Akaya Akashiya Ayakashino Preview

Akaya Akashiya Ayakashino (あかやあかしやあやかしの)

A preview of HaccaWorks* supernatural visual adventure

Akaya Akashiya Ayakashino (also known as AkaAka) is a visual novel and the second game produced by HaccaWorks*.  AkaAka has a unspecified release date and two demos (in Japanese of course) available for download on their website (free and legal!).  There is very little information about AkaAka in English and this preview will fill some of that gap.  The following information was collected and distilled from the two demos by myself, so there’s some room for interpretation, but it’s a good look at what we know so far.  Hopefully this preview will introduce AkaAka to even more people, encourage or help those thinking about playing it, and most of all, find someone else to wildly fangirl with me about it when it’s released!

This monster post is broken up into three sections:  general impressions, character information, and general information.  I capped all the screens myself and they can be viewed at their original size when clicked.

General Impressions:

AkaAka is the long-awaited second game from the same group who produced Hanakisou, which sets a high bar–beautiful art, some of the best music found in visual novels, and a storyline not shy about veering into darker territory. For not being a professional studio, they sure delivered. First impressions suggest AkaAka will be more than capable of living up to these standards and could easily surpass them.

HaccaWorks* illustrator Yumekagami Misaki returns and seems to have leveled up her artistic skills. Not that they weren’t gorgeous before, but they seem more refined. One immediately striking thing about the visuals is the color pallete, which is very bold and vivid. The character designs are certainly appealing to the shoujo/otome crowd, with tall, slender bodies and long, thin limbs.  Even in these short demos, you get a good feel for personalities through the varied reactionary faces and poses. There’s also a lot of texture in the character models. I often don’t like a “filtered” look in CGs, but it’s done very well here and everything meshes. The backgrounds seem varied and rich with detail. Even the menus and icons are cute and everything fits cohesively into the overall Japanese supernatural motif of the game. I love it–it’s one of the best-looking, stylistic visual novels I’ve seen to date.

The music might be a worrying factor since Shikata Akiko is performing only the theme song and not the whole score this time around. However, after hearing a few tracks, I think we’ll get another excellent soundtrack. The tracks so far complement the Japanese folklore feel of the game very well. There are no voices in this release, but perhaps like Hanakisou, AkaAka will get a formal console release and full-voice treatment. Here’s to hoping!

The story of AkaAka begins with a dream filled with red camellia and the passing of a strange mask.  The owner of this mask is a young boy named Yue who lives at a temple populated with rather unusual residents.  The nearby town Utsuwa (空環) is holding a winter festival.  Kurogitsune, his fox spirit friend, decides it’s the perfect opportunity for the sheltered Yue to experience the sights, sounds, and most of all–the food!  Even though Yue is forbidden to ever leave the temple, they sneak into town, not realizing what they’ve set into motion…

The main theme of AkaAka seemingly revolves around the term “shokuji” (『食事』), or “meal.”  For a spirit, there is a perfect “meal”  among humans and it is instantly recognizable because otherwise, most humans appear as faceless shadows.  In order for a spirit to mature and become more powerful, they must “eat” that person.  There’s a sinister undertone to this practice, as it’s likely the source of rumors of disappearances and even serial killings.  Thus “prey” might be a better term.  The main game will likely focus on Yue finding his own “prey,” although he is seemingly unaware of the practice or repercussions for that person.

If you’re interested in trying out AkaAka, the HaccaWorks* website has two free demos available.  I suggest starting from the second demo because it seemingly covers the beginning of the game.  It follows around the main character Yue, introducing and outlining relationships between characters.  The first demo follows around three goldfish spirits and is mostly an exploration of the “mechanics” and lore of AkaAka’s world with some brief character appearances.  Don’t forget to play the omake in this demo, which completely breaks the fourth wall and allows the characters to introduce themselves.  Despite being a main character, Sagano is left out for the most part in the demos, but he’s often shown opposite of Yue in key images, thus will play a large, possibly antagonistic role.  For more specific information and many pretty screenshots, see the character guide below!

Character information:

Yue (由)

The protagonist is a carefree young man, living life at his own pace.  Having never left the temple he was born and raised in, Yue’s norm is filled with the supernatural, such as shape-shifting fox spirits and talking, flying fish.  He is often tired and notorious for sleeping while standing and even passing out in random places.  However, he’s troubled by dreams filled with red camellia.  Yue always carries a fox mask which was supposedly given to him by Kurogitsune.

Kurogitsune (黒狐)

Kurogitsune (literally “black fox”) is a feisty and excitable fox spirit usually found in the company of Yue.  He can take either a fox or human form, although he retains his ears and tail.  As a resident of the temple, Kurogitsune’s role is to protect Yue.  He clearly knows something about Yue’s past, but casually deflects any questions.  Unlike Yue, Kurogitsune occasionally descends from the mountain into town alone.  However, he is not fond of humans, only their food.

Akiyoshi (秋良)

Akiyoshi is a high school boy who is sensitive to the supernatural.   Thus, he fancies himself as a protector of the town.  In reality, Akiyoshi is an awkward boy who wears a mask to curb his allergies.  Believing he senses a fox spirit inside of Yue, Akiyoshi is wary, yet still drawn to him.  To Yue, Akiyoshi appears as a distinguishable human being, meaning they share a special fate…

Tougo Tsubaki (灯吾椿)

Tsubaki is a high school boy who hates the red flowers he was named after.  He lives with his younger sister Hina in a house surrounded by camellia.  At the winter festival, Tsubaki stood out from all the faceless people and caught Yue’s interest.  Both Tsubaki and Kurogitsune seemed nervous about this encounter, but Tsubaki quickly recollected himself.  Aloof to a fault, Tsubaki keeps everyone at a comfortable distance.  Sagano offhandedly commented that Tsubaki is a liar, even to himself.

Sagano (嵯峨野)

A mysterious man with elaborate facial markings who casually dons what appears to be a bloody fox tail muffler.  Sagano seemingly knows a good deal about both Yue’s identity and the source of Yue’s troubled dreams, but he discloses no information.  Sagano is often seen with a cold smirk on his face. Kurogitsune notes that the only time Sagano doesn’t appear dangerous or threatening is when he’s eating.

Supporting Characters:

Satou (狭塔)

The keeper of the temple is a well-mannered man who likes cleanliness.  Satou raised Yue like a parent and keeps watch over many of the local spirits.  He is a stern man and the others, particularly Kurogitsune, are scared of crossing him.  He reportedly loves sweet things.

Mikoto (ミコト) / Miko-sama (ミコ様)

The god of the temple.  Although she looks like a young girl, Mikoto is an old, powerful spirit.  She has 8 tails visible, one short of being a nine-tailed fox spirit.  Mikoto’s orders are absolute to the temple residents.  However, she dotes on Yue.  When she learned Yue found people of interest after he snuck to town, Mikoto retracted her ban.  Her new orders are for Yue to become close to those people, ominously stating they are a necessity to Yue.

Suisen (水仙), Gyokuro (玉露), Kiimun (祁門) / Kingyo (キンギョ)

These three goldfish spirits are usually found flying about Satou.  Their individual names are Suisen (red fish), Gyokuro (black fish), and Kiimun (yellow fish).  As spirits, they seem young and immature, but they are capable of taking the form of children.  They are curious and flighty in nature, but also blunt and even cruel.

Ranchuu (嵐昼)

A calm and serious mouse spirit that takes care of many household matters around the temple.  Although normally cool and polite, Ranchuu will take a (usually deserved) harsh tone with Kurogitsune.

Abesan-tachi (足部さん達)

Abesan-tachi is a friendly spirit(s?) that helps out at the temple, selling fortunes and charms.  Even though he has two sets of independently moving arms, Abesan-tachi claims to be only one being.

