Love Sweets Vol.01

ラブ★スイーツ Vol.1

Company: Livret
Based on: Cooking/baking
Released: 2010.01.16

Love Sweets is a series in which you cook / bake sweets together with your boyfriend. It isn't explicitly stated that you are dating but it is kind of obvious. Each CD has two guys, and you make something different with each of them. The first CD has Ishida Akira and Hoshi Souichirou. Surprisingly, the series really is more about telling you how to cook a recipe than acting all lovey-dovey.

You make a gateau chocolat (chocolate cake) together with Ishida-san (his character doesn't seem to have a name...). You call him because you want him to help you make a chocolate cake, so the next day he comes over to help you. He mostly just explains what you need to do though (but he does help you with beating the egg whites). It is sweet but for the most part a full walkthrough on how to make a chocolate cake. You do get a kiss at the end though.

Hoshi Souichirou his character more or less invites himself over to make ichigo daifuku (strawberry daifuku). This time you are the one that knows how to make them, which is slightly odd because he still need to explain how you are making them for the CD to work. His character is a lot more genki. I never thought of daifuku as something you could make yourself, but it doesn't sound to hard (providing that you can get all the ingredients...)

Like I said, the CD is more about the cooking instructions than acting lovey dovey, although the second character is a bit more boyfriend-ish. In the bonus tracks they do act a bit more lovey-dovey though, but only a bit. The ingredients are written in the booklet, so you can try to listen to this a few times (maybe write down what to do) and actually try to make it.

This was cute, but more than anything it made me want to try and actually make the things they describe. I don't think I'll be able to get all the ingredients for the ichigo daifuku while I'm back in the netherlands, but the first one should definitely be possible. Hmmmm...

PS: Livret, the company publishing this series, was a daughter company of Melonbooks that made stuff aimed at women. Unfortunately it has been closed down.


Weekly News Post

Black Butterfly has announced a new series: 密会~Secret Tryst~ (mikkai, secret meeting). The series will be about "a secret love that you can't mention to anyone". The story will be recorded with the dummy head mic, and 4 volumes have been planned for now. The seiyuu are as follows: vol.1 - Hino Satsoshi, vol.2 - Ono Yuuki, vol.3 - Nojima Kenji, and vol.,4 - Ookawa Tohru. No release dates have been given yet, so we'll have to wait for the teaser site to open for that.

Kindan Kyuuketsuki
The official page has updated with the visuals for vol.4: Kibara no Toganin ("criminal of the yellow rose"). Our vampire this time is Friedrich von Weiseheldenburg (CV: Tachibana Shinnosuke). Interestingly enough, the tracklist has suddenly switched to French influences instead of German, which makes me wonder whether Friedrich will be calling you mademoiselle this time. The release is still planned for 2012.10.17.

Anata ga Ofuro de Noboseru   
The official site hasn't updated yet, but Stellaworth and Animate list Ono Daisuke has the seiyuu for the final CD in the Anata ga Ofuro de Noboseru series, and 2012.10.31 as the release date. Now that we know the final seiyuu the next question will be whether they will release a second series? Considering that this was originally announced as "the first series".


OtomeDora Summer 2012 Seiyuu Ranking

No review today, but the seiyuu ranking from the 2012 Summer OtomeDora instead. Just like the previous one, this is a ranking based on how many otome drama CDs the seiyuu have voiced.

1. Toriumi Kousuke  (83)
2. Ishida Akira  (68)
3. Ono Daisuke  (67)
3. Yusa Kouji  (67)

5. Hirakawa Daisuke  (56)
6. Sakurai Takahiro  (53)
7. Namikawa Daisuke  (50)
8. Yoshino Hiroyuki  (49)
9. Sugita Tomokazu  (47)
9. Shimono Hiro  (47)


Double Score ~Cattleya~

I skipped this one because I wanted to listen to the Narcissus CD (Hirarin~) but I'll return to reviewing them in the right order. Not that it really matters in which order you listen to these.

Double Score ~Cattleya~

Company: BlueMoon
Based on: CD <-> Otome Game
Released: 2012.07.13
Official site: http://www.asgard-japan.com/bluemoon/ds/

Double Score is an upcoming series of otome games where every obtainable character is between 29 and 46 (the heroine is 17). The concept of the game is that "age doesn't matter when it comes to love". Before the games are released however, each character gets a situation CD. This is the CD for Shirosaki Rio (CV: Ookawa Tohru), one of the two host characters in the game.

Despite Rio being a host, he is everything but the cool and suave character that you might expect him to be. As a professional host he obviously has that side like that as well, but he acts entirely different in front of the heroine (his girlfriend, meaning you). One of the major points in this CD is that his host skills don't work on you, and that being really in love makes you do stupid things. He is also an incredible otoku, a trait that he shares with his high school classmate Tomu (CV: KENN).

Which is also what part of this CD is about. Just as Rio is preparing for his date with you, Tomu calls him because he needs someone to drive him somewhere, and he seems to be in a real hurry. Rio refuses though, because he already has a date with you. Their conversation on the phone is already pretty brilliant, as soon as Tomu starts with an overly formal way to start the conversation you know what kind of conversation it is going to be.

When you call Rio right after that you tell him that he should go and help Tomu and that you don't mind waiting a little. So in the end Rio drives off to pick up Tomu. It turns out that Tomu wanted to go to a game shop because they are handing out a demo for a certain game there. Being an incredible otaku, Rio is suddenly full of passion to help Tomu get there (and score a demo himself in the progress).

When all of that is finished Rio is 3hours late for your date though. While Rio speeds off to see you, Tomu contacts you that it will be a while before he gets there (apparently Rio introduced you once before). Once he is at your place your mom apparently let Rio in the house, and he is in the middle of a rather embarrassing apology in front of your door when you suddenly appear behind him, happily saying that you were killing time at a nearby cafe. After that it is all sweet time with Rio. He first takes you to the aquarium and after that on a night drive. And of course the car is stopped for a while for an appropriate amount of kissing.

In the Narcissus CD Seiya also apparently went to meet your parents, but Rio obviously knows your family as well. I have to admit that I'm kind of surprised that they seem to have no problems with their 17year old daughter dating a 29 (34 in Seiya his case) year old host. I'd expect a few objections there. Instead Rio (or any of the other guys in their own CD for that matter) himself seems to be the one that holding back because of, and worrying about your age.

