Yumina the Ethereal is an eroge RPG created by JAST and released in 2013. So far, the game has conquered the hearts of many fans, due to its interesting and funny story, its battle system, and its moe characters.
While many hentai games are designed as visual novels, where you are taken through a story accompanied by still images with cute anime girls, Yumina the Ethereal is much more than that. Its RPG component is quite strong, and the battle system is complex, although it does not exactly fall in the usual ‘fighting monsters, gain levels’ routine. But more about that part later.
Onto the story, you play the role of Akashima Ayumu, a guy with little interest to anything around him, although his mission is an important one. Never knowing his parents, he is raised by a man called Akashima Takehito, and trained to be a martial arts master. According to what your character recalls from the past, one day, Takehito tells Ayumu to go to Jinbu Academy, where a girl called Midorishita Yumina studies. Your role is to protect this girl with all your might, since she is the one who will save the world. At least, this is what Takehito says.
So, Ayumu gets to know Yumina, and they become friends of sorts. However, Ayumu gets more and more the impression that his father was a bit of a lunatic, since the only things Yumina seems to need protection from are her really bad grades.
The game starts when you, as a knight in shining armor (or just a school uniform), come to rescue Yumina, who is about to take a math exam, on which her entire career as a senior students hangs. Because she is really bad at studying, she gets bad grades after bad grades. Now, if she does not pass this exam, she will surely repeat the year, and fail to become a senior.
Your solution to her problem is a secret weapon, in the form of a tiny piece of paper, on which the entire math knowledge you have is concentrated. However, Yumina does not appreciate the effort, and a fight ensues. Things get really bad as she is pushing you through a window. Luckily, you are unhurt, but Yumina loses the exam. From here, the plot thickens.
Teachers tell Yumina that she will be repeating the year, and there is no way around it. Desperate, she enlists you as her help in finding a way to avoid the terrible fate. This is how you are introduced to another protagonist, Kurokawa Kirara, the head of the Debate Club, who presents Yumina with a solution: to embark on the fight to become the president of the Student Council, a position that will allow her to change one of the academy rules. Although she has nothing to qualify her for this position, Yumina accepts to run for president, in a confrontation known as the ‘student council war’.
Although your character, Ayumu, does not give a rat’s ass about school, elections, and such, you are forced to follow Yumina everywhere and help her. And, since Kirara is quite a scary character, despite her short height, you learn soon enough that you are pretty submissive when it comes to girls bossing you around.
The gameplay in Yumina the Ethereal is more complex than you actually see in hentai games. The part that plays as a visual novel is pretty straightforward, since you just click through what is happening, and your input is not relevant but in very few cases. However, when the debate battles begin, and you need to be Yumina’s champion, as you promised your foster father, things change quite dramatically.
Yumina needs to win debates, which are battles of words, in order to get more students to vote for her in the election. Such opportunities will appear from time to time, and this is where you intervene and actually play the game. Each character in the team will have skills for attacking and for defense. You will want to place Ayumu or Kirara as the first in team, especially during the first fights, because Yumina is best only as a support character.
The system itself is quite complex, and it is much recommended to pay attention to the tutorial. For instance, opportunities to interrupt and attack on the enemy’s turn can appear, and you must activate them. Each character can use attacking skills and defensive skills, and depending on what the enemy puts on the table, you may need to choose what to play the next turn. (Kirara is pretty handy with her Oppressive Silence skill, as she can block some of the opponents’ charges; Yumina is good with telling you nice words when you’re hit, so you can get ‘healed’).
Once you get the hang of the battle system, your goal will be to win as many as you can, and amass more skills. From this point of view only, Yumina the Ethereal is worth playing. There is also a dungeon crawler part, for XP, and you can use these quests to get items that will make you more powerful and efficient in the bigger quest.
Let’s not forget that Yumina the Ethereal is also a nice hentai game. As Ayumu, you will be able to romance a lot of girls, starting with Yumina and Kirara. The game receives extra points for cool hentai CGs and for the funny situations characters tend to get into all the time. That being said, let’s talk a bit about the girls.
Midorishita Yumina is a gorgeous girl with long pink hair (although, as Ayumu notices, her name contains the word ‘green’). She may be your first choice, especially since you are always close to her. A moe character, she is very funny because she is slow to catch up with what is being said or happens around her, and it looks like Ayumu is the only one that can communicate with her properly.
Kurokawa Kirara is the mysterious girl in charge of the Debate Club who puts Yumina on her way to becoming president. She is short, but menacing, and most probably a goth Lolita fashion victim. Despite her moe appearance, she is very imposing, and you soon find yourself calling her ‘chief’.
Okitsu Ai is a girl who joins the Debate Club to help the team, although she is a first year student and just transferred to Jinbu Academy. She may look shy and cute, but do not let yourself fooled. Besides the fact that she seems to have a secret agenda, and she is pretty much after you, she is the most perverted of them all. Expect her to come with some crazy remark, especially when hentai scenes are rolled on the screen.
In case you prefer girls with glasses, you can opt for Honma Maino, head of the Library Committee. A fan of equality among students, she is the studious type with low self esteem, but good natured, and, of course, very cute.
Sakaue Tsukuyo and Sakaue Youko are two shrine maidens with their own committee. They get involved in the student council war, as well, and, if you play your cards right, you will get to see what hides underneath those complicated kimonos.
Kagura Nayuta is the current president, a girl with both looks and brains, who intends to secure the presidential position, despite Yumina’s efforts. She is also one of the characters you can romance and get in bed with, but she may be quite a challenge.
The list of moe girls in Yumina the Ethereal is far from over. However, listing all of them would take too long, and we leave you the pleasure to discover them yourself. The game is long, interesting, with many twists and turns, and it provides around 40 hours of solid fun and gameplay.
So far, Yumina the Ethereal was well received by critics and fans of the eroge genre alike. It is, unlike many visual novels that tend to cater to those in search of emotional melodramas, a nice comedy, and you will never feel bored while playing it.
With moe girls, complex battle system, and funny situations, Yumina the Ethereal is rightfully one of the best ecchi RPGs released in 2013.
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