We Played A Japanese Dating Sim So You Don't Have To
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Politics and Activism

We Played A Japanese Dating Sim So You Don't Have To

Shall we date? Ninja Assassin.

We Played A Japanese Dating Sim So You Don't Have To
Corri Smith

Milly Allen: I played a character I creatively named Milly Weeaboo, which means I had the pleasure of delivering this line:

For my one true love, I chose the character Natsume. He was a huge ol’ dick. His dislikes are “woman” [sic]. He may seem cold, because is cold.

Corri Smith: My character was named Rin because I like that name (read: I named it after an anime character and I'm too embarrassed to admit it). My lover was Kinshiro (‘dat collarbone), and he was very brotherly. But like, in a bad way because he told me constantly that I was like a little sister to him. And he was/is obsessed with his ex. It was an unhealthy start.

Brianna Kretske: My name was Kawaii Weeaboo, because I was the cutest Weeaboo in Edo. I chose Soji for my true love because I like men of justice with fiery, red eyes... note his strong like of swords...

MA: Let’s just say my real-life boyfriend definitely did not feel threatened by Natsume; but I often did, because he was more than “cold.”

CS: But I think we’re getting ahead of ourselves here! The main character ends up with this group of vigilantes in a rather depressing and soap opera-y way. It all starts with a murder…

MA: For ease of typing, let’s refer to the pink-haired Mary Sue protagonist as the “heroine,” since the game refers to her as that. If you feel like self-flagellating yourself by playing this game, that’s who you play. So this Tori dickbag, who is some kind of official in the North Ward, kills the heroine’s mother and father. She lives because they hid her under the floorboards and Tori is not smart enough to look for her.

BK: After her parents are murdered above her, she pulls herself together and makes her way to a shrine to pray for help in seeking revenge against the parent killing Tori. However, she gets more than she bargained for! She gets… love! You’re officially inducted into the assassins when you pick a man to protect your fragile, female self. You then proceed to blush madly and stammer for 9 chapters of the game. Each man takes you on a different adventure, and your ultimate goal is to unlock the best ending by answering arbitrary questions that really don’t matter but somehow impact your levels of intimacy with your character. The only way to get the best (read: sexy) ending is to win or buy a special ‘love arrow’ that increases intimacy.

BK: Sorry Senpai, I didn’t mean to get lost in a huge crowd, what was I thinking? My bad.

MA: Yes, the ninjas take her offering at the shrine and bring her back to their ninja hideout. She chooses a ninja to shadow, who just happens to be the one she saw commit a murder earlier. You can train for Night Watch, Abacus, and Hair Styling. In all of those, you are rated as uncool, fine, stylish, and super stylish; play a dice slot; and yadda yadda. How did you guys feel about your abacus/math skills being rated as “stylish”? I felt it was pretty sexist.

CS: I mean, at least they sort of recognized that we might have intellect; they just rated it with beauty terms...that’s a small step for womankind. We could have been rated on breast size, outfits, and makeup (just like high school).

BK: It might have made me feel good if I were Barbie. Like,”Barbie the stylish Night Watch girl!” Maybe it was supposed to be cute?

MA: Style is important in this game. You have to pass “Stylish Level Checkpoints,” with Aoi -- the blue-haired ninja, who is a hairstylist -- appropriately judging your style level. You can up your style level by wearing clothes you win as prizes in the dice/Koban slot, or for completing missions (make X friends, complete X chapters). So this is why all of us had an avatar wearing her underwear and a red knit beanie cap at one point.

CS: You know what, I think Kin might have preferred me to stay in my undies and a beanie so that he could compare my breasts to his ex's and lower my already nonexistent self esteem.

Milly Weeaboo looking fine after an abacus lesson.

CS: I was super stylish and eventually got kitten ears. Meow.

MA: I had blue curly pigtails. We do what we must to survive.

BK: I had long black hair and a kimono that was way too sexy. Style levels through the roof.

CS: No such thing as too sexy, Brianna.

BK:Maybe when your avatar looks 13?

MA: Natsume also looks like he’s 13. So the non-style level checkpoints are awful, and designed to force you to funnel money into the game; you have to buy purses for the purse checkpoint with Kinshiro, or a truncheon for a “catch the robber” game checkpoint with Ichika. Without the truncheon, your chances of winning are 11% or 33%.

BK: Would you guys ever spend money on this game?

MA: No, I would never. It’s absolutely not worth it, though this game is obviously designed as a money-maker; it wants to force you to purchase power (which you need to read the story), love arrows (to get the best ending), truncheons (to make it past the checkpoint)... and though I’m sad and lonely, I’d rather drop money on ice cream than a fake ninja boyfriend.

CS: Nope, in fact, I think the game should pay me for playing it. It definitely does a good job of making you want to play more by leaving you hanging in the story, but paying money to keep reading? Not worth it. If I want to get my romance fix for the night, I’ll go read something else (50 Shades here I come! Just kidding, I have standards...sometimes). Besides, a girl needs a break from all the misogyny. I’ll gladly just check back the next morning.

