Chuusotsu! 1st Graduation: Time After Time Review

Note: Review Code provided by Fruitbat Factory.

On the outside this looks to be a fun Girls Club (Cute Girls Doing Cute Things) story but as veterans of this Slice of Life subgenre will tell you, the best Girls Club stories are ones where there is more to it than watching cute girls doing whatever they feel like doing. The question is whether the hidden layers are enough to warrant everyone’s attention. Let us find out as we take a look at Chuusotsu! 1st Graduation: Time After Time developed by Studio Beast and published by Fruitbat Factory.

WARNING! Game contains some ecchi CGs/moments, dirty language and subject matter not suitable for people under the age of 13 (or maybe 17). If this were an anime it would be categorized as a PG-13 series. Viewer discretion is advised.

Chuusotsu-1st-Graduation-Cover

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Kinetic Novel, Science-Fiction.

Themes: Economy, Philosophy, References, Yuri

Length: 10-15 hours, give or take

G-Rating: Good

Plot Summary:

Under the P3 law enacted under the Global People’s Federation, citizens are ranked according to the Authorization Seals issued by the world government.

As spring arrives, the manga lover Marisugawa Arue, set back by a long-lasting illness, finds herself having to live her life as a “chuusotsu” – a person with no education beyond middle school.

The chuusotsu are not in possession of any Seals, and are considered to be failures at life. As such, their Authorized Power level is only 5 – young Arue’s future is already looking mighty bleak.

“How will I be able to accomplish my goals now…”

In order to break free of her grim situation, and reach her true goal in life, Arue applies for a government relief program where she will…

Share a room with other chuusotsu!?

Her two roommates are overwhelmingly unique: a taciturn girl in a souvenir jacket and a crazy otaku girl.

And then the three girls are given group challenges to clear.

“What makes a wonderful life?”

Synchronize your minds and philosophize on this proposition.

“There’s no way incompetents like us can do philosophy…”

Their time is limited, and failure means that they will immediately get kicked out of the apartment!

Will Arue manage to successfully complete the philosophical challenges and achieve a happy, steady-going life…!?

This is a philosophical story of how the three girls considered lame ducks by the society spend their unusual youth in a world where Authorization Seals decide the lives of all people.

 

SS-02

The novel is quite colorful.

This being a kinetic novel there is little gameplay mechanics other than “click to proceed”. The extra addition is the terminology or TIPS as it is referred to in this story where “plreaders” (play-read)

The best way I can describe Chuusotsu! to start things off is a hilarious yet complex comedy. On the surface it looks like a lighthearted comedy with cute (and some sexy) moments and scenes that will have the “plreader” (play-read) laughing (or at least chuckling). On the other hand it is also a deep study on the economy, society, social ethics and of course inter-intrapersonal relationships.

Let us go over both aspects of the story. First of all the humor which should be the easiest to explain. It is a combination of moe humor and media references (mostly anime like Attack on Titan or Tyranny in this game’s case, including its poster girl Mikasa). The other humor is tied to the characters’ personalities which we will get to later on. The third is personally the most interesting of the three, the swearing. There are times the girls will throw swear words…and not in Japanese. Expect some F bombs alongside other naughty phrases. Unlike Kizuna Ai who is not fully aware of the significance of the dirty words the cast in Chuusotsu! know full well how and when to use them.

Next up is the economic portion of the story. See, the setting is a somewhat futuristic world where people’s lives are mostly dictated by the results of written exams. However, this being the government there are of course other factors besides intelligence that determine a person’s life role. This law and the rules accompanying were passed in order to lower the crime rate. Put simply whatever role/occupation the person gets is the role they are set to live by for the rest of their lives. For example, the person could be as smart as a rocket scientist but life got in the way of being assigned an occupation worthy of the person’s talents. Basically a #ForTheGreaterGood or #DealWithIt philosophy/system. As the plot summary indicates society plays a large role in one of our heroines’ personal struggles.

SS-01

Leading lady Arue.

Speaking of personal struggles that brings us to the third aspect of the story, our heroines’ daily lives trying to balance fun and seriousness. See, as the plot summary indicated our lead trio are “Chuusotsu!” which are considered lower than the lower class. For some Chuusotsu! there are ways to survive despite the unfair circumstances but for others it might as well be poverty despite the government granting Chuusotsu! a small bit of compensation despite it possibly being less than pension funds. The girls, specifically Arue, struggle between balancing the assignment of answering the philosophical question of “What makes a wonderful life?” and wanting to have fun because apparently that is something of a curse for Chuusotsu! During their time at the apartments our ragtag trio run into several characters both of “invisible” (people who are there but have no character image) and side-character variety. These invisible characters’ sole purpose is to affect our heroines’ lives during their interactions whereas the side-characters have more to do. We will get to them in a bit.

