Have I seen this somewhere before? A group of high school students trying to make a Japanese simulation game together. Not too long ago, we had an otaku wanting to make his dreams of creating the world’s best dating simulation game and recruited the best group of people in their respective field to achieve their dreams. However, Shoujo-tachi Wa Kouya Wo Mezasu isn’t exactly Saenai Heroine No Sodatekata in many ways. Despite sharing the uncanny premise of a group of high school students trying to make a game together, that is where the similarity ends. Obviously the big difference is that this isn’t going to be a harem romance. Yeah. No pervy jokes, no b*tch cat fights. Since when making a bishoujo game is like survival in the wastelands?
Buntarou “Bunta” Hojou looks like the kind of guy who helps out in anything. From his school clubs to a ramen store, he must be leading one busy life. His friends, Yuuka Kobayakawa and Atomu Kai hang out at his place, talk about things. Not that I’m interested anyway. Next day in class, there seems to be an argument between the class president and Teruha Andou AKA Akkina. Something about documents not being properly sorted. Bunta ever the helpful guy goes to diffuse the tension and even volunteers to help out the sorting. Heck, he even invites other volunteers to make the work lighter. After it is done, Bunta is confronted by fellow classmate, Sayuki Kuroda in the toilet. The male’s toilet! She is asking if he is free this weekend. A date? She needs to talk to him. But why not in school. What the f*ck is this proper route she is talking about?! He agrees to meet her at Hyakkejima Sea Paradise. Bunta confides in his friends about this ‘date’ and of course they have their opinions where this may lead to. Bunta and Kuroda meet up with Yuuka and Atomu spying from afar. But nothing eventful happens and it just seems like a pretty normal outing so they leave. At the end of the day, Kuroda has observed his communications skills and passes him that she is good for the job. What job? A job to help Kuroda achieve her lifelong dream? That dream is to create the best bishoujo game. She brings him to a store in Akihabara to show him different priced games determine its quality. That cheap bargain bin contains failed bishoujo games whereas the expensive ones are the more popular games. Kuroda wants Bunta to work with her to create a bishoujo game because she heard he helped wrote a script for a drama club. Although the script was based off another original work, it was only interesting because of his talents as a writer. Kuroda continues to explain the many different paths opening up for a successful bishoujo game. Bunta asks why she wants to make a bishoujo game so badly. Because the world is a wasteland where the innocent will be devoured. Where one cannot survive if they only do it for enjoyment. Only those with burning ambition will be able to contend for their dreams in the harsh wasteland. Erm, so how does that got to do with making a bishoujo game? How is that even a setting for any bishoujo game?
A love letter in Bunta’s locker and a package containing many bishoujo games? They’re from Kuroda alright. It is her intention to let him learn what a bishoujo game is. Since Kuroda is using lots of gaming terms, she reveals it is only natural for her as her brother was a game creator. Her first task for him is to help find other staffs for her project. He brings back typical nerds… And they don’t even do what they claim they can do. When Bunta friends come to visit the clubroom, Yuuka mentions her aspiration to become a seiyuu so Kuroda accepts her for the role. Atomu doesn’t want to be left out so he wants to join to although he doesn’t have any special skills in particular. As Kuroda warns about the length it takes to make a bishoujo game, this makes Atomu go into a rage of fury just thinking about his past failed relationships! Love can go die! Kuroda is most impressed and welcomes him aboard as the assistant director. The coming weekend, Kuroda has them accompany to a doujin game shop to have a feel of what it is like. At the end of the day, Bunta is interested to patron a maid café and to his surprise finds Akkina working there. She hopes he can keep this a secret since the school disallows students to work part time. Bunta pulls an all-nighter in playing some of the recommended games and found some to be quite interesting. His next task is to find a graphic designer for their team because art is very essential in a bishoujo game. Browsing through a bookstore, he notices an artist’s striking drawing. He spent all night looking up the identity of this artist and he found out she is a student in their school! Uguisu Yuuki is ecstatic when she finds a seemingly love letter in her locker. But when she goes to meet the potential admirer, it is actually Kuroda and co. They surround her and look so intimidating asking her questions that Yuuki is reduced to a cowering self! Naturally she becomes scared of them and avoids all sorts of contacts. When Akkina learns about this especially that Yuuki is that famous artist, she goes talk to her and she agrees to check out the club. Akkina has some programming knowledge and offers her part too. But be warned, she is a BL maniac! With the team completed, Kuroda shows them her game proposal.
