Long-awaited visual novel, Majikoi! Love Me Seriously! has finally made it’s way to an official English language release. Originally releasing in 2009, it was followed up with a sequel, various fan discs, and even an anime series. This action-comedy is quite well-known within the visual novel community.
This title is currently available uncensored on the JAST USA store, but a Steam version has been listed as coming soon. Based on past releases, it could be assumed that this will be censored with a possible patch to remove censorship. The JAST version has no censorship, including a lack of mosaics in H-scenes.
The story follows Yamato and his group of friends, who are known as the Kazama family. Friends since childhood, though with a couple of recent additions, they consist of some incredibly talented individuals. The five girls are all martial artists strong enough to take on at least a hundred normal people, while the boys have their own specialties.
It follows their adventures at Kawakami Academy where competition is everything. Fighting is officially allowed through a duel system, as are other forms of competition up to and including mock war involving around one thousand people.
Quite a few things in Majikoi! Love Me Seriously! could be described as over the top. This is often used for comedic effect. It establishes this early on by showing a talking robot that can transform, an eccentric rich student with a ninja-maid that pulls him around in a rickshaw, and a heroine who beats up a gang of thugs and uses them as human Tetris blocks. These are all just in the opening too.
The common route introduces you to the Kazama family as well as quite a lot of other characters. One of the strong points of Majikoi! Love Me Seriously! is that there is a huge cast of interesting characters who get quite a lot of lines and have their personalities and relationships well established. It does this by showing your own F class and their fights with the rival S class, events at the martial arts temple central to the town, and several challenges and fights.
While the common route is more about setting the scene than a focused plot, it’s quite long and consists of a lot of events. It felt entertaining the whole time and really built up the idea of the close bond between the main character and his group of friends. One aspect that I particularly liked was that the main character was shown to be competent and despite his own lack of martial skill, he made up for it as the tactician of the group. It shows him in his own more mental duels, as well as working for the good of the group. He’s one of those rare things – a visual novel protagonist who is both just as competent and interesting as some of the heroines.
It eventually splits into character routes of varying lengths. Majikoi! Love Me Seriously! has an impressive number of routes. Each of the five main heroines has a full romance route, while the three male friends have shorter routes focusing on friendship and several other side characters have short routes too. There’s an unlockable ‘true route’ at the end too, which may be the best of them all.
Generally, the romance routes don’t jump straight into it. They tend to focus on a problem first. In one example, a character loses sight of their dream so it focuses on their attempt to retake it and what results from that. The main character and the rest of the group help along the way and a romance grows from that. The constant barrage of amusing events is kept up too, along with a more focused plot.
While the romance routes do understandably focus mostly on the character, it was nice to see that the close bond of friendship was kept and that the other members of the group didn’t disappear. Seeing how Miyako, a character who is obsessively in love with the main character from the beginning handles the other routes was particularly interesting. I was genuinely surprised at how her own route was handled too, as it delved into the issues with her obsession and difficulties with other people, rather than taking an easier route of just putting her together with the main character and having everything work well.
Overall I have to say that I really enjoyed the story aspect of the game. The writing was great and the comedy often hit home, despite a few pop culture references that felt out of place. I enjoyed all of the routes and genuinely couldn’t stop playing. It’s also a fairly lengthy title considering the huge amount of routes, taking me over forty hours to fully complete – longer than advertised on the store page, which is usually the opposite. There were some grammatical errors and typos, but these were fairly rare.
I’ve already mentioned my praise for the characters in Majikoi! Love Me Seriously! They’re a unique bunch who play off each other well.
Momoyo’s route was my favorite of the character routes. It was a long build-up and very focused on the action at some points – fitting because she is the strongest around, aside from possibly her grandfather who runs the temple. It’s to the point that she’s considered on the same level as a tactical weapon and an army has banned their soldiers from fighting her. Her main struggle is that she hungers for a fight, but cannot find anyone on her level and has difficulties with the lack of challenge.
Outside of her massive strength, she beats up gangs, constantly flirts with other girls, and borrows money from everyone. She’s always teasing the main character who she sees as her younger brother due to events in their past.
