Otome game review: even if Tempest

Even if Tempest, where do I begin with you? The prologue contains so much content that even writing a summary seems like spoilers, but I’ll give it a try. The first-born daughter of a marquess has been trapped in their family home’s attic for 8 years now, abuse instigated by her stepmother who holds an inexplicable grudge against her. Her spirit is crushed and she has given up on trying to make anything of life when the crown prince seeks her out and says he wants to marry her. She grips this escape from misfortune with both hands, but it’s not long before ill fate has caught up to her again and her fairy tale crumbles. Anastasia is dead, but a witch offers her the power to rewind time and give her life another go. This time she won’t let herself be mistreated, she wakes with but a singular goal in mind: revenge. But another witch has a different ending in mind, and wraps her and her loved ones up in a miserable death game. How many times will she have to rewind to earn her happy ending? Is it even waiting for her at the end at all?

Look I know I didn’t tell you much, but if you feel even a shred of interest, you should probably just stop right now and play the game yourself. This is one of the only otome games I’ve played which is structured more like a linear mystery visual novel, and I feel that it is meant to be enjoyed that way. It is one of the great strengths of even if Tempest. Romance truly takes a backseat, but it’s very easy to start to care for the characters and what will happen to them. The game ambitiously tries to tackle an enormous amount of story aspects, genres and tropes but surprisingly pulls most of them off decently well. Our heroine Anastasia is one of a kind and really makes the game work.

As far as art goes, the game is rather middle of the road. I feel like most of the parts I wanted to see a CG for got one, but the art was sometimes a little inconsistent in quality. The sprites get a lot of variations and expressions – especially Tyril – and this really heightens enjoyment of the game. Music was fitting and well done but not standout, but the voice acting deserves an honorable mention. All the love interests’ voice actors suited their characters impeccably and gave great performances, it’s just a shame that Anastasia did not have a voice actress considering she’s such a strong character and integral part to the narrative.

Unmarked spoilers past this point!
Continue reading “Otome game review: even if Tempest”

nefferinthia’s 2022 wardrobe post

I realised after making this whole post that I forgot to include a headdress. I hope you’ll forgive me for leaving it out. My soul was drained from body by making this, but I’m sure I’ll be happy I did it. You can check out last year’s post here. I’ll only comment on pieces which were added this year in this post.

  • Please click on the images for full size
  • Click on the item name for the Lolibrary page
  • There’s a fair amount of items that I have no detailed information or Lolibrary link for, if you know more than I do, please inform me!
Continue reading “nefferinthia’s 2022 wardrobe post”

My lolita year in review – 2021

The year is nearly coming to a close, and though I haven’t posted anything lolita-related on this blog since my wardrobe post last January, I felt compelled to reminisce and look back at the year of 2021. As we all know, the whole virus situation hasn’t really cleared up as much as we had hoped. For the majority of the year, meetups and larger events have been impossible (at least in my part of the world). This has made me feel more distant from the community as a whole. I still hang out with friends in lolita, but the clothes have become little more than just clothes and it discouraged me from writing anything for this blog.

As more time passes, and it becomes clearer that life isn’t getting back to normal, I’ve found it harder and harder to fight against a sense of purposelessness. What is the point in collecting clothes when there is barely any chance for them to leave the confines of my apartment? The goals I documented on this blog of attending more international events and organising more/bigger meetups for my local community have naturally not come to fruition either. (And that’s just concerning this fashion, the same could be applied to all of my goals which have been put on indefinite and uncertain hold.)

In that light, what remains to look back on are the changes to my wardrobe, as well as the outfits I wore throughout the year. My wardrobe was a bit of a revolving door this year. I bought a lot, but sold a lot as well. For one, it’s still difficult even this long into the fashion to determine whether something will fit me flatteringly or not. That’s why no matter how much time passes, I still fall victim to the occasional misbuy.

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Otome game review: Piofiore Fated Memories

In the 1920s, South Italian town Burlone is ruled by three mafia families: the traditionalist Falzone family, the meritocratic Visconti who split off from the Falzone, and the violent Chinese newcomers the Lao-Shu. Our protagonist Liliana is an orphan who was raised by the church, who ends up being taken in by one of the three families due to a series of seeming coincidences. Dragged into a world of crime and being kept in the dark by those around her, Liliana has to figure out what these organisations want from her and how she can get back to her normal life. Our love interests are the diligent Falzone boss Dante, flirty Falzone underboss Nicola, mysterious informant Orlok, cruel and unpredictable Lao Shu boss Yang and charismatic Visconti boss Gilbert.

