Otome gamers have more options than just abusive vampires.

Diabolik Lovers Limited V Edition

MangaGamer released their results for their latest licensing survey. In second place was Diabolik Lovers.

My first thought?

“Urgh… Why!?”

Obviously, vampire stories are incredibly popular, and Diabolik Lovers has a following on both sides of the Pacific. Several games have been released along with character CDs, an anime adaptation, stage plays, and more. Not only has Diabolik Lovers been one of the most requested titles at MangaGamer, but the series is often requested on Idea Factory and Otomate’s English social media accounts.

In Diabolik Lovers, a girl named Yui suddenly has to live with a bunch of vampire brothers who all want her blood. The first game (Diabolik Lovers: Haunted Dark Bridal) was originally released for the PSP before being ported to the Vita (Limited V Edition). It was developed by Rejet and published by Idea Factory under its Otomate line.

If it’s so popular, what’s the issue? The guys may suck blood, but they also just suck. The whole premise pretty much lies in Stockholm Syndrome. Read reviews on Amazon Japan, and while many people praise the voices and the visuals, they also wonder why the heck Yui fell for these guys. They’re sadistic and violent. As one reviewer put it, “There is no sweetness at all.”

Some of you may truly like Diabolik Lovers. That’s fine. But I’m worried some people are clamping onto Diabolik Lovers because that’s the only otoge they know. Even though there are many wonderful blogs that review Japanese otome games — not to mention the awesome Visual Novel Database — many titles just get lost thanks to information overload.

So, I humbly present to you a dozen alternatives to Diabolik Lovers.

I’m limiting this list to Otomate games because a) the company actually has a presence overseas and b) other companies also have and will continue to release their games. I’m not saying all of these are better than Diabolik Lovers (tastes are subjective after all), but this list is meant to raise awareness about some other Otomate games.

In addition, while ratings only tell half the story (and I’ve already written about how Japanese Amazon reviews may be harsher than American reviews), I only selected games rated higher than Diabolik Lovers (3.6 stars out of 53 reviews for the Vita port, 3.1 stars out of 158 for the original PSP game). A good portion of these are ports, but, heck, so is Diabolik Lovers. Some games are already a couple of years old; others are much more recent.

As a point of reference, here are the current Amazon review averages for most of Otomate’s Vita releases that have been or will be released in English:

Bad Apple Wars – 3.3 stars out of 132 reviews
Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ – 4.2 stars out of 175 reviews
Collar x Malice – 4.3 stars out of 133 reviews
Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds – 3.8 stars out of 60 reviews
Norn9 Var Commons – 4.1 stars out of 42 reviews
Period Cube – 3.7 stars out of 38 reviews

On to the list!


Bara ni Kakusareshi Verite

Bara ni Kakusareshi Verite
薔薇に隠されしヴェリテ
Le Bouc Émissaire de la Reine
3.9 stars out of 72 reviews

Summary:

Liese is a servant to the Austrian Archduchess. Having lived in the castle her whole life, she knows little of the outside world. But on May 16th, Marie Antoinette collapses, and Liese has to drink a special formula that will transform her into Marie Antoinette. Can Liese successfully impersonate the Archduchess? And even if she does, is Paris safe for her to stay?

Comments:

Stories set during the French Revolution always have beautiful outfits, and this game is no exception. I would think the setting would appeal to many visual novel players.

Binary StarBinary Star

Binary Star
3.9 stars out of 50 reviews

Summary:

Set in the near future, the country of Cloud was a utopia. But the peace was shattered when a substance known as “Hoshi” was developed. While it was meant to give people good dreams, “Hoshi” turned them evil instead. Fuu’s parents started dealing “Hoshi”, and they were murdered. She was rescued by the Tenshi, and she vowed to atone for her parents’ crime by becoming a Tenshi herself.

Comments:

Basically, a girl becomes a cop in order to stop a drug. Doesn’t that sound awesome? Also, the artstyle looks amazing.

Black Wolves Saga -Weiβ und Schwarz-BLACK WOLVES SAGA -Weiβ und Schwarz-

Black Wolves Saga -Weiβ und Schwarz-
4.1 stars out of 11 reviews

Summary:

In a land where humans and half-humans live, an epidemic spreads. The disease, Zodiva, was rumored to have originated from a wolf’s curse, and the kingdom issues a decree to exterminate the wolves. Years later, Fiona, a girl with a sickly body, lives sheltered in a tower. But just before her 16th birthday, she is captured by the prince and accused of being a witch.