To further discuss the game in-depth, the gang (minus Akkina) will be having a training camp at some shrine. But they seem to be doing more cleaning than discussing the game. Then there is this boring lecture from Kuroda that has everybody dozing off. They take a break for curry and that is when tardy Akkina arrives. She acts like normal (unrepentant of her lateness) and earns Kuroda’s wrath. This causes a huge tension between them. Fireworks can erupt anytime. That is not all, Bunta notices Yuuka and Atomu depressed since. Bunta then asks about their opinions to get inspiration for his scenario writing. More Kuroda and Akkina arguments because the latter believes it is impossible to have all this workload to be rushed out by November by a bunch of amateurs. Kuroda explains the misconception that they are not doing a full priced game but a low priced one. They are going to base 60% of their success on the art and the remainder by teaming up with a popular game production company to fund and release their game. Sharing the profits will be part of the condition and she has calculated that after deducting all the costs, their net income will be 10 million yen if the sell 8000 copies. They can use this profit to work on their next full priced game. Akkina is still not impressed because from the meeting notes yesterday, they didn’t talk on anything about the project. Kuroda has everyone bring up their opinions. Done? All rejected! Kuroda explains they are not doing this for fun because by doing so, it only means more risks. Akkina disagrees because people should have fun in making games. As they cannot see eye to eye, Akkina leaves. Bunta goes out his way to plead for her to come back and give this project a second chance. So she goes over the script of the bishoujo game about 2 heroines hating each other and trying to kill each other. And then it hit her. It sounds very much like a BL scenario! Although the protagonists are all girls, she can pretend they are all men in her head. She’s in. Later, Kuroda talks to Bunta that she already had Yuuki in mind as their artist. She let Bunta find his own path and is glad he had the ability to find her on his own. She adds she is doing this for her brother. It was a difficult job and he didn’t want the joy of making games to be taken away. That is why she thought fun should always come in second. Yuuka spots them talking and feels even depressed. On the way home, they decide to come up with a name of their team: Rokuhara.
Bunta is having a writer’s block. When Kuroda realizes she forgot to other materials for the backgrounds and music, she needs to base it on Bunta’s scenarios. Guess what? He only wrote 5 lines… She advises him instead of writing a grand story, write a short and contained one. Thanks to that, Bunta is letting his creativity flow! He can’t stop writing! When everyone reads his proud work, they find it normally good. Bunta seems disappointed. Yeah, he expected a lot more. So Kuroda takes him to see another fellow plot writer, Blooter to get some tips. Besides his super lively character, I don’t think you can call any of those as tips. But only one seems to hold true: Even if you are stuck, keep writing. So Bunta puts his head into it and rewrites the plot. This time his team finds it to be really good. That’s more like it. But right after that, another problem crops up. After Yuuki sketches several great arts, it is her turn to be in a slump. She is stubborn and determined to draw more until she collapses. She has been drawing nonstop and forsaking her health. Thus it is decided that the amount of graphics will be reduced and Bunta too will reduce his script to make it simpler and more interesting. Although Yuuki was against it at first, realizing how everyone appreciates her art makes her happy. She recovers and returns to the clubroom. A headshot of a character sketch she drew on the whiteboard now becomes Rokuhara’s symbol. When everyone goes out to get stuffs to celebrate Yuuki’s recovery, they return only to find Kuroda humming a nice tune. Yuuka recorded it and they want to know that cool melody and should use it as their game’s theme song.
