How the Creators of the Otome Genre Bring Romance to Modern Audiences


Otome games, or dating simulation games for women, have had a surprisingly large number of English releases in recent years, despite the fact that they are generally considered a niche genre. In 2018 so far, there have already been 5 otome game releases for PlayStation Vita, a system that, as of March next year, will no longer have physical game cartridges produced in North America and Europe. Japanese otome game giant Otomate, developer of popular titles such as Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom and Amnesia: Memories, announced back in May that they will be moving future otome games releases to the Nintendo Switch, opening up the genre to a whole new console audience in Japan.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at


Ah yes, the game with the girl cage.

I’m not joking, this aspect of the game was even included in the anime adaptation.

I have the same problem with the otome genre as I do with most shojo romance manga (ie portraying abuse as hort or suggesting you can “fix” him, ect), but there are definitely gems out there. I hope this company focuses more on those games and less on the ones like girl cage there.


I’d say the choice of listing those 2 is maybe the only odd part of the article for me - Otomate’s actually the developer (or at least original publisher?) of almost all otome games released in English on consoles. Those might be the most well known due to Hakuoki’s age and Amnesia’s anime, I think, which is why I’m guessing they were listed vs something more recent but there are more recent things to point to that you might prefer. I’d say I’m actually decently fond of some of Amnesia’s other routes (really mainly Kent’s, which I loved and was personally good enough to make slowly finishing the entire game by playing a route every few months worth it) but Touma… yeah, there’s a lot happening there, and most of the others went places I didn’t enjoy at some points.

If you are interested in their games that do not involve caging, what I’d recommend the most strongly is Code: Realize, which I love deeply. Its protagonist is very competent and funny, its cast is entertaining, the plot balances both comedy and surprisingly serious topics well, and it has one of the better approaches to telling a story through different routes that I’ve seen in a VN. And mportantly… none of the guys are jerks; they even get along with each other! To a lesser extent I’ve enjoyed Collar x Malice (in that I wasn’t as fond of two of the guys and one of the ones I enjoyed a lot will be pretty divisive) and Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly (the experimental structure is more of a failure than a success and some of the endings are repetitive/unsatisfying). I have heard very good things about Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk in comparison, though.

(EDIT: The above was meant to reply to JKDarkSide but it didn’t seem to retain the reply when I posted…?)

Regardless- it’s excellent to see more coverage of otome games here, from Anne in particular, and getting an interview with the director of Ruby Party even. I really hope this continues.


This was a really interesting read (and turned me to the previous Anne Lee article I missed!). It really got me thinking about the kinds of games marketed to women both in the US and Japan. On one hand, I’m glad there is diversity being encouraged in the games industry, but on the other, it seems to be steeped in regressive gender politics.