Aero-ge Review: Otome ga Tsumugu Koi no Canvas

A big thanks to all you who voted for us in the first round of the aniblog tourney. It was very close, but somehow we managed to progress to the next round. I’m glad that we get to spread the existence of eroge to all those anime lovers out there. Please support us in the next round as well ^^.

Otome ga Tsumugu Koi no Canvas is Ensemble’s third game (excluding fandisks). I doubt many people have played their first title, Hana to Otome ni Shukufuku wo. This game had a trap protagonist in an all-girls school, but was done quite averagely.  Damatte Watashi no Muko ni Nare! diverged from the trap protagonist setting, but not for the better. This time Ensemble once again challenged the trap protagonist setting.

Company: ensemble
Game site: 乙女が紡ぐ恋のキャンバス
Release date: March 30, 2012
Links: VNDB, Getchu, Walkthrough

Shin’s sister is a famous artist who got famous from her paintings 10 years ago. However, after her original four pieces, she has yet to release any more paintings, creating figures instead. One day Shin sees a figure of his cross dressing self on TV being auctioned for lots of money. When Hatora says that she wants to do a nude figure as her next piece, Shin leaves the house for the first time in 10 years. However, he later realizes that he’s still cross dressing.

He ended up in front of the art gallery and a seemingly rich girl Rena asked why he was there so late at night. Mistaken for a student at the nearby girls-only art school Oukou Gakuen, he was taken inside to observe a bunch of paintings being brought into the gallery. Suddenly, he noticed some thieves and ended up getting taken hostage. After being saved by Rena’s bodyguard Chiharu, he thought he was free to go… but then Rena ushered him into the waiting limousine and took him to her mansion!

Rena questioned him how he had known that the paintings were fake and demanded to know his name, upon which he replied Mizuki, which was his surname. With the help of the head maid Akie, he managed to not have his identity fully blown. Then Rena presented him with a school uniform and told him that she had signed him up at Oukou Gakuen after hearing that he didn’t attend school. He will also serve as her maid. How will Shin…, no, Mizuki fare in this new setting!?

[Taken from Micchi’s blog and modified slightly]

The above basically sums up the common route. The common route is VERY short, but is quite funny and sets a good mood. The common route doesn’t have much in the way of introductions, so you end up hearing similar introductions at the start of each route. As you might expect from the short common route, the individual routes are decently long.

The art setting for this game isn’t just for show and is utilized quite a bit in each route. Though Mizuki is thrown into an all-girls school, there isn’t as much school interaction as one might expect. Most of the character interaction occurs in the dorm or in town. To great relief, there’s no stupid drama concerning Mizuki’s gender almost being revealed to the public. How Mizuki’s gender gets discovered in each route is generally done quite well.

Opening

Characters

The characters are done very nicely. They look great and have good personalities to match. Most likely you’ll find one or two that you absolutely love XD. The longer routes allow for more emphasis on individual characters, which I really liked. The all-girls school environment means that ‘yuri’ relationships are generally accepted.

It’s pretty hard to differentiate between him and her when I’m referring to Mizuki/Shin. I’ve tried to make it easy to understand. Sorry if things feel a bit off >__>.

Miyama Mizuki/Shin

Shin hasn’t left the house for 10 years so he doesn’t know much about the town. From accumulated reading and chores, he can cook and clean very well. He’s forced to cross dress as inspiration for his older sister.

Though I don’t personally think this, Mizuki is probably a good example of  the main character being hotter than the heroines.

Ootori Rena

Rena is your tsundere ojousama. She’s an art lover and a great fan of Hatora’s original works. She’s a substitute director for Oukou Gakuen and often misses school to help organize various art related events. She’s very kind and loved by many.

Rena’s route starts off with her trying to get closer to Mizuki (<= Yuri feelings starting to develop). Buckets of drama after this. Lots of the Ootori Group’s art gets stolen and there’s a takeover threat. Mizuki manages to delay the takeover, but it requires him to undertake a risky task. Hatora makes a final appearance with a shocking announcement.

The drama in this route I found too overdramatic. However, I really enjoyed the ending. Rena’s dere side and jealous made things quite funny. She also shows a lot of weakness in her route, which really pulls at your heart strings. Her first H-scene is ‘basically’ a Yuri H-scene, which I found hilarious XD.

Shishidou Chiharu Flamsteed

Chiharu is Rena’s bodyguard. She has a strong sense of justice and is very loyal. Despite her looks, she has a strong attraction to cute things. Unlike Rena, she doesn’t seem to like art and appears to avoid it when possible.

Chiharu starts off quite logically. She’s still suspicious of Mizuki and starts to monitor her(him). Rena gets tired of this and orders Chiharu to guard Mizuki. As the two get closer, Mizuki decides to train himself to help protect Chiharu. The two become a bit distant when Chiharu goes back to being Rena’s guard. Some random drama is added at the end, but it allows Mizuki to show his growth.

