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G-senjou no Maou (The Devil on G-String) – History & Review

LOADING HAZARD G-senjou no Maou or, as it is known in English,
The Devil on G-String is a visual novel that was developed by Akabeisoft2 and released
in 2008. It consists of badass yakuza, crime drama,
battles of wits, and romance. The title appears on many recommendation charts
and is even often suggested to VN newbies. But is G-senjou no Maou worthy of the recommendation
and does it make for a good introduction to the genre? Before we answer that, I think it is worthwhile
and interesting to take a look back on the team’s past commercial work. Three years prior to The Devil on G-String,
the small development team, specifically the scenario writer who goes by the alias Loose
Boy, and the character designer, Alpha, had just finished development on another VN called
Sharin no Kuni: The Girl Among the Sunflowers. A story in which the protagonist must rehabilitate
criminals, which all happen to be, as luck would have it, beautiful women. In this dystopian society, these criminals
are assigned “obligations” that must be followed, related to the
type of illegal activity that was performed, as punishment for their criminal offense. The VN covers themes such as an individual’s
relationship with society and personal happiness. While I have yet to play it, (let me just
go ahead and add that to my list of a hundred fucking other games I want to play but
never will….), the eroge was well liked by fans at the time, ranking as the 5th most
popular title in a poll on Getchu, a Japanese online store for anime, manga, and the like. With this success, the title was able to go
on to receive a number of console ports in its native language and, in 2017
funded enough money on kickstarter in order to officially localize the game for a Western
audience, though a fan translation has been available since 2010. A year after this, Akabeisoft2 released a
remastered version of the one of the first visual novels Loose Boy had written, A Profile. As expected with many first time projects,
this title was met with moderate reception. However, their prior title, The Girl Among
the Sunflowers, was so well received among fans the team quickly began working on a fandisk
which released in 2007. However, the small development team at Akabeisoft2
success didn’t stop there as they were able to immediately one-up themselves with their
next release, G-senjou no Maou, which many consider to be one of the most beloved visual
novels to date and won the 3rd annual Bishojo Game Awards. An officially licensed and localized,
all ages version of The Devil on G-String was released on Steam in 2015 and then a whole
whopping four years later an 18+ patch, which restored the cut adult content, was made available
for purchase. Though, prior to this, a fan translated version
had existed for quite some time. For this review, I will be looking at the
Steam version of the game with the patch that adds the adult content back in. Cause, look, frankly if I am going to take
the time to talk to a woman for ten or more hours there better be some f**cking. Jesus, these developers made a load of games
from 2005 – 2008. No wonder it was another seven years before
Loose Boy and Alpha worked on another VN. This title, released in 2015, roughly translates
to My Own Private War, and so far seems to not be as loved as their prior works. It also went in slightly a different direction
as the game has a single heroine this time around and no choices. But native english speaking folks, like myself,
will just have to wait around for an eventual translation to try it ourselves. As Azai, you attend high school. However, you are not your standard young adult
and the school itself doesn’t follow the traditional academic scheme. Rather, it is a high end private school that
allows for flexibility for students who are pursuing other ambitions. Given this, Azai tends to dedicate the majority
of this attention to his career which is spurred on by his particular fixation on acquiring
money. So in the evening and when cutting class,
he delves into business negotiations and emails for a rather questionable organization, which
is run by his adopted father, an infamous yakuza leader. Gonzou, Azai’s dad, is a cold, powerful,
ruthless boss who you occasionally visit when called upon. Alright, back to work. Oh god, Gonzou Hey boss. Alright. Yep, I’ll do that right away sir. What the hell does he want now… Ohh… fuck. When Azia does attend school, he spends much
of his time chatting with Eiichi along with a group of girls during breaks. Azai and Eiichi seem to connect over their
shady morals. As a side note, one of the best segments that
encapsulates Eiichi’s personality is when he is talking to Tsubaki about a popular women’s
magazine, portraying a cute, harmless, and friendly persona to her. Then, being two-faced, he immediately calls
her a bitch when she walks away and says he would mount her ass if she was two years older
than him, which referencing his preference for older, more well-established women. This personality of his is just so consistently
raunchy and relatable to how highschool boys will do anything to get along with women and
that I find to be hilarious. Especially as he attempts to woo older women
and act two faced among the friend group while divulging to you about his lust and hate in
private. *laughing* …oh god… In contrast, as previously brought up, there
is also a host woman in this friend group with Tsubaki being the first one that is introduced
in the story. She is basically the flip side of Eichii,
as she deeply cares for others, always sees the good around here, and is just overall
a wholesome. Then there is Kanon, your step sister, an
all-star ice skater consumed by her practice, fans, and upcoming tournaments, who also happens
to have a fondness for her brother’s attention and a rather chipper attitude. Mizuha, a soft spoken, loner, who has a dislike
