JP title: フラテルニテ
I’ll remain naively optimistic against my better judgment, despite the fact that Fraternite, based on this trial, seems to make all the same mistakes that made me not like Euphoria that much. You know, Clockup titles are probably just not for me.
Note: This post is based on the original, unvoiced trial. The voiced trial released later has more content but I have yet to read that.
Let’s skip the lengthy introductions, you probably know what this VN is — it’s the new game from Clockup, the company behind the somewhat controversial visual novel, Euphoria. And I’ve just finished its trial. And I’m not too impressed, sadly. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely did not go into this with a negative mindset, I was very much willing to give the company another chance. And the trailer looked interesting enough, too. See below.
(word of warning: while the opening is, naturally, censored, it’s still pretty… uh, raunchy.)
I’ll quickly summarize the plot of the trial. Don’t worry about being spoiled, it’s pretty much exactly what you might expect based on the trailer.
The basic setup is that the stud MC and his entire family, two sisters and parents, move to an entirely different town. Why? Because MC’s sister Mio was the victim of rape, and the family, understandably, wishes to leave their past town behind them, and anyone that might know of the incident. Or so it seems.
We find out that after the incident, Mio kept herself locked up in her room, refusing to even leave her house in fear of.. well, not just men, but the outside world in general. People that might know about the rape. People that would ridicule her. And so on. As such, it comes as no big surprise that she gets suicidal, and hops on the good old internet to find the best way to commit the deed. On a forum, she meets a mysterious young girl called Yuka — she herself a former victim of rape — who swears that she will “save her”. (her smile creeps me out just a little bit) They quickly bond and become BFFs, and Mio’s desire to be able to meet her mystery savior in person results in the move.
Random everyday life happenings ensue. The writing, unfortunately, is just as plain and dry as it was in Euphoria, so reading these bits with absolutely *nothing* interesting happening were seriously testing my endurance. Random heroine lends MC a manga. MC is worried about his sister. MC is fantasizing about some girl he saw in class. And so on. Not exactly riveting material, and while a good writer could potentially make this somewhat interesting, this is not the case here.
Like I said, Euphoria deja vu going in full force.
In any case, miraculously enough, Mio reverts to her old, regular self, able to leave the house, attend school and even seemingly make friends on her first day. All is well, or so it seems. What you also need to know is that Yuka has since invited Mio to join a sort of “friendship club”, a place where she can be “saved”. Right off bat this sounds fishy as hell and the danger sirens are going off in my mind. She claims they can do “whatever they want” in the “friendship club” so that they can find “salvation” for themselves.
Let me translate that as subtly as I possibly can: CULTCULTCULTCULTCULTCULTCULTCULTCULTCULT
In fact, having already seen the trailer for the game beforehand, I could very easily puzzle together what would happen. I pretty much went “oh, let me guess, it’s going to be a sex club where they have orgies all day every day”.
And guess what! That’s exactly what happens.
One day, our MC, still very worried about his sister, decides to follow her to the building where the friendship club holds its meetings. He goes upstairs, peeks inside one room and encounters a strange… smell. He’s not quite sure what the smell belongs to, but decides to move inside the room nonetheless. (spoiler: it’s penis.)
Inside, he encounters, you guessed it, a sex club where they have orgies all day every day. His gentle sister Mio, seemingly having forgotten her horrible past trauma, is riding cock like her life depended on it. A middle-aged man’s cock, I might add. Because that’s what it means to be “saved”, apparently. MC is soon discovered, and instead of cutting off his balls and sacrificing him to Electronic Arts or Ubisoft, they invite him to join the rumpy pumpy. If your educated guess as to what happens next was “incest”, then I have good news for you. Mio bangs her own brother, a fact she seems awfully pleased by. As you do. Then some other girl also rides him. Then another girl, who, by the way, is the cool and collected student council president. How many H-scenes is that in a row? A lot. Yes, the first one was necessary, I’ll give you to that — just to establish how messed up Mio has become. But I could’ve done without the other three. And then the trial just ends.
So basically the trial was a bunch of fairly boring slice of life leading up to a bunch of fairly boring H-scenes, and that’s about it.
Now, I know I’m being a bit harsh here, maybe. First off, I have no idea *why* this all happens and why the cult was formed, what its real goals are and whatnot — and that’s probably going to be the main mystery here. Which *could* still be interesting.
At first glance, it seems like a case of “you know how you can overcome your fear of penis? More penis”, which is pretty creepy in itself, but hardly what I would call a great VN story. If they decide to elaborate on the cult more and come up with something interesting instead of just filling the script with porn, porn and more porn, then maybe the full game will be worth reading. Based on the trial, I’m still conflicted whether or not that will be the case. And that was my problem with Euphoria, too: 90% of its routes were just porn and/or boring filler, and when it got to the true end, it was still just “okay”.
I’d say the whole sex cult/brainwashing thing isn’t especially a rare plot point either, you see it all the time in nukige/H-anime. Which is why Fraternite’s trial hasn’t convinced me that it’s not just going to be another nukige with a bit of a story thrown in there for good measure. The only interesting aspect I can see here is with the gore and the rather gruesome death scenes hinted at by the trailer, not because I’m a sick fuck, but because there *might* be something more going on here than just a sex cult, possibly even something supernatural? That would be cool. So basically: do you have an intricate, memorable story to tell me, Fraternite? Please say yes. On one hand I’m curious to see where they go with it, and whether or not they can redeem themselves after the highly unimaginative trial; on the other hand, I’ve already (sort of) burned myself once with Euphoria by having too high expectations.