SON OF A…Witch? – A Review on Sanoba Witch

I’ve finally set up my VNDB account. It’s pretty much the same as the list here on the blog, but it has ratings. Note that I didn’t put much thought into those ratings, so the accuracy is questionable.

It’s been quite some time since I’ve written a review, so I can’t vouch for the quality. So if you have anything bad to say, THINK IT, but then write the opposite. If you do that, I won’t have any idea which of the good comments are genuine, and I’ll be left paranoid.

Title

Company: ゆずソフト (YuzuSoft)
Game site: サノバウィッチ
Release date: February 27, 2015
Links: VNDB, Walkthrough

Shuuji has a secret: he is able to perceive the feelings of others. His classmate Nene also has a secret which she cannot tell anyone: she involuntarily gets sexually excited. One day, he accidentally came upon her masturbating and since they both knew each other’s secrets, they soon became close friends. He then found out that her condition is a by-product of her witch’s contract.

Nene’s secret activities as a witch also pull in kouhai Meguru, senpai Touko and transfer student Tsumugi. The peaceful days become quite hurried and Shuuji has a slight feeling that something is about to begin.

[Borrowed from Micchi’s Blog]

Opening

It has become the norm that Yuzusoft makes OPs that are mostly animated. This OP wasn’t bad, but as far as OPs go, I still prefer the one they made for Dracu-Riot.

Common route

Hoshina Shuuji was born with the ability to sense what people are feeling through his five senses. To avoid people directing unpleasant feelings at him, he keeps people at a distance. Akaji Nene is a witch who for the purpose of fulfilling her dearest wish has been collecting “heart fragments” from those who show excessively strong emotions. Unfortunately, all the fragments that Nene has collected get sucked into Shuuji due to the hole in his heart that formed from him worrying about his ability. With the resolve to return these fragments to Nene, Shuuji joins the Occult club in hopes to change himself.

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Various people come to the occult club for consultations about their worries, and slowly we’re introduced to all the heroines. The common route focuses more on Shuuji’s gradual growth rather than on magic or the collection of heart fragments. The pace is fairly quick, so things don’t feel too dragged out. However I feel that Shuuji’s growth is a bit drastic given the depth of his trauma. There’s some comedy, mainly sexual innuendo, but the main focus is on slice of life.

Routes

A person who has a deep desire can fulfil their wish by forming a contract with an “Alp”, and hereby becomes a witch. Alps are animals with an interest in becoming human, and slowly understand human emotions as they receive heart fragments. A Witch’s wish will be granted once they fill up their bottle with Heart Fragments, which as I stated above, are collected from those who show excessively strong emotions. A heart is very fragile, and excessively strong emotions will lead to it becoming unbalanced. In this sense, an Alps’ demand for heart fragments is a win situation for all parties involved.

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So magic is involved in all the routes, but there are very large variations on how much of an impact it has. I would say that it was significant in Nene’s and Touko’s routes, but just a side dish in the other two routes. I found it a bit unfortunate that the only Witches that show up in the game are Nene and Tsumugi; I was sorta hoping for a showdown of sorts. In the same way, we don’t really ever see someone who’s heart gets very unbalanced. I mean, I thought we would see some crazies, but it resulted in nothing.

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In terms of romantic development, I felt that all except Meguru’s route lacked sufficient development leading up to the confession scene. As for the stuff that came after the confession scene, all routes except Tsumugi’s route were good.

Nene2015_03_22_00_05_00_サノバウィッチ

Modest, considerate, and somewhat naïve, Nene is very popular. However, she keeps people at a distance because her contract causes random outbursts of sexual arousal. She is originally the only member of the Occult Club, and uses the club to collect heart fragments by consoling peoples’ worries.

Magic has the biggest impact in Nene’s route, causes a lot of emotional turmoil between Shuuji and Nene. The drama was good, and the resolutions the two reach is something I liked. The struggles that Nene face really pull at your heartstrings. Sadly, the bitterness and loneliness of this route is resolved too quickly. The route’s direction was very solid, but the route would have really hit you in the pit of your stomach had it put more stress on the sad reality Nene and Shuuji faced.

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The funny thing about this picture is that I placed it in a place where it seems related to emotional turmoil. In reality, she’s having an orgasm in the hallway.

