shuffle

Shuffle!

Shuffle! is the first computer game made by the visual novel company Navel. While the PC version was created as an eroge, or erotic game, it was also released for the PlayStation 2 as the all-ages, enhanced remake Shuffle! On the Stage. The game has started a small media franchise for Navel and has been adapted into series of anime, manga, and light novels. Along with this, Shuffle! is followed by its sequels Tick! Tack! and Really? Really!

Shuffle! consists of a typical harem romance set-up, where the main character is liked by a number of attractive girls, and he must choose which girl he wishes to be with. The game is fully voiced (except for the main character) and offers approximately six hours worth of gameplay for each path.

Story

The basic storyline of Shuffle! follows the romantic life of Rin Tsuchimi, a normal human, Japanese high schooler, who finds himself being sought after by a variety of girls. The world of Shuffle! consists of humans living in harmony with gods, resembling humans with slightly pointed ears and devils, who have more prominent pointed ears. Despite their respective positive and negative connotations, both races are equally kind and good-natured. Rin soon finds himself as the potential marriage candidate for both Lisianthus and Nerine, the two daughters of the kings of the god and devil worlds who recently transferred to Rin's school. In addition to them, he is also liked by his childhood friend Kaede, his senior Asa, and the mysterious, reserved Primula. Through the course of the game, Rin will end up with one of those five girls and fall into mutual love.

Depending on how the player plays the game, the story beyond this basic set-up can differ greatly. The storyline of the adaptations of Shuffle! generally try to incorporate the stories from all of the paths in the visual novel, but still vary greatly in which events occur and the order of those that do, not to mention which girl Rin falls in love with.

Gameplay

The gameplay mostly consists of just reading and listening to the conversations provided. Every now and then, a "Please Select Your Destiny" event will occur, giving the player multiple choices on how to respond or act. The choices selected determine who will be Rin's destined lover. However, there aren't very many of these; depending on which route the player takes, there will only be between 8 and 12 multiple-choice questions. Once a certain point in the game is reached, a translucent image of the destined character appears when the day changes, indicating who Rin has fallen in love with. Afterwards, the multiple choices become almost nonexistent. Eventually, very late in the game, an H scene will occur. The first scene always involves foreplay for the female character followed by intercourse. After the first H scene, more conversation follows until the second hentai scene occurs. The second hentai scene tends to be slightly more varied in its content, although they all include fellatio. There are only two hentai scenes for each character, and after some more conversation the game ends.

Omake

After the game has been completed at least once, players can view CG artwork they have observed, skip to the H scenes or endings for characters they have completed, and listen to music they have heard in the game. Finally, after completing most of the girls, one can also view all the characters in their different outfits and poses with different facial expressions in some versions of the game.

Shuffle! On the Stage

The Playstation 2 version greatly varies from the PC version by having all of the H scenes removed. To make up for these deleted scenes, the storylines of the five original characters have been expanded. Additionally, the player may follow Kareha's or Mayumi Thyme's paths, two characters whose coupled ending routes were unavailable in the PC version of the game. Tsubomi, Kareha's younger sister, also has her first appearance in the On the Stage version during Kareha's path. Tsubomi also appears on occasions in the anime.

Main characters

: Rin Tsuchimi is a seventeen year-old high school student and the male protagonist to the series. In the game, Rin is the role that the player assumes.
(anime only) : Nicknamed Sia, Lisianthus is the daughter of the Lord of Gods and came to the human world as a possible marriage candidate for Rin. She is energetic, enthusiastic, and outgoing. Due to her absorbing her twin sister Kikyou's spirit at birth, she has a dissociative identity disorder.
: Nerine is the daughter of the Lord of Devils and, like Sia, is also a marriage candidate for Rin. Nerine is a more capable magic user than Sia, and occasionally uses it to devastating effect. Similar to Sia, Nerine has absorbed the spirit of Lycoris, her clone. Unlike Sia, however, this has not led her to developing multiple personalities and only caused her to share Lycoris' emotions and singing voice.
: Kaede Fuyou is Rin's childhood friend who grew up with him in the same house after her mother and Rin's parents died in a car accident. Some time after they started junior high school, Kaede started taking care of Rin. Kaede is easily embarrassed and is happy in her role as homemaker.
: Asa Shigure is Rin's friend and senpai. While she has a weak constitution, she makes up for it with her energetic personality. Despite being a touch of a tomboy, she is an excellent cook. She uses English loan words often and is notable for her "Hello!" greeting which is her catchphrase. She is the daughter of the first being involved in the experiments jointly done by the gods and demons.
: Primula is a strange, soft-spoken girl that's often seen carrying a stuffed cat around. She is the third artificial life form created from a result of gods' and devils' experimentations from which she escaped from to go to the human world to search for Rin. Additionally, with her young appearance, Primula serves to fill the lolicon niche of the series.
Voiced by: Hitomi (Japanese), Cherami Leigh (English)

Themes

Shuffle! contains a leitmotif of allusions to flowers. All of the characters' names are references to flowers in some way, mostly genera of flowering plants. (See individual character articles for their meanings.) Additionally, in Japan, every day has a special flower associated with it, which in turn are associated with certain characteristics. This is called hanakotoba, or "language of flowers". All of the characters' birthdays and personalities correspond with the flowers of their respective days.

