Otomaid @ Cafe Review

Title: Otomaid @ Cafe
Original title: おとメイド@cafe
Alias: Otomeido @ Cafe
Release date: 2013-10-04
English release date: 2014-07-11
Developer: Otoko no Ko Club
Publisher: Lv1 Translations

My blog has long since suffered from an overabundance of straight sex, which puts minorities at a serious disadvantage. In order to celebrate the beginning of Spring Season I'll go totally gay for you, my dear readers (yes, all three of you), and will review a little gem (opinion is subjective on that term) called "Otomaid @ Cafe".

"Otomaid" is a little quirky game containing all trap characters and perched precariously on that precipice between a straight and a yaoi title, and it's all the worse for it, as all the title's problems stem from its lack of identity. The game starts with an effeminate boy Naruse Kei, who finds temporary work at "K's Cafe" (the title cannot be a coincidence), where his brother Iori is a manager. The problem is, his brother might have conveniently forgotten to mention that K's Cafe is a maid cafe, where all the maids are actually boys in drag. All the 'two' maids, that is, as there are, unrealistically, just two other employees at the place: Aoi and Tsukasa.
Brother has some suspicious ideas.
The translator uses English word "trap" for Japanese slang "otokonoko" employed in the game, and he is technically correct, even though "crossdresser" would have sounded more natural, but the main problem of the VN is its lack of identity. In essence "Otomaid" is not a "trap" game. The authors employed all available techniques, dirty cheating included, to make the game appealing to the straight audience... and alienated everyone. At one point, one of your coworkers says: "We are not girls or boys, we are "traps". Sad point is, that is not true at all. The game shies away from dual and conflicting nature of being a "trap" and presents all the characters simply as girls with something extra. Tsukasa's route toyed with the life duality angle, as Tsukasa admits to being bullied in his everyday life, but just cannot manage to capitalise on that. All the boys are completely feminine, think nothing of getting romantically involved with each other and are voiced by female actresses. Even the sex scenes fail to present them as males, but treat the two-backed-beast tango as if happening between females with something extra. Moreover, taking the pixellated mosaiced nature of their pee-pees, it's not a stretch to see "Otomaid" as a yuri game.
These are flat-chested girls. Anyone who says otherwise is a dirty liar who lies.
The developers shy from any topic heavier than what make-up the character should wear to work. There is no taboo effect of the relationships that develop during the course of the VN. Even the protagonist, who displayed no bisexual curiosity prior to starting his work at K's Cafe, starts sucking Aoi's cock five minutes after meeting 'her' (though it might just as well be a big clit, for all we see or care). "Otomaid" lacks any sort of agenda or plot development and is super shallow even for a nukige. There isn't even any drama, despite this game being just ripe with possibilities for one. There might have been a small attempt at introducing an obstacle in the relationships during the character routes, but it was resolved literally in thirty seconds. It's like the writer simply didn't care and said: "Fuck it, let's get to the end as quickly as possible".

