Amaranto – Visual Novel Review

In an attempt to provide more options for voiced Japanese visual novels, I started playing through older titles. Is Amaranto worth your time?

Length: Medium (10 – 30 hours)

Lewdness: 1/3 (Mild Kisses and That’s All, Folks)

Price: free since the official site is dead?!

Summary: Set in a post-apocalyptic world where people reside in districts that are called Sects, Mio and her best friend, Shizuku, attempt to uncover the truth behind several murders which seem to be connected to a girl who is draped in white.

Review: While the visual novel reveals its age through its dated UI and lackluster CG, Amaranto is rather enjoyable despite its average storytelling. The different routes all bring something unique to the table and the OST is actually rather good.

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First of all, just ignore the opening lines which attempt to explain the setting. All the player needs to know (at first, at least) is that there were plenty of wars which caused the world to be split up into Sects. Furthermore, the Sect in which this story takes place has been taken over by someone called Queen, who tries to kill any and all men whenever she enters a new Sect. As a result, the shortage of humans with y chromosomes in Amaranto are thusly explained if not justified.

With that in mind, the rest of the story provides a plethora of twists and turns. Plenty of reveals were to be had, but some characters were unfortunately kept underdeveloped. The action scenes are largely not exciting, however, due to how it’s written – characters don’t really do anything impressive besides teleporting due to sheer speed, which makes for boring battles since they’re just waving around swords. There’s no explanation given for mana, qi, etc, which is almost mandatory for action series (in my opinion).

I also believe that the writing and/or the translation could have been polished a bit more considering how often the phrase “__________ is reflected in ___________’s eyes” popped up. Perhaps this was the thing that all the writers felt compelled to throw in so there was some degree of cohesion across all the different routes.

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I felt like Mio, the main character, is your typical action protagonist. While she isn’t afraid to throw down with others if need be, which is cool, Mio is just a nice girl you can find anywhere as long as you’re not killing others or if you’re not trying to end the world or if you’re not trying to pick a fight with her. It just so happens she walks around with a sword – and that’s it. Don’t get me wrong – being a nice person obviously isn’t bad, but that doesn’t mean she’s necessarily interesting despite what several of her love interests seemed to believe. The fact that she’s headstrong and sincere is probably what wins the ladies over, I suppose.

As for her love interests, goody goody two-shoes Shizuku got on my nerves and is the reason why I was unhappy with the game. Several reveals and events later helped me realize she’s got it rough so I can’t hate on her too much, but I still believe the way she snaps at Mio in the game is overly dramatic and uncalled for. Azoth, the mysterious vampire loli, is also a love interest and I’ll keep it at that to avoid throwing around excessive spoilers. I personally really, really like Ayaka and Ria even though their individual routes seem a bit rushed since they both become drawn to Mio rather instantaneously. Love doesn’t listen to rhyme or reason nor care for time or season, though, so I should stop nitpicking and just appreciate these cool ladies of action.

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Hard to say which girl is best girl, by the way. Shizuku’s route plays a unique song during the credits, but Ria’s can only be played after the other three routes are completed and comes with an unique movie after the credits. In other words, the jury is out on the OTP! You can’t expect anything but mild kisses in regards to yuri, however. I doubt tongue was ever involved, too. On the plus side, almost every character is implied to be gay.

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When I say that the UI feels dated, I’m talking about how there’s no option t

There’s an expansive, non-stand-alone patch floating around called Amaranto -Fine- that introduces a new love interest, but it’s also not translated. Very interesting timing considering how the patch came out in 2013 when the game originally came out in 2008.

Verdict

Not a bad game if you don’t hate idealistic girls or girls who aren’t all that special yet are called special by everyone and everything. To see all that the game has to offer you have to invest at least 10 hours (give or take), however, and I’m left thinking that there could be better ways to spend your time as a yuri fan. I mean, you’ll be spending almost half a day on a game where the girls only get to first base. That’s a low return, in my opinion. Even if you count how the story is kind of cool despite the boring action scenes.

I recommend playing through Shizuku’s route and seeing if you’re willing to tolerate several more hours for a few chaste kisses and more information shed on your mysterious love interests. Might save yourself some time doing things this way (especially if you find the game boring after that one route). Maybe things will change if the patch is ever translated, but I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you.

(“Load” has been translated into “Lord,” by the way, and it cracks me up).

A guide for the routes can be found here.

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17 thoughts on “Amaranto – Visual Novel Review

    1. Heya, Rick. Thank you for your kind words.

      Well, before I get into that, let me make the disclaimer that I’ll be venturing into SPOILERS so people who are bothered by SPOILERS should look away.

      1. In every route, Shizuku ends up getting brainwashed by Nero to relentlessly fight Mio.

      2. In Shizuku’s own route, Mio accidentally kills Shizuku because Nero brainwashes Shizuku once again. But then Azoth sacrifices a lot of her power to bring Shizuku back to life. After the battle, Mio and Shizuku remain best friends while slowly shifting to becoming girlfriends.