Chiharu’s route probably has the least story, and I found the amount of meaningless worrying to be a bit excessive. However, Chiharu’s character is super cute and there is nice character development. Also, you gotta love those eyes ^^.

Anastasia

Anastasia is the reliable senpai heroine with a very good sense of business and art. She gives off a very gentle and carefree attitude. She’s actually the older sister of Johann, who’s Mizuki’s homeroom teacher. Besides her Russian origin, little is known about her upbringing.

Shin’s identity is immediately found out by Anastasia when he bumps into her stealing a painting. It’s revealed that she is the daughter the Russian Mafia. Shin gets forced to help Anastasia with her work, through fake tears and…favors >__>. Her acts of stealing are later revealed to have deeper meaning. To end things off, Shin goes through a trial in order to stop her going back to Russia.

I’m not a fan of this kind of route. The ending was pretty satisfying, but the plot put me off a lot of the time. In her route, Anastasia first she comes off as a cutesy S senpai character, which I found annoying. However, her character is pretty good at the end.

Karasuma Shizuku                                                                                                    

Shizuku is an arrogant ojousama who gives off a very cold impression to those around her. She is Shin’s childhood friend and immediately sees through his cross dressing. She’s very smart, being one of two scholarship students at Oukou Gakuen. She works as an auctioneer for the Karasuma group.

Shizuku immediately sees through Shin’s cross dressing and decides to support him by pretending to be his lover. Rena gets annoyed and retaliates. However, their fight over Mizuki/Shin is put on hold as they team up to stop Shizuku’s mother from marrying Rena’s father. Though Shizuku says her reason to stop the marriage is because she hates Rena, it’s revealed that she her opposition has deeper meaning.

The love triangle in this route was pure gold XD, the images speak for themselves. However, the marriage thing got boring quickly. The whole thing is dragged out until basically the end of the route.

Inui Yuki

Yuki is a genius when it comes down to modern art. She is quite shy and often seen as a bit weird. She’s good at chores, but bad at school work. She is constantly seen collecting things that look like trash, but she actually uses it for her art. She’s contracted under the Karasuma group.

An event causes Yuki to end up living in the dorm as a maid. It’s revealed that Yuki is donating a large sum of money regularly to an orphanage that she volunteers at. Shin (<= in guys clothing) ends up volunteering as well. To no surprise, the orphanage plays a big role for the rest of the route.

Though I didn’t like Yuki’s character as much as Rena or Chiharu, her route was a lot more solid. Her jealous side is something to look out for. She makes it obvious that she knows that Shin is a guy, yet not being fully open about it. As you can imagine, lots of awkwardness is created by this =3.

Despite some downfalls, each route was quite enjoyable and had a decent amount comedy. The characters are all very likeable. There isn’t as much jealousy as I would have liked, but they did a decent job given the trap protagonist. Each character plays a part in each route, with the exception of Yuki. Yuki only appears as a main part in one other route besides her own.  My favorite heroines were Rena and Chiharu. I can’t decide who I like more, so I’ll leave it as a tie =3.

Graphics

I love the graphics for this game. The main character sprites are done nicely, with no inconsistencies. CGs look fantastic XD. However, the character sprites for some of the side characters feel a bit cheap, and they have too little variation. But who really cares about them =p? The graphic used to show a crowd bugged me though. It’s ugly and doesn’t match the game at all.

Sound

As usually, I don’t really care about BGMs. All I can say is that none of them ruined the mood when I was playing.

The voice acting for the game is excellent, even for side characters. Mizuki/Shin is also fully voiced, even during H-scenes. However, during H-scene Mizuki/Shin gets WAY less dialogue. There’s an option to kill off his voice if you don’t like it ^^.

System

The system for the game was generally well made. Though text speeds are limited to 5 options, I didn’t really care because I only ever use instant.

The main issue that I had with this games system is that you can’t change the screen size freely. I’m using a small laptop, so the window mode took up almost the whole screen. You can imagine how this might annoy me as an ATLAS user >__>.

Ensemble has yet to add in the feature of loading from the log.

There are 5 quick save slots, which is neat. There are also 5 auto save slots, which are pretty much useless. Auto saves occur at decision points. There are only 4 decision points and they’re at the very start of the game.

Overall

Story: 7/10
Character: 8/10
Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 8/10
System: 7/10

Overall: 80/100 (Not a total)

ATLAS: Not recommended for beginners

This is easily Ensembles most enjoyable game to date, leaving its earlier titles in the dust.

