Take down monsters and find love in Otomate’s sci-fi otome game, Paradigm Paradox, the latest localization from Aksys Games! Join Yuuki, a high school student who after developing powers is recruited to join a group of magical girls to protect her home from monsters.
- Genre: Action | Romance | Sci-Fi
- Rating: ESRB T
- Developer & Publisher: Otomate & Aksys Games
- Where to Get the Game: Aksys Games | Amazon | Nintendo eShop
- Similar Games: Norn9 Var Commons | Gilded Shadows
The year is 25XX.
The world has grown uninhabitable, forcing humanity to live in isolated colonies. Yuuki, an ordinary student, resents the monotonous life she leads at school.
Rumors abound of a group of superheroes who fight monsters called Vectors, but these tales aren’t enough to stir her heart. The popular boys at the academy hold little interest for her as well.
One night, Yuuki sneaks out of her dorm and comes face-to-face with one of the beasts. Just when it seems her life will be forfeit, four girls wielding mysterious powers suddenly appear and swiftly take down the Vector.
In the wake of that shocking incident, Yuuki joins the ranks of those heroes and begins living the exciting life she craved. On top of that, the popular boys at school keep popping up for some reason too…
What secrets are they hiding? And who exactly is the enemy?Official Synopsis
Paradigm Paradox Characters
In Paradigm Paradox there are a whopping eight love interest to pursue. Most of the LIs turn into magical girls a la Sailor Moon, and you spend a fair amount of time with their gender swapped versions. The individual routes are divided between Justice and Villainous Justice that correspond to the parameters Hero and Villain in the common route.
Depending on your choices in the common route you’ll end up on either the Justice path (Tokio Takato, Kamui Saibara, Mihaya Araki, or Ayumu Mamiya) or the Villainous Justice path (Ibuki, Hyuga, Yukinami, or Ryo Tomitsuka). The Villain routes are more “fun” since there’s a whole dating the enemy vibe to those routes, but the Justice routes have the better endings if you’re looking for more “romance”. At the start only Ibuki, Ryo, and the Grand Finale are locked. Finishing two routes unlocks Ibuki’s route, and finishing Ibuki unlocks Ryo. While the finale unlocks when you finish Ryo’s route.
Aside from the route restrictions listed above, you can play the routes in any order. But for the best story progression I recommend: Mihaya → Kamui → Ayumu → Tokio→ Hyuga → Yukinami → Ibuki → Ryo → Finale
Tokio Takato (VA. Taku Yashiro)
Kaori (VA. Saki Miyashita)
Despite his age, Tokio is one of the most intelligent people in the colony. He has a thirst for knowledge and puts his efforts towards trying to discover ways to fix the damage to the outside world through his personal research. Because of this he can be a bit aloof when it comes to everything else, and tends to view the world through a more scientific lens. He can be a bit oblivious when it comes to interacting with other people and can come off a bit callous, but he usually means well. Tokio is besties with Ayumu, because of their shared pasts, they have a tight bond and they are each other’s closest confidant.
His magical girl alter ego is Kaori, couldn’t be more different from his usual demeanor. Bright and a capable leader, she helps rally the Blooms during their battles against Vectors.
The romance in Paradigm Paradox is pretty light to begin with, but I really liked the dynamic between Tokio and Yuuki in this route. The two of them are so different—Yuuki tends to operate on emotion and feelings, while Tokio is very analytical—so they really have to work to understand one another. Because he didn’t have a “normal” childhood, Tokio is often confused because he doesn’t understand “feelings” and unintentionally hurts her.
Instead of brushing him off, Yuuki takes the time to explain things and communicate her feelings to him in ways he’ll understand. And because of this Tokio gradually opens up to her and starts wanting to really share himself with another person. Opposites attract stories can be super sweet when done well and I really love all the cute moments between Tokio and Yuuki.
Kamui Saibara (VA. Atsushi Kosaka)
Sena (VA. Mizuki Yuina)
Kamui is the campus playboy; hot, sociable, and easy-going, he is usually found surrounded by a group of adoring fangirls. He is nice to everyone, but rarely lets anyone get too close, so he has a bit of a reputation for being shallow. But, deep down he desperately wants people to like him, so he goes out of his way to make sure everyone around him is happy. Kamui was raised by his grandfather, and it’s through him that he developed his love of green tea. He will do anything to protect those closest to him, even if that means sacrificing his wants and needs.
