On Bringing Hakuoki: Demon Of The Fleeting Blossom Overseas

By Spencer . July 11, 2011 . 6:12pm

At Anime Expo, Aksys announced they are localizing one of Idea Factory’s Hakuoki titles. Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom is the PSP version of the very first game in the series. Why did Aksys pick Hakuoki? That’s what we covered in this interview.


Out of all the otome games1 you could have picked up, why did you decide to localize Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom?


Frank "Bo" deWindt II, Director of Production: Well, Hakuoki has mature themes and also has hot men. [Laughs.]


Aileen Viray, Assistant Marketing Manager: This is really experimental for us because otome games aren’t really known in the U.S. It’s our first otome game and I believe it’s one of the very first otome games in the U.S. We wanted to play on the visual novel aspect of things. Ben here, great writer, is working on the game. Just putting that out there.


1 Otome games are a Japanese term for romance video games geared towards females where you explore relationships with a number of male characters.


Don’t all otome games have hot men?


FdW: These are especially hot men.


Ben Bateman, Editor: I think that depends on your opinion of the art. There are otome games with bad art.


FdW: The artist [Yone Kazuki] draws really nice art that all of the J-fans adore. You have to admit it’s pretty interpretative.


AV: My favorite part of the game is the art itself. We released art to you guys and that’s only in-game art. It’s really well done, visually stylish, and if you see some of the Anime Expo exclusive products you can see some of the art and I think it’s just wonderful.


FdW: Not to mention you learn a little bit about Japanese history, some of is made up, but you learn a little bit of history, which is an added bonus. Something for the parents out there.




Were there any other otome games you were considering since the otomate line from Idea Factory covers a sizable amount of titles.


BB: Well, I think part of the reason that we picked Hakuoki is that it is a pretty popular anime series in Japan right now. It’s relatively popular. Obviously, it’s hard to gauge whether it’s popular here, but we know it’s popular in Japan.


I was telling Ben earlier, I think this is the ballsiest localization pickup from any publisher I’ve seen all year. How much of a risk do you feel this game is for Aksys?


FdW: I wouldn’t say it’s so much of a risk as it is testing the waters, getting our feet wet with otome. This is like a litmus test to see if we want to pursue more otome games or to even see if they have a market here. I definitely think it is a good choice, as an otome game, to test the market.


AV: You can emphasize ballsy with every hot man in Hakuoki. [Everyone laughs.]


There are other games in the series you could have picked up like a Nintendo 3DS game in development and a PS3 title. Are these on the table if Hakuoki does well?


FdW: Quite possibly. We don’t like saying "no" to anything. There is always potential for us to pursue something.


AV: Of course, the portable units are the ideal platform for visual novel games because you don’t have to sit in front of your console…


FdW: … well there are some visual novels that I would like to play on consoles like ever17.


The PSP market though, from a retail perspective, is having a tough time. I keep hearing retailers don’t want to stock PSP games. Even Gamestop is scaling back on PSP titles and this game is a new genre. How does Aksys plan on tackling distribution issues since Hakuoki will not be available until next year?


AV: Just seeing the tail end of the PS2, Persona 4 was the last major game, I would say on the PS2. We have to come full cycle and we want to end the PSP on a good note. With a bang…


FdW: … of hot men.


Will Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom be Vita compatible?


FdW: I believe Sony said PSN games in general are compatible with Vita. So, the PSN version will should be compatible, but that’s more of a Sony question.


Our coverage of Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom continues where we discuss the game’s romanc-able characters. I think… it’s an interview no one will forget. Read it right here.

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  • I am buying it and I know a friend of mine is buying it!  I can not wait for it.

  • <– straight guy. buying it. they will go nicely with my Da Capo and Da Capo 2 girls. they can all get together and have a bon odori in my imagination.

    • Da capo will help you counter the otome-ness, im gonna get it too :D

  • Lol Akselziys is the best! I love the “Bang with hot men” part especially! xD
    Ben is a darn cool dude too, though I admit I don’t know Aileen, sorry!~ >-<

    I love how you are more open to a wider branch, that gives me hope~ :P
    And I look forward to the second part! And I'll obviously buy the game!