Before we get to the character descriptions let us go briefly go over the presentation. As the above CG shows it is a colorful game with the characters looking bright and crisp and the backgrounds being nice. The most interesting of which being the…let us call it “adult district”. There are some references and it even being similar to an actual Japanese “adult district”. The soundtrack, while limited, has some nice tunes. The OP is neat. Personal favorite tunes are the “trouble” track and “Arara’s theme”.

Chuusotsu 1st Graduation Protagonists

Do not expect the story to be all fun and games.

Next up are the characters. Let us go over them from the character who gets the least time for development to the most:

First of all is funny enough my favorite character in the game, Arara. She is a pink haired Gothic lolita and veteran Girls Club and idol anime fans will know exactly what that means. She is a Chuuni (Chuunibyou). What does this mean? It refers to characters who act all dark and edgy, addressing themselves as beings with superpowers and/or having contact with the underworld/Netherworld. It also means she has a haughty personality seeing herself as superior to most people and more knowledgeable. However, as fans of Chuuni characters know despite people who meet them thinking they are delusional psychopaths at first glance Chuuni are not like that at all. Arara is no different.Arara gets the least direct character development screen time in the sense that there are bits and pieces of her past but it is not fully explored. By the end of the story “plreaders” are left asking more questions about who Arara is. The character development she does get is tied to Arue…which frequent visitors of this blog can guess what that means…

Other examples of Chuuni characters include Rikka (Chuunibyou anime), Ranko (Idolm@ster) and Yohane (Aqours).

The next girl is Koiro. Her first defining trait is her sexy body. The others being her pure heart and naivete. She is also an airhead and fully aware of it. She also holds a small secret that is quickly revealed upon her introduction. Without spoiling anything there is a reason she wears a tough girl jacket. Koiro gets more time to reveal tidbits about her past than Arara giving “plreaders” more of an idea who she used to be before becoming a Chuusotsu!. Minor spoiler. The one mystery that remains unsolved is the identity of a certain someone she greatly admires.

Then there is the girl who gets the most development of all, Arue. On the surface Arue is a hardworking girl who tries very hard to stay focused on the task at hand and is only brought down by the Chuusotsu! “curse” of being weak to fun activities. Expect Arue to scold Arara a lot. On the inside however, she has A LOT of problems stemming from her family and past. Without spoiling anything let me put it this way…The answers to the questions that tortured Arue for a very long time are quite simple to “plreaders”, or at the very least can get an idea of what will hopefully happen to Arue as the story progresses. Here is the thing…people will need to understand where Arue came from before applying for the apartments, the environment she grew up, her family’s social status, her self-esteem, what she is working so hard to try and overcome. Expect Arue to struggle…

A LOT

To make…

A LOT

…of mistakes.

Have…

A LOT

…of struggling to build up her confidence.

I freely to having been annoyed by Arue at times. Not because of her character archetype or how she scolds her roommates at time, but because I understand all too well what she is going through. While my past was not as difficult as hers, I have been in a few similar situations to her back in my school years. Sometimes it was not pretty. Basically someone who can understand what Arue goes through in the story will have a less difficult…or perhaps very difficult time due to sympathy or seeing themselves in Arue, time cheering her on hoping she will succeed or get upset when she messes up.

Chuusotsu Froit and Yung.jpg

Yung and Froit Onee-Sama.

Lastly we have what many here have been waiting for, the Yuri. First of all the above side-couple of Yug and Froit are the main source of Yuri goodness. They show up a couple of times entrancing our heroines and “plreaders” with their relationship. Believe me when I say “plreaders” of the Yuri Nation are recommended to pay SPECIAL ATTENTION whenever they appear…special attention. Another source of Yuri I already alluded to earlier in the review and the third is spread throughout the story. What I mean is that the topic of lesbianism is brought up during several conversations. Basically the Yuri is present in a varied capacity. Bringing up my Yuri Anime List to help further explain this, think of Chuusotsu!’s Yuri as a Grade 3, meaning it is not super important but is present and gets recognition to be worth highlighting whenever it is present.

Overall Chuusotsu! was a welcome surprise. It is as humorous as it complex delving into topics that seem simple on the outside but have great depth. The pacing of the story is similar to that of many rounded visual novels in that it starts simple but as it progresses and more of its layers are peeled away something perplexing is slowly unraveled. The game features some scenarios and topics not suitable for the general audience. It is a title that will make readers smile just as much as it will have some of them reflecting on what they had experienced. As far as being the first entry in a planned series I would say it is off to a really good start.

