"Come, lovely child! Oh come thou with me! For many a game I will play there with thee!"
A Visual Novel / H-Game from the creators of Sharin No Kuni. It is also known by its official English title "The Devil on G-String". Contrary to what one may think, the G-String in the title refers to August Wilhelmj's "Air on the G-String", an adaptation of Johann Sebastian Bach's "Air". The "Devil" or "Maou" refers to Franz Schubert's lied of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's ballad "Der Erlkönig".Azai Kyousuke is the son of an infamous Yakuza tyrant in the underworld. By day, he is an Ordinary High-School Student who lives like a mildly eccentric playboy, but at night, he is a ruthless financing tyrant working under his father's underworld business.Things take on a bit of a turn when a girl named Usami Haru transfers into his school - a weird girl with an impossibly long, tangled head of hair who happens to take an interest in Kyousuke. Almost immediately after Haru appears, an international mafia overlord who calls himself "Maou" also arrives in the city, and is set on crushing Haru and everyone else who is connected to her. Haru, meanwhile, is determined to defeat this mysterious figure and inevitably wraps Kyousuke and his friends into the situation.Maou then starts up a deadly game of hide-and-seek against Haru and her friends, raising the stakes involved for the protagonists with each move that he makes. Kyousuke and Haru are forced to race against time before each of Maou's criminal plans are set into action.
Tropes found in this visual novel:
Abhorrent Admirer: Despite it just becoming more and more clear over time that Usami is the main heroine, Kyousuke is repulsed by the idea of having her affections and does his best to deny acknowledging them.
Aborted Arc: If you take Tsubaki or Mizuha's paths, the entire story around Maou is straight up abandoned.
It should be noted that, unlike many examples of this trope, the abortion, at the very least in the Tsubaki route is fully acknowledged by Haru saying to leave the Maou issue to her during the final scene in the school, followed by a few lines in the final scene reminiscing about how she was only there for 3 months and left.
It persists for a little bit if you take Kanon's route, given the nature of the story.
A God Am I: Played for Laughs by Kyousuke. When he does adopt his God persona expect some scheme to get petty revenge for something that doesn't even call for it in the first place. Then expect Eiichi to screw it up by doing one little thing that gives Haru an opening to play detective.
Always Murder: In the second arc, a costume designer was killed and Maou claims credit. The police are only investigating it as an accident. It really was just an accident. Maou took simply took advantage of the situation.
Ambiguous Situation: It's never made clear how Gonzou truly sees Kyousuke. There are a lot of subtle signs that as much as he was capable of it, he really did view Kyousuke as a son and wanted him to do well. On the other hand, he's rather vicious and is, well, Gonzou. But on the reverse of that, he takes a bullet to save Kyousuke, only Kyousuke isn't sure if that's actually what he was intending. In the end, Kyousuke doesn't know and neither do we. Even Kanon and Tsubaki's side routes leave it quite ambiguous.
Animal Motifs: Gonzou is likened to a lion, the king of beasts, which contrasts Maou as the king of devils.
Arms Dealer: The Devil supplies weapons to children and Gonzou's rival Yakuza.
Asshole Victim: Usami's father to the point where despite him being the one that got murdered there's no suggestion that Usami would have a legitimate grudge, only the family of the murderer. Not that Usami doesn't have her own grudge, she just agrees that her father was in the wrong.
Awesomeness by Analysis: Usami will often predict Maou's schemes with just as much as checking out the envelope of a letter. Interestingly enough, most of the time these are all Gambits made to confuse her. The one time Usami really outsmarts Maou, it doesn't matter because of a fluke: He had a gun under his clothing, and commercially sold tasers don't work on hard surfaces.
Badass: Gonzou. He basically just pops up and oozes manliness and restrained violence before disappearing again throughout the story. In fact, his dying moment really contrasts against Maou, who for all his talent, intellect and hate is unused to getting his hands dirty or to displays of true badassery.
Battle Amongst the Flames: Kyousuke lit the place he was being held by Hashimoto on fire and then proceeded to beat up everyone that got in his way while the place burned down.
The whole Central District becomes a battlefield during Chapter 5.