    • Aww XD You, sir, are awesome ^_^/

  • Oh God, these guys are hot even in my eyes.
    I just hope playing this game won’t make me gay..  x…x

    • puchinri

      All manly men know that being able to appreciate anyone hot/sexy/beautiful doesn’t make you gay. Just like manly tears only make you manlier! (But when you actually start lusting after the guys, that will probably be a different story.)

  • PoppyLein

    actually, i dont have PSP, but…
    i am buying it no matter what. XD

    • puchinri

      Lol, same. 
      (Although I might just jack my sister’s.)

  • I have such a limited amount of money that I think I may have to skip Catherine to get this. I want Hakuouki ridiculously and I want to support it 1000 times over. I hope the game does really well and we get even more otome games!

    • Zero_Destiny

      I know budgeting money can be hard and every thing and some people may need to think in the long term when it comes to picking up games you really want but Catherine comes out this month and Hakuoki doesn’t come out until next year. Just wanted to say that. So there is a pretty big time difference there. You got at least 5 months to save up for this game. Anyways I just wanted to pointed it out. You may be having money troubles of your own and that’s none of my business, but I do hope you can get both since they’re gonna be great. ^_^

      • puchinri

        Lol, I know for me, the gap makes little difference. As soon as I can put a reserve on Hakouki, that’s where the (ex-)Catherine money will go. x’);
        (And I’m at the point where I’d rather import Catherine anyway.)

      • While the time difference is very true, I’m in the same boat as puchinri where it doesn’t make much difference. Also the fact that when Catherine comes out, it’ll be $60 dollars and I’m assuming that even the Hakuouki LE won’t even be that much. I’m more looking to get Catherine when it (new, not used) price drops to at least $50; I’ve actually yet to buy any game for $60 and the thought of doing so makes me cringe.

    • puchinri

      Same here. I don’t mind passing on Catherine (and I might even have to take my money from Shadows of the DmD) for this. Otome needs the support more, and I definitely want this more.

  • So does this game have a plot and good characters or is it all about “hot” men. Because if it is, count me out. I might be curious, but not 30 dollars or more curious for these backdoor shenanigans. 

    • Well from what I knew prior to Aksys’ announcement I believe the main protagonist is searching for her father and encounters the men who I think are apart of the Shinsegumi. I can be wrong though.

      • Nope, you’re right. There’s also some supernatural stuff going down in the plot that the Shinsengumi are investigating/keeping under wraps.

      • Zero_Destiny

        That sounds about right. I’m not too familiar with it myself though so I’m copying this from wiki. “Chizuru Yukimura [A young girl and the main] heads to Kyoto to search for her father. While there, she witnesses a fight between Rasetsu [Pretty much a Buddhist deity not gonna go into too much depth since I don’t know that much myself] and members of the  Shinsegumi The Shinsengumi take her into custody and, once learning she is the daughter of the doctor they are searching for, decide to keep her close at hand. Chizuru follows the Shinsengumi in their battles to help the shogunate.” They (The Shinsegumi) also fight demons and stuff. Something like that? There’s an anime adaption (2 seasons long with 22 episodes in total) for the Visual Novel so if anyone is curious they can check that out and see if they like it. Though I’d imagine it would have spoilers.


    • Idea Factory otome games typically have a really good plot and story, so I think you’ll be pleased. I haven’t played this one, but the Ouran, Will O’ Wisp and Wand of Fortune games were a lot of fun and really interesting.

  • CrimsonDX

    I’ve always been a fan of Reverse Harem themes (Ouran Host Club and
    La Corda d’Oro for example) And I am a HUGE fan of Visual Novels so I will defiantly be picking this one up. 

  • Catnipcookie

    I only have one thing to say.

  • IceRomancer

    I’ll buy this, but i definitely won’t be telling my girlfriend I’m playing it. :/

  • Zero_Destiny

    Oh God this was a great interview. lol Spencer and everyone from Akyss you guys rock. Don’t ever change. :D I can’t wait for tomorrow. XD

  • “These are especially hot men.”
    “With a bang… of hot men.”

    Oh… ohkay.

  • The drawings are really awesome, it was a nice pick

  • Tommy Lee

    In the answer to the 5th question, is Bo’s response supposed to start with “Quite possibly” instead of “Quiet possibly”?

    • Ah… yes it is! Thanks for the correction.

    • those transposable characters

    • You only comment to correct?!, KISAMA!

