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2015-08-25

Discipline -The record of a Crusade- Review

Title: Discipline -The record of a Crusade-
Release date: 2002-08-30
English release date: 2007-12-18
Developer: Active Soft
English publisher: Kitty Media

I have acquired the recently released femdom visual novel "Starless", but before delving into its perverted goodness I decided that it would be a good idea to replay some of the earlier Sei Shoujo's titles available in English: namely "Discipline" and possibly "Bible Black".

Before the arrival of "Starless", "Discipline" was the only pure femdom visual novel available officially in English, thus it was an obvious go to title for everyone desiring something more spicy than your run-of-the-mill vanilla moeges or rapey maledom nukiges. Sure, though "Bible Black" had elements of femdom (though it was not solely centered on them), and the recent years saw fan-translations of titles like "Monster Girl Quest" and "Violated Hero", "Discipline" still holds a special part in my heart.
When the boys are not away, the girs certainly play.
It's a real shame that the translated version is that of the original Japanese release and not its "Excellent" expanded edition with additional content. It's especially painful, because "Excellent" came out in Japan a whole year before the English release and "Kitty Media" had ample time to negotiate the deal for the expanded edition, but didn't. But then, "Kitty" was never known for its professionalism.

"Kitty Media" was (and still is) an adult offshoot of "Media Blasters" anime licencing company. They tried to branch into visual novels and released four adult titles between 2006 and 2011. All the titles were buggy, full of typos and obviously translated by many different people without any editing to smooth out the glaring differences in translation styles. "Bible Black" got a fan-patch fixing many of the issues; "Discipline" wasn't so lucky. I sincerely do not remember encountering a single grammatically correct sentence within the whole visual novel. It's like there was an order in place to leave at least one typo per every sentence for "Discipline". It's also obvious that none of the translators even saw the game, as some of the mistakes would have been impossible to make otherwise. For example, the school where the game is set has a big sign calling it St. Arcadia, but translators call it either St. Alcadia or Alcaedia, sometimes within the same sentence!
A dubious honour at best.
If there is one word to describe the plot of this particular visual novel, it would be "supremely silly". Yes, that's two words - deal with it! That's not an insult, but rather a compliment. I'll elaborate - "Discipline" is the most moronically awesome or awesomely moronic visual novel you will ever play. But then, no one plays this game for its plot. There are two main factors contributing to the game's attractiveness to the readers: its superb art by Sei Shoujo and its steamingly hot sex scenes.

The art is the divisive factor. Some people love Sei Shoujo's style, some hate it, with me being firmly in the former camp. Sei Shoujo's women are extremely voluptuous, drawn in a more realistic style than most VNs with animesque models, but at the same time their female characteristics are over-emphasized. This results in slightly chubby models with overly large breasts and thick hips. I'm a boob man and I am not only not bothered by an all kyonyuu cast, but I'm enamored by it. Love it or hate it, but it's undeniable that it's impossible to mistake Sei Shoujo's art for anyone else's. Sadly, the title first came out in 2002 and its low resolution does no justice to the great art. Hell, you cannot even tell what the colour of anyone's eyes is outside of CGs. Moreover, while the models and CGs look great, the backgrounds are very bland, barren and empty.
Best introduction, ever.
The voice acting really doesn't match the graphical aspects, and here I cannot blame the age of the novel. Just like all Sei Shoujo's games, "Discipline" is fully voiced, and I mean fully. Even the protagonist speaks for himself. This is not a usual practice within Japanese VN industry, as most creators strive to create a blank slate protagonist, whose shoes you can easily step in. And you obviously cannot do that if the protagonist is shoving any hint of personality (sarcasm). I never understood such practise, as I never identify with the protagonist of the game and would wish more of them to be voiced and fleshed-out properly. Still, "Discipline" has probably shown me the real reason for the lack of voiced main characters - there are simply not many good male actors to be cast in a porn game. Our hero Hayami Takurou is supposed to be a young adult, but he sounds like a middle aged fat balding porn actor with an erectile dysfunction. For that matter, none of the female seiyuu sound their appropriate age either (with a notable exception of Leona, who chews the scenery like a pro). On the other hand, the whole bad voice acting business just heaps an additional helping of narm onto the presentation; not that the game is lacking in that anyway.
Meat comic relief. No, that's not a typo.
Take the BGM, for example. It would be more fitting in some cute jRPG than in an ero visual novel. The tune that plays frequently during the sex scenes wouldn't be out of place as a battle theme in a "Final Fantasy" game. I cannot even call it narm anymore, because by this point I'm firmly convinced that all this silliness is intentional. And it is glorious! I wouldn't have the sound presentation in "Discipline" any other way!

