By Ishaan . May 31, 2009 . 4:10pm
Idea Factory’s new otome title, Arcobaleno! captured my attention the minute I saw it. I’ll admit I haven’t really played too many otome games, but how often do you see such nice-looking cover art? And so, I decided to fish around for more info. (Yes, based solely off of the cover art!)
Upon further investigation though, the game does seem genuinely interesting. Arcobaleno means “rainbow” in Italian. The game is essentially a school-romance visual novel. You play as 18-year-old Kayano Yuuna, student at the Murota Academy, a culinary school for aspiring chefs.
When she was little, Yuuna ran away from home at the age of 8 and nearly collapsed from hunger. She was saved by a chef who served her some delicious Pescatore, some sort of seafood dish. The taste of the dish remained with Yuuna all her life and inspired her to become a professional Italian chef.
One day, she runs into Haruto, a substitute teacher at her school. It turns out Haruto owns a restaurant by the name of “Arcobaleno” and wouldn’t you know it, his pescatore tastes exactly like the dish Yuuna ate ten years ago.
Figuring this is the closest she can get to what inspired her in the first place, Yuuna decides she wants to drop out of school and asks to be taken on at the Arcobaleno as Haruto’s apprentice. Unfortunately, the other staff at the restaurant aren’t exactly very keen on this. It is decided that Yuuna will have to pass a cooking test with two other aspiring applicants before she is taken on.
Reverse-harem seems to be the name of the game in Arcobaleno!. Like all visual novels, the emphasis seems to be on character development. As Yuuna, you can interact with the mostly male student population at the academy by moving around the map. Daily conversation with the boys is an important part of building your relationships with them. If you manage to get close enough to one, you’ll receive an e-mail from them that signals the opportunity for you to pursue a more intimate relationship.
You can also obtain recipes from the guys. This is important because a cooking test based around a particular theme is held every two weeks and you’ll need to answer enough questions correctly to pass.
Yuuna has three ingame stats that you can level up: heart, body and skill. Three other stats – tension, title (or designation) and trait – also exist, and these are interconnected with the aforementioned three. For example; tension seems influence how effective your daily studies and training are. They also seem to tie in to the tests in some way.
Arcobaleno! features a star-studded lineup of seiyuu for the male voices and releases May 14 in Japan. There also seems to be a limited edition of the game available that comes with a radio drama CD. Unfortunately, it’s out of stock on Play-Asia right now.
So…who here wants to take the plunge?