A New Addiction

I have recently developed an attraction to an Otome game (dating sim) called “10 Days with My Devil.” For those who don’t know what Otome is, here it is a nutshell; a young woman (late teens to mid 20s) stumbles into a situation where she has the opportunity to get to know 4 or 5 really handsome men. These men are often stereotypes of classic romance novel heroes or romantic comedies. A good Otome makes the reader giggle as well as sigh.

Anyway back to the Otome formula. The girl (the player) chooses which male lead she wants to follow and buys an in-app story that they will read through like a graphic novel. Along the way the player can choose 1 of 3 responses at critical times in story. In bigger stories all three options have their own ending. There are shorter side stories and there are splash page images to highlight key story points.

10 Days with My Devil is based in the eastern idea that lives are reincarnated. The main character discovers one night that by some fluke she was spared from her appointed “toasting” time. 5 well dressed men approach her outside of her apartment just minutes before it blows up in a fiery inferno. Shaken by the event the main character tries to understand what these strangers are telling her.

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Voltage games

Suddenly she makes a deal with the 5 men. She will allow them to take her soul to heaven for reincarnation if they allow her to stay alive 10 more days. Apparently no one has tried to bargain with “demons” (even though it is a classic literature trope) before and the leader agrees to let her complete her final business.

This final business changes with each character. The girl chooses a guardian (one of the five) to make sure she completes her unfinished business and also to hide her from angels. If an angel finds her then she will be toasted on sight.

The term “demon” simply refers to a humanoid that was born in a different level of reality. In this story there are three: the human realm, the demon realm, and Heaven. These demons have as much in common with real demons as Twilight vampires have with Dracula.

The guardians choices are:

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Voltage games

Kakeru Kamui

Kakeru is the captain of his team. He is the member who is responsible for removing a soul from the body. He is arrogant, proud, and very concerned with the well being of his team. He demands “complete obedience.”

If a player chooses this route be prepared for a great story, but a lot of chauvinism. (Yeah, yeah par for the course in romance novels.)

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Voltage games

Meguru Kamui

Meguru is the kid brother to Kakeru. They are polar opposites and often disagree on how to treat the main character.

Meguru is one of the games “nice guys” he never insults the main character and he is the quickest to accept her.

He really doesn’t have a job in the group he is more of a tag-along and is treated as such. The player should expect a lot of frustration in this route because the others are quick to squelch any romance.

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Voltage games

Shiki Kurobane

Shiki is the game jerk. Meaning he is too honest for his own good. Personally, Shiki is my favorite character in the story because he has no reason to mislead the main character.

He is the team member that finds the next person to die and confirms if they are going to die. He is anti-social, childish, and fiercely loyal. In all the stories he is the first one to help the main character and her new love trick fate.

Players who choose this route should expect harsh comments, moody angst, oh and lots of sleeping. Shiki is a great guy, but it is clear he has never experienced life beyond his backyard.

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Voltage games

Satoru Kamagari

This is the one character I don’t get, and yet he is one of the more popular routes. Satoru is mean, jealous, spiteful, and really just a pig. His role in the team is to figure out how the assignment dies.

The Satoru route pulls no punches that it is a bad boy meets good girl story. The selling point is probably it is a more physical relationship (i.e. more sex.) The acts are described in text only, but make no mistake the route is designed for mature audiences. No more than a traditional bodice ripper though.

Satoru is a much more interesting character in the other routes. He is always teasing the main character and he often pushes the true male lead to do something nice for the main character.

In his own route though he tosses the main character around like a
rag doll and constantly makes her uncomfortable publicly. He is a sexual bully and is always referring to “punishment.”

Where I’m from that would be labeled as “abuse.”

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Voltage games

Haruhito Amano

Haruhito has the most dramatic story of the five. He is a whimsical and playful guy who loves parties, games, and general fun.

He is the game’s 2nd nice guy. He doesn’t intently embarrass the main character (very much) and he doesn’t order or drag her around everywhere.

His story is well written and touches on some deep issues. Of all the stories I think Haruhito’s has the most drama. And I mean real thought provoking drama, not teenage angst.

