Developer – Lupiesoft
Publisher – Lupiesoft & Sekai Project
Length – < 2 Hours
[A review copy was kindly provided by Lupiesoft]
[Lupiesoft has had no input into the content of this review]
Here we are once again ladies and gentlemen, with the OELVN of the hour. The Reject Demon: Toko is the first of three visual novels written by developer Lupiesoft to have a (partially) full release following a kickstarter for their original visual novel about two years ago. While there are a few more chapters in the works and some possible voice acting to be added, I’ve been asked to take a look at this first “prelude” release and give some feedback in the form of a review. As short as the story is at the moment I’d give too many of my thoughts away with a longer introduction, so let’s get into it!
All her life, Toko has been pretty poor at fulfilling her role as a demon. She’s failed each and every attempt at claiming the soul of a human after their death and now Hell’s bureaucracy has had enough…or has it? After having been banished to live on Earth and adapt to life as a human, and having fallen in with a girl who seems strangely infatuated with her, Toko is recalled to Hell to participate in the annual Intercircle Rock Competition. After all, Rock n’ Roll is one of Hell’s most prized art forms, and there’s a reason they’ve been putting up with Toko for so long.
My first impression of TRDT (sorry, it’s a bit too long for me to type out each and every time) was positive. The main menu and associated configuration user interface are striking and well-suited to the focus of the visual novel. The concept sounded a little odd but had promise in the way that most weird anime/visual novel premises do, and I was keen to see what Lupiesoft had come up with after I had backed their fundraiser two years previously. Unfortunately there was a slight problem. As far as I can tell Toko isn’t really targeted toward me as a reader, using overt sexual and yuri (lesbian) content regularly as two of its major hooks. I’ve dealt with similar issues before by recording my own thoughts and how I think the target audience would react separately. It’s a little tougher to do that here because of the extra genres of action, romance and comedy, so just keep in mind that if you think an ecchi production is something you’re keen for then you can add a point or two onto my final score. For myself I’ll just note here that the regular panty flashes and conspicuous flirting by the main heroine which bordered on the needy detracted from the rest of the experience.
Alright. That leaves the other three aspects of the story for this paragraph. Comedy is mainly delivered in the form of quirky characters that I wouldn’t mind seeing more of, though it’s hard to fully evaluate their value in such a short time. I wasn’t laughing throughout the experience, or even for much of it, but there’s some potential there for future chapters. Action-wise there are a few fight-scenes that are rather short in length and didn’t do much to get my blood pumping; without being overly attached to the characters it was difficult to become invested in each confrontation. The romance, being between the two main characters, feels forced from the get-go as they fall for each other in the space of a single day and for that reason I struggled to take it seriously. Admittedly you can infer a reason for it from the text but it’s a weak one. With all of these aspects considered as a whole TRDT makes for an average reading experience. While the writing style itself is pleasant and I was relatively happy with character descriptions and dialogue and the like, the story didn’t flow naturally and seemed somewhat disjointed (perhaps because a large number of concepts and characters are introduced during a short time in order to provide a preview for the remaining chapters).
Art-wise Lupiesoft has a distinctive style for its work and TRDT is no exception; character designs and backgrounds are both pleasant and interesting. Additionally, a variety of normal and chibi-style CGs suits the atmosphere of the story well, though it’s a little disappointing that there was no gallery to be seen after finishing the visual novel. The background music is a mixed bag but overall I felt that it was a little weak for the VN it was accompanying. Battles didn’t have anything to make them feel special, for instance, and for a story featuring Rock n’ Roll it was conspicuously absent throughout. However, I did think that the various sound effects features were well done and added to the overall immersion of the experience.
Summary – As an entire package The Reject Demon Toko was somewhat lackluster and I wonder whether Chapter 0’s role as a preview worked to its detriment. While there was nothing abjectly wrong about any one of its aspects I can’t say that anything really stood out and gripped me either, with the romance seeming especially forced. Admittedly, the ecchi focus pushed me away more than it drew me in so if that’s a feature you are looking for then you may enjoy TRDT more than I did. Even with that in mind, however, I can’t label it a production I would recommend.
Score: 5.5/10 – Average