Maro no Kanja wa Gatenkei 2 is the next part of elf’s current eroge serial about a pure-hearted backstreet gynecologist born in the wrong time period and his quest for big-titted women.
Maro 2: Maro Harder picks up right where the first game left off. Maro, a purer man now after the healing in the first game, has resolved to find an eligible marriage partner and sets his sights on new heroine Yukina. Meanwhile Sakimi is still around and is trying to resolve some marital distress caused in no small part by the events at the end of the first game. Sakimi’s relationship with Maro has gotten complicated because of those same events but she decides to help Maro in his newfound love, maybe because at least then he won’t rape her anymore.
Maro 2’s main focus seems to be on developing the relationships between the characters. This is one of the writer’s greatest strengths but this time things don’t always work well. The scenes between Maro and Sakimi are great as expected, but all the truly meaningful development happened in the first game, so while things deepen here in the second game the development mostly isn’t as satisfying as in the true end of Maro 1. However seeing what their relationship blossoms into, the gentleness and mutual trust between the two, is fulfilling in a more subtle way that feels so natural you might not realize it at first. It might not fully hit you until a day or two after you finish the game and sit down to write a review of it for your eroge blog that no one reads. In fact I’m going to retract and literally redact what I just said about all the meaningful development happening in the first game. The development here is just as important and just about as satisfying.
The relationship between Maro and Yukina, and the corresponding scenes which make up most of the middle of this game, are pretty boring. Mostly because Yukina herself is boring and her part in the relationship is just a nice girl who always apologizes for troubling Maro, which is far too shallow and generic to be engaging. Maro for his part is as interesting as always and reading about the pure feelings this clown-doctor-rapist has for a girl is entertaining and oddly sympathetic. But we already saw this, done better too, in the first game with his feelings toward Sakimi. We also get to see how the relationship between Sakimi and her husband, who has started acting a bit odd, develops and this serves as a good exploration of NTR as a fetish, proving again that this writer knows netorare better than any other writer in the biz.
Quite a bit of Maro 2 is almost boring, maybe as is to be expected of the middle game in a series. You would think introducing a new heroine would keep things fresh but that hope dies as soon as you realize Yukina is boring and so is most of the stuff related to her. Not much happens for most of the game in terms of events (unless you find delivering ramen by bike to old people in the neighborhood riveting), since it’s focused so much on relationship development, and the character interactions are hit or miss. Maro is still Maroing and is regularly fucking hilarious, but on the other hand it can be tortuous having to read Yukina’s lines. The reason I opened this paragraph saying it’s “almost” boring is that Maro’s character would keep anything from being boring. Fucking love this guy.
Things get more exciting in the ends, where the writer pulls out his bag of many-colored sadnesses that we saw in Boku no Kanojo wa Gatenkei. Even the earliest ends, though short, have a heavy feeling of nostalgia. The later ends get even better, and by better I mean more depressing. With fewer ends you don’t get quite the range of flavors of sadness as in Gatenkei Girlfriend but each end in this game has its own unique kind of sadness, such as deep-cutting regret, the lingering sorrow of loss, and a kind of bittersweet resolve. All the ends are great in their own way, though some are better than others (the second to last one is by far my favorite). The true end, the one that nets you another “to be continued,” is probably the least interesting of the ends on the surface. However, it gains a lot of meaning and impact when viewed after the other ends, which is how you’re supposed to play the game I reckon, and it also involves Maro being a badass. That’s enough to make it worthwhile.
Maro and Sakimi are still great and still great together. It feels so good to spend some time with these characters again. And just how it’s fulfilling seeing their new relationship and how it develops, it’s fulfilling seeing how they have become new people and how they continue to grow throughout the story.
The problem is Yukina. She’s a terribly dull heroine. Just another meek reserved girl. Oh yeah, she’s got the mandatory masochistic streak these characters always have, what a surprise. She serves plot purposes, I suppose, and through her Maro and Sakimi grow closer, but other than that she’s just worthless. Well that’s not entirely true, she’s also got a couple fappable sex scenes.