      • Tommy Lee

        Yeah… That’s actually what I usually do when I comment. Or at least how it was half the time when I first started commenting. The most I’ll try to do is promote the game and the genre to girls I know. I’m not really interested in actually playing the game myself.

  • I’m honestly quite interested in seeing how well this title does. As someone who’s working in Visual Novels constantly, and frequently getting requests for us to do games like these, I really want to see how well this litmus test and JAST’s venture with Starry Sky does. I doubt I’ll be the only one watching either.

    Granted, on the personal side, Otome games aren’t my shtick so I’ll probably pass on this myself. I’m far more interested in Fate/Extra, which they also announced. (You got the Japanese voices, right? If so, where can I pre-order to ensure all my $ goes straight into your coffers?)

  • Neckbear

    You know, I think the guys at Aksys and me have differing opinions on what would be “really nice art”.

    Mel Kishida does good art. Akihiko Yoshida does good art. Ashito Oyari does good art. Hell, and that’s excluding a few like Yuji Himukai or Takehito Harada.

    And forgive the strong expression, but this just looks like about every other Otome game out there: Flamboyantly, kinda-homosexual (or just metrosexual, perhaps) looking FABULOUS men. It’s just…mediocre at best.

    …Not to say it’s bad, nor that I’ve seen much Otome artwork, so whatever.

    • It’s hard to compare to those artists D: but as Otome, or even visual novel games go, the art is really nice! 

      • Neckbear

        You know, Ashito Oyari did some nice artwork for a couple VNs before Littlewitch went under, and the likes of Kiyotaka Haimure (y’know, Index and Yume Miru Kusuri?) have also done art for Visual Novels.

        So…the only valid excuse would be otome games; and that’s just ’cause I’m not really knowledgeable on artists that have worked on them. Quite sure that if I looked, however, I could find some noteworthy art. Just perhaps.

        …Then again, the genre IS aimed towards women.

        • As Ben said, Art is really subjective, you can be more objective on how technically good it is, I suppose, but doesn’t mean that everyone will think it’s the greatest art in the world, or that artist is everyone’s favorite artist. Besides, even if there are better artists, it doesn’t mean my opinion that Hakuoki’s art is great is wrong…
          But on Ashito Oyari, can he draw hot men is the question? For a game directed towards women, it wouldn’t be appropriate….

    • I donno man, saying “this is good” and “this isn’t” re: art is getting onto some pretty shaky ground. Art is such a subjective thing that you’re pretty much guaranteed to cross swords with someone at some point. Personally, I think “good art” is people like Corey Lewis, or Brandon Graham, or Eiichiro Oda or Hayao Miyazaki, but that’s because of the things I value in my art—specifically, a sense of personal style, and a feeling of intense life or energy. That isn’t what everyone’s looking for. There’s only one sense in which you can really start talking about objective good vs. bad with art, and that’s in terms of technical skill. Most of the artists you listed have excellent technical skill, but their art itself feels dead, boring, and flat to me. That doesn’t mean they’re “bad”, it just means they’re not for me.

      Anyway, my point is, don’t hate. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s “bad”, or even mediocre.

    • puchinri

      I’m actually kind of different in that I enjoy this art and Mel Kishida’s, but they’re actually in the same place to me. Even Himukai and Harada-sensei’s art to me is appealing, but it just doesn’t do anything for me really. (Between all of them, I like some fan artists and indie artists way more than their’s.)

      I think the art in otome games definitely have a kind of ‘standard’/usual, but there’s a growing variety now. It’s kind of like rest of the genre (dating sims in general). In most dating sims (and visnovs), there’s a kind of generic (or at least usual) style, but some differentiate themselves in that they have a really nice, charming and distinctive style. Like a handful of otome games vs Starry Sky.

  • cj_iwakura

    Sakura Wars was the last essential PS2 game, actually. Only difference is no one bought it.

    • puchinri

      I think that’s why they said major. (Considering how huge SMT/Persona/etc. is in Japan and how well it did here.)

    • I love Sakura Wars :D NISA did a great job with part V ^_^/

    • Probably meant exclusive, SW was also on Wii.

  • I guess its good for portables, though, I wouldnt mind having the artwork on, like, my HDTV. Oh well, I will have both portables and an HD console, so in the time meaning, cant really express preference for either. Tomorrows interview I cant wait for.

