Community Visual Novel Book Club - G-senjou no Maou - The Devil on G-String

Exzyleph

Dark Eroge Lord
Oct 9, 2018
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Welcome to the 10th MetaCouncil visual novel book club!

For this book club we will be reading G-senjou no Maou - The Devil on G-String, a visual novel about the son of a legendary gangster whose peaceful life is turned upside down when two people arrive in town: The beautiful Haru, and the powerful international gangster known only as "Maou".

Bookclub participants can obtain the all-ages edition of G-Senjou no Maou on Steam (either with or without voice-acting) and the voiced, 18+ edition can be obtained on Denpasoft (NSFW). A paid patch is also available for the Steam version, for those wanting the 18+ content (NSFW). The novel is approximately 395k words in English and a completionist play-through estimated to take 37 hours on HLBT.

This is an informal book club, so there is no fixed schedule; you simply read the novel at your own pace, and share your thoughts along the way or when you are done reading. Just remember to use spoiler tags liberally. For general information and past and future book clubs, please see the main MetaCouncil Book Club thread; the main thread includes a preliminary schedule for the rest of 2020, but suggestions are very welcome for the rest of 2020 and beyond.​


The Story

You play the role of Azai Kyousuke, the son of a legendary gangster infamous in the underworld. You spend your time listening to Bach, playing God at school and covertly working for your stepfather, a ruthless financial heavyweight. This idyllic existence is broken when two individuals appear in the city - a beautiful girl named Usami Haru with hair you could get lost in for days, and a powerful international gangster known only as "Maou".

Almost without delay, the two begin a deadly cat-and-mouse game, bringing you and your friends into the crossfire. Plotting, political intrigue and layer upon layer of interlocking traps are the weapons in this epic battle of wits.


[Taken from VNDB]​


Walkthrough
A walkthrough for G-Senjou no Maou can be found here.
According to this walkthrough, the recommended route order is Tsubaki Miwa > Kanon Azai > Mizuha Shiratori > Haru Usami.​


Next Month
The currently scheduled visual novel for July is CUPID (VNDB), a free gothic romance visual novel about loss, revenge and the different faces of love.​
 
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Kvik

Crossbell City Councillor
Dec 6, 2018
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Downunder.
I like how you can change the fonts in this game, much like any of Key's VNs. Also the contrast between the key art and themes presented in the game somehow didn't mesh together quite well but is something I can appreciate.
 
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Exzyleph

Exzyleph

Dark Eroge Lord
Oct 9, 2018
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I like how you can change the fonts in this game, much like any of Key's VNs. Also the contrast between the key art and themes presented in the game somehow didn't mesh together quite well but is something I can appreciate.
This VN seem to have a lot of handy options.
I am particularly curious to see how the "auto skip read text" option works out in practice.
 

Zeloz Mk.II

Junior Member
May 1, 2020
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I wish nothing but the worst for Eiichi.

Also, seems like he's not the only one. Though, currently, I'm not sure which side of Kyousuke's more of a Hyde.
 
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Exzyleph

Exzyleph

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Oct 9, 2018
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I have been a bit busy, but I manged to finish the first chapter earlier today. So far it has been a really interesting read, and one that pleasantly surprised me with how tense it gets during scenes featuring Maou or Gonzou after the more lighthearted scenes. I can also do nothing but third the harsh words against Eiichi and hope that he gets his comeuppance.

The introduces the notion of Kyousuke having another personality pretty early, with the prologue ending with a lapse in his memories after he reaches for his coat. This is later called out by his psychiatrist, who asks if he has such lapses in memory, and who seems to believe that Kyousuke does have split personalities. His random headaches could also relate to this, considering that both happen while he is thinking about "Maou".

The meeting between Kyousuke and Haru at the café seems like a straight forward confirmation that Maou is that other personality of Kyousuke's, though the way it is written could also be a sign of it being a red herring: The scene ends with Kyousuke leaving the cafe and next shows Maou entering the street from somewhere, but it is not actually explicitly confirmed this is the same scene. But Maou and Kyousuke do look rather alike in their CGs, including having mostly the same range of hair-colors (brown and blue'ish, though not red'ish) under different conditions. Another thing that supports it is Maou's familiarity with what both Kyousuke and Haru are doing, knowledge that seems to correspond roughly to what Kyousuke knows.

