Aozora Gakko no Sensei-kun

Since I didn’t learn my lesson, I played yet another game only because of its youkai cast.

Aozora Gakko no Sensei-kun is a 2007 game by Studio Miris.

vndb EGS

Fortunately, this wasn’t nearly as awful as You-Gaku. Young teacher Kusakabe Masato has not had luck with his job, so decided to leave everything and return to his town. But in the way he has an accident, and wakes up in a hidden village populated exclusively by youkai (and an once human witch). He’s freaked out at first, but gets used to it soon enough, gets to know the different inhabitants, and ends up starting a classroom. Will he be able to discover what he was missing as a teacher? And maybe, just maybe, he’ll also find along the way the true love.

The Blue Sky School

We are presented here with a variety of characters, of which there are a lot. For the heroines, we have the Tengu Kaede, who wants to go to the human world; the Yuki-onna Rikka, who recently lost her (last) husband (to old age); the genki loli Hone-karakasa Nene; twins Sadame-gami Sachi and Yuki; ojou doll Kirsche; and clumsy maid Kage-onna Hinata.

But there’s also a very extensive supporting cast. If you include every single youkai that appears, there’s a grand total of 101 (plus Masato and the ones from the extra scenarios) characters, all of them voiced (except Masato). Most of them only have a single line, and of course there’s not a different seiyuu for each one, but it’s still impressive.

And though the heroines and their families are human like (or at most kemonomimi), the others stray away from that, being more beast like, or even more bizarre, in the case of the one shot youkai.

But the important thing is the personality, right? (I think there’s some aesop here). Well, the supporting cast is pretty funny. The heroines, though not bad, are not very remarkable either; some are pretty cute, and they are distinctive, but that’s all.

And that could actually describe the whole game: not terrible, but not great either.

The scenario has a conventional progression (after what must be the earliest possible bad end ever), giving a chapter to each heroine, and then entering the route of the one you visited more, which has some particular problem to be resolved reaching then her true end (with, unexpectedly, a few harem ends). On the plus side, the other heroines don’t disappear on each route (a pet peeve of mine). On the minus side, the typical “somewhat happens that should happen every route but somehow doesn’t” is very present, describing every single route. I guess I’m somewhat used to it, but I’d still like more consistency. And as for the routes themselves, again, they are decent, but no more.

On to other aspects: graphically, there are quite a bit sprites, in very varied positions; and in contrast, though there’s a fair number of CGs, some of them look somewhat weird (and not always match the narration). The designs themselves are again nothing to especially remark.

A peculiar concept of underwear

The music I actually liked. It gave a good atmosphere, and it had one of the nicest H scene BGM I remember. The voice acting is, once more, decent at best; though Kaede in particular is underwhelming.

That's a weird angle

The system does have a remarkable point: the Find the Youkai mode. At basically every moment, when hiding the text you enter said mode, and can find a youkai better or worse hidden in the background, or CG. Upon discovery, you see he/she/it, who says a line. And then you get its entry in the Youkai Encyclopedia. Like the rest of the omake, its unlocked upon finishing a route; there you have a list of every youkai in the game, with a short description of the species and of the particular character.

Find the Youkai! (Hint: follow the cursor)

In other aspects, though, the system is not great.  The interface itself is appropriate, but the game is somewhat buggy (notably a scene you may not be able to get), and it shows it could have used more testing. Searching a little it seems this was the last game of Studio Miris, so it’s understandable it could have been rushed, but the point stands. There are some little things here and there (and a lot of data that is not accessible), but the most jarring thing is the scene transitions; or rather, the lack of them. It jumps from one scene to the next (maybe days later) without so much as a blink, sometimes without even changing the BGM, which on the other hand resets upon taking a choice, or in other moments inside a single scene. Overall, a very disconcerting experience.

So in short, like I side a few times already, this is a passable game. It’s not painful (a welcome change from You-Gaku), but it’s neither really recommendable as something random to read; only if you have particular interest in some aspect (like I had).

Score: 6 but only because I like youkai and am willing to give it some slack.

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