For example, the high school that the series takes place in, , refers to the genus Verbena, which has connotations of family union and magical power. Also, in an indirect flora allusion, the city the series takes place in is , which literally means "Sunshine Town", alluding to sunlight's beneficial effects on plants.

Release and sales

Shuffle! had much pre-sale hype due to it being the first work produced by the then-new Navel company, which was largely composed of former members of BasiL (maker of Cherry Petals Fall Like Teardrops), including Hiro Suzuhira and Aoi Nishimata, the illustrators for Shuffle! The Limited Edition was released on January 30, 2004 and came with a special artbook featuring original drawings of the cast by twelve guest artists and a special edition box. This was a risky date, as it was also the launch date of Fate/stay night, a highly anticipated visual novel by Type-Moon. Despite the competition, Shuffle! was able to sell well, as many otaku pre-ordered the two games together. Shuffle! was the second highest-selling computer game for the second half of January 2004 in Japan, just behind Fate/stay night. The Normal Edition was released on February 27, 2004 on one DVD instead of three CDs and came with an original Shirotama & Kurotama keychain. The Standard Edition was released on December 17, 2004, also on one DVD. An Anniversary Edition was released on November 22, 2007 and comes with a phone card of Sia nd Kikyou.

Shuffle! On the Stage was released on October 20, 2005 and sold well (for a visual novel) during its first week, selling 29,732 copies by October 23. It was released in two versions: the regular version, with just the game, and the DX version which came with a 12 cm figure of Lisianthus, a Shuffle! On the Stage Mix soundtrack CD, and a cell phone cleaner.

Sales ranking charts

The following sales ranking charts are only for Japan and are specific to the medium. PC games have separate sales rankings from other video games, which lumps all other console and handheld titles together. Shuffle! On the Stage statistics are for the combined sells of both versions.
Limited edition
Date Sales ranking
2nd ½ of January 2004
#2
1st ½ of February 2004
#18
2nd ½ of February 2004
#50
Normal edition
Date Sales ranking
2nd ½ of February 2004
#9
1st ½ of March 2004
#5
2nd ½ of March 2004
#41
1st ½ of April 2004
#49
Standard edition
Date Sales ranking
Never made the top 50
N/A
Shuffle! On the Stage
Date Sales ranking
October 17–23, 2005
#6


Adaptations

All adaptations of Shuffle! are unpornographic, though they do contain various levels of fan service and light nudity.

Manga

There have been two official series of Shuffle! manga produced by Kadokawa Shoten which originally appeared in Comptiq magazine. The first, titled Shuffle! Days in the Bloom, is illustrated by Shiroi Kusaka, has six tankōbon. Days in the Bloom began running in Comptiq on December 2003, a month before the Shuffle! visual novel was released, to build publicity for the game.

The second series is a comic anthology titled which is illustrated by various artists. It has five tankōbon.

Anime

Naoto Hosoda directed an anime adaptation of Shuffle! that had a special prologue DVD released on May 2005 and aired in Japan on WOWOW between July 7, 2005 and January 5, 2006 in twenty-four episodes. The anime combines elements from all of the characters' paths from the game into one plot, although it differs from the game by adding some elements, such as the idol clubs formed around Sia, Nerine, and Kaede, and removing others, such as the H-scenes. The anime has now been licensed by FUNimation, and the first DVD will be released on February 26, 2008. An industry representative for FUNimation has stated that, despite rumors, the entire series will be released unedited and uncut. In January 2008, FUNimation made the first two episodes available as a preview on their website.

A second twelve-episode anime series titled Shuffle! Memories began on January 6, 2007. It is a recap of the original Shuffle! anime, rearranging scenes from the original series into individual character specific episodes. It contains very little original content, such as the use of the opening and ending theme songs from the character song CDs, the opening and ending videos themselves, and the last episode being the only original content.

Character novels

There have been seven character novels published by Kadokawa Shoten. There are separate novels for Lisianthus, Nerine, Kaede, Asa, Primula, Kareha, and Mayumi.

Audio dramas

Shuffle! also has seven audio drama CD adaptations, which each one focusing on one of the main girls (including Kareha and Mayumi from On the Stage) and a radio drama series that translates as which is hosted by Lisianthus and Nerine. The word is a blend of the words and , referring to a radio show being hosted by voice actors that are in-character.

Sequels

Shuffle! has two direct sequels which continue from the specific character endings from the game. While the current pattern suggests that Navel plans to make at least five sequels to Shuffle!, one for each of the girls' endings, there are no announced sequels for anything beyond Really? Really! and the company is currently working on Oretachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai.

Tick! Tack!

Tick! Tack! continues from Nerine's ending. It involves time travel back to visit Forbesii before he is the father of Nerine. It incorporates a new Nerine watch system in which the player may either choose to correct things to the normal timeline, or change history to a new timeline.

Really? Really!

Really? Really! continues from Kaede's ending in Shuffle! and is thus not a sequel to Tick! Tack! It involves Kaede having lost her memories and Rin attempting to fix them. Really? Really! incorporates a unique "Really!" system in which the player must correct inaccuracies in Kaede's memories, making it the most complex of the three games.

References

External links

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