I don’t think many people bothered with this, thanks to being a console-original galge for the PS Vita coming from an eroge company. Everyone is either waiting for a PC port with ero added in (quite likely, I and the rest of 2ch think), or simply ignored it in favor of Anegin, which was hyped up as a collaboration between Takahiro (Majikoi) and Ou Jackson (Oretsuba). Kurogane Kaikitan is supervised by Takahiro, but the scenario is actually written by Sakaki Kasa, who is known for Tsujidou-san no Jun’ai Road (as well as Majikoi S and Tsuyokiss 3-gakki). Kurogane was made with a CS audience in mind, so while its characters and interactions are created with a similar feeling to its parent company’s works, it also takes on a more serious, action-packed story. For a direct comparison, it has a similar tone to Majikoi’s Agave route all the way through.
The topic of the day is anti-terrorism. The story takes place in an alternate history where Japan is the economic center of the world in 2015, where they face threats of terror every day. On February 4, 70 years ago (1945), major cities of the Allied countries all went up in flames at around the same time, bringing Japan to victory. The atomic bombs never dropped, and history basically went the way of an conservative old Japanese man’s wet dream. Fast forward to 2015, and the culture isn’t all that different from the real world aside from the fact that Japan is an economic center that constantly faces terrorist attacks. There’s a bit of the Showa period feeling (high economic growth) to the modern setting.
The political side of things isn’t as important as the supernatural setting. There are rare objects with special powers, called Kurogane, that are used in anti-terrorism measures. Kurogane have a variety of useful powers, but they’re tools that choose their owners and few people have an affinity with them. In a high school-level police academy (which behaves more like a somewhat specialized high school than an actual police academy), there exists a top-secret team of Kurogane users called the Kurogane Team that takes on various missions to eradicate terrorists. The protagonist and heroines are all a part of this team, and the story revolves around their missions.
The story development is rather 王道, but the execution is good if you like the shounen manga type of story with plenty of battles and varied routes with consistent quality. As far as routes go, they’ve got more unity than, say, Majikoi’s routes that went in a bunch of different directions. The characters were all likable as well, with silly interactions that are MinatoSoft-like in comedic parts, but can be taken seriously when the situation turns dire. There are four heroine routes, and completing them all unlocks the Kaikitan route which acts as a true path with a good sense of tension all around and a strong climax. I wasn’t expecting much in the ways of plot considering the maker’s past works that sold mainly on characters, so I was pleasantly surprised when presented with a proper serious story. The writing in the fights themselves are nowhere near top tier for a chuunige, but they manage to keep up a decent amount of creativity and strategy paired with the Kurogane powers, and the music is top notch. I won’t deny that the music probably makes up for 50% of why the battles were exciting.
The protagonist is Habaki Masamune, a guy with cheat-level specs like the protagonists in some recently trending shounen anime. He’s handsome, a natural at fighting, smart to the point where he’s ranked 11th nationally for exams despite doing no studying other than “listening in class,” and has extraordinary composure and quick thinking in critical conditions. We’re talking about a high school aged guy who can deal with terrorists better than trained adults, even without supernatural powers. The main point to take note of is that he shows no absolutely hesitation when slicing off a terrorist’s arm, and unlike a lot of teenage protagonists who may show sympathy for their enemies’ sob stories, this guy doesn’t. His only flaw shown at the beginning of the story is that he’s got shitty social skills and is not good at being friendly with people. At this point we’d probably have a bunch of people screaming ‘Gary Stu’ at him, and while the thought came to me initially as well, but Masamune ended up being surprisingly human. It’s established that he’s hyper competent instead of the story trying to play it off as the “ordinary guy” who somehow ends up being omnipotent but still being treated like he’s the ordinary guy in a desperate attempt to provide both a power fantasy and an easy self-insert at the same time. Various events from his not-so-righteous past result in Masamune leading an empty everyday life, and several of the routes show that he’s quite the coward when faced with a truly disadvantageous situation that he can’t immediately overcome with his cheat specs. The final route actually prompts the reader into cheering for his childhood friend and rival Kunitsuna, who comes off as a traditional shounen manga hero in contrast with Masamune’s dark and talented rival charracter-like traits.