for Azia. Her father also serves as president of their
private school. Haru, the last of the girls, who has just
transferred to the school and is an odd-ball with a slightly autistic personality due to
her bizarre social skills yet she makes up for it with outstanding deductive reasoning. The story really kicks off when a small drug
ring begins to impose on Gonzou’s turf and he orders Azai to look into the issue. This introduces the story’s main cause of
conflict, an unidentifiable, genius, that is performing sinister crimes without a trace,
who goes by the name ‘Maou’. Right from the start the title is immediately
gripping because of the personality of each of the cast members, they all have neat little
ticks, hobbies, or quicks and well-done characterisation right from the get-go and reveal deeper human
aspects of themselves as the story progresses. Plus, the bits of comic relief are just right
up my alley with it being a tad vulgar, absurd, or just straight up bizarre at times. A good example of this is when Eiichi offers
Kanon an expired desert in order to get revenge on her for unknowingly pointing out his lies
to the professor that he was making moves on. The quips of vulgar insults that Eiichi whispers
to Azai in secret are so over-the-top and then watching Eiichi desperately rebuttal
with more and more lies as Haru logically deduced that the desert must be spoiled, and
that basically everything Eiichi just told that group is false, just makes for such a
funny situation. But it’s not always Eiichi being ridiculous,
there is also Haru who does and says some of the strangest things such as introducing
herself as a famous terrorist. If you didn’t we wouldn’t know what to call you. Would we? Haha. Indeedn. She keeps sighing. I’m Bin Laden. ..Okay… What?! You don’t know that name? …Bin Laden… She seems quite angry. What in…? She is so weird. Her hair is so long. Yeah… Beads of sweat apper on Tsubaki’s forehead. Look, please, just… My name right? Yeah. I use to be called Hero. Hero? …Okay… I mean like if you had people say “Hey Hero go buy Hero bread or something like that” I just crack you up right? Uh, Usami-san… can you stop? Didn’t I just say that you should call me Usami Bin Laden like why!… She is
just so bizzare and not in ‘lol that so random sort of way’ but in a way that makes
her genuinely feel a bit socially inept. Along with this, the looming bleakness of
the evil that is taking place adds to sucking you into the story. This darker undertone stems from the character’s
past, how Azia and his sister have such a direct tie to the underbelly of the city,
and many of the main themes of the game, which include morals, money, and justice. The most frequently occuring moral struggle
often centers around the question of giving into the temptation of doing wrong, selfish,
or hurtful things to others for one’s own benefit. I really enjoyed seeing characters struggle
and grow as they debated and tried out different solutions to their personal problems. It is easy to connect with this idea, as often
dark thoughts such as stealing money from work I’ll take this. I’ll take this. I’ll take this one too. or stabbing someone in the back to get
ahead, just naturally come to mind as a potential solution to life’s problems, it’s just
part of being human. Therefore, when you experience the characters
dealing with these temptations and overcoming them it’s really emotionally rewarding, as
they are often pushed so far. Plus, alternative paths allow you to see the
despair that does occur when they choose to give into these vile temptations. Then there is of course, the crimes that Maou
are performing throughout the city which rope in different members of the cast, primarily
Haru and Azia. These segments where, mainly Haru, is using
her wits and cunning intellect to decipher the situation and attempting to solve the
issue at hand while simultaneously gathering clues as to who Maou really is, are so tense
and engaging. This is mainly because it is logically a pleasure
to follow the thought process of Haru when she unveils what she has gathered and because
of the number of misdirections that she encounters along the way, which prevent her from ever
being truly successful in her pursuit. Plus, the segments which are told from the
perspective of Maou, give the audience a bit more of a full perspective as to what is taking
place, so it’s neat to get to experience if the other characters can catch on from an
outside perspective. Then, in typical visual novel style, there
are branching paths where you can romance different girls and I have to say each different
path and girl’s story I absolutely adored, with one standing out as being particularly
great. The intimate scenes are pretty standard for
the most part, with occasionally some of the dialogue at times being hilarious, both intentionally
and unitionally, depending on what you find funny. uhhhh… she… oh no…. all over…. salty water fires from her covering both me and the sheets. Oh god… you shot me pretty good. Oh god… I was right in front of her so naturally I got a face full of it. I’ve given her plenty of money shots but I’ve never taken on of hers. By integrating humor, tension of the crime
scenes, character’s moral struggles, romance, and variety of misdirections there are so
many engaging elements adding to the story that it is constantly a great read. The setting and character’s personalities
are fleshed well enough to easily be believable. Though there are a few unaddressed plot holes
in some of the branching paths, it really didn’t take away any of my enjoyment from
the title. Rather, when alternative timelines did choose
to address outcomes of outside circumstances it was done excellently. The game’s character designer and artist,
Alpha, is obviously technically great at drawing the anime aesthetic.I honestly don’t really
have any complaints about the way the game looks, anything that I can think of is really
more just like meaningless nitpicking. But I would also like to point out some aspects