"Discipline" stars our protagonist Hayami Takurou, an unsympathetic whiny bitch, who arrives to study at the St. Arcadia academy. Until quite recently the institution was girls-only, but went co-ed and now accept male students. In other words - the most frequently overused visual novel trope, ever. However, the males are still strongly outnumbered by females, so it's no surprise that all the other students living in the dorm assigned to Takurou are girls. The amount of usual VN clichés thrown at you from the very beginning is just staggering. If the player didn't know better, he might start believing that "Discipline" is setting up to be a usual dumb harem nukige. Nope. The game has both dumb and nukige parts down pat, but the harem part has been completely reversed. It's the girls of the school, who want you to join their harem... and they don't take "no" for an answer.
Experimentation with drugs is the privilege of the youth.
Japanese VN creators are very averse to displaying girl heroines as anything but pure virginal characters. Even when a female love interest is displayed as a strong and smart person, she will invariably turn into a doormat during a sex scene. Which is why I find femdom novels like "Discipline" so welcome. All the girls at St. Arcadia are ravenous nymphomaniacs. They want to get a piece of Takurou and his consent on the matter is of no particular importance to them. Takurou is raped by the whole tennis team on his very first day and this even sets pace for all future days. Hell, just having a school-load of sex crazed nymphos would hinder any guy's day, but our newbie also attracts the attention of one Morimoto Leona, whose family controls the school.

Some visual novels live and die by their villains, and Leona is the heart and soul of "Discipline". The shortest and most accurate description for her would be: "That bitch be crazy"! Morimoto Leona is an unabashedly evil sociopath who gets it into her head to make Hayami Takurou into her personal boy-toy. And she will use sex, drugs and rock&roll to make that happen... well, two out of these three - rock&roll is more Kaneda's specialty. If Takurou wants to survive and retain his sanity, he has to accomplish three goals: pass the looming mid-term exams, join any functional club, in order to prevent being forcefully drafted into Leona's coven of bitches, and win that one pesky baseball tournament he challenged Leona to, with his freedom on the line. The plot of the game is so dumb that your brain cells would be in serious danger if they weren't distracted by all the sexy time.
You are telling me you don't travel to school by plane?!
It's a blessing that "Discipline" never takes itself seriously at all and throws twenty unbelievable scenes at you before breakfast. Hell, Leona arrives to school in a fully armed Harrier Jump Jet (and uses its missiles to blow the club you join). Over the course of the game she also sets the vice-principal on fire, continuously tests experimental drugs using you as a guinea pig and constantly ditches classes. Of course, it all is played for the lulz and I found myself enjoying the over the top storyline as much as I was enjoying sex scenes.

The sex scenes in "Discipline" are almost perfect in their execution. You know how there are VNs where you remember the plot perfectly many years after finishing them? The same can be said about the H-scenes of this game. About seven years have passed since I last played "Discipline" and I still remembered each and every sex scene in the game. Usually I just forget H-scenes in a game shortly after finishing it, but not so with this one. Not only they are of perfect length, but also no one could complain about the developers lacking imagination in the sexual department. The sheer variety of fetishes the creators crammed into the game is still surprising: reverse rape, orgasm denial, urination, scat, transgendered sex, creampie eating, impregnation and many many more. Nonetheless, it helps that "Discipline" is quite long, despite being very linear. Sure, there are five possible endings, but they are decided by a single choice near the end of the VN. Namely, the only thing that matters, is who will help you to pass the exams.
A diligent student.
Otokawa Saori is the representative of the dorm you are staying in and probably the only sane person in the damn school. She is the first person Takurou meets upon his arrival and the first to greet him. Saori is a valedictorian, the head of "Bible Study Group" and probably the only virgin in a hundred kilometres around. She is studious and serious in all her endeavours; she is also a designated cook, as all the other dormmates are not interested in that particular duty. Otokawa is also the best choice for our protagonist to receive tutoring from, as one of her endings (she has two) is the only objectively good one. I say objectively, because the sadist in me enjoyed all the four bad endings much more than the good one. If you spend your time with Saori, you will adequately prepare for both the exams and the baseball tournament.
An even more diligent student.
Kaneda Maiko looks like a typical bookworm with her glasses, short hair and cool no nonsense attitude. There is truth to that - she is just as good a student as Otokawa is; she also spends lots of time loudly masturbating in her room and listening to heavy metal at full volume... at night... when you are supposed to be sleeping. Kaneda is a sexual sadist and likes to torture Takurou, though her "torture" is not really malicious. She is technically a good choice to get tutoring from, and her particular brand of tutoring is surprisingly effective, but she won't be able to help you with the baseball tournament preparation. Cue bad end.

