Genre: Visual Novel, Otome
Release Date: January 29, 2016
Disclaimer: This is a review of the Append Disc, which contains extra content and a new route.
Dynamic Chord feat. [reve parfait] is the first game in the Dynamic Chord series, published by Honeybee Black. Since Honeybee are the current owners of my soul, I’ll give them a proper introduction before beginning my review.
One fateful day, Honeybee –the company responsible for publishing the well-known Starry Sky series– decided to announce the creation of Honeybee Black. Honeybee Black is a variant of its main brand, meant to focus on publishing otome games with more mature themes. It seems Honeybee wanted to appeal to a wider audience, but decided to branch out so as to not affect the main company’s reputation for fluffier games.
Just like Honeybee has its characteristic Starry Sky, Honeybee Black developed its own series of sorts in the form of Dynamic Chord. In the Honeybee universe, Dynamic Chord is a music company that debuts famous music bands such as reve parfait, Liar-S, KYOHSO, and apple-polisher. Hence, there are four games, each starring the members of one of the bands as its main cast.
Feat. [reve parfait] has four romanceable guys: Kashii Reon, Momose Tsumugi, Tsukinohara Kuon, and Kashii Aki. The story’s protagonist is Atano Rio, a shy and studious girl living with her mother. Rio finds out that her friends are forming a band and becomes their temporary manager until their official debut. Since it’s Honeybee we’re talking about here, she’s childhood friends with 3 out of 4 of the dudes. Will their obsession with the childhood friend trope continue in Honeybee Black? I’ve already played Blackish House and it’s still prominent there, so it probably will. I high key dig it anyway.
Feat. reve parfait’s story is rather simple but each member’s personal struggle is interesting. What I first noticed was that the overarching plot is filled with high school clichés, however once you enter a route the band concept is thankfully left behind for the most part and the guy’s backstory becomes the focus. Another good aspect is that there’s not just drama in the narrative; the writers made sure to add fluff and relationship development to improve the chemistry between the protagonist and her crush.
Frankly, the “popular guy” trope is way too overplayed and it gets old pretty fast. In view of the fact that all of the guys are popular and constantly date random women just for… entertainment, as soon as they settle down with Rio all hell breaks loose. There’s always crazy jealous girls trying to get her to break up with the boys because “they’re too good for her”. Did this really have to be brought up in every single route? I was only safe from this tiring plot device in Aki’s route. Ever since I picked up the game I’ve been wondering why every cast member is popular; usually only one or two of them are as the writers like to play around with the different character tropes.
Reve parfait’s narrative in its entirety is a combination of numerous clichés seen before in other games or anime. Taking into account the fact that I’m a sucker for good drama, I really liked its execution. The experience is like watching a soap opera minus the extremely frustrating and annoying moments – there were situations where I thought one of the classic shoujo misunderstandings could happen, yet the heroine quickly stated that she trusted her friends and refused to give up on them. Actually, I was pretty immersed in the story’s development, thus for the most part whenever the protagonist got upset I agreed with her and related to her reactions. The writers thankfully didn’t come up with extremely stupid reasons to upset Rio, she gets sad at times the conflicts genuinely become overwhelming.
Although Rio doesn’t stand out much as a heroine and she’s defenseless when others bully her, I appreciate that she doesn’t get sad over every little unreasonable thing and often holds her ground instead of running away from her problems.
The guys are all likeable to an extent, even if some (Kuon) bored me to bits. My personal favorite is Aki, followed by Reon, nonetheless Tsumugi could be pretty cute a lot of the time too. To be fair, I only didn’t care about Kuon. A rock has more personality than him.
Kuon is basically a Gary Stu, something like a Kirito – he is nice and a hit among women, that aside his reactions are basically non-existent. He acts like the perfect prince charming, yet he doesn’t have a personality that sets him apart as an individual. Aki? Cute, selfless, extremely adorable and caring, a total mom. Reon? A bratty tsundere, he likes teasing Rio a lot and also shows a childish and spoiled side around her. Tsumugi? Blunt and honest, can’t trust people easily but wears his heart on his sleeve. Kuon? Uh… Gentlemanly, perhaps? He literally just treats Rio like his “princess”, he doesn’t show a personality of his own. I guess I’m just glad none of the boys is a yandere – funny fact, at first I thought Aki would be one. Oh how wrong I was.
Fujiwara Ryou is in charge of the designs and illustrations in the game. Reve parfait’s art is pretty, yet nothing really stands out. The quality of the character sprites is good and the art style itself is nice, nonetheless the illustrations are very inconsistent and it seems like the artist had problems drawing different angles and poses. It wouldn’t be much of a problem if only a few of the CGs were awkward-looking, however many of them are odd; I even dare to say that at least half of the images look okay at best.
Despite the fact that Honeybee really tried to push the VN’s music –there are even actual albums being sold with reve parfait’s band tracks–, the music is very forgettable and repetitive. Soundtracks are always a weak point in otome games, so I’m not really surprised, but I did hope the music would be better as the story is centered on it. The group’s tracks are messy and the BGM of the VN gets old really fast, thus I don’t have anything good to say about this aspect.
The voice acting is nothing impressive. It’s good overall, nevertheless there’s nothing special in there. I was excited going into the game because I saw that Toriumi Kousuke is Kuon’s voice, yet he unfortunately voices the most boring and inexpressive character. This wasn’t Toriumi’s best work, although to be fair, he didn’t have much to work with. The highlight of the voice acting department is actually Hirose Yuuya, whose voice I’ve liked ever since I played Blackish House. His voice color is very pleasing to listen to and he did a fantastic job during the emotional scenes.
Dynamic Chord feat. [reve parfait] isn’t a masterpiece per se, however I personally enjoyed it a lot and it’s greatly entertaining. I think I wouldn’t have liked the original reve parfait as much as I liked this Append Disc, seeing that the original didn’t contain neither Aki’s route nor the fluffy 2-3 hour long epilogues for each guy.
The plot is fairly light-hearted and all of the guys have their cute blushing moments, so every player will get at least something good out of reve parfait. The epilogues have a lot of fanservice too, which will quickly make up for any mess seen throughout each dude’s route.
I recommend giving reve parfait a try to those who are fans of Honeybee or like dramatic plots such as the ones seen in Mystic Messenger. In case you’re considering picking this up but you haven’t played much of Honeybee’s content before:
Honeybee’s games definitely aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. Many gamers find the high school concept tiring, and they often reuse the writing from their previous visual novels. Besides, all of Honeybee’s games are pretty dramatic, which doesn’t appeal to all of its target demographic. Still, there’s something that keeps pulling me back and forcing me to play all the material they have to offer, and sometimes stories are just so bad that they’re good.
If you’ve read my previous reviews and agreed with my opinions, just trust me and give the game a try. I’ll definitely review the rest of the Dynamic Chord series soon, although I might skip KYOHSO thanks to what I’ve read about the game online. It definitely doesn’t sound appealing.