Kuroda shows her team the theme song and some beautifully illustrated backgrounds. As the works is progressing, Akkina has completed the first batch and has everyone test play. But Bunta finds something odd. Somebody changed his script. It is no surprise that Akkina did that so Kuroda warns her to stick to her own work because some grammar mistakes or whatever might have been left there intentionally by the scriptwriter. But that is not all Akkina did. If Yuuki had not voiced out to Bunta, nobody would have known that Akkina too had tampered with her artwork. Again Kuroda chides her for this and reminds her if her own work is on schedule. What about their webpage she is supposed to do? Didn’t even start. 0% completed! This sets the duo on a warpath again and before it could blow up, Akkina leaves the club. Again. Of course Bunta can’t let this slide as he still wants Akkina on the team to finish the game. Akkina gets a call from her mom to help out her fisherman family. Initially she refuses but after hearing how her friends are coming to her house, she accepts the job. The friends did come but Akkina is already out to sea. They have to talk to her fast instead of leaving her alone or they will be behind schedule. Bunta looks through Akkina’s family’s webpage and finds a job opening. Yup, he takes up the job to go fishing with them. He has a scary firsthand experience seeing how fishing in the rough sea is done. That stormy weather, the darkness and that wall of waves! FREAKING SCARY! Eventually they get their haul. At the end of it, Bunta talks to Akkina about how everybody wants her back and to finish the game with her. She doesn’t think she can get along with Kuroda but Bunta mentions this is a wasteland so some fighting is alright. Bunta is so tired he falls asleep on her shoulders. She takes a selfie. Next day, Akkina is back and her first task is to fix up the really hideous webpage that Yuuka tried to do. Yeah, she better stick to voice acting.
Beach episode! Fanservice episode! Even the title says it. So we have Bunta making perhaps a wise decision of not saying whose the sexiest swimsuit is. A volleyball game that Kuroda got owned in the face. Kuroda chases Yuuki in hopes of emulating a scene you see in such bishoujo games but nothing comes out of it. She even has the girls splash water but after that violent splashing she is covered with seaweed. Kuroda panics for really when she thinks Yuuka swallowed a watermelon seed because doing so will grow one in your stomach! Yeah, she really believes it. Back in the room as Bunta begins his work, Kuroda comes in to thank him for bringing Akkina back. Also a chance for her to ask his opinion which swimsuit was the best. Is she for real wanting him to put all his lewd fantasy ideas into the game? More fanservice because it is the obligated bath scene. Kuroda’s question asking about big or small boobs backfire since Akkina and Yuuka team up to violate her. While playing fireworks, Akkina apologizes to Kuroda for all the trouble she has caused. But as long as the game gets results, all sins can be forgiven. The guys find themselves sleeping among the girls! How did this happen? Yuuka’s powerful pillow fight did pack a punch. Luckily they slip out without waking up anybody. Next morning, Yuuka and Bunta talk about stuff. But when Kuroda comes over to talk about his script progress, Yuuka becomes jealous. She hits him and runs away. Wait. What? You know it is all back to normal and reality when Kuroda and Akkina start their intense bickering on just about anything. There goes all the fun. Are they going to do this for the entire train trip home?
Just great. Bunta having another writer’s block? And at the crucial scene where the confession takes place? Kuroda is not amused because this would delay the pacing again. I’m sure everybody would be glad to pitch in some ideas but too bad they have got no dating experience before. And no, he is not going to ask Atomu because that guy will only be in rage. So Bunta starts asking others, his old friends and even his teacher (who is actually gay!) and even Blooter himself. Nothing amazing. So if he has no experience, will acting out help? You don’t know if you don’t try. So we see the club members doing outrageous scenes like water gun fights just to end up having a confession scene. Bunta notices Yuuka has been mad recently so as change of pace he suggests to go out on a date. To help with the game, that is. Well, at least it makes her happy. Inside her heart, that is. So we see them on an outing. Nothing too special. Yuuka is having a blast. At the end of the day, she confesses she likes him. As a human. But of course. She adds that he is a boring guy but… Oh, don’t leave us hanging, tell us more. But she promises to tell more once he finishes writing. Bummer… Bunta may be feeling good and motivated but it will be all for nought if there are no results to show for. And I guess he is already too late because Kuroda has already had it. She calls him and is going to initiate a lockdown for him. She’s serious. You’re screwed.
