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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.
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.
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 >__>.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ^^.
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: 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.