Gakuen de Jikan yo Tomare Review
Having covered a good dark nukige, let’s take a look at one that’s not only bad but very disappointing as well. Today we’ll be looking at one of Waffle’s more recent releases, Gakuen de Jikan yo Tomare, released in Japan on March 11, 2014. Having finished some good dark nukige recently and since this both looked and sounded good plus was from Waffle, one of my favorite nukige producers, I figured this would beat least a nice little distraction. I was wrong...
Pros: Good artwork, very good voice acting, good music.
Cons: Time stop gimmick is way overused, bad writing even for a dark nukige, lazy approach to ero scenes.
WTF?!: I can say one thing that prevents this game from being a 1/10 is this strangely funny scene of our MC using his time stop gadget to steal food.
In this game you play as a bitter and impoverished man who daily sits outside the esteemed all-girls school known as Excellent Gakuen. The reason for this is the founder of the school is a man with whom he holds a deep and long standing grudge towards and he greatly desires to strike a blow to the man through his two daughters attending that school. Unfortunately the state of the art security for the school prevents this, but that changes when a mysterious cloaked figure gives him a strange pocket watch which can be used to manipulate time, arming him with all he needs to carry out his plan of revenge and debauchery.
I understand with this kind of genre criticizing the writing may seem unfair, but bear in mind I’m judging this compared to others of its genre, many of which are shorter and have obviously lower budgets. The biggest writing issues this game has concern the ero scenes though so I’ll only be focusing on one major aspect here. That aspect is that the heroines (click here for profiles…I know I had to in order to remember names) aren’t particularly well written into this aside maybe from Kanako and Megumi and the only reason I’m considering that is they have the most screen time. While dark nukige rarely have deep or well explored characters the good ones at least give their heroines enough character writing so the reader has some form of attachment to them. Considering most of those games are short there isn’t really all that much that needs to be done: an introduction to the character and some scenes here and there that reveal some aspects of the heroine that the player can latch onto and through that in some way appreciate her ero scenes better. In this game all except the aforementioned are given an introduction, usually along with two other heroines and from there it’s straight to the ero scenes. While later on in the game there is a story event that involves all of them, it’s just a setup for the last ero scenes.
In the area of presentation GJT does everything right. The artwork is really good be it the character artwork and CG along with the background, and there’s even some nice little effects when the time stop watch is used and in the choice segments the options float around a little. Concerning the sound department the voice acting is excellent and done by some well-known VAs like Kaoru Momozono who many of you would recognize as Haru from Comyu, Kakouton/Shunran from the Koihimu Musou series and Emeralia from the Kyonyuu Fantasy series. The music also bears mention since the tracks do a good job in setting the right atmosphere for their intended scenes from several degrees of dark and menacing, to a surprisingly strong action beat to a genuinely peaceful seeming tune. If only this track could have been used for a better game…
Finally we get to the ero scenes and this is where the game fails on so many fronts and for a nukige that is never a good thing. Even games of this genre with bad or little to no stories can be redeemed by having good ero scenes and with good artwork and voice acting this game would appear to be capable of at least that. Sadly this game can’t even manage that and one of the most apparent failings lies in how the badly game’s very premise (time stopping) is written into the scenes. Basically the protagonist uses this (and no, you don’t control its use) as an enhanced foreplay during which the heroine is essentially frozen in place and unaware of the protagonist’s actions and it is used an obnoxiously numerous amount of times. The reason this is a problem is because ero scenes, especially good ones, need to have a flow that the viewer should be able to get into and the time stopping’s frequent use makes that impossible. Aside from breaking any form of immersion the frequency of the time stopping will get annoying by the time you finish the first ero scene, it also limits the VAs performances and it unnecessarily pads the scenes. Put all those together and soon you get ero scenes that are just plain boring to sit through and that is never a good thing with a nukige.
Now I know what some of you may be thinking: maybe this style just isn’t for me. To that I could grudgingly agree with, but that doesn’t excuse the second glaring flaw that you don’t come across until after playing for a bit. That flaw would be the shameless laziness concerning the ero scenes which the creators do their best to conceal. Taking a look into the extras section and you’ll see that the main heroines have six to eight scenes with the side heroines having three to four, but what you don’t know is all but one of those scene buttons are all part of one long ero scene, some of the heroines’ galleries even have the same scene buttons. Basically the setup is that the heroines are each grouped together with the characters they’re written to hang out with which gives us three groups and subsequently three long group ero scenes. The only exception to that is Megumi and even though she gets her own scene like the others it’s really long and takes up all but one spot in her scene gallery.
Additionally there’s an odd placement of the extra ero scenes with very minor characters that have no effect on the story and are unlocked depending on where you choose to have the protagonist go at two points in the game. These choices only determine if you get a premature ending where the protagonist just gets bored and leaves the school or the true ending which unlocks a few more scenes and then reveals the reason behind our protagonist’s motivations. What’s strange is during the true ending there’s instances where you’d think one of those extra scenes would occur but instead the game opts to skip over that and this isn’t done just once or twice but five times, that’s right FIVE times and in a row to boot. While I’m not sure of the circumstances of this, you’d think it would be more efficient to just keep the plot completely linear since it practically is already and save those extra scenes for the later point instead as otherwise those aforementioned instances just stand out as needless filler.
Gakuen de Jikan yo Tomare is a truly disappointing game in the fact that it has everything it needs to be a good dark nukige. It has a talented vocal cast, a surprisingly good soundtrack and good artwork, yet all of that is wasted thanks to its writing that overuses its story gimmick and its approach to its ero scenes that come off as just plain lazy and deceitful. There’s so much better available in Waffle’s library that I’d advise skipping this and you can probably find a better take on the time stop concept if you look a bit .
Final Score: 3/10 Terrible
Author Recommendation: Avoid It.
As for the anime, to be honest it’s actually good compared to its source material. Why? With only twenty minutes run time per episode that means the ero scenes have to be cut down length wise and this proves to be good example of the saying “less is more”, especially with the time stop use reduced considerably. About the only thing the game does better is the reveal in the true end is more effective from a writing stand point happening at the end while in the anime it’s flat out stated at the start, but really it’s not that big a twist. There’s currently two episodes with at least one more on the way and quite honestly I recommend just watching those if the game’s premise interests you.
And yes, I am aware a sequel to this is in the works. Since I could only get one safe for work screenshot of Katie’s engrish, this will have to do as my reaction: