Ok guys I am back with a review/summary of Pil/Slash’s newest game, Paradise, even though I should probably finish the next part for the review of Ai wa, Nikushimi ni Yoku Niteiru first (￣▽￣*)ゞ.
Paradise is a dark survival thriller Boys Love Game that is a collaboration project between Pil/Slash and LOVE&DESTROY. Both companies are infamous for the dark and mindscrew-y storylines in their games (many of you might be familiar with LOVE&DESTROY’s -CAGE OPEN- and Pil/Slash’s Shingakkou -Noli me tangere-), and Paradise is also not an exception to that norm despite the brightly colored pretty art and a seemingly happy-go-lucky protagonist.
I remember seeing the summary on vndb before, but by the time I started the game I had forgotten most of it. I didn’t look it up again because I wanted to go in as blind as possible, and I will try to write this review in a way that you don’t get spoiled for future routes. The order I followed was Mitsugi -> Matsuda -> Takara, and it was a wise choice, though not for the reasons I expected XD (I will explain this after I’m finished with reviewing everything).
The original game came out on November 30th 2017, and a sequel fandisc ”Paradise -MUSUBI-” was released on October 12th 2018. The fandisc contains the after stories that follow the happy ends of the original game, as well as retellings of some scenes from the original game from the point of view of other characters. A second fandisc came out just yesterday, July 26th 2019. I haven’t played it yet, but it seems darker compared to the previous FD and it seems that instead of following the original game endings, this will change up the story from the very start and be more informative about the overall mystery (like a true route).
I think I’ve spent enough time introducing the game, so I’m jumping right into my let’s play/summary combination. No introduction about the characters because some of them are spoilery + I am feeling a bit under the weather. I might update this post later to turn it into a more proper review.
The story starts pretty straightforwardly- we see our main character Azuma waking up and going for his part time job at a convenience store. We also get a little background info about his financial and living situation, which is not too great as he is a young man living on his own. He calls himself broke, as he is not exactly penniless but incapable of affording any luxury.
Azuma works 5 days a week, and as he passes the marketing district on his way to work, he notices some good quality meat on discount. He buys some of it on his way back home, and the kind hearted butcher gives him a lottery ticket for spending over a limit. We also get some funny information about how Azuma plans to make curry with it, using a lot of meat and nothing else. The way he talks about hating vegetables sounds like a 5 year old kid XD
(I forgot to mention, but while Azuma was on his way back from work, he was also grumbling about how he’s popular among his coworkers, especially this dude called Ogino who keeps inviting him to different social gatherings like this camping trip Ogino and his friends are going to. Despite Azuma’s laid-back image he isn’t particularly extroverted so he rejected Ogino and internally is just like “meh how does it benefit me to be popular among men?” That made me laugh because bruh, this is a BL game XD Even butcher dude comments on how Azuma doesn’t have a girlfriend even though he is pretty good looking and gives him some extra meat out of pity lmfao.)
Azuma isn’t interested in the lottery, but at the butcher’s urging he visits the stall for the lottery and surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly) wins the first prize of 5 nights and 6 days stay at an island called Togajima. Azuma provides the lottery staff his name, address and phone number so the travel company can contact him later, and heads back home with the lottery ticket and the trip pamphlet.
Azuma is pretty excited, and makes arrangements at his part time job to get a week long vacation. I found it weirdly hilarious when he called that Ogino guy for this, and Ogino informed him that he also did the lottery but only got a tissue packet as a prize lol (up until the moment Azuma learned that he won the first prize he was expecting to win a tissue or something similarly cheap, and apparently his expectations were right since Ogino won a tissue („ಡωಡ„)).
Soon after this there’s a call from the people who sponsored the trip, Niraikanai Tours, and like an idiot Azuma confirms that he is going after taking only a cursory glance at the pamphlet. He goes through it properly only on the very day they are supposed to depart for the island. He is extremely surprised and disappointed to find that Togajima is an uninhabited island, and while there is a log house, they are supposed to cook their own food. What’s more, there will be only two day’s worth of food ingredients there, and more ingredients will be supplied by ship on the third day.
As a result, he could only pack the absolutely necessary toiletries and a few things in a rush, and panics that this will not be enough. Azuma is annoyed at the prospect of having to cook for himself, although he thinks he can’t really complain considering he is not paying for anything.
