Majikoi

majikoi

In the city of Kawakami exist the Kazama family, a diverse group of students that are united as if family. It is led by and was founded by the free spirited Kazama Shouichi alongside the incredibly intelligent and politically minded tactician Yamato. But eventually, a number of others also become integral parts of the group. Some of the first to be added include the highly muscular but terrible with women Gakuto and great with computers though very shy Moro. But a the core part of the group would be the ‘samurai girls’, all of whom are incredibly powerful: First off Momoyo of the Kawakami temple and Yamato’s honorary older sister, who is ridiculously overpowered to the point of ridiculousness. There’s also her adopted younger sister Wanko, who is very naive and simple, but a harder worker than anyone. Then there’s Wanko’s rival, Chris, a recent transfer exchange student from Germany, and hence a recent addition to the family, who believes strongly in justice and has a lot of misconceptions about Japanese society. Another new addition is Mayucchi, a girl that has a goal of making 100 friends, but is awful at dealing with people making this goal very out of reach, though she’s also secretly incredibly powerful. Lastly there’s Miyako, who was bullied as a child but saved by the family, resulting in her obsessively being in love with Yamato and fiercely loyal to the family, though this results in a very strange personality. All of them are high school students at Kawakami Academy, and all have their own goals and motivations, leading to a number of stories involving the bonds between them and a host of other characters.

***

Majikoi is told primarily from the view of Yamato, though it occasionally switches to other characters for short periods of times. It starts off with a prologue that sets things up and introduces all the characters involved to some degree, at which point you can make choices that determine which route you go down. There are 5 main routes based on the girls Momoyo, Wanko, Chris, Mayuki, and Miyako, all of which have what are called After Stories, which are epilogues of sort. There are also 6 much shorter sub routes based on the other family members Gakuto, Moro and Capt, as well as some of Yamato’s other class mates Chikarin and Mayo, and also their teacher Kojima. There are 2 bizarre endings that are somewhat of bad ends, though they pretty much end instantaneously. There’s also an ending where nothing really happens and it just ends almost immediately. Lastly, there’s what’s called the Agave route, which only unlocks upon completing all the other main routes, and may also in a way be seen as the final route.

The prologue was handled pretty well in that it set up all the characters and events that were to come, though overall not much really happened beyond that, so it felt slow towards the end and longer than it should have been. The rest of the routes are described in the order I went through them:

Momoyo’s route focused on her dissatisfaction with not having anyone that could match her in terms of strength, and Yamato trying to find her something else to be passionate about. This eventually leads Yamato to truly begin to pursue his own dreams, to become someone who can help Kawakami, which is a bit generic, but plays well into the plot line surrounding Momoyo, which ultimately comes to a point where Yamato must prove himself worthy of Momoyo. It’s highlights were that it had a lot of intense action, where every character got to shine in the final  battle, but the focus was still heavily on Yamato, his abilities, and his own progression, even more so than Momoyo’s, though that’s not to say she didn’t grow as well.

Wanko’s route was heavily focused on her pursuing her dream of becoming an assistant master at Kawakami Temple, but ultimately simply not having the talent for it. It came to a very different conclusion than I was expecting, which was in a way heart breaking but incredibly powerful. It was a very good twist on a standard message, that you should give it all to pursuing you dream, but that in the end that there are other paths other than your first major dream, though any hard work you put in never goes to waste. A con I had with this route though compared to Momoyo was that it was too heavily focused on her and that there wasn’t much good action beyond the fight with Chris.

Capt’s route was very cliche and about saving a book store through gambling and then writing a book. It hit the themes of being a hero and the pressures of reality alongside also the joy of creation and working together with a party to support the hero. It was very pointed which makes sense considering how short it was, but its a side route so that’s expected. It was lacking depth but enjoyable for what it is.

Chikarin’s route was rather boring. There was some sort of message in there about being open to different people and things. But there was no major plot and it was just a jumble of a bunch of events. There were some character development and plot points hinted at such as having to choose between friendship and love as well as an overbearing girlfriend, but they were never fully developed. Chikarin isn’t a bad character, but she’s not all that interesting either, at least here.

Chris’s route was about her growing from a princess dependent on her father to someone strong in her own right, including beyond just physical strength. This is centered around a story about the incredible strength of love and how difficult it is to actually be dependable. It was really predictable, but cute. The love aspects were done mostly very well but some parts felt very awkward. Some parts also felt like they were too slow and dragged on too long as well. The last battle was also pretty interesting but I feel it was not as epic as it could have been.

