Eri Kitamura, Satomi Sato, Aya Endo, Rina Sato, Miyuki Sawashiro, Haruka Tomatsu. Yes, these are all top notch Seiyuu. Yes, they are ALL in Koumajou Densetsu II: Stranger’s Requiem. How did the creators of the game, Frontier Aja, manage to get all of them on board? We’ll never really know. All that matters is that I’ve never been as hyped for a Doujinshi game for a f***ing. Long. Time.
I’ve never been big on the Doujin games scene. Most of the time I just get annoyed at really wonky controls or concepts, and I quit after playing a while. I played the original Koumajou Densetsu… Eh, it was okay. The controls were a bit off for me, but wow the art was gorgeous, so I ended up finishing it just for that.
Now imagine old school Castlevania art with Touhou characters, paired up with some of the best (or at least the most popular), Seiyuu out on the scene right now. Wow I just had an orgasm. So why am I making this post? Well first to fanboy about the show, but also to show a bit more about the game. C79 starts in a few days, Koumajou comes out on the 30th, but that doesn’t mean we don’t already have a sneak peek into the game (thank God for trial versions!)
So in this post, I’ll be giving a quick overview/review of everything going on in Koumajou, and at the end of the post I played through the 3rd Trial Version that was released recently, complete with voice acting and the best gameplay that I could manage on my really low spec notebook (but it’s still VERY watchable, with some lag in some parts.) You can just skip straight down to the video if you want.
The Voice Acting
Well why not start off with what I’m definitely looking forward to the most, and what will probably cause this Doujin game to rise above the others in terms of quality. Professional voice acting. First off, let’s start off with a list of characters and their respective voice actors in the game. I’ll write up some short comments for characters that appear in the demo:
Sakuya Izayoi: Miyuki Sawashiro (Celty Sturluson, Durarara!!; Saeko Busujima, High School of the Dead; Perrine Clostermann, Strike Witches; Shinku, Rozen Maiden; Suruga Kanbaru; Bakemonogatari; Canaan, CANAAN)
Comments: Wow what a great way to start off the game. And what great voice acting. I believe I heard more of her Celty voice, which was really pleasant. For the most part, I thought her voice was just a little bit emotionless at times, but given the new context that Sakuya is placed in, I can certainly see why this tone would be adopted. Definitely very, very appropriate.
Yukari Yakumo: Aya Endo (Sheryl Nome, Macross Frontier; Miyuki Takara, Lucky Star; Felicia Heideman, Sora no Woto)
Comments: Oh God. I could the Sheryl in Aya Endo’s voice so clearly. Definitely one of the best devious voices I’ve heard here, though the BGM might also have played a part in that… Regardless, her tone is perfect, and while not as err “hyper” as some of the other seiyuus, definitely one of the best performances.
Alice Margatroid, Komachi Onozuka: Haruka Tomatsu (Sakana-chan (Fish Girl), Star Driver; Megumi Shimizu, Shiki; Hitoha Marui, Mitsudomoe; Princess Hitei, Katanagatari)
Comments: Unfortunately, only Alice appeared in the demo. I actually was really surprised when she came out though. I was actually expecting something closer to Sakana-chan or Princess Hitei, but she ended up using a tone and pitch closer to her Megumi voice instead. But given the dialogue that she gets, using a pitch like Megumi’s certainly would be far, far more moe than using any other tone. And it definitely shows. I’m almost certain that dere Alice fans will absolutely adore her small part here.
Hong Meiling: Satomi Sato (Ritsu Tainaka, K-On!; Manami Tamura, Ore no Imouto; Aria Shichijou, Seitokai Yakuindomo)
Comments: We’re first introduced to Meiling when she’s gagged, and I swear that I heard Ritsu from that. Then when she opened her mouth to speak… Eh not so much. I had difficulty placing her voice, though she’s definitely the seiyuu whose work I’m least familiar with. I get the feeling that it was some cross between Manami and Ritsu that I just wasn’t figuring out, but whatever. Her performance is solid, if a bit… lacking compared to the other seiyuus. I think that was just me though, and she also didn’t have too many lines, rather Alice and Sakuya dominated most of the scene that Meiling was in, so that might have played into things a bit.
Chen Yakumo, Marisa Kirisame: Ryoko Shintani (Sae, Hidamari Sketch; Rihoko Sakurai, Amagami SS; Nami Hito, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei)
Comments: Very, very sadly, Marisa did not appear in the trial version; only Chen did. Very, very strangely, Rina decided to use a voice that I have NEVER heard her use before, and that I really didn’t think that she could use. It was… unique. That’s really all I can say. As for her Reimu voice, well Frontier Aja released a new PV, and although we only got a small sample, it’s much closer to a Mikoto voice. Anyway, her Chen voice is… Well I really have no words for it. You just need to listen to it. (Oops it’s not Rina Sato voicing Chen :3. Thanks for the catch Taka!)
