Iroha ~Aki no Yuuhi ni Kagefumi o~

And now it’s time for yet another youkai chara-ge review.

Iroha ~Aki no Yuuhi ni Kagefumi o~ is a 2007 game by Caitsith.

vndb EGS

Riku is the only human in the youkai village he lives in. He lives with Waka-Sensei, the local doctor, and Oshisho, a cat who’s actually a Nekomata and one of the most senior inhabitants of the village, and attends classes in the forest, along with Bakeneko Rin, childhood friend and in charge of the only store of the village, Kurosuke a.k.a. Ken, a Happa Tengu, and Ao, an Aoandon, their teacher being Aya, sake loving and somewhat lazy Kitsune, who’s also the local god.

The protagonist has a face

The story starts when Waka brings home Yuuna, human girl who got lost and wandered into the village, despite the powerful barrier that surrounds it. There are many mysteries around Yuuna, not helped by her not having much memories of herself, but for the time being she’ll be staying in Waka’s house along Riku. She’s at first, understandably, a little nervous about  her situation, but quickly overcomes that with an seemingly unlimited cheerfulness.

A little later also arrives into the village Sayuki, shy Yukinko who’s in charge of bringing winter to the village (seems by itself it’s outside Earth’s orbit), season in which she also replaces Aya as tutelary god; she’s also bullied by her classmates, who blame her for the harsh winters.

Winter is Coming

The trunk is one of the most relaxed things I’ve ever played. There’s no conflict, no crazy hijinks, no nothing; just the characters (mainly Riku and Yuuna) playing around and doing stuff. Mostly cooking and eating. It also has bonus points for being a game with a rural setting which actually shows rural work. For people who like pure slice of life this may be just the thing.

Then there’s the routes. Though they retain a heavy slice of life feel, they also slowly (very slowly) build up the relationship between Riku and the heroine, and how their struggle with her particular problem. And with the exception of Sayuki, they touch upon the true nature of the village. In this aspect I was frankly impressed; not only there’s no forced drama (with the arguable exception of Rin), there was some truly unexpected twists, being them at their best in Yuuna’s route (who could act as main heroine).

It has impact the first route you play, however; after that it feels more like they’re just stretching things, since you already know what’s behind all. And Rin’s route is particularly grievous, being an exercise in frustration; the drama there hinges mostly in everyone hiding the true from Riku. Especially if you already know what is it; it just seems petty.

And though the supernatural theme is pivotal in every route, it’s somewhat diluted in the slice of life stuff, which is fairly mundane. And even not counting that, the youkai gimmick is somewhat underused. The fact that they’re youkai is important; but Rin (for example) could be any kind of youkai and the route wouldn’t change much.

The game, in few words

So overall, though I didn’t really found the others up to par (they’re not bad at all, but not remarkable either), I really liked Yuuna’s route (being the first route I finished may had have some impact on that verdict). It has a right balance between slice of life and drama (maybe a little heavier on the former), and the reveal is truly notable. And all of that sustained by the heroine herself, who is pure moe (or alternatively the most annoying thing ever; I could somehow understand such a judgment). Sayuki is also pretty cute, especially when she starts stammering when embarrassed; but I wasn’t very impressed by Rin or Aya.

Graphically is fairly decent (though some designs are a little plain), and the soundtrack is really nice (though probably not something I would listen to outside the game itself).

In short, a game with a very heavy slice of life feel and interesting routes, though both things don’t always mesh very well. Still, people who like that should like this. It’s not something I’d go out of my way to recommend, though.

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10 Responses to “Iroha ~Aki no Yuuhi ni Kagefumi o~”

  1. I want youkai that act like youkai! Which reminds me of a recent example, Kirie from Bishoujo Mangekyou is a youkai that I LOVE.

    • Hm, I guess I’ll have to try Bishoujo Mangekyou.
      If you want youkai-esque youkai, I recommend Toppara (reviewed a while ago). The game that made the most of the youkai setting. (Aozora Gakko is full of youkai but not that good otherwise, and some routes are somewhat mundane).

      • Thanks very much for the suggestions.

        Just checked out Toppara and it is indeed seems to be a very interesting game that I’m adding to my backlog. Can’t wait to see a proper youkai-esque game. I may possibly play Aozora Gakko just for the harem ends, but that’s unlikely as I’ll never finish my backlog that way.

  2. I noticed that you recently played Dukes 101 Ways to Commit Suicide.

    It’s not a very popular title in Japan or in the english community…Which is sad seeing how it’s one of my most wanted games. I look forward to the review!

    You can download the soundtrack here: http://koinucomputerscans.wordpress.com/

    It includes the OP to Lyrical Pop World End. Lyrical Pop and Jisatsu share some characters and such.

    • Thanks for the link! Had been searching for that.
      The review should be up in a few days.
      I’m not entirely sure what the relationship between 100 Ways and Makki, Shoujobyou is; one of the characters of the later has the same name (but written in kanji instead of kana) as one of the former, but they don’t seem to be the same.

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