Thus far, publisher NekoNyan has made great headway and contributions in getting more visual novels in the hands of English-speaking audiences. With such titles like Fureraba and Sanoba Witch serving those that like moege – titles focusing on romance and cute girls with none of the plot entrenched conflict, it has been one subsection I have been meaning to dig into. For lovers of the genre and like their comedy unchained, one NekoNyan’s latest ventures, Suki to Suki, Love Triangle Trouble aims to please. Honestly, if you are looking for laughs here, you have come to the right place. Anything else…it might be a tough sell.
Title: Suki to Suki, Love Triangle Trouble (Suki to Suki to de Sankaku Ren’ai)
Genre: Romance, Comedy
Developer: ASa Project
Length: 30-35 hours roughly
Other Info: VNDB Page
Following the protagonist Sousuke Komorie, an otaku enjoying his peaceful life with his otaku friends called the “B-Team”, nothing could be better. That is until his little sister Suzu shows up and comes to live with him and his new family, the two separated for years after their parents divorced. With Suzu joining the B-Team alongside his step-sister, his childhood friend, fujioshi fanatic, history geek foreigner, a girl into eroge (and Sousuke), as well as their mobile game club president, it is the start of an unforgettable summer. Taking little time to find it’s footing, Suki to Suki eclectic cast of characters and jovial nature does most of the work to draw readers in. While the humor itself plays off tropes and breaking the 4th wall to no end, it works without missing a beat. Usually not fond of the “I’m this type of one-dimensional character archetype, look how quirky I can get”, it is something that the Suki to Suki owns and helps push the reader through the beginning and the rest of the other routes for the duration without much fuss. Plus, it is genuinely interesting to see what ridiculous sentences the characters can spew out, observations of nerd culture or anything else regardless. That being said, I also think some the game exhaust its best material during the common route, so does from “okay” to mustering an eyeroll in the comedy department.
Granted that the comedy chops are in the right place, the selling point of romance is not that great. With this moege playing off the idea of love triangles, the principal characters and archetypes are not without use. Whether it be the love between the family that uses real sister Suzu and step-sister Nanaru or the love between friends utilizing childhood friend Maho’s realization of feelings for Sousuke, but can’t express herself as Shiina can, I will admit the way the romance is framed is interesting, but not the routes themselves. If anything, I found Shiina and Maho’s route the most engaging, but Suzu and Nanaru the same only to see how they deal with the “sibling” angle. There is nothing especially wrong, but with the tone of the game being so light and the relationship between Sousuke and girls never seeming to change or do anything dynamic, it is really difficult to be enthusiastic about the individual routes whether you like the characters or not. That being said, the edge case characters Cara and Akane also were amusing but felt shoehorned into the mix for how short and bland their content was. As far as the sexual content goes, each of the 4 main heroines has around 3-4 H-scenes and 2 side heroines only getting 2. The sex content is normal and nothing too noteworthy to mention, so wouldn’t definitely count on that being a reason for going through it. There is a total of 6 routes that be dusted in done in about 5-6 hours each – a grand total of 30-35 hours, on the whole, depending on reading speed.
As aforementioned, the translators of this title must have been having the time of their lives with the jokes and gags. Most of the writing, as serviceable as it is, it isn’t hard to see a little care taken with rendering it into English. Sometimes over-the-top and trying way too hard to get a smile from the audience, the English text does its job of making the characters affable and being an overall smooth read based on context. However, I do wish there was an option to view the original Japanese to see how it stacks up. One of the more impressive, albeit confusing things the novel has to offer is the UI and system. Where the UI is very standard and has some very basic features, I do like the scene select feature that allows you to see how many routes there are and where you are in the story without spoiling it. Conversely, the bookmark feature or save system of the game is convenient, but sort of a hassle since you can’t overwrite marks or add notes. Your only options are to delete marks and make new ones. The quick save/load works out for any split decisions that have to be made. But with the scene select and feature skip right to choice points, the reader can save a whole lot of time.
Having already tackled Fureraba, Sanoba Witch, and Princess Evangile as the moege appetizer, Suki to Suki, Love Triangle Trouble makes itself a sweet and delightful dessert if nothing else. Given the fact that plenty of other better titles exist, it is still a reasonable option to get your fill of cute characters and wacky hijinks that won’t drag you past 45+ hours to complete. And if that doesn’t sound too taxing, maybe you should consider giving this ASa Project novel a chance.
Final Verdict: Cute, charming, and humorous, Suki to Suki, Love Triangle Trouble is a read that will not appeal to everyone, but most likely be made for those searching for an inconsequential moege. Where romantic options aren’t the best, the character dynamics and idea is bordering on worthy. Sometimes the over-the-top humor goes way overboard, but for those not taking it too seriously, there is something of a good time to be had.