I really really really liked the friendship between Rio and Tomu. Somehow it felt really natural, and I just loved their conversations. They way Tomu tries to get information about how far Rio is with you is just too precious. Judging from their conversations Rio was apparently a pretty flirty and loose type before he met you, and Tomu calls him "the emperor of the night" a couple of times (much to Rio his annoyance) so I suppose he has some 'nighttime skills' as well. Which is why Tomu is all the more surprised that you did nothing beyond kissing (yet).

Rio mentions that being really in love makes you do stupid things (the way he says it is literally "uncool") and it was kind of refreshing that he indeed doesn't act as the perfect boyfriend and has a few 'uncool' moments (almost falling to the ground because he is relieved that you aren't angry with him, for example. Or the entire apology scene for that matter). Then again this whole series is rather good at showing those sides of the characters in the scenes where they talk any of the other characters.

Rio his answering of the standard questions in the bonus track from the first press edition is rather straight forward until he is asked about his hobby; his otaku passion clearly shows. His taste in what kind of underwear he would like his girlfriend to wear was also rather interesting: sports underwear (he calls it 'moe' xD). His final answer on what part of the female body he likes best was also pretty brilliant ("listen very carefully because I'll only say this once *takes deep breath* breasts. the end." ).

Rio was completely different from what I imagined. I really loved the scenes with Tomu, and because of his personality the parts where you are alone were a lot of fun as well. I'm kind of curious what his interaction with Seiya is like... If things continue like this I am really tempted to get some of the games after all.


Weekly News Post *update*

The news post is only half done, and there is at least one other project that I really really really want to write something about, but life is getting in the way. I'll update this post later this evening or sunday morning.

Added the news about 'Hikari'.

Bokutachi Otoko no Ko
No news on new release yet, but the official site has been renewed and has a completely new look. And if they are going to the trouble of renewing the site, I am guessing there will be a new release sometime soon.

Double Score
Blue Moon will be at the Animate Girls Festival 2012 selling Double Score and Unending Bloody Call goods. If you spend over 3000yen on buying goods you get the Double Score ~Forest?~ CD, which is a situation CD featuring the sub-character Mori Kengo (CV: Kimura Ryouhei). The entire CD is recorded with the dummy head mic, and has a story about Kengo and the heroine (his girlfriend, meaning you) in his room.

10nen Hatsukoi
The official site hasn't been updated yet, but according to 2chan 10nen Hatsukoi vol.2 is planned for a 2012.11.30 release. This time the characters will be Niida Kouhei (CV: Takahiro) and Iwakiri Satoshi (???, CV: Namikawa Daisuke).


Joshuseki Kareshi Vol.1 - Hajimete no Drive ha Osananajimi

 助手席彼氏 - 初めてのドライブは幼なじみ

Company: Gakken / Animedia
Based on: Original
Released: 2012.07.28
Official site: http://www.e-animedia.net/archives/6911808.html

In Joshuseki Kareshi ("passenger seat boyfriend") you go on a drive with your (would be) boyfriend. Only you will be the one driving. In the first CD you take your childhood friend Sakuraba Naoki (CV: Morikubo Shoutarou) for a drive to celebrate that you got your driver's licence.

The CD begins with Naoki picking you up at your house in the morning, and you overslept. He tells you to get ready quickly, saying that it is no use putting on make-up because he knows how you look without it anyway. But when you come down again he is surprised by how pretty you look anyway (I love the sparkle sound effect when you get back).

You first go to rent a car because you can't use the one at your house. After picking one you start your drive date. Naoki his constant remarks on how to drive are annoying, but to be honest it sounds like the heroine (you, whatever) can't drive at all. Seriously, how does one get their license and drive like this? Poor Naoki, no wonder he is scared.

Once you get to the highway things seem to go slightly better though. After driving for a while you get stuck in a traffic jam though, so he suggests that you go to a nearby rest station to grab something to eat. After that you continue your drive (although Naoki switches with you and drives the rest of the way) until you reach your destination: the beach.

Once there you suddenly cling to his arm, which he sees as a chance to confess that he liked you for a long time. Unfortunately your attention is drawn by a nearby cat and you are gone before he manages to actually say it (which seems to happen every time).

Afterwards you go to a cafe to get something to drink, and Naoki gets himself a piece of cake as well. You go all couple mode and try to feed it to him. He takes one bite but says that it is embarrassing so he'll eat the rest himself, and then you suddenly run off (causing him to panic). When he finds you again you are catching to wedding bouquet that was just thrown at a nearby wedding. I was just as surprised as Naoki was when the entire scene happened. But apparently you already forgot all about what just happened and are happily showing him the bouquet.

Naoki ends up driving the entire way back, and when he tries to wake you up when you get back home you somehow end up accidentally kissing. He then finally confesses his feelings, and of course you were feeling the same all along.

I am not entirely sure about this, but from what I know the practical part of getting your driver's license in Japan requires you to drive through a course that is especially designed for this. So I guess that it is possible to get your license without having much or any actual road experience. Probably for exactly that reason, people who have just gotten their license are required to display a beginners mark on their car. This is the "wakaba mark" that Naoki mentions. Officially it is called 初心運転者標識 (shoshin-unten-hyoushiki, "beginners driving sign" but it is often called 若葉マーク, wakaba maaku, literally "new leaves" mark) or simply 初心者マーク (shoshinsha maaku, "beginners' mark). You are required to display this sign for the entire first year that you got your license, although I know people who used it after that as well because they don't drive much.

The story itself was pretty cute. And to be honest it is kind of funny how bad you are at driving. On the other hand Naoki his constant pointers annoyed me; I already get annoyed when my instructor does that, let alone someone else. Naoki is a bit of a standard childhood-friend-who-likes you character, but he is kind of cute.

After the main drama there are several tracks with Naoki saying random phrases. Some were already used in the main story, others are slightly different or new. In the free talk Morikubo-san mentions that he would probably be commenting on your driving just like Naoki, but also that he never dated a girl that had a license so that he would like to go on a drive where the girl would be driving some time.

