By William Haderlie / July 23rd, 2019
|Title||The Most Forbidden Love in the World|
|Release Date||May 16th, 2019|
|Genre||Eroge Visual Novel|
|Age Rating||Adults Only|
Author’s Note: This Eroge Review is for an Adults Only/18+ game and is potentially NSFW, but steps are made to minimize that. However, all associated official links are definitely Adults Only and NSFW. The sexual scenes depicted are mostly vanilla straight sex scenes, with a couple minor exceptions. However the primary relationship is considered taboo and potentially statutory by many people both for the age difference and for the power dynamic between the two in question. So if that is something that offends you, it might be best to avoid this visual novel and the review.
One disadvantage to being a massive fan of eroge visual novels is that there is a major filter between the American market and the Japanese source. As such, it is out of your hands which visual novels get localized (although that is starting to change with some fan polls and Kickstarter campaigns). One of the results is that some styles are over-represented, and even if you are a fan they can wear a bit thin. One aspect that is strongly overdone is the trope of a clueless high school boy who suddenly finds a harem of high school girls forming around him. While I have more tolerance for the harem style than many others do, I have a lot less tolerance for the clueless high school boy protagonist. The thing that attracted me the most to the newly localized eroge, The Most Forbidden Love in the World, was the foregoing of that trope entirely. Instead, the featured male character is a 28-year old Japanese salary man.
Yoshimura Osamu does feature some common tropes, the most obvious being that he is a bit clueless and spineless at times. But being a 28-year old salary man, instead of a high school kid, most of his energies are focused on his work. Initially the focus is on him getting re-employed, since he was summarily fired from his old company after taking the fall for a major financial scandal. It certainly was not his fault, but he’s someone who would fall on a sword for his company. But once he gets a new job, this visual novel features a lot of office politics. My largest complaint for this visual novel overall is that even though he is different from the more common tropes of this genre, he is still someone that I could not really identify with. Karōshi is not something I can identify with at all, but that culture of working yourself to death plays pretty strongly in this story no matter which route you go. So while I do give this eroge points for having a very different character view, it is still something that may not resonate well with a Western audience.
The other main character of this eroge visual novel is the high school girl (approximately, since Japanese schooling has a different structure), Mitoko. While Osamu starts out the story pursuing her mother, after she quickly departs the story, Mitoko becomes the focus. It takes a long time before Osamu sees her as a potential mate, but long before that Mitoko wants him to be her romantic partner. Because her father has never been around and her mother takes off with some wealthy guy she barely even knows, Osamu initially decides to try to look out for Mitoko. When issues of guardianship start to come up at her school, he makes the fateful decision to try to become her guardian. As such, your mileage with this visual novel will vary. While you don’t have to pursue a romantic relationship with Mitoko, it is fairly obvious throughout that it is the canon route. And it isn’t just that they have over a 10-year age difference; he also turns into a sort of father figure and guardian to her. That is where The Most Forbidden Love in the World gets its title from. There is frankly nothing else about this story that gives any other reason for that, but for many this relationship is more than enough to give this a hard pass.
The ancillary characters in The Most Forbidden Love in the World make the comment several times that they aren’t quite sure who is the older one of the two main characters. While it is not quite as drastic as in some other stories, such as the fantastic movies City of Lost Children or Leon: The Professional, it is a characteristic that plays strongly into why they would be attracted to each other beyond guardianship. However, for as mature as she can sometimes seem to be, Mitoko can also be quite irrational and temperamental at times. As such, even though I thought she would be my favorite character, she ended up sliding down to number two or three between all the women in his life. But her maturity and Osamu’s spinelessness does give some pause to those who might throw out their relationship out of hand merely due to physical age.
Even though she really rubbed me the wrong way initially, Mitoko’s best friend Himeo ended up being my favorite of the potential relationships for Osamu. She is a couple years older than Mitoko, but she is possibly even more naive. Initially she puts up a very serious front that is difficult to break through, but once you do it’s pretty hilarious to see what she is trying to hide behind. She is from a very wealthy, and not so savory, family that puts a lot of pressure on Himeo and the relationships she is able to cultivate. However, she did end up surprising me in the right ways. It takes a lot longer for her to figure out that she actually has feelings for Osamu, but when she does it becomes a serious hurdle for her that Mitoko already does. Frankly, in almost any other eroge, Himeo and Mitoko would have ended up as a yuri couple. But the Himeo route was worth going through and ended up being the most satisfying for me in The Most Forbidden Love in the World.