Big Damn Heroes: Chapter 5 is officially kicked off with Kyousuke saving Haru from Maou, who had her disarmed, defenseless, and mere moments from complete suffocation.
Lampshaded almost immediately afterwards by both Kyousuke and Haru. He remarks to himself that he's arrived just in the nick of time, and she literally calls him her hero.
Bittersweet Ending: Kyousuke is forced to kill Maou in order to protect Haru's future from the media and goes to jail. He is forced to cut off connections with everyone he has ever known and loved, and is resigned to the fact that Haru will go on to live life without him. It turns out she waited for him all this time and is reunited with her, and their daughter 8 years later, and there is a faint hope that he can patch things up with the rest of his friends now.
In addition to this, Kyousuke is not 'trapped' like many other ex-convicts who are unable to get a job after being released from prison because he has Gonzou's training and knows how to use money. This means that even after leaving prison, he is still capable of self-employment, and by extension, is still capable of being happy from a pragmatic, materialist standpoint as well as an emotional one.
Kyousuke plays the boke for Eiichi once, but all he can think of as a tsukkomi is a repeated WEAK! that gets dragged out longer and longer.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: Usami notes at one point that Kanon looks almost nothing like Gonzou, but she's cute because the character designers designed them all to be that way. Kyousuke interrupts her and they return to the real subject. Though considering it's Usami, she might have just wanted to be silly.
Break the Cutie: Kyousuke does this to Tsubaki and Mizuha in their respective bad ends.
Broken Bird: Kyousuke is a rare male example, albeit a mild one. In her respective path Mizuha is asked if she has what it takes to heal his wounds.
Bromantic Foil: Eiichi is pissed to realize when playing an eroge that he is one.
Chekhov's Gunman: A photo taken by Kyousuke of his mother when he was a kid shows a tall young man standing unsmiling behind her with a breakfast plate. This is Kyouhei, his older brother. Kyouhei is Maou.
The Chessmaster: Maou. In addition to manipulating virtually every character in the game, he also single-handedly outmaneuvers the government of Japan. Despite being called overconfident repeatedly, the main cast never actually manages to beat him.
Chick Magnet: Kyousuke's rather popular. Even possible lesbian Yuki shows interest, noting it's weird for her to be attracted to a guy.
Diabolus Ex Machina: Haru route epilogue, along a sudden grab of the Idiot Ball when Kyousuke allows himself to be arrested and then convinces all his friends that he feels nothing for them in order to salvage Haru's reputation; after all, revealing the fact that 'Maou' had killed Haru's mother in front of her would definitely make a strong case for her mental state while chasing him down, and telling the investigator that he had acted in order to stop her from becoming a murderer would have definitely made him look less villainous to the media.
Arguable, since the bus that exploded supposedly killing 'Maou' wasn't throughly investigated until later, as Kyosuke points out in during his confession.
Disproportionate Retribution: Kanon breaks Kyousuke's music CD. For his revenge, he gets a schoolwide athletic event that Kanon had been looking forward to for a long time postponed until a date she won't be able to attend it. He seems to enjoy going overboard in petty revenge.
Distant Finale: The conclusion to Usami's Epilogue takes place eight years after Kyousuke went to prison. The end of Tsubaki's route is also set four years later. Mizuha's route skips ahead three years, a well. In fact, Kanon's route is the only one without one.
Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Kyousuke tells Tsubaki particularly harshly this in her good ending path, after she finds something he'd rather she didn't. And after that comes a just-barely averted Disproportionate Retribution in the form of Kyousuke resolving to go through with the plans to force her family from their home after all.
Dying Moment of Awesome: Gonzou. He takes a sniper rifle to the lung, which ignites/explodes inside his chest and isn't even knocked over. Following this, he basically calls Maou an inexperienced brat who has no real claim to the title of villain. Maou is momentarily stunned to the point where he screws up his timing and has to run or the yakuza will get to him.
Dysfunction Junction: Apart from Tsubaki, everyone comes from a messed up situation. On the other hand, Yuki warns Mizuha not to even begin comparing her situation to Kyousuke's if she wants him to take any interest in her at all.
