Disclaimer: As part of Steam's Curator Connect program, the reviewer received a steam code from the developer for the purpose of writing a review for the game.
Magical transformations, special attacks, and incredibly cute dresses! The magical girl genre is something that anyone who watched anime growing up keeps in a special place in their heart. Whether it be because of the pretty girls or their infectious sense of determination and passion, it offers something for everyone. And it makes sense, because they’re basically superheroes in pretty dresses! Enter Destiny Star Girlfriend, a recent foray in the visual novel medium!
The general concept of being a magical girl sounds like a lot of fun. I mean, living your normal life for half the day while fighting the baddies with magic for the remaining half? That’s awesome! But have you ever imagined what it would be like having a magical girl for a girlfriend? Or, even better, have you ever imagined living together with one?
Destiny Star Girlfriend (shortened to Syukugar) is the second eroge series published under the mirai brand. mirai is an imprint of Hawkeye Co., Ltd., a company known for its other imprints, Minato Soft (Kimiaru, Majikoi, YuYuYu) and Minato Carnival (Tsujidou-san no Jun’ai Road). Since Syukugar’s initial release in Japan back in July 2018, it has received two direct sequels (Syukugar 2 and 3) and a side story game (Episode of Fujiko) that was included in the ALLSTAR version that released in March 2020. Shiravune has now published the first game for international audiences on storefronts Steam and Johren in October 2023, releasing it with both English and Chinese translations.
One fateful night, Takasugi Seiji is attacked by beings known as demons on his way home. As he resigns himself to his fate, he hears a voice that brings him hope. A girl as bright as the stars suddenly appears, saving him from certain doom; it’s his classmate Kamiizumi Yuuri! In the midst of the confusion, an unexpected enemy deals critical damage to both of them which renders them unconscious. Although saved by her superior, Seiji and Yuuri find themselves linked by a magical red string after waking up. They learn that they can’t be more than 1 meter away from each other for three months unless or else they will die. How will they be able to deal with the implications of this setup? A man and a woman living in the same house—ample breeding ground for a new fantasy romcom to begin!
Destiny Star Girlfriend features various choices throughout its runtime–as is standard with visual novels. The choices here, however, are inconsequential—they only give you small dialogue variations of the same scene. The story itself is completely linear; there are no alternate endings to unlock.
The story itself is structured into chapters. There are a total of 13 chapters to read, which when finished, can be reread through the in-game event viewer in the Extra section. If you load up a completed save file, you can technically pace your reading sessions by reading on a per-chapter basis!
Art and Music
Destiny Star Girlfriend’s art is nothing short of amazing. Kannagi Rei, formerly of Lilian, does a great job presenting the cuteness of the VN’s heroines in their style. Yuuri’s energy, which Ookubo Aiko gives life to through her voice and the dialogue, is appropriately supported by Kannagi Rei’s artwork; it exudes Yuuri’s unique charm in its entirety. I especially like the pose where Yuuri extends both of her hands forward and does something like a peace sign—it’s super cute!
Aside from the incredible artwork, Destiny Star Girlfriend also features animations in a lot of its scenes, especially during the fights, to really nail the magical girl feel. As an example, the video above features one of Yuuri’s magic attacks, Bay Night Shower. A number of other special attacks from different characters feature their own great animation sequences. For its SoL segments, you’ll encounter anywhere from dynamic character sprite sizes to exaggerated expressions and emotions enhanced by the game’s animation choices. All in all, it’s a treat for the eyes.
The music is good and serves its purpose. The tracks in the game fit the general atmosphere well; the battle music has enough energy to keep your attention and the SoL tracks are nice and comfy. Matsushita sung the very cute OP of the VN titled “Magical Girl☆Conflict”, while Nagata Yui did the vocals for the ED titled “Hoshizora memories!”.
For the next section, we’ll talk about the game’s adult content.
Destiny Star Girlfriend includes a total of 10 H-scenes, all of which feature Yuuri. Each H-scene comes with 1 or 2 unique HCGs, building up a healthy amount of variation among them. With a game this short, having that many might even mean that there are more HCGs than the normal ones! Noticeably, even though there are a large number of art assets, there’s next to none in the way of sound effects.
Sharing my personal experience, I finished Destiny Star Girlfriend in a little under 4 hours. With 10 H-scenes total, this means that on average I was reading an H-scene every 24 minutes or so. Most of these H-scenes were short, lasting around 5 – 10 minutes each. Depending on your reading speed, it might feel too condensed within a short period of time.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s bad, of course. I just hope that sharing this personal tidbit will help you gauge your own expectations about the density of its adult content.
Kamiizumi Yuuri: An Ideal Girlfriend!?
With Destiny Star Girlfriend being as short as it is, it makes sense that it needs to utilize a specific asset it has to make the experience as enjoyable as possible for us as readers. Enter Kamiizumi Yuuri, the school’s idol that everyone adores. Prim, proper, friendly, and incredibly dazzling—you could open a dictionary and there wouldn’t be enough words to describe her perfect existence. Even the common trope of girls talking smack about her doesn’t exist because everyone likes her!
