So I finished the new Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai game for PSP. Well, I didn’t 100% it but I saw all the “true” endings except for Manami’s and that’s good enough. It’s not a bad game if you are into AVG but its primary purpose is basically fan service.
The game takes place about one year after the start of the anime. I have no idea what is its place in the novel timeline. There are two major changes that I think probably took place in the light novels: Kuroneko is now a highschool freshman in Kyousuke’s school and calls him “senpai” and Ayase is somehow acquainted with Manami and calls her “oneesan”. (She still calls Kyousuke “oniisan”.)
The story is divided into two portions. The first part is common to all the characters and is relatively short. It consists of two major events: Kirino and gang taking part in a Siscalypse competition and Kyousuke going on a school trip to Kyoto.
The story branching depends on whom Kyousuke teams up with for the competition (or if he takes part in it at all) and the souvenir he decides to buy in Kyoto (every girl wants a different thing).
After Kyousuke returns from Kyoto, the story branches into the respective character paths. The main branches are for Kirino, Kuroneko, Saori, Ayase and Manami. Each character has around 3-4 endings, usually with one true ending, one good/normal ending and some bad/weird endings in between.
Plenty of spoilers. Continue at your own peril or skip to the next header.
Kirino: In a subconscious bid for Kyousuke’s attention, Kirino loses all her otaku-related memories, including those of Saori and Kuroneko. Kyousuke has to convince Kirino, a fashionable girl with good grades and a modelling career, that she is actually an otaku. Hilarity ensues.
True ending involves a semi-kokuhaku from Kirino at Comiket. Bad endings include Kirino forgetting about her true self and her otaku friends forever.
Kuroneko: Kuroneko is working on a new doujinshi for the upcoming Comiket. She sees herself as the tragic creator whose source of creativity is her suffering and loneliness. Although she is falling behind the deadline, she refuses to ask for help from the others and actively avoids Kyousuke. It is up to Kyousuke to smack some sense into her if you know what I mean — I don’t.
True ending involves Kyousuke pledging eternal allegiance to the fallen angel.
Saori: Saori, who is actually the ojousama of a rich family, is pushed into an arranged marriage with a 40-year-old paedophile princeling of a large conglomerate who wants her to stop her childish hobbies. Not an assertive person and obedient to her parents’ wishes, Saori gives all her precious otaku goods to Kyousuke for safe-keeping and bids everyone farewell. Kyousuke has to convince her that her wishes are just as important and she should stand up for herself.
True ending involves Kyousuke and Saori getting married out of the blue. Seriously.
Ayase: She has arguably the most romantic path in the game, though still kind of weak by most AVG standards. She seeks Kyousuke’s help in her attempts to understand Kirino better but ends up falling for Kyousuke. She is afraid of revealing her feelings because she thinks that Kyousuke is only teasing her when he does things like calling her “Lovely My Angel Ayase-tan”. Unlike the other girls, Ayase gets a proper kokuhaku scene.
True ending involves Ayase getting knocked up and living happily ever after with Kyousuke. Bad ending is yandere ending with off-screen stabbing action. There is also a weird ending named the “Forbidden Yuri Ending”… I leave that to your imagination.
Manami: Did not play her path. Meh.
Kanako: There is an ending for her that branches out towards the end of Ayase’s path. It is actually somewhat interesting. Heh.
End of spoilers. Continue from here.
The gameplay is hard work if you don’t use a walkthrough. There are two main mechanics involved.
The first is collecting titbits of information called O.R.E. (I can’t remember what it stands for) and deciding whether to use them when prompted to change the direction of the story. The second is a system called Two Shot where you have a face-to-face conversation with a girl and have to decide whether to tsukkomi her via quick-time event or not at certain points of the conversation.
The O.R.E. (silly acronym is silly) system is persistent across replays so you get to use information you obtained in previous playthroughs to change the direction of the story. For example, Ayase’s true ending can only be obtained if you have an O.R.E. obtained from Kirino’s true ending.
The Two Shot system is kind of arbitrary. It is more trial and error than anything. Sometimes an obvious tsukkomi produces a negative reaction for no apparent reason and sometimes an apparently hurtful tsukkomi is exactly what the girl wants. I suppose it’s like real-life except that there is a quick load button that lets you jump back to any of the last thirty scene changes or gameplay decisions.
These modern AVGs have it good. Back in our days we had to walk uphill both ways just to find a save button and we were happy with our three measly save slots.
There are some genuinely hilarious moments in the game, particularly if you get the otaku-related allusions and occasional 2ch lingo. The dialogues are witty at times and live up to expectations set by the anime.
The gameplay is somewhat reminiscent of Really? Really! which in turn is a derivative of Ace Attorney, except that it is not as fun. You will fail repeatedly at the Two Shot system until you learn the true meaning of hate and just wiki the solution.
The endings are kind of lacklustre. As mentioned, I feel that Ayase is the only one who gets the proper heroine treatment. I suppose this is why she calls herself the “hidden heroine” at some point in Kirino’s path. Saori looks really gorgeous without her ＠ω＠ glasses though.
Yeah I really can’t motivate myself to play though Minami’s path.
I like Kuroneko as a character but her path is probably the least interesting one. Kirino’s path is more entertaining and emotional, but the ending is one huuuuuuge cop-out. Not that this is unexpected, but I was hoping for a more…unorthodox resolution.
I find the final scene in Ayase’s true ending strangely thought-provoking. (Click on the button to see it.)
In a way, Ayase is a proxy for Kirino’s love for Kyousuke. Ayase and Kirino both love Kyousuke and at the same time they also love each other, but only Ayase can cross the last barrier. The last scene feels almost touchingly poignant in a zen-like way, if you can remove your worldly preconceptions and that feeling of creepiness lurking at the back of your mind long enough to ponder over it free from prejudices.
Okay, maybe I am reading too much into this shit as usual.
When Kyousuke spills the beans about his relationship with Ayase to Kirino in the true ending, Kirino is initially upset and asks him if things would’ve still been the same if they weren’t siblings.
This is probably the most overt acknowledgement of the unspoken nature of their mutual love that can be found in the game, and of course it’s not even in Kirino’s own true ending.
Unrelated but amusing: in Kuroneko’s true ending, where Kuroneko and Kyousuke get together, Kuroneko proclaims herself the older sister of Kirino and teases her about it. Her closing line is, “watashi no imouto ga konna ni kawaii wake ga nai.”
The game also comes a Breakout-clone mini-game, a short in-character voiced commentary for every single unlocked CG in the album and a full plot diagram to show you the paths/endings you are missing. Not too shabby in terms of extras.
I took way too many screencaps so I’m just going to dump everything here. Some of them may be considered spoilerish even without context.
Phew. Most screenshots ever?
Now back to Valkyria Chronicles 3…