Title: Bokuten: Why I Became An Angel
Release Date: December 12, 2019
Reviewed On: PC
Genre: Visual Novel
Love is tricky, as many have come to realize. The themes of love are often played on during many visual novels where romance is a given, and the main protagonist gets most of it. This is not true for the Overdrive-developed visual novel Bokuten: Why I Became An Angel, where love only brings unexpected consequences. The game takes a realistic approach to storytelling, as actions have substantial consequences on people’s lives. This emotional rollercoaster requires players to be on board with the idea of bad endings and find interest in its many tales of love.
Bokuten: Why I Became An Angel introduces the main protagonist Tomoe Kirinokojima, who, for one reason or another, doesn’t believe in love. Now, throughout the story, he explains his reasoning, and I can relate to many of his feelings. The truth is that in this world, angels exist, or so people say. One day while practicing archery, he ends up shooting one down, named Aine.
The crash leads to her instrument of love breaking, which takes the form of a guitar, now with only one string. However, Tomoe doesn’t want anything to do with the angel. His thought process is that if angels exist, why is there so much unhappiness in the world? He struggles to make sense of the fact that sadness and loss is something that people struggle with daily, including himself.
To get the angel out of his life, he ends up helping her by motivating others in his town to find love, with every romance, comes a new string. However, not all is what it seems, and Bokuten ends up showing its true colors by its conclusion. Each chapter, you’ll have to choose whether to interfere or not. However, sometimes interfering can have enormous consequences. I was often left in shock by the emotional impact that they had on me as the player.
The developers created a way to make each choice more impactful by having the player take on the role of the supporting character who is currently at a romantic crossroads. It’s unique and often leads to some interesting realizations about their motives and true feelings that you wouldn’t be able to understand otherwise. Throughout the 30 hour story, the cast of characters grows rather large, which makes things a little messy if you don’t care about a particular character’s dilemma. Also, by the end of the sixth chapter, all hope for a happy ending is lost as you find yourself feeling more and more like Tomoe.
The idea of love is complicated to convey in a real sense. Where most visual novels crank up the fantastical side of things to make reunions unrealistic, but happy, Bokuten seems to take the same approach but show you the reality of it all and the effect that it has on each person involved, both good and bad. By the end, not everyone can be pleased, which puts Aine’s abilities and Tomoe’s philosophy as a main selling point for the conclusion. What happens to these characters and how they change one another is something that I truly enjoyed watching.
The issue in the game is that there’s are too many characters to keep track of. Each chapter introduces a new set of students and then somehow connects them to Tomoe. If you don’t particularly like the couple that a chapter decides to focus on, well, that doesn’t matter because you’re stuck with it. Not every vessel for this story is as capable as Tomoe, which makes some characters just come off as a little annoying with how they deal with their feelings.
The character illustrations are brilliant in this title as each character in this large cast stands out. I’ll also add that the writing is excellent and I left each chapter understanding the character’s resolve and the consequence of my decision to interfere or not.
There’s also a helpful menu that allows you to move to a particular day on the calendar to make a different choice and see the outcome if you wish. Background CGs are vast and feature many different locations for the characters to visit, although some of them didn’t seem to fit the high quality that the others presented.
Voiced audio is a massive plus for Bokuten. Each character shows a range of emotions, and it all works well throughout the story. Sadly, the main character is not voiced, which ends up hurting the moments of the story where you see things play out from a different perspective, and you happen to talk to Tomoe. I felt that having him voiced would have easily made some of his more preachy rants more impactful overall.
Bokuten: Why I Became An Angel is a visual novel that is made to leave you struggling. Indeed, you can’t please everyone, and yet I couldn’t help but try in this story. I’m so conditioned from this genre to expect there to be some “True Ending” where everyone is happy, and you have some harem orgy. Sadly, that is not the case here, and I’m only left with the actual consequences of love.
I recommend Bokuten: Why I Became An Angel, even with the broken heart that it left me with. It’s a visual novel that tries new things with its storytelling as I was forced to be the cause of some lovely romance that had troubling side-effects. And if you’re only here for the eroge, well, there’s plenty of that too, but its not the highlight of this game.
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