I finished Lilycle Rainbow Stage!!! about a month ago after trudging through the game for several months and I’ve only recently sorted my mixed feelings regarding this visual novel.
Well, to be honest, I’m still trying to finalize figuring things out as I type this post. Hope the following paragraphs make some sort of sense.
In my opinion, Lilycle Rainbow Stage!!! has its strengths and weaknesses (as with most other visual novels). If we were to go by quantity, then I would claim that the number of virtues outweigh the amount of potential drawbacks. Be that as it may, I think one’s personal values will largely determine whether or not one should read through this visual novel.
…Such vague jargon is not very helpful is it? Let’s just start with some (relatively) objective facts first.
First of all, there are a lot of characters in this visual novel – thirteen girls in total. Upon pressing Start, readers are thrown into a scene (involving all of the aforementioned characters) which takes place at the very end! Thankfully, the characters are named in the chat log and whenever a scene is narrated from their point-of-view, so they become easy to recognize after a short while. Be that as it may, the initial couple of minutes can prove intimidating to the reader who isn’t good with names and / or faces.
What more characters mean, by the way, is more ships! There are six canon couples as well as a love triangle of sorts revolving an high school idol (Yuno), said idol’s roommate (Saeka), and the aforementioned idol’s older cousin who’s both a college student and teacher-in-training (Tamaki).
While the other six couples are essentially locked in from the very start, the reader gets to decide which relationship is canon among the three women by selecting choices, which consequently determines which events become available to access and allow progress. The other girls do have their own choices from time to time, but they mean much less compared to the ones for Yuno, Tamaki, and Saeka. Does Yuno and Tamaki fulfill their first mutual love despite being cousins? Perhaps Saeka and Yuno grow to be more than just roommates? Will Tamaki and Saeka fall in love with each other as two bookish girls despite the fact that they both knew Yuno first? That’s something the reader gets to decide!
I think it’s rather obvious given the love triangle, but Lilycle Rainbow Stage!!! does not shy away from taboo pairings. Most of them are rather standard fare (best friends, senpai and kouhai, childhood friends, etc) given that high school romance is commonly accepted in anime, manga, and visual novels, but the most controversial relationship would definitely be the one between two blood-related sisters.
Whether or not incest is crossing the line depends on the reader, but I found their dynamic and chemistry to be especially enticing despite it being not okay in real life. It’s a good thing this takes place in a fictional world, then.
With that being said, another potential deal-breaker is the abundance of, er, physically underdeveloped women. I personally think this is fine and actually somewhat representative since not every woman can be tall and have ample bosoms, but others may consider Lilycle Rainbow Stage!!! to fall directly into the nebulous genre, “loli yuri.” Such a conclusion is of course dismissive, but I did receive such flack for reading this visual novel from a friend.
In any case, I found Lilycle Rainbow Stage!!! to be rather informative. By that I mean the translated congratulatory speeches / notes left by the character voice-actors were enlightening. Said feature is only accessible after you complete a route, which unlocks the translated monologues for the voice actors behind the characters involved in each route.
Therefore, to be able to hear all of the voice actors talk about their experience and opinions of Lilycle Rainbow Stage!!!, you have to more or less play through every route. I found this feature to be entertaining since the women shed their opinions on the character they voiced, their partner in the visual novel, the recording process, and so on.
Another thing I found to be great is that the visual novel was really funny at times. Seriously, I can’t get over how hilarious Waka and Ibuki were and the two definitely made me not regret playing this visual novel. That’s largely due to how they would slip in dangerous quips, haha.
Lastly, I really like how this visual novel was intended for all ages so there were no explicit scenes. With that being said, Waka and others sometimes laid it a little thick with their kinky lines, which hit the spot for my personal humour. So I guess we get the best of both world with the girls making out, getting touchy, and talking about raunchy stuff without going all the way on-screen.
Overall, I had fun with Lilycle Rainbow Stage!!! as it was a light, cheery visual novel that I sort of needed after the somewhat heavy Nurse Love Syndrome.
P.S.: This isn’t really announced as it should be, but if you boot up Lilycle Rainbow Stage!!! when the date on your computer matches the birthday of a character, you get to access a special scene in which said character celebrates her birthday. That means you can just manually change the date on your computer in order to see those birthday scenes and not wait months on end. Shown below is a list of the characters’ birthdays.
Saeka – January 10th
Hare Feburary 1th
Hina – March 1th
Seira March 23rd
Alice – April 18th
Mio – May 11th
Mayu – June 14th
Tamaki – June 30th
Ibuki – July 7th
Ayame – July 27th
Yuno – August 17th
Ayumi – September 2nd
Mai – October 3rd
Natsuki – November 9th
Waka – December 13th