After being first announced at Tokyo Game Show 2022, fans waited with bated breath for the release of the bundled Akai Ito & Aoi Shiro HD Remasters by Japanese developing company SUCCESS, two yuri mystery visual novels that have never officially seen the light of day in the west. When May 25th 2023 rolled around, digital versions of the game were released for Nintendo Switch and the PC. The games are available for purchase separately or in a bundle containing both.
On the 15th of June 2023, physical media distributor Strictly Limited Games announced a partnership with SUCCESS to provide physical copies and an alternatively available Special Limited Edition for these titles in the west. They have been available for pre-order since the 16th of June and cost $34.99 for the physical edition of both games and $59.99 for the Special Limited Edition. An additional art card made of aluminum can be bought for $9.99.
About Akai Ito
“Akai Ito” is a captivating visual novel originally released on PlayStation 2 in Japan, that takes players on an emotional journey of love, mystery, and self-discovery originally. Set in modern-day Japan, the story follows the protagonist, Kei, as she navigates the complexities of her past and uncovers the truth about her identity.
After the untimely passing of her mother, Kei inherits an old Japanese mansion in the secluded town of Hemizuka. Intrigued by the mysteries surrounding her family and the legend of the mountain god, Kei embarks on a quest to uncover the secrets hidden within her ancestral home. Along the way, Kei encounters Yumei, a girl with a connection to the mystical world, and together they delve deeper into the enigma that binds them.
Featuring beautiful artwork, evocative music, and multiple branching storylines, “Akai Ito” offers a rich visual and narrative experience. The choices made by players will shape Kei’s journey, leading to different outcomes and endings that reflect the complexities of love, sacrifice, and personal growth.
About Aoi Shiro
“Aoi Shiro” originally released on the PlayStation 2 in Japan, is an enchanting visual novel that transports players to the picturesque town of Kakyouin.
As the protagonist, a young detective named Kurohime, players embark on a journey to unravel the secrets of Kakyouin. The town is known for its unique folklore and legends, including the enigmatic tale of the “Aoi Shiro” or “Blue Castle.” Kurohime’s investigation delves into the ancient rituals, hidden powers, and the intricate relationships that shape the destiny of Kakyouin.
As the story unfolds, players must make choices that not only affect Kurohime’s personal journey but also determine the fates of the townspeople and the ultimate truth behind the mysteries of Kakyouin. Multiple branching paths and endings add depth and replay-ability to the narrative, ensuring that each playthrough offers a unique experience.
The Akai Ito & Aoi Shiro HD Remaster Special Edition contains the following items:
- Game for Nintendo Switch
Two visual novel games, Akai Ito HD remaster and Aoi Shiro HD remaster, both included on one multi application cartridge.
- Colorful Game Manual (Game Guide)
Manual with game instructions.
Details: Manual, included in and size fitting to Nintendo Switch game case.
- Special Limited Edition Box
Separate box carrying the game and additional items; shrink-wrapped.
- Original Soundtrack & Music for fans
The outstanding Original Soundtracks of both Akai Ito and Aoi Shiro on three CDs as well as another CD with further unused music tracks for fans.
Details: 4 CDs in Digipack.
- Large Poster
Beautiful romantic art from featuring main characters from Akai Ito and Aoi Shiro
Details: Size DIN A3 (29.7 x 42 cm/11.69 x 16.54 in), folded to DIN A6 (10.5 x 14.8 cm/4.1 x 5.8 in).
- Post Cards
Designs of Akai Itos and Aoi Shiros heroines in the games’ revealing, distinctive art style.
Details: Size DIN A6 (10.5 x 14.8 cm/4.1 x 5.8 in).
The Special Edition is limited to 1500 copies worldwide, lining up with the motto of the company. At the time of this post, there have been 81% of the stock been sold. You still have a chance to be able to grab one of these if you pre-order now.
- Includes two games, plus the bonus game Onigiri no Oni
- Captivating romantic narratives filled with love and intrigue.
- Stunning high-definition visuals that bring the vibrant worlds to life.
- Diverse and engaging characters with compelling backstories.
- Branching narratives with multiple paths and endings.
- Immersive soundtracks that enhance the emotional impact.
- Seamless blend of visual novel storytelling and interactive gameplay.
- Rich cultural settings inspired by Japanese folklore and traditions.
- Intuitive user interface for a smooth and immersive experience.
- Emotionally charged moments that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
- Endless replayability with hidden secrets to uncover.
A couple words of warning (Opinion)
Unfortunately, while it’s absolutely great that there are now remastered editions of these classic games, they come with a huge demerit. The localization of both games is horrid. In fact, the localization is so awful that it can not even be assumed that the game has been machine translated. This translation of the game contains multiple errors and typos that a simple machine translation would never make. It is safe to assume then, that the developers at SUCCESS either hired a total newbie or had the false confidence to localize the game by themselves with the shoddy mistaken English that can be expected from native speakers of Japanese.
Users on the r/visualnovels subreddit have already compared samples of the translation which suggest that you do yourself a great favor by not playing these titles in the state they were released. A silver lining is that the old translations from 2009/2010 have already been ported back into the digital PC version of these games. But in this regard, a problem becomes visible:
There now have been immortalized terrible translations which will skew people’s perception of what the original product was supposed to be like, since it requires great amounts of technical knowledge as well as jailbroken consoles to be able to make edits to the script of a console game. There could be a possibility that a savvy tech person also creates a backport for the Switch version, but it is unlikely.
The delivery date is expected for Q4 2023 and we will inform you once it is determined.