Note: Review Code provided by Mangagamer.
The highly anticipated entry in the A Kiss for the Petals franchise had finally arrived in the West. Question is whether it was worth the wait. Let us find out as we take a look at A Kiss for the Petals: Maidens of Michael.
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance, School Life, Yuri, Visual Novel, Eroge
Length: 15-30 hours (Depending on the number of routes gone through)
Today at Saint Michael Girls’ School, the class representative for the first-year “Snow” Class, Azumi Risa, had once again been fighting with the class troublemaker, Ayase Miya. Risa, who is earnest and hard-nosed, and Miya, who hates to cooperate with others, couldn’t have been less right for each other, as they were always on the verge of tearing each other’s throats out.
At the time, the whole school was in a festive mood with Christmas just around the corner. As couples and spur-of-the-moment couples alike were flirtatiously carrying on, the whole school was abuzz with excitement over the “St. Michael’s Best Couple” poll being conducted by the student volunteers. Risa, who was single, figured it didn’t concern her…
So then how did she and Miya end up being chosen?!
And what’s more…
They were joined by four other couples who were practically the student council:
- The president of the Campus Improvement Committee, Matsubara Yuuna, and her junior, Oda Nanami.
- The renowned student model, Kitajima Sara, and her cousin, Kitajima Kaede.
- The singing sensation of the culture festival, Kawamura Reo, and her girlfriend, Sawaguchi Mai.
- And last, but not least, the girls of the Lily Platinum fan club, exchange student Shitogi Eris, and the school’s foremost scribe, the highly respected Kirishima Shizuku.
In other words, only the most preeminent couples on campus.
Will the big name couples be able to handle the events that follow? And how will Risa and Miya cope with their unexpected predicament throughout the holidays?
Chronologically this is the 11th entry in the A Kiss for the Petals and the first All-Star game where all the established couples from the previous games come together and interact with one another. In the past the closest thing to a “crossover” the games had was Yuuna showing up and working her magic. More on that later. Since this is the 11th entry the story made sure to remind longtime fans and introduce newcomers to the veteran with brief summaries on what kind of couple they are and how they got together, the bullet points of their respective stories essentially. As for what kind of conversations/encounters “plreaders” (Play-Readers) can expect from them? When not working on their assigned duties the girls have friendly chats but the one thing they did most of all whenever they got the chance was engage in one of the most intense battles on GOD’s green Earth? The epic contests of “My girlfriend is better than yours!” and occasionally “Our lovemaking is way more intense/passionate than yours!” Essentially they flaunt their relationships with one another just for kicks. Some of the girls even have mini-feuds with each other. It is ultimately harmless and no blood is shed but is also hilarious and fun to watch all the same.
The Petals series is meant to celebrate lesbian love with couples who are like “Yeah. We’re both girls in love and happily dating each other. #DealWithIt“. Okay, not that “in your face” but readers get what I am saying, expressing love out in the open without any shame…at least one of the two girlfriends in each couple. See, all six couples (Even Risa and Miya as their story progresses) have a kind of “seme-uke” dynamic, meaning one is dominant and the other submissive. I say kind of because that is not exactly the case for most of the couples. To be specific in each couple one of the girls has an easier time openly expressing their love while the other is embarrassed to do so in public. The love the all-star couples have for one another is undeniable but again is still fun seeing the more open girl encouraging the embarrassed one to “have faith” or something like that.
Next up let us briefly go over the new character designs with help from Nanami as we see the difference between the old and new character designs. As we can see the faces became puffier and the body a little meatier. The same goes for the overall presentation as it was at this point the series became more colorful/prettier. Then again it is natural improvement meaning it was expected the designs would get even better than they already were over time. The soundtrack remains the same as it always has. For newcomers who have played either Remembering How We Met, The New Generation or both expect to hear familiar tunes not including insert songs or the OP and ED. In short the presentation is pretty good. As far as the voice acting goes…most of the characters are well done as usual. However, two characters of note are Yuuna and Nanami, especially the latter. I do not know whether this is true or not but Nanami has had a different seiyu (voice actor) in every game she appeared in. In Maidens of Michael…let us just say her voice is…squeaky. The bright side for people who loathe squeaky voices is that there is an option to turn off individual voices. I did not out of respect and not minding it as much but for players who do…there you go. Also for some reason the volume in some of the seiyu’s mics is higher than others. I do not know if this was deliberate but, for example, Shizuku’s and Risa’s mics is on really high compared to Eris’ and Mai’s. Most of the others are just right.
Before getting to the couples let us briefly go over the gameplay. It is the standard Multiple Choice fare with two options. However, as mentioned in previous Petals reviews there is no “Bad End” in these games. It is more like “Happy End” and “Normal End”. The Normal End simply cuts the story short not allowing players to enjoy the “Ultimate Love Scene” and epilogue. The game always starts with the Risa and Miya route. After completing it start a new game and players are given the choice of starting over or warping to the Christmas Party. Pick the second option, go through the start of the party again before coming to a stop. Risa will then pick which All-Star couple’s conversation she wants to listen to. Whichever couple the player picked is the next route they will follow. Gameplay remains the same.
