Otome Game Review: Clover Toshokan no Juunin-tachi

Clover Toshokan no Juunin-tachi (The Residents of Clover Library) essentially allows you to romance book gijinka. The game is split into two parts, with half the cast only being aimable in the second game.

Aikawa Chihiro is an orphan who moves into an old library as its new caretaker, intending to prepare the library for its opening day. It was built by a man for his sick daughter, and has been shut down since a long time back. At the library, she meets with the strict Itsuki first, who accepts her immediately into the position. It seems that the library can’t keep caretakers for very long and they keep fleeing the place. Chihiro, who loves books, is determined not to run away. Itsuki shows her around the place and informs her that the library tends to be visited by ‘frequenters since the old days’ at night. He also introduces her to the rest of the library’s inhabitants and workers…who, like him, turn out to be books.


Natsume (cookbook, CV: Konishi Katsuyuki) is a kind, affable man with golden hair that seems to give off the aura of bread. He’s a nice person whose hobby is cooking.
Riku (picture book, CV: Hanae Natsuki) is a bright young child who can be called ‘cute’ rather than ‘cool’, and is good at both reading the atmosphere and getting along with everyone.
Shuu (literature, CV: Abe Atsushi) is a little bean with a sharp tongue whose interest is in pretty things and romance, despite being very strict on Chihiro.
Shikimi (art collection, CV: Hamada Kenji) is an artist who doesn’t like going out of his atelier a lot. He’s shy, speaks with very awkward pauses and his hair is always in a mess.
Itsuki (technical/specialized book, CV: Namikawa Daisuke) himself is a responsible and straight-laced man who’s always looking out for Chihiro.
Kuu is the resident cat(?).

At night, the books that Chihiro cleans up during the day are messed up, and she spots huge shadows outside the window. Scared, she fears there might be ghosts around the library. This keeps happening and more strange things occur. The guys don’t show up in a picture she takes of them, and only show up at night. None of them appear during the day either, and a diary entry by one of the past caretakers reflects that the library might be a dangerous place.

One day, Chihiro tries to get Itsuki to leave the library with her at night to prepare for a picnic with everyone, but he’s caught and held back by chains that appear out of nowhere. Shocked, Chihiro demands to know what’s happening and they explain to her that EVERYONE OF THEM IS THE SPIRIT OF A BOOK. Their real selves (as books) can be found around the library, and some can’t be taken out of the place as stated (like those books you can’t borrow away). All of them have the clover-shaped seal of the library somewhere on their bodies. The shadow walking around the library at night turns out to be some youkai whose purpose is…as yet unknown.

Later on, Chihiro finds Aoi (CV: Satou Takuya) – a past bestselling romance novel – at night, in a horrible state. Everyone helps put him to bed, and Chihiro repairs his book the next morning. Aoi is prideful and flirty, and says he has no intention to join the library’s residents just yet – he was bought, but he wants to keep his pride over his fame. Aoi and Shuu don’t get along very well because they’re both huge hits, but one’s a modern trend and the other’s been selected by the test of time/history. They’re total opposites!

Chihiro wants to build a wood terrace attached to the library so that books that can’t leave will be able to go ‘outside’ while still in the library. Itsuki and Shikimi are happy about the proposal, since they’re the two that can’t be taken out. After witnessing Chihiro’s passion for the books in the library, Aoi is finally willing to become one of the residents – Chihiro doesn’t seem like a person who’d throw him away after all. Later on, for some reason the library’s budget is in the red now and everyone’s looking for buried treasure to uncover it. What is this game!??!? What is this development!?? The location to the treasure’s hidden in a traditional Japanese song they’d found much earlier. I don’t know why this segment was here but they find the $$$ and the library opens without problems.

 

AOI

This guy is the reason why I wanted to play this game to begin with! Satou Takuya’s voice is so /prayer emoji. Aoi’s a book with some abandonment issues as he’d been tossed away in the past, and luck brought him here to the library when someone picked him up again. The night he was thrown away, all he could do was look at the night sky – cold and without end. He’s a little uncomfortable with it as a result, but he finds that the view from the terrace that everyone built together is different; it feels warm, not lonely. He’s also the only one that doesn’t look too happy about the re-opening, because he hasn’t been read in a long time. While the others are excited to be of use to people again, he’s the only one feeling insecure about it.

Chihiro tries to help him out, but since Aoi’s out of season (he’s an old bestseller after all) people aren’t very willing to read him. Aoi, who wants to become a book loved by people across time, is pretty hurt by all this and Chihiro apologizes for not being able to help. She hugs him, assuring him that everything will be okay, that maybe they have to try a new method of pimping him out. She’s read him and she liked his contents, and thinks she should PR his contents rather than his past rankings.

