Kept you waiting, huh?
The following is a review of a fan-made scenario for the visual novel Student Transfer. For more information about Student Transfer, please consult my dedicated Student Transfer page or the official Student Transfer website.
What better way to get back into the swing of things after an… 11 month hiatus? How did that… okay, there was that novel… and then that archival project… and then my surgery… and then I wrote a 40k word novella and a 60k word outline for novel #7 and— you know what, screw it.
The important thing is that Natalie.TF Student Transfer scenario reviews are BACK, and we’re kicking things off right with the latest scenario from the prolific Choripan! A writer whose name you might recognize from his previous work on The Festival, A.S.A.P.!, Graceful Misfortune, Backtracking, and Riley Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Assistant. However, his most well-known work is easily the MaidenSwap route from the base game. A route so good that it shattered my close friend’s sense of self and transformed her into Cassandra Wright. (She’s a real hoot, I’ll tell you that for free.)
Anyway, Valentine’s Lies kicks off with Kiyoshi trying to get his uncle Maurice a date for Valentine’s Day. But seeing as how he has the romantic allure of a dirt clod, he decides that if he cannot get a girl to go on a date with his uncle, he’ll just turn John into one. Specifically, a 42-year-old French woman with mental alterations to make him act like a dominant femme fatale, inspired by Maurice’s favorite ‘European films.’
If that sounds like it is a reprisal of Chori’s precious depiction of John as a ‘turned into a MILF identity death lover’ as seen in Backtracking, that’s because it is… but with some variations. John still has his own free will, but he quickly immerses himself into his new identity as Beatrice Debois and takes to this new role like a trout to a river. The mental alterations give him both the confidence and wit to keep up this new persona, and it only takes him a matter of minutes before he starts lulling men into a stupor to snatch exactly what he desires.
It is, in a bizarre sense, a sort of power fantasy for John. He goes from some teenage kid with no respect or power to a woman with such gravitas that she can call herself an international reporter and have people believe it just from the way she walks. But there is also a sense of constant danger, as John does not know what he is going to say or do until he actually does it.
It lacks the sense of hopelessness that often comes with identity death, as John is ultimately becoming another person of his own volition, however skewed that volition may be. But it similarly captures the thrill of becoming someone else and gaining everything that comes with their mind. It is a particular niche that Chori clearly understands the appeal of on a narrative level… and finds to be pretty hot. …Because it is pretty hot. Body swapping and transformation is fun as a box of cats in heat, but without any sort of ‘mental transformation’ (including basic character development) you’re just playing with a bunch of sexy dolls.
As for the ‘proper story’ of Valentine’s Lies, well, it’s a complete single-route story, so there’s a limit to what I can fixate on. But I will say that it was exactly what I expected from Chori based on his past work… and it was also exactly what I wanted. Even though it is only 40 minutes long, it manages to feel like a whole and complete story. Things are focused around the most important elements, with little in the way of fluff. Everything from the writing to the presentation is about what I would expect from a creator as prolific as Chori. And I have basically no criticisms to offer.
…Well, aside from the fact that John and Maurice walked into a fancy restaurant— on Valentine’s Day— on a Saturday night— and found a table. The odds of that happening are paper-thin… but I also don’t actually care. It makes the plot go vroom, and that’s what really matters.
Wow, this isn’t even close to my usual 1,000 word goal, and I said everything I want to say, so… guess I’ll review another scenario tomorrow!