She’s easily aggitated but still responds to reason even after Mount Tonya has errupted. Most of the time.
    Anyway…
    She’s my favorite character after Suzu. The climax of her route was indeed very touching.
    Poor Tonya, poor Sasha (+heroic otaku “brother”).
    I liked the punishment Suzu chose for the villain.
    Cruel but fitting.

    Btw Suzus sardistic and yandere moments in Koaru’s route made me fall for her even more. Koaru deserved it and I was actually a bit disappointed Suzu didn’t go all out.

    I mean, with the backstory given Koaru as a Heroine is totally laughable anyway.
    What she did to the protag is unforgiveable imo. Not just the deed itself but the reason for her betrayal was the worst thing the writes could have come up with and it made me hate her guts even more.
    She endured some horrible things and over a long period of time in order to protect him but didn’t get much in returm except for some innocent affection.
    And when his attempt to rescue her was about to fail and cause even more suffering for her in the future, an impuls to punish him for her misery is actually only human.
    That’s also his point of view and so he’s able to forgive her.
    So why did they portray her as a even more selfish and cold/calculating backstabber!?
    It doesn’t even fit with her earlier behavior. Stupid writers are stupid.
    Damn Suzu … why did you hold back?

    Would have made a nice bad ending: Suzu slaughters Koaru, manipulates everyones memories but leaves him because she doesn’t want a relationship based on lies.

    Anyway, Suzu is just awesome.
    Tsundere/Yandere-Loli-Kitsune-Demon … what else do you need to know ?!? ^^

    ***spoiler alert***

    I consider the “drug – I’m happy/bodyswap” ending canon. I’m a sucker for happy endings and this is almost perfect in that regard.
    The bad guys are dead, the good guys are alive, *************** and ****** are reunited in the afterlife,
    the protag has a life expectation as long as Suzu’s and after a couple millenia they’ll even go to the same place in afterlife.

    ********************* ‘s true idetity was pretty obvious though.

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