If you’re thinking that’s a pretty short summary, it’s because the common route is approximately 30 minutes long and barely even introduces all the characters. It’s possible to not even meet one of the love interests in the common route! As this game is about the mafia, be warned that there is a fair amount of dark themes and violence. Personally I like my otome games dark, and this is still a fair bit lighter than something like Black Wolves Saga but it also varies route to route. Some characters come across very differently from one route to another, which is sometimes down to circumstance but also showcases the game’s at times inconsistent writing.

Lili as a heroine was very middle of the road to me. There was nothing particularly annoying about her and her design is very cute, she gets to dress up in a ton of different outfits throughout the game. Still, there’s nothing interesting about her personality either. She’s the typical naive and innocent good girl without special skills, who tries her best but rarely accomplishes anything. She never drives the plot, she merely gets whisked along by it.

The art in this game is very pretty, and I never noticed any major issues with anatomy or perspective. All the boys look really gorgeous and appealing, to the point I was upset we couldn’t romance side characters like Oliver and Roberto. The backgrounds and music didn’t particularly stand out either positively or negatively. The voice acting was great and fitting for most characters but I do have to point out that I really didn’t like Morikubo Showtaro as Gilbert. For one, Morikubo Showtaro always sounds more like himself than any particular character which makes it hard to really get into the game, but more than that his slightly silly, endearing voice just didn’t fit with the confident and cool Gilbert. For my fellow Fire Emblem fans, Dante is voiced by Dimitri’s VA and Orlok is voiced by Claude’s VA!

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First impressions: Tears of Themis closed beta

The Tears of Themis closed beta ended a short while ago and I was lucky to have been one of the participants! I’d like to talk a bit about my first impressions based on the small look we got into the game. Tears of Themis is an otome/detective game with gacha elements that is being developed by MiHoYo for Android and iPhone. The game’s storyline is divided into a main story where you solve various criminal cases, side-stories for each love interest that unlock as you raise their affection and card stories you unlock through leveling the cards you acquire through the gacha system. The cards from the gacha system are also used in a debating mini-game that you play to advance the story, which unfortunately doesn’t involve much exciting gameplay other than choosing cards of the right colour to ‘attack’ with.

As you might notice from the reviews on this blog, I don’t usually play phone otome games, and Tears of Themis is a bit of an exception. I don’t enjoy going through largely uninteresting mini-games and collecting 23 different types of currencies when what I really want to do is read a good story. Tears of Themis definitely has shades of this as well, and it is the main thing that puts me off from the game. However, what I find refreshing and pleasant is that the currencies needed to progress came fast and easy, and I did not find myself having to grind anything out for the sake of progressing the plot. Comparing to Voltage’s Ayakashi: Romance Reborn, one of the few other phone otome I’ve tried, there was a lot more story to enjoy per minute spent on side-objectives and the story itself was more engaging as well. Admittedly, I don’t know if this is in part because the closed beta was more generous than the full release will be, but I hope that won’t be the case.

With my one big complaint out of the way I want to talk about just how much I enjoyed the content of the closed beta that was presented to us! The main storyline has us investigating various cases through several types of detective minigames. We collect evidence, question witnesses, find connections to deduce further clues and eventually present our case in a court trial. The system is fun and well-executed and the cases so far have been quite intriguing. Unlike its obvious inspiration Ace Attorney, Tears of Themis doesn’t leave us too much to deduce for ourselves, as most of the case is put together by the characters rather than the player. This might be due to the relatively limited scope of the cases presented so far, I’ll be hoping for some more challenging cases in the full version! The last chapter playable in the beta definitely leads us to believe that there is a thread connecting the cases we’ve covered, a grander overarching plot waiting to be solved, and that definitely excites me!

The main story didn’t offer much in the form of romance, but each of the four main love interests has a personal route that centers more on the relationship between him and the main character. I had a clear bias for the white-haired megane voiced by Fukuyama Jun and his was the only personal story I experienced entirely, but it’s worth noting that all “routes” can be played simultaneously. In order to unlock personal stories you can pet the character of your choice, play games with him or unlock his card stories in order to gain his affection. I hope in the full version we’ll see relationships develop even further, but as we are early into the storyline, the lack of overt romance makes sense. I do wonder if the romance will be acknowledged in the main story at all, as that would probably require some sort of branching that I’m not sure the developers would be willing to invest in.

Of course, the game is extremely polished and has higher production values than I’ve seen in any phone game. The art is absolutely stunning, there’s huge amounts of CGs, and all content except card stories is voiced by extremely talented big name voice actors. A more unexpected positive for me was the main character, who is competent and intelligent, and for once I could actually understand why these men would fall for her. I’d love to see more otome heroines like her, and I especially enjoyed her various cultural references, like recognising a piece of classical music in the background or reciting pieces of trivia from Greek mythology.