I can't take it when someone comments on my driving so that annoyed me, but luckily this stops halfway through and the rest is just a very cute story. I am still amazed at how bad the heroine her driving is though.


Shinsengumi Mokuhiroku Wasurenagusa Vol.2 Okita Souji

新撰組黙秘録 勿忘草 第弐巻 沖田総司

Company: Rejet
Based on: Shinsengumi
Released: 2012.08.29
Official site: http://rejetweb.jp/wasurenagusa/

Shinsengumi Mokuhiroku Wasurenagua (after this simply 'wasurenagusa') is a series based on several historically famous people within the shinsengumi. The concept of the CDs is "what if I could have been there (and fall in love with one of them)". So while they are based on historical people, the rest is all fiction. The series uses the dummy head mic for several scenes. The second CD has Okita Souji (CV: Suzuki Tatsuhisa).

If you thought the first CD was long: this one is even longer and reaches the 100min (and 3.5min free talk). The first disc is a full hour.

The story once again begins during the Ikedaya Incident. Okita was part of the Shinsengumi group that attacked the conspirators that were hiding in the Ikedaya Inn. During this raid he becomes unwell, starts coughing up blood and finally collapses.

When he wakes up you are at his side, taking care of him. He still wants to reach Kondo and Hijikata, but you eventually manage to calm him down by telling him that they are fine but currently not at headquarters. They are still patrolling the streets to finish of remnants of the conspirators. He tells you he is fine and that he doesn't need you taking care of him. When you've left the room it shows that he was definitely afraid and really glad that he is still alive though.

Okita tries to act like he is all healthy, but he is obviously weakened. So by orders of Kondo you are supposed to keep an eye on him so that he doesn't strain himself too much. Okita by no means agrees with this and keeps telling you that he doesn't need you. Even going as far as to threaten you a couple of times in the hope that you will stay away. All he wants to is be someone that Kondo and Hijikata can rely on, but he feels that they see him as someone who is so weak that they need a woman to look after him. If you couldn't tell, Okita seems kind of obsessed with serving the two of them.

Eventually he starts to accept the situation though. Or rather, gives up on trying to find a way out of it. When you bring him water one evening he starts to talk about how he would like to die under the moonlight. You don't want to leave him alone after that, and when he provokes you to spend the night in his room you actually stay. His attitude towards you is still pretty cold, until he actually kisses you. Seeing how shocked you are he actually apologises for it, saying "that someone like him shouldn't do this, because he won't be around to take responsibility" and sends you to your own room.

I am guessing a few days later, you bring him something to eat while he is training in the middle of night. He tells you that he would like to eat you as well, and more or less forces himself on you. This part is quite different from the last CD. Okita deliberately tries to hurt you, as if he wants to drive you away. It is also much less explicit than the first CD. There is still enough going on though, yet you still manage to fall asleep halfway through (wut?). That does mean we get to hear Okita say that he actually does love you though.

In the final track he is talking with you during the day and teasing you. He also talks a bit about how he would like to be there to see how the shinsengumi continues to grow, obviously hinting at the fact that such a thing is impossible. After you've returned to your work he mentions that he is no longer afraid of dying, because he is happy just being here right now *sad theme music plays*.

For those that don't know this: the entire point of this CD is that Okita Souji had tuberculosis. This is also the reason why he says "that he won't be able to take responsibility": he doesn't have very long to live. I think that is also the reason that he forces himself on you. He noticed that you love him and while he does care for you, he also thinks you should be with someone other than himself because he will die soon anyway. The kiss scene a little before that probably shows his real feelings.

I was surprised that they made him talk relatively polite. I'm assuming that they did this because Okita was one of the youngest members of the shinsengumi, but you are only a servant girl so there is no real reason why he would talk that polite to you as well. Speaking of you/the heroine: it seems like you were saved and brought here just like in the first CD. So I am guessing that the canon for the rest of the series is that Saitou rescued you and brought you to the shinsengumi headquarters, and that the events differ from there

Just like before the pacing was very good. That they literally included the point where he simply gives up trying to get rid of you was also interesting and made the pacing clearer. Personally I would have preferred it if Okita would have just been honest about his own feelings instead of trying to scare you off. Or maybe actually confide to you that he was afraid to die if you want to take the pity route. I think the kiss scene was really beautiful, too bad he had to go and ruin it after that.

The free talk is almost the opposite of the first CD. Takahashi-san was all hyper and cheerful, while Suzuki-san seem almost gloomy. Either it was a really exhausting recording or that last scene must have really gotten to him. All of his answers on the questions he has been given are rather short, but his message to the listeners was brilliant: "go and listen to it [the CD] again".

That this would have a lot of heartbreak was a given from the start, and the final track lives up to that. It is just such a pity Okita had to try and push you away. Why couldn't he just be honest with his own feelings and be gentle with you. You could probably skip the first two tracks of the second CD (the ero part) and the CD would be just as good. Or better, actually.


Double Score ~Narcissus~

Double Score ~Narcissus~

Company: BlueMoon
Based on: CD <-> Otome Game
Released: 2012.07.27
Official site: http://www.asgard-japan.com/bluemoon/ds/

Double Score is an upcoming series of otome games where every obtainable character is between 29 and 46 (the heroine is 17). The concept of the game is that "age doesn't matter when it comes to love". Before the games are released however, each character gets a situation CD.This is the CD for Saiga Rui and Seiya, both voiced by Hirakawa Daisuke.

Rui and Seiya each have their own story, which means that both of them are pretty short compared to the other ones. Rui is a teacher at the heroine her school, and Seiya is a host. Both of them seem interesting so I'm kind of sad that they don't get their own CD. Then again I still wouldn't be surprised if the whole plot twist in their story is that they are the same person after all. (But I hope not). But untill any evidence pops up I will treat them as two different characters.

Rui his story takes place at school. He is walking towards the library to bring back a book when he sees Sano Fumiya (CV: Kusao Takeshi). Rui tries to scold him for abandonning his post, but Sano says he is just buying a drink from a vending machine (although he apparently went missing for 3hours with that excuse once). Sano tries to ask Rui for some details about his relationship with you, but Rui keeps saying that the school isn't the place to discuss things like that - and then tells him all sorts of things anyway.

