Koibito Doushi de Suru Koto Zenbu is a 2007 slice of life/moe/いちゃいちゃ eroge from Sirius.
Koibito Doushi is a unique eroge in that rather than focusing on winning over a number of girls and entering into individual character routes there is only a single heroine who the protagonist starts going out with in the very beginning of the game. They begin dating in literally the first few minutes of the story. The game is also one of the few eroge I’ve played that I would call slice of life, because I’m not one of those people who call anything that doesn’t have explosions slice of life. Koibito Doushi is about the daily life of the heroine, Kuu, and protagonist, Endou, and the small events that they encounter after they begin dating (and just a few big events), and there isn’t really any focus or direction to the plot.
I’ve often heard people say that romances lose their appeal after the guy and girl get together, and that’s why many romance stories use that event as their end point. I never thought that was true, and now I have this game to point to as a counterexample. Koibito Doushi starts where romance is supposed to end, yet it doesn’t suffer from it at all. Most of the story is about them flirting and the development of their relationship. Yes, their relationship continues to develop after they start going out, which seems obvious yet many romance stories ignore that fact. The story covers a lot of events that couples go through that most eroge, and romance in general, don’t cover, which makes it interesting and enjoyable to read. It wouldn’t be much of a spoiler to mention some of those events, but I’ll still leave them for you to find out.
It’s hard to precisely judge the story of Koibito Doushi since it doesn’t have much of one. It follows Kuu and Endou as they act cute and do all the things that couples do together, hence the title. If one views the development of their relationship as the “story” of the game then it’s definitely a strong story. Their relationship continues to develop throughout the story, in a well-written way that is subtle and relatively realistic yet still very much noticeable. This all occurs beneath the surface as Kuu and Endou spend their days infatuated with each other and surrounded by a pink raburabu aura. Given that eroge is usually about relationships with cute 2D girls this is probably the main appeal of Koibito Doushi, and it’s very well done. There’s not much else to say about it except that the relationship dynamic in the game is excellently crafted.
There are still some significant problems with the story, however. It starts off really great and enjoyable to read, but loses steam around the halfway point. It starts focusing on events that are really boring. I couldn’t care less about the cafe they’re having at the cultural festival, I’ve seen that millions of times in anime. And reading about high school students studying for midterms is about as fun as doing it in real life. Stuff like that. I just wanted more of Kuu and Endou being cute together. The latter part of the game started dragging quite a bit and it got to the point where I had to force myself to keep reading, a huge change from the first half. Luckily things pick up somewhat when the plot branches (there are two ends that branch off from the only choice that has any impact on the story) but unfortunately it never reaches the greatness of the earlier stages of the story.
There’s a somewhat below average amount of humor in Koibito Doushi, which is somewhat below average in quality. There’s also a little bit of drama later on in the story. It’s very minor, “safe” drama and doesn’t last for very long. Still, it was a nice change of pace from the rest of the uneventful game, particularly since it comes up when the story had otherwise become boring. And although it’s not intense at all, since it’s situated in the middle of a sweet, heartwarming story it has more impact than it otherwise would. I was apprehensive about the inclusion of any drama at all in a game like this, but the small amount that they put in is well executed.
There’s only one heroine in the game, Sonoh Kuu, and luckily she’s not only really great but also unique. Initially she seems like a standard dandere character, but once you get to know her you realize she’s much more than that. Kuu also develops really well over the course of the story. It’s so subtle and gradual that I didn’t even realize how much she had changed until other characters commented on it. It puts the character development of a lot of the more “serious” eroge to shame. And of course throughout the whole story, no matter what stage of development she’s in, Kuu is cute as fuck.
The protagonist of the game is Endou Yousuke. I was expecting a game of this sort to have a protagonist with no personality to allow readers to insert themselves into the story, but surprisingly Endou has a very established personality. Like Kuu he’s also fairly unique, some strange combination of immature yet mature and masculine but somewhat feminine. Although those near contradictory qualities would make him fairly realistic there are other aspects to his personality that are far from realistic, like how he’s too perfect in a lot of ways (and as a result doesn’t really ever develop). One thing I really liked about Endou was how honest he is about his feelings toward Kuu. A lot of eroge protagonists are borderline tsundere or don’t show much particular feeling toward the heroine, but Endou is deredere, unabashed and unapologetic about his love.
Although both main characters are very good characters the supporting cast is terrible. The primary side characters are two of Endou and Kuu’s friends, one male and one female, and their female homeroom teacher. They’re bland, boring, shallow, and annoying, often ruining scenes with their presence. The only other side character important enough to warrant a sprite is Kuu’s father, who is the only decent supporting character, eccentric and occasionally funny.
The soundtrack is completely generic and unenjoyable. It sounds like a collection of stock music. A few of the tracks are annoying by the second time they play. Some aren’t bad, but I can’t think of any I would call “good.” The theme song, which is both the OP and ED, is sugary J-pop that fits this kind of game perfectly, and it a pretty decent song.
Kuu’s seiyuu does a great job. Her character relies a lot on being cute, so a voice job that wasn’t suitably cute could have significantly deteriorated the effect. Luckily that didn’t happen. The only other voiced roles are the female friend and teacher. These annoying characters received equally annoying voice work. At least it fits the characters I guess.
The art is really generic with forgettable character designs, but it still looks good. One major problem I had with it was Kuu’s naked sprite, where it became clear how poorly and disproportionately drawn her breasts are. That was rather irritating. On the plus side there’s no shortage of CGs, though they’re found mostly in the ero scenes.
The ero in this game is really good. Easily the best romantic ero I’ve seen in an eroge. The scenes manage to be cute, romantic, and arousing all at once. That takes serious skill. They also manage to span a wide variety of situations, despite all being within the context of a loving monogamous relationship. My one problem with the ero is that there’s too much of it. I wasn’t playing this game for ero but at some points the story was throwing ero scenes at me with nukige frequency. After awhile I started skipping through the ero because I wanted to get back to Kuu and Endou being cute (I’ll go back and fap to them later). Though admittedly the ero scenes themselves are still very cute. Except for the first one, which isn’t romantic at all because it occurs really early on before the relationship between the characters is established for the reader.
I’m adding a new category for this game (I’m not sure if I’ll use it in future reviews) because it deserves special mentioning. Koibito Doushi is the most moe thing I have ever experienced. It beats out any eroge/anime/manga/whatever. My chest tightened so much playing it I thought I might have a heart attack. Sometimes I seriously had to stop reading it for a few moments, because otherwise my nutbladder would have exploded. Kuu is cute, even Endou is cute, and when they’re all raburabu together the cuteness exponentially skyrockets. Also it’s not a cheap moe that just relies on cute drawings, but rather it’s the result of skillful writing of the characters, their relationship, and the dialogue between them. Yes, true moe is something that takes skill to craft. Some quickly sketched out SD art or something might be moe to an extent, but it can never reach this godly level. Unfortunately for me, but fortunately for my health, the later parts of the game are much less moe. I might have developed an immunity to it, or maybe it just wasn’t as moe. Even so, Koibito Doushi still ranks as the most moe anything that I’ve yet to encounter.
Pros: Great main couple in a great relationship; great development of their relationship and Kuu’s character; moe overload; good ero
Cons: Drags in the latter half; bad supporting cast; poor production values; too much ero
If you play eroge to vicariously experience romantic relationships with cute 2D girls this is a must play. It’s also a must play if you like moe. On the other hand, if you dislike moe, or slice of life, this is a must not play.