As Sena she can be a bit of a princess, very prim and proper and just a bit standoffish. But, she cares deeply for her friends and used her Foresight ability to keep everyone from harm during battles.
Crack out the tissues for this one, Kamui’s route hits you in the feels…hard. His bad ending had me in tears! I don’t know what it is, but the more upbeat a character appears, the more heartbreaking their story is and Kamui’s route doesn’t hold back. Flirty types aren’t my usual jam, but I really like how genuine Kamui can be.
He is just an all around nice guy, who desperately wants to be liked by other people. He’s usually so busy taking care of other people that he neglects himself, so it’s nice to see Yuuki creating a space for him to really relax and just be himself without worrying about what other people think. Also, I love Kamui’s grandpa, Zenji, the man is a GILF.
Mihaya Araki (VA. Junya Enoki)
Moka (VA. Haruno Inoue)
Mihaya is the baby of the group (jailbait cutie is only 15). He tends to keep to himself and can be found reading in the library. Mihaya isn’t very trustful of people and keeps everyone at a distance, but when provoked he does stand up for himself. He doesn’t go out of his way to get others to like him, so he has a bit of a reputation around school for being unfriendly.
His alter ego Moka is the complete opposite, sociable and cute, she is an integral member of the Blooms. She has a tendency to be a bit sassy and isn’t above calling out other people’s BS, but she is loyal to her allies.
Mihaya is a super cute character, but he just doesn’t stand out when compared to the others. He doesn’t have friends outside of the Blooms and he is okay being alone. Mihaya doesn’t put his trust in other people easily, so he thinks Yuuki’s blind faith in others is naïve. He can come off a bit cold with his words and it can be easy to misunderstand his intentions, but deep down he is really sweet.
Mihaya and Yuuki both experienced loss, and a lot of their interactions revolve around them learning to move on. There were some genuinely sweet moments between them. There is a sweet scene where Yuuki brings him homemade cookies and Mihaya getting jealous of Kamui’s flirty ass was super fun. But, I dunno I feel like the writers played it a bit too safe with the romance. Maybe if this route was a bit longer I might have been into the romance more.
Ayumu Mamiya (VA. Shoya Chiba)
Haruka (VA. Rie Takahashi)
Ayumu is the student council president. He is a model student and well respected by his peers. Ayumu is polite and respectful, but he doesn’t really have strong relationships with his classmates. The only people he is truly open with are his bestie, Tokio and his little sister, who he spoils rotten. Any threat to his sister is met with violence. He had a troubled childhood and he harbors deep resentment towards the colony and the higher ups who run the research center.
Haruka is very reserved and a bit of a lone wolf. She works well with Kaori (for obvious reasons) and is known for quick, decisive attacks in battle. Anyone who stands in her way is an enemy, no questions asked.
I am not a fan of Ayumu, he just did not do it for me. He’ll smiles and says all the right things when he’s in public, but when he’s alone he really doesn’t give a f*ck. A girl gives him a homemade lunch and as soon as she leaves he tries to throw the whole thing in the trash. On the flipside, Amuyu dotes on his little sister to the point of being overbearing. He does whatever it takes to protect his little sister, even if it means sabotaging a mission.
Like Tokio, Ayumu had a hard childhood, but that doesn’t excuse some of his actions in the route. Amuyu and Yuuki spend most of the route at each other’s throats. There were a few times I wanted to punch him in the face and just be done with his ass. While I love how sassy the MC is in this route I think not enough time is spent showing their feelings develop. I feel like I blinked and they went from fighting to confessing. Ayumu is sweeter with his sister than he is with Yuuki and guess I just wasn’t feeling the two of them as a couple.
Hyuga (VA. Arthur Lounsbery)
Hyuga is one of the baddies, he, Yukinami, and Ibuki often attack Theta with hordes of Vectors. Though, he seems to harbor a lot of hatred towards humans. It’s Hyuga’s personal mission to make humanity pay for their misdeeds. He is especially close to Yukinami, who claims to have “picked him up” like a stray puppy.
I landed Hyuga’s route right out the gate, so I suppose that means he’s my ideal LI. But, this route was just a whole lot of nothing, which is a shame because I really like Hyuga as a character. He cooks (+10 husbando points), he cleans (+20 husbando points). He’s a total house husband, Yuuki even calls him a mother hen type, everything should be in his favor. Unfortunately, his shorter route and lack of actual story development really didn’t do him any favors. The route kind of just ends with no resolution to the conflict and no concrete status in Hyuga’s relationship with Yuuki.
