The golden age of otome games is now

We are living in a golden age of otome games here in the west. That’s because throughout 2023, and particularly on Nintendo Switch, the sheer amount of localised otome titles hitting the system for the genre has been astounding. That’s also not even mentioning the sheer quality and quantity of indie otomes that have also released most recently such as The Spanish Privateer, Belle Automata and Pitstop in Purgatory, just to name a few examples.

As a sort of update to an older upcoming otome games piece – please see our other extensive breakdown regarding Aksys’ AX2022 announcements elsewhere – everything else within the genre that you should keep an eye out for will be compiled in this article here. That’s because at this point there is most certainly a lot to keep track of.

It’s both a blessing and a curse at this point but regardless, it feels very much like the golden age of otome games for us westerners!

English text galore

Looking at import Nintendo Switch games that include English multi-language support, joining the likes of Taisho x Alice: All in One and The Crimson Flower that Divides: Lunar Coupling are Chou no Doku Hana no Kusari: Taishou Tsuya Koi Ibun (known as Butterfly’s Poison Blood Chains in the west) and most recently up for pre-order, Hana Awase.

The latter, rather excitingly, comes as various volumes within a series called “New Moon”. Its four volumes Mizuchi, Himeutsugi, Karakurenai/Utsutsu and Iroha each contain a titular love interest, though the third entry contains two love interests instead of one. Each stand-alone version is just one part of making sense of its entire story.

It’s also a safe bet to say that its interactive Hanafuda-based battle system is an exciting core feature. Strategic card battling meets otome! And how awesome it is to once again see its iconic illustrator Yura in the west once more. You should be familiar with her talents since she is the same artist behind Luckydog1, Enzai – Falsely Accused -, Absolute Obedience and Girlish Love Revolution. The English version is in the best of hands, too; just check out the credentials of its translator Tania Torres-Delgado and editor Mary Borsellino.

Little needs to be said about Chou no Doku in comparison really when it has always been ranking high on MangaGamer’s licensing survey results for years now. Despite its console release missing out on the R-18 content, Chou no Doku has always stood out for its premise alone that has been repeatedly deemed as a dark and dramatic soap opera based in old Japan. Let’s not leave out how notoriously heavy its bad endings are too, which it provides a buttload of, providing plenty of opportunity to scar yourself. Also worth noting is this console version of Chou no Doku will be hitting the Steam store page at some point in the near future.

Even more localisations

Onwards with the next category, and it’s a rather delicate topic around here. That’s because despite having one of the roughest streamed release announcements within the otome scene in the west ever – “Welcome to the show” will go down in history for our community nowCharade Maniacs is an exciting prospect to look forward to for this year. Make that this month, actually at the time of writing! With its stunning limited edition selling like hot cakes, Idea Factory is striking while the iron is hot, and why wouldn’t they with a product like this one?

Charade Maniacs has Teita (Norn9) as its illustrator, and was written by Uta Amamiya, author of Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly. With a whopping nine love interests/routes and a storyline that plays with aspects of trust and deception – with a tone that seems similar to that of Danganronpa if we were to prematurely guess – Charade Maniacs looks to be a big hitter for 2023’s otome line-up.

And for way, way later down the line, Tengoku Struggle -Strayside has also been announced as one of Aksys Games’ upcoming localisations. Slated for no earlier than sometime within 2024, it has quite the promising and stacked creative team behind it. This includes artist Satoi (Ozmafia!!, Diabolik Lovers and Olympia Soiree), director Tanabe Wataru (Olympia Soiree) and scenario writer Katagiri Yuma (Princess Arthur and Olympia Soiree). It seems to be the title that goes against the grain with regard to what the talents involved in its production team have done before!

Even more in the works

With all that out of the way, there’s plenty more that is well worth mentioning. even if TEMPEST remains a solid Nintendo Switch exclusive otome and fans will be more than delighted to know that we have not seen the last of it just yet. Its fandisc and sequel, even if TEMPEST: Dawning Connections, will depict the events that lead on from its predecessor’s conclusion sometime this year.

There has also been even more Voltage Inc coming to the Nintendo Switch, with their most recent release being Finally, in Love Again. And let’s not forget an even newer otome game that remains not only exclusive to the Switch but also a digital-only title: Love Dormitory, a surprise announcement and release for a Japanese indie title coming from developer Hase im Haus. You can read up on some of our early thoughts of it on our round-up of recent indie otomes piece.

And once again, our wrap up of all things otome related for the near future has been done. In case we happened to have left anything out, be sure to check out our archives of the genre here at Rice Digital. If there’s still something we have yet to mention then let us know on our social accounts or below in the comments! There can never be enough discussion about this genre, so let’s celebrate it together – unless you are better spending your time in actually playing a game or two within said genre. If so, have fun!

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Lilia Hellal
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