I recently switched from using machine translators to using Mecab and Jparser to play eroge. As you can imagine, this method of playing is more difficult. However I feel that I get more out of playing eroge this way and I intend to keep using this method. I intend to add a small section to my ATLAS guide to cover this play method after I have used it a bit more. The reason I mention this is because Walkure Romanze is the second game I played using this ‘no machine translators’ method. As a side note, the first game I played was Kurano-kunchi no Futago Jijou and the third game was Majikoi A-1.
Anyway fuzzy hobo was pretty passionate about writing something for Walkure Romanze, so I decided to write this joint post with him. To prevent confusion:
Black text – me (Aero)
Red text – me (Aero)
Green text – Fuzzy
Fuzzy provided all the images that are in this post, along with the accompanying comments that appear when you hover your mouse over them. Along with this, Fuzzy has kindly written up a summary of the jousting rules which I’m sure that potential players of the game will find useful. It can be found at the end of this post.
Greetings all! I’m a long time reader of this blog and other English eroge blogs. When Aero expressed an interest in Walkure Romanze, I “gently” encouraged him to try the game. I still use ATLAS, but Japanese proficiency-wise, I suppose my level is at what Aero’s was before he made the non-ATLAS jump. Anyways, whether I contribute more reviews to this blog in the future is up to Aedes and Aero. So let’s get the show on the road!
The protagonist of the story, Takahiro, studies at a prestigious academy where jousting is the main sport. Takahiro was once a promising knight, but he retired from jousting due to a past incident. Now he is a begleiter, something like a knight’s assistant/advisor, although he idles the days away with his friends and horseback riding. The new school year begins and he is soon approached by two female knights requesting him to be their begleiter for the upcoming annual tournament. One is Noel, a knight with a mysterious background; the other is Celia, the student council chairman and the current school champion who has won 2 years in a row. As he ponders these requests, Takahiro’s childhood friend, Mio, somehow ends up being forced into a jousting duel. Wanting to help out his friend, Takahiro decides to become Mio’s temporary begleiter.
The common route introduces the main and supporting cast briefly before it focuses on Mio’s sudden duel. In preparation, Takahiro teaches Mio the basics of jousting and knighthood. You also learn the rules of jousting during the training and actual matches, which are explained in quite a bit of detail. Although the rules can be confusing, the characters always explain which side is winning during the matches. Again, a summary of the jousting rules can be found at the end of this review.
Anyways, the common route can feel tedious at times since it focuses on Mio’s jousting duel more so than character interactions. You get a feel for the characters’ personalities, but you don’t learn much to do with the characters. Not great, but it does the job.
I thought the common route was decent, but short and left you wanting more character banter than jousting. Then again, jousting is an obscure sport, so if they DON’T explain it we’ll have no clue what’s going on. How much you will enjoy the jousting depends on if you like sports anime/manga. If you think the jousting is uninteresting or too difficult to understand, you might feel the romance and other interactions are insufficient. Personally, I like the mixture of sports, romance, and medieval stuff even if it’s unbalanced at times.
Why is it that they still wear SKIRTS when they’re jousting? Not that I’m complaining or anything =p
When has practicality triumphed over
sex aesthetics in any character design? Japanese love that zettai ryouiki…even in armor.
I have a feeling it’s just because they wanted an H-scene in there where the heroine is wearing the armor.
Well the artist Komori Kei has said he’s obsessed with armor. Add in modern ojou-sama/nobility stuff and you get Walkure Romanze.
Well whatever it is I like it ^^.
The individual routes are much longer than the common route and they also deviate significantly in quality. I found that the routes which explained more about the backstory of the characters were generally better than those that didn’t. In my opinion, EVERY route had insufficient development leading up to the confession scene, which made most of them feel odd. However, the romantic development that occurs after the confession scenes is generally quite solid, in terms of quality and quantity. There are a few date scenes spread out through the routes and H-scenes miraculously do NOT occur right after confession scenes.