Sakimi’s husband actually becomes a full character, or close, in Maro 2. Though he’s still only referred to as “husband” in the speaker tags, probably because we don’t know his name beyond Maa-kun (actually in one end in this game we finally learn his full name). But the Maa-kun we get to know is Maa-kun after he’s, well, broken would be a suitable way to put it. I think NTR fans will be able to relate and sympathize with him.
The soundtrack is almost entirely the same as the first game. There might be one or two new tracks, which are rape tracks so they not surprisingly aren’t very good and probably aren’t even trying to be. Other than that there’s also a traditional Japanese type song that might be new but I’m not sure. It’s okay. I gotta say though, NAMIDA still gets the tears going every time even though this is the third game now where they’ve used it for the majority of the emotional scenes. I guess it didn’t get its name for nothing.
Sakimi’s VA hasn’t gotten throat polyps from screaming in a deathcore band or anything, so she still sounds great. Yukina’s seiyuu is competent at voicing a flat character that isn’t the least bit challenging.
The artist from the first game returns, and so does Ichikawa Saya, the amazing artist responsible for the art in Biniku no Kaori and Ningen Debris. Ichikawa is in charge of Yukina’s art, and weirdly the art isn’t that good or at least not as good as her art in those other games. A significant part of this is that the character design is quite awful. Her hair is ugly and her tits are oversized. The quality of the art is usually really good, especially in the CGs, where the breasts aren’t as offensive, but an ugly character drawn well is still pretty ugly. Overall I liked the Sakimi-related art better, as reluctant as I am to admit that.
The ero is a significant improvement over the first Maro’s. I liked the molestation exams of the first game, unlike seemingly players the world over, but I’d take a good netorare scene over them any day. And Maro 2 has good netorare scenes. Actually just a few of them, but they’re good. One of the netorare scenes is literally the best-written ero scene I’ve ever read. The situation is a standard one but the presentation is graceful in a way eroge writing, even outside of ero scenes, never is. Ero text is a high level all around.
Given the convoluted relationships in this game the non-netorare scenes all also involve infidelity of some sort. Mostly netori but that fetish/genre is played from many different angles that tickle a variety of corners of the erotic psyche, so there’s a lot of good stuff to be enjoyed. The writer sprinkles some netorare flavor into some of the non-netorare scenes too, as he has done in past games. So that’s a nice bonus. The ero in this game is a pretty thorough exploration of the entire netoru spectrum, so true connoisseurs of infidelity will almost certainly enjoy it. There’s only one medical exam scene, and it leads all the way to sex if you play it right, so that’ll relieve a lot of folks. There’s a lot more coitus in this game.
Pros: Maro is still Maro; Sakimi is still cute; fulfilling development of main pair and their relationship; emotional ends; varied, extremely arousing ero
Cons: Yukina is a shit heroine; scenes revolving around her verge on and sometimes cross over into boring
It’s hard to judge this game, especially with it being in the middle of an ongoing series. I suppose the middle part of a series should develop the concepts introduced in the first part and meant to be concluded in the last part. In that case Maro 2 does a good job. It doesn’t develop the plot much, not that the series seems to have an event-driven plot anyways, but it does a great job developing the characters and their relationships. Yukina was a bad choice. She became a scapegoat to direct at my ire of everything I disliked about the game, but she genuinely is a poor character who had no reason to be introduced to the story. I hope to god she doesn’t appear in future Maros. Unfortunately judging by the true end it’s entirely possible she will. Hopefully she’ll step back into a supporting role and won’t get in the way of Maro and Sakimi.
I’m really loving the Maro series. Mainly on account of Maro and Sakimi. They’re both great characters and their relationship and chemistry are top-notch. Maybe it’s because of the serial format, but I feel like I’ve spent more time with them than I actually have. So I care about them and feel happy when they’re together and want to see them end up together and happy. With elf running the show there’s no guarantee of that happening. I think though, that with this kind of story, elf’s kind of stories, it doesn’t really matter if there’s a happy ending or if there’s a bad ending. These are mature stories and just like with life you need to be mature enough to take the good and the bad. This isn’t idealized saccharine moege or needlessly edgy dark eroge. This is the real shit.