WARNING: Another NSFW post. Although this is a VANILLA game (mostly), reader discretion is still advised.
Fuzzy here again! This time, I’m posting solo. You may have seen my previous contributions to the blog as a guest or my name in the comments sections. After some discussion, Aero offered to add me to the team so that I’ll stop nagging him in order to diversify the blog. I can’t promise I’ll post consistently, but surely with FOUR lazy bums on one site, the blog will appear more active right? ….right? <_<
Anyway, as long as there are eroge I find interesting that haven’t been reviewed to death, I will gladly post something.
The problem is…I haven’t been playing anything review worthy! So I planned to do a filler post on a nukige since it’s been a few months since the last nsfw post (<– making excuses). Grimoire no Shisho was made by Astronauts: Alya, one of three teams of the parent brand Astronauts (founded by former Atelier Kaguya employees). Regardless of what the cgs imply, this game is VANILLA. However, there are avoidable game overs with scenes tailored for the dark side. I played all the Astronauts games to date and enjoyed Alya’s debut title Spocon!.
So I expected Grimoire to be another nukige with a fantasy setting, instead I got an eroge with an identity crisis. Specifically, I encountered the timeless issue of how to treat a nukige (or is it?) that puts effort into the scenario and world building. (By effort, I mean above the usual bottom of the barrel standards.)
Magic exists in the world of Grand Esteca. There’s a magic library in the town of Altrium where all books of sorcery are kept. There resides a closely guarded book 30 floors underneath the library: the powerful book of sorcery, Grimoire, within which was sealed the demon who unleashed his fury in a war long ago. However, now he is merely a perverted demon with no dignity whatsoever. The librarian Mihai loves reading books and came upon and became friends with Grimoire. He respected the demon despite his current situation due to his immense magical knowledge. However, one day, someone stole these pages of knowledge from Grimoire and they ended up dispersed in other continents. It might cause a new world war to break out. Concerned about the situation, the sage Maynard ordered Mihai to recover the pages. (Borrowed from Micchi)
Another Rita song!
If you haven’t guessed it already, the majority of Grimoire no Shisho is a linear plot. Mihai (ドンカン and 優しい protagonist clone #3,026,572) and his harem go on a quest to recover Grimoire’s pages/fragments. Grimoire (who looks like a certain NIS character) is the strongest majin and was also mankind’s ally during the Great Demon War 300 years ago. His soul and magic was preserved in a tome and he serves as a deterrent and last resort to protect Altrium…even though he’s a perverted, talking book. On the other hand, Mihai, by some absurd Type-Moon explanation, has magic potential but can’t use magic. During the prologue, Mihai is forced to merge with Grimoire and discovers (surprise, surprise…) he has perfect compatibility with Grimoire’s magic. So Mihai relies on Grimoire’s power for the journey and they have a fusion routine for every battle that progresses with the plot.
However, Mihai suffers side effects when he relies on Grimoire’s power. So his treatment fits right into eroge logic: using majin powers requires him to do H afterwards to power down and recover…or ero-down. Thus, the heroines in the game also serve as miko (魅女): women dedicated to Grimoire (really Mihai) as compensation.
The linear part of the story has six chapters. In each chapter, Mihai and company explore a different locale (forest, port town, etc.) to find Grimoire’s fragments. One heroine gets the spotlight per chapter, getting time to fall head over heels for Mihai and also serve as the miko (H-scenes). In addition, every chapter has a sub-heroine involved in the chapter’s plot.
There are only two types of choices in the game. During the climax of a chapter or route, a choice pops up that translate too: select 1 to finish the fight and continue or select 2 for a dark H-scene if that’s your fancy and a game over. The other type is a heroine select in the intermissions between chapters where you briefly spend time with a heroine. When the linear plot finishes, the game diverges to the heroine routes based on your choices. Fortunately, you can skip chapters after completing one route to expedite getting to the other heroine routes.
I’m sure you can already tell the linear part of the game is painfully formulaic. In fact, the formula per chapter is Explore->Battle->H-scene->Battle->H-scene->Select a Heroine Intermission->Rinse and Repeat. Some chapters did have interesting events and some miko scenes were unintentionally comical due to their timing. Many of these scenes happen at the inn and I’d always imagined the innkeeper, in lieu of the traditional RPG “Would like to spend the night?,” would ask Mihai “Would like to bang a heroine to recover your health?” Other H-scenes happen RIGHT in the middle of a big chase or RIGHT after they beat a formidable opponent…Mihai literally has to bang one out or he’ll die. <_<
Surely, the heroine routes compensate for the main one then? Unfortunately, I can barely say anything about the heroine routes because they’re SHORT…maybe 1-2 chapters long. In that timeframe, the game crams in the confession, multiple H-scenes, and a heroine specific mini-storyline. Consequently, all the heroines’ routes are rushed and anti-climactic…and that’s disappointing because some of the heroines are enjoyable. Although I’m an advocate of porn with plot and believe that even nukige can have engaging stories, Grimoire no Shisho is an uncommon example of a nukige with a non-nukige scenario (i.e. the scenario isn’t designed for fap and the story can’t compensate). For once, I actually wish an eroge had the traditional common route and whatnot. Moving on, I really can only describe the heroines since their routes were insubstantial.