Comments:

This game is another port, but at least it’s two games in one. It’s also the only Cero D game, roughly equivalent to the M rating in the U.S.

Clock Zero ~Shuuen no Ichibyou~ ExTimeClock Zero ~Shuuen no Ichibyou~ ExTime

Clock Zero ~Shuuen no Ichibyou~ ExTime
CLOCK ZERO ~終焉の一秒~ ExTime
4.2 stars out of 85 reviews

Summary:

Sixth grader Nadeshiko suddenly keeps having dreams of another world. Then she, her childhood friend, and some rumored troublemakers are forced into an afterschool club by the new teacher. The teacher gives them an “assignment” each day, and this group starts to discover reality may be far more complicated. Nadeshiko keeps dreaming of her older self and starts to realize she was supposed to meet “him” there. Who is “he”, and what is this other world?

Comments:

As you may have guessed, time travel is involved, and that always complicates the plot. I usually don’t think about it too hard because it makes my brain hurt.

Hanayaka Nari, Waga Ichizoku Modern NostalgieHanayaka Nari, Waga Ichizoku Modern Nostalgie

Hanayaka Nari, Waga Ichizoku Modern Nostalgie
華ヤカ哉、我ガ一族 モダンノスタルジィ
4.4 stars out of 40 reviews

Summary:

Set in the Taisho period, Haru gets a job as a maid to support her family. But working at the Miyanomori household may be harder than Haru thought: each of the six young masters have their own personal issues. Will the hostile workplace cause Haru to quit, or will she manage to foster a friendship with one of the brothers — and perhaps more?

Comments:

While Hakuoki is also a period piece, a more realistic game may have a harder time getting licensed.

Juuza Engi ~Engetsu Sangokuden~ 1-2Juuza Engi ~Engetsu Sangokuden~

Juuza Engi ~Engetsu Sangokuden~ 1-2
十三支演義 偃月三国伝1・2
4.5 stars out of 49 reviews

Summary:

At the end of the Han dynasty, the cat-eared human-like Maozoku live away from people. The despised Maozoku are called “Juuza”, named after the excluded cat of the Zodiac legends. Kan’u, Liu Bei, and Zhang Fei live like siblings in peace, away from the war. But when the Han army shows up looking for the rebels, Kan’u and the others are forcifully drafted into the conflict.

Comments:

A spin on the popular Three Kingdoms story. Three Kingdoms is not really well-known in the West though.

Kyoukai no ShirayukiKyoukai no Shirayuki

Kyoukai no Shirayuki
鏡界の白雪
Namlich Shirayuki
4.0 stars out of 53 reviews

Summary:

Mashiro, a university student, attends a “Mirrors of the World” exhibit and meets eight guys there. That night, she eats a pomegranate and falls into a deep sleep. When she wakes up, a mirror has appeared in her hands. It tells her to save the destined one. She meets the eight men again, and suddenly Mashiro finds herself in a “Mirror World”. Why are the guys calling her “Snow White” with a crazed look in their eyes? Not to mention the Queen wants to capture Snow White…

Comments:

Since this is a twist on the Snow White fairy tale, I think this game would be accessible to a lot of players.

Senjou no WaltzSenjou no Waltz

Senjou no Waltz
戦場の円舞曲(ワルツ)
4.0 stars out of 83 reviews

Summary:

Desperate to protect her home and family, Ran somehow manages to obtain the cursed demon sword sealed in her village. Now in possession of a great power, she is forced to train at Nirvana, the nation’s military academy, to prepare for battle. Together with her talking sword, Ran just might find a place where she belongs and a reason to wield her sword.

Comments:

This game seems to have been made in conjunction with Tezuka Productions. It’s also done by the same team as Princess Arthur I believe.

Shinobi, Koi Utsutsu -Setsugekka Koi Emaki-Shinobi, Koi Utsutsu - Setsugekka Koi Emaki-

Shinobi, Koi Utsutsu -Setsugekka Koi Emaki-
忍び、恋うつつ -雪月花恋絵巻-
4.3 stars out of 66 reviews

Summary:

Ever since she was saved by some ninja, Kaede has dreamed of being a shinobi. Her goal seems within reach now that she’s been invited to ninja school on a trial basis. But things don’t go smoothly when Kaede accidentally casts a jutsu that makes guys fall in love with her! Now Kaede must train her special ability in order to be a full-fledged student at the academy.