Miyako has an interesting history that you will learn about if you choose her route. Due to this, she is obsessed with Yamato from the very beginning, despite his constant rejections. Something I found amusing was that making certain choices in other character’s routes actually led to her ‘winning’ and ending the game. She’s the most sexual of the characters, often sneaking into Yamato’s bed or bath only to be rejected.
Kazuko’s route really felt like the friend that you surprisingly fall for over a long time. She’s very innocent and obsessed with training and food. Until a while in, she feels like everyone’s little sister who the group teases but protects. Despite this, she is surprisingly popular with men as she is friendly with everyone.
Yukie joins the group later on. Despite immense strength of her own, she doesn’t like to fight. Instead, she aims to make 100 friends, but she’s very socially awkward and odd. She acts like a one-woman comedy act by holding conversations with her horse phone charm, who she makes speak back and she carries her sword everywhere.
Chris is another person who joins late. While she starts off on the wrong foot, she eventually becomes more friendly. She has a rather strict personality, coming from a military family with a doting father who would call in an airstrike on anyone who harms her. Her route shows her becoming more flexible and the struggle with her family. I enjoyed her route a lot more than I initially expected as I didn’t like her as a character at first.
While those are the main heroines, there are plenty of other characters including the other friends in the group. This includes ‘Capt’ who treasures his freedom and is always running off and getting into adventures, Gakuto who focuses on his muscles but has terrible luck with women, and Moro who is a quiet but steadfast friend.
Beyond those in the Kazama family, there are at least a couple dozen more characters to get to know. The characters in the S class were some of my favorites due to some of the hilarious conversations and situations. Some of these were a bisexual playboy who was Yamato’s rival in intelligence, a rich company heir who thought of himself as a hero, and a loli-loving bald guy, who is obsessed with the young-looking president of their rival class.
Getting onto a route in Majikoi! Love Me Seriously! is relatively simple. After the common route, you can choose one of the offered characters and then see a scene with them. Each character has a number of points which is shown underneath their image. If you choose their scenes enough to reduce these points to zero, you end up on their route.
There are some unique aspects to this point system. Depending on your choices or other factors, characters may appear or disappear. One character will only appear if you’ve seen a scene with her friend before and if you choose one enough she will kick another heroine out of the available choices. Some are easier than others too – Miyako is particularly easy to choose as she starts in love with you, while Chris requires a lot more work as she’s quite combative and doesn’t approve of you.
Beyond selecting a route, there are occasional choices. Some of these lead to cutting off the story without seeing the ending and some are timed choices.
Graphics, Sound, and Options
This is where the issues start. Majikoi! Love Me Seriously! has a decent amount of CGs if just due to the length and the art is fairly simple, but generally good. There are some sprites however that cut-off half of the body which stands out and the resolution seems to be 800×600. Due to the shape, fullscreen looks stretched too wide while virtual fullscreen which introduces black borders just looks stretched due to the small size. It is a somewhat old game, but it feels older than it actually is in this area.
The soundtrack has some good background music, though most of it doesn’t stand out too much – that said, I did quite enjoy the finale. A more interesting topic is the voicing though. The voicing is great. Really expressive and adds a lot to the game. Unfortunately, due to licensing issues, only the Kazama family is voiced in the game as it is bought. Considering the huge amount of lines that the other members of the wide cast of characters get, this can really make things feel a lot less active and break immersion.
Unofficially, by dropping the voice files from the original Japanese version of the game back in, these voices can be restored. This would require owning the Japanese version if you wish to add them legitimately. There is a ‘voice patch’ that can be found as would be expected of the visual novel community, though the legality of this is questionable.
Majikoi! Love Me Seriously! is a fun title with great characters, a lot of comedy, and a huge amount of content. It’s very character-focused, but it never feels like this is an issue. While there are some issues around the graphics and sound, the writing is enough to propel it to become one of my favorite visual novels and number 2 on our Top Visual Novels of 2020 list.
MAJIKOI! LOVE ME SERIOUSLY! IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Many thanks to JAST USA for providing a PC review key for this title.
A gamer since the days of Amstrad and DOS and someone who has dabbled in a variety of professions. He enjoys a wide variety of genres, but has been focusing on visual novels and virtual reality in recent years. Head Editor of NookGaming. Follow him and the website on @NookSite.