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Video Game / Love Plus

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Counterclockwise from the top: Nene Anegasaki, Manaka Takane, and Rinko Kobayakawa
"The confession is just the prologue."

Love Plus is a Dating Sim by Konami for the Nintendo DS, and a Spiritual Successor of the Tokimeki Memorial series. The game is split into two parts. The first part consists of fairly standard dating sim fare: the player attempts to woo the affection of one of the three datable girls. If the player is successful in this endeavor (and yes, failure is an option), the second part of the game begins.

After successfully courting the girl, the player can text her, call her (via the mic), initiate skinship or kiss her when appropriate (via the DS touchscreen), and essentially continue dating her. This part of the game can be played in "real time mode," which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: the game (and by extension the girl) become "aware" of the real date and time. Thus, if a player decides to date a girl on next Sunday at a pre-arranged time at the zoo, the player needs to "be there" on Sunday, or she will get mad. "Real time mode" also enables certain special events, including date-based events, such as Valentine's Day, birthdays, and Christmas.

The game spawned several Derivative Works due to its immense popularity:

  • Three iPhone/iTouch/iPad apps (one for each girl) that function a little like Love Plus Mode, where you can talk to your girlfriend via the mic, answering and asking simple questions and playing Rock Paper Scissors with her. Also includes Augmented Reality features via the camera and GPS-enabled features.
    • As of 10 September 2015, the iOS apps have been removed from the App Store. Users who already have the app in their devices can still use them, but there is no guarantee they will work in newer iOS operating systems.
  • LovePlus+: An Updated Rerelease, released Summer 2010. The summer season was chosen due to the large amount of summer-oriented events that can unfold in the second half of the game, such as vacation trips that let you spend two days and a night at the beach, a hot-spring resort, or some other weekend getaway. The vacation will differ from traditional gameplay because it will allow events that occur throughout the entire day, instead of the usual four event per day limit. It will also be possible to sleep with your girlfriend. No, not like that. Just lying in bed and talking with her. Other extras include new daily events, additional outfits and hairstyles for the girls, a new mini-game for Love Plus mode, the ability to exercise with the girls, DLC via special Love Plus hotspots, and the ability to import a Love Plus file to the newer version.
    • In fact, supposedly, the reason that the summer trip is only two days and one night long is that the developers were worried about the player running out of time in real life.
  • Five manga that detail the various paths the game can take and gave the main character the name of Wataru Aikawa.
  • Another rerelease to take advantage of the 3DS's new features, most notably the 3D "top" screen. Unlike the DS version, the 3DS port will be able to tell how you're holding the 3DS and adjust accordingly.
  • The last 3DS version, imaginatively titled New Love Plus+, removes a few features of the previous 3DS game. The game now locks the user interface with the touch screen at the right, as with the DS games. The top screen is now also locked in 2D mode since the 3D mode only works horizontally. In return, the user interface experience is now faster and smoother (the previous game had framerate issues) and holiday trips in Hakone and Nikko have been added.
  • An app for iOS and Android called Love Plus EVERY that will include VR features. Although initially planned for release winter 2017 and then delayed for August 2018 in Japan, it has encountered further delays for quality improvements. Though initially released in 31 October 2019, due to server issues the game has been set to have an extended maintenance period that while originally scheduled to end 29 November 2019, has been further pushed back due to server issues. It finally had a stable release in 10 December 2019, only to announce its closure for 5 August 2020.

