Sunday, October 21, 2012

Import Games for Adults: Magical Witch Academy

Magical Witch Academy Review
            This is a type of review in which I review games from good old Japan that are completely accessible provided you have some understanding of the language (admittedly I’m only semi literate and have to resort to a dictionary and online translator at points) and the money to import. That said let’s begin.

            Out of all the eroge companies, Atelier Kaguya is considered to be the best in the sex romp genre. They’re able to integrate good ero scenes with at the very least decent stories. Magical Witch Academy, released Feb. 25, 2005, is thankfully one of the ones with a good story, and a worthy intro to Atelier Kaguya’s vast library.

Pros: Good story with a diverse plot, characters are both likable and well written, excellent artwork, good music, interesting way of using the magic learning of the school.

Cons: Milphie and Éclair’s routes are a little on the short side, one particular ero scene in Sylvia’s route, the harem route, Tsukasa is only voiced in the harem route, no route for Iris, no English translation.

WTF!?: Your best friend is a talking hat (sorry no pictures).

             In Magical Witch Academy, you play as Tsukasa Strobilanthus, an apprentice mage studying at a prestigious magic school that was originally an all girls school. Due to his kind and helpful nature as well as being a dedicated student, Tsukasa is quickly accepted by the student population and becomes accustomed to life with the various friends he makes at school. However, there is one problem, the main reason Tsukasa is attending at this academy is to gain control of a mysterious power within him that is sealed in his eyes by a pair of glasses which must be kept on. This power gives him a boost in the area of magic, but when the glasses come off it automatically casts an enchantment on women that makes him irresistible to them.

            Okay, before you make any judgments on that last part of the summary let me make something clear: this particular plot element isn’t used to show gratuitous ero scenes. It’s made clear from the beginning that the power’s pretty much an inconvenience to both parties and Tsukasa is serious about becoming a mage so he can live a more normal life.
            Moving on, despite a somewhat overdone start, Magical Witch Academy has a surprisingly good story. Each heroine’s route is unique with a very good story and the common route that precedes each route is a good read too. Each one of the characters is well written in that not only are they appealing as characters but they’re also written in a way that has most of them go beyond the standard anime trope that they first appear to be. A very good example would be the succubus Lyra; at first I was expecting her to be your typical sex fiend demoness heroine where the only thing to her character and route would be doing Tsukasa. Thankfully I was completely wrong in that we see she has a caring side to her in that she has a sisterly relationship with Éclair’s two daughters and further exploration into her route reveals a surprisingly dark backstory and origin concerning her demonic nature which leads into a pretty satisfying resolution. Also well done is how well the character relationships are presented as each heroine has a believable friendship with Tsukasa and it helps to get you interested in seeing how that friendship blossoms into something more as you play each heroine’s route.
            The heroines aside, Tsukasa himself is also a pretty good character as he’s a good change from the typical eroge hero in that he’s diligent sort of student who genuinely cares for his friends and is willing to support them in any way he can, making him a character that is genuinely likable and we can root for. The subcharacters are also interesting such as Éclair’s daughters, Iris, and most of all Siegfried, an enchanted hat like creature who acts as Arucia’s guardian. Despite being your typical perverted comic relief character, he does have interesting moments that add more depth to his character, especially in Arucia’s route.

            As for favorite heroine routes, here they are:

1)      Arucia

2)      Lyra

3)      Shizuna

4)      Tie between Éclair and Milphie

5)      Sylvia

            Sadly, this game does have some flaws storywise. To begin with, two of our heroines, Milphie and Éclair, have disappointingly short routes. After the start there’s no emotional conflict or drama that occurs like in the other routes and it’s just a leisurely walk to the ending. It’s really too bad considering both heroines have something about them that could easily have been used for even a brief bit of drama in between the start and end of their routes. Another problem I have with the game is the harem route, which is unlocked after finishing the main game. To be honest the route was just weird, some of the heroines were acting a bit out of character, and there was very little in the way of story content. The only interesting part involved the school principal, Iris, who surprisingly doesn’t have a route, which is odd considering she’s as significant a figure in Tsukasa’s school life as all the other heroines and brief scenes in both the main game and harem route hint that she likes him. It might be because she was a character in another Atelier Kaguya game and maybe the creators didn’t want to potentially screw up canon, but I can’t say for sure as I haven’t played the game yet. In case you’re curious, the game is called Dungeon Crusaderz (yeah you know what’s coming).
            In the area of presentation, I’ve got to say that this game did everything right. The artwork is well done, the music is good and does a very good job in matching the scenes in the story, and voice acting is all well done. Oddly enough while in the main game, Tsukasa isn’t voiced (with the exception of one scene), for some reason he’s given a voice in the harem route. Maybe the company was trying to save money, but if so what’s the point of having a voice actor for an overall brief part of the game, why not just use the money you’d have paid for adding more story to either Éclair and Milphie’s routes or the harem route?
            Now out of all the games I’ve reviewed so far, this is the only one where the ero scenes warrant me talking a little more about them. To be honest, the ero scenes in this game are very good. Aside from being well drawn and acted, the scenes are also presented in a way that few eroge do really well. The scenes basically do a good job in showing it as a part of their relationship with Tsukasa as some of the interactions that occur between the two as a result of the scene are pretty amusing and in character to the respective heroine. Some of the scenes also take advantage of the fantasy setting by having magic used to spice things up a bit, and this is where the game implements something I’ve never really seen used before in any eroge. Basically, during the common route a chosen interaction with one of the heroines on a specific day gets Tsukasa to learn a new spell (or rune as the game calls it) and said spell ends up being utilized in some scenes. Now while the ero scenes are good, the game does suffer from one scene in Sylvia’s route that seems to have been added more for shock value than anything else and probably would have been better off without.

