Ozmafia!! is its own special kind of fairy tale. Players might be well acquainted with The Wizard of Oz, but they would be wrong to think that Ozmafia!! follows the same template! Visual novel fans will not want to miss this retelling of an American classic, a retelling that also draws inspiration from multiple other fairy tales and the Shakespearian masterpiece, Romeo & Juliette! Otome fans rejoice, for we finally have our first ever otome game from Manga Gamer!
Ozmafia!! is developed by Poni-Pachet and was originally created for Windows PC in 2013. The otome game has since had a PS Vita release and is now being developed into an anime. Ozmafia’s booming popularity has meant that the localisation company, Manga Gamer, has now published Ozmafia!! in English! English-speaking fans can now enjoy the game via Steam and Windows PC.
Ozmafia!! features a young girl named Fuka (name changeable). She wakes up in an alleyway with no memory of who she is. She recognises nothing and no one, and is repeatedly referred to as a ‘blank canvas’. The first person she meets is an intimidating man named Caesar, who immediately informs Fuka that she is ‘prey’ to be hunted! Running for her life, Fuka bumps into three more men: Caramia, Kyrie and Axel. Luckily these mafia Casanovas put Fuka under their protection, and so Fuka narrowly escapes Caesar’s bloodlust. Fuka thus begins her adventure as a guest of famiglia Oz, one of the five mafia groups that are currently at war over territory!
Ozmafia!! combines a number of folklores and fairy tales into one fantastical story. Indeed, the otome genre is no stranger to forgetful heroines (Amnesia: Memories being a prime example), but a plotline that consists of The Little Match Girl, Hansel & Gretel, Robin Hood, Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Puss in Boots, Romeo & Juliette and The Wizard of Oz? It takes a very unique visual novel to be able to incorporate so many storylines into one game. It should be no surprise then that Ozmafia!! has over twenty different endings and more than twenty different characters, eleven of which are romanceable. I must admit, as excited as I was to meet all of these fictional characters, the gentlemen I was most interested in meeting were the three Oz’s: The Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow and Tinman. My first impressions of the big three went something like this:
Kyrie is actually a decent guy deep down, but I must admit that I have mixed feelings about his personality. Each to their own, I guess? Kyrie, Caramia and Axel play very important roles within the Ozmafia!! universe, and because of this extra care and attention is placed on their stories. Each character has an Ending A and an Ending B, but Kyrie, Caramia and Axel are the only characters to also receive transferred endings. Transferred endings represent love triangles, meaning the player may start by playing Caramia’s route, but if they wish to change their mind, they can dump Caramia and start romancing Kyrie or Axel instead! It is also worth mentioning that, among all these variable endings, there is no real ‘bad’ end that players need to tiptoe around. Of course, some endings are more satisfying that others, with some more likely to make you sigh than smile, but rest assured that tear-jerking is kempt at a minimum! Replay value in Ozmafia!! is also especially high. Reaching one ending means that, when you play to get a different ending, new scenes become unlocked and you are able to get an even better understanding of the character you are romancing. I cannot applaud Ozmafia!! enough for this. New content definitely helps to make the skip button a bit more redundant. There is also an epilogue and secret ending to unlock after collecting all the endings!
By all accounts, Ozmafia!! is a pretty impressive game, but it is not without its drawbacks. I admire the game for having so many intriguing characters, but due to having such a high number, some character routes are less remarkable than others. Without revealing any spoilers, I also have to say that some of the plot developments leave me a little disappointed. There are some that just do not make a whole lot of sense, and there are even a couple that seem… well, lazy. There are some decisions I just cannot make heads or tails of, along with some big opportunities that were definitely missed! The following two images are a small spoiler, so skip it if you want!
The plot is far from bad. On the contrary, some of the backgrounds attached to these characters are especially creative. The game does suffer from a few mundane moments, moments that are more likely to occur outside of the Oz routes from characters that are considered minor in comparison, but overall Ozmafia’s banter and antics are a fun and enjoyable read. I mean, Caesar’s adorably ‘threatening’ comments are enough to bring a smile to anyone’s face!
Fuka is an outgoing, naïve young maiden who always has a smile on her face. She is bubbly and full of energy, and will happily lend a helping hand to whoever needs it. She lacks a certain amount of awareness, which often gets her into trouble. She remembers nothing of her past, not even her own name (Caramia will name her Fuka if players do not chose a name themselves). Her morals and preferences change in accordance to your choices.
Caramia, also known as the Cowardly Lion to his friends, is the don of famiglia Oz. His bravery knows no bounds, making him a very inspiring leader to his mafia underlings, as well as a very intimidating enemy to other mafia groups. Outside of the mafia, Caramia is a kind a cheery individual who Fuka first sees as a fatherly figure. His route mostly consists of himself and Fuka pushing past their platonic relationship into something more romantic.