Bunta tries to escape but Kuroda is already at his door! It’s the beginning of the end! Don’t worry. She has also brought the other club members to come stay with him. They’ll be keeping a close supervision on him. Bunta’s mind is of course not on his work. He tries to escape via window but his pals quickly bolt it shut. He tries to call Blooter for help but it seems his friends already anticipated the people he will be calling and make up fake scenarios so they can’t help him. Bunta’s mind is still stuck. Perhaps a little nap will help. A short nap turns into a long nap! OMG! Wasted time! Guess what? All his supervisors fell asleep too! Even Yuuka had fallen asleep under his desk waiting to jump scare them. Yeah, wasted escape chance. They thought they could help revive him by dressing up as maids. Even Atomu! Oh, I’m definitely invigorated! But Kuroda’s ‘words of love’ are only to remind him about the deadline… The more time passes, the more desperate Bunta becomes. No toilet break escape. Because the window is also bolted down. Bunta’s suffering is more apparent. This is when Yuuka stands up to chide everyone about their ‘bullying’. Kuroda dismisses it although she points out that there is no point in doing all this if they don’t produce results. Battling deadlines is what pros do. Bunta revels when he gets his much needed bath break. A few words with Yuuka get him motivated although the bath knocked him out. They fear they may need to change their tactic but Bunta assures he will get it done this time. He works hard on his script till he finishes it. Kuroda takes a peek when he falls asleep on his laptop. Satisfied with his work, she gives him a kiss. Next day as everyone celebrates his completion, Kuroda then drops another bomb. She needs him to write scripts for drama and short novels. And 5 different kinds. To pay for the maid outfits? Oh sh*t… The beginning of the end is far from over… You’re screwed. Again.
With steady progress made, it is time for Yuuka to debut in voice acting. They are at the recording studio and meet all the professionals, including a pro seiyuu, Sayaka Tabe. Everyone is nervous, everyone is impressed, especially Tabe making good her lines. When it is Yuuka’s turn, it is understandable this is her first time and it takes a little longer. However there are many lines she read which are passable but she wants to redo them from the top. Many times. Thus Kuroda has to talk to her to remind that the studio has other appointments and if they overstay, extra sessions will cost more money. Despite Yuuka’s work is good, she thinks it is not good enough and wonders if Kuroda doesn’t care about quality. Kuroda just tells her to finish it in the allotted time. Thankfully she finishes in time. But a few days later, Yuuka has been absent and Kuroda receives a call from the studio that some of the lines are bad. In worst case scenario, they might have to replace Yuuka. Obviously she is undergoing depression. She runs away when Bunta tries to talk to her. So when he finally catches up with that sad girl (almost killed herself trying to cross the tracks when the train is coming!), Yuuka explains why she wanted to do her very best as good enough won’t cut it. Because Bunta and Atomu only believed in her when she wanted to become an actress when her parents didn’t. Yuuka sound even more depress thinking other seiyuus can do a better job to replace her but Bunta asserts he can only see her in that role. They head back to the clubroom and hear Kuroda negotiating with the producers to delay their launch a little. Yuuka feels bad as the cause of the delay. Since Kuroda accepts Yuuka as the only one who can do that character, Yuuka gets motivated to redo her part again. Her recording goes well and before you know it, they will be releasing their demo next week. Bunta is thanking Kai for managing the schedule of the team well. They spot the other girls hiding and spying on them. Yeah, they were hoping for the boys to kiss!!! So sorry to disappoint!