Another fact that the game points out, that could fit into all this, is the fact that Kyousuke sounds very different when speaking over a phone than when speaking face-to-face, which could be used to explain people not realizing that Maou and Kyousuke are the same person. The fact that Gonzou was involved in hiring the aforementioned psychiatrist, and the fact that he openly suspected that Kyousuke could be "Maou" could suggest that he too believes that Kyousuke has multiple personalities. I wouldn't be surprised if we later learn that Gonzou has already witnessed the other personality.

One thing that seemingly speaks against this would the death of Haru's mother, which seems to have happened some time ago, as Haru is implied to have been looking for Maou for a while, and only recently detected him in this city. But that would seemingly imply that Kyousuke was already active at a much younger age, something that doesn't seem so reasonable to assume. However, it wouldn't be the first VN with a ridiculously young criminal mastermind. Despite that, it seems reasonable to suppose that Maou is Kyousuke for now, though a twist like that being revealed so early can't help but make me extra skeptical.

Another thing I found interesting was Kyousuke phone call to his mother, since that seemed to imply that money was not in fact the end-goal for him, despite what his words and deeds would otherwise suggest, but rather the means to an end. And speaking of phone calls, who the hell is Miki? Does she even exist or are the phone-calls just part of Kyousuke's ploy to make people think of him as a playboy?
 
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Zeloz Mk.II

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May 1, 2020
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Finished Tsubaki's chapter ("Mirror") last night. I love her so much right now, god.

So far, the deft way this game swings between soul-crushing despair and heart-warming catharsis is perhaps more impressive than even the Death Note-esque logic games played between the characters.

Much like the route's central heroine, I found myself convinced that I'd be hating certain parties by the end, only to come around and love them all the more. Watching Kyousuke corrupt and mentally abuse Tsubaki (especially outside of his "Maou" persona) was genuinely sickening at times, and the way he'd continually betray her trust out of pressure from Gouzou made me thing, right up until the very end, that there'd be no way for this hopeless kid to redeem himself outside of death. Thank God for "Miki-chan," though.

I know Haru's route should be played last, but the bits of her we see in this route has made me all the more fascinated with her, even outside of her history with "Maou." She seems to display a genuine desire to get closer emotionally to Kyousuke, even after deducing that he's most likely "Maou." It's also fascinating that Haru would maintain contact with Kyousuke and Tsubaki 4 years after the events of Tsubaki's route, though for what reason I can't yet fathom; with Kyousuke being Maou, and Maou all but disappearing after Kyousuke accepts his feelings for Tsubaki, one wonders what is it Haru's doing in the epilogue.

Guess I should also commend the game for having the best het H-scenes I've read in a VN in a while. The writing's good at conveying characters' emotions and insecurities, and this carries over quite well into even this bit of the narrative.
 
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Exzyleph

Exzyleph

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I also finished chapter 2 and Tsubaki's route and it was quite a read. I praised the game for how tense it got before, and this chapter delivered on that in spades!

As per usual, I ended up over-thinking things and the game almost immediately made it absolutely clear that Kyousuke was in fact Maou. Still, there are some interesting questions that remain, the main question being who is the original Kyousuke?

The natural explanation from how the story has been presented is that Maou was a personality developed in response to Gonzou "adopting" Kyousuke, perhaps as a form of rebellion. But there is also the alternative explanation that Azai Kyousuke was a personalty that arose as a way for Samejima Kyousuke insulate himself against having to deal with Gonzou. There is even a chance of additional personalities, but it doesn't seem necessary so far.

In this route Maou seemed to fade away after Kyousuke realized his feelings for Tsubaki and I would expect similar things to happen in the other routes. But that obviously raises questions about how things are going to pan out in Haru's route. Perhaps on that route Maou will be the primary personality, rather than Azai Kyousuke's story? That would be interesting.


Returning to the story in chapter 2, I found the kidnapping drama and the resulting chase to be absolutely fantastic. I look forward to seeing more of Maou's and Haru's rivalry. Interestingly, it was implied that Maou having a copy of the key wasn't the true explanation for how he managed to get his hands on the certificates, but the alternative would seem to involve getting the bonds from the briefcase while it was in Haru's possession. Or perhaps the locker was in fact broken all along, and could be opened without the key. Hopefully that gets answered later.

Tsubaki, on the other hand, is a sympathetic character, even if written to be too perfect, and it was heart-wrenching to watch her struggle during the chase and unsettling to watch her descent into depravity afterwards, leading to the BAD END.