Another major gripe I had with this VN is it's lack of any sort of continuity. Even the shittiest nukiges usually try to uphold a certain sequence of events, but "Otomaid' has none of that. The storytelling is fragmentary and disjointed as hell, which reeks of the lack any kind of writing capability. The plot event structure literally looks like this: scene 1 -> the next day (scene 2) -> a week later (scene 3) -> now we at a park (scene 4), etc. Nothing ties the scenes together and they do not reference each another - it's like every scene is it's own small world with no connection to the rest of the game. The conclusion: there is no plot. The game starts nowhere and ends nowhere, and I'm being literal here - the game suddenly ends at a random sex scene and the credits suddenly roll. "Otomaid" is a mishmash of slice-of-life scenes with no meaning or purpose.
Me likes domination games.
Nevertheless, I have a third and biggest grievance against this game to reveal - for a game that centers around traps, it is just so fucking vanilla that you want to cry. Again, I'll be literal - no hyperboles and overexaggerations: the only kinds of sex featured in this VN are blowjobs and anal! Now, tell me that doesn't force tears to your eyes! Blowjobs and anal, that's all! If there is Satan, he will make the people who made this game burn in their special circle for shattering my expectations! A "trap" game is just ripe with opportunities. What could be more normal than some good-natured CBT between friends-with-benefits? What about adding sex toys to the mix, engaging in orgasm denial or introduce some tasty watersports? Yes, the greatest crime of "Otomaid" is the lack of imagination; it tries to spice a few scenes by involving food or blindfolds, but fails to arouse. And I'll not even talk about the total lack of personality displayed by all the characters, and most grievously by the protagonist, though I might introduce you to the two heroines (my tongue just doesn't twist to call them heroes).
Handcuffs are important accessories of a slutty trap maid.
Shiina Aoi is a fiery energetic trap with a bright, upbeat personality. She seems to lack any sort of inhibition and it takes her all of five minutes to get Kei to suck her cock. One of the things I liked about Aoi (and probably the only thing I even liked about this VN) was Aoi's sexual domination of Kei. Kei is totally submissive to Aoi during the sex scenes and she is always the one sticking it into his brown town. Plus her dirty talk is incredibly sexy. I don't believe Kei gets to ever fuck Aoi in this game, as he is always the one getting ploughed by her. There are precious few English translated VNs where the protagonist receives come good-natured buggering from his girlfriend. And yes, before you ask, femdom, futanari-on-male and pegging are some of my major fetishes. Aoi is also an amateur singer and an idol of limited fame. She sometimes gets stage anxiety, but cleaning Kei's dirtpipe with her plumber's tool helps her relax. Fun fact: the game's OP is also sung by Aoi's voice actress.
Nekomimi not included. Fail.
Tsukasa is a Blue Oni to Aoi's Red Oni (they are even colour-coded for your convenience). She is taciturn, moody and antisocial, says that she hates males, but is actually in love with Iori. After noticing that Kei looks like Iori if you squint very hard (get it? hard) and drink half a bottle of bourbon beforehand, she decides that he will be a suitable substitute and starts dating Kei. Tsukasa acts like a tsundere, but tries to avoid being seen by people she knows when she's on a date with Kei, as she is still in a closet... despite working at a maid cafe. Tsukasa's sexual relationship with Kei is more equal and they happily bugger each other, which immediately makes her a less interesting character than Aoi.

There are obviously two routes (brother has no route, for those who are interested in such a thing) and they can end in a good or a bad ending. I expected that at least the bad end would provide some sorely needed excitement, but alas... These alternative endings are just short throwaway scenes of little interest for the lovers of darker H-content. They barely introduce some sex with blackmail, before the game abruptly ends - what a fucking cocktease!
Itadakimasu, Tsukasa!
Graphically the VN looks decent, but almost "sterile". There is little variety in the environments, the music is forgettable, and even the voice acting sounds bland and completely unconvincing, because the actresses behind the mic fail to sell the idea that our characters are chaps in drag. At the very least, the game is dreadfully mercifully short and can be finished 100 % in about 3 hours.

To sum up, "Otomaid @ Cafe" is probably the blandest, least exciting nukige I have ever had the displeasure of playing. I was initially attracted to the whole "crossdressing boys" theme, but the game totally failed my expectations. In the end, I suggest skipping this title, even if you are desperate for some male-on-male loving. I just hope that "No, Thank you!!!" won't be such a monumental disaster when I get to it.

Links of Interest

Visual Novel Database
Official Japanese site
Official site for the English translation
Buy a Japanese digital edition from DLsite Japan
Otomaid @ Cafe walkthrough

Final Verdict: 44 %

1 comment:

  1. Sebastian6/3/16 08:09

    Without any hyperbole I can honestly say this is the very worst review of a VN I have read in my life so far. To call it a "review" is almost an insult to anyone out providing data to help others decide which VNs they should invest their time on.

    The only achievement I can recognize to it is its total misrepresentation of the game (going as far as flat-out providing lying information about it in some instances).

    The "reviewer" apparently doesn't understand the theme of the VN, goes into it with erroneous expectations, bashes it for not fulfilling his particular fetishes (as if that was any objective metric for a ranking review) even when some of those fetishes are things you would hardly find in an otokonoko game worthy of that name, mistakes terms, can't even grasp concepts like gender orientation and identity (judging from the introductory paragraph alone), etc, etc.

    This is such a bad analysis/opinion work on a item of media I could practically copy-paste the review and refute it almost point-for-point. Alas the comment system does not allow sufficient characters to do that; and I doubt someone who took the time and effort to write this horrid hack piece would appreciate such an effort anyway.