that I think are particularly great. So in order for characters to convey their
personality they need to have a number of different expressions to go along with their
dialogue when talking to them. I think Alpha’s art does a great job here
of really capturing what makes each character unique. For instance, Eiichi has this sinister
expression that he uses whenever coming up with another dumb plan. Haru has this plotting, confident expression
she uses when logically deciphering a situation. And even Kanon, your sister, has this snarky,
bratty look that so captures her dialogue at times. There are a few more of course, and your standard
expressions, but having character portraits that truly capture aspects of a character’s
individuality and quirks really assist in bringing them to life. Alright, so there are also a number of technical
aspects that affect the visuals in the official english release. First off, the increased resolution of 720p
is incredibly nice and the game now being wide screen is fantastic. However, it does come at a trade off, which
is that the CGs are now cropped. Sometimes it doesn’t seem to matter at all
when cutting off tops of buildings but there are instances where you miss out on extra
details that do add to the story. For example, the first CG of Tsubaki
ends up cutting off most of her diary, which is really part of her character’s identity. In addition to this, the camera movement had
to be cut out from the official english release which is also another bummer cause it adds
a bit more of dynamic movement to the game. Lastly, in the original version your mouse
would be a violin which is just a cute extra little detail, for some reason in the
official english release they just stick the violon to the bottom of the text box. With all that being said, I do still personally
prefer being able to play the widescreen HD, and think that the UI looks a heck
of a lock cleaner than the original. Thankfully, it does seem that Sekia Project
is working on releasing a 4:3 version of the official english release, so that will likely
be the ideal way to play when it does release since it should have the HD artwork, the uncropped
artwork, and the additional camera movement, but we’ll have to wait and will see. The game’s soundtrack, which you have been
listening to throughout this review, is mainly made up of adaptations of classical pieces
from musicians like Bach, Wagner, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin along with others. In addition, there are about four original
pieces for the game out of the roughly seventy tracks. Now these adaptations and the original pieces
do an absolutely magnificent emphasizing the emotions of scenes and really help sell what
is going on. There are so many stand out moments where
perfect tracks are used to emphasize events, like when Haru is racing around the city to
collect clues in trandame with “The Moment of Truth” playing, or when Kanon ice skates
to an arrangement of “Ride of the Valkyries”. There are so many other great moments like
this where the music just perfectly lines up. Even during goofy, ordinary, or playful moments
at school there always seems to be an ideal track backing up the dialogue. I guess it is not too surprising that that
music is so great since they are leveraging some of the most famous work of classical
musicians, but still they did an excellent job. I would even say that original soundtrack is worth listening
to on its own, especially with some of their original tracks like Answer, Close your Eyes, and Wings
of Snow/Winds of Time. Honestly the soundtrack is great, frankly I absolutely love
it. I think there might have only been a single
time over the course of the 40-hour play through where I got tired of hearing one specific
track over and over for a period. Other than that, the use of music is outstanding
throughout. I like it, alright, as a matter of fact, I
really really dig it. It just really appeals to me in a lot of different
ways, from addressing the constant inner struggles that individuals have of committing evil acts,
which I find really relatable, to having a cute, yet outstandingly smart companion to
solve crimes with, all while having a soundtrack that is composed of modified classical music. If I could choose an alternative life
to choose this might be it honestly. Each different path with the various girls
had such a touching story to tell in itself, while some of them were a bit weaker than
others, that is only when contrasting them to other great routes that the game offers. Individually, they all strand strong on
their own. I even like how if you play the paths in a
specific order, which the game kind of nudges you towards, you end up left with some unanswered
questions in these first couple of routes about the main mystery which makes it so more tempting to jump right back in
and start up the next route. So obviously I whole heartily recommended
the title. But, do I think it is a good game for newbies
to the gerne? Yeah, I think it is generally good for someone
who is relatively new to the genre. I mean I loved it myself and I’ve only played
maybe a dozen or more titles, so that is a bit of anecdotal evidence in itself. I guess my only hang-ups would be the price
and length. I might be more inclined to recommend free
games like Katawa Shoujo or even Narcissu. Or something that is more immediately interesting
like Song of Saya, just because I’ve some friends who have tried out VN’s and just
don’t seem to have the built up patience for reading and lose interest almost immediately. But you know what, if you have a friend who
isn’t a pea brais and has actually read a book in the last year, The Devil on
G-String is defintely one of the best places to start. It’s appealing in a number of different ways
between the mystery, humor, and romance. Or better yet, if you’d play a number of
visual novels already and looking for the next one to try out in the medium I think
The Devil on G-String is an outstanding choice.