However, I felt a bit mixed about the drama in Tsubaki's chapter. The house made for a convenient plot-device, but I didn't find Kyousuke's flip-flopping to be that convincing. It was also odd that he was surprised at Gonzou for not listening to his pleading, when Gonzou doing so would be completely out of line with his character. Similarly, I found the linchpin for Tsubaki staying on the right path to be a bit ridiculous. Hiroaki not reacting to Tsubaki beating the shit out of him made it seem as if he was not playing with a full deck of cards, but I doubt very much that was the intention.


One thing that stood out to me was Haru's reaction upon Kyousuke mentioning knowing about her mobile phone. Did she in fact mention it to him at the end of chapter 1 or was it another example of Maou's and Kyousuke's memories overlapping? I'm not terribly sure, and I suspect that this will be important later.

Miki-chan being an informant was brilliant and it was completely outside my expectations for most of the route. Though it did leave me wondering why such a person would risk calling Kyousuke so frequently.
 
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Exzyleph

Exzyleph

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Oct 9, 2018
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Finished up chapter 3 and Kanon's route and the story keeps delivering. In particular, I keep being impressed at the game's sound design, both in terms of fitting music to scenes and in terms of sound effects. However, I've also had a few issues with bugs, resulting in save games not working when I went to resume reading. Unfortunatly I hadn't been diligent in saving at choices, so I ended up spending a lot of time waiting for the game to fast-forward.

The cat-and-mouse continues, and this chapter continues with the introduction of Mephistopheles, who is himself a rather disturbing character. However, while Mephistopheles is shown to be willing to kill by his own hands, I am dubious about whether or not that is true for Maou: He makes Mephistopheles believe that he killed two people, but the first could easily have been an accident that Maou took advantage of and the second person appeared to have left the country long before his supposed murder. It seems likely that Maou was just manipulating Mephistopheles into doing his dirty work. Mephistopheles dies pointlessly on Kanon's route, but perhaps he will play a larger role in chapter 4?

This chapter also lets slip some addition details about Kyousuke's father; rather than merely being in debt, it seems that was involved in something far greater, resulting in him eventually killing 4 other people. We also learn that Haru's fatgher was involved in "destroying" Kyousuke's family, perhaps in the role of a detective or police officer. That also seems like a likely explanation for why "Maou" targeted Haru's mother in the first place.

The therapy session in which we learn this is also interesting, in that it seems that Maou, for the first time, breaks through Azai Kyousuke's personality and manifests itself directly. Shortly before this, Maou is able to interject himself to warn Mephistopheles, though that still followed the normal pattern of persality switches, suggesting that Maou might be taking a much more direct role in the next chapters.

Finally, this chapter offers a quite direct confirmation of Maou disappearing when Azai Kyousuke falls in love, as a result of Kyousuke finding other "nourishment" than "evil". To me, this suggests that Azai Kyousuke is the original personality, with Maou possible having been born in the scene where Gonzou takes young Kyousuke with him. Maou being aware of this is quite interesting as well, though he seemed surprisingly OK with just fading away.

The star of this chapter, Kanon, ended up being more interesting than I expected. Her bare faced admission that she was knowingly ignoring everything for the sake of skating drastically recasts her character, and the short segment in which Kanon is described as taking no blame is wrapped up by the end of her chapter with Kanon willingly taking the blame for something that was not even her fault. On the other hand, I didn't really feel her relationship with her mother, and overall I found Tsubaki's story to be much more interesting. It was also interesting to me how Kanon's bad end felt like a throw-away end, while Tsubaki's bad end depicted a path that she could plausibly have ended up following in much greater detail.

Next up is chapter 4 and Shiratori's story. I am curious to see how the authors approach getting her and Kyousuke involved, considering that the two of them have largely been strangers throughout the preceding chapters.
 
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Zeloz Mk.II

Junior Member
May 1, 2020
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I stayed up all night last night reading through the last Chapter and the Epilogue. Just need to go through my save points and look into some of the Bad Ends I apparently missed (as if this game and Kyousuke hadn't wrung enough out of my soul) and I should hit 100% completion.

This VN was an absolute trip. Thank you for suggesting it.
 
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Jim_Cacher

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Jun 3, 2020
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Still remember the last chapter which I played 7-8 years ago. Absolutely amazing finale. I hope all of you will enjoy it!
 
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Exzyleph

Exzyleph

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Oct 9, 2018
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Finished up Shiratori route and it honestly ended up feeling rather tacked on, as if the developers needed another character route to pad out the game. But I am hopeful that Haru's route will deliver a more satisfying end.

