Fuzzy here again! I summoned the motivation to contribute another review. I played most of Mottoane a few months back, but I mulled over whether I should review it…mainly over the futility of this review. With the current trends in eroge and anime, imoutos have captivated the hearts and minds of many consumers of Japanese entertainment. While imoutos are great, I have always prefered onee-sans…sometimes I feel like an endangered species ;_;. Nevertheless, I think there will always be a market for ane lovers, hence why many eroge have at least one onee-san heroine. So I’m spreading the ane love! Or I’m reviewing a game no one cares about.
When I offered to review Mottoane, Aero seemed to think it was a nukige. On the contrary, Mottoane is a family comedy with a healthy mix of story and slice-of-life. Plus, there are 8 BLOODY ROUTES…and none of them are short. Since that’s a lot of ground to cover, I’ll forgo an in-depth review so that I can at least mention all the routes and heroines.
I had COMPLETELY forgotten that Fuzzy mentioned he wanted to write a review for this game. He doesn’t mention it for months, then BAM! He emails me with the whole thing >___>.
Anyway, this review here was written up by Fuzzy and I’m just posting it on his behalf. Enjoy ^^
Souma Ichijou goes to an all-boys school by himself in Hokkaido. One day, he received a call from one of his older sisters, telling him that their father had become sick and collapsed. He quickly returns to Hakkakubashi and seeing his five downcast sisters and sickly father, he decided to stay to take care of his father (Borrowed from Micchi). However, this is all turns out to be a ruse to make Souma come back home. Now starting high school, Souma must come to terms with his family and friends, who have all drastically changed in the 3 years he’s been away.
Instead of a common route, Mottane has an extended prologue followed by the route selection.
The story arc of the prologue revolves around Souma reacclimating to life in the Ichijou house. Although his sisters re-welcome him with open arms, Souma thinks an unresolved tension exists between him and the family for various reasons. You see, Souma is very conscious of being the only adopted child of the family; and why he left in the first place involves when their mother passed away… How the whole thing resolves is very touching, although Souma’s paranoia is ridiculous at times. Eventually, Souma is convinced that his family loves him and he opens up to his sisters again.
Ugh…that was too serious. Mottoane is a COMEDY first and foremost. Besides his sisters, Souma also reunites with his neighbors the Asuharas, his childhood friends, and meets new companions. The majority of game focuses on Souma’s daily interaction with his sisters and his friends…which spirals out of control quite often and is also Mottoane’s strongest aspect. What would be the common route shenanigans is scattered across the slice-of-life elements in the 8 routes. In many routes, I was looking forward to Souma hanging out with his friends (mentioned later) more so than spending time with the heroine.
As for story, you get bits and pieces of what happened with the Ichijou and Asuahra families over the 3 years Souma was gone and investigate further depending on the heroine. The game has 5 Ichijou sister routes, 2 Asuhara sister routes, and 1 non-sister route. The story in some routes drags and/or falls flat, but there are several strong and heartwarming moments. The routes also don’t emphasize taboo/immorality that much since Souma and his sisters aren’t blood related. But that doesn’t matter anyway since most of the heroines don’t see Souma romantically till about halfway through their routes. Consequently, slow burn romances mean the icha icha is scarce in game, but to compensate there’s plenty of solid comedy and slice-of-life.
The only adopted son of the Ichijou family. He’s polite and kind, but timid, shy, and afraid of depending on others. He is oversensitive and overthinks EVERYTHING. In my book, Souma is a hetare. However, by the end of the prologue, Souma realizes how useless he is and tries to amend his ways when the individual routes begin. Souma’s character arc entails navigating the perils of youth and learning when to depend on others and when to man up. Initially, he tries to apply himself by spending more time with your selected heroine and repaying their kindness in various ways. Gradually watching Souma break out of his shell and score little victories with the heroines is appealing. In the real world, Souma would still be considered useless, but being slightly less useless = CHICK MAGNET by eroge logic.
However, all this goodwill sours at 1-2 crucial moments in some routes, when Souma temporarily relapses to a hetare at a climax. Souma chokes, his character progression gets thrown out the window, and it’s is INCREDIBLY frustrating. The scenario is decent overall yet the writer seems to think true character development requires hetare moments. Nevertheless, Souma always gets outside help, everything works out in the end, and all routes have happy endings…no thanks to Souma. I want to emphasize that there are much worse protagonists than Souma, but the writer should have considered that putting more effort into fleshing out Souma’s hetare doesn’t make it any more appealing.
