Title: Shuki Shuki Daishuki
Release date: 6-27-14
There is an overwhelmingly negative bias against loli-ge, as if were any less acceptable than other eroge, merely for featuring a specific type of heroine—regardless that the characters are actually adults. This genre is supposedly so harmful that it can override basic human morality, cause its audience to commit criminal acts, and other untrue accusations. As I’ve previously stated, these protests are against entirely harmless works of fiction, and the oppression of others’ creative freedom for the sake of preserving one’s own comfort level is wrong.
Usami Youji is a young man whose more feminine tastes, particularly an adoration for anything cute, has finally brought him good fortune. His older sister runs a shop aimed towards young women, stocking everything from stuffed animals to school supplies, and hires Youji to be her newest clerk. Unfortunately for Youji, as the only male employee, he struggles to be accepted by customers.
It doesn’t help when he meets three girls, all with problems of their own: Tamara, his lonely neighbor, Aoi, a homeless girl, and Chikage, his estranged childhood friend. Youji wants to help all of them, but he can only prioritize one over the others.
The plot is simple, focusing on the friendships being made, and the romances beginning to blossom. The most profound moments are often the smallest ones, but are no less significant because of it: the warmth expressed between two lovers, the personal growth of an individual, or even the conflicts that come from misunderstandings or miscommunication.
The simple truth is that Shuki Shuki Daishuki does not portray or condone any kind of abusive relationship. It is about a boy whose heart is ultimately in the right place, and a girl whose physical appearance does not determine her mental capacity or level of maturity in the least. As indicated by the title, it is heartwarming, charming, and above all else, a love story.
“I just love all cute things!”
Youji tends to get carried away at times, becoming rather preoccupied with his own fantasies, speaking and acting without thinking. But he also has a kind heart, for whenever he becomes too carried away, he always comes to his senses and apologizes for his disrespectful behavior. He makes an effort to remind himself, in spite of his urges, that he shouldn’t make any of the heroines uncomfortable just for the sake of his own desires.
Tamara Vladimirovna Nabokova
“Can we play a game?”
Innocent and gullible to a fault, Tamara trusts everyone she meets, refusing to see anything but the best in others. But in spite of her sunny personality, Tamara’s life isn’t a fairy tale. Her mother is often away and occupied with work, unintentionally neglecting Tamara in the process. Tamara is eager for companionship, happily inviting Youji to spend time with her.
“What is it already? Just go away!”
Aoi is a popular idol, starring in her own films and modelling for the camera. But in spite of her success, her career has been on hiatus due to family troubles, and the pressure of having to keep her personal life hidden from the public. Unable to cope with the stress, she runs away from home, taking refuge in a park with no money, food, or proper shelter.
In spite of her terrible situation, Aoi wants to seem more independent than she actually is, initially rejecting help from anyone. But with time, her feisty, mischievous personality reveals a genuine longing for acceptance.
Chikage is a modest, amiable girl, working as a shop clerk and beloved by customers. She suffers from severe anxiety and androphobia, unable to even look at men. Over the years, her close relationship with Youji has grown distant, and his reappearance only stresses Chikage’s fragile personality. But slowly, she begins to reach out to Youji, in hopes of rekindling their friendship.
Endearingly cute and simplistic, the artwork places an emphasis on bright, cheerful colors, round lines, and minimal shading. Everything about the heroines is just delightful, each one given a unique character design, multiple sets of facial expressions, poses, clothing, and hairstyles, even ranging in skin tone at certain points.
Rather than being displayed in a single fixed position, the paper dolls actually move across the screen, such as peeking around the corner of the game window. There is also slight animation, with musical notes, question marks, or beads of sweat occasionally appearing, enhancing the character’s expression.
Most of the backgrounds are illustrated in lively detail, although others, such as the protagonist’s plain apartment, are appropriately dull. Even the very layout is adorable, with a pink text window, a blinking rabbit icon to advance, and a whimsical font for system buttons.
Much like the artwork, the music is light-hearted, ranging from upbeat, catchy tunes for every day events, to soft, sweet tracks for the more tender scenes. During especially emotional moments, piano, music boxes, acoustic guitar, and bells all harmonize to match the romantic atmosphere. There are a few pieces which are repetitive, but those are heard only briefly and sparingly.
Each heroine is voiced to perfection, whether it be Tamara’s clumsy speech, Aoi’s playful teasing, or Chikage’s nervous stutter. High voices and simple speech patterns are typical of the genre, but these characters are adults, and the moments of maturity are no less convincingly portrayed.
By far the most controversial aspect of the title, each scene is handled with sensitivity to the youthful appearances of the heroines. Intimate moments are paced with appropriate restraint, and a majority of the events do not involve sex at all, starting out with occasional nudity, then introducing scenes which contain erotic elements but without actual intercourse, such as oshikko or voyeurism, before progressing to heavier content like fellatio and frottage. Penetrative sex does not occur until the relationship between Youji and the heroine of choice has been well developed.
While consent issues are often the most prevalent, albeit untrue, criticisms of loli-ge, all the sex is fully consensual. There are a few mild kinks, such as exhibitionism, light bondage, or even female domination, and each one is explored between willing partners. If something new is introduced, it is usually agreed upon beforehand, and anything important to the heroine’s emotional and physical health, such as possible pain or discomfort, is also discussed.