Kyrie is the slyest scarecrow you will ever meet! His favourite games include tricks and manipulation, although he also has a weakness for gambling. He is famiglia Oz’s consigliere and trusted strategist. He can be rather mean with his comments, which provokes disdain from both enemies and allies alike. Such comments have also left him a rather lonely man. He greatly enjoys teasing Fuka by throwing her into misunderstandings and being intentionally harsh.
Axel (Get it? The Tin Woodsman. Wields an axe. Axel.) is a quiet young man with a lot of love to give. Although he seems to have a cold exterior, he actually has a very warm heart. He is very shy, and rather naïve when it comes to relationships of any kind. Although equipped with a gun, Axel’s aiming skills leave a lot to be desired. It is because of this fact that all of Axel’s firearms turn into metal clubs. He becomes very attached to Fuka and spends most of his time guarding her on trips outside of the Oz mansion.
Scarlet is easily identifiable by his bright red, Little Red Riding Hood-inspired, mantle. He carries a sniper rifle on his back, although he rarely ever uses it. He is the leader of the Grimm famiglia, a group that also comprises of Hansel and Gretel. Poor Scarlet is often running after his troublesome subordinates and apologising to other mafia groups for their destructive actions. Scarlet is young and cute looking, and so Fuka first mistakes him for a girl! The comment damages his ego, and so he diligently tries to prove to everyone how manly he really is!
Pashet is a knightly, Puss in Boots character who leads the Boots famiglia. She has a strong sense of justice and a strict moral code. She loves to duel with her sword and enthusiastically challenges anyone she deems strong. Sadly, Pashet’s route is not a yuri story but a tale of friendship
(Why, Pashet?! You even referred to Fuka as your princess! T_T). The story is nonetheless heart-warming and acts as a nice change of pace from otherwise flirtatious routes.
Robin Hood is a doctor at Sherwood clinic (Clever, no?). Due to a trauma in his past, Robin Hood always wears a crow mask in order to stop people from commenting on his expressions. He is passionate about medicine and treats every patient with equal concern. Robin Hood is publically known as a kind doctor, but in private he is a rather cynical person. His feelings for Fuka are complex and a little saddening.
Caesar is the town’s Big Bad Wolf. He leads a band of outlaws called the Wolf Gang. He sees Fuka as prey to be hunted, although his motives for hunting Fuka are not all that clear. He is a skilled swordsman and loves meat. Not that he can cook it. All of the domestic duties are performed by his optimistic subordinate, Soh. Although he is presented as Ozmafia’s antagonist, his feelings towards Fuka easily sway with a little nudge!
Soh is Caesar’s second in command. He is similar to Fuka in that he is cheerful and optimistic, but unlike Fuka he has a sense of danger. By all appearances he is not a fighter, although it would be wrong to assume that his hands are completely clean… He finances the Wolf Gang by running a food stall in town, a business that proves to be very popular among the locals. He is a hard worker and does his best to keep Caesar happy and healthy.
What was that? You thought Ozmafia!! was a PG-13 game? Untrue, my otome friends! Allow me to introduce you to Dorian Gray, Alfani and Manboy, three characters you will get to know very well in the Brothel route! Dorian Gray is a priest with unholy intentions, Alfani is a talented… entertainer and Manboy is a misunderstood servant. They do not have separate routes, so harem fans should find this option particularly interesting.
We know that the characters are top-notch, give or take a few awkward scenes, but what about Ozmafia’s presentation? Do the aesthetics stand up to scrutiny? I am happy to say that the game’s illustrations, masterfully created by artist Satoi, are a joy to behold. Otome and reverse harem fans may recognise this beautiful, wispy style from other popular titles, such as Diabolik Lovers (Yes, you heard right. I actually paid Diabolik Lovers its one and only deserving compliment… I feel gross.) and Norn9. In relation to sound, Ozmafia!! contains some charming bonuses. Upon starting up the game, players will receive a greeting from one of the characters that coincides with the time of the day. Hearing Caramia say good morning to you is a fantastic way to start the day! Characters will also make cute comments when you go to view their CGs. All voice acting (the game is partially voiced) is performed in Japanese. The music is also deserving of high praise! The game’s theme song, I Love You More, is a catchy English song by the Canadian Christian rock band, Article One. I have no idea how that happened (the band broke up in 2011), but I am so glad it did! Be very careful about clicking the video below, because you will have this song stuck in your head for days.
Ozmafia!! is a fun, entertaining visual novel that should please most otome fans. The story is a unique mixture of folklore, fairy tale and literary fiction. There are a couple of problems with plot development, although such problems are minor and should not affect your enjoyment of the game in any major way. The music is cheerfully infectious, the art style is beautiful and the characters are intriguing. With so many different endings to unlock and characters to romance, there is very little chance of players getting bored with this game. With so many different types of characters, Ozmafia!! will also appeal to a variety of visual novel players. If you like otome games, I would definitely recommend purchasing Ozmafia!!
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