Characters (all in order of the character page except Tsukasa, who’s at the bottom. Warning Visual section has NSFW content):

Tsukasa Strobilanthus

An apprentice mage studying at the academy in order to find a way to control the mysterious power that he must seal behind a pair of glasses. Due to his hard working and friendly nature, Tsukasa makes friends with the academy staff and other students easily (though it may also be because his looks get many to initially mistake him for a girl).

Sylvia Vesper

Tsukasa’s guardian and main teacher, Sylvia was the one who discovered Tsukasa’s power and got him enrolled into the academy so he could learn to control it. Despite being a powerful mage, she can be surprisingly lazy, has a fondness for alcohol, and basically has Tsukasa cook and clean for her as well as wake her up so she can get to the classes she teaches on time. One of her hobbies of course, is teasing our hero.

Despite this, Sylvia does genuinely care for her apprentice and also seems to know a little more about his mysterious power.

Arucia El-Grant

Princess of the country of El-Grant, a forest nation located to the far south of the academy, and is attending with Siegfried as her chaperone. Her reasons for attending are so she can learn magic to help her older sister, the heir to the throne, a responsibility she takes very seriously. Has an obvious crush on Tsukasa, but isn’t very vocal about her feelings.

Shizuna Cadocrass

Shizuna hails from a far eastern island nation and is the daughter of a distinguished family of warriors that specialize in both magic and swordsmanship. It’s her dream to become a warrior worthy of the family name and she’s constantly training to accomplish that goal.

Though her dignified manner tends to keep most people at a distance, Shizuna is a loyal and trustworthy friend to Tsukasa and co. even if she does sometimes have a hard time expressing it. She also gets easily flustered when Tsukasa compliments her.


A succubus sealed inside the school since ancient times, Lyra fits the bill of demonic seductress. Due to the large amount of magical energy within the academy to keep her sated and the largely female population, Lyra’s pretty much harmless and has a good relationship with most of the residents due to her surprisingly playful and friendly nature. Things change a bit with Tsukasa as, ignoring the fact that he’s male, Lyra also finds herself drawn to the mysterious power within him.

Milphie Fasufa

Of all the heroines in the game, Milphie is the most up front on having a thing for Tsukasa. Unfortunately for her, she’s far from the best student and has to get tutoring in order to keep her grades up. Despite her silliness, there are points that show her feelings for Tsukasa are genuine and there’s actually a reason why she’s in love with him.

Milphie’s also painfully aware that the other heroine’s outbust her and quite sensitive about it.

Éclair Barnett

A teacher for some of Tsukasa’s other classes, Éclair is a widow as her husband died in a war that occurred years before the events of the game. She gets on well with Tsukasa as he’s a good friend to her twin daughters, Maple and Marron, and also frequently visits her greenhouse to share a cup of tea and enjoy its atmosphere.


In Conclusion:

Magical Witch Academy is for the most part, a shining example of how to make a good sex romp eroge that has a good story to match the good ero scenes. While I will admit it has flaws, most of the routes have stories that will keep you interested and the entire game has characters that will keep you entertained. All of this is provided of course that you have some knowledge of the Japanese language.

Final Score: 8/10 Awesome

Author Recommendation: Buy it now.

Note: There does exist a two episode OVA for this game, but I highly recommend not watching it, or if you have seen it then don’t let it give you the wrong idea about this game. The OVA has about as much in common with the game as Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li has with the Street Fighter games. Most of the characters are voiced by different voice actors than in the game, the entire cast is atrociously out of character, and it gets so many story elements from the game wrong and/or makes plot points up that I wonder if the any of the staff responsible for the OVA even played the game.

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