The art setting was implemented quite well and led to some interesting developments. The story is a bit boring at times, with some bits feeling dragged out and others being a bit stupid. Comedy makes up for some of this, but the characters really win you over. The graphics and voices are excellent. The H-scenes for this game were some of the best of the games I’ve played recently. A very nice game for chara-ge lovers.

My final words: I’m waiting for the fandisk =3.

50 thoughts on “Aero-ge Review: Otome ga Tsumugu Koi no Canvas

  1. Trap protag!??!! I REALLY want to play this >.< I don't know any japanese though so unless someone does a fan translation I probably can't ;_;

    • You could always give ATLAS a try ^^. Otherwise it’s the waiting game >__>

      If you don’t already know, Mangagamer is translating Otome wa Boku ni Koishiteru. This game also has a trap protag, but it’s quite a bit older.

      • From your guide it seems ATLAS requires some Japanese knowledge to adjust or for when it coughs up, so probably won’t >.>

        I loved the OtoBoku anime, hope they translate it quickly

        • If you watched a decent amount of anime, that’ll probably be enough to use ATLAS ^^. Though I’m learning japanese atm, I started using ATLAS about 4 years ago. At the time, I had absolutely NO japanese knowledge.

          However, if you do decide to give ATLAS a try, I wouldn’t recommend this as one of your first games. My ATLAS guide has a list of games that are more translation friendly.

  2. Graphics: 9/10
    I dont know…I find the CGs are pretty bad to the point that I decide not to upload any CGs onto twitter during gameply (dont think the CGs worth the trouble). The chins are too sharps and in some CGs face proportions are a bit off.

    ‘S’ + ‘Sempai’ = not touch…yeah, I didnt touch Anastasia route. i also didnt do Inui route. The other 3 routes are pretty okay. I love Rena route the best, the usual but never got old conflict of “I love you but you are a girl” conflict and that moment when the Rena found out about Mizuki real gender XD

    • oops…never mind, I thought this were written by Aedes >< and wrote this post with a lot of assumption on my mind.

      • Guess it’s just different taste in graphics. I’m a pretty simple guy when it comes to graphics, so I personally really this kind of style. Can’t remember much about dis proportioned faces in CGs, but I can agree with you a bit on the chin sharpness thing. However, after looking at some CGs from other games, the sharpness seemed about normal.

        I also loved Rena’s route. That first H-scene is hilarious =3.

  3. artwork is a step down from their past games without that person. imo. this game and that crappy one called Kimi to Eden to Ringo or what’s-it-called should swap artists

    ahhhh there should be more trap protagssssss!… **Aaeru goes diving for an AXL game**

    • Really? I thought that the artwork was better than their previous games. Though I guess that is up to personal opinion.

      I felt like seeing more trap protags so I picked up Rui Tomo. Don’t know WTF is going on atm though. The plot is all over the place.

    • Mutiny Kurehito. I was going to say props for ensemble making a game less lackluster but having a possible weaker character design (just base drawing, not characterization).

      I have to agree with Micchi on the tennis outfit thing. That’s like so flavorful my goodness. Too strong.

      Oh so strong, no wonder Rena couldn’t resist. Too strong.

      Now compared to Hanaotome this protag seemed more accepting of the concept, or rather it wasn’t infiltration purposes (no ill sister). Then again he got taken away lol.

      I have the trial still on my comp but totally forgot the game came out. This review is good. I merely wanted to inquire on that side character that looks like a maid but isn’t, has neko in her last name and starts with and A. Why? She’s among the first to discover the protag is a guy do I wanted a line scene from that.

      Other than that, oh man that tennis outfit. He surpasses that concept so well he doesn’t even need to utilize a flash or a shirt hike up, he just needs to look normal and my goodness. Too good. Overpowered. The trial has that scene, that’s all I need to see.

      • Oh geez remind me not to use a phone to type a comment. I meant to type Mutou Kurehito. I liked his character design.

        • Mutou Kurehito…yep I don’t know who that is. I don’t really pay attention to those kinda details. I just play the games.

          Everyone’s against me when it comes to the graphics of this game T_T. I feel so alone. But at least we can come to agreement that Mizuki looks hawt in that tennis outfit =3.

          You played Hanaotome? Guess in this, he’s more accepting of the cross dressing thing because he brings it on himself. Whereas, in Hanaotome, he was forced to do it. The only route I really liked from Hanaotome was Seika’s. The ending was very touching XD. Shizuru’s route was very, VERY messed up. In the psp version they remove the H-content, which is kinda her whole route >__>.

          Akie? I was gonna add in a line from that scene, but it’s over pretty quick. I think she faints after that =p.

          • Akie took it like a recipient.

            Yeah tennis outfit with pigtails and headband OP. at least Akira had several male indicators (not really).