She decides to go with an event that showcases some books’ contents rather than their titles, so she can promote Aoi better. It’s a success and Aoi becomes like some book celeb and keeps getting borrowed out now HAHAHA. Chihiro’s lonely that Aoi isn’t around as much anymore and thinks she’s a failure as a caretaker. Aoi’s back one night, however, and helps her out with packing up. Chihiro finds herself getting increasingly flustered by his presence, and Aoi himself is doing the I WANT TO BURN YOU INTO MY MEMORY thing because he’s been away from her so long. He can’t thank her enough for what she’s done for him. Chihiro also gets mad when people return him in slightly battered condition LMFAO. While Aoi doesn’t mind ‘cos it means that people are reading and enjoying him, I’m just like /popcorns because Chihiro’s kind of overreacting and panicking here.

Even Riku and the rest know she’s pretty much pining for Aoi by this point. Chihiro’s so lonely that she ends up crying on the terrace and Aoi suddenly pops out of nowhere even though he’s supposed to be out. He ran out of his borrower’s house to visit Chihiro and comforts her, telling her that she’s someone special to him. She doesn’t believe him ’cause Aoi’s always good with words, but he insists that among all girls, Chihiro is special 😦 He doesn’t wanna make her cry, but Chihiro wants him to keep being popular even though it ends up making her feel sad when he’s away. His happiness is her first thought.

Aoi wants to be with Chihiro too, but Chihiro’s afraid that something like ‘lovers’ will end in a fleeting moment because this is AOI we’re talking about; now that he’s popular he’s always leaving and not around. She wants to be with him too, but can’t find the words to express her insecurities, and ends up making him storm out of her room. One day, someone takes Aoi from the library without telling Chihiro and now he’s MISSING. It’s raining at night and everyone helps look for him. Chihiro, in her panic, dashes out without an umbrella. Aoi returns in the time she’s not in the library, and dashes out after her too because he’s worried about Chihiro (YOU GUYS…). He doesn’t even take an umbrella either! Oi! He finds Chihiro soon and hugs her, saying he ran away from his thief the moment he turned back into a human. Aoi makes Chihiro promise to take better care of herself. He belongs to her, doesn’t want to lose her, and won’t let go of her so easily. WHERE IS ALL THIS RAPID DEVELOPMENT COMING FROM WHOA THERE. Anyway they head back and sort of become lovers overnight because Aoi confesses again that he likes Chihiro, and more or less makes Chihiro shut up about the whole “you just like me as your savior” thing.

Okay 1) how do you romance a book 2) how do you date a book 3) does that mean Chihiro will grow up as a spinster while Aoi never ages? What? Hey…???

Bad End: Chihiro becomes increasingly jealous of the people who borrow Aoi out. She begins to think that if she makes Aoi hers, then he wouldn’t be able to leave her side. She writes her name on Aoi’s pages and regrets it right after, erasing it…and starts to become afraid of her own feelings for him. Aoi catches her in her room and says that he’s fine with becoming only hers tbh (LOL). She tries writing on his pages again in pen so it can’t be erased away, and Aoi ends up becoming ‘hers’ this way, attached to Chihiro. Chihiro’s behavior escalates and she writes her name everywhere over him until he can’t be borrowed out anymore. Chihiro can’t let go of him and he can’t let go of her either, and she spends all her time with him. She basically mindbroke him. The rest of the residents declare her invalid and search for a new caretaker to replace her.

 

SHUU

Cutie. The literati. Looks like a mameshiba. Shuu’s a pretty good guy under his harsh words aww. And you can’t really take sharp words from that cute face too seriously…anyway. Chihiro catches him having a dream about the past, when the previous caretaker was still well and the library was still lively. She vows to work hard to restore it to its former glory, and Shuu tells her not to over-exert herself; he knows she’s working hard. Chihiro’s happy to be praised by him who’s normally really cheap with words, and the distance between them seems to have lessened lately.

Riku informs them of a shady guy spotted in the library hanging around eyezooming the kids. The baby books in the library that are usually playing around in spirit form also disappear one day, and everyone thinks something’s up. Shuu calms Chihiro down and helps her remember the face of the man, who’d been borrowing baby books from the library. He asks her to put his book near her during the day, so he’d know how to react immediately upon turning human at night. Chihiro deals with the shady man again the next day, and watches as he leaves, heading towards the forest. She writes down a memo for the residents, and gives chase to the man. She’s kidnapped and it’s Shuu’s turn to panic as he, Riku, Aoi and Natsume head out to look for her. Shikimi pulls out a random wooden sword from nowhere and gives it to Shuu LOL. Shuu recalls the previous caretaker talking to him about there being a small storehouse in the woods and heads there.