      3. In Azoth’s route, Shizuku is happy we agree with her when it comes to Azoth (since Shizuku thinks Azoth should not be killed). I honestly can’t remember if Shizuku comes with us during the raid against QUEEN’s mansion. In the end, Azoth starts attending school along with Mio and Shizuku.

      4. In Ayaka’s route, Shizuku stays home during the final battle. Ayaka tries to keep Mio away from the final battle by pointing out that she’ll die and leave Shizuku alone, but Mio wants to join anyways. Ayaka also tries to give up on her budding feelings for Mio since she knows that Mio has Shizuku, but Mio decides to love Ayaka instead. After the battle, Mio and Shizuku remain best friends, but Mio and Ayaka are now lovers.

      5. For Ria’s route, Shizuku remains at home, I think. After the battle, Mio and Ria are very likely lovers even though Mio is now Ria’s apprentice. Mio, who has changed her clothes to look more like Ria, leaves the town with Ria with Shizuku promising to wait for her.

      Sorry that my memory is a bit spotty in some parts. Hope that answered your question!

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      1. Thank you, Remy Fool, for answering my questions so far. So, Shizuku is alive in all the endings of the routes, right? How many routes are there? Which route belong to which heroine? Who basically dies in each of the routes? It sounds like Azoth dies in Shizuku’s route. Please tell me if you still remember.

        “1. In every route, Shizuku ends up getting brainwashed by Nero to relentlessly fight Mio.” Does Shizuku break out of the brainwashing in every route?

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        1. No problem.

          Hmmm Shizuku /should/ be alive in all of the routes. The only one I’m slightly unsure about is Azoth’s route. Shizuku might have accompanied us to the battle and was killed by either Nero or QUEEN.

          …Yeah, I think Shizuku did die in that route, sorry. QUEEN was so persistent on destroying everything by activating Azoth’s power that Azoth had to kill her after Mio convinced her that this was the wrong thing to do. So in the end, Azoth, who loved QUEEN, and Mio, who was best friends with Shizuku, cope with their losses by befriending each other.

          There’s 4 routes in the original game, one for each love interest (Shizuku, Azoth, Ayaka, Ria). There’s a DLC patch that adds another love interest, but it’s not translated, I think.

          Shizuku’s route: Azoth and QUEEN (and maybe Nero) die. I think the Triad members (Anne, Thue, and Troy) also die?

          Azoth’s route: Shizuku and QUEEN (and maybe Nero) die. I think the Triad members (Anne, Thue, and Troy) also die?

          Ayaka’s route: QUEEN and Azoth and Nero (?) die. Same with the Triad. Ayaka almost dies.

          Ria’s route: QUEEN and Azoth and Nero (?) die. Same with the Triad.

          She does break out of it in every route after Mio fights seriously. However, this always causes Mio to become doubtful of herself and pushes her to action. In Ayaka’s routes and Ria’s routes, Mio leaves Shizuku in their house and goes off to fight by herself after their forced battle. In the other two routes, Shizuku tags along only to be, basically, a hindrance.

          Sorry about the misinformation in Azoth’s route.

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          1. That’s okay. Should I contact you by your email to continue discussing the routes there?

            So, Shizuku only dies in Azoth’s route, where she is killed by either Queen or Nero from what you’re saying, right. Shizuku lives in the other three routes (Ria, Ayaka, and her own route). Of course, in her own route, Shizuku was revived. However, Azoth dies in Ria, Ayaka, and Shizuku’s routes except her own? Dang. How does Azoth die in Ria, Ayaka, and Shizuku’s routes? Also, Ria and Ayaka live in all four routes; Ayaka almost died in her route, but she survived,right?

            “In Ayaka’s routes and Ria’s routes, Mio leaves Shizuku in their house and goes off to fight by herself after their forced battle” What is this forced battle? Is it Mio vs brainwashed Shizuku?

            So yeah, Shizuku stays at home in Ria and Ayaka’s routes, but tags along with Mio in her own route and Azoth’s route, where she becomes a hindrance. Of course, she dies for real in Azoth’s route by being killed by Queen or Nero while she lives in her own route after being revived by Azoth (due to being killed first) at the cost of her (Azoth) life.

            So, at the end of Azoth’s route, both Azoth and Mio become friends to cope with the deaths of their own friends (Shizuku is killed and Queen is killed) as you stated here, “…Yeah, I think Shizuku did die in that route, sorry. QUEEN was so persistent on destroying everything by activating Azoth’s power that Azoth had to kill her after Mio convinced her that this was the wrong thing to do. So in the end, Azoth, who loved QUEEN, and Mio, who was best friends with Shizuku, cope with their losses by befriending each other.” Wait, so Azoth goes to the same school as Mio where the two become a couple to cope with Shizuku and Queen’s deaths?

            Hope to discuss this with you. Also, there’s no true, canon route, is there?

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          2. Oh, sure, if you’d like.

            Mmm you’re spot-on with what happens to every character in each route. Shizuku and Azoth have it rough.

            Yes, that is the forced battle in question. Obviously Mio doesn’t want to fight Shizuku but she has no choice.

