Hey everyone! This is Ayumi, your favorite MANGA.TOKYO writer. I am also a girl who just loves to get lost in her dream world! It’s still February for a couple of days, and that means Valentine’s Day has come and gone. Did you know that we celebrate Valentine’s Day in Japan albeit in a slightly different way?
On 14 February, Japanese girls give chocolates and confess their feelings to the boy they like. For those who have a hard time finding a partner, it is an event that best matches the Japanese phrase ‘Rea-Juu Bakuhatsu Shiro (All happy people should just explode.)’ Although Valentine’s Day is an event which only those lucky people can enjoy, it is also a day on which otaku girls feel something tingly in their hearts.
Today, I, Ayumi, an otaku who truly understands the feelings of otome (young girl), would like to introduce you to the best otome games that would definitely capture your heart! These are games that I especially recommend to ‘yume joshi’ (dreaming girls).
To the girls out there who have never tried playing dating-simulation games or who are interested but don’t not know when to start: Please read this article. It may open a door to a whole new world.
Who are ‘Yume Joshi’?
Before I introduce you to the games, I want to tell you a few things about the girls known as yume joshi and the way to enjoy playing games made for them. I myself have been a yume joshi for more than ten years. I have so many things to tell you. If you are already a yume joshi, you can just skip this part.
‘Yume joshi’ is a term used for girls who enjoy dating their favorite characters in their head. These characters, as long as they are concerned, are their boyfriends.
There are also other types of otaku girls:
Fujoshi: Girls who love BL (Boys Love) works.
NLCP Zuki (Likes NLCP): NLCP stands for Normal Coupling. They are the girls who enjoy reading about a boy and a girl flirting with each other in a manga.
Koe Ota: Otaku girls who love voice actors. They would watch any anime in which their favorite voice actors have a role.
Chara Moe: Girls who love a character itself.
I am a yume joshi with some fujoshi aspects. If there are any otaku who are reading this and think that ‘there are other types of girls too, you idiot!’, please leave me a comment, and I would love to talk to you!
The video games I will introduce to you today are the games where you and the character fall in love!
Dating games today are very popular and are almost always in Full Voice (games in which all the characters’ lines are recorded). This dating-sim boom started by Tokimeki Memorial, the famous dating-sim game for boys. After the game’s release, many other dating-sims were also released and gained popularity. Girls wanted part in the fun, ‘We want to live in the virtual world, too, where ikemen (cute boys) would kindly call our names and hold our hands!’ The companies wouldn’t ignore such an honest cry, and even Tokimeki Memorial created a different version of their famous game called Tokimeki Memorial: Girls side.
Now you may think ‘Ayumi! These games are in Japanese!’ Just hear me out: some games make it to the West translated, but even if you understand little to no Japanese, you can still enjoy the beautiful images and the amazing voices of the characters, If you are learning Japanese, I definitely recommend you give these games a try.
For those of you who are thinking, ‘Come on, it’s only a game’: you really should watch out. You will definitely fall in love!
What kind of games are dating sims?
Dating sims are a very popular video game genre. Most of the times, they are similar to a visual novel, though with many more options and endings, where you can experience romantic moments: the characters may call your name and wait for you outside your school or work so they can walk with you on your way home. You get to experience many heart-pounding moments. The characters are also able to confess their love to you, saying ‘I love you’, or ‘Would you go out with me?’, or things like that.
The lever of realism in this games is amazing. You even have the chance to watch cute scenes where your favorite character is feeling an urge to hold your hand, but can’t because they don’t have the guts. When the character’s hand touches your hand by accident, he blushes and says, ‘I’m sorry…’ Just imagine how cute that is! ‘Oh my gosh, my ears are feeling so happy right now, I won’t mind if I died! I love you tooooo!! Please, hold my hand!!’ is how you would feel while playing otome games.
It may seem really stupid for most people, but some girls can feel real happiness getting approached by cute boys in a virtual world other than their true boyfriends (which is the important part) and by enjoying their hearts prancing. Sometimes it even feels like the beginning of a romantic relationship in the real world. The increased hormone secretion that comes from their feelings while playing the game might help some girls with their skin conditions! Otome games are so addictive and have many side effects.
The games I’ll introduce to you will include some famous titles and a few of my own recommendations.
When you are having a hard time in your life and you desperately need to relax, please play these games. Let’s feel more happy!
Ayumi’s Selection: Top 5 Otome Games for ‘Yume Joshi’
Uta no Prince-sama♪ (PSP)
Uta no Prince-sama is one of the monumental otome games. It has gotten many adaptations including anime, concerts, and character goods. It is especially famous for its songs, including the first anime theme, Maji LOVE 1000%.
In the game, you get to support a cast of characters who are aiming to become best-selling idols. Not only are the characters and the songs splendid but also the voice actors in the game have now become very popular and widely known. There are many catchy songs that you won’t easily forget once you hear them!