When he finally gets to the library he is surprised to find you there. You are helping out with returning books to the shelves, and there are quite a lot left so Rui offers to help you. In the beginning he keeps saying that you can't act like lovers at school, but in the end he is the one who can't hold back and kisses you. He hands you a key to his appartment and asks you to wait for him there.

What I loved most is that while Rui is a hetare he doesn't seem to be completely without backbone. When Sano is teasing him he says that it is way to early for Sano to tease him, and when Sano continues he actually plants an elbow in his stomach. Twice (probably the most brilliant moment in their conversation).

Seiya his story begins with him meeting Sano on his way home (they apparently live in the same building). Sano also tries to tease Seiya but it doesn't really work (although strangely, it feels like Sano has the upper hand this time). Apparently Sano likes the food at the host club where Seiya works, so he tells Seiya that you were together with a guy when you left school in echange for free food. Seiya gets supprisingly jealous over this. The guy in question is Mori Kengo btw, a classmate and friend of the heroine and a side character in the games.

When he gets home you were waiting for him at the entrance. Seiya first teases you a bit -ok, a lot- before he demands to know who you went home with and what you were doing. Really demands by the way, he seems quite possessive. What followed was suprisingly the cutest moment in the entire CD though: he confesses that he is actually pretty scareed that you will leave him for someone your own age.

Considering the fact that he works as a host Seiya is actually suprisingly... serious? From the conversations in the CD it is clear that he went to meet your parents, and that he is seriously planning to marry you (although he hasn't proposed yet). Also the moment where is tells you that he is afraid you might leave him, and how distraught he sounds when he does are somehow so endearing.

As always the first press comes with a bonus track (or in this case two) where the characters answer a few questions. Rui his track is really cute, to the point where he literally hides his face when he reaches the question about what kind of underwear he prefers his girlfriend to wear. I expected Seiya to answer that question straight on, but suprisingly even he doesn't feel like answering at first. Though he finally answers it that "it should cover as little as possible" but that it doesn't really matter because he will be taking it off anyway.

While the stories are a bit short because we have two characters this time, but they were both interesting. Despite me loving Hirakawa-san his voice most when he uses a deeper voice, I think I might actually like Rui more. While Seiya is a full do-S, Rui seems to be hiding several of those traits beneath his hetare mask, and that might just be the more interesting personality.


Weekly News Post

I am slowly getting better at this. The day I will actually make my own deadline is near. Hopefully.

We all it knew this would come sooner or later; the next Honeymoon CD has been announced. This time Okumura Chiharu (CV: Ishida Akira) will take you to Turkey. Chiharu is a history teacher, so you will be visiting a few ruins in Turkey among other things. Chiharu is described as having a sexy aura, but it is hard to guess what he is thinking.

Sasayaki Micchaku   
The series continues, this time with a fortune teller. Sawatane Tsukumo (CV: Okamoto Nobuhiko) is an apprentice fortune teller, and that is about everything that the official site tells us about him. Judging from his character image he looks like a cheerful innocent type, but who knows. His design is very different from the first three characters, who all had more of an adult atmosphere. The CD is planned for a 2012.11.14 release.


Yandere Heaven Vol.6 ~Karei naru Tokudaiji-ke Hen~

ヤンデレ天国(ヘブン) ~華麗なる徳大寺家編~

Company: Hobirecords
Based on: Original
Released: 2012.08.29
Official site: http://www.hobirecords.com/yandere6/

Yandere Heaven is a series in which you (the listener) become the object of affection of two rather dangerous characters. In the beginning things seem ok, but then their love becomes obsessive.This time you are loved by your step brother Tokudaiji Katsumi (CV: Majima Junji) and your younger brother Ayumu (CV: Abe Atsushi). As always there are two possible endings; one for Kasumi and one for Ayumu.

-obligatory warning that yandere might not be for everyone-

When you were young your parents died in an accident, and you were left alone with Ayumu. Your uncle eventually takes you in, and so you start living in their house and gain Katsumi as your step brother. Ten years later things seem to be fine, until your uncle tells you that he prepared an omiai (arranged marriage) for you. Of course Katsumi and Ayumu both object to this, but you seem to feel obliged to accept it. Funny little detail is that the omiai is so that you can marry either one of the Saionji brothers.

To get your mind of things Katsumi takes you on a drive, which is when Ayumu is over attachment to you really starts to show. He texts you and when you don't answer in 5min starts to call and says that he will come to you (he is tracking your cellphone). Eventually Katsumi takes the phone and turns it off. When you return later that night Ayumu is angry with you because you let your guard down around Katsumi, and eventually drags you with him out of the house.

He takes you to your old house, apparently he somehow convinced his classmate Yamashina Makoto to buy it for him. Katsumi just sends a servant to keep an eye on you, although he also seems to have bugged you as he is somehow listening in on your conversation with Ayumu. The next day it is obvious that Ayumu just plans on living here together and not letting you out of the house, but Katsumi crashes the party by telling you that your uncle is continuing with the omiai and that you need to get out of here. He even offers to take both you and Ayumu with him so that you can at least escape for now. This is where you will have to choose one of them.

In the review for vol.5 I was saying that the yandere level was much more subdued than before. This time it is almost absent if you compare it with the other CDs. Ayumu has more of an incredible siscon than that he is yandere, although he is still the most yandere of the two. Katsumi obviously has the mindset, but he never goes completely yandere on you. He is always calm and kind, the only time his yandere personality shows through his mask it is only for one or two sentences.

The endings this time just didn't work for me. Fine Katsumi has you locked up and gives you a drug that you can use either to kill yourself or him (or do nothing with it), but he is still calm and intends to slowly tell you about all the feelings he has for you. If you wouldn't have been locked up in a room without windows it would have almost been sane.

Ayumu his ending bothered me to no end though. For some reason Katsumi has just disappeared into nowhere. Makoto of all people knew where you were, even kindly handed Ayumu the key to the room where you were locked up. While Ayumu is sufficiently yandere in the sense that he want to commit a double suicide so that you can be together forever, the rest of it makes no sense at all.