            Yes, that’s how it goes for Shizuku.

            It’s probably the most ambiguous ending in regards to romance, but Azoth does indeed go to their “school” (it’s sort of a farce in every route but it’s basically a school) and she’s /at least/ friends with Mio.

            I have no idea which route is actually canon so I didn’t mention it in the review. Each route has its own appeal, I’d say.

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        2. Yeah, Azoth only lives in her own route while Shizuku gets to live in the other three routes. For her own route, Shizuku, as stated, was killed, but she was revived by Azoth who died using her powers to revive her (Shizuku). Of course, for some reason in Azoth’s route, she dies for real. I wonder why.

          “Mmm you’re spot-on with what happens to every character in each route. Shizuku and Azoth have it rough.” I can understand Azoth having it rough, but how can Shizuku have it rough? She lives in her own route, Ayaka, and Ria’s routes. I mean, sure she doesn’t become a couple with Mio in Ayaka and Ria’s routes (Mio falls in love with Ayaka and Ria in their respective routes), but at least she is alive in them. Again, Shizuku getting killed in her own route before being revived by Azoth at the cost of the latter dying was different, but Shizuku is still alive thanks to Azoth.

          Anyway, this is your email, right? relitanhime@gmail.com. Hope to hear from you soon.

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          1. In Azoth’s route, Mio convinces Azoth that she should live on. In order to activate Azoth’s power and destroy everything, she has to die. So with that in mind, Azoth is not as willing to sacrifice her own life to keep Mio alive. Or something like that. I have to read in-between the lines here.

            Well, Shizuku has to see her best friend choose someone else over her in two other routes. I guess it’s better than being dead.

            Yes, that is my email.

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          2. “In Azoth’s route, Mio convinces Azoth that she should live on. In order to activate Azoth’s power and destroy everything, she has to die. So with that in mind, Azoth is not as willing to sacrifice her own life to keep Mio alive. Or something like that. I have to read in-between the lines here.”

            Who has to die? Are you referring to Mio who has to die in order to activate Azoth’s power and destroy everything? Of course, Azoth becomes not as willing to sacrifice her own life to keep Mio alive. Of course, I don’t know the details in that. Even you have to read in-between the lines there. Anyway, Azoth doesn’t kill herself and she and Mio become friends after the deaths of Shizuku and Queen? Also, Azoth now goes to Mio’s school officially along with her (Mio), where they can only move on together? Couldn’t Shizuku be revived though by Azoth in the latter’s (Azoth) route?

            “Well, Shizuku has to see her best friend choose someone else over her in two other routes. I guess it’s better than being dead.”

            Yeah, while it’s pity that Shizuku has to see her best friend choose someone else over her in the other two routes (Ayaka and Ria, not Azoth’s route where she’s dead), it’s better than being dead. She’s still alive. I wonder, there’s no true route in the game, is there?

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          3. Azoth has to die for Azoth’s power to activate.

            Azoth doesn’t want to give up her life to save Shizuku after Mio’s words and intentions changed her mind. So Shizuku stays dead.

            I don’t know. Any route could be the true route. Ria’s route has to be played last, however, and gets a short and unique cinematic the others lack.

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          4. “Azoth doesn’t want to give up her life to save Shizuku after Mio’s words and intentions changed her mind. So Shizuku stays dead.”

            Huh, sad, but necessary for Shizuku to stay dead so that Azoth remains alive in her own route, especially after hearing Mio’s words and intentions. Wait, then how does Queen in Azoth’s Route? So, Mio and Azoth become more than friends in the ending of the latter’s (Azoth) route to cope with the deaths of their loved ones (Shizuku for Mio and Queen for Azoth) and move forward to the future? Is that what happens in Azoth’s route’s ending?

            Ria’s route could be a true route since it has a short and unique cinematic the others lack and it has to be played last, but that doesn’t mean much. It’s likely the same length as the other routes and nothing out of the ordinary (for the setting) happens. Again, we don’t know.

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          5. Azoth loves Queen, who doesn’t understand that wiping out everything will not fix anything. So Azoth personally kills Queen in her route.

            It’s vague. The relationship between Mio and her love interest is the most ambiguous in Azoth’s route.

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          6. So, Azoth personally kills Queen in her own route? Sad, but it was necessary to stop Queen who was unable to understand that wiping out everything won’t fix anything, so even though it pained her to do so, Azoth made the decision to kill her.

            Also, you’re right that the relationship between Mio and her love interest (could be Azoth) is practically ambiguous/vague in Azoth’s route. Is it up to us to interpret it as it is?

            Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, yes, this was the one. It got better as I progressed. I think I just had to reach the love interests who weren’t as idealistic and naive before I could actually enjoy it. Disliking overly optimistic characters is a bit unfair of me, though, admittedly.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah, well that can’t be helped sometimes right? I feel that way about the Main Character in Little Witch Academia, she’s a bit overwhelming in positivity and its grating. I’ll finish the series though – because I’m an animasochist like that! But great review Remy! 🙂 I’m glad the story turned around for you to enjoy it!

        Liked by 1 person

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