Kyonyuu Fantasy Review
(sorry no cover as even the menu screen and the shortcut icon for this game are NSFW)
While enduring Magical Teacher, I had to find something else to play for the sake of my sanity, and so I decided to try out a game that had been on the backburner for a while as I’d just watched the recently released OVA and it sounded decent. With a title like Kyonyuu Fantasy (look up the term here), I honestly wasn’t expecting much except for a simple story set in a medieval fantasy setting with a great deal of ero scenes catering to the titled fetish. What I got was a surprise even better than when I played We Love Master!, and an affirmation that the sex romp genre can be good in both story and ero. Released in Japan on October 23, 2009 by Waffle, Kyonyuu Fantasy certainly made for an entertaining 20-30 hours.
Pros: Surprisingly well written story, equally surprisingly well written characters, good voice acting, good artwork.
Cons: Artwork may not appeal to some, epilogue is a little weak .
WTF?!: Assassins literally named Assassin A, B, C, and so on…
You play as Ryuto Hende, recent graduate of the Edellant Kingdom’s Knight Academy. Unfortunately, due to his not being a very good fighter Ryuto graduated last in his class and is generally regarded as a good for nothing by his peers and teachers. As a result he’s assigned to the backwater border town of Boan, where they believe he’ll remain largely out of sight and out of mind. However, an encounter with a recently arrived succubus will lead him to uncovering a conspiracy against the crown. Dealing with this will only be the first step in Ryuto’s rise not only amongst his fellow knights but eventually into the upper ranks of the kingdom itself.
Honestly I wasn’t expecting much out of this story from both the title (which would probably translate to “Boobie Fantasy”) and cover artwork, but while the game is as heavy in terms of ero content as I expected, it had a story that was actually interesting and memorable. The game’s setting is actually well presented with diverse regions that Ryuto and the other characters travel through during the game, there’s political intrigue, the characters are all memorable, and the character development for many of them is surprisingly well written for this kind of game.
To begin with, the route structure for the game works in telling a complete and satisfying story even though it uses the structure of there being several endings but only one is the true ending, a structure I typically hate (see my Koihime Musou review). The reason KF is able to make it work is by not only having each route be its own complete story (even the ones that end shortly after you make the decision that puts you on it), but two of the routes provide some interesting backstory information about Ryuto that help in making a couple of story elements make sense in the true ending route*.
Still, what helps in making this game so good storywise are the characters, and this game certainly has an interesting cast. Each character has their own distinct personality as unique as their design. From Shamshel’s quirky and fun loving personality that hides an intense loyalty and devotion to Ryuto (why do succubi make such cool eroge heroines…makes me regret some of my actions in the Castlevania games) to Ryuto being such an excellent protagonist. To better explain that, similar to We Love Master!, we have another rare case of a sex romp game protagonist with depth even if he is a pervert. Unlike WLM though, Kyonyuu Fantasy’s protagonist comes off as a far more likable character from the start as Ryuto’s a pretty nice guy, whatever task he’s given as a knight he tends to take the more peaceful solution so it works out best for everyone, and he’s actually very intelligent though most don’t see it as a result of his laid back personality (imagine Justy Ueki Tylor of The Irresponsible Captain Tylor anime series except it’s a bit more obvious the guy’s a genius).
Aside from having good and memorable characters, KF also does what very few of the sex romp genre would even try to do: develop them. The two best examples would be Isis and Martel, who at the start of the game are among Ryuto’s biggest detractors. In Isis’ case, while her route follows the generic “save life of character who doesn’t like you then said character likes you” story when it comes to developing her relationship with Ryuto, in the true route a different approach is taken. After a certain major story event occurs, it’s enough to get Isis to rethink her opinion of Ryuto and that ends up setting things up for the two to be able to simply talk to each other normally now and through that not only does it establish a very believable development of friendship to romance for the two, but it also makes an interesting look at how the real problem between the two was really communication and from a writing perspective it makes for a good example of how one can make a good story element from something so simple.
Still, when it comes to character development, I have to say Martel’s the character who ends up shining in this as his development in the game proves to be the biggest surprise. Now for about half the game he’s the typical upper class jerk who looks down on our hero as he sees himself as better than him in every way. When things change and Ryuto actually earns a position of respect later in the story, Martel isn’t able to accept this change unlike Isis due to his own personal prejudices and the consequences of that aren’t very good for him. Any other writer probably would have left it at that from there as a form of karmic justice, but at a later point in the story circumstances make it that we see things from his point of view as he’s finally forced to question his own beliefs and just what his role should be as a knight in service to the realm. It all makes for what’s so far the best character arc I’ve seen in a sex romp eroge and a good example of how the genre doesn’t have to be as brainless as it more often comes off. Actually for one last example, two unnamed guards are given a small but memorable arc that stretches throughout the game.
For all the praise I’m giving this game, there are still some problems that it has in the story area. The main problem is that for as strong a main story that this game has, its epilogue is pretty weak. While it does explain what happens after the credits roll, it kind of pushes through all that rather quickly in favor of showing us a string of ero scenes instead. Also Isis’ story in the true route isn’t really resolved well considering how strongly they ended up building her relationship with Ryuto in that route.