Moro’s route dealt with the issues of having to deal with people around him that are so much greater than him, resulting in him feeling small and feeling like his own problems didn’t matter enough to discuss with anyone. He ultimately also has a string of small failures, in both test scores and creating games, all of which ultimately lead him to believe that he has no potential. All really hit home and I think was done well so I very strongly sympathize, though ultimately I feel the ending felt a bit weak and didn’t do much to conclude anything, but rather just brush it all aside.

Mayo’s route showcased that she’s a pretty awesome character. Her diligence and earnestness is amazing, and having to actually deal with whether that’s actually worth it was an interesting concept. Though as with most sub stories, not much plot or depth.

Mayuchi’s route was centered around her goal of becoming more social and making more friends, 100 to be exact. It was heavily friendship focused, but in a very awkward but well meaning way so it was interesting. There was very good progression in her slowly becoming friends with Oowada and Kokoro, though I feel there was a disconnect in becoming friends with both of them essentially separately. However, I think an important point about how its more important to have good friends than a lot of friends was glossed over. The subplot with the tournament was great too in that Yamato and all characters got to shine and there was great action. Kokoro and Ageha getting their time in the spotlight was especially cool. “Kuyashi no ja”.  Ultimately the best in terms of that so far.

Gakuto’s route was focused on how sadly pathetic Gakuto is despite meaning well. Incredibly predictable and cliche but amusing nevertheless. Chikarin is much more cruel than she is in other routes and a lot of other people’s actions also felt very off. There really wasn’t much meaning to anything either.

Kojima’s route revolved around Yamato being a teachers pet, which was fun. It was incredibly rushed and abrupt though, even for a side story. The message about how it really sucks to feel like you’ve missed out on the good part of life or completely irreparably screwed it up was very apparent, though a message beyond that about how there’s still hope or something never really materialized.

Miyako’s route revolves around her having a very anti-social character, not in the sense that she’s awkward like Mayuki, but rather the opposite in that she’s very good at dealing with people, but because of how she was bullied when she was younger due to her mother’s promiscuousness, she actively looks down on them and tries not to get involved with anyone outside of the Kazama family, and hence is somewhat overtly attached to the family and especially Yamato. Also because it starts off so happy you know that things are about to get a lot worst, which is heart rending. There’s a sense of impending doom that eventually arrives. I have some social anxiety so I can definitely sympathize tremendously so it by far the strongest emotional impact on me. The part where she had to apologize to the archery club was surprisingly pretty intense. Capt side story in it was an interesting idea and worked pretty well. The ending was somewhat too abrupt, but her After Story was surprisingly good so that worked out. Overall the one I got the most into. “Shomonai”

And ultimately there was the final route, which I’m also considering as the main route. All the other routes felt like a build up to it, especially considering all the 4th wall breaking referring to it. It wrapped things up perfectly. All the characters got their due. It was especially nice to see the characters that were only slightly in the other routes, the Takagi family mostly, as well as the motivations behind some of the other mysterious characters. There were awesome battles, the best in the series other than possible the ending to Momoyo’s route.  The plot was awesome and resolved the vast majority of things that were touched on in the other routes, finally making the story feel complete. And the tactics and planning involved worked out great. The ending separation was sad though, with a message about time always moving forward, but it fit perfectly, and was all the more impactful after all the other routes, so it was an incredible ending to an all around fantastic VN.

The way that the VN was structured, so that you didn’t have to go back and go through remaking choices in a multitude of places and having to fast forward between parts, but rather, just made a bunch of decisions and were set on a route, was one that I think worked out very well and one that I haven’t seen much in VNs like this. I would also like to remark that I feel that there was a lot of depth to both the tactics and combat throughout and that choosing to focus on the tactician of the group rather than the ‘heroic leader’ was definitely one of the strengths. The comedy was also spectacular, with many broad strokes for the many different kinds of characters.

On a final note, the art was great, both in terms of the characters designs and the quality of the sprites and CG. The music was also really good, both the soundtrack and the OP and the two EDs. Voice acting was good as well, and I preferred it over the animes.

An all around fantastic slice of life and action VN with a good focus on a lighthearted battles of wits.

10/10

Also, why the hell is there no render for the logo? Had to render it myself and I’m not very good at that. >_>

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