The animate tokuten CD probably enraged me even more. There is no trace of yandere to be found anywhere. You could have just as well have been happily living together judging from that scenario. Katsumi and Ayumu seem to have lost all animosity against each other (although Katsumi never seemed to really dislike Ayumu). The tokuten for the previous CD were a little extreme, but this was just too much fluff and no yandere.

I did think that Katsumi was a very interesting character though. In fact, he seems to be incredibly charming. His attitude also shows that he doesn't see Ayumu as a threat. He lets Ayumu take you away, knowing that he'll be able to find you again anyway. He even offers to take Ayumu with you while running away, so he must have thought that it would be no problem to get rid of him later on or that taking him along doesn't pose a threat to his plans. The way he seems the handle all of this with ease and a certain grace was interesting. I just would have loved to see him go insane when pushed to the limit.

This is very hard to say about a series that I love, but I didn't like this CD. While the basics are there it just doesn't reach the levels of the previous entries to the series. I suppose I just prefer my yanderes more insane. On the other hand, if you were curious about this series I would start with this CD.


Drama Recommendations

a while ago an anon asked me whether I could recommend a few drama CD's. The urge to just recommend everything (minus a few) is incredibly large, but I took a while to go through everything that I've listened to so far and made a list of things that I can really recommend.

So lets start with the series:

Hougen Renai
What I love most about this series is that it use all kinds of different dialects, and that the heroine has a voice. Each CD has two characters, each with their own dialect. The concept in each CD is that the heroine (who speaks standard Japanese) travels somewhere for work and meets a local guy there.

The romance in this series develops pretty naturally, and thanks to the fact that the heroine has a voice it allows for a bit more complicated scenario's. Some dialects might be a bit tricky to understand in the beginning, but it is definitely fun to listen to. I still check the official site every so often, secretly hoping that they will continue some day.

My favourite entries to this series are probably vol.1 and vol.4, although I really loved the Niigata story (voiced by Hirakawa Daisuke) as well.

Oujisama (warai)
This is seriously one of the funniest series I know. I think it started as a spin-off series of Meisaku Bungaku (warai), but by now it has spin-off CDs of it's own. The CDs tell various fairytales from the perspective of the prince, while their personalities are turned into something completely different and usually they have hilarious quirks.

The first two CDs each had three princes, each having their own unrelated story and a final 'zadankai' track in which all three of them have a drink and have some (hilarious) conversation. In the later CDs one new prince was introduced, while characters from earlier CDs act as supporting cast. The series is getting longer and longer but it is still as hilarious as in the beginning. They've started using running gags, and frequently mention that they know they are in a drama CD series (fourth wall, what fourth wall?).

Shirayuki (Snow White), Cinderella, and Ibara (Sleeping Beauty) are probably my favourite characters in the series. There is no way I can choose a favourite CD though, they are all brilliant.

Are you Alice?
In Are you Alice? a male Alice wanders into wonderland and is subsequently involved in 'the game to kill the white rabbit'. The main story is told in three drama CDs -Drink me, Check Mate, and Call me- but there are several expansions to the story and an incredible amount of tokuten (bonus) mini drama's.

The main story is rather dark, and switches between being serious and ironic humour. Ninomiya Ai her ability to write sarcasm into almost any situation is one of the main charms of this series, though it also has a very good story. Don't expect everything to be clearly explained though, this series leaves it up to you to connect many of the dots.

The unbirthday series expands on the original story by telling the background of several of the characters. While chronologically mosty taking place before the original story you will need to know the story or you will miss out on a lot of things. Like the original series, this is dark and more serious.

The Tea Party side dramas are less serious and more comical, depicting a few events during Alice his stay in wonderland. One of the charms of this series are the tokuten CDs though; they are mostly complete crack. The whole cast acts out of character - or the entire setting is changed- and the dialogue is often a chain of witty comments, sarcasm, and puns. There are more serious tokuten CDs as well, but most of them are completely hilarious.

This is the series that got me hooked on drama CDs, it all started with this. It is also the cause for my incredible Sakurai bias. Only recommended for people that like dark fairytales or darker stories, and don't mind doing a bit of thinking to figure out what is going on exactly on.

Momo&Grapes Men's Only
While the individual CDs in this series have nothing to do with each other, all of the ones I listened to were very interesting and all of them were very good adaptions of the original story.

As you can guess by the title all of the seiyuu in each CD are all male, yet they did stories like Alice in Wonderland, A Little Princess, and even one based on a novel published by Tiara Bunko (a publisher that specializes in candlelight novels). It takes a little while to get used to, but after a few minutes you are completely used to the voices and it never felt unnatural. It is almost a crime how cute some of these heroines sound.

Most -if not all- of them are also very faithful adaptions of the original stories. They stick close to the originals without taking too much liberty or skipping things. The voice acting is always incredible, and if you ask me these are some of the best drama CD adaptions ever.

The stories that they did are Romeo and Juliet,  The Rose of Versailles (series), Little Women, Beauty and the Beast, Ribon no Kishi, Bluebeard, Alice in Wonderland, Oboreru hodo Hana wo ageru, and a Little Princess.

Fushigi Koubou Shoukougun
ふしぎ工房症候群 (fushigi koubou shoukougun) translates into something like 'mysterious workshop syndrome'. The mysterious workshop in the title is what binds all of the stories in this series together. The shop can only be found by someone who is lost and really needs it, and is run by an old man, who sells 'happiness'

Each story is told by a (high profile) voice actor who both tells the story and acts out certain characters. The story is told from the perspective of the main character, and mostly centers on that person his thoughts. In each story the main character is going through a troubled period or trauma, and the mysterious workshop becomes a turning point in their lives.

The story is told from the perspective of the main character, so you hear their thoughts and feelings. The series is written really, really well, and each story is a very emotional one. I cried more than once listening to this series. While dealing with very emotional topics, the message is always "after rain comes sunshine" and that if you are willing to try you'll be able to find happiness, even though it might be different from what you expect. This doesn't mean every story has a happy end though, but the main character always resolves to move forward, and that emotional journey is what makes this series so special. That they manage to do this in every single CD without making it feel corny only shows how well written it is (and how good the seiyuu are).

