Everybody Loves You, Baby-Making Banchou!

March 18th, 2011

 

Yeah, it might be slow around here for awhile.

Since the broadcast of… everything… is pretty much suspended for now and I only today finally finished off all my term projects, I guess I can get to going through some of these long neglected games that I feel are severely underappreciated unknown by the Western world and deserve a little more… well… not always love, but attention of one form or another. Let’s start off with something really really stupid then, Anastasia’s Minna Daisuki Kozukuri Banchou.

In the near future, Japan’s birthrate is dipping dangerously low. Schools are starting to close due to a lack of students. In one particular town, the government has decided to give out financial incentives to families that have children while simultaneously enacting a series of competitions between schools to consolidate them with the losers of the competitions having to obey the winners. Enter Manami Kiryuu, lovable oaf, and his life of poverty alone with his sister, Natsume. He ends up chosen as the representative of his school and decides to pull his household out of poverty by combine the two government programs. He’ll win and use his right as victor to take the girls he wins against as his wives for the government incentive money. On his first day out, Natsume gives him a good luck charm which attracts Ishtar, the local fertility goddess, who is also very interested in making sure his family is as large as possible.

 

                   

 

(Sorry, about the crappy frame rate etc on recording. The game interacts with screen recording software… poorly… Very poorly.)

With a setup like that, the possibilities are already about as low as you could get, but the game stays away from that by being completely silly and for a game about forcing girls to become your wife, surprisingly wholesome. Well, as wholesome as any Japanese-made game involving incest can be. Kiryuu’s a traditional blockheaded good guy that manages to make all the girls fall in love with him while conquering their schools through good old fashioned chivalry, stubbornness, and occasionally, the fact that they’re just plain crazy. Heck, one of the characters develops Stockholm Syndrome from running into Kiryuu in the street and angrily demands that Kiryuu ravish her then becomes verbally abusive when he doesn’t fall in line.

Speaking of the battle engine, like the rest of the game, it’s light but fun. It’s basically bumper cars where the goal is usually to knock the rest of the opponents off of the map, but is also occasionally races, tag, King of the Hill, and a few others. Debris along with power ups/downs litter the stages and constantly regenerate, lending even the most boring stages still fairly manic. Each character has their own stats like speed and power, and can be further upgraded through training. Each one also has a semi-unique Max mode that affects the battle along with a special attack. Finally, each character can equip one of Kiryuu’s children and bring it into battle with them to further augment their stats.

   

Yeah, his kids. That’s where the game gets its name and main gimmick from. Early on, Ishtar grants Kiryuu her powers to make conception to birth to about age 7 take one week (1 turn) of game time and adds a perception filter so that everybody else thinks it’s perfectly natural. To do this, Kiryuu has to take his wife out on a special date, and after the deed is done, Ishtar leaps onto the screen and forces Kiryuu to play a mini-game where he dresses up as a sperm and has to dodge mobile condoms to reach the egg and fertilize it. Aaaah, the miracle of life. Truly breathtaking. Oh yeah, did I mention that the shape of their fallopian tubes changes depending on how many dates you’ve taken them on before attempting conception? Japan.

The game does have some weaknesses though. For one, it’s extremely short. You could play it start to finish, getting 100% of the endings, special bonus ending, and do both DLC characters in a weekend without breaking a sweat. I personally count that as a good thing overall since VN lengths have spiralled out of control in recent years, but every character has only an intro scene, the conception date, five other date scenes, and an ending. This is one place where the game could have definitely used a lot more meat to it, especially with how much fun many of the characters are. Also, the two DLC characters (A robot, and a delusional magical girl/idol) don’t have their own set of date events or endings. Fie, I say!

 

The game is also completely vapid. Again, that’s not such a bad thing since it only barely edges towards having any kind of dramatic angle towards the end, and even that is just Kiryuu’s plan to become rich becoming temporarily endangered when the mayor points out that polygamy is illegal. Oops, spoiler. For people looking for the usual depth, meaning, or compelling story that are often the selling points for VNs, you’re not going to find any of that here unless you ingest a large amout of psychotropics before playing.

みんな大好き子づくりばんちょう Bumper Banchou really shines because it knows exactly what it is and plays up the silliness the entire time. One of the things that I like the most is that Anastasia actually uses the visuals to very good effect. Both the cut-in profiles and the way that they actually animate them do wonders to keep everything light and fluffy and give normally static visuals life, something few other VNs even attempt. Characters will glare from the periphery of the screen, dance around in the background, change expression at the right part of the dialogue, so on and so forth. Thinking about… say… Daibanchou’s single character graphic for the ENTIRE GAME just makes me sad in comparison. The characters are also very colorful and charming with little to no attention paid to letting sense get in the way of entertainment. Ulala’s school is a dairy farm in the Japanese Alps, Airin’s some kind of ninja assassin maid, Ouka’s a mage in a school floating above the rest of the city, etc. Heck, just seeing Kiryuu actually react and be part of conversations instead of an invisible voice gives him actual life, something many VN protagonists are sorely lacking.

   

All in all, I think it’s a extremely charming little game and a great way to spend a couple afternoons. There’s nothing wrong with a little dumb fun. This is all that the game is and it is well aware of it. Just be ready to lean on the control key because there’s also a whole lot of generic and repetitive sex that goes along with it. It’s definitely worth a looksie if you’ve got some spare time.

I think next I’ll talk about a game with a prologue and battle engine so astounding that I’ve never managed to get past the intro stages.

And yes, I know about more Ichizon. It was the best news I could get after giving a presentation that had been busting my balls for the last week.

Posted in Bumper Banchou | 10 Comments »

10 Shouts From the Peanut Gallery

  • The Deviant says:

    WTF is this? A Date Sim or Life Sim? o,o The battles any fun? All i saw were frames.

  • Kaisos says:

    …The hell?

  • meh says:

    translate it please? :)

  • Keith Shiki Kurogane says:

    Aroduc has this Operation Charlie Foxtrot on the forums…
    I doubt this will be translated…

  • firecow says:

    Any news on the Spring Preview Aroduc? I can’t wait to see what your reactions are on all those 42 new shows that’s airing next month.

  • Apathy says:

    I…would actually like to try this just for the sheer absurdity of it.

  • Aroduc says:

    I have thought about working on this. It’d be fun and short (it’s about 20,000 lines IIRC) but eh. It wouldn’t be bad though. Lord knows it’d only take a couple months, which is always an attractive prospect for a project.

  • Aroduc says:

    Barely even started looking at it. Finals kept me insanely busy for the last couple weeks. Probably next Saturday since I have something else I want to finish first.

  • Benigmatica says:

    A dating-sim that makes babies?!

  • Rednal says:

    @Aroduc: I’m not sure how much I can do if you decide to take this up, but if you need any help with proofreading or some such, I’d be glad to help. I do have some experience…