In the area of presentation, I’d say Kyonyuu Fantasy hits all the right notes. Everyone except Ryuto is voiced and every voice actor down even to those who voice the unnamed NPCs do a good job. The music is good as it manages to set the mood for each scene well, but I will admit it does suffer from not being very memorable. The artwork in my opinion is really good: each character is drawn in a unique way, the CG looks good, and the background artwork is given the right amount of detail to make it memorable in that you’ll be able to remember which location is which if you just saw it by itself. Now I will admit the character art for the heroines may not be for everyone since some may not like the kyonyuu genre (I will admit though that Ruseria's character design is a little...too much), but to be honest I’ve seen a lot worse from it (feel free to PM me if you want to risk self-inflicted damage to your eyes).
Concerning the ero scenes, I’ll say they’re as good as they are numerous (this is of the sex romp genre after all). Some of the scenes do get long especially in the later parts of the game where several of them are clustered together.
The lowest scored graduate of the recent Edellant Knight Academy’s graduating class. Ryuto is generally regarded as a weakling for his average at best sword skills, a lazy idiot for his laid back personality, and a coward for preferring peaceful solutions to confrontational ones. Despite this low standing, Ryuto is willing to perform his sworn duties as a knight in service to the kingdom, especially if it will help the people.
Called Shamshel for short, she’s a succubus who has been plaguing the town of Boan for months and ends up being Ryuto’s first assignment to deal with. After it’s discovered that not only can Ryuto survive a night with her but also satisfy her desires, Shamshel takes a liking to Ryuto and becomes his first and most ardent supporter.
Ruseria fon Diamante:
The king’s daughter and princess of Edellant, Ruseria takes a liking to Ryuto soon after they meet. Her attraction to Ryuto however, seems to be manipulated by Bernstein and Emeralia for some reason.
Roxanne de Dejil:
Wife of the current lord of the town of Boan. Her being in a political and completely loveless marriage has kept her confined to a town that has been steadily declining under her husband’s leadership and she longs to meet and interact with anyone from outside.
Isis Petrovna Erenskaya:
One of the top graduates in Ryuto’s Knight Academy class and member of the kingdom’s elite guard. Isis has a very low regard for Ryuto due to his lack of skill in swordsmanship, apparent lack of any character worthy of a knight, and influence from Martel, whom she harbors a one sided attraction to. Excels in swordsmanship and wishes to one day be recognized alongside some of the kingdom’s greatest warriors.
Gladys von Valkenheim:
One of the kingdom’s most renowned swordswomen and tacticians, Gladys now heads a rebellion against the crown that could blossom into a nasty civil war.
Ruseria’s caretaker and Bernstein’s most trusted confidant, Emeralia carries out her duties to the latter loyally and without question. She begins developing an interest in Ryuto after being assigned to monitor his sudden rise in status.
Martel de Platine:
The top graduate of Ryuto’s class and son of one of the wealthiest nobles of Edellant, Martel’s skills with a sword and good looks hide an arrogant personality who desires fame and glory as a heroic knight of the kingdom. Looks down Ryuto for his common birth and apparent lack of strength or qualities he sees befitting a knight, let alone a person.
King Hagel I:
The current king of Edellant and father to Ruseria and Bobon. Has recently become anxious about the future of his kingdom as his son and current heir, Bobon, does not have any of the qualities of a good king. Takes an immediate liking to Ryuto after his success at Boan for his enthusiastic if unusual methods of serving the realm.
King Hagel’s son through a political marriage, heir to the throne, and Ruseria’s half brother. Bobon is a selfish idiot who regards any men below him as servants or trash and any beautiful woman as a potential addition to his planned harem when he becomes king. While estranged from his father he seems to be on unusual good terms with Bernstein.
Rubin fon Bernstein:
The king’s top advisor, Bernstein is a man with many schemes going on behind his king’s back for controlling the realm for himself. Ryuto’s sudden rise in rank amongst the knights though, proves to be a major impediment to his plans.
A seasoned warrior absolutely loyal to the crown, Felzen is also in charge of overseeing Knight Academy class Ryuto graduated with. Regards Ryuto as a failure, but does start to reluctantly wonder about that assumption when Ryuto starts to show signs of success.
One of the generals in charge of dealing with the rebellion lead by Gladys.
Another of the generals in charge of dealing with the rebellion lead by Gladys.
For what looks and sounds like just another fish in the endless sea of sex romp eroge, Kyonyuu Fantasy truly impresses with its well told story and equally well written characters. While I will admit this may not appeal to everyone when it comes to artwork, I would say it’s worth a try if you have an open mind (just pretend gravity works differently in this game’s setting). I should also point out it’s pretty accessible if you have some Japanese knowledge, so if you’ve played eroge and want to test the waters of playing untranslated games this (and Magical Witch Academy) make for a pretty good start.
Final Score: 7/10 Awesome
Author Recommendation: Try it out.
As for the anime, I’ll say if you want a good look at an abridged version of the first chapter then the first episode is decent. A bit dumbed down though since Ryuto’s immediately in Boan at the start and they kind of cheapen Roxanne’s character by having her ready to jump Ryuto’s bones as soon as they meet while in the game the two actually interacted with one another quite a bit before that. The second episode is not as good since it really rushes through the arc concerning Gladys and for some reason adds in an ero scene for Isis that wasn’t in the game and doesn’t even make sense considering where in the story it takes place. The biggest blunder that this adaptation makes though, is editing out Martel, whose character development in the later parts of the game’s story really help in making it such a strong story arc. It’s basically like making movie adaptations of the Power Rangers seasons from “Mighty Morphin” one all the way to “In Space” but editing out Bulk and Skull.