One of the best things about Uta-Pri is that the characters are so cute and unique! I have met many girls who say, ‘I have never seen Uta-Pri, but I know this character!’ The concert events in which the stellar voice actors sing in front of the fans is known as ‘Pri-Li (Prince Live)’, and the tickets are very difficult to get. There are even fans that get on the first train so they can be in front of the line for buying goods. I have always respected Uta-Pri being the first otome game that gained wide public fame.
Tennis no Ouji-sama –Gakuensai no Ouji-sama- (Prince of Tennis –Prince of the School Festival- (PS2)
In this game, you get to enjoy preparing for the school festival with the Prince of Tennis characters! The story scenario is very simple and the game is easy to play. It is the best otome game for beginners!
All the lines are recorded by the voice actors, and you can even get the characters to call your name out loud in the Nintendo DS version! When I first played this game, it felt like my heart was going to explode just by listening to my name being called. I started playing this game when I was in college just to kill some time. I completely fell in love with Yuushi Oshitari, one of the characters, and I started daydream about him every day. I was thinking about him so much that I ended up crying and yelling out, ‘I want to see Oshitari!!’ when I was drunk. Very scary, isn’t it?
I am sure there are a lot of girls out there who have gone through similar experiences. It is such an addictive and sinful game. If you are interested, check out for more information on this website. I can’t believe that the official website is still open! Just so you know, this game is sold at a premium in secondhand game stores now, especially the DS version. The popularity of Prince of Tennis is just amazing.
Ensemble Stars! (iPhone & android)
— 【公式】あんさんぶるスターズ！ (@ensemble_stars) February 15, 2017
Technically speaking, this game is not categorized as a romance game. It has many romance game aspects, including the fact that the player is a transfer student in a school, and you can enjoy it as if you were playing a normal dating-sim. The game is popular with both yume joshi and BL fans. There are a lot of characters, and they each belong to an idol group, so you can easily find the boy of your type!
It is a smartphone game so you can start playing anytime. Many any character goods are available in stores. There have been many players who got absorbed in the game without realizing it.
Ensemble Stars! has been adapted into the so-called 2.5-dimensional live stages, and is going to get an anime adaptation in the near future. Don’t forget to bookmark MANGA.TOKYO’s anime and otaku news for all the latest info!
Prince of Stride (PSVita)
The main characters are boys who play ‘stride’, a fictitious sport made for the game. At first, you probably are asking ‘What is stride anyway?’ and this might make it hard for you to start playing, but once you get into the story, nobody will be able to stop you for finishing it.
Stride is a type of extreme sport with six members on one team. Five members are ‘runners’ and one is a ‘relationer’. The relationer gives instructions to the other five by telecommunication, and the five runners run in a relay full of obstacles. You may think of it as a professional team parkour type of game.
This new sport plays a huge part in the story, and makes the game feel like a teen movie. The story is written in great detail and tries to describe in full the characters’ feelings. Although the game is about an imaginary sport, the exciting story and characters’ passion will definitely get you heated up. Once you get into it, it becomes very difficult to get out. You’ll be surprised at the energy of the Prince of Stride fans!
If you are a fan of sports anime, you should also check out our brief guide of the best sports anime of 2016.
Hakuouki (PS2 + ports for various systems)
In this game, you get to fall in love with the members of the Shinsengumi, the special police force found in Japanese history.
If you know the Shinsengumi well and know how the life of each of the members ended, I’m sure you are going to get tearful while playing. I myself have loved Shinsengumi from before starting the game, so the more I got into playing, the more I got depressed. Even after my favorite character became my lover in the game, I just could not stop thinking, ‘But you’re going to die, right? No matter how happy we are right now, you’re going to die, right?’
The character illustrations in this game are very beautiful and so finely drawn. There are many fans of the game’s illustrations. The game has even collaborated with Toei Kyoto Studio Park. There is also a real-life tavern in the game which is located at the same place where the Ikedaya Incident (1864) occurred, and which always holds a collab-event!
Give your ordinary life the thrill and warmth it needs
Sometimes life gets hard. Whether it’s work, school, or relationships, hardships make us long for something that can get us relaxed and ‘dream of something wonderful’. Being a yume joshi may seem like a crude escape from our lives to some people, who might even think, ‘When are you going to get a partner in the real world?’
However, dreaming can get us girls feel happy. Dreaming makes us smile. Of course, it may be difficult for us to play games, read manga, and watch anime 24/7, considering the negative effects it would have to our savings and to our eye sight. But, even if that is true, sometimes you can get that necessary psychological boost knowing that there is someone waiting for you in the virtual world when you are having a hard time in life… And it is needless to point out that a life with a little bit of heart-prancing everyday is much exciting than no romance at all, right? [laugh]
Fall in Love with Otome Games
I have introduced to you some must-play otome games, but the character you will eventually fall in love with could be from any type of media. I think it is a fabulous thing to go crazy over a character, no matter how old you are. Plus, the fact that you have an imaginary boyfriend can neverharm anyone. You may feel lonely and empty from time to time, but always try to be positive. If you love someone living in the world of two-dimensions, then love them forever. No matter how strange this romantic relationship may seem to other people, being in love makes a girl shine and become beautiful!
Do you have that special someone in your life? Please, whisper me your secret if you do!