BK: I could see how some people might want to, but nothing seemed worth it to me. You can wait for pretty much everything, it just takes way longer to progress. I can’t justify spending $3 every time I want to keep playing or move past a checkpoint, that adds up to be a lot of money I could be spending on wine instead. Wine...virtual sexist ninja boyfriend...Decisions, decisions.

MA: Confession time. I couldn’t make it past the truncheon checkpoint, so I watched a walk-through video instead of finishing the game. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have made it through the game in time for this article.

CS: I’ll confess too, I made it past the first truncheon checkpoint, but not the second one. So I did the same thing. I’m glad I looked it up, I feel like finishing the story would have been such a waste of my time. Mostly because of the checkpoints. And being rated on my stylishness.

BK: Unlike these 2 slackers,I finished the game, passing all checkpoints without investing anything more than precious, wasted time. I even started a second story, but the game requires many more micro-transactionable resources the second time around and I ran out of patience.

MA: How do you feel about the heroine? I think she’s annoying, and a doormat.

BK: She made me feel embarrassed at times. Like she would do something so dumb I would feel bad in real life. She had some shining moments of power and independence, but not enough to counteract her role as a blushing object.

BK: Wow, I never realized my worth until this man gave some to me!

MA: I feel like she wasn’t given enough autonomy.

CS: I felt like she was better represented than I thought she would be. Yeah, she tripped a lot, but she had a lot of spunk! I would agree that she was a little too submissive at times, it made me want to cringe.

CS: Rin is not submissive enough apparently.

CS: I, for one, really wished that the response options the game gave you were more than “perfect submissive housewife” and “I kind of disagree with you, but not really, you’re always right, I’m sorry.” Like, Kinshiro, you are being a jerk- stop. That probably would have made me have less romance points, but eh, who cares? Also, what’s with the cute clumsy girl thing?

MA: That’s my issue -- we are presented with a heroine who has bold moments, but only when it is convenient for the story. Otherwise, she’s a milquetoast. If you pick the responses that are assertive (such as calling Natsume out about his rudeness, and sometimes cruelty), you don’t attain sufficient romance points to have a good ending. To succeed in this game, you must contort yourself to fit the mold designed by the vigilante you chose to play with, instead of finding someone who respects and cares for you, and enjoys you the way you are.

MA: “You are… a fool,” Natsume tells me, immediately after he’s cowed me into being submissive enough to deserve his love.

BK: I was impressed with her determination to avenge her parents herself and not let the men do everything for her. But she was a cute, innocent, clumsy maiden that was not relatable at all and that trope is so overdone but sells really well in Japan. If I wanted that good ending, I had to give the right submissive response, no matter how much it grated my soul. I wasn’t allowed to even admit to looking at other guys if I wanted his approval. In the end, Soji saved my helpless ass several times and then I was content to stay at home and be a cooking, cleaning baby maker. Girl power!

MA: Brianna, didn’t he straight-up tell you that he wanted you to stay at home?

BK: Why yes, Milly, he wanted a good waifu. However, it was also my childhood dream to grow up and be a stay at home wife while he went out and did all the fun stuff. Dreams really do come true!

MA: I never left the bookstore that Natsume ran independently, unless it was to get groceries. I think I did less cleaning than either of you, since it mainly focused on me carrying too many books, and then dropping the books, only to have Natsume save me! (*^.^*)

CS: Hey, I'll have you know that I did more than clean! I also found every uneven floorboard in the place while conveniently tripping into my lover's strong arms.

*romantic sigh* But isn’t it targeted towards Americans (or made by Americans)? Why is it so popular here?

BK: Lonely women are lonely?

CS: Do you think any men play this game?

MA: Hell no. Well, maybe Jacob.

CS: Definitely Jacob, and he probably doesn’t even play it ironically.

BK: Jacob, let us know what characters you’ve completed!

MA: I think Jacob has definitely completed Sean and Zach.

CS: So, final thoughts? Ratings?

BK: I feel like this game was a big slap in the face to Marie Curie, Malalah Yousafzai, the Suffragette movement, and all other strong and independent women throughout history. I feel like I took a step backwards as a woman. Being constantly controlled and degraded was not romantic, not even cute. The art was nice, and the characters other than the heroine had a least a modicum of depth. I give this game three of out ten furious blushes.

MA: I give this two and a half out of ten dramatically falling sakura blossoms.

CS: I feel like Megan Trainor would really appreciate this game (see Dear Future Husband) but Taylor Swift might not be as cool with it. Although maybe she would since she only cares about “white feminism.”

MA: Milly Weeaboo’s name isn’t “no,” her sign isn’t “no,” and her number isn’t “no.” Instead, her name is “you fool,” her sign is “sorry, Natsume,” her number is “please forgive me, Natsume.”

CS: Rin Weeaboo’s name is whatever Kin’s ex’s name is, or “sister.” In the end, I’d give this a 3 out of ten submissive housewives.

BK: Kawaii Weeaboo will speak when spoken to.

MA: Milly Weeaboo will apologize when spoken to.

CS: And Rin will fill in for your ex-girlfriend. All in all, this game is great if you fantasize about being dominated by a man, and if you dream of being a maid/babymaker. Until next time!

Stay tuned for Part II of this series where we talk about all the misogyny and non-consensual sex we encountered in this game!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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