Kakyuusei's lineage relates closely to the history of the company that created it: Elf corporation. Elf was founded in 1989, a time when the H-Game genre was open ended and not divided among specific sub types. They had early success in popular titles such as sword and sorcery Words Worth (1993), and H survival horror Isaku (1995). The company's games covered a wide range of topics, although in recent times they've shifted to darker themes and away from cute date sims like Kakyuusei.
In 1992, Elf released Doukuusei (Classmates); sometimes also referred to as
Nanpa (flirting/pickup) due to its configuration file called
nanpa.bat. It's one of the earliest games identified as a true
date-sim, and innovative for its day. Dokyuusei had a great mix of nice
artwork, good game play (yes, date-sims have game play), and game mechanics.
Winning over a girl isn't easy when factoring in time management and finances.
Doukuusei has an interesting central male character (played by you) who's
already notorious around town for being a player. You don't start the game
with a clean slate, and the girls are well aware of your history and what they're
in for. Obviously making them skeptical of intentions and wary of advances.
Doukuusei 2 was released in 1995, further expanding on the first game. A
four part anime OVA based on Doukuusei was released, titled in America as
of Summer. The third game in the series would differ with characters and
approach. Instead of Doukuusei 3, it was titled Kakyuusei (underclassmen). The
focus shifted towards romance and interacting with the girls, and deemphasized the
H aspects (marketed as only
slightly H). Strangely enough, while titled
Kakyuusei (underclassmen); most of the girls are still classmates (Doukuusei).
birthday: 18th of June occupation: artist blood type: B
Aya Kodoi did the character designs for Kakyuusei. Her distinct style was a big
factor in making the game popular. She's only done work for a handful of games,
including Kakyuusei 2 and Refrain Blue among a few others. In addition she's
released a few art books and calendars, although her focus is more on
manga series, typically in 4 panel format. Her current
Melon Cream Soda, a slice of life manga featuring three sisters.
The series has been ongoing since 2010.
The Kakyuusei game follows the same format as Dokyuusei, but instead of spanning months, Kakyuusei covers a full year. Each action taken requires a certain amount of time, including travel. If you're on the wrong end of town after work and your date is on the other side, you may not make it. Kakyuusei features 13 girls. The goal is to establish a relationship with them, usually by befriending and dating, although some are gated by key events. Typically the end result is an H scene after dating long enough. Unlocking all CG art can be tricky for some characters.
A girl's opinion of you is measured by "appreciation points" (AP). The higher the number, the better her opinion. Many interactions require a certain amount of AP before they'll tell you things like their phone number or if they have a boyfriend, etc, although the exact number varies depending on personality. AP is raised by talking, lending items in school, dating, and through other special situations. Some actions, such as refusing to lend a girl something; results in AP loss.
Kakyuusei was released in 1996 for Windows 95 and Sega Saturn (popular in Japan for 2d games). Since then, the game received re-release updates allowing it to work on Microsoft Windows XP. It's still available as a digital download, and compatible with Windows 7/8. There are two anime releases. A four part OVA, with two versions of the fourth episode: H and non-H version. Confusingly there is another four part OVA series called Kakyuusei which has nothing to do with this series, two volumes released as "First Loves" in America. To clarify the relation to the game, the OVA is referred to as "Elf ban Kakyuusei" (Elf version Kakyuusei). The TV adaptation has 13 episodes.
With well known titles under its belt, including successful franchises like Dokyuusei / Kakyuusei; times were good for Elf. Unfortunately things went very wrong with the sequel: Kakyuusei 2. Putting the cart before the horse, the thirteen episode TV anime came out before the game. The anime was decent for typical school drama romance, but nothing exceptional. This had a detrimental effect on game sales, as everyone knew the basic story already. Kakyuusei 2 also felt the creep of darker elements into characters and stories. While some Elf franchises contain (if not revel in) darker topics, Kakyuusei had been a very upbeat date sim franchise. Many fans felt Elf turned away from that in the sequel, lacking the charm of the first. Kakyuusei 2 has two hentai anime OVA's: Sketchbook and Anthology. Both are low budget and fairly tacky for H releases.« back