Taisho x Alice

[Review] Taisho x Alice (Episode 1: Cinderella & Little Red Riding Hood)

Note: There are mild character spoilers in this review, but I try and not heavily spoil major plot points!

Cinderella

Cinderella was the first route I picked solely because I tossed a coin and it chose him first. Design-wise he’s rather cute, he has the mole under the eye that we see more on female designs – it’s a favorite design choice of mine because I use it on my characters all the time too, haha. Charm point!!! Apparently he’s super shallow character who doesn’t take anything seriously or work and can’t commit to anything, he’s wishy-washy. Our girl is supposed to go to marriage talks with him but wants to see what he’s like in person first before that, so she sneaks out to his current place of residence, a cafe. Through some strange circumstances, she begins staying there as a live-in employee.

I loooove Yurika, the heroine, in this game. I love her. She’s one of my favorite heroines now. She’s smart, snarky, and quick-witted. If she wants something, she either goes and gets it or she’s forward about her wanting it. And she has a cute design! Long fluffy hair, another design choice I really like. There’s a scene in Cindy’s route when she has to confront someone who’s potentially dangerous and she like takes all the proper steps before the confrontation to ensure her own safety instead of stupidly rushing in without any back-up plan. So smart! I think I’m just so used to lovestruck characters rushing into things over their heads but Yurika was like NOT TODAY NO SIR.

Anyway, seeing Yurika be like super-competent compared to Cinderella is nice as always, but I do always wish the heroines weren’t always quite so competent in standard feminine things like cooking and cleaning. Cooking really well is so endearing since who doesn’t enjoy a good meal, but it’s a little cliche, you know? Make her good at fencing or something. It feels like all girls can be good at is standard feminine stuff which is like, eh, not true. All the cooking and cleaning in my house is done by my husband. :’D I’m the layabout who doesn’t take anything seriously and spends money frivolously.

Seeing Cinderella gradually soften to her as the route goes on is rather sweet, because with him being kind of a womanizer as well and her just being a sassy tease, you can’t really tell when they’re just messing with each other or are seriously flirting, the lines are kind of blurred and it makes it interesting. :3 I think having a heroine that actively flirts is… nice!! Normally we get kind of romantically-naive girls but Yurika is just OUT THERE. Living her best life.

The way that the original fairytale was tied into Cinderella’s route was relatively creative, I wouldn’t say it was groundbreaking, but the idea they’re both aware that their relationship is a facade and the “dream” is going to end once “time is up” is very good. And the tying in of Cinderella being covered in cinders from his hobby-turned-vocation was also fitting – I think his hobby in this game is one I’ve never seen incorporated into media before so that made it endearing. Like, holy hell, glass work looks scary af. The fact that he does it in his bedroom is just wild. Yes, let’s sleep with a tool that can burn at insane levels of heat beside us. Still an awesome hobby tho! We love a man who’s good with his hands. (:

His brothers are nice – before going into this game I had no idea they were brothers though; usually with character design there’s some kind of familial resemblance, but at the same time I don’t think related characters have to look alike every single time. I’m torn between wanting them to look similar for easy understanding of their relationships at a visual level (isn’t that like, a basic visual dev rule), but at the same time I’m like who the hell cares – my sister and I don’t even look related, so it’s not like it’s inaccurate either. Cinderella has them ikemen looks, Gretel has the boyish charm, and Snow White is the pretty boy. What a well-rounded family…

Cinderella was a lil dramatic for me in the end, but I guess when your family is going through that hard a time everyone can act a little crazy. Thank God Yurika has a good head on her shoulders. Also her dad seems really nice. I’m glad her family was really nice in this route and seemed to both care about her and respect her decisions/let her think for herself – the overbearing rich parents are a little overdone in my opinion.

Overall the route was enjoyable, though I did get the bad ends and didn’t really enjoy them at all – usually bad ends are just fine if they’re funny but these were all just depressing… I play games to have fun, so I didn’t bother doing the bad ends for Red Riding Hood after them lol.