Reader Comments

  1. Back in 2012, I picked up this VN. As someone that started with Katawa Shoujo, I was new to both anime and visual novels back then. I was fascinated for a while with the idea of a game that you just have to make decisions to advance the story in meaningful ways, so I obviously checked some top 10 lists, a thing that High Schooler me thought to be a brilliant idea.

    It turned out to be a genuinely good idea, because back then fan translations were so few and genuine translations so scarce, you would have to wait for years until a translation finally came out with nothing to do in the meantime. Now it takes about just as long, but at least you have a slew of other titles to go through in the meantime. But also because the translations were so scarce, finding such a gem was easier than it would be nowadays. I read the whole thing in a matter of days and when the final ending came I set my keyboard aside and legit cried for about 15 minutes.

    It was an experience that I will never forget. No matter what other games have become my favorite or what other experiences I will go through, this game I will always remember.

    Also, Sharin no Kuni is very good as well, give it a try if you liked this one. As someone that went to that game after finishing this one, I have to say, the experience is just as gripping from a philosophical and meaningful standpoint.

  2. I've had this on my Visual Novel back-log for ages, I should probably play it soon. Subscribed for future videos.

  3. I played through only one route so far ad i can say this is what i experienced in the initial playthrough. It's this same game that gave me a new found appreciation for classical music. Thank you for this, i'm sure the hard work you put this must have been hell but this was an excellent watch.

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