Title: Hatsumira: From The Future Undying
Release Date: April 27, 2022
Reviewed On: PC
Genre: Visual Novel
The isekai plot is probably one of the most memetically oversaturated story concepts within the light novel sphere and their anime adaptations, and a classic game concept if you want to make a blank slate protagonist.
However, the isekai plot is far less common within the visual novel medium. So for Frontwing’s 2015 visual novel Hatsumira: From the Future Undying, just released in English, I was actually curious to see if anything interesting would be done with the concept. It makes total sense that this title would take seven years to see a western release, it’s a real meaty one.
Our protagonist for this adventure is Ichiro Mimori, a petty officer second class in the Japanese Imperial Naval Air Force. After being shot during a dogfight, Ichiro decided to turn his crash landing into a kamikaze attack to try and take on an enemy warship. It didn’t go to plan.
Not only did he live, but he has found himself crash-landed in the Domtlet desert, in an entirely different world, rescued by a rebel princess who can turn into a dragon.
Y’know, as you do.
From here, Ichiro finds himself wrapped up in a series of adventures as an envoy of Barauhl, a militia offcut attempting to reinforce their military might to fight against the expanding evil empire of Wisla.
Oh and also nearly every girl in this world is a kemonomimi, and almost every man is an anthro furry character. Because of course, they are. The sexual dimorphism is real.
Ichiro however, has a trick up his sleeve, as he is a protagonist with a face. He doesn’t have a voice, but he features heavily in many well-drawn CGs and has one of the most uniquely defined personalities for this sort of visual novel I’ve read in ages.
And by this sort of visual novel, I mean, there’s a patch you can download from the official site that adds some explicit material into it. I played without the patch, and if it weren’t for some of the especially revealing character designs and the litany of dirty jokes from chapters 2 and 3, this is a big enough title that you can easily get away with reading for reasons outside the H.
Such as our protagonist, who is supposed to be a middle-aged Japanese military man, who instead speaks like a rural Brit, based on the sheer density of words like blimey, bugger, pongo, and bollocks, as well as being a protagonist who leans very into the mantra of ‘Dudes Rock.’ A combination of seriousness and sincerity makes for a unique style of protagonist that lends itself very well to this Isekai narrative.
In one sense, the story is rather formulaic, as each chapter adds one more character to the main party. The introduction adds the dragon waifu, chapter 1 adds the dog girl, chapter 2 adds the mermaid and chapter 3 adds the undead girl to the main party before it comes to a head in the final chapter.
However, each of these chapters is quite substantial, and their adventures are large enough to be full visual novels in their own right. They’re never terribly deep, but they’re large romps full of fun and interesting interactions, occasionally beset by a weird eroge game trope.
However, the density of the chapters really allows the romance routes to feel quite natural. Except for the undead girl, that route is awful and she could easily be cut from the game with 0 negative impacts.
Hell, replace her route with any of the other utterly fantastic supporting characters, it’s crazy how good they are, making for stronger individual chapters and recurring cast members for the leads to bounce off of.
Considering the UI and options present in Frontwing’s Loca-Love titles, it’s a little bit hard to go back to the time when Frontwing didn’t have the best options menus known to man (no comic sans text option though). But you’ll find at least all the standard stuff here, as well as transitions, special effects, and positional alterations.
There’s also a progress menu, which I think is there just to rub in your face how big the game is so you can read for several hours and find out you’re only 14% of the way through a chapter with a daunting feeling of the game laughing at you in the background.
Once you have beaten the game you unlock the extras menu, which has a scene gallery. This breaks up the entire game into 53 meal-sized pieces, not including the character routes.
Hatsumira: From The Future Undying is, in case you didn’t notice, a mammoth of a visual novel. And in that mammoth you’ll get a bunch of fun stories, a large cast of splendid and enjoyable characters, and one of the best eroge protagonists I’ve seen in aeons.
I hope this gets received well enough for Frontwing to release more titles in the same vein as this in the future.
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