I have noticed that even though my username would suggest that I play eroge all the time, I haven’t had the chance to do so recently. I currently have a growing backlog of at least 20 eroge that I haven’t played/am still playing. But now, I will finally review something that I finished on New Year’s Eve, G-Senjou no Maou.
G-Senjou no Maou is an eroge by AkabeiSoft2 released on 2008. AkabeiSoft2 was also the one behind Sharin no Kuni, Himawari no Shoujo, one of my favorite VNs. As G-Senjou was made by AkabeiSoft2, it is also one of my favorites for offering an unconventional storyline, wonderful characters and drama rivaling that of Jun Maeda’s works (well not really, but close…).
G-Senjou no Maou is a story of a game of cat and mouse between two great minds, Haru Usami and an infamous yet mysterious man only known as “Maou”. The visual novel is said to specialize on character development, its unconventional plot, the heart-wrenching drama and the battle of wits between the characters.
The player assumes the role of Kyousuke Azai, the adopted son of a very powerful Yakuza boss who spends his life working for his family’s underground affairs to pay off an amazing debt. That being said, he has grown to have a calculating and frugal personality. Also, he values money more than anything in the world, making him rather ruthless and cruel. He uses school to “relieve his stress” from being a middleman in his foster father’s underground business.
Kyousuke, aside from his borderline illegal activities, lives the life of an ordinary student by day, giving us a dose of your slice of life scenes. A transfer student by the name of Haru Usami then appears in Kyousuke’s class. she is quite the beauty, with insanely long, messy hair and a messier, if not mysterious, personality. Future events will then get our cast involved with the world-infamous (if that’s even a word) criminal, “Maou.” As you get deeper into the story, you will find out that there is more to this game of hide-and-seek than what it seems.
The game has four main heroines, each with her own story to tell. First off, we have Tsubaki Miwa, the kind and responsible class representative of Kyousuke’s class. She has a habit of writing her thoughts in a diary and is generally friendly to everyone. Kyousuke starts to get involved with her after her family refuses to sell their house to a building company part of the Azai Group.
Next up is Kanon Azai, Kyousuke’s not-so-related sister with a carefree yet adamant personality. She can get very clingy and overly immature, much to Kyousuke’s annoyance. Despite her personality, she is a very famous figure skater, good enough to be a candidate for the Olympics. However, she lives in quite a dysfunctional family and has a very complicated relationship with her mother. Kanon’s safety is secretly entrusted to Kyousuke after threats from Maou. He then finds out that Kanon’s world is much, much harsher than what it looks like. (Trivia: Her seiyuu is Satomi Satou, Ushio Okazaki’s [Clannad] seiyuu.)
Our next heroine is Mizuha Shiratori, a seemingly cold and sharp-tongued girl. She distances herself from Kyousuke, despite the latter’s advances on friendship, and seems to really hate him. She is the daughter of the school’s principal, who seems to be involved with a number of corruption cases.
Lastly, we have our main heroine, Haru Usami. As I’ve mentioned earlier, she can be quite messed up at times. She can change form being energetic to depressed to cold and calculating in the blink of an eye. She has a seemingly unmatched sense of logic, unwavering dedication and the epicness and GAR levels of ten shounen heroes, not to mention that she has her moe moments. Almost everything about her is a mystery and her connection to Maou is yet to be seen.
Of course, we mustn’t miss our titular character, Maou. He is very well-known underground as a master criminal and got his name from the typical RPG demon lord, “Maou” in Japanese. Everything about him is unknown except that he looks like a young man. (Trivia: Maou is voiced by none other than Jun Fukuyama, who also voiced Lelouch from Code Geass.)
Another important character is Kyousuke’s foster father, Gonzou Azai. The leader of the Azai Group, he is cruel and violent to the bone and won’t hesitate to do whatever means necessary to make things proceed as he plans. Kyousuke owes him a great deal of money, which the former has to earn by being the middleman in the Group’s business negotiations.
There are other characters, but I needn’t tell you about them due to spoilers or irrelevance to the plot.
As the game progresses, we will see our characters (even Kyousuke) in a different light. We will see the effects of money, psychological pressure and violence on our characters and we will see them more as real people rather than lifeless 2D sprites. Themes like revenge, crime, psychology, and everlasting love are beautifully incorporated. Haru, especially, has a very moving story to tell. Calling her route’s end epic is an understatement.
You will experience many adrenaline rush-inducing scenes that will leave you at the edge of your seat too. They were what kept me reading through the text without stopping for a whole 16 hours. The game is wonderfully paced and the main story is simply engrossing, even with issues on the mind games, which I would address later.
I also love how the game is not afraid to show the morally ambiguous. You will find yourself questioning some of your beliefs. Money, morality, crime, corruption, business. The things that some of us will not dare question will be put into the pedestal. It is for the same reasons that I like Madoka very much. Also, this game is pretty much focused on the character development and drama, AkabeiSoft2’s trump cards. The drama and epic levels of G-Senjou goes over the roof with the true ending. The other heroines also have good endings, but the true end blows them all away.
I’d also take this moment to comment on the music. It is nothing short of fantastic. While the slice of life scenes provide us with the sort that relaxes us, the scenes that truly matter all have the music to match, and oh, boy, does the music match that epic Haru ending!
All the praises said, the game isn’t without its weak points. Unlike most other people, I didn’t like Death Note very much. I felt that the mind games are all set up to impress, much like a stage play. G-Senjou’s mind games, while leagues above Death Note’s, is still mostly planned by Death Note’s mangaka, so it does get a bit annoying to see everything fall into place all too easily and the continuous “It’s a trap!” mechanism of the battle of wits.
You may also find problems if you enter the other heroines’ routes. Developments and buildup on both Maou and Haru’s stories will come to an abrupt halt, and may leave you with some potential plotholes and annoying things to think about. At least, that’s how it was for me.
Overall, I think this is a more emotion-driven game rather than a mystery, though the mystery and psychological elements are very nice touches that can only improve the game, no matter how annoying they are in my opinion. G-senjou no Maou is a must-play for any eroge player who wants a break from all the other common VN plotlines out there.