But the game at Steam or the Fruitbat Factory Store.

PS: Remember when I talked about side-characters? There is one whose story is one of the biggest mysteries in the game -desu yo? Truly someone whose life is a complicated puzzle -desu yo?

PPS: There is one MAJOR plot element I left out of the story on purpose. Let us just say this element changes the whole landscape of the story. Like our heroines there are many interesting secrets to be uncovered as the story progresses.

About OG-Man

Yuri and Slice of Life are my anime passion.
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7 Responses to Chuusotsu! 1st Graduation: Time After Time Review

  1. Just out of curiosity: Is there going to be a continuation of the story? I’m not quite sure if I got this right, but the VN seems to suggest so at the end.

    I’d be quite interested in how the characters’ relationships continue after this…

    PS.: As a backer of the localization, I’m pretty satisfied with what I got! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. cirno9fan says:

    I am certain another game is coming, as there is still very much not explored, and questions to answer.

    Before I get into deeply talking spoilers, Arara is indeed best girl. I still think she has a good chance, I just think she needs to nudge Arue more and more. Methinks the “straight” thing is more of Arue trying to be what she’s not tbh. Either way, I absolutely positively fully 100% loved the game, and for once….for once in my human debris life, I helped kickstart something that I want others to experience. I had failed so many times, but it looks like the one that I put the least thought into and just followed my gut ended up being the right choice XD
    ——-.
    Will be delving deeply into spoilers with what is said next, skip to next commenter if you wish to keep yourself safe:
    First mystery: What is the “poison pulse”? My thoughts are maybe this is some sort of side effect from the “strange substance” that allowed all these nanomachines to be used like this. I was pretty surprised to learn that Arara had actual reasoning behind her “psycho talk”. And I wonder if it might be related to these strange abilities that Arara and Koiro have?
    Second Mystery (related to the first) : What is the “world dominator”? Arara was also spot on with this existing. And we also learned that she has a strong spiritual ability. And that some spirit wants control of her body for some reason. And, of course, said spirit confirmed that it was real.
    Third mystery: Not as mysterious, but WHO is Koiro’s trainer? We know they’re probably foreign. But we know so little about them. They definitely are a huge force in Koiro’s life though.
    Which brings us to mystery 4: What is Koiro’s reason for failing the test? We know Arue’s, but Koiro’s isn’t made certain. Possibly….maybe, Koiro was forced to fail? one has to wonder, as we already now got confirmation that the government is extremely corrupt….even if it was obvious XD
    Fifth: Arara’s reason for failing. She was obviously a genius beyond her time, was she failed to keep her from finding out the truth about something? Her situation seems very much like it was orchestrated.
    Sixth: the Happy whatever generation (Excuse my memory, it’s basically chuusotsu level). Just WHO are they? what do they really do? They seem to have an image of being some sort of propoganda tool.
    Seventh: WHAT is the Soul Link system? Who made it? Why was it really made?
    Eigth: Will Arara’s feelings ever penetrate Arue’s defenses? There were cracks in that defense when Arara was sleeping beside her in negligee, so I feel like there’s potential. We know full well that Arue is who Arara wants to spend the rest of her life with.
    Nine: What is the ninth mystery!? Seriously, i can’t think of any more things XD
    Sigh….I want the 2nd game now….or at least to be announced….

    Liked by 1 person

    • OG-Man says:

      The wait has begun.

      Yes. Arara is best girl. Will she win Arue’s love. She has a shot as Arue’s just complying with “social norms”. Also Goth lolita thighs turn her on so there’s hope.

      As you so eloquently put it there’s plenty more story to go through and hopefully we’ll get more answers in due time along with more from the side-couple and Arue drooling over Goth lolita thighs.

      Like

      • cirno9fan says:

        Found out mystery nine: What int he world happened to Kokoro? how did the Soul Link “fix” things? Is it like she never had the Winged Kiss? Did she get released from it all of a sudden? Are they really “time leaping”? Or are they maybe just jumping to parallel universes?
        And that brings up a LOAD of questions if that’s what’s really going on. Especially how the Soul Link system could keep track of leaps.
        I’ll stop there, but yeah, tehre’s just a mountain of things left to go over. We’ve gotten the reality of what happened to Arue with her family, and learned most everything about Kokoro, but that was really the end of what we “resolved”.
        I still really think Arara’s seal loss was not due to her own fault at all, and it had something to do with the P3 world order. Because she was definitely onto something. Something that I imagine the P3 government wouldn’t want to be known.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: 360th G-View: Comic Girls | The Yuri Nation

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