Sensei 2 Review

Contributed by J. Sarunski aka Unicorn

Sensei 2

Multi-path Visual Novel

The main character of this game is Nakata Shuichi. He belongs to a powerful clan and was raised at the house of this clan's leader, his grandfather. After his father died, he became his grandfather's primary heir. At his father's funeral, he again meets Kumiko Sawada, a seven year older woman, who previously lived in the same house. Several years ago, they used to regard each other as siblings, even though they weren't related by blood. A few years ago, she left his grandfather's house for unknown reasons and left Shuichi behind.

Now, she is going to start her career as a teacher in a new town, and offers him a chance to follow her and study at the same school too. He decides to follow her. But from the very start his relation to his new homeroom teacher [Isotani Tomonori] is based on mutual hate at first sight.

Things change for the better after Kumiko became his homeroom teacher; or perhaps, it's just the calm before the storm. Anyway, it's up to you to either rebuild and reinforce your former relationship with Kumiko, or perhaps discover that another female teacher at your new shool appeals to you quite more...

There are 20 BGM-MIDI-Themes that express the current mood. Each character of the story, except the player's character Shuichi, has voice-acting. Occasionally played environmental sounds enhance the aural experience.

Graphics and Animation:
The graphics are displayed at resolutions of 640*480 pixels. There are no animations in this game. However, a dynamic element is added to the graphics by using constant background graphics and pasting different cels of the currently talking characters with different facial expressions, poses, or clothes according to the story onto them. (This is not really animation, but a method of generating standing graphics dynamically according to the current situation in the story. It could be regarded as a digitally refined Kamishibai, a traditional kind of storytelling that used hand-drawn images as visual enhancement as well.)

After you played through to one of the ten possible endings, an extras-menu featuring the following functions becomes available:
- a CG-Gallery
- replay of any already seen h-scene
- replay of the endings
- playback any of the BGM-themes

My personal opinion:
One month after the release of this game, G-Collections released Tsuki. At first glance, both games resemble each other very much. Many times I even confused both of them if I were to recall a certain scene and had to assign it to one of the two games. I got both of them at the same time, and after I played through each once, I first thought Tsuki had the better gameplay, because it hid his novel-nature well by leaving a lot of decisions to the player during the stories. However, later on I learned that these decisions only fake a freedom of own actions: the story continues regardless of how the player decides. Only an invisible meter is affected that decides if the main character can resist his demon in the end.

Sensei 2 doesn't fake a non-existent variability of the storylines and thus is a little more honest. On the other hand, the fact that any decision has a direct impact and there are not as many decisions as in Tsuki make the reactions of the game more predictible and thus less challenging.

However, after completing all possible endings and understanding the stories for both games, I concluded that the story of Sensei2 is by far superior to that of Tsuki: In Sensei2, the main character is in full control of his actions, and also assumes full responsibility for them. Instead of an anonymous demon that possesses the main character in Tsuki, Sensei 2 has a main character that suffers from a series of traumatic experiences and reacts to them with his deeds.

Also, the victims in this story react more realistically by at least resisting Shuichi at first; one of them even tries to fight back. All characters change according to their experiences with the main character during the story, and each has her well-developed storyline with two possible endings each. The fascinating thing about these stories is that most of them are only decoys meant to distract you from the originally meant-to-be Kumiko-storyline. Yet, at first you don't even realize that because they all develop in their own directions. If it weren't for the ending list, as well as the Kumiko CG gallery in the Extras-Menu, I'd probably have given up on her and be satisfied with all the other stories. Of course, that would have been a big mistake, because only Kumiko’s storyline resolved the remaining mysteries about the main character.

On the other hand, in Tsuki, all of the characters kept the same caring attitude towards the main character, regardless of what he did to them. They might have lost everything in their possession, but they never blamed it on the protagonist. Furthermore, the main mystery remains unresolved probably as an excuse to make a sequel.

But to be honest, I'd be not interested in a sequel to Tsuki, but rather in the sequel to Sensei2 that has been already released in Japan, as long as the same team is involved in its creation. I am usually not too keen on dark submission/domination-stories, but this game impressed me story-wise as well as with the soundtrack and the graphics. The story might not be an emotional masterpiece as Kana - Little Sister had been, but instead it was an anthology of six conclusive stories showing upside und downside of relationships that are based on submission and domination.

Neither game is particularly challenging, perhaps except finding the path to the Kumiko-storyline. Both contain comparable amounts of story, but I enjoyed the stories of Sensei2 more. Perhaps, because I could at least understand the main character's motives and actions.

The graphics and character designs closely resemble those used in Kana - Little Sister. This might upset the fans of Kana, because Kana is a rather romantic story, while the story of this game is quite the opposite in being dominated by sex-scenes that are mostly non-consensual. But perhaps, this is just a matter of viewpoints because I suppose that Kana really was an exceptional game from D.O. and Sensei2 might be more the typical product. So, it was simply a coincident the same talented artists working for D.O. on several games used the same style for both games.

In general, I'd suggest anyone who is repelled by dark stories involving non-consensual sex to keep his hands off this game as well as off Tsuki. The ones that particularly like flashy effects and animations might be happier with Tsuki. But to the ones that play games more for the story than the booty, I recommend trying Sensei2 first.