Suzuki Sora (鈴来宙)

Sora is a friendly, regular high school boy and Tsubaki’s classmate.  Sora’s biggest worry is deciding on a future career; he’s torn between working as a police officer like his parents and his personal interest in studying folklore.  What’s even more worrisome is the fact that the goldfish spirits see Sora as a unique human and they want their “prey…”

Saku (朔), Nagi (薙)

While they appear to be cute, young girls, these two are strong spirits who will forcibly drive anyone out of their territory.  The black-haired girl, Nagi, is calm and quiet, while Saku is more mischievous and teasing.  Although they don’t care for the temple residents and act independently, they are both fond of Yue.

Tougo Hina (灯吾灯奈)

Tsubaki’s little sister.  Hina looks like an ordinary young girl, but she’s attuned to the supernatural and sensed the true identity of the goldfish spirits while in their human forms and vaguely warned Sora of the danger.  Inexplicably, Hina also lied to keep Sora from meeting her brother.

Yoshiki? (ヨシキ)

Seen giving his mask to Yue in his dreams.

???

This odd cat hangs around the electronics and antique shop district.  The presence of two tails suggests it is a nekomata spirit.  It showed a passing interest in Yue and the goldfish spirits are very scared of it.

Akujiki (悪食)

Akujiki are spirits who ate someone that wasn’t their own “prey.”  As a result, they become uncommunicative and hostile towards other beings.

People (ヒトビト)

Normal humans generally appear as indistinguishable, unappetizing shadows to spirits.

Summary of General Information:

  • Title:  Akaya Akashiya Ayakashino (あかやあかしやあやかしの)
    • also known as AkaAka (あかあか)
  • Official site: http://haccaworks.net/aaa/akaaka.html
  • Circle:  HaccaWorks*
  • Platform:  PC (XP, Vista, 7)
  • Release Date: May 2011
  • Character Designs: Yumekagami Misaki (夢各神ミサキ)
  • Theme Song Title: Akakakushi (朱隠し)
  • Theme Song Performance: Shikata Akiko (志方あきこ) (Ar Tonelico, Hanakisou, Umineko no Naku Koro ni, Shadow Hearts, etc)
  • Ending Song Performance: coo:ya (空夜coo:ya)
  • Not voiced
  • Demos work readily with AGTH/Translation Aggregator

If you have any questions, leave a comment and I’ll answer them to the best of my ability. I hope others will take the opportunity to dive into AkaAka’s world!

About these ads

44 responses to “Akaya Akashiya Ayakashino Preview

  1. I’ve been waiting for this game :D The vibrant colours definitely attracted my eyes. I think she did a great job in these illustrations, comparing to Hanakisou which was already drop dead gorgeous :)

    But it would be nice if game designers considered mac as one of their gaming platforms, but I know how hard it is to export into a mac format. Either that or I should just get dual OS for my laptop, lol. /rant

    • I love her work.. I wish she had an artbook out! I’ve already hunted down some of the doujinshi equivalents for HaccaWorks*, so I’m excited. If you end up playing it, tell me what you think. I couldn’t find any Hanakisou friends even after spreading it around aarin, lol! It seems underplayed for being so gorgeous to look at!

      I feel ya. Being a gamer, I’m doomed to always having a PC as my main desktop, but my work laptop is a Mac. It might be a good thing so I’m not tempted while working… XD

  2. *w*

    Thank for all those information! :33

    (i was searching to know the plot, ’cause the Art were really handsome! -It was great with Hanakisou too, but i really like it now!- Yumekagami misaki makes really good character design, i love it! :3)

    and i love Akiko shikata’s work! (the op song is great) but i’m impatient to heard the tracks, still yo saif it fits well! :3

    =w= i’m really glad HaccaWorks is still making new VN! it sounds good! ^w^

    Thanks you again! :3

    • I’m very glad it was useful! :D I was searching for information myself before and came up empty, so I’m glad it can help people.

      I’m also ridiculously excited that HaccaWorks* is close to releasing it–seems like we’ve been waiting a long time! But I’m sure the wait will be worth it after playing the demos :) I was very pleased the demos showed off so much of Yumekagami Misaki’s work. Hopefully we don’t have to wait too much longer!

