Monday, June 27, 2011

American Otome Games?: Harlequin Dating Sim

Harlequin must really be expanding their product line: In addition to Polecat’s relatively recent discovery of the romance novel manga, I just found out about a Harlequin dating sim, Harlequin Presents: Hidden Object of Desire, while researching otome games for a previous post. The game was released some time last year.

Here’s the blurb from Big Fish Game’s website, the distributor of the game:

“Allie's on a quest to find some breaking news in the Kingdom of Adamas, but must now choose between her friend's well-being and true love! The bachelor Prince of Aristo is the most enchanting man she has ever met, but she must fend off his charming advances long enough to figure out what is going on.”

In addition to the game, I think you're given a digital copy of a romance novel based in the same romance novel universe as the game. More details can be found at this review on the Dear Author blog, including screenshots.

I’m not sure how exciting the whole thing sounds, since it appears that you don’t even have any choice in your love interest. It really is a visual novel, maybe even more linear than most VNs, but maybe that makes sense for a company that makes its money being a factory for trashy books.

Monday, June 20, 2011

And I'm the Mouse: Cheese in the Trap Manhwa Review

A promo for the Cheese in the Trap drama CD.

I discovered Soon Kki/순끼's manhwa Cheese in the Trap a while ago, and I have no idea how. All I know is that I had approximately 60 tabs open in my web browser, and that the first one featured Baka-Updates Manga's page on this webcomic.

Yep! A webcomic. It's a format that I think Cheese in the Trap utilizes well, which I'll go into in a little later.

But first, the story. Cheese in the Trap follows Sul, a college student who is returning to school after taking a year off. The circumstances of her leave aren't immediately clear, but they seem to have to do with an upperclassman, a handsome guy named Yoo Jung. Not only is he super cute, but he's apparently very polite, smart, and rich. Despite the fact that the ladies line up for this absolute heartthrob, Sul isn't so taken with him.

Now, doesn't that sound positively boring and cliche? A female protagonist who has a love/hate relationship with an impossibly perfect guy. Never seen that in EVERY SINGLE CHICK FLICK EVER MADE. But that's where the cliches stop.

At first Sul's reaction to Yoo Jung seems typical of a female protagonist in a romance comic. She's highly skeptical of him, and perhaps too immune to the charm that has managed to affect every single girl except her. It seems as though she'll end up learning to love him as his sudden, mysterious interest in her slowly wins her over. However, as the story progresses, partly through flashbacks woven throughout the present narrative, the reader discovers that Sul's disdain isn't so unfounded.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The End of Tokyopop Manga

This is the fourth post I've written tagged with Marmalade Boy, by the way.
If you're savvy on manga publishing in America, you might already know that Tokyopop shut down its US manga publishing operations on May 31.

I became obsessed with manga when I was about eleven. One of my friends, older and more informed than I was about the medium, took me to a Waldenbooks at a local mall. The manga section only took up one small shelf, crammed next to the cash register. I didn't know too much about what I was looking at, since while I was a comics reader, it was mostly of collections of Calvin & Hobbes and The Far Side. I had read a little manga at the beginning of the whole Pokémon craze, a flipped version of Ono Toshihiro's Pokémon: The Electric Tale of Pikachu, when I was about six, but I never went too much beyond that and some dubbed episodes of Sailor Moon. I did draw a lot of Pokémon fan comics, but we don't need to go into that.

She suggested Wataru Yoshizumi's Marmalade Boy to me, licensed by Tokyopop. The cover was pretty unassuming, featuring a smiling girl looking at some unknown thing in the corner, but the story intro hooked me in the minute I skimmed its pages in that store, and I bought it.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


RE: Alistair++, a free, full-length otome game.
Since the summer's begun I've had lots of time on my hands. Thus far, I've rewatched almost all of the episodes of The Office (US version, if you care to know) available on Netflix. One would think I'd have done more than that, but sitting in front of a computer marathoning a show I've already watched takes up a significant amount of time.

So there's that. And I've also been playing a lot of Chain Factor.

Despite my packed schedule, I've been doing research on one thing I haven't looked at in a long time: Otome games! Free ones, specifically. It seems like there have been quite a few new English options to be released since I last did a post, though that also could mean I didn't do a good job researching them in the first place.

I was originally going to do another big post, but the more I wrote, the more I realized that it didn't make sense to put it all together in just one entry. So in the coming weeks, look out for reviews and other opinionated pieces on just otome games! It'll be really swell, and hopefully a little different from what you'd typically find on blogs dedicated to otome. It's not what Manga Meditation's about anyway, and those blogs already do their job way better than I could.

Speaking of which, here are a few links to games, developers, and other otome miscellanea: