Welcome to another installment of the Boss’s Blog. With the holidays coming up fast, everyone around the office is scrambling to get last minute work done before we close for the rest of the year. With that said, let’s get on with the show!
This time around we will be talking about MadoSoft’s Wagamama High Spec. Originally released in Japan in 2016, and it has since come out on Steam this year. I was definitely curious about this title and how it would stack up against other visual novels on the market. The character designs are certainly great but what got my attention were the descriptions of the main heroines and their interesting character traits.
Let’s start off with our protagonist, Narumi Kouki. Student by day, budding manga author by night. His work has been getting more attention lately but certainly he knows how to balance his school life and work, right?
Things never seem to go to right from some people I suppose. Our hero, Kouki has his editor breathing down his neck with him about to miss yet another deadline when his computer breaks down. To add to the situation, he has a flashback to earlier that day when his editor calls him and on top of reminding him of his upcoming deadlines, the number of times and ways he’s made excuses in the past about why his work was late. Chitose is no slouch as his editor. The descent into madness continues as he has to beg his little sister, Toa to save his computer (and his work) while her friend Mihiro revels in his misery. At least he still has his dignity.
What I find particularly fun about Wagamama High Spec is that the comedic pacing is non-stop with the humor (mostly at the expense of Kouki) being rather well placed. Toa does her best to not care about anything that involves doing work, much less standing up. Meanwhile Mihiro continues her quest to amuse herself by picking on Kouki. I’ll admit, I’d find Mihiro as annoying as Kouki finds her to be if it wasn’t for the fact that everything she says is hilarious if sometimes on the perverted side.
Things continue to get silly after Kouki leaves his house and heads to school. And it isn’t just the girls who have their quirks. There’s Masato who’s obsessed with girls who are on the larger end of the scale and Kinjirou who’s mind his constantly stuck in a fantasy world of eroge and often is on the receiving end of their homeroom teacher’s wrath with his illogical antics. His attempts to woo (very poorly) her only increases his odds of being beaten to a pulp. Often times the minor characters, especially the male buddy characters, don’t really stand out in any way but I do always find myself amused at the trouble Kinjirou gets himself into. Usually these minor characters only serve to provide an interesting foil for the main character and in this case I think it works out well. Just a few minutes in and you’d imagine that Kouki is constantly under the impression that it’s everyone but him who is insane.
At school we get introduced to the remaining cast including the other two main heroines, Kaoruko and Ashe. The two of them make up the upper echelon of the student council with Kaoruko as the student council president and Ashe the vice president. They are the talk of Ousui Academy and most certainly popular with both male and female students. Of course as we’ve already seen with the characters introduced thus far, these two aren’t as prim and popular as it may seem.
We find out quite early on that Kaoroku also moonlights as an illustrator and some bumbling through the school day leads Kouki to find out her secret. On top of that, she is the one who is illustrating his manga. Go convenient plot device! Perhaps a bit too convenient but it’s a clever set up to get Kouki to join up with the understaffed student council which is where the story of Wagamama High Spec really begins. As for Ashe…
Wagamama High Spec may not appear to be too deep on the outside, but I think there’s still a lot to enjoy for a lot of fans of visual novels. The game itself is split into routes for each of the four main heroines and as you traverse through their storylines it begins to make a bit more sense why the game is called Wagamama High Spec. Wagamama in Japanese means to be self-centered, selfish and see our hero Kouki learning about these thoughts each of the heroines have and helps them through the doubts and tribulations they may have. All of that across the backdrop of the crazy hijinks a manga author has as he balances his school life, student council life and work life around this rather colorful cast of characters.
For fans of some good, fun comedy with some amazingly slapstick dialog, Wagamama High Spec is worth a look. With a demo available to get a feel for the game, I think everyone can find something to like about the game. However, there’s one last thing I want to mention about Wagamama High Spec and it’s this:
WATANUKI KAREN IS THE BEST GIRL IN THE GAME
Real talk here, how was it possible to have such an amusing character be relegated to that of a minor character? Karen is the class rep in the class that Kouki, Masato and Kinjirou are in and is often times the observer in the nonsensical discussions that occur between the three guys. But she isn’t just some pretty wallflower though. She’s also the head of the drama club and perhaps some theatrical training is what gives her the great ability to manipulate people to do her bidding. I mean with that pretty smile how could you say no to buying her a juice box when unprompted to do so?
This scene is particularly hilarious as Karen suggests Kouki try to get cozy with the student council president. While she seems flattering enough to suggest that out of the three guys, he’s the most sane, we find out that it’s just an ulterior tactic for her to also get closer to recruit Ashe for the drama club. With that kind of skill, I’m sure she could get the Celtics to trade away a couple first round picks for a bucket of rocks. Karen is really the best. Believe it.
That’s it for another installment of the Boss’s Blog. While I’ve mostly focused on the titles published by us here at Sekai Project, there’s a lot of other things that could be interesting to talk about. Of course, we’re always open to suggestions so feel free to hit us up on social media for topics you’d like me to cover next time. Until then!