After I finished The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles, I needed something a bit more… low-key, compared to the emotional highs of that game, so I turned to Dairoku: Agents of Sakuratani.
Dairoku is an otome that saw somewhat of a mixed reception due to not having the most thrilling plot. But I liked the premise, so I got it, and it sounded like just what I wanted.
The story follows a young woman who joins a secret organization in charge of monitoring a special realm where supernatural creatures like oni and kitsune can live in peace without causing trouble for humans.
You might think this lends itself well to some serious conflicts, but it really is much more of a slice-of-life story, especially since the characters are fascinated by the human world. Think less “fighting dangerous yokai wreaking havoc” and more “hanging out with the oni to play video games.”
Each route does have a conflict, but even when the story gets serious, it never stays too serious for long. It’s just a pleasant, relaxing story, and every route has its share of cute moments and humor, although the romance isn’t too prevalent.
I liked it. I ended up getting all of the endings, since the friendship and lost love endings are enjoyable in their own right. I liked all of the characters (but Akuro is far and away the best), and it really was just… pleasant to play.
There’s a decent amount of humor, too. I won’t say it’s an outright comedy, but it had some pretty funny moments, especially from Semi and Hira.
If I have one criticism, it’s that there’s a gameplay element that feels pointless. Early on, you learn how to cast a spell by performing a simple mini-game where you press buttons in the sequence they’re shown in the screen. Now, the common route has several sections where you choose which character you want to spend time with from a map screen. You can alternately choose to fight a battle instead. Picking the battle options will put you on the path for the finale route, but that’s the only time it ever comes up.
It just feels out of place. Until I played the finale, I never saw the “combat” outside of the tutorial, and the fights don’t even come with more story content. I’m really not sure why it’s there at all.
Dairoku: Agents of Sakuratani is not an otome to play if you’re looking for a high-stakes plot, but rather one to go into looking for some cute, laidback character interactions. That’s what I was after, so I got what I wanted.
(Well, almost. If they ever make a fandisc, some of the side characters had better get routes. Being unable to romance Hajun or Orochi is a crime.)---
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