What is interesting in that none of the characters in this series have a name. Everyone is always referred to as "he:", "she" "that guy" etc. The main character is also always referred to simply as "me" (although all of the main characters are male, with the exception of the last few stories). Hearing a seiyuu do different roles in one story is also interesting, and you can hear the amazing voice range that most of them have.

Several of the stories have been turned into normal drama CDs, with sepparate actors for each character. While these are all very good as well, the original series had more emotional impact in my opinion.

"Hitoribochi no Tanjoubi", "Christmas no Dekikoto", "Saigo no Negai" and "Yami" are some of my own favourites, but to be honest all of them are incredibly good.

Kannou Mukashi Banashi
One of the first series to spread the use of the dummy head mic, each CD in this series has several seiyuu telling well known stories and/or fairytales in a slightly different way. The stories are faithful to their originals, but somewhere halfway through the wording usually slips into double wording, combine that with the dummy head mic and the result can be very eroi.

Each CD has a theme for all of the stories: Japanese folklore, Andersen fairytales, Kaidan (horror), Grimm Fairytales, Greek Myths, Sengoku period, and finally Japanese folklore again. And of course the Romeo and Julliet special story.

In the first few the amount of ero wasn't that much, but it increases with the later CDs. It never reaches the amount of ero of several other series that focus on that though. Each CD has three stories told by sepparate seiyuu, and one story done by everyone. The introductions done by Inoue Kazuhiko are also on of the selling points. In each CD he tests whether your earphones/headphones are working properly, with suitably questionable wording.

The slight ero/ doki doki factor is of course the focus of this series, but besides that the stories are all simply done very well. The voice acting is good, the way they tell it interesting, and they manage to keep close to the originals (except maybe in the Sengoku one, in which everything but the historical data is pure fiction)

My own favourite is vol.3 - the horror one. The mix between horror and semi-ero is an interesting one. Although the scare factor of the dummy head mic left the larger impression (even though it is nothing compared to Kurayamigatari)

Double Score
This is still a new series and not even all CDs are out yet, and against all odds I am loving it. The CDs tie in with a series of otome games with the same title, and the concept is that age doesn't matter when it comes to love. All of the guys in the series are older (28 or older) while the heroine is 17.

I didn't like the setting and was completely uninterested until I heard some of the preview tracks. Each CD features one of the guys as your boyfriend, along with a sub-character. The scenes between these two characters are what made the series for me. Their conversation are often so hilarious that I can't help but love it.

Other than that I think the use of sound effects is done pretty good in this series (and the use of the dummy head mic) and most of the situation parts (where your boyfriend talks directly to you) are done pretty OK as well, without him repeating too much of what you are supposedly saying. Some of the parts together are pure fanservice in terms of sweet talk and kissing though.

 And then there are a few single CDs that I'd like to recommend:

Don't cry girl
This is the story of a girl named Taeko, who for several silly reasons has to start living with a firend of her parents. The only problem is that the guy in question , Masuda, is kind of an idiot and likes to walk around naked at home. All the time. To make things worse his best friend Jinnai is a pervert, and Taeko her own two best friends are oblivious to their weird actions.

This is a horror story that uses the dummy head mic, and the effect is chilling. The setting is that you are hunted by something and visit a certain story teller in order to solve that problem. He tells you two stories: your own story and a very similar one.

The dummy head mic is used with great effect to scare you. In various ways. I'm not good with horror to begin with, but I've listened to a few horror stories and this one is definitely in  the top ranks when it comes to being scary.

Besides that, the entire CD is voiced by Tsuda Kenjirou, who voices several very different roles. Every role sounds completely different though, and I can't help but be amazed by such vocal versatility.

Akogare no situation CD 01- Shikararetai
I can't recommend the entire series because later entries are more average, but the first one is pure gold. While this is a situation CD, don't expect many sweet lines, instead the character spends most of his time reprimanding you for everything that you do. Literally everything.

Of course the entire setting is light hearted so the end result is more comical than anything else. Morita Masakazu did this CD with so much energy, it is really amazing. I really like this CD, and I just want to recommend it to everyone.

While the setting is really different, it is somehow very similar to the above one (even having the same seiyuu). In Toubousha you are more or less kidnapped by someone who is on the run. But it turns out soon enough that he isn't entirely bad and doesn't exactly know what to do with the situation either. Which results into a similar kind of commenting on and complaining about almost everything that you do and say.

While the beginning of the CD was more thriller orientated, the middle part is far more comical. This was something that I really didn't expect, but loved anyway. However the CD also has a bad end option, and prepare the tissues when you plan on listening to that.The fact that it has more of a story than the Shikararetai CD makes it very different, so I can recommend this as well. Did I also mention it is entirely recorded with the dummy head mic?

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

These are my recommendations, I guess?
Haha, it is really difficult to choose from so many interesting concepts. In the end I decided think about which series I would be most excited about if a new CD would be announced.

If you think it weird that several big name series (Shuukan Soine, Honeymoon, anything by Honey Bee) is missing from this list: of course those are great series as well. These are just my personal favourites (and Shuukan Soine was very close to getting on the list, but I can't keep adding things).

Some people might also know that I'm a Yandere Heaven fan, so why isn't that on the list? Basically because I made this list of recommendations for everyone, and something like Yandere Heaven isn't for everyone to enjoy. I'm happy to see a lot of equally twisted people other fans here and on tumblr, but unless you know what yandere is (and love it) that series is probably something you should stay away from. (But everyone that is now intrigued is of course encouraged to give it a try).

These are my favourites, but if anyone is looking for further recommendations just leave a comment. If you give me examples of things you like (series, seiyuu, character types, etc) I'll try my best to recommend other things! Of course, other people are also welcome to give their recommendations :)


Shinsengumi Mokuhiroku Wasurenagusa Vol.1 Saitou Hajime

新撰組黙秘録勿忘草 第壱巻 斎藤 一

Company: Rejet
Based on: Shinsengumi
Released: 2012.07.25
Official site: http://rejetweb.jp/wasurenagusa/

Shinsengumi Mokuhiroku Wasurenagua (after this simply 'wasurenagusa') is a series based on several historically famous people within the shinsengumi. The concept of the CDs is "what if I could have been there (and fall in love with one of them)". So while they are based on historical people, the rest is all fiction. The series uses the dummy head mic for several scenes. The first CD has Saito Hajime (CV: Takahashi Naozumi).

