Nitou Ou Mono wa Ittou mo Ezu is a 2011 eroge from doujin circle Artemis.
Our protagonist Ietaka is a shogun during the Edo period. He needs to find a woman to conceive his heir so he’s got bitches literally all over his dick. Unfortunately he is unable to get said dick hard. Two swords-turned-girls, Muramasa and Kotetsu, appear and Ietaka must be a sword fetishist because he finds he is able to achieve an erection in their presence. But the man who chases two sword girls catches neither, so Ietaka must choose one of them to be his wife, and a slapstick love triangle ensues.
If you’ve played an Artemis eroge before, or, more likely probably, read any of my reviews of their other games, you know what to expect. This game follows the usual formula, and you can’t fault Artemis for it: it works, usually. This time it works, mostly. Time to run through laundry list of components in an Artemis story:
Comedy: This apparently was written before Tenki Ame ran out of puns, but while he was in the process of running out of them. There are significantly more puns than in his most recent game but not as many as in earlier games. I feel it’s about a 50% pun rate, whatever the fuck that means. The quality of puns is also lower. Many are pretty mundane, though there are the occasional few that recall Tenki Ame’s earlier genius. Where Koi no Yamai filled the gap left by fewer puns with references, Nitou Ou Mono fills it with absolutely normal humor. It’s so normal that it often isn’t funny, since a large portion of the jokes are standards that it’s hard to still laugh at after all this time. Yet given that, there are still enough laugh out loud moments for me to give this game a pass when it comes to comedy, even if the more unfunny scenes make the game drag from time to time.
Romance: The romance is overall disappointing. The game is short enough, even if it wasn’t divided into two routes, that there simply isn’t time to develop satisfying romantic relationships. The writer seems to be aware of this and doesn’t push the romance aspect too much, which is probably for the best. It’s a foregone conclusion that Ietaka will end up with one of the girls, since he needs an heir and they’re the only females he’s able to have sex with, and the girls both want to bear his child for various reasons, so romance isn’t even really important to their relationships. Fortunately the game has the decency to not make Muramasa and Kotetsu instantly and inexplicably fall in love with Ietaka (though they are ready to fuck him from the get-go). While this creates the weird dynamnic where the girls are competing over Ietaka while not being in love with him, instead they just want the d, it still feels more natural than those all too common situations where girls fall for the protagonist right off the bat. Both girls develop feelings for him during their routes, and him for them, which still feels like too quick of development but not egregiously so. It helps that the romantic moments are well-written enough to be convincing.
Drama: Throughout the common route and early in the individual routes there are small hints of drama and foreboding (another common feature of Artemis games, which I’m just now realizing was absent in Koi no Yamai). Toward the end of the routes there is a dramatic event for the protagonist and heroine to overcome. The ideas and execution of the drama are actually quite good, but once again the short length just doesn’t give enough time for the drama to develop much meaningfulness or impact. Again, excellent writing goes a long way in making up for the shortcoming caused by the shortness of the story. Thematically Nitou Ou Mono isn’t as rich as earlier Artemis games but it’s got a lot more to it than Koi no Yamai. There’s a spark of the usual soul.
As I mentioned twice already, the writing in this game is good, as expected of Tenki Ame. It’s got his characteristic lyrical, playful, and all around refreshing writing style. A little bit on the weaker side, fewer puns and less metaphor-rich, but reading the text remains a pleasure. There’s a bit of an old-timey feel to the text but nothing too exaggerated and overall the writing has a decidedly modern sense.
The sword girls are relatively stereotypical characters. Muramasa is mature both in sternness and lewdness, and her body’s mature too. She is somewhat similar to the long-black-haired heroines prominent in Artemis games, but with less kindness and (therefore) less of a nee-san component. Kotetsu is a pseudo-loli and thus naturally childish in her personality as well, though she of course tries very hard to assert her adultness. There’s not much nuance to their characters but they’re so fondly rendered by the writer and treated with obvious care that the reader develops more affection for them than they otherwise would, and they’re more memorable.
