Release Date: June 22, 2023
Reviewed On: PC
Genre: Visual Novel
Nukitashi is a visual novel developed by Qruppo and released in Japan in 2018 under the extensive name Nukige Mitai na Shima ni Sunderu Watashi wa Dou Surya Ii Desu ka?. Despite its name hinting at the game’s island being obsessed with sex, this is more of a wacky premise for its hilarious antics.
Nukitashi tells the story of a young man called Junnosuke Tachibana. He and his younger sister, Asane, used to live on Seiran Island but left along with their parents. Once their father and mother died, they returned to this place despite knowing the tribulations they’d have to face.
Seiran Island isn’t just any sort of place. Under a Perverted Sex Law, the residents have to engage in public sex with people of the opposite sex, and the once peaceful land has become a tourist trap for people seeking these erotic thrills. Though this may seem like an ideal paradise for a game to roll with the concept and show a healthy hentai lifestyle, Nukitashi turns it on its head instead.
For the Tachibana siblings, this is a living hell. The protagonist is a virgin who developed a few complexes over his little guy because of a traumatic experience when he was a kid. Meanwhile, his sister doesn’t like boys except for her brother, dreaming of one day being in a threesome with him and another girl. Unfortunately for her, straight sex is the only one the island endorses, so the law only emphasizes her as “weird” and “non-conforming,” ostracizing her.
After a few situations, they get a unique opportunity to make a team of people who suffer because of the island’s circumstances. Besides him and his sister, this anti-copulation gang includes the slut-looking Nanase Katagiri; the legal loli who’s their senior, Hinami Watarai; and the undetected girl with no presence, Misaki Hotori.
Nanase Katagiri looks like a stereotypical representation of everything Junnosuke hates. She’s the very definition of an islander girl whose appearance captivates the male gaze. As the law endorses people to be sexual, she’s popular, and everyone talks about her feats, but there’s much more to her than meets the eye.
Hinami Watarai looks like a loli, which led to her being treated differently from her colleagues. The Perverted Sex Law has a clause against pedophilia, which continues to be a crime in this setting. This rule is engrained in this society to the point no upstanding citizen would even try to get closer to a girl or boy who looks too young, and nobody believes Hinami is of legal age.
Finally, Misaki Hotori is a girl whose lack of presence is a constant gag in the game to the point she sometimes tries to act out of character. Her biggest issue is that she doesn’t like the idea of showing off her body to other people. So, even though she has some perverted thoughts that show up here and there, she isn’t fond of having to handle public sex.
Together with them, Junnosuke will have to look for a mysterious girl who seems to be the key to ending the Perverted Sex Law, though they have no idea why. Finding her and facing off against the public representatives of the island, the player gets to deal with some of the underlying darkness of Seiran.
Though the concept sounds ridiculous and the story is a comedy most of the time, Nukitashi offers a fascinating worldbuilding cleverly created to make the most out of the situation. The narrative has a little of everything, from character drama to blood-boiling action scenes and espionage homage. Everything has a heaping dose of humor, but that doesn’t make the plot any less gripping, even though it has some inconsistencies and convenient developments here and there.
One of the most common humor topics in the game is the skewed view of the characters on sex. A good example is the islanders act like zombies so thirsty for sex that walking down the streets or even the aisles of the school feels like going through a porn recording set during the action. An exaggerated caricature of the brain rot the story is playing with.
The main heroes are also guilty of this, though, with the protagonist having specific fetishes like wishing for a pure, virgin girl. His worldview can also get him to shout some over-the-top corny sentences. Overall, character interactions in Nukitashi tend to be pure gold of the shitposting material variety. Meta jokes are also a big part of the experience, as the game references eroge tropes, sex toys, things one might expect from adult videos, and kinks.
Another curious aspect is that our heroic group isn’t a team of strait-laced people of impeccable reputation. Instead of being anti-sex, what they want is to be able to enjoy themselves at their own pace. Not everyone wants all sorts of kinky playing forced upon them, and it’s horrifying to have a law saying you can’t refuse people or graphic, public punishment for only having sex with a single partner.
The story starts with a common route that presents all the heroines, having the protagonist pick one of them to help. Once in their specific stories, Junnosuke gets closer to the chosen girl and one of the “villains” trying to take his group down. Different characters may appear, adding some variety to the general feeling of the game.
Nukitashi’s art style is also top-notch, with a tendency to be very colorful and dynamic scenes playing with distance, effects, and expressive faces. There are even some people having sex in the background or enjoying the beach in the nude. During the battles, the protagonist may use an interface that overlays the screen with green infographics.
The soundtrack reinforces the ridiculous tone of the story with many upbeat tunes, but the tracks for dramatic moments also pack an extra punch. Likewise, the Japanese voice acting can range from purposely ridiculous and corny to heart-wrenching, all picked perfectly to match the story. As usual, the protagonist has no voice, and few male characters are relevant cast members.
It’s worth highlighting that the Steam version of Nukitashi only includes an initial portion of the game. As Shiravune has faced some severe bans like Meteor World Actor and Dungeon Travelers 2, they’ve become cautious to the point of releasing some titles in whatever manner becomes feasible, which is the case here. As a result, it’s impossible to even consider not using the patch to get the real experience here.
Nukitashi presents itself as a unique, well-written, and poignant comedy experience. It doesn’t shy away from its adult themes and, instead, embraces them to deliver a memorable narrative. Qruppo’s first game is a must-play that hits all the right notes when considering character development, theming, humor writing, and presentation.
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