  3. Thank you for posting all of this! I’ve been looking for info on the game, but I can’t read Japanese, haha. I’m looking forward to this game so much. The music really fits and the plot seems interesting. The art is really nice, but in a somewhat creepy way. I mean, that Akujiki scene scared the crap out of me when I played the demo.

    When the game is released, will you do a summary of it?

    • I’m glad you found it useful. :) I’m looking forward to it a lot (as this entry shows!). It does have a beautiful, yet creepy undertone to the scenes and the music.

      I’ve thought about doing something like that if there’s enough interest in summaries. I’d do specific character routes and such. As long as the level of language stays at the current levels shown in the demos, I should be able to understand enough to summarize. It’s a lot of work though, so we’ll see! So far, I’m glad this entry seems to attract lots of random people looking for info, but I’m still not sure how useful it is to them to undertake such a task!

  4. This game looks lovely and really really interesting. I love the creepiness and those colors… Unfortunately I can’t play unvoiced games because I can never understand enough of the text to my liking and I end up getting too frustrated to continue.
    Guess it’s time to learn Japanese ._.

    • The voices do help a lot! For what it’s worth, the text is very simple–one of the more simple games I’ve played. I’m hoping it will eventually get the voiced PS2 treatment (or even PSP) like Hanakisou.

  5. Pingback: Akaya Akashiya Ayakashino to be Released This May! | the manga habit

  6. thank you for posting this info and pics. I’m really new to this yet but I got interested because of the beautiful artwork and opening song and now I found out it’s a game and downloaded the trial versions. And I’d like to ask where and how can you order/buy it and to what platform is it? (sorry if you have told these already but I didn’t notice ><)(and what about Hanakisou) *(I'm having trouble with reading some japanese websites because I don't know so many kanji ^^'')*

    • You’re welcome–I’m glad you gave the demos a try! AkaAka is currently only available by PC. Haccaworks* lists an number of stores you can purchase it from: http://haccaworks.net/aaa/aka_tokuten.htm Note that since it’s software, the stores only ship to addresses in Japan. So you have to use a forwarding service like Tenso or a proxy buying service like Celga or FromJapan to ship to a foreign address. So unfortunately you have you go through a couple extra hoops, but it’s easily done. For a service like Celga, it’s incredibly easy–you just give the link to the product you want to buy, pay them a deposit amount using paypal, and they do the rest.

      Hanakisou is available on PC (not voiced), PS2 (voiced), and PSP (voiced). You can buy it from a number of stores and there are some companies that stock it and will ship to a foreign address. I use PlayAsia and they stock the PS2 ( http://www.play-asia.com/paOS-13-71-43-49-en-70-1d0s.html ) and PSP versions ( http://www.play-asia.com/paOS-13-71-9f-49-en-70-3tgj.html ) PS2 is region-locked and requires a swap disc or modded PS2. The PSP version is not region-locked and contains all the extras/voiced material, so I highly recommend it. :)

    • um and (this may be stupid XD but I just want to be sure) is aka aka a shounen ai game (because hanakisou is one, right XD)

      • Actually, that’s a good question because it can be a common misconception. AkaAka is *not* shounen ai. It’s a shoujo supernatural/fantasy story. If you squint hard enough, I guess you can find a little slash, but it’s not nearly the same level of Hanakisou (which itself is technically not considered BL).

  7. ok 8) thank you! (btw do you have a good PSP to recommend? because I don’t have one and I have been planning on getting one)

    • No problem. I don’t have any big recs on PSP. I like my game systems new, so that would leave you with a PSP-3000 model. Complaints for that one are that you can’t easily load custom firmware for homebrew programs/emulation/yar pirating.. but the older models that can aren’t as readily/cheaply available, let alone new. So I’d go with the current base model. Games aren’t region protected, so you can play import games you buy. Skip the PSPgo.

  8. ok thanks!

