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Published May 19, 2018

Indulgent: Willing to allow excessive leniency, generosity, or consideration indulging or characterized by indulgence .

I’ve tossed around the term ‘fanservice’ for a while now, but the truth is the way I use it only covers a small corner of the larger problem of, frankly, indulgent media. Never before in the history of Western civilization has there been such an open movement in both critical circles and the audience for a particular media to flood media with indulgences, and this ranges from from sensual indulgence to ideological indulgence. But, can these kind of games be good? And how do we even begin defining ‘good’ for something that is really made to be consumed and discarded without any deeper thought?
This is something I’ve been struggling with since Sakura Spirit. Surely there is some project out there that is both indulgent and good beyond personal opinion (since I’m not allowed to say ‘objective’ anymore). After playing the demo for Frontwing’s Momoiro Closet, I was racked by a lot of similar questions concerning indulgent media. I’m pretty sure the developers don’t have any intention of threading this particular needle and are just happy to pump out some trashy fanservice. However, there is something here worth taking a look at.
The story of Momoiro Closet is simple enough. A boy meets a girl outside of a toy store in Akihabara when he catches sight of her panties. Yeah, that header image is actually how they meet in the game. Unbeknownst to the boy, Reiji, the girl who is clearly deep into their mutual fandom is Alice Kagamihara: the beautiful class president of their high school. On top of that, her father is a lower house member with a strong conservative platform: including more regulations on media to uphold traditional family values™. Her family standing and father’s career has forced young Alice to keep her fandom absolutely secret, which has turned into something of a complex for her. The more she indulges in her fandoms, the hornier she gets.
Yeah, you read me right: being an otaku is literally her fetish. 

The reason I’m not outright mocking this yet is because there is actual psychological study behind sexual fetishism and how they develop. Through my own cursory reading of the subject, Alice’s particular inclinations seem to be in line with several cases dealing with conditioning. Think of it like Pavlov’s Dog; whereas a subject is condition to react a certain way to a particular stimuli over a period of time. In this case, Alice more than likely (it isn’t shown in the demo, but can be safely assumed) started ‘exploring herself’ (Trying to keep it clean. It is a family site.) around the same time she became a fan of anime and manga. Being forced to hide both her sexual interests and otaku interest caused a sort of psycho-sexual convergence leading to the situation she finds herself in the game where she explodes (shaddup) when the opportunity comes to explore both.

This could actually be interesting IF that was the direction Frontwing was going to take. Exploring sexual development and what influences said development in a subgenre that can overdose (for lack of better words) developing minds with sexual stimuli would be fascinating to watch play out. Female characters rarely get any sort of sexual agency in anime and manga to begin with. In the visual novel sphere, the only titles that grazes this kind of theme was We Know The Devil, Catch Canvas and Love Ribbon… and they all had their own flood of issues. Outside of that, the only time it comes up is within the boundaries of whatever wish-fulfillment fantasy they’re in. So, overall, it is a very underserved but extremely interesting theme for a game.

And hopefully someone will make that game someday.

Momoiro Closet is indulgent media: period. Everything I just mentioned is less of a jumping off point to explore her psychosis and more as an excuse to enjoy watching her get herself off: frequently. After all, if she and the camera have no issues indulging her nocturnal adventures, then why should the audience? This spills over to the rest of the game where the Generic Male Protagonist freely exchanges pornographic manga with his fanservice-riddled friend who is even more of an upfront pervert than he is. And Alice’s VP on the Student Council who may have some sort of crush on her. YMMV.

Look, I’m not going to pretend that I expected a psychological study with this one. I’m crazy, but not that crazy. Depending on your choices, it can be an all-out, raunchy sex game OR it can be a romance game…there will still be sex though. I’m not sure how that divide would work, but my hope is that the romance half would explore more of Alice’s mindset, background and overall personality as she delves into her fandom/sexual interests. That puts her heads-and-shoulders of many in her caste and it is clear that some thought, even if it was fleeting, went into that bit of it. Outside of that, you’ve seen this done before: many, many times before.

Momoiro Closet is out, so if you’re interested you can check it out here. JP3: OUT.



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