While Azuma is lamenting over his past idiocy, a middle-aged (?) dude who looks like he was the host when young shows up using very polite speech and introduces himself as Hongou, the tour guide from Niraikanai Tours. (Azuma thinks that Hongou is pretty “Dandy” pfft. His choice of adjective makes me laugh) Hongou has a soothing and gentle way of speaking and seems like a pretty nice guy but something about his character design gives me the creeps. I can’t understand how he was able to correctly recognize Azuma even though Azuma did not submit any pictures of himself and was not the last to arrive.
Hongou answers some questions Azuma asks him and we learn that other than Azuma there are 8 other people who are participating in the trip, and most of them, to his relief, are from his own age group. The log house they are supposed to stay in is apparently a combination of 10 small houses and pretty cozy. Azuma also establishes his “straightness” by asking Hongou how many women are there among the participants, but unfortunately for him the answer is zero.
(….While playing, this scene made me think of a terrible pun: “The straighter a guy is, the greater the joy is to bend him over.” If any of you read chinese BL novels, I hope you can spot the double pun XD)
Azuma and Hongou notice some people getting off the express bus at the bus stop near the port, and Hongou asks Azuma how he arrived here and is lowkey shocked when he hears that Azuma came here by train and walked the rest of the way (the train stop is not close to the port). Hongou is impressed but Azuma actually was just trying to save money, especially considering how he’s gonna miss out his wages for a week. I can’t help but lol when I remember that Azuma worked extra hard for a week at his part time job trying to save up for this trip, and also went out with his coworkers to appease them, particularly Ogino, the one who agreed to take over his shifts. Such wasted effort XD
Four of the people who got off the bus start moving towards the cruiser and Hongou leaves to greet them. Azuma notices a young boy trying to go down the stairs to the harbour with a huge suitcase. He decides to help out, but soon finds that the suitcase is actually too heavy even for him.
The young boy is pretty friendly and introduces himself as Takara. Azuma’s impression of him is that he’s so bright that Azuma feels energized just looking at him. While Azuma is struggling with the suitcase, another guy, also with a lot of luggage, tries to pass them by and clashes with Azuma’s shoulder. The guy turns out to be a royal asshole who not only does not apologize for almost pushing Azuma off the stairs but also is fucking rude about the whole thing.
I did like the how Aroma is not a doormat at all and he’s like “WAIT A FUCKING MINUTE (ఠ益ఠ)” He’s totally not amused that the other guy would just strut away after slamming into him. The man stares at Azuma for slightly longer than necessary before replying, like he was trying to confirm something. When Azuma prods him further he finally replies that they are on the same boat since Azuma didn’t apologize either.
Azuma points out that he did try to dodge and the bastard is like “well you did not manage to do it so it’s the same either way, don’t call out to me over such dumb crap”. Like wow he’s got rudeness to an art 凸ಠ益ಠ)凸
Azuma (and also me) is so enraged at his ore-sama-ness (the asshole even refers to Azuma as “uze-gaki” = “annoying brat”) that he loses his words and the poophead is like “you are annoying, don’t talk to me” and walks away. Azuma is this close to losing it and punching that guy but Takara stops him and points out that considering the amount of his luggage, the other guy is also most likely getting on the ship and it would be awkward if they got into a fight right before the trip started. I didn’t mind Takara at first but his tendency to ignore Azuma’s indignation while giving this lecture in order to keep the status quo rubs me the wrong way.
At this point someone at the bottom of the harbor stairs calls out to them and tell them to hurry up instead of chatting (I was super amused to find out that this guy was voiced by the same person who voiced Saitama in one punch man, I can’t wait to get fucked by Saitama lolol) and the two of them finally board the cruiser. I lol’ed so hard when Azuma went “Farewell, mainland” in a super deep voice right afterwards (≧▽≦)
Hongou introduces himself to all the passengers and inform them of the facilities onboard and also that they will arrive at the island at 3:00 p.m. The tall guy from earlier proposes that the passengers at least introduce themselves to each other since they will be staying together for the next 6 days.
The first person to answer was a guy with a goatee who had a camera hanging from his neck. He introduces himself as Shimada, professional 24 year old photographer who is going to the island for work.
