[Doujin Game] Cherry Tree High Comedy Club

I know I’m definitely late on the review train for this game, but I did buy it and play it through so now I get to do what any person with blog hosting gets to do, call it terrible and hope everyone reading agrees with my mostly unfounded opinion while they get the self-satisfaction of knowing someone who *really* gets it.

Wait, no that’d be rude. Let’s not do that.

Cherry Tree High Comedy Club, Japanese title “Manken!” (An abbreviation for the Japanese word for Comedy Club. Similar to the title Genshiken), released June 6th, 2010 by circle “atelier 773” (Nanami). Surprisingly, the game wasn’t released around a Comic Market, but with how crowded Comiket is, that’s hardly surprising. I’ll admit, Nanami’s work went totally under my radar insofar as doujin games go, and thanks to the guys at Nyu Media, it’s now put into the light where people can take notice of it.

Pictured: What I wasn’t doing on the last article I tried to write.

CTHCC is, all told, not the most complicated game, but an extremely enjoyable one. Players of Persona 3 and 4 especially will be very familiar with the concept for the game. You, Miley Verisse, are on a mission to do homework and recruit club members within a time limit. However, to be at least somewhat interesting to said club members, you have to figure out what they like and gain proficiency in the skills necessary to share interests with them. All of this is done with a very bright and cheerful atmosphere and music that is, in my opinion, catchy but not annoying. Aside from minor gripes (Game didn’t let me recruit the shrine maiden, could’ve used a minigame to switch things up a bit) I found that while CTHCC is very mono-focused in its goal, the execution of such is done very well and keeps you engaged with characters that leave you wanting to figure out what makes them tick. The fact that your skills carry over to a new game is nice too, and allows for a bit of variation on your ending, which is nice. The graphics compliment the style of the game very well, and the fact that it was all done in RPG Maker XP nearly blows my mind.

I am of the firm belief that more games require dainty top hats.

The translation is accurate to the tone, with heavy localization here and there to keep things more grounded for a western audience. Now, personally I’m not the biggest fan of this practice, but it’s not like I hate it. The problem with localization over literal translation is an argument that’s been around since the early days, the most prominent discussion points of which being Working Design’s Lunar series for the PSX, or even better in Vanguard Bandits. Changing the tropes or cultural notes of a scene is fine so long as it doesn’t destroy context, I feel. On the other hand, I prefer literal translations, but they require either a history or culture lesson (TL Note: Keikaku means plan) to explain to the common audience what exactly is going on. That being said, I feel that Nyu Media did very well on their translation, moreso when they went the extra mile to explain where and why they made the changes they did on their website.

That said, is CTHCC a blockbuster game that everyone should buy? Obviously not, however if you want an easy to play, enjoyable story-driven game with a lot of personality, I recommend CTHCC wholeheartedly. On DLSite, a Japanese digital distributor, the game retails for about ¥1300, so by comparison it’s $7.99 pricetag is a steal.

According to Nanami’s website (and before I saw the information in plain English on Nyu Media’s website), there’s a spin-off for CTHCC that I personally hope is translated someday, as well as a Wild West themed visual novel with a female protagonist that I think looks pretty cool (But I’m also a sucker for Wild Arms) so I very much hope that Nyu Media releases the rest of their games in the future. And the way that’s best guaranteed is with financial support, so go out and buy a copy!

CTHCC’s Offical Website

(PS: Hey Nyu Media where’s my Ether Vapor Remaster)