On September 5th, Twitter user @amarenacherryyy made a post announcing their team had completed the fan translation of Gensou Rougoku no Kaleidoscope, a horror visual novel by 07th Expansion and Entergram, Inc.. This game features a scenario written by Ryuukishi07 (Higurashi, Umineko, Ciconia) and artwork by Hinoue Itaru (CLANNAD, Kanon, AIR and other Key titles.)
It is said by some to be 07th Expansion’s worst work due to the way some of its plot elements can be interpreted.
Gensou Rougoku no Kaleidoscope, in English Kaleidoscope of Phantasm Prison, has first been released in Japan on December 17th 2020. It was released for PS4, PSVita and Nintendo Switch. There does not seem any download (digital) version for this game.
The first public mention of this fan translation project was made by Amarenacherryyy on August 14th, where the user mentioned that they’re working as an editor on the in-progress TL of Gerokasu. At the same time they divulged that the patch would release somewhere later that month.
Not exactly the same month, but a few days later on September 5th, a full fan translation patch has been released by a group consisting of three people: Miko, Amarena and Neurochitin.
This patch can only be applied on Nintendo Switch and Vita. There’s no custom PC port available like there was for other console fan translation projects like Sasasagu. Maybe there will be in the future, but for now you either need knowledge of emulators or be in possession of a modified Switch device or a Vita.
Four girls, locked in an unfamiliar and ominous room. When, how, by who, and to where were these close friends kidnapped? It was all unclear. None of the girls have any recollection of a place like this. At some point, an iron collar was attached to each of the girls' necks. Those collars were connected to chains, and each chain was connected to a chair at one of the room's four corners. These were torture chairs that give off an ominous impression. Four girls frightened in an ominous room with no exit. There, a large cage appeared from the ceiling. Inside, a boy was trapped. The white-robed boy is unable to communicate, and even his emotions show no variation. He, too, must likely be a "prisoner" such as the girls… "In any case, we need to think of a way to get out of here…!" "Let me tell you how to escape." An ominous voice echoed throughout the room. "I have prepared two fates for all of you. One where everyone in this room dies. The other where only three girls are saved. This is a trial to test the fate of you four. When the time limit expires, everyone in this room will die." A group of girls, suddenly attacked by a deadly premonition and hair-raising horror… Translation by Gematsu
CV: Akaneya Himika
Likes: Collecting perfumes
Dislikes: People who can’t accept variety
CV: Suzuki Minori
Likes: The Kamen Kendo series
CV: Toyota Moe
Likes: Fluffy things
Dislikes: Insects, sunburns
While horror games are Ryuukishi07’s forte and he usually manages to make really unnerving horror stories that emerge after discarding the shell of their slice of life epidermis, Kaleidoscope of Phantasm delves into intense levels of torture and shock, but nothing more than that. Critics perceive the meaning of the plot to be that even cute and innocent girls can be turned into horrifying murderous creatures when thrown into a death game.
It’s described as a seiyuu scream fest by the one existing review on VNDB. Another, much more detailed one is not so forgiving. The gist seems to be that it is a torture game through and through with the intent to showcase bug-eyed anime girls with distorted faces while showcasing intense voice work talent.
However, the running controversial discourse surrounding this game focuses on a scene about gender roles and gender essentialism placed later in the game. The main complaint is that it can be possible to interpret this scene as transphobic and unwoke. RPGSite writer Theswweet put one of the scenes on display:
Left: "You're a male. Masculine. A man. No matter what you're reborn as, in the end, you will always be reborn as a man.
Right: Some lifeforms may look like they change their sex, but this doesn't mean that their soul changes sex as well.
The statements are made by a disembodied voice, likely God. The protagonist who’s addressed then agrees with them.
Thus, people were quick to point their finger at this particular plot point (that is not challenged by the narrative) and began attacking the writer himself. But as several fans stated, the takes stand contrary to instances how ambiguously coded characters have been treated previously in his other works. This could be the reason why the When They Cry community rather prefers to condemn this game and keep it under the rug to keep Ryuukishi07’s image intact.
While we cannot confirm or deny yet whether there’s really transphobia in there as the scene could have been posted out of context, Amarenacherryyy – who has edited this game – created an explanatory thread about this scene for disgruntled fans to take in and level their perspective. After all, it is beneficial to no one to jump to conclusions and instead suggest to approach the game with a rational mind.
A wealth of other opinions, positive and negative, can be found here.
Update: A couple days after the release of this game, an interesting explanatory post was made on the SKULLFUCKERS (Dasaku reference?) blog, written by TernasylLuter (Doc) and edited by Beef2929, where they go into the game and its messages. While the post is quite hilarious, the actual explanations may leave you dumbfounded.
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