The first thing that surprised me is that the drama is recorded on two discs. So it is long: about 90min (and an 8min freetalk). I think this is the first time I've seen a situation CD recorded on two discs.

The story begins during the Ikedaya Incident. Saitou was patrolling the streets when he finds you. You parents have been killed by several ronin who are involved in the incident. Saitou quickly finishes them off and notices that your are injured, so he orders several subordinates to take you to the shinsengumi headquarters and tend to your injuries.

You stay there as a servant (judging from what he calls you, you are mostly doing kitchen work) and while he does recognise you he mostly acts cold towards you. He notices you are watching him from the shadows while he is training, and this only causes him to get even more irritated with you. Eventually you confess that you want him to teach you how to use a sword. At first he declines, saying that a woman shouldn't be holding a sword and that you will only get yourself killed if you try to get revenge for the death of your parents, but eventually he agrees. Although he only teaches you techniques for protecting yourself.

This continues for a while, and he is quite strict and obviously still doesn't really care about you, but eventually he becomes a bit milder towards you. The first time he actually shows some affection is when he is ordered to accompany you into town (you have been working hard and this is a kind of reward, but obviously you can't be on the streets alone so you need someone to accompany you). This is also a slightly amusing scene, as you basically go shopping with him and he acts like a prototype boyfriend-that-doesn't-want-to-shop. On the way back he tells you that he will have to leave on a mission soon, and you nearly start crying so he hugs you to calm down.

The next you are sent out on an errand alone, and return very late. He first scolds you for not being on time for your training and making him wait in the rain, but it turns out soon enough that he was simply worried that you wouldn't come back to him. Which is when he kisses you, which develops into to more and basically continues to a point where I started to wonder when the fade-out was going to come.

The final track is him saying goodbye to you when he leaves, telling you that he hopes to return to you so that you can be together some day. This is probably the cruellest part of this CD (and series), because most of the shinsengumi members don't exactly get to live a long and happy life.

The pacing in this CD was done very well - it really takes a while before Saitou warms up to you, although I have to admit that he still seems a bit cold even then thanks to his not so talkative attitude. But from his actions is does show that he is starting to like you. Of course the CD has the advantage that it is pretty long, so they had plenty of time for development as well. Although technically the larger part of the second CD is used for all the, erm, intimate moments of the story.

I found the background music and especially sounds very interesting. The time of day is mostly noticeable though this: the sound of crickets at night, or the kind of sounds you hear in the morning. It also rains a couple of times. The first time it rains it isn't of any importance to the story, but it somehow made me feel like this is an actual world, where things unrelated to the story also happen. My only regret is that I think that they could have used the -absolutely gorgeous- theme music better in the last track. If they would have played most of it after the goodbye (instead of during) I think the effect would have been much greater.

While I am not much of a Shinsengumi fan (and had to look up most of the background information) it was a good CD. You don't need to know the background, but knowing it certainly adds some depth (and a whole lot of heartbreak) to the story.

Takahashi Naozumi sounds very different during his freetalk (he sounds so cute). He mentions that he is a bit like Saitou in the scene where he takes you shopping (again, cute). He talks a bit about the shinsengumi and the dummy head mic but all I can think during the entire recording is "so cute!". Which only led to more suprise when I googled him, because he is much older than I thought.

Despite it actually being an 1.5hours it never felt a really long, which only shows that they did the pacing right. Personally I am not much of an ero fan, but it never became too much so I was fine with it. Somehow I expected more heartbreak, but looking at the historical facts there is plenty of room for that in other entries in the series.


Diabolik Lovers Versus 1 - Ayato vs Shuu


Company: Rejet
Based on: Original
Released: 2012.08.29
Official site: http://rejetweb.jp/dialover/versus.html

Diabolik Lovers is a series that leaves you at the mercy of sadistic vampires. The project features drama CD's, radio broadcasts on NicoNico Live, and a PSP game by Otomate. The drama CD's are the first to be released together with the radio broadcasts. Originally there were just 6 drama CDs announced, but Rejet managed to squeeze in 3 more CD releases before the game: Diabolik Lovers Versus, where you are left in the hands of two vampires at the same time.

The first Versus CD has Ayato (CV: Midorikawa Hikaru) and Shuu (CV: Toriumi Kousuke). They were having a fight over when you blood tastes better - when you are scared or when you are feeling pleasure. In the end, they decided to test it out on you. That is the explanation you get when you wake up in chains.

Shuu is the first to try out his ideas. He threatens you with all kinds of things, only words at first but a rather familiar knife comes into play as well. To keep things short: Shuu uses the knife to first cut and rip off your clothes, then proceeds threatening and cutting you with it while drinking your blood.

While he still seems to be in the middle of things Ayato interrupts him saying that he took long enough. Shuu thinks your blood is plenty tasty at the moment so he lets Ayato drink it, who complains that it is far to bitter. So now it is Ayato his turn to play with you.

After Shuu his constant threats Ayato almost seems... gentle. (Considering how scared I was of him in his own CD, I never thought I would say that). It doesn't take him long before he is doing some pretty awful things to you as well though, although this time the point is to make you feel pleasure.

Of course Shuu interrupts him again, and after drinking a bit of your blood he complaints that it is now to sweet. The two of them almost start fighting for real when they get distracted by you, so in the end this turns into a blood drinking threesome. Ayato uses the same -probably aphrodisiac- potion on you that he used in his own CD, and by the end you are practically begging them to both drink your blood at the same time.

I forgot how scary and ruthless this series can be. And they seem to have doubled everything from the terror to the ero. Or maybe even tripled it. It is also very long: Almost 75 minutes. Which means that you are being bullied, bitten, threatened, and everything by two vampires for more than an hour. To be honest, it was kind of exhausting to listen to. In the beginning I was still going "should not want" and resisting while listening, but halfway through that became so tiring that I gave up and just listened to whatever they were doing to me.

Just to clarify, there is still no sign of any affection in this CD, and the level of ero is probably equal of even more than in Kannou Jikan. The only difference is that your life is also in danger in this CD. Which reminds me, they were drinking your blood for over an hour, shouldn't you be starting to get blood loss problems by the end?