Nene’s self-loathing side is probably the funniest thing this game has to offer. Her pouting is super cute, but it’s something that is much underutilised. Given that Nene’s the main heroine of this game AND she randomly gets horny, it’s no surprise that she has the most H-scenes. I had slight hopes for slightly more extreme H-scenes given this property of hers. Add this on top of the fact that Witches are almost invisible when they’re in Witch mode, and you start to give me lots of wild ideas. Though strictly speaking, it’s not in Yuzusoft’s style to do what I was fantasizing about.

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Tsumugi2015_03_22_00_10_09_サノバウィッチ

Because of her contract, wearing female clothing causes her to get nauseas. However she actually really loves girly stuff, and is very kind hearted. Unlike most witches, she received her wish in advance.

We learn early on exactly what Tsumugi’s wished for, and the truth be told, it’s hilariously trivial. Unfortunately, Tsumugi’s route largely focuses on the Alp she enter into a contract with, Akagi, who is the cause of many mishaps in this route. Akagi did many things that annoyed me and the fact that the route focused on her ruined the route for me.2015_03_22_00_12_54_サノバウィッチ

I find Tsumugi very attractive as a heroine. Her soothing gentle nature, her bashfulness, and girly side are made quite clear. However, the nature of route makes it so that there is very little opportunity for romantic development. There’s the whole wearing guys’ clothing, but trust me when I say that’s not the only thing. So the fact the route didn’t focus more on her was a huge disappointment.

Touko2015_03_22_00_14_38_サノバウィッチ

Touko is the current student council president who many look up to. She loves teasing people, and often discreetly makes dirty jokes. She holds a secret fascination towards the concept of love, and hopes to one day experience it.

Shuuji notices that he’s never been able to sense what Touko’s feeling, and investigates into this. We discover that Touko’s interest in love relates to Shuuji in a “magical” way.  The route’s direction is pretty obvious because they give not so subtle hints, but the whole thing is portrayed quite well. The drama that takes place is very reasonable, but the pace was a tad quick for my liking. Overall, I think things were linked quite well.2015_03_22_00_14_17_サノバウィッチ

As far as older sister type characters go, I would say that Touko is quite up there. Touko has your calm older sister seductive charm, but without feeling overbearing. Her love for kisses is a cute charm point, and it’s unfortunate that she doesn’t show other cute points until the end of her route.

Meguru2015_03_22_00_06_54_サノバウィッチ

Meguru changes her image before entering Himematsu Academy in hopes to become popular. Unfortunate circumstances cause her to lose her chance to debut herself, and she turns to games in hopes that they’ll help her blend in. She is somewhat social awkward, but has a bright and cheerful personality around friends.

Meguru’s route is pretty much just a slice of life route from start to finish. The route has a good balance of uneasiness, jealousy, cuteness, and flirting. Top this off with Meguru’s character being cute as hell, and you got yourself a great SOL route.

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Magic is involved with why Meguru tries to debut herself when entering high school, and this factor also adds in some fairly nice backstory with her. The route loses points for trying to add in some BS story element related to Shuuji’s ability. However as it should be clear from what I’ve said above that this route has very little focus on story.

Wakana2015_03_22_00_15_03_サノバウィッチ

Wakana is Shuuji’s classmate, and is one of the few people who talk to him on a regular basis. Honest and upfront, she talks with guys and girls in equal regard. She has a deep passion for playing the guitar, and she has been secretly practicing it for years.

With hopes to liven up the school’s Halloween party, Shuuji forms a band with Wakana, and starts practicing bass guitar like mad. Wakana helps out with Shuuji’s practice, and with the amount of time the two end up spending together, an “accident” was just waiting to happen.

I don’t generally approve of feelings sprouting from accidents, and this was one of those cases. As a side route, Wakana’s route is incredibly short, and a majority of it is the two practicing for their live performance. I admit that she has her cute moments, but overall her character and route didn’t have any pop.

Graphics, sound, and system

No complaints about sound. What am I, a DJ?

Yuzusoft’s system is something I really like. You’ve got all the features you would ever want for a standard system game. System features include:

  • Adding pages for more save files
  • Quick loading from the message log
  • A page for quick saves, instead of just one slot
  • Saving your favourite voice over lines

There’s also a load of settings that you can play around with to customize things to the way you like. I removed the chapter display, but was too lazy to do anything else. However, it’s nice to have options available.

As you’ve seen throughout this post, Sanoba Witch has very high quality CGs and SDCGs. For good measure, here are a bunch of SDCGs for you to enjoy.