Comments:

I think it’s a law that if you love Japanese culture, you must also love ninja. Although is that one guy ready to sneeze or something?

Wand of Fortune RWand of Fortune R

Wand of Fortune R
3.9 stars out of 22 reviews

Summary:

Lulu is known as a problem child at her magic school. So she decides to transfer to Latium’s elite Mills Claire academy. There, Lulu learns why she is so bad at magic: she doesn’t have an “Attribute”! If she doesn’t gain an Attribute, her magic will be sealed forever. But Lulu may be able to gain an Attribute if someone helps train her and she passes her final exam…

Comments:

In an unusual move, the heroine’s name is not only voiced, but Lulu herself is also partially voiced.

Yuukyuu no Tier Blade -Lost Chronicle-Yuukyuu no Tier Blade -Lost Chronicle-

Yuukyuu no Tier Blade -Lost Chronicle-
悠久のティアブレイド -Lost Chronicle-
4.3 stars out of 74 reviews

Summary:

In the far-off apocalyptic future, slumboy Shud meets the fugitive Atalva and learns of a girl named Eve. Eve supposedly has a special power and has lived 3,000 years in the “Neosphere” with an A.I. named “Cradle”. The two head off to find Eve, but when they do, they are attacked. Suddenly, as if to protect Eve, a humanoid weapon appears in front of them: the Tier Blade.

Comments:

This game was billed as Otomate’s first sci-fi game with two illustrators. The plot reminds me a bit of Norn9.

Yunohana SpRING!Yunohana SpRING!

Yunohana SpRING!
ゆのはなSpRING!
Welcome to Fukujuro
4.0 stars out of 59 reviews

Summary:

After hearing her mother has collapsed, Yunoha returns to her parent’s home in the countryside. There she learns her family’s once-popular bathhouse is now struggling. Determined not to lose to the competition, Yunoha temporarily becomes the proprietress of Fukujuro. What does the future have in store for Fukujuro — and, more importantly, Yunoha?

Comments:

Doesn’t this cover look so cheery? It might look a too cutesy for some people, but the picture puts a smile on my face.


Final Comments:

Drug wars, talking swords, bathhouses — there are a lot of other games I want over a girl trapped by sadistic vampires. Hopefully one or two of these titles have grabbed your interest so that when Otomate and/or other companies ask for ideas, you can offer your suggestions.

If you want to see other games from this developer and publisher, go to The Visual Novel Database. Alternatively, go to Amazon Japan and copy this text: アイディアファクトリー. You can switch Amazon Japan’s site to English and choose the Video Games (TV Games) category for best results. And for the love of bishounen, make sure you are requesting games from the right companies!

Would you support an English version of Diabolik Lovers? Or what other otome game would you like to see in English?

33 Comments

  1. Kapodaco

    I blame Twilight for Diabolik Lovers. Alternatively, I blame Dracula (1931) for paving the way.

    An interesting alternative to the normal review/deal-watches that you normally post. Looks and feels completely professional. And for the record, I’ve heard men are a lot more appealing when they’re about to sneeze. Something about a psychological desire for men to appear more vulnerable. Yadda, yadda. ; ]

    Reply
    1. Krystallina (Post author)

      Yeah, Twilight really seemed to open the floodgates all across the world. I almost read that book. Dodged one there.
      Thanks for the positive comments! Hope to do more of these different posts.

      Reply
  2. mattdoylemedia

    I’ve not played anything within the genre, so I can’t go on experience here, but I must admit, Binary Star sounds quite interesting.

    Reply
    1. Krystallina (Post author)

      Binary Star is the one I want most out of all these games. Hope more people think it sounds good so it can get an English release.

      Reply
      1. mattdoylemedia

        It’s certainly an interesting premise. The whole set up seems really different compared to other games I’ve read about in the genre.

        Reply
  3. Karandi

    Vampires work, but as you said, they aren’t all that are out there. Variety is always a good thing. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Krystallina (Post author)

      You’re welcome. Hoping people can find a game without a full cast of abusive guys.

      Reply
  4. Leafさんの夢が。。。

    Dialovers the game is ALREADY TRANSLATED ONLINE so there’s another reason rofl. I would be pretty pissed if it was chosen out of all the other titles. Seriously. I get that some people realy like the series but IT’S ONLINE JUST SEARCH IT AND IMPORT THE DAMN GAME AND STAPH ASKING FOR THIS. If this was released, the reviewers who aren’t into otoge or even know about them would be so livid with this game.