How do we make a character as attractive as Yuuri even better? Turn her into a magical girl! A magical girl heroine in a VN will always be a treat because everything that comes with it: a transformation scene, a cute costume, and incredibly adorable poses that the heroine makes when she shouts out her signature moves! There’s nothing really to complain about; they are, by default, wins for any cute girl appreciator!
Beneath every perfect facade, however, lies something hidden, and for Yuuri it’s something vile enough to make even the outwardly desperate Seiji step back and rethink his image of her—she’s a gamer. Although her public persona is impeccable, her true self is one that thrives in the sleaziness associated with a sedentary hobby. If you take away the cute kouhai that takes care of most of her household chores and the incredibly luxurious lifestyle she can afford because of being a part of Stars, the organization behind this world’s magical girls, Yuuri ends up looking pretty normal and relatable! Except for the fact that she’s also a genius. Destiny Star Girlfriend’s first main heroine was born with a naturally high aptitude for being a Stars and she rocketed to First Class in a short period of time.
A Genius in a Pinch!
So let’s recount that: Yuuri has an untarnished reputation in school, is an incredibly powerful magical girl born with a natural aptitude for being a star, and she’s a hardcore gamer too. That basically makes her every guy’s wet dream, doesn’t it? Well technically, yes, but it also gives her a pretty strong god complex! Okay, depending on how you look at it, that’s very adorable too. What’s there to push for when it comes to her route then?
Yuuri’s god complex, while cute, results in giving her a negative view on the world and everyone around her. It promotes complacency, the ultimate enemy of geniuses. Thus, in the face of hard work, someone who takes things for granted will eventually falter because of the unpredictability of growth. This is the crux of Yuuri’s character arc—the crumbling down of her infallibility. The first third of the VN destroys Yuuri’s established superiority and forces her to work to reclaim it in the remaining chapters; a classic story of climbing back up after being humbled.
That’s not the main focus of the VN though. As the title implies, a big part of the story involves our characters developing feelings for each other. How did Destiny Star Girlfriend do in that regard? You already have a near-ideal girl as a heroine, surely the romance’s set to be amazing too, right? Let’s talk about that…
Romance Hanging by a Thread
Destiny Star Girlfriend’s romance is alright. If I take it in stride and just say “yes” to everything that the VN throws at me to progress its story (yes, I’m looking at you, the “let me help you out with that!” scene), then it’s pretty enjoyable as an experience. But personally, it feels a little bit flat. You have the very convenient “cannot be separated by more than a meter” shtick going on already, so the only real challenge remaining is making sure that their progression towards becoming a couple is convincing. Simple, right? Except it’s hard because of what kind of character Seiji is.
Seiji, unfortunately, is a faceless MC with no distinguishable characteristics and qualities save for “I’m interested in this girl and I’ll work hard to help her out”. The epitome of a self-insert character (which funnily enough he acknowledges), it becomes a bit of a chore trying to justify their development especially given what started it: a bout of horniness. Personally, that’s fine; that kind of thing can definitely work if done right.
But in Destiny Star Girlfriend, despite everything that makes Yuuri amazing as a character, the utterly indulgent convenience behind a number of events that eventually lead to their romantic confession left a bad taste in my mouth. It would have been okay if this was a minor thing, but the majority of the VN concerns itself with this particular story element. And this leads to the third thing that I wanted to point out: the compromise made to accommodate this convenient romance.
The Perils of Compromising
Destiny Star Girlfriend‘s setting is by no means uninteresting. There’s a lot of things they can work with that they introduced, such as demons, character histories related to them, Stars, supernatural societies, and whatnot. But because most of the reading time revolves around our main characters’ budding relationship, the setting and world building takes a hard backseat to accommodate it. Hence, the story’s stakes are almost never high. At no point in time did I feel any sort of urgency or concern about the characters themselves because all their problems literally get solved instantly. Maybe it would have been fine if the romance was satisfying, but that wasn’t the case. Instead it leaves us with a convenient love story layered over an underutilized world.
Related to that, the side characters are pretty much inconsequential. They were important in making sure that Yuuri grew as a character, but aside from that they’re mostly comic relief. The main antagonist at the end was pretty anticlimactic too, which was a bit of a disappointment. With the low stakes in the story, it’s inevitable that their presence would seem rather lackluster because of the lack of opportunities to make the characters themselves shine.
Destiny Star Girlfriend has great humor and an amazing heroine, but the lack of an engaging MC, underutilized setting, and insignificant roles for its side characters hinders its romantic development and worldbuilding. I feel like I’m asking for a lot given what kind of VN it is and the length that it has, but other short-form games have achieved more in the same amount of time. It just feels like there could be have been more here.
Regardless, if you want a low-investment feel-good VN to read, Destiny Star Girlfriend is definitely not a bad pick. With an incredibly cute heroine, funny dialogue, indulgent adult content, and stellar in-game animations, there’s really little to not like about it as a casual reader. Give it a try and you might just end up falling in love with Yuuri yourself!
To finish it off, my score for the VN is as follows:
Personal Rating: 5/10
The game is currently available in English and Chinese. If you’re interested in trying out the VN for yourself, you can buy it on Steam or on Johren. An 18+ patch will be made available for the Steam version.
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