Dairoku Agents of Sakuratani is a supernatural fantasy otome game developed by Otomate and localized by Aksys Games. Follow Shino Akitsu, after she is recruited by a secret organization tasked with monitoring powerful supernatural beings known as ayakashi. Travel with Shino in the land of the dead, Sakuratani and get to know its mysterious residents. While on the job she meets quite a few otherworldly beings, like a fashion-loving kitsune, a hikikomori tengu, and more.
- Genre: Supernatural | Fantasy
- Where to Play: Nintendo Switch
- Rating: ESRB T
- Developer & Publisher: Otomate & Aksys Games
- Similar Games: Enchanted in the Moonlight | Changeling | Ayakashi Gohan
Dairoku: Agents of Sakuratani Official Synopsis
Ever since she could remember, Shino Akitsu has had the ability to see what others could not: spirits, apparitions, and indescribable creatures. As an adult, this talent leads her to join a secret government agency: The Occult Action Department. Her assignment is with the Sixth Special Preventions Office, and her job is to monitor the powerful beings who travel between her world and the worlds beyond.
From her office in Sakuratani, a town in a different dimension, Agent Akitsu meets several otherworldly individuals with vastly different personalities and abilities: a nine-tailed fox spirit, a mischievous oni, and more.
Part gatekeeper, part travel guide, she does her best to get to know these entities and keep them from getting into inter-dimensional trouble.
Characters of Dairoku: Agents of Sakuratani
Dairoku: Agents of Sakuratani has six routes (five romance paths and one finale) that you can play through. Unlike most otome games the finale isn’t locked at the start of the game. So you could potentially play it first and work your way through the individual character routes. Chapters 1-3 cover the common route. Aside from a handful of character specific scenarios, there’s a lot of overlap in the early half of the game. The character routes start from chapters 4-8 and follow stories specific to your chosen love interest. There are three types of endings you can unlock: Romance, Lost Love (Broken Love), and Friendship. While I liked the romance endings in most routes, I kind of felt like the Friendship endings were the “canon” ends for each route.
Shino Akitsu – The Heroine
A newcomer to the Ayakashimori who sought to find work in the government.
Current Concern: Am I really pulling my weight at work?
Blerdy’s Thoughts on Shino Akitsu (Click to reveal)
VA. Takahiro Sakurai
Shiratsuki Official Bio
Birthday: May 31 (734 year old)
“Hey, are you lonely? I’ll be your Shikigami. I am the best nine-tailed fox of all the kitsune.”
A calm, kind, and friendly nine-tailed fox who always has a smile on his face.
Current Concern: He’s worried about how Kokko has been waking him up without much care recently.
My Thoughts on Shiratsuki
Blerdy’s Thoughts on Shiratsuki (Click to reveal)
VA. Toshiyuki Toyonaga
Tokitsugu Semi Official Bio
Birthday: October 29 (26 years old)
“Oh, you even remembered my name? Good to hear.”
A very caring and friendly Ayakashimori senior.
Current Concern: He’s doesn’t like how his superior looks very young as it makes him look that much older.
My Thoughts on Tokitsugu Semi
Blerdy’s Thoughts on Tokisugu (Click to reveal)
VA. Tatsuhisa Suzuki
Akuroou Official Bio
Birthday: December 17 (1266 years old)
“Humans to humans, oni to oni.”
Acting like a father and a mother, he is very polite, takes care of his friends, and helps keep the peace in Makatsuhi.
Current Concern: He doesn’t like how his name makes him sound more than who he really is.
My Thoughts on Akuroou
Blerdy’s Thoughts on Akuroou (Click to reveal)
VA. Yuusuke Kobayashi
Hira Official Bio
Birthday: January 19 (about 2500 years old)
“Quiet. I can hear you just fine.”
A reclusive tengu who doesn’t want to be bothered, and lacks any interest in things.
Current Concerns: He’s having a hard time finding the materials to craft feathers fans.