Our Rokuhara members are smiling from ear to ear since they receive positive comments over the internet from their demo release. They notice another game released at the same time from the company, Typhoon. They download and play it only to be blown away at how awesome everything is. But Kuroda believes Rokuhara has done a good job in their own right because Typhoon creates games for fussy and hardcore fans so their target audience is different. Bunta gets a surprised message from the script writer of Typhoon to meet. Mitsuteru Ougi seems like a nice guy. They talk about things and even invite Blooter to come. That guy doesn’t stop talking! Thank God we fast forward till he leaves. At the end of the day, both guys agree to setup and let members from both sides meet. Rokuhara meets Mitsuteru as well as the CEO of typhoon, Taiko Ooiso. Seems like a nice lady but they notice she is trying to recruit some of them into her team. Scouting is uncommon in this ‘wasteland’ but Taiko seems pushy about it. Although Rokuhara don’t really want to join her, she tries to persuade them that she will pay them or even have them join as a sub-brand. She goes too far and annoying that Kuroda is about to splash water onto her. But Bunta beat her to it. This is where she bares her fangs. After all those threats, Taiko suggests a competition between both sides. Kuroda doesn’t want to participate in both sides but Taiko threatens to spread lies and crush them for good. So the winner will be decided on the number of units sold on the first day. If Typhoon wins, Taiko will take Bunta and make him work to the bone as her slave. Later, though Bunta apologizes for getting everyone involved, this only bonds them closer and motivates them to work harder and beat that b*tch. One day, Kuroda is away and surprisingly calls Bunta to ask what kind of souvenirs he wants. The club members get a surprise visit by Iwao, Kuroda’s brother. They chat and he is a pretty nice guy. Everything seems to be looking fine till at the end he bows his head and thanks them all for taking care of his sister. And also he thanks them for going out their way to make a game to clear his debt. Oh dear. The shock of silence is so deafening…
Iwao further explains his company is not producing anything right now because of lack of funds. Distributors and banks refused to lend money. That is why when Kuroda told him they agreed to help out, he was very happy. When Kuroda returns, sh*t just hit the fan. The first to fire the salvo is Akkina. What are they? Slaves to clear her brother’s debt? She is leaving for real this time and not coming back. She can keep all her programming work and not pay her if she doesn’t want to. Slowly the rest too leave because they aren’t very happy with Kuroda keeping this a secret. Even Bunta. Money is not the problem here. If this guy even leaves her, you know Kuroda is really in big sh*t. So we have all our shocked Rokuhara members feeling depressed and deceived. It couldn’t be worse timing when Mitsuteru calls Bunta to tell him Typhoon has completed their game and he is excited to see what they’ve come up in 2 weeks. Bunta, Atomu and Yuuka talk and discuss about things. Then Bunta goes to see Kuroda in the clubroom and she is trying to complete everything herself. In short, Bunta is coming back to help her not because he wants to beat Typhoon or it is fun making a game. He wants to see how far their games can go. And shortly all the other members come back to help and give her a second chance. So you mean Akkina once again lied to us because she came back too? So how does she even things out? She slaps Kuroda! Now they’re even. Everybody gets motivated and work their ass off to meet the deadline. Everything is so tense that the slightest blooper can cause them to have a little heart attack. When they finally finish in time and burn the disc, Yuuki realizes only low resolution quality is included. So they have to fix it and burn it all over again. But not enough time! Kuroda will personally head to the factory. They suggest Kuroda head and wait at the train station first since she has been up all night and won’t have enough energy to make a sprint. So once the discs are burnt, Bunta rushes all the way and makes it right in the nick of time before the train door closes!!! What a close call. They hand over the finished product to the factory. What a hectic day. The tired duo return home and see their friends waiting outside the train station. Everything is going to be alright.