Red Riding Hood

In this route your family still respects your decisions and like hella don’t care about what you do, but also don’t care what happens to you basically. So when Yurika starts getting threats and stuff, a policeman by the name of Red Riding Hood comes in and starts to be her live-in bodyguard. I was like, oh, fun. ๐Ÿ˜€ I love emotionally guarded men with a sense of loyalty and duty. That’s my favorite flavour! Let’s tear those grumpy walls down!

Though in this route my brain was like where the hell is Kaguya (your retainer essentially). He showed up in the beginning and end of the Cinderella route because he’s like your partner-in-crime and house servant, but he was absent in this route. ): I liked him. I love men who serve. Insert another comment about my husband who does like literally everything for me at home.

But! Yurika had other friends in this route, since she goes to school in this one. It’s not stated if it’s like high school or university or what but since I’m old I’m just gonna assume university. Her banter with her friend Woolfe at school is so damn funny. Like it’s the kind of crass humor I make with my friends. He’s like, do you wanna smash [Red Riding Hood]? LMAO. Also one of her other friends is her brother, who is a teacher there, which is kind of sad to say.

This route is a little more predictable than Cinderella’s, because we all know how things typically play out between bodyguard-and-woman-he-his-hired-to-protect. Getting over his sense of duty first, trying to get closer and more personable with him, et cetera. Trying to figure out the identity and motive of the culprit who’s threatening Yurika.

We find out partway through that the reason he’s so distant with her is because he’s uncomfortable with women… like to the point like touching Yurika or getting too close to her makes his nose bleed. Or if she says something like even mildly suggestive. He’s baby. So the rest of the route is like trying to get close to him and teasing him HE GETS SO CUTE WHEN HE’S EMBARRASSED. The nosebleed thing is a bit dated though it reminds me of old anime but I don’t think this game is recent either, so it’s fine.

So the end of the route is like, wild. When I thought “oh this route is a bit more predictable than Cindy’s” then the end threw that out the window. The plotting! Yurika was just playing a part all along, but fell in love along the way. The route and everything was set up in a way to help Red get over his past which he was still guilty about. Also the reason he wore a hood also actually surprised me, I just assumed it was like a comfort blankie or something. ’cause you know, he’s baby.

Overall his route was cute and Red was an adorable bachelor; but I think in general I enjoyed Yurika’s banter with Cindy more. Both were fun to tease. The intrigue tho! The twists!

General Thoughts

Some main takeaways:

  1. I’m not a huge fan of how they left some terms in Japanese then added the English translation as a side note, but I can understand that some JP phrases don’t quite come across the same in English. But again, that’s kind of what localization is supposed to figure out… not just translate, but localize.
  2. Despite this game releasing relatively (?) a while ago they got a very good translator that made the humor very modern. I don’t know how much was changed from the original Japanese, but as someone who’s on the internet a lot I laughed at a lot of the internet/culture humor. The heroine knowing popular anime tropes like childhood friends and -dere is very relatable.

Pacing was good. Perfect even. Didn’t drag out for too too long or go too fast based on the plot points, buuut then again I’m a speed reader. I finished this game in proooobably 5 hours? My steam play time is inaccurate since some times I left it on in the BG to listen to the menu music while I worked – it was lighthearted enough to help me work and helped remind me to take a break and play a bit too when I was finished.

For $25 some people might think a 5-6 hour, two-route game is too expensive but again, I read really fast. I also want to support English otome localization, so I don’t mind paying full price for it anyway. I hope they give us more soon! Yurika is such a treat! Let me date Kaguya. I want to ruin him.

We’re really used to seeing demure passive heroines in otome games (which is fine) but seeing some variety is quite refreshing. Go out and get what you want, ladies. Don’t wait for it to fall into your lap!!

Overall good game would recommend for people who want a great heroine. Waiting for more myself!

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