    And then all otoge would be labeled as abusive shit. And we might never get any more.

    I’m serious.

    Kyrstallina, sorry for the angry rant. This was such an important post and I can’t believe the results for this poll yet again. As I said before to the fans, it’s already online. You can play your import like I did with the translations online.

    Reply
    1. Krystallina (Post author)

      I am not too surprised it made the list. But to make #2? That is shocking, and not in a good way.
      What’s amazing to me is that so many players bash heroines like Hakuoki’s Chizuru for being “weak”, but a game where a girl stays with a bunch of guys who view her as pretty much garbage? Totally want to play. What the heck?

      Reply
      1. Leafさんの夢が。。。

        To be fair, Yui did stand up (although very rarely) to her abusers. Then she fell into Stockholm syndrome “love” with them. The only “nice” guys in there totaled 2. The others were complete dipshits. Even the nicer guys were assholes at times.
        I have to hand it to Chizuru considering that she’s living in a time where women were the equivalent of the English-woman’s “furniture” status. Yui lived in a modern time and would be more proactive but she was still horribly submissive. I can’t blame her though, considering the amount of shit she was subjected to and therefore had to tread carefully-though that didn’t always help her.
        *sigh*
        I think both heroines had their merits but at the end of the day, the men around them greatly influenced both of their actions. I would gladly choose Hakuoki’s men any day over “Oh, I just felt like strangling you today/burning you/stabbing you with a fork/raping you because it’s love” DL men.
        And to the fans: Yes, I played this game. Yes, Yui is raped. Stop saying it’s all S&M because rape is NOT.

        Reply
        1. Krystallina (Post author)

          I agree Chizuru can be weak, but like you mentioned, a lot of people forget it was the mid 1800s then.
          And holy cow, Yui’s raped? I really don’t want to play this now.

          Reply
          1. Leafさんの夢が。。。

            Yep. It stinks that most people don’t consider the setting and make snap judgments.
            And yea…several times….and fans say it’s fine because it’s done out of love…

  5. eylenasorena

    I love your post but I feel its not fair to only list otomate products, there are other makers like KOEI just look at angelique, geten no hana(so good) or harukanaru toki no naka de 3 or 6 is amazing
    how they completely ignore the west since angelique was one of the first otome games.
    Oh there is Takuyo too but its ok if you haven’t heard about them.

    Anyway its unlikely for Dialover to get picked up b MG anyway, I doubt the have the funds to port
    console games to steam nor have the ability to work on console port since they specialize in PC games.
    I feel like half of the people that want it would just pirate it anyway if it did get picked up.

    Reply
    1. Krystallina (Post author)

      I did consider opening it up to all publishers, but between Aksys, NTT Solmare, and Idea Factory themselves, Otomate games have the highest chance of being licensed. I do doubt MangaGamer would be the one to pick up DiaLovers if it were to be picked up.
      I might make a future post about otome games and/or companies that need to come Westward. I know a couple of the games you mentioned would definitely make that list. (Angelique Retour, come on Koei!)

      Reply
  6. Mitsu

    This post is very useful! I can´t read Japanese properly yet, so I´m not that deep into that genre. I only knew like 6 games from this list, so seeing other titles really makes it easier to vote for different games in polls! I hope a lot of those DL voters see this blogpost, I´d really appreciate it if the poll results will show more variety next time! Thank you so much for this informative post!

    Reply
    1. Krystallina (Post author)

      You’re welcome! Glad you found it informative.

      Reply
  7. lol841701254

    This is overdoing it?

    Reply
    1. Krystallina (Post author)

      May I ask why you feel that way?

      Reply
  8. machiyaa

    I was hoping you consider putting 7’scarlet, Trigger Kiss and Re:Vice D because that was also one of otomate’s gold compared some of the games (say period cube and senjou no waltz who had lower rating) but that’s okay. In my opinion I see some western fans really intrigued with some mystery aspect in otome games so that’s why I was hoping 7’scarlet get localized to by aksys since the game developer TOYBOX also did Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunter (and it’s also localized by aksys too).

    Reply
    1. Krystallina (Post author)

      Unfortunately, I had to make a cut-off. I already had to increase the list since there are so many good games. I actually own Trigger Kiss even though I haven’t played it yet. Good to see some more recommendations though!
      I didn’t know that about 7’scarlet though. Neat!