Everyone is nervous as they head into the clubroom. Then they hear Kuroda just off the phone. Their game instantly sold out at 3000 copies and there is repeat order to reprint double that amount! That’s good, right? Wait till you learn that Typhoon sold 4000 copies out too and had repeat orders as well. However their repeat order is only 2000! Do your maths and declare Rokuhara the winner! It is natural that they celebrate at a yakiniku restaurant and to their surprise, Iwao is working there part time as he is their waiter. He apologizes and thanks them that the sales proceeds are enough not only for Rokuhara to start their next game but give Iwao a chance to start moving again. As thanks, he gives them vegetables. Hey, can’t expect much from a part timer’s salary, right? We want meat! Poor Bunta has to eat it all. Later Kuroda discusses about their win and had the period being dragged out longer, they would have lost. Their game was easier to understand unlike Typhoon’s which needed time to digest but it will surely leave a long lasting impression. She drops the bombshell that she wants to dissolve Rokuhara. Her reason is that she wants to put this ‘tragic’ episode behind her and start anew again with them by making a game purely for themselves and not worry about how many units to sell. Bunta and the rest disagree and prefer to do it the current way. Bunta gets a call from Mitsuteru because Taiko is throwing a tantrum and complaining about bowing down to kids as part of the bet. Sore loser. He hopes it could be just him to bow down or another representative so Kuroda negotiates that they owe them a favour instead. Next day, they search on the internet there is a new game, weirdly named and equally with a weird plot taking the top spot. It is done by Blooter and soon that guy becomes a worldwide hit. From anime adaptations to idol groups based on him! Wow! Blooter Fever?! One night, lots of editors keep calling Bunta in search of Blooter. Seems that guy took on too many projects and couldn’t keep up. And thus as fast as it came, the fever quickly dissipated. But for Rokuhara, they continue to do what they do at their own pace.
Consisting of a few skits, we start off with the much needed fanservice! The girls are in their undies taking measurements for their cosplay costumes for an upcoming promotion event. Eventually they force Kuroda to get one too. Then the guys who have done separating spoiled samples accidentally walk in to see this rare moment. Lucky pervert. We see Yuuki being recorded and interviewed as part of the promotion. She talks about her specialty in drawing cute girls over the years. When she returns to the store where she works, the owner finds unknown drawings and wants to post them on the internet. Yuuki freaks out and snatches them to burn them. Those pictures of boys and men are her drawings from her earlier years. We see the girls molesting each other’s skin, posing in sexy sitting positions and then posing clad in only an oversized shirt as Akkina narrates her delusional fantasies. When the gay teacher walks in and sees this atrocity, he blames Bunta and Atomu for this perversion and will have them see him at the counselling room. They were just minding their own business analyzing some music and they get blamed? Worse, the girls now blame them for turning around and looking at them. Time to focus a little more on Yuuka. 2 years ago, she leads a very active and eventful life. From quitting her sports club to running around town and doing her solo acting at the playground, life is never dull for her and she wished she had 200 years to go with. She returns to Bunta’s place to hang out with him. Time to end with more fanservice as the girls take a well deserved reward as they relax in the public bath. No bare tits here. They discuss the success of their event like Kuroda’s negotiations in having free cosplay outfits in exchange for giving their selling rights to the store and minimizing their royalties. But she attributes everyone’s hard work for this success. Kuroda has got her hands on some doujin of Akkina’s taste and the latter is now ‘in love’ with her. They meet up with the guys waiting outside. Kuroda’s stomach growls but she won’t admit it. But nevertheless she has booked a spot at the grill house. The celebration continues. Lesson for the day? Nutrition is important for those who go through the wasteland. WTF?!
Wasted In The Wastelands…
Uh… Well… Okay… I guess… I thought I could sample and see a bit of their game at least in its final form but apparently I forgot this isn’t what this anime is about. The wastelands aren’t so kind just to show off their finished product as free samples unless you pay a premium for it or buy the entire game. Hey, that is like DLC and gaming these days, right? I’m so glad at least I’m not seeing this kind of sh*t in this anime that is happening and becoming a trend all over the world. But let’s not get too far off tracked from this anime. So how should I put this anime? Not impressed. Basically a group of high school students getting it together to make a game and then as underdogs beating a bigger and more famous company at it (because the CEO is a b*tch and she deserved to lose). In short, hardly anything memorable for me to remember by the time the next season comes around.