Why I’m hooked…

I wish I could believe I have out grown the misunderstood guy and the innocent waif story, but I find myself caring about what happens to the couple in question.

I think another facet of the story is that each male lead brings out different qualities in the main character. Now the character is still the same character through out the game, but each lead appeals to different tendencies.

I think my least favorite main character is the Satoru girl. She is so addicted to the physical part of their relationship she refuses to see that he’s not good for her.

The same could be said for Kakeru’s girl, but she at least has a back bone. Even though Kakeru is a jealous lover; he honestly sees his partner as an equal.

Meguru is a great care giver, but he is weak as a romantic lead. I think the couple is cute in his route, but they let the others interfere too much. It’s a sweet story, but not a great story.

Haruhito has a great story, and he seems the most comfortable with the main character. However, the great story takes away from the couple’s dynamic. The main character is more selfless in the Haruhito story. Yet for some reason that just makes her flat.

Shiki has to be taken care of or at least that’s what his main character believes. She is constantly dancing around his phobias, his lack of communication, and his tantrums. However, Shiki’s problems are Shiki’s problems and he never blames the main character for his shortcomings. He honestly wants to please her, but he can’t be something he’s not.

In short he’s complicated, and that’s probably why I like him so much.

All these screen shots are from the game by Voltage. The prologue is free to play and so is the first chapter of a route. The rest and the remaining stories have to be purchased though.

I enjoy the light read these kinds of stories give the reader. Adult enough you wouldn’t want a tween playing them. But tasteful enough to feel comfortable. After all these are pure fantasy.

For other Bloggers who enjoy Otome check these out!

Otome Junkie

My Otome Experince

Phase 2

I feel like I am finally moving on with my writing career. I spoke with my boss at the full-time and he agreed if it was going to help me reach my goals, then he supported me. After 4 years I feel like I have found a place there. I didn’t quit, I just asked to drop down to part time.

My focus will be to develop a steady Odesk schedule. I need to dig in and just stop juggling. Do the work and build a stronger foundation.

I currently have 4 clients and I like them all. I know I’m doing the right thing. As my husband said, it is the next step. So… Deep breath… Here we go.

IMDB’s Top 250 Movies: #244

Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (2010)

Cast: Wagner Moura, Irandhir Santos, Andre Ramiro, Milhem Cortaz, and Maria Ribeiro

Elite Squad: The Enemy Within is about Lieutenant Colonel Nascimento (Moura) a returning character from a previous Jose Padiha film Elite Squad (2007). Lt. Colonel Nascimento is near the top of Rio de Janeiro’s BOPE (Brazil’s Military Police), and this film is the continuation of his story. Right away I was aware that this movie was a sequel to another one. The montage scene in the beginning was obviously done to show the viewer what had happened in between movies. After looking into it, I found that Elite Squad: The Enemy Within is the last of a trilogy of movies directed by Jose Padilha. He had made a film series on the crime and politics in major Brazilian cities.

Anyway, back to  the story.  Colonel Nascimento is slowly losing everything around him. When the audience meets him, he has lost his wife, and Captain Andre Matias (Ramiro) has made his life more difficult by taking down a drug cartel leader to stop a prison riot. Captain Matias was under Nascimento’s command when the shoot was fired. The problem is Nascimento didn’t give the order to shoot. Despite this technicality the governor blames him for the political backlash. He is removed from his position, but is moved to a government security position to appease the voters. To the people of Rio de Janerio Nascimento is a hero.

Captian Matias is punished by being demoted to… well…Americans would consider it a “beat cop.” He is placed with one of the most corrupt departments in the city. Nascimento tries to help Matias, but the political red tape keeps him from saving him. During this drama Nacimento must deal with the pressures of being an absent father and the fact that his ex-wife has married his most vocal public critic.  As the movie progresses the viewer sees that there isn’t much of a divide between politics and crime.

Elite Squad: The Enemy Within is totally a political movie. According to the IMDB trivia on the film, it became the highest grossing film in Brazilian cinema history. It is a movie with grit and doesn’t shy away from it. The film is subtitled and is beautiful to watch. For all its grit there is an energy to it that holds the viewer.