Content-wise, all the routes are a mix of training, romance, heroine specific drama, and conclude with the jousting tournament followed by an epilogue. I also agree that the build-up to confession was rushed in almost all the routes, but I was satisfied with the romantic developments afterwards. Mixing sports and romance is always tricky to execute. Although Ricotta made a worthy effort in balancing the two, the game could have had more romance and character development in the beginning. But, yeah, some routes aren’t worth your time while others MAKE the game.
Unlike the useless protagonist of Princess Lover, Takahiro breaks out of the typical eroge protagonist mold since he is not really dense, kind, or hetare. While Takahiro seems like a carefree slacker at first, when motivated, he’s prudent, talented, and quite passionate. Takahiro is very knowledgeable about jousting; as a begleiter, he’s a hybrid coach, caretaker, tactician, and later lover for the heroine. He also has an interesting backstory that is fully explained only in the Celia route while the others get bits and pieces.
I’m a little surprised that you FINISHED Princess Lover; from what I hear, it’s basically just tons and tons of H.
That’s exaggerating, no more ero than this game. Although the ero was the best part of Princess Lover…Komori Kei’s art forgives a lot. Ricotta did switch writers for WR, which was for the best.
After the duel Mio shows a desire to keep training as a knight and to participate in the annual tournament. Mio’s route was the same as watching the underdog of a sport climbing up to the top through the help of the most BS miracles that could ever exist. The lack of backstory in this route really baffled me; seeing as they’re childhood friends, I expected a ton of it. Furthermore, given that caring osananajimi status, Mio’s jump from friend to lover lacked impact. The romance was rather plain and the jousting was pretty unbelievable. This was easily the worst route of the game. Lastly, Mio’s short hair is a REAL turn off. Honestly, if the makers had kept her hair long I would have liked the route a bit more.
Ricotta seriously trolls you by having Mio cut her hair at the end of the common route; unfortunately, I don’t think long hair could even redeem the stupidity of the Mio route. The game has irritating double standards when it comes to Mio. While the other heroine routes have believable and more interesting struggles, everything in Mio’s route is solved with ~MAGICAL PLOT~ and a nonsensical ending to boot. Despite her awesome VA (Ai Shimizu) and her character having some good moe and dere moments, the dull romance and unbelievable story makes Mio’s route avoidable and a waste of potential.
At the very least long hair would’ve made me more into the H-scenes.
I didn’t talk about Lisa in the introduction because she was difficult to throw in there. Lisa is the tsundere first year jousting prodigy who has never lost a match. She does not want a begleiter and believes that they serve no real purpose. Her best friend, Fiona, shares these thoughts. Naturally, the route focuses on Takahiro and friends trying to make her rethink her opinion on begleiters. Betrayal serves to be the other major factor of this route and boy did it sure piss me off. The romance in this route is weird because there’s a complete 180 from tsun to dere which basically happens overnight.
I counted more 180s than that! There were some cringeworthy moments in Lisa’s route, but they didn’t bother me as much since it did lead to character progression. Fiona is still an awful character. Then again, I’m not crazy about Lisa’s archetype so I never felt invested in her route. Her character slightly changes in the other routes anyway, minus the melodrama. Probably the only heroine that felt like a throw-in in order to appeal to Aedes.
White Hair, red eyes, and twintails; she has Aedes written all over her.
AND the same VA as a certain twincester plastered on the blog’s front page…the resemblance is almost
Despite being an ojou-sama, Noel has a very cheeky personality–the type I love. Anyways from the beginning, Noel claims that she’s aiming to win the tournament. You later find the reason behind her desire to win has to do with her sick younger sister Mireille. The reason itself isn’t very surprising, but I found just her HAVING a reason to want to win was better than other knights who want to win for the sake of…winning. Given the whole nobility status, it’s not odd to see an annoying father figure that talks about arranged marriages in the route. At one point these issues escalate, however they never really develop into much and I feel that they were just trying to add in some pointless drama. The love between the two is solid and I think Noel is the only heroine in the game to show jealousy, which really appealed to me.