      Reply
  9. Retsuya

    I’ve been following this franchise since its birth and played a few games, as well as watched how the fandom had evolved. With the maturity of the fandom decreasing and their impertinence towards certain issues within the game, I just don’t think this is suitable for them and for the english speaking fandom at large. Even for myself, who has a love-hate relationship for the franchise.

    However, i really like the list of games that you’ve put up, and i agree with the fact that most only know dialovers through its notoroiety(mostly due to the fandom imo). I’ve only played imports, so i’ll retain my comments on english versions since some of my thoughts can be taken out of hand. Cheerio!

    Reply
    1. Krystallina (Post author)

      Very interesting to read your thoughts on DiaLovers as someone who has a lot of experience with the series. Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  10. Phii (๑•ω•́ฅ✧ (@shirayukin_)

    You missed Psychedelica games in the list (sorry, I’m biased but I relally think it would do well in the west lmao). Both have good reviews (the first game it seems the rating was lowered since the last time I saw, now it’s 3.7 stars out of 5 and the second is 3.9 stars out of 5) https://www.amazon.co.jp/%E3%82%A2%E3%82%A4%E3%83%87%E3%82%A3%E3%82%A2%E3%83%95%E3%82%A1%E3%82%AF%E3%83%88%E3%83%AA%E3%83%BC-%E9%BB%92%E8%9D%B6%E3%81%AE%E3%82%B5%E3%82%A4%E3%82%B1%E3%83%87%E3%83%AA%E3%82%AB-PS-Vita/dp/B00O4XHD2M/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1488226302&sr=8-2&keywords=%E3%82%B5%E3%82%A4%E3%82%B1%E3%83%87%E3%83%AA%E3%82%AB https://www.amazon.co.jp/%E3%82%A2%E3%82%A4%E3%83%87%E3%82%A3%E3%82%A2%E3%83%95%E3%82%A1%E3%82%AF%E3%83%88%E3%83%AA%E3%83%BC-%E7%81%B0%E9%B7%B9%E3%81%AE%E3%82%B5%E3%82%A4%E3%82%B1%E3%83%87%E3%83%AA%E3%82%AB-PS-Vita/dp/B01HAWTW2C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488226302&sr=8-1&keywords=%E3%82%B5%E3%82%A4%E3%82%B1%E3%83%87%E3%83%AA%E3%82%AB and honestly, are really great games.

    To be honest, I think it’s easier for MangaGamer to bring PC titles than console ones, so Otomate ones would be better to ask for Aksys or IF themselves. Good PC titles that could come here is Hana Awase (which is pretty cheap and has nice rating), TinyxMachinegun (from Rejet, but aside from some stuff that might trigger some people, it has a nice proportion of action and I think it would attract a lot of players; Tiny is also a pretty active protagonist and has a good development, specially in some certain routes), Ken ga Kimi (although it also has a Vita version, its popularity is pretty big, has good ratings, historical theme). Honestly, my dream is for stuff like Shinigami to Shoujo to come to the west, but without even a Vita port, I think that’ll take some time…

    There’s also Prince of Stride that had a anime and while it’s not from Otomate, it has 4.1 out of 5 stars.

    I think it would be alsonice to ask for other titles that aren’t from Otomate because it’s not impossible for them to come over here (we have MangaGamer bringing titles like Ozmafia and Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome)

    Reply
    1. Krystallina (Post author)

      Some very good recommendations! I don’t think a lot of people realize how big the market is. Hopefully some others check out the titles you listed and start pushing for them to be licensed.

      Reply
  11. tanteikid94

    I support this post

    Reply
  12. Brainchild129 (@brainchild129)

    OMG, that first one. I am an ENORMOUS sucker for Versailles-era stories. I NEED that in English.
    Also, it looks really pretty.

    Reply
    1. Krystallina (Post author)

      I didn’t even know about it until I was looking for games. Hopefully others will want it now too!

      Reply
  13. Elisabeth O'Neill

    There’s a place for vampires, even Dracula’s super-predatory descendents. There’s nothing wrong with it if Diabolik Lovers pushes your kinky buttons. But as you said, abuse shouldn’t be considered the norm in these games, that’s when negative stereotypes set in against otome fans.

    Gah, so many games I need to play!

    Reply
    1. Krystallina (Post author)

      Agree! The backlog problem is real!

      Reply
  14. The Otaku Judge

    Like Trump, Diabolik Lovers performed well at the polls so you must accept the result. It’s the will of the people!

    Reply
    1. Krystallina (Post author)

      Blech. Barf. Urgh.

      Reply
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