Otto no Mae de Okasarete is a netori rape nukige from elf. Originally released by the brand Yellow Pig in 2006, later released by elf with added animation and Wakazuma Mangekyou, which I’ve posted about in the past. The writer is my favorite Douten Meikai.
Zama Yuusaku works for one of those generic Japanese companies that do vague business stuff, like paperwork and what-have-you. One evening Chief Zama is invited over to have dinner with his meek, incompetent subordinate Akizuki Shouta and his wife Chihiro. Chihiro is beautiful and big-titted and Zama decides she’s wasted on Shouta so he takes it upon himself to rape her.
What follows is probably the most convincing netori plot of the countless netori plots I’ve been exposed to. Convincing but not necessarily realistic. I can’t really judge its realism given it relies so much on Japanese social etiquette and particularly Japanese business culture, neither of which I have any firsthand experience with.
The Chief’s scheme to rape Chihiro involves blackmail, as these plots so often do. Blackmail is the most reasonable real-world way to get a woman who is unwilling to have sex with you to have semi-willing sex with you, I suppose. But the blackmail here is so thoroughly thought-out and executed that it is, as I mentioned, significantly more convincing that your usual netori fare. Initially it’s interesting to see Zama’s watertight plan unfold but it’s actually so meticulous that it eventually starts to grow tiresome.
Luckily by the time it does, about halfway through the story, the Chief finally achieves his goal of raping Chihiro (there are sexual scenes up until this point but they are of escalating, non-penetrative varieties, save for a couple bad-end cases of full vaginal intercourse). Post-rape is when things start to get real compelling in the story. Although Zama is the technical protagonist almost half of the story is told from Chihiro’s perspective, and the story is about her more than anyone or anything else. After she is raped by Zama there is an even greater focus on her, and from there unfolds what is among the very most accurate and sophisticated fictional representations of psychological trauma I can think of. It gets so heavy that it becomes physically uncomfortable to read. We get stuck in Chihiro’s head with her constant perseverations and choking feelings of guilt and worthlessness, which is heartbreaking and made me feel sick to my stomach.
This is also when the relationship between Zama and Chihiro evolves beyond simply aggressor and victim, and as always this writer knows what he’s doing in the department of human relations. Interestingly, while we start to sympathize with Chihiro more we also start to sympathize with Zama for the first time, meaning the reader is mirroring the dysfunctional relationship playing out in the story. A kind of meta Stockholm Syndrome. Or maybe not everyone would be able to empathize with Zama to even just some degree, but regardless the relationship development between him and Chihiro remains enthralling in its twistedness and its exploration of how broken people ultimately are beneath everything, beneath what we think ourselves to be.
As this relationship seems to resolve and cohere into something stable, in a way, you would think the story about to end. However it succumbs to its role as nukige and moves into a string of mostly-mindless sex scenes. This shift very nearly ruins everything the story had been working toward. Fortunately things then end quite superbly, with both story and themes tied up neatly, and everything is forgiven, at least by me.
Akizuki Chihiro: The game’s sole heroine is a cute, devoted housewife, who has an unexpected backbone. This is already a good combination, but things are made deeper as we become aware of some realistic flaws in her personality and this character archetype is given a believable neurotic third dimension. The story in this game is all about Chihiro’s character development: her journey of self discovery, acceptance of herself, and development of a sense of self. Although there are a few instances where she plays into the stereotype of the raped housewife (weird that this is a stereotype) taken as a whole her character and development are phenomenally deep.
Zama Yuusaku: The Chief is an asshole. He’s a loser who resents life and the world and takes out his spite on anyone he can. Zama is easily this writer’s most abhorrent protagonist. Yet one gains an appreciation for his conniving and his irreverent personality, and of course the guy isn’t 100% evil. I do wish Douten Meikai would’ve given more of an explanation for why Zama became such a horrible person, but all we get is a couple passing references and I guess we’re expected to extrapolate from there that the Chief has his own circumstances for why he’s the way he is. Zama presents as detached, even when we are seeing things from his point of view, so it’s hard to get a sense of his thoughts and feelings, who he really is beyond the unfeeling persona he presents with.