It certainly lives up to the series its reputation. It is probably up to the listener whether that this do-S zero affection is to your tastes or not. Even if you liked the previous instalments; don't think you can handle this. It will  be more than you expected. Just try not to think to hard about the actual situation that you are in.


Key Releases - September

Here are the key releases for this month, Titles in bold are the ones I'm personally interested in.

2012.09.05 Amnesia Character CD Ukyou & Orion
2012.09.05 Fujoshi no Escort 3 Akagi & Aoi
2012.09.05 Ijin Idol Project RekiSing♪ 1
2012.09.05 Kimikare ~Shingakki~ Mini Drama CD+α
2012.09.05 Nego Danshi Vol.10
2012.09.07 Trinity Seven 7nin no Mashotsukai
2012.09.07 Waratte! Hokamura-san
2012.09.09 Drama CD ZONE-00 Geki-III
2012.09.12 Fuse Kemono to Hagane no Ryoukiroku
2012.09.12 Heartful Kareshi Vol.2
2012.09.12 Shinobazu Seven 01. Subaru
2012.09.12 The Mousouryoku Vol.1
2012.09.12 Valkure Romance Shoujo Kishi Monogatari Vol.2
2012.09.13 Drama CD Puyo Puyo
2012.09.14 Double Score ~Baby's Breath~
2012.09.15 Oujisama Ouritsu Gakuen Vol.7 Aladdin
2012.09.19 THE IDOLM@STER No Make!
2012.09.23 Shitsuji no Kare ~ Shiro Route
2012.09.23 Shitsuji no Kare ~ Kuro Route
2012.09.26 100manin no Harukanaru Toki no Naka de
2012.09.26 Aishite Ageru Vol.3
2012.09.26 Anata ga Ofuro de Noboseru Vol.7 - Arima Onsen
2012.09.26 Arcana Famiglia haracter CD Guida Regalo - Jolly
2012.09.26 Arcana Famiglia haracter CD Guida Regalo - Dante
2012.09.26 Akaya Akashi ya Ayakashi no 2
2012.09.26 Bears Market
2012.09.26 Brave 10 Drama CD Vol.3
2012.09.26 Diabolik Lovers Versus Vol.2 Raito vs. Subaru
2012.09.26 Jinrou -Chaotic Time-
2012.09.26 Juushin Kuusou Otogi Zoushi Vol.3
2012.09.26 Kaitou Tenshi Twin Angel Vol.4
2012.09.26 Koi Koi Vol.4
2012.09.26 Kyoukaisenjou no Horizon HR
2012.09.26 Mahoutsukai no Hako Starlit Marmalade
2012.09.26 Meiji Tokyo Renhou Vol.5
2012.09.26 Musou Oroshi Variety CD
2012.09.26 Ojisama Senka Vol.6 Escape to the Future
2012.09.26 Raika Days
2012.09.26 Robotics;Notes Drama CD
2012.09.26 Scratch!! Disc 2
2012.09.26 Shinsengumi Mokuhiroku Wasurenagusa - Kondo Isami
2012.09.26 Steins Gate Anthology Drama CD II
2012.09.26 Tales of Xillia Drama CD Vol.1
2012.09.26 Tales of Graces 2012 Summer Drama CD
2012.09.26 Tokyo Yamanote Boys Secret 3
2012.09.26 Zero no Kiseki Vol.2 ~Kin no Taiyou, Gin no Tsuki~
2012.09.26 Zero no Kiseki Vol.3 ~Crossbell Souritsu Kinensai~
2012.09.28 10nen Hatsukoi - Ikuno Ryouta
2012.09.28 Arcana Famiglia Festa Regalo CD La Dolce Vita
2012.09.28 Double Score ~Lily of the Valley~
2012.09.28 Hitsuji de Oyasumi Vol.26
2012.09.28 Honeymoon Vol.8 Aizawa Reio
2012.09 28 Issho ni Cooking - Enren Aite ha Pianist
2012.09.28 Issho ni Cooking - Cool Beauty na Maid
2012.09.28 Issho ni Gohan a la Carte - Daito Natsu
2012.09.28 Joshuseki Kareshi Vol.2
2012.09.28 Kareshi Igai 4
2012.09.28 Parukou Engekibu
2012.09.28 Virus School Kanbyou Hen Vol.3

I love the Tales of games and Graces was one of my favourites (plus, it has Sakurai!) so I have to get that. And there is no way I can ignore an Xillia CD with the sequel being released in a few months. Osananajimi no Kare was an interesting concept, so I'm secretly expecting a lot from Shitsuji no Kare. Also *cough*yandere*cough*.

Heartful Kareshi is still my otome game crack supply, so of course I will be getting that too.


Weekly News Post

A news post less than 24hours late is a news post on time~
(I seriously need to improve on posting this on time...)

Oujisama (warai) series
A scene from the beginning of the first date CD can be read on the official site. Besides the fact that it is going to be non-serious and hilarious as always we don't get much wiser though. Snow White, Rapunzel, and Cinderella meet up and talk a bit about the other characters before Snow White want to move ahead with the scenario, only to discover that the other two didn't read it.

Once again they are being blatantly obvious about it that the characters know this is a CD series. Also, I am taking Snow White his statement "that he will meet him [the prince from Swan Lake] soon enough" as a confirmation that there will be more CDs.

Of course there are tokuten CDs as well. Buy all three Date CDs and you can apply for a bonus CD called "Ojisama darake no uchiage paatii - hanseikai hen" ("a celebration party full of princes - review meeting chapter"). Buy all three at Animate and you can get the animate bonus as well: another bonus CD called "Ojisama darake no uchiage paatii - botsu deeto hen" ("a celebration party full of princes - rejected dates chapter").

Penguin Enishi
It has been a while since there was any news for this series. Vol.3 has been announced and is titled "天狗草子" (Tenguu zoushi). A young man who calls himself a tengu shows up at the police station where Ten works, claiming that an important scroll has been stolen. Eventually Enishi becomes the main suspect for this. I am guessing that both the title and the missing scroll refer to the Tengu-zoushi emaki, a scroll that pictures various priets as Tengu.