My Thoughts on Hira
Blerdy’s Thoughts on Hira (Click to reveal)
VA. Ryouta Oosaka
Shu Official Bio
Birthday: July 24 (about 2300 years old)
“Tch. He caught us…”
A snake ayakashi that does what he pleases.
Current Concern: About how he doesn’t stand a chance against Orochi.
My Thoughts of Shu
Blerdy’s Thoughts on Shu (Click to reveal)
Blerdy Otome’s Dairoku: Agents of Sakuratani Character Ranking
- Best Route Overall – Akuroou! It has the best balance and most satisfying pacing and storytelling.
- Best Romance – Tie between Akuroo & Tokitsugu (though I like Akuro a smidge more) because they actually take the time to explore the relationship between Shino and the LI.
Gameplay and Features
Flowchart and Interactive Map
Dairoku: Agents of Sakuratani has a Flowchart feature that helps you keep track of your progress in the game. You can check the flowchart at any point in the story and use it to revisit specific chapters and try alternative choices. The Flowchart also lets you know what to expect from each chapter, displaying whether or not you’ll encounter choices or event CGs. This was super helpful if you’re looking to full clear the game, since you can see where story branches occur and replay only the relevant chapters. There’s also an interactive map that you can use to explore various locations around Sakuratani and interact with the love interests through special scenarios.
As if to add insult to injury, in order to fully clear Dairoku: Agents of Sakuratani you will need to play through every single choice and scenario in the game. If you’re going through every end you’ll inevitably go through every choice naturally and you can check this fairly easily with the flowchart–fully completed chapters/episodes will turn from white to purple. There’s also the Completion Check menu that shows what percentage of each chapter you’ve completed. Once you have cleared everything you get a special reward CG (which honestly was not worth the effort).
Apprehension/Battle Mini Games
You can also fulfill your duty as an Ayakashimori by subduing rouge ayakashi during Apprehension/Battle mini games that occur throughout the common route (these don’t happen in any of the individual character routes). The battle phase is fairly simple and there doesn’t seem to be a difficulty level, but the faster you do it the higher your ranking (I never got lower than Superb, so don’t worry so much about it). All you have to do is pressing the correct buttons in the order they light up on the screen to draw a five-pointed star and complete the spell to capture the ayakashi (dark mist on screen). Note, these battle phases are only really important for locking in the Finale route.
Artwork and Soundtrack
After the technicolor explosion that is Cupid Parasite, the muted grey and purple tones of Dairoku: Agents of Sakuratani is a welcome relief. The simpler backgrounds and toned down color scheme helped make the sprites really pop which worked well for the ayakashi characters whose designs are meant to stand out. Occasionally you’ll get a location that’ll have a pop of color that adds to the otherworldly feel of Sakuratani–like the ethereal pink and purple glow of the Fujizakura. The art in Dairoku was done by Suoh (Bad Apple Wars) and while I like the character designs I will admit that I was disappointed that all of the ayakashi you encounter in the game are human-like. I get it, maybe the team didn’t have a budget for additional sprites for side characters–but I would have loved to have seen more otherworldly ayakashi designs.
I have a hard time talking about music in otome games, because more times than not outside of the opening and ending themes I really don’t pay much attention to the BGM unless it’s absolutely awful. That said, I did really like the opening theme, “Oyozuregoto” sung by Tokitsugu Semi’s voice actor, Toshiyuki Toyonaga. The ending theme “Sakura no Tayori” also sung by Toyonaga (it has both a vocal and instrumental versions used during the ending movies).
After finishing the Romance Ends for each of the routes you can unlock Character Private Files. These are additional voiced lines from the characters that give deeper insight into the likes and dislikes of the love interests. Some were hilarious, like hearing the LIs’s thoughts on other characters, but others are pretty basic like favorite color, food, etc.