Noel’s route is Princess Lover + jousting. Compared to their past game, Ricotta’s doing you a favor, Aero, by downplaying the ojou-sama/nobility melodrama. Princess Lover was LOADED with it. While I do like Noel and her sister, I felt her route depended too much on Mireille driving the action rather than the dynamics of Takahiro’s and Noel’s relationship. She even blatantly uses the imouto lure to hook Takahiro! Nevertheless, Noel’s capricious, teasing, yet affectionate personality is irresistible. Despite the anticlimactic ending and relationship balance, the route was overall enjoyable.
I actually liked the imouto driving factor in this route; I found it touching. Would’ve liked to see more siscon scenes though =p.
I’m sure many of this blog’s readers agree with you, lol. The Sylvia route in Princess Lover also had an imouto factor that was good too.
Though not quite perfect, Celia’s route was pretty damn good and was easily the best route of the game. The most interesting and unique aspect of this route is that Takahiro serves not only as a begleiter, but also returns to jousting as Celia’s sparring partner. In general, Celia is a composed noble/student council chairman and a chivalrous knight. However, she shows a lot of unexpected cute and dere moments throughout her route that were priceless. Her older brother, Julianus, plays a big part in this route. Along with being one of the top jousters in the world, he was also Takahiro’s former master. As you might suspect, you learn the exact reason why Takahiro gave up jousting … unsurprisingly, Julianus has something to do with it. Overall, Celia’s route was solid and very interesting.
ALL BOW TO THE QUEEN! Not perfect, but THE reason to the play this eroge. Considering how she’s a last boss/ever present figure in the rest of the game, Celia’s route has a True End vibe (not showing my bias <_<). The Celia and Noel routes have equally great romance and character interaction for different reasons. However, the jousting, Takahiro’s involvement, and the overall scenario quality is best in the Celia route. Not to mention she’s hot, kickass, and surprisingly dere. This route is the pinnacle of what Ricotta was trying to achieve: a beautiful blend of an intriguing sport competition, romance, and how our bonds and passion for doing what we love strengthen each other.
I found this route to be very refreshing because you see the tournament from the viewpoint of the 2 year champion, which makes things a lot more interesting. Celia’s dere moments is definitely one of the major selling points of this route and they made sure to give players a lot of service ^^.
Route rankings: Celia > Noel > Lisa > Mio
Since the art in this game is fantastic, there are several eye-catching non-heroines. Foremost is Akane, the samurai girl in the Western world that should be a heroine. She’s Mio’s best friend and a knight that is serious and stubborn, but also polite and easy to tease. Akane gets completely embarrassed if she’s caught acting girly (the shame of eating cake…). She also goes into yuri mode at the mere mention of Celia.
Akane is a VERY high quality heroine and I wished that they had replaced Mio’s and Lisa’s routes with an Akane route.
Well the game was supposed to have five heroines originally. *cough* Akane *cough*
Other secondary characters I liked are Noel’s imouto Mireille, vice-chairman Reina, and Takahiro’s older cousin and caretaker, Ayako, who is also the school nurse and runs the local café. Some important secondary characters are exclusive to an individual route while other characters are fleshed out more depending on the route. Overall, the supporting cast is a decent size and quite solid. On a side note, Ricotta’s already working on the fan disk and Ayane, Bertille, and Ayako will be promoted to heroines.
I’m wondering just how much jousting will be included in the FD. While completely removing it would be impossible, I would like to see more romance and icha icha instead. Looking forward to playing the routes for Akane and Ayako. Though I find Bertille’s personality funny, she isn’t my type…especially since she has INSANELY huge boobs.
And THAT ARMOR she wears, lol. But yeah, Akane, Ayako, and after stories for the world.
I’m a huge sucker for Walkure Romanze’s CGs. With a whopping 150+ CGs (SDs included), there are plenty of high quality graphics used for jousting, romance, ero, and other key moments. Excluding excessive proportions on some females, I love Komori Kei’s character designs and the armors look gorgeous too
and unpractical. The game also has several SDCGs, drawn by Hiduki Yayoi, that were used for comedy or dere moments. Other highlights are characters having several sprites/costumes, detailed backgrounds, and some nice visual effects like falling sakura petals at key scenes. It’s no wonder that Walkure Romanze won 1st place for best graphics/cg on the 2011 Getchu rankings.