For Kyousuke, his reacting with suspicion when Tsubaki visits her in the morning, followed by revealing he only barely remembers who she is despite being in the same class for three years. After this he instantly switches into an attitude where he's outwardly kind but inwardly snarky, thus highlighting the dual nature of his existence.
Gonzou's is Kyousuke walking into a meeting with him while some guy who annoyed him bleeds to death on the table. You do not screw with Gonzou.
Maou's is a brief discussion with Someya and a young adviser. After some initial conversation about what people should do in order to ensure victory, Maou and the adviser begin one of Maou's characteristic games, but set up in a way that only an idiot could lose to him. Which was the whole point, as Maou reaches out and breaks the adviser's finger to make the point to Someya that the willingness to do anything nets victory, and to make the point to the audience that Maou is calm, collected, vicious and does not play by the rules.
Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Filial piety is essentially the main driving force behind the events of the entire game since its makes up 95% of Maou's motivation.
Even Evil Has Standards: Averted. There's a pretty clear stated attitude that only small fry loser bad guys have standards. You're either a good person or a bad one. Or a failure.
Turned around in a strange manner when Kyousuke uses evil debt collector techniques... to keep Yuki from turning herself in to the police, figuring that she owes him 1-2 million yen for expenses she caused. And if she turns herself in, then he'll just have to make Mizuha pay!
Eyes Never Lie: In the sound drama, which takes place after Kyousuke's arrest from Haru's perspective, the police interrogator dares Kyousuke to look him in the eye and declare "I do not love Usami Haru." After repeating that he had used her, he cries to himself after the interrogator leaves his cell.
Faking the Dead: When the bus he is riding is shot by the police and explodes, the Devil - identified by his pistol - emerges and burns to death. It turns out that he shot the engine, gave the bus driver his pistol and escaped.
The Devil is a favorite of this. He also is believed to be dead after surviving a terrorist's bomb.
After making a phone call to Kyousuke about how he has nothing more to live for, he sets off a bomb in the center of the city, presumably killing himself. It turns out that he lied, but Haru calls him out on it.
Fake-Out Make-Out: A more extreme version happens when Maou unleashes hell upon the city. Usami and Kyousuke seek shelter from the mobs by running into a department store and are discovered quickly enough. Rather than pretending to make out, he pretends to be about to rape her.
Fan Translation: The TLWiki translation group released a full English patch on December 25 2010.
Foreshadowing: There are several hints that at the very least Maou is not Kyousuke hidden throughout, though the truth is trickier but not impossible to figure out. For example, Maou has far more money at his disposal than Kyousuke should be able to acquire, Kyousuke is not old enough to have killed Usami's mother, Maou takes actions that put Kyousuke at serious risk and the way Yuki treats the pair indicates she clearly does not view them as being the same person. Finally, Maou far too easily gives out his 'real' name to people despite his pathological caution. In fact, the trick itself is used in the story itself: Maou sets up a fake answer for Usami to 'discover' while the truth was always there to see and largely hidden by Usami recklessly assuming she knew the full story.
Four-Temperament Ensemble: The girls are a picture-perfect example: Tsubaki is phlegmatic, Kanon is sanguine, Mizuha is melancholic, and Haru is choleric.
Freudian Excuse: Maou gets one, which is actually the same thing as Kyousuke's backstory, based around them feeling that their father was in the right for killing Usami's father and several of his associates. His grudge against Gonzou stems from his harassment of her as a debt collector. However, it's acknowledged that by this point he's crossed the series internalMoral Event Horizon.
Friend to All Children: According to the Devil, children are not familiar with impure motives and thus are easily manipulated. He recruits children to commit crimes regularly.
Heroic Sacrifice: Almost played straight on Gonzou's death. Almost because it was never outright stated anywhere that he did it for Kyosuke, but it would be an incredibly stupid action for him to take if it wasn't, taking in consideration that he avoided death before out gambiting Maou's plan to explode his car with him inside.
Hyper Awareness: Haru manages this on a normal basis but it's specially noticeable when she manages to make analysis of the situation while being hunted down by a mob of people on chapter 5.
Hypocrite: Kyosuke, during Tsubaki's route, accuses her of being one. Turns out he was the twisted one all along.
Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Subverted. Tsubaki is definitely set up to seem like this, but in the end Maou does manage to halfway break her. Easily too. Only the help of her little brother saves her. Even then, she knows more about the world than she did before and as such really can't be the same as she was.
Interface Spoiler: Played straight by the translucent text backdrop in the scenes from one of the girls' perspectives, which sports the respective girl's silhouette. Subverted in order to mislead the player by using the standard, small-sized box with no silhouette when the text is from the Devil's perspective. Using the same box and perspective? Oh, Kyousuke MUST be the Devil.
Kids Are Cruel: Exploited by Maou — his mafia consists of children because it's easier to manipulate them into doing evil because they haven't learned that it's wrong yet.
Last Name Basis: Justified on Mizuha's route, where she claims to call him by his last name because she believes it was the cause for sending him to the hospital, along with her selfishness.
Likes Older Women: Eiichi. Apparently it's not so much an age thing as not like immature girls, meaning he still likes the more adult seeming Yuki and has a high opinion of Tsubaki.
Like Reality Unless Noted: The story claims that no woman figure skater has ever done a quad jump, but then notes after the epilogue that it happened in 2002 and that in their world this simply didn't happen.
Meaningful Name: Haru's stagename, Haruna, contains the Kanji for spring. To quote from the final lines of the ending, And then, when Haru told him the name of his daughter, the powdery snow suddenly came to a halt. Almost as if it were a harbinger for an early spring...
The epilogue's title is also "Spring".
The Medic: Tsubaki is nicknamed this by Haru, because she's "soothing".
Money to Throw Away: The Devil throws away a large sum of money to create a crowd, allowing him to escape.
Mook-Face Turn: Hashimoto is implied to have done this at the end, when he encourages the children working for the Devil to give up and open the barricades around the city.
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Kyousuke kills Maou to protect Haru's future and during the prosecution plays the role of a cold and evil manipulator to draw attention away from Haru. He even tries to push away Tsubaki, Kanon, and Mizuha when they visit him.
No Route For The Wicked: Despite being featured on the box art like the actual four heroines and showing some interest in Kyousuke, Yuki does not have a route. Not that she's truly bad or anything, but since she's been working for Maou and is obsessed with revenge, there's no route for her. Probably because there's nowhere for one to split off plausibly.
This does not stop the game from having one CG of her laying in bed that lets you catch a peek at her breasts. Too bad it ends with Kyousuke having to lethally shoot her only to have her get up and stab him to death before dying herself. That's what you get for breaking Mizuha, Kyousuke.
No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Kyosuke on the receiving end on two instances (end of Tsubaki's route and during his captivity time from Hashimoto during chapter 5) and on the giving end on another (against the same Hashimoto).
Non Sequitur Causality: Usami is the main storyline, so the routes that branch off before you start it are the basic alternate possibilities. In them, the drama for Kanon begins because of something stupid she says that comes about as a result of increased contact with Kyousuke. Mizuha's route is just Yuki pushing her towards Kyousuke as a result of not being distracted by plot. Tsubaki? Random unconnected family pops up to loan her family money and let them keep the house. Where were these guys before and why didn't they do that in the main storyline?
Obfuscating Stupidity: Nearly everyone has a different side to them that only comes out in their chosen arena.
Oblivious to Love: Normally, Kyousuke is okay about this. He picks up on Tsubaki quickly enough and Kanon eventually despite apparently not interacting with her much. And he's actually going out of his way to ignore the possibility of Usami. But Mizuha in her route? For some things there is just no excuse.
Official Couple: While you can techically end with any of the four girls, everyone would agree that Haru is the one who shine the most throughout the story.
Omniglot: As a mere student, Maou was already fluent in six different languages: Japanese, English, German, French, Arabic and Spanish.
Opinion Flipflop: Eiichi agrees with Yuki no matter what she says her favorite animal is. First cats, then dogs and a clear indication he's okay with continually switching his favorite. Kyousuke mentally notes that his favorite kind of animal is actually reptiles.
Painting the Medium: Done throughout the game, especially during Haru's nonsensical rants. The most notable of which occurs at the end of chapter 3 when she states that if this were a bishoujo game, a choice window would pop up right now for Kyousuke.