  9. Pingback: Akaya Akashiya Ayakashino (あかやあかしやあやかしの) | Nhật Nguyệt Gia

  10. I first found out Aka Aka by listening to it’s Opening then I got curious about then I found this. Thank you so much, I really want to play this I like the art and from what I read, the story too :D

  11. Waaah this looks good! I’ll probably play this after I finish Hanakisou.
    It might be a little tough since it’s unvoiced (my poor Japanese knowledge u.u) but I’m loving its art and story. <333
    Thanks for the preview. :)

    • You should! It’s very enjoyable and oh so pretty to look at. I think the language is some of the easiest I’ve ever encountered in a visual novel. It’s not that the concepts are shallow, it just has a natural writing style that is easy to interpret. I bet you’d be fine :)

  12. could someone give me the website or something so that i can order this game…because i’ve been incapable to do so at the moment….T-T

    • I posted an amazon link above. There’s other places as well. They require a shipping address in Japan, so you’ll need to look into using a forwarding service like Tenso. Buying software outside of Japan is annoying.

  13. 請問要怎麼下載以及使用?

    • Okay, I don’t speak or read Chinese at all, so Google translate is telling me this is an inquiry about how to download and use the game? Well, you can get the free *demo* trials from the HaccaWorks* website. That’s the only thing covered in this entry. As for the full game, I bought it. I don’t have and won’t spread any information about downloading it. It’s a doujin game.. please support their YEARS of effort by buying. It’s relatively cheap for a game as well.

  14. Hmm…I downloaded the demos but they don’t work. An error screen keeps showing up but I don’t think the problem is in my computer. A purple screen with the script shows up. Gaaah but I really love the character design and the atmosphere of the game. Thank you for writing about it, this post is really helpful!

    • No clue why it doesn’t work, especially if you regularly run Japanese games. I had zero problems with Windows 7 and just followed the basics of setting region/language etc. I’m glad you found the post useful at least!

  15. The demos don’t work on my computer for some reason, an error window pops up every time…

    I’m trying to figure out a way to buy this game right now, seeing as Amazon won’t ship software overseas. I think my aunt has some friends in Japan, so I think that could help.

    • If you can’t get the demos to work, I doubt the full version would be any different. I’d beware and troubleshoot that first. International buyers can use deputy services to buy things like software for them for a smallish fee.

  16. а я русскОе

    • It eludes me why people keep posting in foreign languages obviously not covered on this blog. Consider this a general statement then.

      Okay, Google translate says this means “But I am Russian.” Since I don’t speak Russian or *ever indicated any knowledge of it*, we’re running with that.

      Okay—and? I’m from North America and speak English, but that has nothing to do with the fact that AkaAka is a Japanese game in Japanese and only Japanese. It isn’t magically translated into the language of our choice unfortunately, so we have to deal with it being in its native language. An English-speaking website isn’t the place to ask about information on a Russian or any non-English translation anyway and I have no idea what would give people this impression.

      I am not Google or Google.yourcountry

  17. Hi! Thanks for this post. I had a lot of trouble finding out more about it (I guess my google-fu is weak…)

    Anyway, your posts on the game convinced me to buy it! Thanks again! :)

    • There’s not a whole lot of information out there even now, which is why I made the post in the first place. I’m glad it was useful and helped you make the decision to get it. Have fun playing :D

  18. Is the English version out? Where would I buy the English version?
    I am convinced to buy this game ahaha

  19. It’s still messing with my head that I can’t figure out Ranchu’s specific gender. Is it a he, a she? Seriously, why did I have to fall for the one character that never seems to be called by a gender, anywhere? They certainly play the part of the female role, and act like one. But still……

    • I always thought of Ranchuu as male due to the voice, but I don’t actually recall any material like the supplement books specifying gender.. hmm. It all aligns with “prepubescent boy” in my head since Ranchuu hasn’t had his meal yet. So it’s whatever you want!

  20. Pingback: Akaya Akashiya Ayakashino PSP Port~! o/ | Bishie Holic

  21. Is there an english translation of the game? I’d like to play in it but I don’t know Japanesse :c

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s