Meanwhile, Chihiro has woken up to find the spirits of the baby books beside her. The shady man wants her to tell him more about them (WAIT, HOW DID HE FIND OUT ABOUT THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE?) and creeps at her – but Chihiro shields them with her body, screaming for help. Shuu hears her and rushes over, and bonks the fella out with a random wooden sword. Chihiro faints and wakes in her own room to find Shuu beside her. He nags her like the grandma he is and says that he was worried 😦 He’s also noticed that Chihiro means a lot more to him than he’d thought.

Chihiro wants to be recgonized by Shuu because Shuu is a cheap grandma. He criticizes her for straining herself a lot, and says he can’t take his eyes off her (which makes Chihiro all shy). She’s bothered that he sometimes compares her to the old caretaker, but Shuu replies that this is HER library now – she should do whatever she wants because times have changed. Still…Chihiro finds herself getting jealous of the previous caretaker because she was someone very important to Shuu LMFAO. WHAT IS THIS GAME TBH, WHY ARE YOU JEALOUS OF AN OLD WOMAN. Shuu, who seems to also have noticed his feels for Chihiro, is also avoiding her lately. But Natsume gets annoyed seeing them run around each other and sort of prods Chihiro into realizing her feelings for Shuu, and Chihiro ends up confronting Shuu about it one day.

There’s an event for showcasing your favorite books and she’d wanted Shuu to pick something he likes, but he’d been uncertain about it because he was caught up in thinking about choosing a book that would meet the expectations of the caretaker instead. Chihiro doesn’t want that – picking something he likes isn’t betraying the memory of the previous caretaker either, since she remembers the woman as being a kind person who loved books. YOU CAN HAVE YOUR OWN TASTES!!! Shuu says he’ll give it a go…also he likes short novels on romance HA HA HA. does that mean you like aoi tho

Anyway the event passes without problems. Shuu admits to Chihiro that while he thought books changed people, people can also change books. He’s let go of the idea that the caretaker has to be his ‘master’, because Chihiro has taught him that they can be partners instead. He also confesses to her his feelings. They kiss and are interrupted by the other residents who were WATCHING THEM HAHAHAHA. Riku laughs that they did it in the storeroom and Aoi is all “eh I thought it would’ve been in a more romantic spot”. Ya’ll pls.

Bad End: Shuu cannot accept the changes that are happening at the library because of Chihiro. He thinks it’d be better for her to disappear, and even Aoi thinks Chihiro should run before anything happens to her. Shuu, seemingly possessed by his desire to get rid of Chihiro, ends up strangling her at night even when he doesn’t want to hurt her (GUYS…). Chihiro still doesn’t leave because she wants to be with Shuu LMFAO but he tells her to leave before he does anything even worse. Chihiro finally accepts his wishes and packs up, leaving the next day. She leaves a letter thanking everyone for what they’ve done for her and Shuu hugs her as she leaves, and tells her to be well. So do you want her to leave or not ffs. A very fitting end for the literati tbh.

 

ITSUKI

First impression: “He seems like a nice guy”.  Impression after the bad end: “…I’ll pass”.

Each route has some seriously weird drama. In Itsuki’s, Chihiro finds a book whose pages have been whited out – and by the time she gets to show it to the residents, more pages have disappeared. Everyone panics and Itsuki explains to Chihiro that this could be the work of the ‘Moji Hotaru’ (Word Firefly) that consumes words, and is an enemy to books. IDK WHAT IS UP WITH THIS SETTING ANYMORE. They’ve eaten away at a good number of books, basically rendering them damaged. These things are threatening to the livelihood of the library itself. No one knows of a way to get rid of them yet, and start searching the archives for any information. They find out about the existence of a plant that can drive away the fireflies – the flowers of this plant only bloom in the day, and Chihiro offers to help look for it too because everyone can’t find it at night.

When she finds it in the woods, she slips into some hole, falling unconscious. Itsuki feels terrible because he can’t get out of the library and always has to stay in, unable to help. Everyone else leaves to look for Chihiro while Shikimi assures him that they should research up what they can while everyone is gone. Itsuki manages to find a map and notices that there’s an old and unused well in the forest (this sounds COOL but sadly this isn’t a Fatal Frame game). He’s sure that Chihiro must have fallen in. You know if this were a normal game she would have died already LOL, don’t underestimate old wells!!! No one is returning and Itsuki tries to leave but is stopped by the chains. All seems lost until SUDDENLY THERE’S AN ECLIPSE??? OKAY!! This means their spirit forms are half-there and Itsuki is able to pull free and leave the library.

