Primal Hearts is a romantic comedy visual novel developed by Marmelade that has now come to the West thanks to publisher Shiravune. Its story takes place in an academy that has a very peculiar council setting. With humorous situations and an engaging cast, it possesses a simple yet enjoyable narrative.
Events begin with the protagonist, Kazuma, transferring to Ainoshima Academy. He used to live in the countryside, and moving to Oran City is the perfect chance for him to craft a more popular persona. Despite still being inexperienced, he tries to assume this playboy persona to get some girls.
What he doesn’t yet know, though, is that he’s in a very unusual position. The school is ruled by two student councils using a voting system. When the two councils diverge in a topic, students vote for which group they believe made the better proposal. On one side, there’s Gekka, a student council that usually tries to uphold the traditions of Ainoshima. Students from noble, rich families tend to flock to this traditionalist faction as they perceive the importance of preserving the school’s culture.
Then, on the other hand, there’s Tendo, a council focused on revitalizing school life. Thinking of what would be more fun for students, they usually object to Gekka’s proposals, so they have the chance to show students other interesting choices and convince them to go with those instead. Currently, there are 776 students, making Kazuma the Triple Seven student. Both councils have large followings, and votes have somehow gotten tied. This new student has the chance to be the deciding factor in the elections, and, as such, both councils want him.
However, Kazuma isn’t just going to side with one and get the girl he wants. Instead, the story shows how he mediates conflicts, opting to analyze the prospects and ensure the best outcome for all students. He also hides details from his past, and all of these factors make him an intriguing protagonist.
As he gets to know the varied cast, Kazuma will interact more with both councils. Additionally, while there are other relevant students, his attention will be almost entirely dedicated to four girls from those two factions. They are his date prospects, though there is at least one other character who would make sense to have heroine status.
First of all, there’s Sera Kuragano, the Gekka president. She’s a diligent girl who’s well known for being overly stern. She constantly behaves with finesse to show respect to her wealthy family and the expectations of everyone around her. Still, this behavior makes her seem too cold and unapproachable for most students, and because of that, she has no friends.
The person closest to her is the Gekka secretary, Yuzuki Komagata. She’s in a special position as she’s the only representative of the council who isn’t high class. She only managed to join Gekka because of her scholarship, but her time there made her very thankful to Kuragano. Yuzuki also works part-time at a local café called Rapunzel, and she’s very friendly with Kazuma.
On the Tendo side, we have president Haruhi Tenjindaira. She’s the youngest of the options, being a first-year student. The protagonist even mistakes her for a kid the first time they meet. Though she can be a bit childish at times, she’s a natural-born leader who empathizes with people around her.
Lastly, we have Kana Kanna, who’s Tenjindaira’s right-hand. If the students ran a popularity contest at school, she’d be the winner, getting the most votes from boys and girls. Kana is a mellow girl who’s a ray of sunshine that attracts people wherever she goes. However, her obsession with Tenjindaira runs deep, and she will do anything for her. You don’t ever want to see her angry.
Besides those girls, there are a few other characters with dedicated illustrations. First of all, there’s Bicchi, a Tendo supporter known for having 31 boyfriends, one for each day of the month. Tendo also has the most stereotypical otaku, Mizanori. He has no interest in 3D women and often argues with Bicchi.
On Gekka’s side, there’s Gomyo, who wants to one-up Kuragano and become the president. Kazuma is surprisingly adept at manipulating Gomyo, as he has a straightforward nature. There’s also Motoyurugido-sensei, who’s the Gekka advisor and Kazuma’s homeroom teacher. She’s always trying to get Kazuma to sign up her marriage papers and has no shame.
Primal Hearts gradually builds up its characters and demonstrates them interacting during various incidents throughout the Common Route chapters. The narrative is basic, never going anywhere particularly interesting, but the characters and interactions are entertaining, especially if you’re fond of comedy.
There are choices, but they’re rather insignificant, as the only relevant one is picking between the four heroines. Once in their routes, there are no more options, so there are no bad endings either. After finishing one of the routes, players will unlock a side story that works as an amusing epilogue.
Primal Hearts may be uncomplicated, but it has an enjoyable story thanks to its comedic interactions. If you’re looking for a visual novel to have lighthearted fun with and see a cast of young dorks debating it out, I’d say this title is definitely worth your time.
This post may contain Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate Noisy Pixel earns from qualifying purchases.