(CV: 真中海 = Manaka Umi = Harumi Sakurai)
The oldest Ichijou sister and the substitute mother of the family. Despite her beauty and loving personality, she is clueless to romance. In her route, Souma helps Fuuko with housework and sees more of her moe side, which involves sweets, alcohol, and her ditziness. They also ward off Fuuko’s persistent suitor while at the same time they both agonize over crossing the sibling boundary. In addition, since Fuuko has always been taking care of the family, she missed out on much of her youth and future dreams. Thus, Souma tries to help her find fulfillment in life beyond taking care of the family. She also has a complex about being compared to her mother and Souma must decide later whether he loves Fuuko as a woman or a mother. Ultimately, Fuuko’s character arc with comparing herself to her mother is very heartwarming and well done. Fuuko is a high quality onee-san and probably has the strongest story route.
(CV: 一色ヒカル = Isshiki Hikaru)
The second Ichijou sister. Touka wears the pants in the house when their Dad isn’t around. She’s also the principal of the school <_<. Touka is all about gap more: she’s upright and serious in public but lazy, fickle, and loves to be spoiled at home. Her route did not play out at all like I expected (in a bad way). Instead of taking advantage of the implications of having a school principal heroine, the majority of the route takes place outside school. Souma helps relieve Touka’s stress from work by spoiling her/letting her depend on him (massages, naps,…boob sandwiches) until they get more and more intimate…that’s it. The only drama relates to the their father and elaborating on some events in the prologue. Overall, Touka isn’t my type and her route was disappointing.
CV: 海原エレナ= Kaibara Elena = Hyousei)
The coodere middle Ichijou sister. Kyou is a college student and also a part-time instructor at Souma’s school. She hardly talks and has the least screen time of all the Ichijou sisters outside her route. Deep down though, she struggles with expressing her emotions and gets embarrassed easily. Kyou’s route focuses on her secret nightlife of fighting evil spirits (transformation included!). Souma stumbles upon this secret when trying to learn more about Kyou and is inevitably intertwined with her mission. We also learn more backstory around events alluded to in the prologue. Unfortunately, you spend far less time interacting with Kyou than other heroines and instead get a serious route that is predictable and cliche.
(CV: 理多 = Rita (Yes, that Rita))
The fourth Ichijou sister and a 3rd year student at Souma’s school. Without a doubt, the best performance and character in the game. Labeling her just the genki airhead nee-san is an insult to her awesomeness. Suzune says and does a lot of silly/crazy stuff, but she is VERY funny and VERY moe (CandySoft describes her as 残念可愛い). There’s no telling what will happen when Suzune enters a scene. She might go berserk, she might shuffle speaking styles, she might complain about dieting, or she might show unexpected heart and great dere. Most of my favorite moments in Mottoane involve Suzune and I had no complaints except MORE MORE MORE.
She is also a fledgling idol known as Hidari (it’s obvious so not really spoilers, her seiyuu is a singer too). However, on stage, Suzune is meek, clumsy, and the polar opposite of her normal crazy self (but still funny). After learning the truth of Suzune’s part-time job in her route, Souma becomes her manager. You learn about what motivates Suzune to sing and Souma tries to instill more confidence in Suzune as they get more intimate. The actual story was okay, but more Suzune make ups for anything. You can tell WAY more thought was put into her character than the other heroines (she also won the character popularity poll). Overall, Suzune hits the comedy/dere/moe pressure points a hundred times over. I already liked Rita as Yuuki Amagase from Lovely x Cation, but she goes above and beyond with Suzune. I wish she would do bigger eroge roles more often…
(CV: 桜あずき = Sakura Azuki)
The youngest Ichigo sister. Mio is your otaku loli imouto onee-san. She is a sheltered child and the family struggles with trying not to spoil her. Mio likes mirroring the words and actions of her family and friends and is especially fond of Souma. She also has a teddy bear that she never separates from. Since they are in the same class, Mio is attached to Souma for most of the routes. While Mio is a great companion throughout the game, I didn’t really remember much from her route because she’s not my thing…mainly insubstantial Mio moe and her coming of age.
(CV: かわしまりの = Kawashima Rino)
After clearing an Ichijou sister route, you unlock the routes for the Asuhara sisters. The Asuharas siblings are half-French and their family runs an okonomiyaki shop next door to the Ichijous. Misa is your typical strong-willed queen type and she considers Souma a sibling just as much as the Ichijou sisters. Beside Souma obeying the whims and commands of his onee-sama, Misa’s route focuses on the two working on a garden shared between the backyard of their houses. You also learn how Misa’s relationship with the twins soured, which involves Misa’s work potentially ruining her family’s lifestyle. As much as I like Misa, her route is pretty mediocre with hardly any romance until the end.
