I never would have expected an ecchi visual novel to leave a lasting impact on me, but TroubleDays somehow found a way to worm its way into my mind and take up residence. It wasn’t necessarily for its dirtiness, though it is, at the very least, adjacent to my interests. Rather, it was because it was just a cute romance. It surprised me, as I went in expecting smut, and came away with a perfectly enjoyable love story. Also, smut. There was some smut.
To my surprise, it wasn’t even a month later that another visual novel, published by the same company and written by the same author would land. Here I had been mulling over picking up its predecessor, NinNinDays, when I was already being presented with a follow-up.
So, I picked it up, nestled in, and let the romance waft over me.
KukkoroDays is a wholly different story from TroubleDays, and before you ask, I don’t know what kukkoro is supposed to mean. I’ve looked it up, but haven’t found a satisfying definition. I think it has something to do with the female protagonist’s catchphrase of “korose” or “kill me,” possibly a portmanteau with another word. I’m not sure. I’m not that proficient in Japanese.
Anyways, what I mean by “wholly different” is that it’s not a continuation of Troubledays’ storyline. Where that was the story about a succubus that one day shows up in the bed of a romantic loner, KukkoroDays is the story about a lady knight that one day shows up in the bed of a romantic loner.
So, it’s the same set up. It’s the same fish-out-of-water love story, but the role of the romantic interest is different. Hell, both games also heavily feature Akihabara, Tokyo’s electronic district. Some of the backgrounds are practically identical. I was getting severe deja vu off the hop.
A FAMILIAR SCENT
I was actually concerned that I was being faced with the same story beats, and while that didn’t turn out to be entirely untrue, the role of the romantic interest has a severe impact on the flavour of the game.
Lovelia, the succubus from TroubleDays was a slight woman whose mind and, indeed her profession, largely revolved around sex. Cattleya, our lady knight in question, is, on the other hand, an elegant knight obsessed with honour. Yes, this has a severe effect on how many sexual references are dropped, and no, I don’t know how to pronounce either of those names.
Cattleya was locked in battle with a tyrannical dragon in the moments before she’s transported to our world. Her wounds are treated by the protagonist who also takes the time to make sure she’s bound and gagged in a compromising position, the lucky girl. I said there were fewer sexual references, I didn’t say you weren’t in for a copious amount of panty shots.
Indeed Cattleya is devoted to her knighthood and considers her womanhood all but forfeit in the pursuit of honour. Oh, gosh, it’s a romance, so you know she’s going to fall for bland male protagonist du jour, but how will she get over her duty? What happens when she needs to return to her own world?
While I certainly enjoyed my interactions with Lovelia, I was more interested in seeing things from her perspective. Cattleya, though? I’d date the hell out of her.
She’s presented as an ultra-competent warrior capable of feats of super-human strength. The protagonist, being the manly man that he is, often has the option to try and play the hero, but she’s always there to pull his butt out of the fire. She never stops being in control, and the protagonist is constantly reminded of how little she needs his assistance. She could cut him in half at any time. *Swoon*
It’s a different dynamic than in TroubleDays. Cattleya slowly realizes what she’s been missing out on, she gets to experience a side of herself she kept suppressed, and she gets closer to the protagonist while doing it. It’s romantic!
CHINK IN ONE’S ARMOR
The same issues I had with TroubleDays are unfortunately still present here. Cattleya is the only character that appears on screen, as mentioned, a few of the backgrounds have been reused, and there’s still word wrapping problems in the text box. The translation is far, far from the worst I’ve experienced and is decent overall, but you will see the odd typo.
The protagonist still is as bland as the one in TroubleDays, even stating that his last experience with a woman was being rejected in middle school. This might have been more of a problem for me when I was relating more to the romantic interest, but when all my focus is instead on admiring the female protagonist, it’s not as much of a concern. I can respect the blank slate in this case, but he’s still there.
I was once again taken in by how cute KukkoroDays turned out to be. Far more than just an opportunity for titillation, it was an easily digested love story. Maybe not the most unique romance I’ve ever experienced, but it was comfortable, like diving into another volume of a favourite manga.
Again, I’m taken aback by how effectively the game got through to me. If every romance was like this in the dating sims I play, I’d honestly have a difficult time choosing a partner. I’m practically afterglowing from the experience. I think I enjoyed it even more than TroubleDays. I’ve already got NinNinDays loaded up on my Switch, so you can bet I’ll get to it sooner rather than later.
This review was conducted on a Nintendo Switch using a digital version of the game. It was paid for by the author.