All in all, I am really pleased with what we’ve seen in the beta so far, and it has made me very excited for the full release, despite the fact that I don’t usually enjoy gacha elements. The game has a lot of content to offer, and the story looks like it’ll be going in interesting directions. Since the game will be free to play upon release, I hope anyone reading will take the chance to check it out, this is definitely the most promising phone otome game I have encountered!

Visual novel review: When They Cry / Higurashi no Naku Koro ni

Any weeb worth their salt knows about Higurashi through its classic anime adaptation, at the time topping the list of edgy, violent shows alongside Elfen Lied. Luckily, I managed to avoid watching it and am therefore able to enjoy the original visual novel in its full glory without being spoiled on the outcome. Higurashi is a mystery divided up into 4 question arcs which offer confusing scenarios for you to ponder over and 4 corresponding answer arcs where the mystery is revealed. The story centers around a group of friends living in the town of Hinamizawa, where for 5 years now mysterious deaths have occured on the night of the Watanagashi festival. Throughout the arcs we examine the many mysteries of the town, as well as the main characters and their relationships in great detail.

In the early arcs we take the perspective of Keiichi Maebara, who has just recently moved to Hinamizawa. His lack of knowledge allows us to get sucked into the eerie atmosphere of the village. Later arcs offer us different perspectives, allowing us to see the mystery unfold. We go through essentially the same time period in Hinamizawa multiple times, but each arc has different chains of events occurring, and focuses on different characters. The genre also shifts freely between slice of life, mystery and horror, to varying degrees of effectiveness. While the core story is gripping and exciting, I feel like the main flaw of Higurashi is its lengthiness. Many scenes drag on too long or feel like they add little to the overall narrative and could have been cut entirely. The good parts are really good, but there’s definitely some slog involved in getting to them.

One of my favourite things about the question arcs was the little extra after-the-end scenes, where the characters get together and discuss the mystery of the arc we just experienced. This allows us to wind down and gives us a start into analyzing what just happened and what might have been the cause behind it all. Characters give their perspectives and lead us into multiple trains of thought that could be used to tackle the mystery. Unfortunately, deducing the true answer is difficult, but it’s definitely possible to figure out small parts and aspects of the mystery and it’s quite rewarding when one of your theories gets proven right.

In a way, the question arcs are more exciting than the answer arcs, as all possibilities are still on the table. As we found ourselves closing in on more and more answers, I started getting a little disappointed at the direction the mystery was taken. We see here that what truly stands at the center of the story is the characters and their interactions. The characters are well-written and easy to sympathise with even when we disagree with what they are doing, which is one of the greatest strengths of the visual novel. Simultaneously however, it can be a weakness to those who were expecting a perfectly executed detective story. If you don’t find yourself caring for the characters, then you won’t be invested in the conclusion of Higurashi.

Continue reading “Visual novel review: When They Cry / Higurashi no Naku Koro ni”

My 2019 trip to Japan – Day 7-8 (Akihabara & Harajuku)

Previously on this trip…

Our next accommodation was the Henn na Hotel Asakusabashi, which was both budget-friendly and located conveniently close to Akihabara. The hotel had a funky gimmick of the check-in desk being staffed by robots, but this ended up not working very well so we had to call the staff over to help us in the end. Our room was small but pleasant, the size didn’t matter much for us since we would be outside or sleeping for 95% of the time anyway.

After check-in it was time to explore Akihabara! We filtered in and out of various stores filled with weeb merch and it took us a long time to take a look at everything. Other than the wide variety of merch stores and tons of girls dressed in cutesy outfits trying to lure us into possibly shady cafés, there was not that much of interest in Akihabara. Compared to Ikebukuro, we found it a little disappointing. I did get to buy a cute pass case of my favourite Collar x Malice boy Shiraishi.

By this point in my trip I was sorely neglecting to take pictures, so some stock photos will have to do

When we got hungry it was time for one of the traditional things you have to do in Akihabara: a visit to a maid café! We chose the main branch of Maidreamin’ which is often recommended along with @home as one of the better maid cafés. Even then, while I was expecting it to be at least a little professional it was pretty much run similarly to the maid cafés I’ve been to at conventions in the Netherlands, just with better food. We got some animal ear headbands to wear and had to perform spells to make our parfaits extra tasty, just the amount of cringe that I was asking for. The most enjoyable part was watching my boyfriend go along with it. One of the regular customers there at the time asked for one of the maids to do a dance performance so we also got to witness that. Overall the atmosphere was vaguely creepy and uncomfortable, but I definitely feel like it’s a fun thing to experience just once.

Aesthetically pleasing but no culinary marvel, as expected
And of course, the obligatory polaroid photo with embarrassing pose!
Continue reading “My 2019 trip to Japan – Day 7-8 (Akihabara & Harajuku)”

New otome game! Tears of Themis closed beta registration has begun

It’s not usual that I announce new otome game releases on this blog, but this one has me especially excited! Otome game releases usually come from one of two places: big name companies from Japan who have been releasing otome games for years like Otomate, or indie developers releasing original English language otome games, usually with a smaller budget. But now there’s a new player on the market! Chinese game developer miHoYo (who you might know from the popular open-world RPG Genshin Impact) is developing their own otome game Tears of Themis, which is coming out this year for both Android and iOS!