Ietaka is like most other Artemis protagonists: on the surface he’s a bit of an idiot and doesn’t have much of a backbone, but on the inside he is unexpectedly serious and brooding. This interesting juxtaposition is a good combination so I don’t mind spending time with a protagonist like this again.
Your first introduction to the game’s music is the instrumental version of the OP that functions as the title screen music, as usual. This is a great song. It’s catchy and combines the sound of traditional Japanese music with modern pop. The vocal version of the song is great too, and surprisingly this time the vocals don’t sound like shit. The overall sound of the BGM is a similar mix of traditional and pop music. This is fitting for an Edo-period romcom with a modern flair. Most of the BGM tracks are pleasant to the ears but there’s only one memorable song, the one that plays during emotional scenes. That was a fantastic track though.
Muramasa’s voice actress tries much too hard to sound haughty and refined. It sounds a little silly during non-ero scenes but somehow works really well for the ero. Kotetsu’s voice acting is great in both ero and non-ero scenes.
Although Artemis switches artists with nearly every game they always manage to find great artists. The art in Nitou Ou Mono is once again gorgeous. The best evidence of this is the girls’ kimonos, which are stunning and intricately detailed. It gives you a sense of why the Japanese believe traditional clothing highlights a woman’s beauty so much. The artstyle is similar to that of Nee Summer! even if it’s a different artist. The faces feel a bit weird at first, they’re sharp and the eyes are smaller than usual anime style, but I got used to them quickly, helped by the fact that the artist’s faces convey various expressions very expressively.
The ero is great for a non-fetish game. Early scenes are pretty femdom, which had me worried. But these femdom scenes were hot even for me, which says something about their quality. Nevertheless I wasn’t disappointed when later scenes move into more normal territory and the girls started getting submissive (shit does that make me a misogynist?). The submissiveness in bed of these strong sword girls who bully the protagonist during the everyday scenes was definitely one of the driving factors of the ero’s quality (yep, misogyny confirmed). Also there are two ass-centric scenes (ass not anal) which are extremely rare in eroge, sadly for an ass enthusiast such as myself. Another notable thing about Tenki Ame’s ero, which I’ve never mentioned before, is that out of pretty much all eroge writers he’s the best at retaining his style even in the ero scenes. Typically ero text gets more standardized and less stylistic but Tenki keeps his playfulness and sense of style, which results in some heartwarming lines and also an energy that makes otherwise unremarkable situations arousing. Similarly the characters retain their personalities, even if the girls do become more submissive, which gives the ero scenes a lot more value in a terms of relevance to their relationships as well as for fapping purposes.
Pros: Writing; ero; gorgeous art; some good music; comedy and drama are passable
Cons: Too short to develop the drama and romance to their full potential; heroines are too stereotypical
This game is solid in all areas but only excels in the writing and ero, as well as the art of course. It’s a pretty typical ero romcom with a touch of Tenki Ame. If it were longer, or not split into two routes, it would’ve had more opportunity to flesh out the romance and drama and I feel it would’ve been a great eroge.
Now that I’ve played all the Artemis games I can confidently say that their holy triumvirate is Nee Summer! 2, Aisuno!, and Siskon. That was the circle’s golden age. The first Nee Summer! and this game border that golden age so they’re still pretty good and I’d recommend them to fans of the group who are hungry for more. Koi no Yamai feels like it was made by a completely different brand. It’s not all bad, but it’s their worst game and it doesn’t feel like Artemis.
Although I feel the circle has declined in their last couple of releases I’m still looking forward to their next release, though I’m hoping it will be better than their recent offerings. However it’s been over a year since their last game and there hasn’t been any news on their next one, which is concerning. I wonder what sales for their games are like and if their recent releases have even sold enough for them to keep making eroge (not that their older games seem to be particularly well-regarded either, oddly).