Translated and released for Western audiences in late February 2020, OshiRabu: Waifus Over Husbandos (otherwise known as Oshi no Love yori Koi no Love) is a slice-of-life rom-com built on a hilarious misunderstanding between an aggressively determined go-getter and a cool beauty who happens to be an otaku.
Honestly, the comedic tone is one of the strongest points for OshiRabu, so it only makes sense to kick this review off by talking about the humourous initial encounter between the two leading ladies, Akuru and Ren.
To make a long story short, Akuru, a pretty office lady who’s hopelessly addicted to gacha games, is coerced into letting Ren, a younger and gorgeous university student who claims to be lucky, roll for Kohee, Akuru’s current 2D husbando. As it turns out, Ren wasn’t bluffing and she successfully pulls Kohee, which in turns leads Akuru to declare that she’ll marry Kohee. The thing is, Ren mistakes Akuru’s passionate confession to be for her instead and thus begins crushing hard on Akuru instantly.
This one-sided love sets the pace for the rest of the visual novel as Akuru reluctantly lets Ren stay at her place even though Akuru has to continuously fend off Ren’s frequent advances as a result. Although she notes that Ren is attractive from the very start, Akuru also asserts that she’s only interested in 2D men, which then turns into her insisting that she’s straight, which then transitions into her… well, you probably know how it goes from here but you’ll have to read through OshiRabu for the rest!
The fact that Akuru claims she’s not into girls for most of the visual novel could be considered off-putting to some, but a rom-com rarely goes smoothly to begin with. Furthermore, the model-like otaku never crosses the line by claiming she’s “normal,” which is a sore point for many who engage with yuri anime, visual novels, and manga. To me, OshiRabu respectfully explores sexual orientation without going overboard.
The watercolour art in OshiRabu really is something to behold. Akuru truly does look like someone who should be walking down the runway whereas Ren is totally a flashy yet cute college student (whereas Shino, Akuru’s co-worker and childhood friend, is pretty good looking herself). As the artstyle for a visual novel (or anime or manga) often influences the tone of said work, the vibrant, almost cheery colours help keep the visual novel relatively lighthearted even while tensions between the two girls run high.
To be honest, I wasn’t really a fan of the localization. Overall it’s fine, but having Ren call Akuru a THOT when she clearly said “idiot” or “cheater” (not that Akuru ever cheats on Ren, of course) is a bit off-putting. Ah, well, that’s a minor nitpick.
Lastly, a word of advice regarding the DLC. OshiRabu remains appropriate for all ages throughout the entirety of the base game, but the DLC shows Ren and Akuru furthering their relationship in several ways. If you’re not into experiencing explicitly intimate scenes in visual novels, then you should probably consider skipping the DLC. To its credit, however, the DLC does do a great job showing how much they love each other. The choice remains yours!
Hilarious and heartwarming, OshiRabu is the short and sweet slice-of-life yuri rom-com visual novel we didn’t realize we needed.
The only real drawback, aside from the somewhat heavy-handed localization, is that we don’t see Ren and Akuru actually get married, but I guess that’s a given with Japan’s current political climate.