  4. How does the game divide the routes? I’ve only played for 4 hrs but I’m getting the feeling that I’m in Rena route.

    • The same thing happened to me ^^. I was playing for a few hours thinking I was still int he common route, but it was actually Rena’s route. After leaving Rena’s route for later I found out that the stuff after the opening movie is basically individual route material. So yeah, super short common route.

    • It’s definitely harder to understand than something like lover able. Even though it’s not quite there, this TECHNICALLY has a story. The art setting makes things a little more complicated, but you should be fine if you use your imagination a bit ^^.

  5. Pingback: Eroge writer: “even if we sacrifice our private lives, we should make something that’s for the sake of the users.” « Visual Novel Aer

  6. need help here… I tried using AGTH and ITH in hooking this VN but I can’t seem to get the text out right with both. Does this game need some kind of h-code for agth so the text can be extracted properly. Both ITH and AGTH spews text with missing characters or lines in any of the available addresses they give.

  7. How is the transition from “I thought you were a girl” to knowing he is a boy? I read the trial and thought it got a pretty nice setting.

    • There’s no real drama with involved with the whole gender thing. Thinking about it, they don’t really make a big deal about it in ANY of the routes. 5 heroines, 2 of them basically know about the gender thing from the very start. The reaction of the other heroines is anything major either. The whole trap protag thing is basically just there for laughs =p

    • Haha don’t worry. That’s just a setting box that pops up when you start the game. The OK button becomes available after you change a setting. Most of the settings there don’t really matter that much.

      If you’re gonna use ATLAS, I recommend changing to window mode. The top setting changes this. It’s set to full screen by default, and you want to click ‘ウインドウモード to get window mode.

      There are three boxes at the bottom, one which is unselected (left side of the OK button). If you click the one which is currently unselected, the setting box won’t appear again when you start the game.

      • thanks for the reply ..i’m able to play it now but…. the size of window mode is too big that atlas has absolutely no room.. more like my screen is not enough for this game.. i’m only using 1064×600 notebook to play eroge.. is there really no way of making it smaller

        • Unfortunately there is no way to make the screen size smaller. I also use a laptop to play eroge, so I can see where you’re coming from. I ended up playing the game by dragging the game window so that part of it was cut off by the edge of the screen and having translation aggregator overlap some of the game window. The end result is that a lot of the game window is blocked, but you should still be able to play the game.

  8. atlas..atlas..atlas..atlas………i tried using it with Kamidori and Daiteikoku and the result was…..yeah……….bad choice for atlas

    anyways can some1 give me a list of eroges(or moeges) that is understandable with atlas?

    btw , aedes knows japanese and aero doesnt know japanese yet right?

    • Kamidori and Daiteikoku are the types of games that I would never play using ATLAS. The game play is beyond your normal mouse clicking.

      If you check out my ATLAS guide, I have a list of games there that are ATLAS friendly (still in progress).

      I can easily tell you that we’re both still learning. My Japanese isn’t as good, which is why I use ATLAS.

  9. I wouldn’t be so quick to say that OtoCanvas makes its first predecessor (HanaOto) bite the dust. They’re both traplicious, and HanaOto didn’t suffer the fallout and butchering of half its script.
    If you can see past the script erasures and shortening, Shizuku’s route was meant to be FINALBOSS and provide the final revelation about Shin from all the four other routes. She was meant to be much darker than this…
    Yuki’s line showed us that potentially, this work could’ve been much more serious than now.

    And regarding content/language level: This work quotes a lot on Rembrandt and other Dutch golden-era art (Ootori Rena’s route especially, since that is her specialty), while bits on museum curatorial knowledge and American modern art are cited. That’s the kind of level to expect language-wise.

    • I don’t see how OtoCanvas having script taken out is a bad thing. It doesn’t change the fact that the routes in HanaOto were a lot weaker in terms of character development and overall enjoyment. At least that’s how I feel about the two. Most of the routes in HanaOto I found a load of BS.

      I’m not really a person who bothers with stuff behind an eroge (seiyuu, script writers etc) . All I do is play the game. Whether or not Shizuku’s route was suppose to be better or worse than it was isn’t really much concern to me. I played the game and that’s all there is to it.

      Your Japanese is clearly miles above mine. Being an ATLAS user, I didn’t pay much attention to all the technical art terminology used in the game. I still found the game enjoyable though.

  10. I’m sort of having problems with the setting box thing, I just downloaded the game btw. Whenever I open the app to start the game the box appears, I’ve already clicked window mode and other stuff yet I just can’t seem to get the “OK” box available. I tried clicking random stuff but yet I still can’t play the game.

    I really wanted to play this game, I- I waited for a whole day! I don’t want to get disappointed again like what happened when I downloaded OtoBoku. Q^Q Hope you can provide an answer to my problem, I would be really grateful. :)

    • Could you give me an image or images of what you’re seeing? Will make helping you a lot easier because I don’t currently have the game installed.

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