Hey, welcome to Good Goings! A monthly series where I’ll celebrate some stuff that has happened or is yet to happen in the otaku sphere. The world can bring us down sometimes so it’s important to kick back, relax and remind ourselves of the things we’re happy about. It feels like it’s never been a better time to be a geek nowadays so pop on the kettle and let’s get cracking with what goodies have come up this month…
Woo boy this was a big ‘un and I have to start with the biggest GG for me, which is of course the turnabout localisation of…
🎊The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles for PS4, Switch and Steam on July 27, 2021🎊!!! I’ve been waiting for this one for a long time (alright, six years but it’s felt longer). Anyway, it’s impossible to effectively demonstrate the full extent of my happiness in a few lines, so if you want to read my excited ramblings, I wrote a proper post here. Maybe Edgeworth’s turn will be coming soon?!
Otome corner has seen another jam-packed month as always so let’s dig in:
I’m liking this trend where April Fools mock-ups double as stealth marketing. In a twist, the 2019 April Fools announcement of Nekopara – Catboys Paradise is actually coming Summer 2021 for free on PC and mobile. NEKO WORKs state that yes, indeed, truly they are ‘making this game for real’. What a world where our thirsty requests get answered! Not much information yet but the four catboys are voiced, the art looks sweet and I’m definitely up for a cozy cafe and chill experience after the heartstring tugger that was Cafe Enchante. There’s a trailer here.
For fans of old grizzly bears rather than pretty catboys, MariAlbum has you covered. Available May 3, 2021 on Steam, this spin-off sequel for The Bell Chimes For Gold follows the adventures of the apothecary Maria and her oji-san lovers after the bell has chimed. Tread wisely. This isn’t an otome for everyone and, besides the oji-sans that actually look and act like middle-aged grumps, this series is very saucy in terms of content and themes (i.e. bucket-loads of flaws and bad, bad decisions). That said, I found the first game hilarious and a refreshing change from the typical formula. Another spin-off, A Day in the Life of Maria, is also on Steam.
Coming to Steam on June 22, 2021, The Reason Why Raeliana Ended up at the Duke’s Mansion (yes, that’s the name 😂) adapts a popular Korean webtoon about a girl reincarnated into a romance novel who uses her wits to avoid untimely death. I have a soft spot for these isekai/reincarnation stories, because sometimes only super saccharine, wilfully contrived melodrama will do! In game you can pursue not only the canon love interest but also the honourable knight and stoic bodyguard. The game itself seems a bit of a mixed bag. While featuring VA and the visuals look decent, the interface appears formatted for mobile devices and the description is rather clunkily translated. Whether Raeliana ends up being a ‘good’ otome, it should be a novel experience!
Over at Kickstarter, two promising otome projects have been fully funded and are working towards stretch goals:
The Radiants is a supernatural stat-raising otome in which the heroine is thrust into a world of fantasy, oracles, and murder – oh my! Fans of the Magical Diary series might be interested in this, especially if you fancy a slightly darker take on the ‘yer-a-wizard!’ premise. Personally, I’m not one for micromanaging stats for smooches so I’m curious about the game’s streamlined approach towards stat-raising, which affects how challenges are handled in game rather than whether you succeed or fail romantically. Sporting four routes (3M, 1F) with potentially two more love interests and gorgeous graphics, try the demo for this magical adventure. A full release is aiming for September 2022.
Ahoy me hearties! What’s more swoonworthy than a swashbuckling soiree? The Spanish Privateer is set just before the golden age of piracy and follows Carlota, a girl who desperately wants to escape high tea for the high tide. One of my first otome experiences was the so-bad-it’s-good Pirates in Love by Voltage so this VN pressed those nostalgic buttons. The summary hints at an intriguing exploration of the effects of colonisation, power struggles upon capricious seas, as well as some good ol’ yoho-ing and a bottle of rum. This has been a long work in process but the release date is a tentative Summer 2022 with a demo available now.
Congratulations to NieR Replicant, the remastered prequel to NieR:Automata, which released last week on April 23, 2021 (PC, PS4, Xbox One) and has already topped the charts on Steam with a peak of over 28,000 concurrent players to date according to SteamDB. Yes, it’s not a scratch on NieR:Automata’s hefty numbers yet but this is great news for fans of niche JRPGs (it was on my wishlist at least!)
Astria Ascending (releasing 2021 for PC, PS4/5, Switch, Xbox One/X/S) had me double checking whether this was a Vanillaware project. It’s not – but, boy, it captures Kamitani’s penchant for side-scrolling, rich hand-drawn backgrounds and distinctive East-meets-West character designs (no, I don’t care about the giraffe legs). More than just a pretty thing, Astria Ascending is being developed by some top-notch veterans including Kazushige Nojima, the scenario writer for several FF games, and Hitoshi Sakimoto, composer of many stellar franchises, including the Vanillaware ones. The plot sounds quite classical: eight demi-gods waging a war over the harmelons (harmony-melons?) against the forces of chaos, propped up with a tactical turn-based system and epic score.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV (PC, PS4, Switch) has been released to high acclaim. The Trails of Cold Steel series has some of the best world-building and lore amongst modern JRPGs and IV looks to be an epic finale for this long-standing saga of war, sacrifice, and friendship. If you’re like me and woefully behind on these installments, this might be the time to schedule a month or so away… or more, if you haven’t played its older sister series, Trails in the Sky trilogy, which I wholeheartedly recommend as well!
For once I actually have some anime news!
Puella Magi Madoka Magica – gosh it’s been a decade since it released – and I still count it as one of my favourite shows ever. An incredibly compelling deconstruction of the magical girl genre elevated to God-oka levels of epic by Shaft’s surrealist animation and Yuki Kajiura’s iconic score, this is a bucket list anime along with its 2013 movie sequel, Rebellion, and I unapologetically throw both of them at anyone who has somewhat of an interest in anime. Hopefully I’ll soon be adding another to the list since the next movie has been confirmed. According to Anime News Network, this movie continues the story of Rebellion and the key visual depicts Madoka on a shattered plane, the Walpurgisnacht in the background and a dark silhouette reaching towards Madoka on the other side. The teaser is equally disturbing and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
There’s always room for dessert and to top it all off is an announcement about the second season of Restaurant to Another World (date to be confirmed). There’s something innately wholesome about anime to do with food and the Western-styled food of Nekoya always puts a smile to my face. I even had a go at making some menchi katsu (minced meat cutlet) myself!
There you go. A bunch of things that put a smile on my face and hopefully yours too. Let me know about your own Good Goings in the comments and have a great day!