You know how a lot of romance visual novels tend to have good romance and leave any sort of serious story on the backburner? It’s not often we get the complete reverse of that, but here we have Hello Lady!
Alright, so I didn’t really know what to expect going into this one. I half-expected something like Kinkoi, but got something more akin to a combo of that and Sorcery Jokers. The game takes place in a high school, but a special high school where students have magical abilities and they are trained to use them to better society – at least, that is what appears to be on the surface. In reality, there is a bit of a deeper plot and the story is actually a bit of a life and death drama.
This all sounds great – I love such dramas, I like magic combat and all that, but I also like a good romance visual novel, and this is one that kinda fails in that regard. Not because it doesn’t try to – it is still a romance VN after all and has all the usual developments – but it does such a poor job in this department that it became a bit painful not even two routes in. For example, I started with Tamao’s route. She is the tomboyish, tsundere type that, unlike a well-written tsundere, does a complete 180 in her personality right at the start of her character route and it caught me so off guard that it was really hard to take any part of that route seriously.
The common route is not even that long and is full of useless fan service scenes, leaving the character routes to do all the heavy lifting with regards to character writing. They do that to an extent, but not in the way that facilitates a good romance story. The romance is forced, out of place, and progresses as fast as a relationship in the Sims series. You enter a character route and suddenly the game remembers that it is supposed to have romance.
As I said before, most VNs in this genre tend to have the opposite problem – having good romance, but poor story development. However, even ones that have the same problem, like Aokana for example, still have much better romance writing than what I had to trudge through here. It is honestly one of the worst examples of such I have read in a while.
So that leaves the regular story content – the whole life and death magic drama thing. This aspect of the story, while starting off strong in the common route, quickly deteriorates with each character route and – now that I’m finished with it – I can’t say it is any more than okay at best. The pacing, for example, is really solid for the common route – balancing key plot developments with all of these character introductions and really keeping the whole thing engaging.
Then I get to Tamao’s route and get slapped with cliché after cliché until the very end. In fact, the ending itself was a bit of a cliché and 100% something you can see coming if you’re at least somewhat familiar with this genre. The game went from a really solid common route to a just okay character route coupled with some not so okay romance elements. This pattern continued into the next route, and then the next, and by that point I had pretty much lost all interest.
A lot of people may point to the protagonist as a shining light here, but he is the exact type of character that you either love or hate – no in-between and unfortunately I fall more on the hate side. He is very arrogant, confident, smart, and knows what he wants. He is not the least bit dense – which is actually nice – but he is also very perverted and this leads to several random scenes where he feels the need to grab another character’s breasts for no reason at all.
He’s also on the edgy side – and it’s kinda hard to explain why without getting into spoiler territory – but be assured, the writing will not let you forget this aspect of his character. So no, I couldn’t really come to like this guy. Maybe just me, maybe the writing played a part – whatever the case, it made it hard to care for the story given that it revolves around the protagonist’s backstory. I will give the game some points though for actually giving us a voiced protagonist – that’s something we do not often see.
All of these problems added up, delivering an overall high school VN experience that left me… underwhelmed. It’s not terrible, but it is certainly not good and honestly, there are so many better visual novels out there that I cannot in good faith recommend Hello Lady! Complete Edition.
For having a relatively solid common route, Hello Lady! really disappoints once you get into character route territory and the romance starts kicking in. The story drops off, the protagonist is annoying, the romance is forced – it may have a somewhat interesting mystery behind it, but the ultimate feeling I had here was one of disappointment.
Quote: Hello Lady! has a solid common route, but quickly drops off once you reach character route territory – where the romance is forced and the protagonist unfortunately becomes even less likable.
Hello Lady! – Complete Edition retails for $30 USD on Steam. It is also available through Denpasoft, MangaGamer, and JAST. A free 18+ patch is available for the Steam version.
I was provided a review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.