The game has 44 tracks, 4 of which are OP, ED, and 2 insert songs played at key moments in each route like [Shooting the future] with slideshow below:
The soundtrack is an unusual mixture of synthesized and instrumental music. The closest eroge comparison stylistically I can think of is Majikoi S meets G-Senjou. Whether comedy, romance, jousting, or other situations, the soundtrack has classical-like, contemporary upbeat, and hybrid pieces that are each used in almost any situation. This odd variety is refreshing compared to your average eroge BGM and complements the scenario well. The OP song [本当の勇気に変わるまで] also has several variations played throughout the game and I especially like the acoustic version. While I overall enjoyed the BGM, the majority of these tracks are more situational and mood-setting rather than replayable tunes I could listen to even if taken out of context (ex. Majikoi). Other than that, I liked the sound effects in jousting combat, the voice acting is great, and all characters have voices.
I asked Aero if I could add an
AEro section because Ricotta has always put a special effort into H-scenes, which shows since Walkure Romanze won 2nd place for best ero on the 2011 Getchu rankings. Each heroine has 1 Kissing Scene + 5 Story Scenes + 1 After Story Scene. Rather than some half-assed throw-in required to sell units, the writers tried to integrate the H-scenes to match the increasing intimacy of the relationship as the route progresses. The first scene is not even an H-scene but a kissing scene, which is a passionate make-out session…and that’s it. The eventual H-scenes are looong and have 2-5 cgs each. The dialogue is also romantic and erotic even in the kissing scenes. Add in Komori Kei’s artwork and you…yeah…it’s awesome.
I usually don’t have an H-scene section in my review, but since Fuzzy was pretty passionate about writing one, I’ll let it slide this time. However we won’t be showing any of the H-scene hawtness here and things will remain SFW. If you’re looking for NSFW content on this blog, please look through Aedes’ posts.
Overall: 70/100 (not a total)
Despite having high quality characters, the game does a big fail in two of the routes. Jousting is somewhat interesting at first, but after awhile it gets too predictable. I wished that Jousters used more creative techniques, but I guess they wanted to keep the game ‘realistic’. Not much comedy in the game, but the romance will probably be enough to keep most players going. If you intend to play this game, I suggest you skip Mio’s and Lisa’s route.
Overall: 80/100 (not a total)
While I’m a big fan of this game, I won’t deny it has flaws. Much like Natsu no Ame, Walkure Romanze has 2 amazing routes and 2 awful routes. How much you enjoy the total package depends on if you can get into the setting and the jousting. Even if you don’t like the jousting, I believe Walkure Romanze is worth playing for the Noel and Celia routes along with the great romance and high production values.
Walkure Romanze overall has good compatibility with ATLAS and other translators. The difficult parts are knowing the word begleiter (ベグライター), understanding the rules of jousting, and combat descriptions…which is where the writing is most complex. Here’s the summary of the rules:
-Each jousting match is the best of 2 out of 3 games.
-For each game, you win by being the first to score 3 points. Jousters exchange blows until someone scores at least 3 points, then that game ends and the next one begins.
-You score points by getting clean hits with a lance to: leg or arm (1 pt. each), torso/chest (2 pts.), or knocking an opponent off their horse (3 pts. = win current game).
-Performing a feather fly (i.e. clearing the opponent’s feather wing off their helmet) is considered an instant win for the entire jousting match no matter the score/games won in the match, but it is also a high risk/high reward move since you’re vulnerable doing it.
As for combat descriptions, your best hope is making sure your dictionary is up to date and that the character explanations after each exchange of blows are easier to understand. ATLAS or not, it might take a couple routes to comprehend the jousting in detail. Don’t let that discourage you from trying the game though!
A final note
Making this joint post was quite an interesting change from the ones I normally write up with Aedes. I’m quite open to the idea of doing more guest joint posts in the future where possible. Feel free to send me an email suggesting a game you’d like to do a joint post on, preferably one that I haven’t played, and we’ll decide things from there ^^.