(CV: ひむろゆり = 氷室百合 = Himuro Yuri)
Your first miko and technically the main heroine. Juris is an ojou-sama of a wealthy merchant family that has been sheltered her whole life. Dere for Mihai at first sight, she doesn’t mind dedicating her body as a miko and considers Mihai’s quest as the best thing to ever happen to her. Juris reminded me of Yuuki from LovelyxCation with here doe-eyed enthusiasm to everything unknown and new to her. However, as a natural airhead, she over-prepares the wrong stuff for the wrong situations.
She specializes in defense magic and her lineage is significant for the story. The Juris route also continues the main story as the plans of the painfully obvious evil mastermind, who plotted in the background of the main chapters, finally come to fruition. However, if you aren’t on Juris’s route, the big bad’s plans fail without Mihai and Grimoire’s involvement.
(CV: 草野恋花 = Kusano Karen)
Mihai’s childhood friend; Kureha is an elemental mage, a prodigy, and the most proactive heroine. She seeks to better her magic prowess and is usually Mihai’s wingman (wing-mage?) in a fight. Nevertheless, like any tsundere osananajimi, Kureha usually gets the short end of the stick in the battle for Mihai’s affections in the main chapters (yay routes). I love her character design and, story be damned, a hot tsundere mage gets high marks in my book.
(CV: 姫川あいり= Himekawa Airi)
The renowned Phantom Thief; Luna is the last to join when the party mistakes her as a thief of one of Grimoire’s pages. She’s actually a Robin Hood character and helps Mihai’s quest in gratitude for saving her life. Unfortunately, I think the writer blanked on what to do with her in-between her chapter and route (i.e. good hunk of the game). I swear she has more lines repeating “にゃはは!” ad nauseam than speaking complete sentences.
(CV: 桃井いちご= Momoi Ichigo)
A sister in Altrium’s church. Teresa’s supposed to be the healer/melee party member, but she’s another character that suffers writer blackout…there’s a big gap in her screen time in-between her chapter and route. She has a strong prejudice against demons and tends to chastise the other heroines for flirting with ドンカン Mihai even though she’s after the same thing.
ArmoDias is a succubus and Grimoire’s servant back from the Great Demon War 300 years ago. One of the few demons still alive in the present age. She senses Grimoire’s presence outside the sanctuary of Altrium and tries to hijack Grimoire. Much to her chagrin, Grimoire and Mihai are bound to each other, so she’s stuck tagging along for the journey. Armo is obsessed with Grimoire (who doesn’t return the affection) and is indifferent to the rest of the party. However, after her chapter, she’s all dere for Mihai. Although she hasn’t fully matured as a succubus, she specializes in flight and illusion magic.
Route Rankings: Irrelevant. There is little room to judge when you have a linear plot followed by short individual routes. Fine…Juris > Kureha > Armo = Luna > Teresa.
The game has 90+ unique CGs. Marushin’s art has improved from Spocon! and I’m looking forward to his future works. Soundtrack is average with a measly 23 tracks. My only complaint with the voice acting is that I wish Grimoire’s voice had more gusto. Each heroine has 6-8 vanilla scenes and 2 game over bad H scenes (again, avoidable). Each sub-heroine also has a scene unlocked later in the extras. Normally, I think good ero can compensate for weaknesses in the scenario. Unfortunately, half of the H-scenes relate to Mihai’s majin ero-down, so many of them felt rushed and not romance focused. I wouldn’t usually do this for a review, but here’s some ero-eye candy.
Overall: 65/100 (not a total)
Despite a formulaic story with rushed routes and ero, Grimoire does have some good characters and eye-catching art for an overall average experience. Grimoire no Shisho is a step up in the art department, but a step down in other content for Alya. Regardless, I will continue to play Astronauts eroge for their art, heroines, and “usability.”
As for my personal introduction, my eroge preferences are similar to Aero, although I have dabbled in some of Aedes and Aqua’s games. So I guess I’m the middleman of the blog. I’ll add my profile and game list one day, but the only notable difference is that I’m already a working member of society (i.e. salaried full-time job) and I’m quite happy with RL. Nevertheless, I still love me some eroge!
I’m already playing my next eroge review candidate, but Aozora Stripe (another Astronauts game) might distract me… Until the next post, thanks for your time!