Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Saiminjutsu 2

One of the prevailing factors when it comes to dedicated mind control or hypnotism eroges is that they almost all work from the 'asshole protagonist' perspective. Typically, the protagonist acquires a new power, be it hypnotism, the ability to stop time, the ability to turn invisible, and almost immediately puts it to use for the purpose of having his way with girls almost invariably without their consent. I suppose this is on some level necessary for the premise to work, and I suppose being able to live out one's fantasies is one of the things that draws people to the genre, but I can't help but wonder if there could be more potential to these stories, especially if they seem to be investing genuine effort into the characters and setting.




One such title is Saiminjutsu 2 (Hypnotism 2), a 2007 eroge by BLACKRAINBOW. It is the sequel to Saiminjutsu, but the continuity between the two games is weak at best. In Saiminjutsu 2, down on his luck protagonist Sakurai Susumu, facing bullying at school, problems at home and severe dislike from his childhood friend gains a boon when a mysterious stranger, Murakushi Jinta moves into his apartment. Seeing our young protagonist's plight, he offers to teach Susumu the mysterious power of hypnotism.


Susumu, quickly realising what Jinta expects of him, announces his intention to gain control over half the human race (the female half, naturally) and Jinta sets him a task - in exchange for being taught to hypnotise others, he has a month to use this power to produce situations and reports to cure Jinta's ED (erectile dysfunction). Susumu accepts.


For a rather ridiculous story, it's pretty much as plausible as any other hypnotism eroge plot and a good deal more entertaining than most. I suppose one of the things that made me appreciate this more than the average eroge of this variety is how it actually attempts some legitimate protagonist development that doesn't feel unrealistic, misplaced or far too convenient. Susumu does not start off by immediately raping every woman he can see (possibly because his power is not as convenient as the average mind control eroge gimmick) unlike, for example, the protagonist of a number of ALL-TiME titles, but instead starts to explore it, going deeper and deeper. Youthful curiosity slowly turns into control, and control is eventually replaced with sadism, depending on how you progress through the story. On some endings the protagonist actually feels genuine regret for what he has done, but in general the game seems most focused in terms of storytelling where Susumu grows addicted to the power of hypnotism and relishes in the thought of performing crueller and crueller acts.


Targets of Susumu's newly-found abilities include his (now rather caustic) childhood friend, her elder sister, Susumu's cousin, her mother and Susumu's own mother (yes, this game goes there). There is a fairly large variety of endings, especially as Jinta's own motivations start to come into play.

Back to Susumu's mother, the idea of the protagonist's own mother being a winnable heroine is something I may never become entirely comfortable with, but especially of note is that she is, in fact, the game's main heroine. She makes a solo appearance on the title screen, has the largest number of CGs and scenes and a great deal of the story revolves around her. It's an unusual choice for a heroine, to say the least.


The production values are not especially notable. As you can tell from the screenshots, the art is not exactly going to win any prizes, especially for a title released in 2007. On the other hand, the CGs are plentiful and varied, with 112 base CGs, many with 4-5 or more different variations. The musical score is generally fitting, although with a paltry 14 tracks you'll be hearing some songs just a little too long for them to stay fresh. The quality of the writing is high and the characters are generally quite well developed. I feel the story could have done with more of a focus on the curiosity side of the hypnotism experimentation and less of a focus on the 'being a horrible person' side. I would have also liked more fleshed out diversions from the 'asshole protagonist' path that most of the endings come from. A good example is the childhood friend character who isn't speaking to the protagonist when the story starts - while she isn't particularly nice at that point in the game, I really would have preferred to have some other option beyond forcing her to do progressively more degrading and depraved acts. There could have been potential for a great pure-love (or at least something approaching it) route with her and the game never saw fit to explore that.

Overall, it's a decent enough title, and 'decent enough' probably puts it in the top five as far as hypnotism games go, but there was a lot of potential for awesome here that I felt it just dropped the ball on in favour of coming up with more hilarious things for the protagonist to make people do.

Overall score: 72%

5 comments:

  1. Hypnotism isn't my thing but I've tried other eroges in the series.

    Though I agree that it's entertaining somewhat, but I wouldn't choose this over other eroges.

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  2. I'm semi-interested in Saiminjutsu 2 and other BLACKRAINBOW eroges, but I'd agree that most games only seem to explore hypnotism in a very narrow sense. My other problem is that hypnotism eroges generally seem to have the protagonist running around with his (actually, her would probably make for a great eroge) powers seemingly unopposed.

    Still waiting for a story based, all-ages hypnotism title...

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  3. *SIGH* Do you have posted a link to this nice review in the Peapri BBS? Truly a pity I've noticed it only now, my only remark is that Youko is the sister, not the mother, of the "rather caustic childhood friend" (yeah, I liked the cousin MUCH more, heheh... ).

    Thanks for your work.

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  4. >my only remark is that Youko is the sister, not the mother, of the "rather caustic childhood friend"

    Haha, yeah, oops. Thanks for pointing it out; I must have gotten her confused with the cousin.

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  5. The heroines are:
    Sakurai Sawa, the mother of Susumu.
    Takase Shino, Sawa's younger sister and Susumu's aunt.
    Takase Noriko, Shino's daughter and Susumu's cousin.
    Kasatani Youko, Susumu's neighbour and Rie's older sister.
    Kasatani Rie, Susumu's neighbour, classmate and Youko's younger sister.
    The "hidden" heroine is Tateyama Yuuki, Susumu's supposed male friend.

    Also it's Murakoshi Shinta not Murakushi Jinta.

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