Akizuki Shouta: Although Shouta gets a lot of screentime and is a reasonably major player in the story I don’t find myself wanting to write much about him. He’s a very flat character, especially in comparison to the other two. Just your average timid, gentle “beta” type.
The sound design is minimalistic to the extreme. Most of the game is spent in silence with the occasional sound effect. To be honest after how many elf games I’ve played I’m no longer very impressed by this approach, though this game still got me with the atmosphere for the festival scene. There are a couple booming tracks for the rape scenes, which actually do a pretty good job in their role. The single piano theme is quite decent and since it only plays a few times total it inherently lends power to the scenes during which it’s used. And gotta mention the wind chimes.
The voice actress in charge of Chihiro does a pretty good job balancing her cuteness and her resoluteness, but there is a slight but distinctly unpleasant edge in her voice. This softens later in the game, which may mean it’s actually a subtle, virtuosic performance on the part of the voice actress.
At its best the art in this game might as well be the pinnacle of older anime-style art. The clean lines and bold colors, yet a sense of depth and detail, at times stunning lighting and shadows. But the art sometimes begins to unravel, coloring softens into ugly pools of watercolor and the lines become vague, spiraling messily into awkward anatomy and general derpiness. This happens in almost half the CGs, mostly ero ones.
This game has animation and I’ve no complaints about it. It’s satisfactory and most if not all of the scenes that should have animation get it.
It’s hard to say that this game has “ero scenes” in the traditional sense. This is supposed to be a nukige yet the erotic scenes serve more for vehicles of dialogue and development than anything else. Because of this it isn’t very fappable. Many of the situations are well-constructed, so it’s possible that if I had the right fetishes my score for this area could change significantly, but I doubt it. It remains an objective fact that the ero scenes are mostly dialogue that isn’t immediately arousing and Chihiro’s self-loathing introspection, and most of the rest is strings of onomatopoeia. When it does try to be overtly sexual the ero scenes get too generic and repetitive: for example the Chief always forces Chihiro to beg for his dick, and of course just saying “chinpo” or “chinpo hoshii” isn’t clear enough so Zama makes her get extremely specific and write a fucking book on how she wants the D. This happens in literally every sex scene after Chihiro provisionally admits her lust for dick. I gave up on trying to fap to the game about halfway through.
Pros: Deep character development; thorough netori plot; dat マンコ箱
Cons: Things get too thorough; ero isn’t ero; art falls apart
If you’re going to play a netori nukige it should be this one. Setting aside the fact that the sex scenes aren’t very fappable this is basically the perfect execution of the traditional netori setup. A lot of people understandably hate the played out “woman gets raped until she can’t live without her rapist’s dick” scenario but Otto no Mae de Okasarete does it so perfectly it’s pretty much the Citizen Kane of the raped wife Stockholm Syndrome genre. Just goes to show that any idea can be made good by its execution. But Otto no Mae de Okasarete’s rich characterization isn’t just good for its niche, it would hold its own when placed against any AAA scenarioge. It’s impressive in its own right.
In the first part of the game I was starting to think Douten Meikai’s inexperience when he wrote this was showing. It was just a well-done but standard netori game. However once the ball started rolling it hit so damn hard. He, the writer, really is something else. This game has his usual writing style, which is very pleasant to read: brief but subtly telling sentences and a sense of playfulness that can border on the morbid. A lot of the humor is contained in the numerous choices, which regularly include outrageous options (and these are sometimes the right choices).
This was the most difficult review to write I’ve written in a long time (probably since DokoIku). The appeal and the genius of the game is almost singular: Chihiro’s character. However the topic, a human being, is such a complex one that it’s hard to talk about in a way that does it justice.