Overall Thoughts on Dairoku: Agents of Sakuratani
Low Stakes Supernatural Adventure
Dairoku: Agents of Sakuratani is marketed as “Men in Black meets Japanese mythology” and in some respects that’s true–the story follows a secret organization that’s tasked with maintaining the balance between humans and ayakashi. But, the execution is not exactly the sweeping supernatural fantasy I expected. What we actually get is a more lowkey slice-of-life affair involving Shino traveling around Sakuratani getting to know the ayakashi that live there through cultural exchange events. And there’s nothing wrong with that, I quite like the more relaxed vibes, but I feel like the writers limited themselves.
And then the routes themselves don’t really know what they want to be–each has a conflict specific to the love interest which range from learning to trust humans to trying to take over the world. While they’re interesting and explore unique ideas they never fully commit to the story they’re telling. Issues that I’d expect to take chapters to resolve are handled almost as soon as they arise or are just swept under the rug.
Romance? More Like Really Good Friends
The romance is about the same never fully committing to taking the relationships out of the friendzone. Most of the interactions between Shino and the LIs is strictly platonic, whether that’s planning a fun event for the ayakashi or just exploring Sakuratani, even after the characters start catching feelings it never feels like more than just a crush. I mean, Dairoku: Agents of Sakuratani is rated T, so I wasn’t expecting any sexy times, but damn, can get something more than a long meaningful look or awkward blushing.
Shiratsuki’s route is the worst offender, since he’s already such a playful character it was hard to pinpoint whether or not he was falling for her or just having fun. The other routes are better at showing the transition between friends to lover–Akuroou’s and Tokitsugu’s being the best in the romance department–but even then I was left wanting more than what I got. Hell I was more invested in the romance between Shino’s coworker Yakumo and the nekomata girl, Kinka (or hell whatever is going on between her boss Tokiwa and Tamamo, because there’s too much belligerent sexual tension between them for there not to be a story there).
References to Japanese Folklore
One of the aspects of Dairoku: Agents of Sakuratani that I was most looking forward to was the references to Japanese mythology and folklore and the game doesn’t disappoint delving into a lot of great lore while also giving it a bit of a modern spin.
The story largely takes place in Sakuratani so you don’t really see any interactions between the ayakashi and people aside from Shino and the other Ayakashimori–sure in Akuroou’s route they actually visit the real world but it’s a brief outing that doesn’t really go anywhere. In fact we only ever see the ayakashi interacting with human things. The kitsune are really into fashion and Shiatsuki and Kokko actively keep up with the latest human fashion trends. The oni regularly import human tech like cellphones and games and even hold game tournaments. It’s a cool idea to have ayakashi integrating human culture into their own, but without seeing human adapting ayakashi culture into their own it just kinda feels empathy and very one sided.
Vibe Check: How is Dairoku’s Localization?
Translations and localization has been a big discussion in the otome community and Aksys’s localizations have been a bit hit or miss. Dairoku: Agents of Sakuratani falls in that okay range–there are minimal errors and I was able to read it without any trouble. It wasn’t as fun or modern as the Cupid Parasite localization so it wasn’t as overly comedic or anything like that. Just a nice solid localization.
So the Verdict – Is Dairoku Agents of Sakuratani Worth Playing?
Dairoku: Agents of Sakuratani is an otome game that just kind of shoots for the middle, it’s not the best game I’ve played and it certainly isn’t the worst, but it’s not the most memorable experience. Where the game really works is when there isn’t anything going on, the small in-between moments where Shino works with the ayakashi to solve minor disputes or just paling around with Tokitsugu and the rest of the squad while working on paperwork. It’s the genuine character interactions that really makes Dairoku: Agents of Sakuratani shine.
Now, do I recommend getting it? Eh, yeah, it’s entertaining enough and I would definitely recommend it for newer otome fans looking for something short and low maintenance to play. But, more seasoned otome gamers might not be as impressed with this low stakes supernatural adventure.
Thank you to Aksys Games for providing a copy of Dairoku: Agents of Sakuratani for this review.