The heroines are created in good balance, and all have their memorable moments. The main two seem to be Fusehime and Amakuni, who particularly stood out from the crowd. Tamane and Kotetsu are the cool senpai with a cute side and cute kouhai with a devilish side respectively, and they both have routes that go quite smoothly (more MinatoSoft-like, shall I say, based on my experience with Majikoi). Meanwhile Fusehime’s route is more hotblooded than the rest (with the exception of Kaikitan), and Amakuni’s brings in a bittersweet tone that offers a more distinct experience than the others. Amakuni is supposedly a Yamato Nadeshiko who takes her swordsmanship super seriously and claims to be Masamune’s fiancee due to a childhood promise. However, she has her hilariously dumb sides and various quirks that fit right in with the Majikoi cast, so it’s not like she’s a typical Yamato Nadeshiko type. These types of characters aren’t usually my thing, but Amakuni was a rare hit.
Fusehime, meanwhile, acts as a complement to Masamune’s cold genius loner front by being average at everything despite working hard, but is a great team leader who can become friends with most people after meeting them three times. She has a unbending sense of justice and is thus the most enthusiastic about the Kurogane Team’s jobs. I think her defining moment was in the common route in the scene where Masamune reveals to her his past, and when faced with the question of “what is justice” (ala Soukou Akki Muramasa), she replies with something along the lines of “I didn’t ask about the definition of ‘justice,’ all I want to know is whether you can become an ally of justice. Can you fight on behalf of love, courage, and hope given any and all circumstances?” All the other heroines have easily recognizable traits that galgamers can easily develop affection for, but Fusehime grew on me the same way a hard-working, determined hero-type character does.
The side characters are a fun bunch, and even the ones without direct involvement in the main plot are able to provide some silly entertainment. I can see potential routes being added if MinatoSoft were to port the game to PC or make a fandisc, although the latter would be more appropriate since the story concluded off well and the base game already feels complete. If a PC port is made, I fully expect them to add in ero since they didn’t use any mainstream non-ero voice actors (aka no one that refuses to do ero), and the story is structured in such a way that it wouldn’t be hard to add in R18 scenes at all. Speaking of voice actors, it’s a shame that Masamune alone is silent, since he’s quite a distinct character and has the most heated up scenes in battle and would have definitely benefited from a cool voice. Of the heroines, Fusehime’s voice sounded the most “comfy.”
On the flip side, the villains (or at least the ones who are consistently villainous) aren’t very remarkable. But they do their jobs by being total dicks so they work.
The music, as mentioned before, is excellent. Composed by ex-Alicesoft composer Shade, the battle themes are all very cool and the overall soundtrack brings forth a sense of unity. In fact, what pushed me over the edge and made me get this game was the kickass music at the trial’s climax. It’s a damn shame that they haven’t released an OST yet.
The art, unfortunately, is inconsistent. The character designs will bring divided opinions depending on whether one likes huge tits or not, but the faces look off almost all the time. I think Amakuni was the one who looked the most consistently good, and a lot of CGs feel plain and unpolished compared to the tachi-e. The character designer is as good, if not better, at drawing males compared to girls. I think those who prefer adult-ish bodies and more realistic facial proportions to moege art will appreciate the style here.
Overall, Kurogane Kaikitan was enjoyable as a normal 燃えゲ―, and is a very solid galge for those who like MinatoSoft’s style of characters coupled with an action-packed story with supernatural elements (i.e. Ayakashibito’s level of chuuni). Obviously the only thing I could compare it to was Majikoi because I haven’t read substantial amounts of any of the company’s other works, but I would recommend it if you enjoyed Majikoi’s common + Agave route. The importance placed on childhood friends is similar as well.