Let us now go over the couples further expanding what to expect from the rest of the story. Since Risa and Miya are the main attraction and have the longest route we will be talking about them first. As the plot summary made clear and players who “plread” Remembering How We Met will recall Risa and Miya’s relationship is that of the stern class representative Risa who is determined to set the truant prodigy on the right path and Miya the gifted genius who feels no reason to attend classes as the things taught in them are of no challenge to her or she already knows. This also means her social skills are poor. This being a yuri game players can get an idea of how their relationship progresses. This couple’s story is a very interesting one, particularly in the amount of drama. Primarily it is connected to their families. The challenges they go through are more serious than was expected at this point in the series. It made me go “Oh. So this is where the drama started picking up in the series and why The New Generation surprised me. Also as their relationship starts becoming more intimate Risa experiences something I personally have not seen brought up before in 18+ Yuri titles up to this point. It is not a one-off either. While the way it is resolved is debatable on whether it can happen this way in real life I appreciate it being brought up at all. It shows that yes, people do go through what Risa did when they are in a romantic relationship. Miya’s non-familial obstacles have to do with her poor social skills. So much so that being a couple is not enough for Risa to fully open the door to her heart.
Next up are the veterans whose stories are not as long as Risa and Miya’s though they get plenty enough screen time throughout the aforementioned couple’s story so they share the spotlight with them and other All-Star couples in their respective routes. Because these couples already have two games where they developed their relationships the routes in this game are more continuations of their ongoing love lives. The struggles they go through are similar to what they have been facing up to this point. It is more struggles of how each couple choose to move forward.
First up are the duo who started it all, Nanami and Yuuna. They were the first couple introduced and in Yuuna’s case she was the one who guided some of the other couples down the path of truth and justice. Nanami is a simple country girl who fell in love with the popular kid at first sight. Little did she know that the same thing happened to Yuuna. After an…interesting discovery the two immediately hooked up. Usually Yuuna is a composed model student, an inspiration to all around her. However, when talking about Yuri love or given the opportunity to get intimate with Nanami her true self emerges with a nearly uncontrollable craving for Nanami Burgers. Their relationship is that of Yuuna finding a balance of open acceptance and being able to control her wild girlfriend.
Next up are the cousins Kaede and Sara who have the strongest assets and best booty respectively. Theirs is a tale of a Sara the model who happily proclaims her love for Kaede every chance she gets and Kaede herself happily accepting her love but questioning her worthiness of dating a celebrity due to not seeing herself as an equal despite Sara telling her countless times that she too is an incredible beauty.
Third up are Mai and Reo the mascot couple of the franchise. Their relationship is simple. Two girls who also started off bickering but turned out it was all Reo wanting Mai’s cakes. The old “I tease/annoy you because I’m in love with you” thing. Their tale is that of the capable Mai who raised in a loving family helping the spoiled and pampered Reo come out of her tsundere lioness shell and share her hidden potential with the world.
Fourth are “The best there are, the best there were and the best there ever will be” in Eris and Shizuku. Their relationship is one of a charismatic foreigner in Eris who has Yuri Harem powers and could easily create one and her Yamato Nadesico girlfriend Shizuku who is just as hungry for “Euronese” steak but due to her proper upbringing and etiquette has an extremely difficult being honest with her feelings. Basically another tsundere but the best kind of tsundere. In this point of the story their time in high school is coming to a close so expect pre-college dilemmas among other things.
Last but not least we have the Student X Teacher couple of Runa and Takako. Not a personal favorite by any means. Anyway their relationship is one of a haughty girl with a natural born charisma that comes from the family setting her sights on the sexy but lacking in self-confidence Miss Takako. While it often appears that Runa is the one in control she is still a youngling. As their relationship progressed the times Takako remembered this little detail increased, meaning as time passed she would not as often be the one to get eaten. The dilemma the two face, or practically have faced for a while has to do with the living legend of St. Michaels, Runa’s older sister who made her return (on-screen debut) in this game. For Runa it was reliving being in her more popular older sister’s shadow and possibly losing her teacher to the legend. Speaking of said legend, expect Rena to make her presence felt not only upon her debut or during meetings but especially in this route.
I did not spoil too much but more give newcomers an idea of what kind of relationship the All-Star couples have.
I need not go into detail on the love scenes. Expect grade A quality sexiness, even from the new Nanami.
Overall A Kiss for the Petals: Maidens of Michael is a game made for people who want to sit back and enjoy “plreading” through stories of lesbian couples loving each other with very few cares in the world…when not facing their personal struggles of course, some more than others. While the All-Star couples have had two games each telling their stories the game makes sure no one falls behind and can keep up by reminding everyone of how they got to this point. Highly recommended to longtime fans of the franchise and people who want another yuri title with lots of cute and steamy loving.