He finds Chihiro and pulls her out of the well. Itsuki was hurt during the whole struggle with the chains as well, and Chihiro helps him back to the library, feeling grateful that someone cares about her THIS much. They chase the fireflies out later at night by burning the plant. When Itsuki declares again he’ll do anything he can to help Chihiro when she’s in danger, Chihiro feels all flustered because HE REALLY IS SUDDENLY VERY PASSIONATE ABOUT HER.

Chihiro wants to have the library open on some days at night, so it can be used by people who work late or those on night shifts. The residents think it’d be better if they came up with a different concept for the night-time library, and decide to go with reading sessions for adults. I think they should’ve just gone with a night cafe LOL since they have 1) the cool classy setting 2) Natsume’s very good at baking 3) cute guys to help out. Itsuki’s chosen to do some reading, and the other guys actually end up serving the guests who come to listen in the salon anyway. The event’s a great success anyways! People liked Itsuki’s voice, and Natsume comments that Itsuki has changed (thanks to Chihiro ww). Anyway, Itsuki and Chihiro grow closer managing the library together – one day, he catches her studying and helps her out with it until Chihiro is tired. Itsuki kisses her suddenly, shocking her awake. He confesses that he always wants to be with Chihiro and that he likes her. Chihiro says she likes him too, both as a book and as a person. She wants to be together with him, and live with him in this library.

Bad End: Itsuki has been feeling pretty crap about not being able to go outside to help Chihiro even though she’s so important to him. Chihiro ends up tying herself to the bed to experience Itsuki’s ‘pain’ and he catches her when she accidentally falls. Neither of them want to ever leave each other…the next day, Chihiro is with Shikimi and sees an old photo of the old caretaker. Shikimi explains that the woman had put the clover seal on herself because she wanted to dedicate her life to the library, and essentially became ‘one of them’. Chihiro wants to stamp herself too and tells Itsuki this; she’s doing this for both of them. Itsuki is a little upset she’d choose this route, but he chooses to seal Chihiro here upon her wishes. It’s like signing a marriage contract of some sorts (LOL) and the two of them kiss after Chihiro is stamped.

Even though the other residents warn her against her own actions, Chihiro chooses to stay with Itsuki 24/7 in book and human form (there’s so much yandere in this game LOL). She’s been putting the library on rest days more often to be with Itsuki, and the rest of the residents aren’t happy about it since it means the library’s gonna be shut down if this goes on. They end up chained to each other and put into some locked area of the library to be with each other forever, and the other residents begin looking for a new caretaker.

Other endings:

1) Chihiro doesn’t manage to pass the secret test of opening the library on time, and is essentially fired by the residents. Everyone thanks her for all she’s done for them. She finds new work and hears rumors that the library was burnt down, but she doesn’t head back because she’s afraid of finding out the truth, and hopes everyone is doing well.

2) The library opens without problems and everyone throws a party afterwards to celebrate! This is my favorite end by virtue that it’s a nice and normal ending for everyone, bless their souls.

3) Chihiro’s body is nearing its limits and they won’t make it in time for the opening. However, the residents don’t want her to leave and Natsume essentially charms her into agreeing to become ‘one of them’. They all stamp the seal of the library on her, and Chihiro becomes their doll – now she can’t leave the library anymore.

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS

This was a very short game. I felt it could’ve done better with more expansion on the world setting – why is it these guys who have turned into books? There’s no real sense of mystery or urgency in the game, which makes me feel very neutral about wanting to find out more about the library. A lot of stuff was just thrown out of nowhere and I found it very abrupt. Due to the length of the game, there’s practically no development for the characters or their relationships with Chihiro…as a result, I also found Chihiro to be a pretty boring heroine. If this were longer and given a better scenario writer, maybe the setting would’ve been turned into something more solid. I’m quite interested in Shikimi as a character though; the lack of exposure benefits the ‘mysterious artist’ thing he’s going for.

I love the art so much. Like, the story may be lacking but the CGs certainly aren’t. Clover Library’s very generous with the amount of CGs each character gets and the art is so cute and bright?! The colors and lines are done so well, they have this solid feel and everyone looks great together in the group CGs. I like how the expressions and eyes in this game were drawn as well! If this artist draws for a better game, I’d probably follow her there.

Okay, I didn’t expect the crazy huge amount of yandere in this game so that was a pleasant surprise. It was interesting to play those bad ends. Chihiro still needed more development though. In the end, I’m not sure what to say about this game. Did it make me want to play the second installment? Yes. Why? Because I’m actually interested in Shikimi (also Natsume) and THE ART. At the same time, I also don’t want to be put through this pretty bland playing experience again. Final conclusion? COMPLICATED FEELS ARE COMPLICATED.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s