Ano Ko wa Ore Kara Hanarenai Review – 彼女あのコはオレからはなれない (PS4/PSVita Import)

January 30, 2015 Written by Heath Hindman

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Roughly translated as “That Girl Can’t Separate Herself From Me,” or “That Girl Can’t Leave Me Alone,” Ano Ko wa Ore Kara Hanarenai is an anime-style visual novel that takes place in a Japanese high school. The protagonist is Hiroto, a guy with a lot of girls vying for his attention.

 

The only people you’ll ever see are the girls trying to date Hiroto and the occasional side character, such as the boobily teacher. Hiroto himself is seen briefly in the opening but after that, I can’t recall a single time seeing him again. The story begins when he’s stuffing what looks like a poorly photoshopped hotdog into his closed mouth. Yuzuki wonders how anyone can be so stupid as to try to shove food into a closed mouth, and their romance takes off from there.

Uniform requirements at Japanese schools can be strict. Some even restrict the length and color of hair you can have. Fortunately, this one doesn’t. In fact, if you have big enough knockers, you don’t even have to wear the tie that everyone else has to. Observe:

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Facial features might change among a few set positions, but don’t move actively. Usually, you’re getting a still image with voice over.

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Even when there’s a confrontation, this is how it will be shown, with one girl’s still-frame character portrait sliding over closer to the other one:

This is a fight scene. You will see this image and hear the argument.

This is a fight scene. You will see this image and hear the argument.

 You’ll notice that this world is conveniently populated by only Hiroto and his love interests. Hallways, streets, and festivals are devoid of side characters:

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Its animated characters are pretty, but Ano Ko‘s music sounds like something a grocery store plays. I found myself bracing for a loudspeaker announcement at times, as I could practically already hear ご存知ですか? 本日のバーゲンです!

Intermittently, Hiroto gets calls from his wacky parents or runs into kooky side characters. The conversations range from pretty funny to painfully annoying, but like all conversations in this game, they’re no-punches-pulled Japanese. People often ask me if a given game is good for Japanese learning, and in theory, any Japanese game is good for language skill building. This one in particular is best for players of an intermediate or advanced level. To that end, I recommend the PS4 version instead of Vita, because that one gives Hiroto a voice; he’s silent in the Vita version. The girls’ dialogue is entirely voiced, with natural Japanese subtitles using combined hiragana, katakana, and kanji without furigana.

Given the genre’s lack of other gameplay devices, the only things to comment on are the audiovisual aspects and story itself. This is the type of game that doesn’t often leave Japan (and I don’t think this one will), but it has a certain appeal with its humor and cute cast.

Ano Ko is a sometimes-humorous story that the biggest fans of this genre might enjoy, but certainly not an introductory game for those curious about making the plunge.


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