Yukinami (VA. Tasuku Hatanaka)
Yukinami is one of Ibuki’s lackeys. He’s energetic and childish, and definitely gives off all the kid brother energy. He loves being the center of attention and gets frustrated when he isn’t. Immature to a fault, he is prone to throwing temper tantrums and acting out just to get a rise out of people. Like just about everyone else in this game, he had a traumatic childhood, so he has a hard time empathizing with other people and is prone to intense mood swings. Fighting is his solution to most problems.
Yukinami doesn’t need a girlfriend, he needs a therapist and a few years of counseling, because woo boy does he have some baggage. This DID NOT need to be a romance route, in fact, get rid of the romance and I might have liked this more. Yukinami has the mother of all traumatic pasts, and as a result he was never socialized to interact with other people. So he tends to harm others unintentionally. He is the kid who picks on their crush taken to the extreme. In his route he literally chokes Yuuki out because he wants to “see what kind of face she makes”. Yukinami is scary af, there is nothing cute about this one…
Ibuki (VA. Sho Nogami)
Moravia (VA. Shizuka Itoh)
Ibuki is an enigmatic figure who seemingly knows almost everything. Yuuki often refers to him as ethereal. He has a very otherworldly vibe that makes him seem like he’s above petty mortal squabbles. Yukinami and Hyuga attack Theta because of their negative feelings towards humans, but, for Ibuki, it’s kind of something he does to kill time. He is very interested in Yuuki and he seems especially invested in her thoughts on the relationship between Vectors and Humans.
Moravia is pretty much the same as Ibuki. She has this ethereal air about her. Despite being on the side of the Vectors, she shows up from time to talk with Yuuki.
This is the canon route. Ibuki being end goal is something that is set up so heavy in the rest of the game that it’s a wonder why the other guys are even an option. But, the set up is just *chef’s kiss*. I wouldn’t say that Ibuki’s relationship with is romantic per se, but they are so deeply entwined that them being a thing feels inevitable. Though I will say Yuuki is pretty thirsty for Moravia…
Ibuki challenges her worldview constantly, especially where Vectors are concerned. I really like how much Yuuki grows as a character in this route, which is something that was missing in the other storylines. There is a lot of info being thrown at you, so you’ll get plenty of answers by the end.
Also, I have to say I LOVE the way Ibuki views his transformation into Moravia. All of the other LIs treat their transformations as this weird quirk that just kind of happens. But for Ibuki, Moavia is just a part of who he is. He is both Moravia and Ibuki, neither identity is more important or dominant than the other.
Ryo Tomitsuka (VA. Takeaki Masuyama)
Ryo works as a maintenance worker on campus, though he doesn’t really interact with the students. But, because he’s hot a lot of the girls pray for the chance to talk with him. Occasionally, Ryo supports the Blooms during their missions. He also interacts with the research district and other factions.
Technically Ryo is with the Villains, but he really doesn’t align with any one group. He is keeping a lot of secrets and he is definitely shady AF. This route only exists to hit us with a BIG reveal. Ryo, and his relationship with Yuuki is just window dressing. How dare a fine megane in a gorgeous three-piece suit be used like this?! If you completely ignore the fact that this is an otome game and that romance is supposed to be a thing (because it’s so forced it hurts), I kind of like what the writers were going for plot-wise. Just, the execution was messy and rushed.
This route DIRECTLY connects with the finale and feels like a prologue to that rather than a route that stands on it’s own.
Yuuki is a totally normal *wink* high school student *wink* nothing out of the *wink* ordinary here *wink*. Her parents were researchers who died unexpectedly, so she has been on her own since a young age. She is cheerful and upbeat and spends most of her time with her bestie, Lize. One night she skips curfew and ends up being attacked by a Vector. The incident unlocks strange new powers and she is recruited to join the superhero magical girl team called the Blooms.
Yuuki is alright, I guess. She’s sweet, trusting, and loyal to her friends. She starts off the story kind of naïve and as the story progresses she becomes much more dynamic… Her defining trait is her faith in others.
Paradigm Paradox Review
Paradigm Paradox is an otome game that has had some pretty mixed reviews, so when it was announced back in 2021 many were left scratching their heads. And, I’ll be honest, this game is just okay, which is a shame, because I was really excited to see another sci-fi otome making it’s way to the West. We get a new historical otome game every five minutes, but aside from Norn9 and Period Cube, sci-fi Japanese otome offerings are few and far between.