It is hard for me not to draw comparisons of this series with Saenai Heroine No Sodatekata. Even so, I cannot determine if either series is better than the other. Because this series lacks any romance and the fanservice, therefore there are no such cheesy romance-harem elements that would distract you from what the entire plot is. However even so, this is where this show also fails to live up to expectations. The story is nothing unique and if you look at it in its entirety, it could be one big bore fest as it is just about the little obstacles the little game programming club of a high school face. A big majority of the series (or you could say almost the entire series) is about each of the characters having their own problems pertaining to making the game and how the club members help to deal and overcome it while completing their game. Whether it is Yuuki working nonstop and affecting her health, Bunta having writer’s block and Yuuka having the jitters as her first time in a real voice acting job, each of these issues aren’t really that serious enough that would make you want to care or vouch for the characters because you will know at the end, things will always work out. Like how Akkina always comes back despite leaving, right?
Personally, the only thing that came to a surprise to me wasn’t the showdown with Typhoon but rather the dark secret revelation of why Kuroda roped in members to create a game instead. I knew there was a catch as to why Kuroda engaged her fellow high school students that have no real experience in the game industry to create something so good. With all the issues that were happening, it slowly made me forget this little conspiracy of mine. Or maybe I was bored that I didn’t even care at that point. I mean, if you think about it, why would Kuroda hire a bunch of students in her school for a game? I don’t remember what kind of excuse she gave but certainly the members never questioned it because they had always been thinking it might just be a club activity and the benefits of what if their games were to sell successfully.
Bunta was just being a guy who loves to help so he doesn’t ask deeper since Kuroda just told him it was her dream. And when recruited others too, they in turn never ask further and I suppose they too had too many free time on their hands to help her out. So when the truth came out of the bag, I know they have the right to feel angry for being deceived. But wasn’t it their fault in the first place to not find out more instead of jumping into something because it looks good on the outside? Welcome to real life and society. Yup. This is how I think we can connect this wasteland thingy here.
The characters too feel generic and don’t amount to anything memorable. If they had something that is quality to be remembered, it was perhaps the dynamism of how they interacted and worked together as a group. Because as individuals I don’t think they really make an impact. So is this what synergy means? Cooperation of the combined efforts of individuals to produce and end product that is much greater compared to when produced individually? We don’t know how many times Kuroda and Akkina bicker, quarrel, disagree, dispute, argue, squabble and have fall outs so often that it has become the staple of the group. But they still manage to put all that aside and work for the greater good and complete the game.
As said, individually the characters do not make much impact and sometimes I feel they are stereotypes but that can’t be helped because every game has some sort of stereotype character, right? So you have Bunta as your hardworking and friendly guy. One of the few typical main character traits. Kuroda oddly as the other main character is the least favourite in Rokuhara because of her monotonous poker face looks. She feels like a robot lacking any emotions. Because if you compare the rest of Rokuhara members, they have a ‘livelier’ personality like Akkina being the liveliest thanks to her BL fetish, Yuuka being the tomboyish retard and Yuuki the shy girl trope who will make your heart go ~kyun even if you aren’t into this type of girls. And yes, even Atomu in a way is more interesting than Kuroda because of his tendencies to fly into his passionate rage thinking about his failed relationships, even if this happens infrequently. Because he is the secondary guy of the show, it could have been more interesting if we see him express his love for 2D girls after jumping ship from 3D. Kuroda would have been a bit better had she smiled a little more often instead of waiting till the final episode where it feels like the entire pressure is off her shoulders and thus putting aside that gloomy face. Oh well. Who am I to say since I am not in her shoes especially when you’re trying desperately to pull a loved one out from his debts while not telling your friends. Yeah, a poker face needed indeed.
While this series did try at first to give some little insights on the bishoujo game industry, that was just in the initial episodes. Subsequently the rest of the episodes don’t really tell us what it is like to make a game or the process of making it although we can see how hellish it is in keeping up with the deadline but we don’t really feel the tension and adrenaline rush. It felt like it was just luring us in to stay and watch. At first it seemed like Kuroda is like a pro when she explains this wasteland thingy, everything she could possibly know about the dog-eat-dog world in this industry. I felt like she would be interesting in this sense to occasionally give us insights and knowledge about this industry but sadly with the other members having issues cropping up, Kuroda just felt like the ‘autocratic boss of a mini company’ except she doesn’t yell at the top of her voice and fire you.