Police Are Useless: Averted. The police is shown to be quite capable, but being a quasi-member of the Yakuza, Kyosuke doesn't rely on the police even when the case calls for it. It can be played straight and subverted too if you choose to go into one of the girls routes, aside from Haru's.
The Power of Love: Love is a good thing, but can twist and lessen people into mere shadows of themselves. Nearly as strong of a theme as revenge.
Pragmatic Villainy: A few examples. First, Maou claims to be a professional kidnapper and therefore doesn't mind letting Hiroaki go once the ransom has been paid because killing the boy would just involve the police, who would hunt him even more seriously than they had for the kidnapping. The truth is actually slightly more complicated, but it's an invocation. A second example is Usami's analysis of Azai Gonzou. First she says that he's a wild beast, but one who restrains himself. She corrects this to restraining himself until there's something worth getting violent over.
Pride: The Devil looks down on the heroes, and takes unnecessary risks during his plans just to test their abilities. Most of the time, he gets away with it.
Rant Inducing Slight: In Kanon's route after a great deal of stress on her part due to her selfish and slightly unhinged mother this trope is ultimately subverted when instead of going on a rant (which the story implies would have resulted in Ikuko killing herself) she admits that she still loves her mother despite her off kilter and self centered behavior. The net result is kind of the same, however, and results in Ikuko realizing what she's been doing but because she's family, Kanon still loves her. Reconciliation ensues.
Rapunzel Hair: Haru's defining physical characteristic is the absurd length of her hair, described as reaching her knees. Even the bangs are long enough to cover almost her entire face. Everyone else has much more reasonable hair and she admits in passing that it takes her forever to keep it clean. It is outright stated that she grew her hair out so long because Kyousuke told her that he liked girls with long hair when they were children, but neglected to mention how long. She didn't cut it because she wasn't sure how long he liked it.
Reality Retcon: At the end of Kanon's route, the very last line that appears on the screen is a disclaimer on a black background, saying that the quad jump that Kanon used to nearly win the Japan Championships had actually been done in 2002 by someone, unlike what the game had implied. It was also revealed that Kanon's revealing skating outfit would have gotten a penalty to her score, and that the depiction of figure skating was merely a projection of it into the world of G-Senjou no Maou.
Red Eyes, Take Warning: While his eyes almost certainly aren't really red, whenever Maou is depicted they always appear this way. And if you're not taking warning at Maou, he has some nice advice for you.
Averted with Haru, whose eyes appear like something of a purplish red.
Red Herring: Anything that implies that Kyousuke is Maou.
The Reveal: The Devil is Kyousuke's older brother.
Revenge Before Reason: A major theme of the game. The story more or less flat out states people need to move on from the past, but the cast in general seems really bad at it. Kyousuke is the only apparent aversion of someone who has grounds to have a heavy grudge, but doesn't risk self destruction for revenge. Maou, Usami and Yuki's desire for revenge drive them into actions that severely risk ruining their lives and what they care about, though in the end only Maou is destroyed by it. Kyousuke's father's need for revenge set the plot in motion as well, though he and his family were screwed either way.
Schrödinger's Gun: The identity of The Devil, if you don't pick Haru, is heavily implied to have been Kyosuke's alternate personality all along. Nothing else comes of him and none of his subsequent plots are played out, and in Kanon's route he remarks to have quit due to increased headaches and having "discovered love". However, as this is the implication throughout the entire story and none of the three earlier girls is the main heroine, the question is less 'Was it Kyousuke all along in those routes' and more 'Why did Maou give up in those routes?'
In Kanon's route though, it's implied that Maou, who has always shown that the last remnants of his humanity is his affection for his brother in Haru's route, stops because of love for his brother. So, ironically and rather cruelly, it's only in the route where the player never figures out the truth of Maou's identity that Maou stops himself because he still loves Kyousuke. It's pretty heavily hinted that the events that occur in Haru's route are the ones that send him past the brink of no return where even his love for his brother couldn't bring him back.