Looking at the trailer video and promo art, this game is looking extremely polished and high budget, but what has really gotten me hyped is the fact that alongside the traditional romancing of cute guys, there’s a investigation and court case gameplay system very reminescent of Ace Attorney. I hecking love Ace Attorney, and virtually the only thing that could improve it is being able to date people. If you’re already as excited as I am, go and sign up to the closed beta through this link: https://tot.mihoyo.com/en/ The closed beta is set to start on May 8th so be quick!

You play as a female lawyer who works for Themis Law Firm and tackles cases through collecting evidence, questioning witnesses and fighting out legal battles in court. The plot unfolds as the player takes on cases alongside four love interests who provide assistance in various ways and depending on who you prefer to ask help from you develop a closer relationship with one of the boys. Depending on your preferences, it’ll be possible in the full release to play with either Chinese, Japanese or English voices, which I think is really amazing especially for a phone game. The English voice actors haven’t been announced yet but the Japanese voice cast is truly stellar!

VA: Suwabe Junichi
VA: Fukuyama Jun (I’m crying, I already know he’ll be my favourite)
VA: Ishikawa Kaito
VA: Kaji Yuki

Otome game review: Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk

In a town of permanent winter, a girl is born bearing a red eye, known to the townspeople as the mark of a witch. In order to hide her identity, she is raised as a boy and lives in a remote tower alongside self-proclaimed ghost Ashen Hawk. The town is split between the two factions of Wolf and Hawk who are in long-standing conflict with each other over how the town should be governed. We follow Jed in her daily life working as a handyman to make ends meet, when she takes on a job from the local priest to find the Kaleido-via, an ornament that is necessary for the upcoming spring festival. Only problem: no one seems to even know what the Kaleido-via is or how to find it.

If that plot summary sounds a bit haphazard to you, that’s because it is. The bulk of the story has little to do with the initial setup and is instead a big pile of reveals that can’t be gone into without spoilers. The first half of the game works mostly as setup of the setting, characters and mystery. Jed wanders around town not particularly learning or accomplishing much but mostly hanging out with her two non-blood-related brothers Lavan and Levi (who are coincidentally the heirs to the Wolf clan), as well as the heir of the Hawk clan Lugus who only has eyes for her when she cross-crossdresses as a girl. Of these three love interests I was most drawn to Lugus, but none of them really appealed to me at first glance.

While not technically a sequel to Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly, the game has a ton of links, references and callbacks so would probably be most enjoyable if you play the other game first. The system is also roughly the same, using a flowchart to outline branches and having a lot of side-episodes. I thought the side-episodes were better executed in PBB simply because they are more spread out across the narrative whereas in PAH they are all concentrated in the first 2-3 chapters of the game, which makes the beginning a bit of a slog.

As far as art, music and voice acting go, I have fairly little to say. The art is done by the same artist as PBB, but the anatomy in this game is a lot better and I have no particular complaints. There are quite a lot of CGs but most of them are not romantic, a fair reflection of the less romantic tone of the game as a whole. The music never really stood out to me, some tracks actually got on my nerves a little. Voice acting was also middle of the road, the only performance I particularly enjoyed was Namikawa Daisuke as Hugh, our mysterious traveler who only appears halfway through the game. Jed was a very enjoyable heroine, she had a strong personality of her own, was not afraid to speak up when something bothered her and was not constantly depending on everyone around her, in part due to being raised as a boy.

Route recommendations

The game mostly consists of a very long common route with all the branching concentrated at the end, so the play order doesn’t matter too much. I’d probably recommend going with the “true” route first, which involves pursuing Lugus, then finishing off the common route endings and other romantic routes. Beware that other than the true ending, they’re on the sliding scale from bittersweet to plain bitter.

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nefferinthia’s 2021 wardrobe post


My second ever wardrobe post is here! I was surprised to see just how much my wardrobe has changed in one year. I didn’t end up with a much larger wardrobe, but quite a few pieces have been traded in for others. This year I discovered my love for old school Emily Temple Cute items and I hope to be adding more of them to my wardrobe. I also ended up finding one of my long-time dream dresses! You can check out last year’s post here. I’ll only comment on pieces which were added this year in this post.

  • Please click on the images for full size
  • Click on the item name for the Lolibrary page
  • There’s a fair amount of items that I have no detailed information or Lolibrary link for, if you know more than I do, please inform me!
Continue reading “nefferinthia’s 2021 wardrobe post”