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Final Words

Overall Score: 75/100

Sanoba Witch doesn’t have the best story, but for the most part, it does a decent job portraying the story it has. The characters are cute, and I imagine that there’s someone there for almost everyone. The game’s fast pace makes it an easy read, and you don’t spend much time reading filler. Yuzusoft’s top class system is something I’m sure a lot of gamers out there will appreciate.

Of course, this game isn’t perfect. Though I said that fast pacing contributes to the game, it’s also a weakness in that we lose detail and some moments in the game feel too short. In particular, some critical moments in the game really needed a bit more emphasis to have that extra impact. The game had humour, and it was fairly decent, but there’s significantly less laughs than I imagined.

So weighing all things, is this game worth playing. For slice of life fans, yes. For story lovers, not so much.

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Hhhmm…white.

Hanasaki Work Spring! and Anekouji Naoko to Gin’iro no Shinigami are on my radar for next month. Given how much I liked Majikoi and Tsujidou, you would think that Anegin would be on the top of my list. Yet somehow I pretty sure I’ll pick up Hanasaki first.

9 thoughts on “SON OF A…Witch? – A Review on Sanoba Witch

  1. I’m getting the impression that you’re becoming a bit more critical in your reviews, which is definitely a good thing. It pains me so much to see people both on EGS and VNDB throwing 8, 9, and 10s around without much reasoning, when those who are really qualified to place a number on these games are reviewers like yourself.

    I’m almost to finishing this game myself, so I’ll be writing a review for it too. Let’s see what I give for it😉

    • It’s funny you say that because I’ve been thinking the same thing myself recently.

      You flatter me with your kind words, but we both know that you’re the critic of the two of us =D. Though when it comes to saying if other peoples’ scores are valid or invalid, it becomes a very grey area for me. Ratings are pretty subjective, and I don’t feel it’s proper to tell a person that they didn’t a game as much as they said they did. In saying that, I also agree with your views on high voters who seem to think that 7/10 is the new 5/10. So again, it’s a grey area for me. In general, I still use EGS scores as a reference, but I’ve taken to ignoring those high vote. It seems that high voters steer away from social media, so I haven’t had any arguments or anything.

      I look forward to reading your review ^^. Though to be honest, I’m mostly interested in what you think about Tsumugi’s route.

  2. I enjoyed your review. Even with it’s problems and issues that you mentioned in your critique, it was appealing to the point that I now feel the necessity to read through this visual novel myself.

    However, the moment I managed to successfully obtain the visual novel, I tried to use the ITH program in order to properly understand what the text is saying, but even when I look through the guides posted on your blog I could only tilt my head in confusion due to the lack of h-codes or threads that the ITH program would normally pick up the moment text appear on the screen in the visual novel.

    Could you buy chance help me out? With my curiosity piqued, I must see with my own eyes how this visual novels goes!

  3. Nice review, it’s always a shame when a key point in the story’s setting (like the magic, or MC’s abilities) is under utilized or poorly utilized. And the thing about accidents I definately have to agree on. I know it’s a japanese thing or just general cliche we’ve gotten used to but I just always felt from a story perspective, having the whole “omg I kissed/groped/etc you and now I love you” so you can play their route or have a harem, that it’s really just weak way to give characters a connection to each other.

    On another note Aero you gonna be playing Anekouji Naoko to Gin’iro no Shinigami? The new game by Minato Carnival. Played Tsujidou Junai Road and I enjoyed that good deal, so I’m hoping it’s the same with their new title..

    • I’m not a huge fan of magic, futuristic settings, or anything that feels too chuuni in general. I typically play very standard SOL games with a rather normal setting. So as you might imagine, I don’t really play games with deep story lines.

      The accidental kiss is something I don’t particularly enjoy. Of course, there have been some goods routes that make use of it (e.g. Neko’s route from Tsuyokiss Next), but as you said, the concept itself is just too cliche.

      AneGin was a game I was really looking forward to after the trial, but I probably won’t be playing it given its current EGS score.

      • Ah I can get why don’t like settings that are kinda chuuni, cause stories that don’t rely on those types of settings can feel more relatable and hence more meaningful. You thinking you don’t play a lot of games with deep story lines actually says a lot about the quality of writing in many visual novels. A story shouldn’t have to rely on other things like it’s setting to be deep. Though a interesting setting can cerntaintly make things more interesting.

        I’ll probably give AneGin a bash though I don’t really care for the whole older sister theme they got going for it, but the characters seem interesting enough. Though every time Mai Pantsu shows up its hard to take her seriously with her name like that. Wish they gave her a better name.

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