Shindan no Kekka, Sore wa Koi no Yamai desu (like the writer said on his twitter, a very light novel-esque title) is a 2012 eroge from doujin circle Artemis. It’s written by the main writer of all their games, Tenki Ame.
Tatsuya is a NEET otaku living in Tokyo. One day Tatsuya and his older sister Rikka, who’s a doctor, travel to a small village in Hokkaido to work at a clinic for a short time. There he meets Nana, a nurse who has likewise come to the clinic as a temp worker. Like every Artemis game Koi no Yamai is a combination of comedy, romance, and ero, though this time around things honestly aren’t as good.
Comedy receives the most attention in Koi no Yamai, which is probably a good thing since it’s the best part of the story. I’ve always loved Tenki Ame’s humor, as anyone who’s read my past reviews of his games is aware of to a likely sickening degree. I just can’t get enough of those puns. So imagine my immense disappointment when his humor changed majorly in this game. I’m not sure why it did, maybe he started running out of puns. There are still some, and some of them are pretty great, but a larger part of the humor is made up of references to otaku and internet culture. I don’t dislike referential humor but I do find it a cheap and disposable sort of comedy. Tenki Ame manages to make it work better than most reference-based humor but it’s still a far cry from the comedy seen in some of his past games.
The romance in Koi no Yamai is flimsy and shallow. When you lock onto a route the heroine is suddenly in love with Tatsuya for no reason. Rikka is Tatsuya’s (non-blood-related) sister so she’s known him for years and could conceivably have reasons for developing romantic feelings for him but the story doesn’t expound upon their relationship nearly enough for that to feel in any way real. With Nana there’s absolutely no basis for her love, in fact she seems to hate Tatsuya until suddenly you’re on her route and she’s giving him a blowjob. Similarly there’s no compelling reason for Tatsuya to love the heroines either. Neither side of either relationship receives any further development during the routes, either, unless you count the obligatory epilogues that take plan an undisclosed number of years later when the couples hit a momentous relationship milestone.
Instead what you get in each route is a short string of sex scenes and then a sudden, half-hearted and short-lived attempt at some form of plot/drama. Other Artemis games operate on the same love-com-ero triumvirate as Koi no Yamai but they all manage to have something else to them, some spark of something special dramatically or thematically that made me adore them. Koi no Yamai doesn’t have anything like that. Its drama is for the most part poorly-written with a few spots where a line or two is well-written and has some impact. During most of the game Tenki Ame’s signature writing style, playful and at times poetic, makes a triumphant return, but for some reason in scenes where the writing really counts he drops the ball.
Koarashi Rikka: The protagonist’s older sister who is a doctor. Basically a hybrid of the long-straight-black-haired nee-san main heroines from Nee Summer and Siskon. She’s sometimes tsun like the former and other times devoted to her brother like the latter.
Dobashi Nana: Blonde nurse. At first I thought she was going to be a quiet and easily-embarassed airhead type, but she actually has some spine and a bit of a temper.
Koarashi Tatsuya: The protagonist, who really has no personality outside of being an otaku and even that character trait only seems to come up when it’s time to make a joke referencing anime or eroge. Tenki Ame’s flavorful text alone is usually enough to give the protagonist a lot of color but this time nothing congealed into any sort of concrete personality.
The characters are shallow and forgettable. Nana’s temper is the most notable and interesting character trait out of the whole cast. Neither heroine is particularly likeable but they aren’t dislikeable and they’re decent enough that you want to get to their ero scenes to watch them get fucked. I guess that counts for something.
The BGM isn’t anything to write home about, or write on your eroge blog about. A couple songs I liked, like the acoustic guitar track. That one was neat. The ero scene track sounds like the BGM of a goddamn Wii menu. The OP is a decent if unremarkable J-pop song, with some poor vocals. Once again an instrumental version serves as the title music and it’s better than the vocal version.
Both seiyuu give sub-par performances. The recording quality is also sub-standard. Kinda reminds you that this is a doujin game.
At a casual glance the art for Koi no Yamai looks pretty damn good. Once you spend some time with it playing the game you start to feel that something isn’t right. It turns out that excellent coloring masks oftentimes awkward line art. Overall not bad, especially for a doujin game. The amount of CGs is way too low though, especially the one base-CG ero scenes, but that’s a doujin budget for you.
Perhaps the one aspect of this game where I can say I feel there’s been improvement over past Artemis titles. The writer’s starting to get the hang of writing ero text. The writing in the ero scenes is the best I’ve seen from him but there’re fewer scenes than in other Artemis games (and they’re divided between two routes) and some fundamental scenes are missing. No fellatio scene for Rikka-nee? No paizuri scene for her either!? Instead they dedicate one scene to a handjob and another to a footjob? Maybe I gave this game too high of an ero score…
Pros: Comedy; writing; ero
Cons: Terrible romance and drama; not enough ero scenes
This is a worthwhile comedy eroge, especially if you like referential humor. But it’s probably my least favorite of the Artemis games I’ve played (which is all of them except the sword one). I think I even enjoyed the first Nee Summer more. Also this game seemed even shorter than their usual stuff but maybe that’s because it’s split into two routes. Overall Shindan no Kekka, Sore wa Koi no Yamai desu is a disappointment but by no means a bad eroge.
By the way it got confusing writing about “Koi no Yamai” after “Yami no Koe.”