Miyagishi Yuuki and Nonomiya Ruri are the least serious members of the dorm. It seems that social graces completely escape them, as they walk around naked in the Takurou's presence and act childishly in general. All they seem to care about is sex and they are bound to get it from you, even if you say "no". Asking them to tutor you would be as dumb as masturbating with a chainsaw; it's a good thing that even Takurou is not dumb enough to do that. Even though they cannot tutor you, they can still be considered main heroines, moreover they do have their hand in determining which of the two Otokawa's endings you'll get.
But obviously you won't elaborate why...
The last two endings deserve their own slogan: "Karma is a beach" (sic). Rather than getting tutored, you decide to cheat by either asking your frenemy Sudou's advise or doing it by yourself. It's no surprise that you get F for "Epic Fail". Sadly, you drag others down with you.

It would be a shame not to discuss the aforementioned baseball tournament, which serves as the central plot point later in the VN. I have exactly zero familiarity with the game, thus I have no idea how closely the game in "Discipline" follows the actual rules of baseball, but I can make an educated guess of "not very closely". Not that it matters - I consider the tournament the dullest segment of the VN, not that it drags the game down by much. "Discipline" is hysterical enough that a few boring scenes did not ruin my enjoyment.
I notice a severe lack of cookies.
It's also worth mentioning that "Discipline" got a six part OVA adaptation and a two part prequel OVA. In order to adequately describe the adaptation you have to be well versed in the various incarnations of shit. Let's say together: "It's shit, poop, turd, feces, manure, ass-chocolate"... well, that's all I can think of at the moments notice. Frankly and honestly, this was not only the worst adaptation, but also the worst anime I have ever seen. Period. The plot has absolutely nothing to do with the game, the characters are idiots (and not in a charming VN way), the graphics look twenty years dated, and they even changed the famous "Bible Study Group" to "Supernatural Research Club". Leona arriving to school in a giant mecha only tops the cake. The two part prequel is a bit better, at least in the graphical department. Still, I wouldn't bother with any of the anime and just play the game.

Ultimately, even though "Discipline" looks quite dated, it still has a lot to offer for a discerning palate. Sei Shoujo's art still looks awesome even today, the H-scenes are some of the most exiting I have ever seen and the voice acting is so bad, that it crosses the event horizon and becomes good again. It's a shame that the game is OOP today ("Kitty Media" still exists today, but they appear to have completely distanced themselves from visual novels), and that the only English version lacks the additional content available only in Japanese.

Links of Interest

Visual Novel Database
Waybacked official Japanese site / site for Excellent version
There doesn't appear to be any way to legaly obtain the game anymore. Seems you'll have to torrent.
Walkthrough
MyAnimeList link for OVA adaptation / for prequel OVA

Final Verdict: 78%

6 comments:

  1. hey damn you, baseball chapters were the best parts of the game. I mean they were so random and have so light atmosphere, it was hilarious and fun. Also loved accent of the girl from US. Anyways good review. Can we except another two for Starless and Bible Black soon?

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    1. The US girl also had stars and stripes panties. You know, if it wasn't clear enough that she was from US :-) And yes, I intend to review both BB and Starless.

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  2. Great. Also I want to add it's claimed that Sei left Activesoft because of the Discipline anime. It was just that bad.

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  3. Anonymous30/8/15 21:11

    I'd love to see you review Teacher in Training or Mistress Degree, since they're the only femdom OELVNs, I know of.

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    Replies
    1. WTF? What are these abominations? Kill them with fire.
      In all seriousness, the art in those games looks really bad, not that it's surprising. I doubt I'll play them any time soon.

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  4. Anonymous18/2/17 17:22

    Your review gives an imression of Discipline being some kind of light-hearted comedy (albeit centered on pervy fetishes) while in fact it has straightforward presentation and is full of twisted shit. Its hillarious silliness is amusing but the focus is still on fetish fuel. And bad endings despite being as absurd as everything else still get to you a bit leaving you with “me gusta” feeling yet simultaneously reaching for mindbleach :)

    ReplyDelete