Ok so it’s actually Ryoko Shintani voicing Chen, which makes FAR, FAR more sense. Even still, I actually didn’t think that Ryoko could take her voice up another pitch, which was surprising. I would actually consider a character like Chen to perhaps be a bit out of her comfort area, but it’s great to see her reaching out from beyond her normal vocal range for once. As for the little we know about her Marisa voice, it’s at a far more reasonable and expected tone given Ryoko Shintani’s previous work. Still not enough of a sample to determine exactly how her Marisa voice is though.
Now if I keep on writing comments, this post is going to end up going too long, so even though we got a hint of what the VA sounds like with the PVs, they’re not really a good enough sample for me to make any judgments on them. This time I’ll be putting the seiyuu name first, since I know that everyone will scroll down the list. This way, you’ll be able to see recognizable names easier
Rina Sato: Chen Yakumo (Mikoto Misaka, Toaru Kagaku no Railgun; Kaoru Tanamachi, Amagami SS; Minami-ke, Haruka Minami)
Eri Kitamura: Remilia Scarlet (Yui, Angel Beats!; Ami Kawashima, Toradora!; Kureha Suminoya, Sora no Woto)
Noriko Rikimaru: Patchouli Knowledge (A bunch of no names?)
Hisako Kanemoto: Flandre Scarlet (Kanata Sorami, Sora no Woto; Ika Musume, Shinryaku! Ika Musume)
Hekiru Shiina: Yuyuko Saigyouji (Hikaru Shindou, Magical Knight Rayearth; Yuka Kamitsuki, Kemonozume)
Ryo Hirohashi: Youmu Konpaku (Kyou Fujibayashi, Clannad; Yamada Aoi, Working!!; Alice Carroll, Aria)
Yu Kobayashi: Ran Yakumo (Rio Kazumiya, Sora no Woto; Kyouka Kanejo, B Gata H Kei)
Impressive list no? Save for a few questionable, I can absolutely imagine the vast majority of these seiyuu taking these roles, especially given the new PV.
But well this IS a game after all, and while I would just like to go fanboy over the seiyuu, the gameplay is pretty important. How is it? It plays like a regular Castlevania, but it’s not “open”. The game is divided up into stages, and once you pass a stage, you can’t return to a previous one. There isn’t as much exploring in Koumajou II, but the enemies are tough and can kill you. For extra measure, Frontier Aja decided to keep the “instant death” stuff to piss you off more. All booby traps are instant death, so spikes, there are actually bottomless pits, etc. As for the actual player input, it’s certainly far smoother than the first edition, but I still do have some annoyances.
My biggest complaint is undoubtedly the jump mechanic. Mobility is very important in any platformer, but the jumps in Koumajou 2 feel less than like jumping and more like floating. It seemed to take an eternity for Sakuya to actually hit the ground after jumping. This has actually been a trend in some Castlevania games lately, but the difference between, for example, Soma jumping in Aria of Sorrow and Sakuya in Koumajou II is just a matter of height. Soma’s jumps are much easier to control because he doesn’t jump as high when compared to Sakuya. Sakuya has the ability to pretty much jump off the screen. Then it takes forever for her to actually hit the ground. The problem here is just that Sakuya’s kind of a sitting duck in the air. Her best chances for dodging are on the ground, and your mobility is severely limited in the air, even with flying, since flying is slow. as. hell.
But who cares when you look like THIS? (Original)
My next problem is just with the strange hitbox that Sakuya seems to have. I swear that bullets can go straight through her head, but will hit her feet for sure. Her hitbox when she’s not flying just seems off. It feels like her hitbox stops at her neck and extends a little past her feet. It caused me a lot of grief when trying to dodge danmaku, since it took me awhile to adjust to the kind of strange hitbox.
Those two are definitely my biggest complaints, though there are some smaller things. First off, the amount of red orbs that you get seems a bit too excessive. I noticed in this in the first trial version too, but you could really spam special attacks if you wanted to, and get through the stage just fine. Otherwise, the only other real thing is the rather steep learning curve. Overall I get the feeling that Koumajou still takes a longer time to master the basic controls than other games. But given enough time, I’m sure that most people will be able to do it.
Art and Music
The art is amazing as you’ve seen already. It’s heavily influenced by the art done for the Castlevania games. I think you can see the best connection if you compare the art in Symphony of the Night with this art. The character designs were all done by an artist called Banpai Akira. Of course the release of the past game actually set off a wave of images that copied this style, and Frontier Aja saw really no reason to switch out the lead designer between games. As such, the art is mostly the same, which is by all means a great thing.
Now as for the music, I can tell you right now that I’m already anticipating the GST. I really can’t wait to get my hands on that. I didn’t get tired of the music after playing through the game multiple times, which is obviously good, but the music just adds so much to the atmosphere of the game. The impact is easily heard during the scenes where the characters have conversations, as the music does keep you on edge. This is only a small selection of music, but it sure as hell has me excited. Frontier Aja has actually also released a new PV with some more voice and music samples, which I’ll put here.
A solid trial version and one that definitely makes me excited as hell for when this comes out! As a Touhou fanboy, I jump on anything as epic as this. Screw all you other Doujin games. This is the only thing I’m waiting for come C79. Three days have never seemed longer…
Oh, and the video of the playthrough, as promised~ I had to split it up into two parts, since I’m on the 15 minute cap.