That said, the end to the plot against Kanon was great. I hadn't caught onto Gonzou being the target, so I was expecting something to happen during the skating competition. The twist took me entirely by surprise, though it made sense in hindsight. Gonzou further reiterates his suspicion that Kyousuke is Maou, asking Haru to keep an eye on Kyousuke, setting up for what is probably a final confrontation in Haru's route/the true end.

I did enjoy the lead-in into Shiratori's, as I am a sucker for (romantic) comedy in VNs, but it also felt like the authors had written themselves into a corner with her character. They needed some way to make a viable heroine of an extremely stand-off'ish character who had almost no interaction with Kyousuke, hence Tokita's sudden introduction as her sister. But then that left them with a three-person relationship that was too heavily dependent on Tokita, forcing them to get rid of her in a manner that honestly felt poorly executed. Tokita murdered a man because he burned down her house? Not only did that not feel in line with her character at all, but when did that happen in the first place? The tacked on nature of the route was further cemented by the route skipping over most of Shiratori's personal growth, having it happen off screen during the time-skip.

I didn't spot much that seemed relevant to the overarching plot, though Maou did make a comment suggesting that he would be bringing about the downfall of Sannou Corp. It was not clear what Maou hoped to make from having Shiratori be held hostage, but that'll probably become clearer on the true route.
 

Zeloz Mk.II

Junior Member
May 1, 2020
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So, about Tokita,
I kinda got tricked into starting the True End route trying to get to Shiratori's Chapter, thinking that calling the police might lead to a dead end (instead of Shiratori's Chapter; honestly not a fan of how they've made that chapter split, the narrative up until that point seemed pretty anti-police intervention). Reading how Shiratori's Chapter briefly touched on Tokita's backstory after going through the ordeal with Tokita kidnapping her sister and having her whole life struggle laid out, Tokita murdering the arsonist responsible for her hardships didn't seem so out-of-character. Then again, I can certainly imagine having that happen out-of-the-blue would seem out of place with the "clear-headed negotiatior" Tokita instead of the "stubbornly hellbent" Tokita.

I do kinda wish Shiratori's character development in her chapter were handled a little better; of the three heroines up until that point, her entire arc seemed oddly disconnected with the events of the main game. While I thought Shiratori maturing with the absence of Tokita and learning empathy and emotional independence was incredibly heartwarming, I wasn't a fan of how her entire chapter took place in flashbacks and flashforwards.

I did, however, kinda enjoy Kyousuke getting his comeuppance in Shiratori's Bad End.
 
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Exzyleph

Exzyleph

Dark Eroge Lord
Oct 9, 2018
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Finished up the final route (Haru) and what an amazing end to the story that was. I do have some complaints, now that the full plot has been revealed, but the common route and true ending was a fantastic read.

Not surprisingly, my big complaint is with regards to the nature of Maou and his identity as Kyouske's brother. It did resolve the issue of Kyousuke seemingly being too young to be Maou, and explains the email that Kyousuke received in the first chapter, among other minor plot points, but it also introduced a slew of other issues.

While the reveal was great, the previous routes made it feel too credible that Kyouske was Maou, to the extend that it does not seem as if Kyouhei's Maou existed on those routes. For example, why would Maou fade away in Kannon's route, explicitly due to Kyouske finding other "nourishment" than hate, and just straight up vanish from the plot in the other two routes? The novel did have a throw-away about Kyousuke thinking that he was Maou to some extend, but that doesn't explain Maou's disappearance in those routes.

Not to mention that mere fact that Maou ended up being a person who had not been introduced until the last quarter of the story did not sit well with me. It makes me wonder if the other routes were tacked on at some point during the development of the story, in order to meet the quota of romancable heroines. It is not the first VN I have read where events on the true route conveniently (and in inexplicably) fail to play out on the alternative routes (428 being a particular egregious example), and it always leads to weird plot contradictions.

However, divorced from those other routes, the common route and the true route together tell an excellent story, one that I have no regrets with having read.

And that's it for me this for this book club! Next month's title is the short, free visual novel, CUPID, but every other title on this year's schedule is currently for sale on Steam. Links and discounts can be found in older posts in the main thread. The next thread will be up on the 1st as per usual.
 

Ascheroth

Writing in the Megastructure
Nov 12, 2018
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Finished up the final route (Haru) and what an amazing end to the story that was. I do have some complaints, now that the full plot has been revealed, but the common route and true ending was a fantastic read.