The premise is really cool: a futuristic community is under attack from vicious beasts and the first line of defense is a group of super powered magical girls. You can align yourself with either the heroes or join up with the villains and as the story progresses you learn that all is not as it seems in this idyllic futuristic world. Each route focuses on a different aspect of the world, revealing more about the characters and their pasts. I’ll be honest, the individual routes are kind of weak, the writers never really dig into the meat and potatoes of the LIs and for the most part there isn’t really a “satisfying” conclusion to any of the storylines.
There are eight love interests, which is great (more baes to love), but because there are so many of them none of them get the time to really breathe in their individual storylines. There’s this kind of rush to introduce the characters, establish a relationship, maybe scratch at the hint of an underlying plot and then the route is over without fully fleshing out much of anything. The idea of heroes vs villains is a fantastic theme.
I went in expecting Yuuki to go full dark side in the villain routes, but that never happens. The villains, while they do pretty bad things, are more like anti-heroes than genuine baddies and serve to challenge Yuuki’s naïve worldview more than causing actual mayhem. The hero routes on the other hand see the LIs and Yuuki challenging the status quo of the world through gradual change as opposed to completely overthrowing the system.
In terms of romance, Paradigm Paradox is light, blink and you might actually miss it in a few routes. Personally, I was a bit disappointed, especially coming on the heels of Piofiore 1926, but I suppose there is a space for subtler romance in the otome genre. Just don’t expect epic romantic gestures, especially in the Villain routes where the romance is non-existent. Honestly, I wouldn’t have mind if the romance had been removed all together, for how little it effects the plot. Rather the story puts more emphasis on building up a grand underlying plot.
I think Paradigm Paradox could have benefitted from cutting a few routes *cough* Hyuga *cough* Yukinami *cough* (maybe Ryo too). Buff up the hero routes and make Ibuki’s route the unlockable secret route and then spend more time building up those stories and connecting them for the big finale. Instead, we get eight weak individual storylines that build up to a really interesting finale that gets eclipsed by the mediocre romance routes that precede it.
While the guys didn’t really do it for me, I really loved their magical girl alter egos. In fact, in many cases I liked them MORE as ladies. I know a lot of otome gamers have been begging for more female characters in otome games, well here ya go. The biggest draw for Paradigm Paradox is the fact that the love interests turn into magical girls. Cute outfits, special attacks, the whole nine, with a gender swap twist!
This isn’t played for laughs or anything like that, rather the gender swap transformations are just something that just happens and not a big production, which is so refreshing! The magical girl alter egos are treated like characters in their own right. They have their own distinct personalities and mannerisms that are different from their male counterparts. Kaori is the bright and bubbly leader of the group, while Tokio has a more reserved, aloof personality. And did I mention they have their own voice actors?! It’s no wonder Yuuki is just as thirsty for the Blooms as she is when they’re dudes. And if you ask me, Yuuki has more chemistry with the Blooms when they’re ladies as opposed to when they are guys.
I know I’ve been highlighting the flaws of the game, but there are a lot of extras that make Paradigm Paradox worth the buy. There are TONS of extra stories and fun reports that unlock as you finish the main story. They’re mostly lighthearted and are just cute asides from the characters. Dividing the story into hero and villain routes is a fun concept and I had a lot of fun early on seeing which choices lead to either option—I got Villain 100% right off the bat. The localization is much more colloquial in it’s tone, somewhere between surfer dude bro and teen-speak, which works given the high school aged cast. Though, it did lead to some unintentionally hilarious line deliveries. I think my fave line is Yuuki telling Mihaya, “age ain’t nothin’ but a number” when he worried she was treating him like a kid. Or let us not forget, “you’re totally harshing my vibe”. POETRY.
The Verdict: So, is Paradigm Paradox Worth Playing?
Eh, it’s aight. This is kind of a middle of the road otome, it’s not the greatest game I’ve played but it’s also not the worst either. It has a really cool premise and characters, the worldbuilding is fantastic, but the light romance and rushed storytelling in the individual routes will leave most otome gamers feeling unsatisfied. This is definitely a great game for new otome gamers or anyone looking for something light to pick up.
Thank you to Aksys Games for providing a copy of Paradigm Paradox for this review.