There is also a major reason why I think Himeo is just a better match for Osamu overall, even beyond personal taste. While she is definitely young and pretty and pleasantly naive, like her best friend, she can also engage the protagonist in ways that Mitoko cannot. And the primary reason for that is that she ends up working with him. As such, she can engage with him on an equal level both at home and at work. And if there is one thing Osamu loves more than anything else, it’s not the sex, it’s the work. And for someone like Himeo, who has a golden heart that she tries to seriously hide, she also matches well with someone who also has a golden heart but has enough world experience to try to protect her from herself. While this can be a serious story at times, Himeo also provided most of my favorite humorous moments as well. And while I never really enjoyed any of the office politics or salary man story lines, once she entered that picture it made it far more bearable.
Himeo joins Osamu’s work later in the game, but you do have a potential work-related relationship much earlier on, and that is Kaya. She is a pretty nice girl and is thankfully quite forward with what she wants and is a bit on the immodest side (which I consider to be a good thing, personally). She is by far the first potential romantic relationship in the story, and the only way you are going to see any sex in the first 20 hours of the game. While this is an eroge, it is a very long way from nukige, and one of my chief other complaints is the sparsity of anything sexual. But the nice thing about Kaya is that she represents the least complicated of all the relationships in The Most Forbidden Love in the World. There is extremely little doubt about how she feels about the main character, and there is also a lot less baggage than with the other potential partners. The sex scenes with her are also quite nice because she is a bit of a freak, and she is okay with that. That alone almost made her my favorite of the girls and Himeo only overtook her at the end.
But if you want baggage in a relationship, you can more than get your fill with the Asami relationship. Kouno Asami is the homeroom teacher for Mitoko, and as such she has the primary responsibility for her well being, her future prospects and her guardianship status. Unfortunately, Asami also happens to be Osamu’s ex-wife. While Mitoko initially blames that on the man, in her typical immature and temperamental way, it becomes quite obvious that it was more her fault than his. Honestly the story line of how and why she left him never quite added up for me, even after I had all the information. Granted, relationships end for a variety of reasons in real life. But as a fictional narrative, it just never seemed to really gel for me. But also it had a hard time connecting with me right from the get go because personally I cannot handle having even casual conversations with anyone that I previously dated. It’s just a personal quirk that I’ve never gotten over, even as old as I am now. So their whole relationship was not fun for me, and overall I just didn’t appreciate her character very much. That’s not to say that everyone who plays The Most Forbidden Love in the World is going to feel the same. But at the end of the day, reviews are personal opinions and that is one that I just can’t get over.
What I do appreciate a lot about this game is the super high quality of voice acting. Not only are all the main characters well voiced, but so are the side characters and all the male characters. Anyone who plays enough eroge games know that male voices are rare in anything that is not yaoi, let alone for even the protagonist and side characters to have voices. All the dialogue is generally well written as well, but the sex scenes are a bit short for an eroge. It seems like the type of visual novel that has an eroge version, but is built so any sex scenes can be cut for a potential anime adaptation. Granted, the game would be much lesser without them in my opinion, but that is just what it stylistically feels like. That being said, MangaGamer still did a great job with the translation and especially with the colloquialisms (which can be the hardest part to accurately convey). The music is decent, but not particularly memorable, and can seem to lack a bit of variety considering how long this visual novel is. But the art is consistently good and the full-motion sex scenes are particularly impressive. They are animated well enough that it almost looks as good as a full hentai animation, even if they are a bit on the short side.
One potential issue for completionists is that I had a difficult time figuring out how to get all the CG scenes unlocked for the game. Most of the branch point choices are fairly obvious, but there are a few that seem to have nebulous outcomes. But that is to be somewhat expected for a harem eroge visual novel, especially one that is easily 50+ hours. My first time through the game it took me a good 30 hours to roll credits, but that is also because I was pursuing the Mitoko relationship. The length will vary with each relationship, but it is a pretty long visual novel no matter which one you go with, and it more than justifies its $34.95 price tag. If anything, it was a bit longer than I was expecting based on the price. The story was definitely not for me, but as I said in the beginning, it is nice to see something that breaks the mold of what is localized for the West. The Most Forbidden Love in the World didn’t quite live up to its title content wise, but it was still worth all the hours I spent going back through to reach the different endings.
Review Copy Provided By The Publisher
18+Adults OnlyEroge Visual NovelHermitMangaGamerPCThe Most Forbidden Love in the World