My Opinion

Yes the film is fascinating to watch and it clearly has an agenda. Unlike American political films though,I didn’t feel lectured. This movie is showing the truth as it knows it. It lays all the cards on the table, not just the black and white moralization I’ve seen. I confess I am ignorant of the Brazilian political system. I am a classic “ugly American.” I found it hard to follow at times, but that’s because this film wasn’t made for someone like me. It’s a film for its culture. Did I enjoy it? I think I did, I think I was introduced to a world I wouldn’t haven’t seen otherwise.

I know its exaggerated. It’s an action movie for crying out loud! Of course its going to be over the top. The themes are relate-able though: the struggling father, the disgraced public figure, and the realization that you might be part of the problem. Most of us probably haven’t felt this on the same level as the Colonel, but we understand the feeling that the world is out to bring us to our knees. I won’t *not* recommend it or recommend it. I guess the more correct term would be… indecisive. Maybe check this one out as a trilogy marathon.

IMDB’s Rating: 8 stars

My Rating: 7.5 stars

My Obsession with Beauty & the Beast

Yes this entry is an IMDB.com Top 250 post, but I wanted to take a few minutes to just gush over how much I love this classic tale.

I have read every version I could get my hands on of this story, and I own two…No three DVD versions of it. As a matter of fact Beauty & the Beast is the first movie in this series that I actually *owned* and didn’t have to hunt for it on Netflix or Amazon.

There are all sorts of tangents I could get off on with this story, but that’s another post. For tonight let’s just focus on the 245th Top Rated Movie on IMDB.com.

Walt Disney’s Beauty & the Beast

Cast: Paige O’Hare, Robby Benson, Richard White, Jerry Orbach, and Angela Lansbury

I saw this version of the story on stage around Christmas time and I have to say the original cast of the film spoiled me on ever seeing this show any other way. The late Jerry Orbach is the only Lumiere I can accept… As a talking candle.

The plot revolves around Belle an inventor’s daughter who just doesn’t fit into her home town. The local strong man Gaston has decided Belle will be his wife. Whether she likes it or not. This battle of wills is probably the closest Disney ever got to a feminist statement.

When Belle’s father goes out to enter a country fair; he gets lost in the woods.
The lost man finds himself in an enchanted castle populated by talking objects who show him hospitality. The castle also houses a self-loathing beast who doesn’t do the whole hospitality thing. The poor old man is tossed in a dungeon and left to die.

Belle soon sets out to find her missing father and finds herself roaming the halls of the strange castle. Once she finds her father, then the beast appears and offers her a deal. If she agrees to stay with him forever, then the beast will let her father go.

The selfless Belle agrees to stay and is promptly separated from her father. While Belle keeps her end of the deal; her father tries to get Gaston’s help to save her.

Gaston dismisses the old man as crazy and decides to find his own way to marry Belle.

My Opinion

It’s obvious I love this film, heck I spent four whole paragraphs gushing over how much I love the story. As I said before the cast of this film is one-of-a-kind. The lightening in the bottle combination is impossible to top or match.

I love the fact that Belle is a smart girl who knows she is in the wrong place. I love the fact that the beast is the hero of the story. I love the fact that a smart girl falls in love with her kidnapper and bows to social pressure to marry the rich prince.

Ok, that was sarcasm. Honestly, I know there has been a lot of backlash over fairy tales from the whole anti-princess culture movement. And yes as a woman in today’s society there is a lot of sexist garbage feed to young children.

But the story of Beauty & the Beast is unique in the fact that Belle *chooses* to stay with her captor and she falls in love with no expectations of changing the beast. The fact that the beast becomes a handsome prince is simply a plot device to make the story less creepy.

But anyway, tangent over, as a film Disney’s Beauty & the Beast is a benchmark. It is a retelling that is so good that all other versions are dwarfed in its shadow. The heroine is likable, and the cast is just the perfect storm of talent.

Even if the princess culture fad turns you off; at least give Belle and her enchanted friends a try. Seriously could not recommended this film more!

IMDB.com rating: 8.1 stars

My Rating: 10 stars