  • Haha, I think that was the tame part of the interview XD;;

    I’m glad everyone seems to be as excited for Hakuoki as we are :D!

  • Hours

    I’m really happy to see Aksys really taking chances and releasing interesting games like this. I know I’ll be getting it for sure.

    And I really hoping people can be adventurous and try this game even if it doesn’t seem like the typical thing you’d buy. If your male, female, straight, gay, bi, etc. I think everyone can enjoy these types of games if you’re open to it, especially if you like visual novels and text adventure games.

    Visual novels and other niche genres really need our support if they’re gonna continue to be brought over to English markets. I’d hate to go back to the times when games like this were seen as too big of a risk, and all we’d get are “safe” mainstream titles. Aksys did an amazing job with 999 and I really would like to see that momentum continue.

  • XerosBeat

    I am definitely buying this game when it is released~ I’ve been playing Tokimeki since they’re easy to play, but yes, finally an otome game I can understand!

    • EmmyG

      … well, there are several otome games in English already, but certainly none on the PSP…

  • aoihana

    OMG I can’t wait for this game >___<

    I can't believe it's not being released until next year (ToT)

  • puchinri

    That was fun to read~. I’m excited for this. It shall be one of the few things I save some moneyz for.

  • “You can emphasize ballsy with every hot man in Hakuoki. [Everyone laughs.]”

    Gotta love their kinkiness! No one else does is better, or classier!

  • Phoenix_Apollo

    I personally hope Fate/Extra and Hakuoki do well enough for you guys to consider doing more PSP titles, even if they were just PSN releases for Vita.

  • Is this game gonna be where u control the girl and her character is like “you” because I dont think I would want to pursue hot men if that was the case. Makes me feel kinda gay.

    • EmmyG

      … I’d think you’d feel a lot more gay if it weren’t a girl you were controlling. :)

  • ‘Yo-Jin-Bo’ is an otome/visual novel which came out in the US a long time ago. Otome game aren’t new at all if you’re and avid adventure player and know where to look.

  • Roses4Aria

    So excited and grateful to Aksys for this!  The interview was great!  I’m a huge fan of Kazuki Yone’s artwork and have several fan books from the Hiiro no Kakera series just so I can gaze at the pretty boys…er, gorgeous art whenever I want. :P

    As for all the males who have questioned playing this, you’ll be glad to know that the plot isn’t overwhelmingly romantic.  It’s not like you spend the whole time chasing after the guys trying to score, lol.  It’s more of a historical visual novel with romance elements included.

  • I’ve been waiting a long time to see otome games in North America. If this experiment works out, I’d love to see lots more titles. Thanks Aksys~

    I’ve never played an otomate title yet, so I’ll be excited for my first one to have English text. I’m hoping for a really good plot in the story. Although pretty guys are fabulous, as long as the art is decent, all I need is a really good story (Admittedly, I just can’t sit through the terrible art no matter how good the story is. There is just a certain degree of quality that I expect no matter what). Personally I’m a ravenous fan of just about anything by Quinrose even though their art isn’t the prettiest, and it’s kind of dead looking. But I like them for their story telling (and their seiyuu <3). I'm also going to try out Karin's upcoming PC port of Zettai Meikyuu Grimm (It's probably apparent that I like fantasy otome, lol). But anyway, I've heard lots of good things about Hakuoki from Japan and 2012 can't get here fast enough. I'm probably going to order this game straight from the Aksys Games website. You guys from Aksys are the only ones I want to get any of my money.

    • EmmyG

      I so want to play Zettai Meikyuu Grimm!

      I pretty much can’t touch these things unless they’re on the PC, though, so Hakuoki is out for me.

  • XxDestinyXx

    Ever since I found out about Otome games when I was 11 (I am 22 now) I have been dying to play one, but my ability to learn foreign languages is… severely lacking.
    I have played the monstrosity that is “Yo-Jin-Bo”, and after that I basically gave up on a REAL Otome game reaching the states.
    But Aksys, wow, you guys are my HEROES! Not only are you bringing over an Otome game, but it is HAKUOUKI and you are releasing it with a Limited Edition!!!
    I died and went to fan-girl heaven! xD
    Now, hopefully, Hakuouki will sell really well and we will get more Otome games like “Hiiro no Kakera”!

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