It’s been an exceedingly busy time for the anime and anime-adjacent community, what with the recent Anime Expo — and one of the best things about this time of year is that we get tons of new visual novel announcements! Today we’re going to run through all the big announcements we got over the weekend — starting with those from veteran localiser-publisher JAST USA, whose social media manager deserves a Kageaki-shaped medal for the tireless work they put in during the expo.
Updates on physical editions
The continuing worldwide situation with COVID has understandably made the manufacture of limited-run physical editions of visual novels something of a nightmare, but JAST USA is keen to note that the packaged versions of Meteor Pendulum Heart, Do You Like Horny Bunnies?, Yamizome Revenger and X-Change are all on track for a summer release.
The physical edition of Full Metal Daemon Muramasa has been delayed somewhat, because JAST got a whole warehouse full of them only to learn that the wooden box lids warped when exposed to air, making their entire stock useless. As such, they’ve redesigned the package with a new lid, and this should be ready for autumn of this year. Should be worth the wait, too — it comes with not only a copy of the game on disc, but also an artbook, a 7″ vinyl record and a happi coat.
Updates on projects in progress
JAST have a number of projects on the go right now, some of which are making more progress than others. Nitroplus are notoriously slow to make progress on bringing their work overseas, for example, which means that titles announced a while back — like Outlaw Django, a cowboy-themed eroge — are still a way off.
Likewise, notorious (and long-awaited) BL title Slow Damage is “chugging along”, and will be out “soon”. There’s no specific date yet, but according to JAST it “won’t be too much longer” — with the caveat that it’s “hard to say when it comes to Nitroplus titles”.
Next up, Katahane from Tarte, 10mile and Longshot. This has been licensed for a while, but the original developers had been holding up localisation somewhat. Apparently now JAST has full permission to get going on production, and apparently “real progress” is now being made.
Machine Child by Oyari “Eiyu*Senki” Ashito was announced in Japan some time ago — and announced for localisation by JAST in 2015 — but the game itself isn’t finished yet, so obviously localisation can’t go ahead just yet. Looks lovely, though, if the key art (above) is anything to go by.
Finally, Nitroplus’ magical girl eroge Sumaga is “still in the works, but slowly” and “other Nitroplus titles have been prioritised”. It’s still coming, though — just no idea when as yet.
Inyochu: Insects of Insemination
The first new announcement from JAST is this horror nukige from prolific developer TinkerBell, who haven’t had many of their games localised to date. The version JAST is working on is a 2017 remake of the first Inyochu game from 2005 — there have been several entries in the series over the years, and despite the… somewhat niche-interest nature of the title, it appears to be rather well-regarded.
The concept behind Inyochu is that a group of demon hunters known as the Black Cat Brigade are called to investigate a haunted school. After one of their number fails to report back in after what should be a seemingly routine investigation, the others head off to find out what is going on by posing as students at the school. As you might expect, things are absolutely not what they might seem at the school.
This is one for readers with strong stomachs, as the list of tags on VNDB is gruesome reading. Expect lots of rape (usually involving monsters), mind control, inflation, pregnancy, childbirth and the ever-popular “all the way through”. JAST describes this game as having “full animated sex scenes graphic beyond your wildest dreams; a true classic”.
It’s already fully translated and edited, so we can probably expect this one quite soon.
Tokyo Hero Project
From ALcot, creators of the wonderfully entertaining My Girlfriend is the President, Tokyo Hero Project is a superhero-themed comedy game in which cosplaying heroes are posted throughout Tokyo in order to maintain public order — but no-one knows that they’re actually fighting the real villainous organisation, the Black Outsiders, at night.
In keeping with ALcot’s titles having somewhat anti-heroic protagonists, our hero in Tokyo Hero Project is a student who finds himself wrapped up in the Black Outsiders, fighting heroes while wearing a mascot character powered suit. If the character arc of Jun in My Girlfriend is the President is anything to go by, we can doubtless expect him to have at least one formidably powerful redemption arc as the narrative proceeds, culminating in happy loving sexytimes with the beautiful heroines.
Tokyo Hero Project is “almost completely done”, according to JAST, so watch out for this one soon-ish.
Gore Screaming Show
Gore Screaming Show is a well-regarded horror VN from Black Cyc that originally dates from 2005. Protagonist Kyouji returns to his childhood home to live with his aunt, an occult researcher — and, in the process, rekindles a number of friendships with his childhood friends.
Kyouji agrees to help his aunt investigate some paranormal phenomena in the forest that borders the town — including whether or not there’s any truth to a local myth. Kyouji encounters a mysterious adolescent girl who appears to feel tremendous hatred towards his female companions — and as the investigation proceeds, things start to get more and more dangerous, violent and even deadly.
While probably most notorious for its violent scenes and sexual content, Gore Screaming Show is, at heart, an utsuge or “depressing game” with an interesting, thought-provoking story to tell. If you can deal with the violent content — it’s worth noting there’s a “gore filter” option for the particularly squeamish — then this is one likely to be worth your time.
According to JAST, this one is coming later in 2022.
Gears of Dragoon: Fragments of a New Era
This one is a dungeon crawler from Studio Ninetail, the team behind the VenusBlood series. It’s actually the second in the series and, dating from 2015, it’s a relatively recent release that was put out for Ninetail’s tenth anniversary.
The game concerns the ruins of a fallen machine civilisation beneath the magical city-state Carnas, and the desire of a young adventurer named Rosta to investigate the truth behind the devices that have been excavated from the labyrinth. It’s a post-apocalyptic adventure that will keep you busy for a very long time, and going by the quality of the VenusBlood series is very much likely to be worth your time.
According to JAST, this one is “done and in testing, and hopefully out soon”.
Another Nitroplus title, this one involving, in JAST’s words, “militarised zombie slayers fighting necromancers in a frozen cyberpunk Tokyo”. It features fully animated fight scenes, has something of a Metal Gear Rising vibe about it (if JAST’s social media guy is to be believed) and is releasing “soon”.
Visual novel regulars will know that Nitroplus’ stuff is generally very well-regarded, but this appears to be a particularly popular title that the English-speaking audience should respond well to. It certainly features gorgeous visuals and striking character designs, so this should definitely be one to watch.
No specifics on dates as yet, but the game is completely done and ready for release — so watch out for it very soon!
Lots to get excited for in the immediate future, then — which of these are you most looking forward to? No judgement if it’s Inyochu…
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