(CV: 桜川未央 = Oukawa Mio)
The middle Asuhara siblings. Aruru (Arles) on the left is tsundere and Kurara (Clara) on the right is deredere. Whereas the other characters are fleshed out despite their archetypes, the twins play their archetypes too much.Their route is loaded with forced melodrama and near the end, you have to choose one or both of the twins. I don’t care to say much more…the twins are pretty messed up and the worst part of this game.
(CV: 楠鈴音 = Kusunoki Suzune)
After clearing an Asuhara route, you unlock Claudia’s route. She is a member of the student council and the leader of the Hanagumi, an all female club which is supposed to represent the girls in the school (although they only gawk over Claudia onee-sama). Despite being an English foreigner, Claudia acts very Japanese and is essentially a Yamato Nadeshiko. She’s hot when she’s graceful and cute when she’s flustered.
Claudia is the only non-sister heroine and her route is surprisingly refreshing in a game like this. The student council president, Ryuudou, and Claudia ask Souma to join the Hanagumi in order to bridge the gap between males and females on the student council. Ryuudou is a gynephobe and Souma’s childhood friend that likes to pop in and out of each route. Claudia has a crush on Ryuudou and so Souma and company try to hook them up. However, Souma falls in love with Claudia in the process. Fortunately, Claudia might like Ryuudou for the wrong reasons…and Souma and Claudia might have a closer past than they realize. There’s some squicky melodrama later in the route, but overall, I thought Claudia and Souma’s relationship outweighed the bad parts.
Route Rankings: Suzune=Fuuka=Claudia>Kyo=Misa>Touka=Mio=Aruru/Kurara
For the best routes, the character quality and comedy outshine the story, but the weaker routes just can’t compare. Other than some inconsequential plot points, what you will miss out on in the weaker routes is more screen time from the amazing secondary cast.
Mottoane has a strong ensemble cast that is very entertaining and that is as fleshed out as much as the heroines. They’re present in most of the routes and Souma usually depends on them or his sisters to help solve problems. Noteworthy mentions include Kirinji Tachibana, who is related to the Tachibanas from Tsuyokiss, Shanti, another foreigner glued to Claudia with a split personality, Ryuudou mentioned earlier, and the eccentric father of the Ichijou family (voiced by the immortal Norio Wakamoto).
Nevertheless, the male character who steals the show along with Suzune is Chidori Asushara. He’s the youngest in his family and is Souma’s best friend through thick and thin. Chidori is the tsukkomi in a world of boke and has some great reactions to all the crap he has to deal with. He also crossdresses for…reasons <_<. (CandySoft admits they might have made Chidori TOO interesting, he ranked higher than half the heroines in the popularity poll.) The meat of the game is the daily interaction of Souma, Mio, Chidori, Kirinji, Shanti, Suzune, and Ryuudou. I never found their time together boring because they had great chemistry and interact in a variety of situations. In fact, what kept me going through the weaker routes were the shenanigans of Suzune, Chidori, and other secondary characters.
Despite having almost 100 CGs, the CG count in game feels much lower because there are so many heroines. I like the art of Sumeragi Kohaku, known for his work on nukiges and the LL Milk doujin circle. Some of you might protest the heroines’ proportions, but I’m okay with kyonyuu ^_^. Soundtrack is good but it is only a measly 13 tracks, so the bgm gets repetitive. Several main characters voice minor characters too if that bothers you. Other than that, no complaints with voice acting. Each heroine has 1-3 scenes. The couple choices in each route are all ero related.
Most of the heroines have one short scene and one medium length scene. Some 3P fantasy scenes are unlocked in the extras as you clear routes. Most of the scenes are story based and some are awkward. Overall, the game prioritizes content over ero.
Overall: 75/100 (not a total)
Despite mediocre production values and some disappointing routes, Mottoane has plenty of amazing characters/routes, comedy, and slice-of-life for an overall above average eroge experience. I will play the fandisk sometime in the near future. I hear good things about Gun Knight Girl too, also by CandySoft and with the same writer and artist.
ATLAS Friendliness: Easy/Medium
Kyou’s route goes into some Japanese mythology that is beyond Atlas’ capabilities. You’ll also have to rely on your personal proficiency for some of Chidori’s delinquent speak and Suzune’s occasional craziness. Other than that, the dialogue is straightforward.