Azuma decides to introduce himself next his self introduction cracked me up “ I’m Azuma, a broke part-timer~! My hobby is making curry, and I want to enjoy living in an uninhabited island! Please take care of me~” Takara who goes after Azuma is like “do I have to tell my hobby” lol.
The big guy in an orange hoodie finally introduces himself as Matsuda, and he is a 27 year old office worker. Azuma’s impression of him is that he looks pretty built under his clothes (my head was full of bad thoughts here XD), and he appreciates how Matsuda is so full of vigor with a loud voice and a big smile.
Matsuda’s reason for joining the trip is fishing, he had heard from somewhere that the island has some really good fishing spots. Azuma thinks that Matsuda looks older than he actually is. Matsuda seems to have selective telepathy considering how quickly he picks up that Azuma was calling him old just from his expression, lol. Azuma gets the feeling that Matsuda is the type that can take jokes well, so he decides to troll Matsuda by saying that he looks around 40, shocking him. But Azuma admits that he actually thought Matsuda was closer to 30, which helps Matsuda recover lol. He decides to butter Matsuda up by saying that he wants to join Matsuda in fishing and cutely requests Matsuda to catch lots of fish so that they can eat yummy stuff. Matsuda comments that Azuma is the type who is good at getting into the good graces of older people. Then he Laughs and says that Azuma can just use casual speech with him and Azuma feels that Matsuda is really easy to get along with.
Shimada asks Azuma and Takara about their age and why they decided to join this tour. Takara mentions that he won the lottery ticket for this trip just like Azuma did. Azuma is pretty pleased by the coincidence, but then he’s shocked to learn that Takara is actually 20 years old. He thought Takara was in middle school or something pfft. This is something Takara is pretty familiar with but he pouts at being considered a middle schooler because he is not that short. Azuma is like “I will do it next time uwu”, at which Takara reminds him that there won’t be any next time. Azuma also shares that he is 22 years old, which pleases Shimada. He’s happy that everyone is around the same age and he won’t have to experience a generation gap.
(Note: I really like how this game as employed a “show, don’t tell” approach in sharing information about the main character to us. For example, usually bleh type of romance games start with mc narrating something like “My name is X and I’m 18 years old. I want to boyfriend/girlfriend uwu” It doesn’t sound like something people would actually think on their own. Here I only learned Azuma’s age when he was introducing himself. I’m also learning more about him from his interactions with others, which I like. His offer to help with Takara’s luggage is proof he’s a nice dude, but his rage at Mitsugi’s rudeness shows that he has a short temper, and is not a doormat. Matsuda’s comments on how Azuma is good at getting himself out of sticky situations was also based on how Azuma immediately started flattering him after accidentally saying something potentially offensive.)
Shimada invites the the guy who bumped into Azuma earlier to introduce himself as well, and he surprisingly agrees without much hassle. His name is Mitsugi, he’s 25 years old and going to the island for work as an architect. He also handles occasional design work and some other jobs involving versatile skills. Matsuda and Shimada are impressed by him and he also acts pretty smiley towards them, but the moment his eyes meet Azuma’s he makes an ugly expression and averts his eyes. Azuma is annoyed and his internal raging is almost childishly sulky “I don’t know what part of me do you hate so much! Whatever, I also hate you so it’s fine!୧((#Φ益Φ#))୨”
When Takara asks him what’s wrong, he replies that “I am hovering between rage and melancholy” lmao. Takara’s like “you’re a complicated man” pfft. There were four other people who introduced themselves but Azuma did not pay attention to them (I found this funny way to avoid writing long scenes on extra characters who will have short or zero screentime)
Suddenly Shimada proposes to take a group picture. Surprisingly enough, even Mitsugi also agrees to join. I feel like his assholery is mostly reserved for Azuma, he acts like a quiet but okay guy in front of everyone else. Hongou gets emotional at the idea of being included in the group, and Azuma tells him to not be so formal. Takara’s “Wa~i!” every time someone agrees to join is cute (*^▽^*)
After this the opening song plays, and we get a glimpse at the dark shit and stuff in this game (they even included some sex CGs with censored naughty bits lmao), sasuga Pil/Slash and LOVE&DESTROY collaboration! I will end part 1 of this post here, we will continue the common route in the next post here.