If you are expecting any sort of romance, please don’t. It just feels like a minor distraction and it fails. Many like myself would love to guess that Bunta as the main character would be the centre of attention but you can hardly call this club a harem either. Because Kuroda is so like a robot and doesn’t show any signs of falling in love with him (that first episode fake date was just so fake it didn’t feel like one), I guess we can strike her name off the list of Bunta’s potential love interest. A kiss for him while he is asleep doesn’t count! Besides, that feels like a gratitude kiss rather than a romantic kiss. Yuuki is so shy that you’d feel bad for approaching her because I’m afraid it might scare her. Like how her first love letter experience traumatized her… Poor girl… Akkina is more interested in BL and with her crude personality, I don’t think this kind of girls would have a high chance. The closest would be Yuuka because of the cliché childhood friend trope too but eventually that fizzles out and you wonder if everything would be better if she just kept it one-sided. Yeah, maybe it was for the better. And what about Atomu? He exists so that he could the possibility of a real BL! Although, Atomu is no gay but you can feel the tendency this series gives off when the guys are together. Yeah, everything is so crazy that it might just happen.
If the show has anything redeeming, well, I would say it would be the artwork. Although it looks like your conventional standard Japanese anime, at least it still looks good enough to put this as a visual novel game. Oh wait. Isn’t the anime series developed from the visual novel game of the same name? Oh well, at least they have nice looking bishoujo girls and guys so it is not all that in the visuals department even if the story stinks. Right? Produced by the studio Project No. 9, a relatively new animation production company who also produced Ro-Kyu-Bu, Momo Kyun Sword, Gunslinger Stratos and Netoge No Yome Wa Onnanoko Ja Nai To Omotta.
Hearing Kana Hanazawa as Yuuka reminded me that I once used to pigeonhole her as a retard character. Yup, that sums up the initial episodes of Yuuka’s character. Yeah, she still has that knack… The other voice I instantly recognized is Satomi Satou as Yuuki. This time her dreamy voice is quite suitable for her character because there is this fragility and feebleness that gave her Yuuki character that persona. For the rest of those that I recognized, they are Akira Ishida as Iwao, Rina Satou as Taiko (b*tch mode?) and Takehito Koyasu as Blooter. The rest of the casts are Haruka Chisuga as Kuroda (Tsugumi in Soul Eater Not!), Seiichirou Yamashita as Bunta (Takahiro in Walkure Romanze), Satomi Akesaka as Akkina (Esdeath in Akame Ga Kill), Toshiyuki Toyonaga as Atomu (Shun in Kimi To Boku) and Souma Saitou as Mitsuteru (Tatsumi in Akame Ga Kill). The opening theme is Wastelanders by Sayaka Sasaki. Perhaps of the genre of this series, it makes me feel that this dramatic and synthesizer effects heavy opener feels like a song for a simulation video game. The ending theme, Sekai Wa Kyou Mo Atarashii by the female quartet of Rokuhara sounds like a generic anime song but nothing really that spectacular.
Overall, this series isn’t exactly a masterpiece although it doesn’t suck that bad. I can consider myself more forgiving because I read a few comments over the internet how this show was a big waste of time. A waste of time in the wasteland? There were missed opportunities that made the series boring. Therefore sometimes I feel the irony that when a game has a bad aspect, be it the story, the controls, the game play, the graphics, the characters or any other department, it affects everything else and when bad reviews go around, it is the end of it. Hence I have this feeling that this series will not likely see the day of another sequel. I know we should all give others a second chance but in this wasteland (which reminds me, Fallout game, anybody?) where only the strong survives and continues to make sequels, prequels, remakes and reboots, the chances of this one are pretty slim. Because this series is already buried under tons of garbage known as animes and devoured by the hideous creatures that roam the wastelands known as hate inciting trolls and narrow minded fan boys as well as the unforgiving environmental hazards in the form of overwhelming moe, fanservice, shonen, shoujo, seinen, slapstick comedy and other types of exposure. Yeah, a pure drama show can’t survive the wasteland by itself throwing away all those tropes.