Selective Obliviousness: It's not that Kyousuke doesn't remember Haru or at least recognize the name. It's that he's trying very hard not to think about it. Which is probably part of the reason the idea of having her affection always makes him remark that the idea is disgusting.
Serious Business: Kyousuke's approach to classical music. He also tends to go overboard in his revenge plots, though it's subverted in that it really is just a game to him.
Shipper on Deck: Yuki pushes Mizuha towards Kyousuke mercilessly. Though in something of a subversion due to her conflicting feelings she'll also be satisfied if Mizuha is raped and abused by Kyousuke instead, though she doubts it'll happen.
Usami Haru: And what if the criminal is a piccolo player? Then would it be ‘Piccoloist Usami’? I mean we're already talking about someone who did bad things and got arrested... adding Piccolo to their name is just overkill?
This exchange between Kyousuke and Usami in Tsubaki's Route
Usami Haru: This your only excuse? In that case, go finish him now, Fr*eza-san
Azai Kyousuke: First you talk down to Holmes, now you command Fr*eza?
During the hostage situation at the school.
Eiichi: There's more to you than meets the eye, Kyousuke.
Kyousuke: I'm not a Transformer.
Also during the hostage situation.
Usami Haru: Sorry, crisis situations give me this unbearable urge to count prime numbers while drawing Lupin the third.
Split Personality: Kyousuke is implied to be the Devil, for various reasons. He's not.
His goals (such as evicting Tsubaki's family) tend to be accomplished as a result of the Devil's schemes.
He has terrible headaches, which suddenly cut to the Devil's narration.
He can never be found when the Devil is on the field.
At the beginning of Haru's Route, it gets to the point that even Kyousuke doubts himself, and becomes dangerously close to actually becoming a second Maou. He even starts to like the idea. When Horibe shows up the next day to kill him, he can visibly see the change on Kyousuke's face.
Stronger Sibling: The Devil is actually Samejima Kyouhei, Kyousuke's older brother.
Student Council President: Tsubaki, though it's only mentioned in passing and plays even less of a role than her being the class rep. Which basically amounts to an excuse for her to wake Kyousuke up at the beginning of the story despite barely knowing him and serving to show one of the ways she's kind and responsible.
Kyousuke: A fiend. I am a fiend. I don't even feel guilty about using a girl who trust me so completely.
Usami also answers early on that she has someone she likes, then backpedals and says that of course she doesn't like anyone. Especially not Kyousuke. Oddly enough, no one challenges this. Most likely because the only person there perceptive enough to really notice has a good case of Selective Obliviousness going on. See that entry for details.
Taking the Bullet: Azai Gonzou meets his end when he makes himself a target to keep Kyousuke safe from Maou's sniping.
Or was he? Its never stated outright what he was truly doing when this happened and its so out of character for him that the uncertainty of the theory greatly torments Kyousuke. Good thing he had Haru to comfort him by then.
Tsundere: Mizuha Shiratori is tsundere towards Kyousuke and Kyousuke's internal monologue is tsundere towards just about every other character.
Utsuge: The ending cements this. Or rather the events leading up to the ending in the epilogue. The ending itself is quite a happy one.
Villain Protagonist: When you think about it, Kyousuke can't really be considered to be a good guy so much as less of a bad guy in an evil versus evil situation. Lying, extortion, manipulation and more. While he's essentially a decent person the story makes a point of painting him as rather ambiguously gray until he finally stands up to Gonzou so that Yuki, Usami and Mizuha can escape. And the yakuza he represents is actually a particularly vicious group with no concern for honor.
It can be argued that Maou is a 2nd protagonist. The player often takes the role of him and he even use the pronoun "I" when narrating, much in the same way that would be used for the protagonists in the these kind of games. Granted, its very important that he does this, for plot-twist purposes, but even after the reveal he still does it.
Wham Ending: After the credits, the Devil manipulates Usami into trying to kill him in cold blood, and Kyousuke instead does the deed and takes the fall so Usami's name stays out of the papers and she can go on to become a violinist and raise their daughter.
Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Usami is only alive today because the last vestiges of Maou's conscience did not want to kill a child in cold blood after he killed her mother just because she was her father's daughter. By the time the main story starts it's not like that anymore.