Not surprisingly, my big complaint is with regards to the nature of Maou and his identity as Kyouske's brother. It did resolve the issue of Kyousuke seemingly being too young to be Maou, and explains the email that Kyousuke received in the first chapter, among other minor plot points, but it also introduced a slew of other issues.

While the reveal was great, the previous routes made it feel too credible that Kyouske was Maou, to the extend that it does not seem as if Kyouhei's Maou existed on those routes. For example, why would Maou fade away in Kannon's route, explicitly due to Kyouske finding other "nourishment" than hate, and just straight up vanish from the plot in the other two routes? The novel did have a throw-away about Kyousuke thinking that he was Maou to some extend, but that doesn't explain Maou's disappearance in those routes.

Not to mention that mere fact that Maou ended up being a person who had not been introduced until the last quarter of the story did not sit well with me. It makes me wonder if the other routes were tacked on at some point during the development of the story, in order to meet the quota of romancable heroines. It is not the first VN I have read where events on the true route conveniently (and in inexplicably) fail to play out on the alternative routes (428 being a particular egregious example), and it always leads to weird plot contradictions.

However, divorced from those other routes, the common route and the true route together tell an excellent story, one that I have no regrets with having read.

And that's it for me this for this book club! Next month's title is the short, free visual novel, CUPID, but every other title on this year's schedule is currently for sale on Steam. Links and discounts can be found in older posts in the main thread. The next thread will be up on the 1st as per usual.
Yeah, that twist annoyed me too. Here's what I felt about it back then:

I initially believed the main mystery of the game was Maou's identity, but it seemed to be so obviously Kyousuke's split personality that I thought it had to be a red herring. As the game piled more and more scenes up that were confirming this though, I started to think that the Mystery of Maou's identity wasn't actually the point of the game, but instead the psychological nature of this and the contrast between the relationships of the two personas to the same people and I was really intrigued by this and was curious how the hell they were going to resolve this.
Well they resolved this by making Maou a different person, welp. I didn't really feel outsmarted but instead lied to and that felt pretty annoying so that reveal definitely did not have the intended effect on me, probably the opposite.
I agree that the rest of the ending was good enough to overshadow this, but man was that twist disappointing...
 
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Exzyleph

Exzyleph

Dark Eroge Lord
Oct 9, 2018
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One thing I will add, that I kinda forgot while complaining about the Maou reveal, was the very end.
It was utterly predictable, but it didn't fail to bring a tear to my eyes:
"I see. Well, isn't that just great. I bet you owe all your current fame to him."
"I am grateful, yes. He pays the little one a good amount of attention as well."
"So, how old is she now?"
 The answer to his question came from down below.
"I'm seven, Daddy."
 He almost repeated what she said aloud.
 ―Daddy?!
 Time froze for Kyousuke. The entire world had disappeared, barring only the child who had just called him "Daddy."
 His conviction deepened.
 She resembled him. She had his mouth, his jaw, his eyes...
"Don't... Don't lie to me," he said, his voice shaking.
"I would know, wouldn't I?"
 Her decisive response brought Kyousuke to a frenzy.
"You're the only one for me. You always have been, and you always will be."
 Kyousuke cursed. He cursed the heavens. He cursed God's whims. He cursed the Devil's cruelty. He just couldn't stay calm unless he rebuked something, anything responsible for the fate of deprived, star-crossed children. It was only the miserable realization that no condemnation could alter the truth before him that brought him back to reality, and dropped him into the pit of despair.
 A murderer's daughter spoke once again.
"Hey Daddy, pet me."
 A murderer's grandchild sought Kyousuke's cold hand.
 An unknown force pulled at his arm.
 Her hair was soft. He... he touched the child's head. He actually did it―

One detail that I didn't pay attention to while actually reading the final scene, but which caught my eye while writing this post, was that the narration the epilogue keeps referring to Kyouske as Azai Kyousuke, ending with "Azai Kyousuke wept", despite him having annulled the adoption and despite him denying the name. It could mean nothing, but I cannot help but wonder if it the author signalling that yes, Kyousuke was the child of Gonzou, even if that was not the case legally or biologically, perhaps even to confirm that Gonzou did act out of love for Kyousuke in his final moments.
 
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Exzyleph

Exzyleph

Dark Eroge Lord
Oct 9, 2018
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The 11th VN Book Club thread is now up and as I indicated above, this time we will be reading the free visual novel CUPID:


Thank you to everyone who joined in reading G-Senjou no Maou!
This thread will of course remain open, and I hope that you will still share your thoughts if you are not yet done reading G-Senjou no Maou or if you find this thread at a later date.