This game provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Distillation - The manga have been accused of this, especially Nene Days and Manaka Days. Both protagonists have already started dating, essentially cutting out the plot from the first half of game.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • When talking to Rinko about potato chips, the company names Calelbee (Calbee) and Koumiya (Koike-ya) are mentioned.
    • The 3DS games feature -
  • Celebrity Paradox - Saori Hayami (the voice actor of Manaka Takane) appears as one of the performers in the Live House.
  • Character Customization - With limitations.
    • The player can level up the protagonist's stats any which-way, although certain events will require certain stats, and each girl values different stats.
    • Through interacting with the girls, the player can influence not only their personalities, but also what they wear. However there is no in-game way of seeing all the possible hairstyle and outfits and it's not entirely clear what will affect a girl's fashion sense, although she will ask for the player's opinion occasionally. Therefore, without a guide, it'd be very difficult to shoot for a particular combo. The internal personality values of the girl consistently change with every interaction, although it can only manifest itself as one of three different personalities (per girl).
  • Chromatic Arrangement - Sorta. The Love Plus protective cases for the DS each feature a character with a particular BG color: Manaka/Blue, Nene/Pink, Rinko/Green. These colors also correspond to different personality types available for the girls, as well as their one canon personality.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation - Five manga based on the game started serializing on April 2010. Each of the three girls has her own series:
    • Manaka Days - By Akitsu Mikami (of Ten Tori Takaku)
    • Rinko Days - By Seo Kouji (of Suzuka)
    • Nene Days - By Kugatu Takaaki (a well-known doujin author)
    • Girls Talk - By Sakura Tasuke (of Kedama Biyori). About the three girls living under the same roof-
    • Kanojo no Kako (Her Past) - By Wakiyama Hiroaki (of Shuukyuu Shoujo). A side story about Rinko's backstory.
  • Copy Protection: Apart from the usual Anti-Piracy mechanisms that prevent it from loading on some flash cards, the updated rerelease also ignores the affection levels of the heroines. Meaning there's no way to date them in the first part of the game. This means it's Unwinnable by Design if you're playing it on a flash card. Of course, pirates being as resourceful as they are, they have managed to get past this by patching the AP away.
  • Creator Cameo:
    • There is a jewelry shop called "Uchida Diamond" in the Shin-Towano area, a reference to the producer Akari Uchida.
    • There is also an eatery called "Mino's Kitchen" in the Shin-Towano area, a reference to the art director Minoboshi Tarou.
  • Cruel to Be Kind - In Rinko Days, the protagonist became this so Rinko will reveal her true feelings about her little brother.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!
    • Players who played the DS games before transitioning to the 3DS games would notice that the return buttons in dialogs have switched places with the confirm function buttons.
    • The skinship cues were massively changed during the transition from the DS games to the 3DS, which will catch players of the DS games off-guard.
  • Dating Sim: With a twist, the game was only made to increase Japan's very low birth rate, and it worked wonders, that and aiming it at high schoolers who are having issues picking up girls and said high schoolers using it as a tool to pick up said girl in real life.
    • As a side note, some time back, Konami teamed up with many high schools across Japan with a bus trip fundraiser where students who have got their real life girl of their dreams thanks to Love Plus+ put in $365 dollars (in all, which is very cheap for a fundraiser which most school fundraisers tend to cost around $2000 dollars if not more for said fundraiser) for said bus trip fundraiser, which lasted two days and one night. The students got a lot of Konami merchandising (not just for Love Plus but for other Konami Games as well) and spent time together, and when night came the student couples got a surprise visit from their parents to avoid... stuff happening (Japan may have a low birth rate, but that doesn't mean that teen pregnancies are needed).
  • Derivative Works - There's an artbook for each character. There's also a version for the iPhone/iTouch/iPad.
  • Fan Boy - One fan married Nene Anegasaki... in Real Life. This particular bit of "devotion" was rather unfortunately covered and broadcasted globally by CNN, by a Korean anchor famous for her biased hatred towards Japan. The ceremony is available for viewing online.
  • First Girl Wins - Easily invokable by the player (ridiculous planning can make it to where the other two girls don't ever show up after their initial introduction which is mandatory), however the "first girl" depends entirely on what type of home the player picks.
    • The title screen shows the first girl that appeared in the last used save file, unless the player goes and becomes lovers with another girl, in which case it shows THAT girl.
  • Going Through the Motions - The 3D models of the girls can show a variety of emotions, especially the faces, doing fairly well considering the difficulty of doing 3D on the DS. However, it's clearly not on the level of Final Fantasy XIII, but the facial expressions are still far better than Never Winter Nights 2.
  • Guide Dang It! - Without the expanded tutorial book, the following things are near impossible to figure out:
    • What kind of presents the girlfriend would like. Talk to the girlfriend in Love Plus mode to find out
    • When and where the flea market is. The fountain park during sunny Sundays
    • The aforementioned Character Customization
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here] - You can name your character anything you want, but the game offers a much smaller range of possible names that the girls can pronounce.
    • Also, only the three heroines can pronounce your name, while the other voiced characters will find other means to refer to you.
    • For the sequel/remake "Love Plus+", the developers sent out a survey to LovePlus players to determine which names were common and to include more of these names into the game.
    • The protagonist is named Wataru Aikawa in the manga.
  • Headphones Equal Isolation - Rinko can be seen sporting a pair of headphones fairly often, even at school. In fact, the first time you hear about Rinko, it's when a female student tells her friend how Rinko ignored her greeting and doesn't seem to fit in with the other students.
    • She's noticeably not wearing one when she started to become closer with the protagonist. Notably after the second time the protagonist goes out with her.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen - You never get to see what the protagonist looks like in the game, because well... he's supposed to be you.
    • You do get to see him, partially at least, in the foreground of one of the pictures, though he is out of focus and his face of mostly out of frame.
    • In the Kinugawa vacation for the 2nd 3DS version, you kind of get to see how the girlfriend views the protagonist based on how she draws him on the activity log.
  • Hidden Eyes - Aikawa's eyes have never been shown in Manaka Days due to a combination of his hair and constant blushing.
  • High School - Towano High School, the game's main setting.
  • In-Universe Game Clock - When you play in Real-Time Mode. Otherwise, there's no real clock to speak of.
  • Joshikousei - The three heroines. Although, Rinko seemingly randomly chooses not to wear her uniform in school and to wear her uniform outside of school. You later learn that the latter is partly due to Rinko avoiding her house because of her discomfort with her father remarrying.
  • Justified Tutorial - Upon reaching the second part of the game, You have the option to practice showing physical affection towards your girlfriend. Accepting the practice makes you daydream about doing so, and the game will make sure you know every location you can and cannot touch and how to kiss your girlfriend. Unfortunately for those lacking a translation guide, you WILL need to be able to follow the directions on the "top" screen, and non-Japanese players people have gotten stuck in this tutorial.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall - At one point while walking home with Rinko, the protagonist asks what would happen if (hypothetically) he told her about his love for her, to which she would reply, with shock, if he has been playing dating simulators lately.
  • Leitmotif - Each of the three heroines has her own theme song.
  • Love Interests - Unlike most dating sims, there are only three datable girls, though this game arguably offers far more depth in these three girls. For example, the personality of a girl may change, depending on the actions you choose.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • "Anegasaki" has the character for "older sister" in it. Nene acts like a Cool Big Sis.
    • The name "Takane Manaka" translates to "flower of love on the high cliffs". Indeed, many guys at school consider Manaka as unreachable, just like a flower on a high cliff.
    • "Aikawa Wataru" can be translated as "crossing the river of love". Considering this is a Dating Sim, that's figuratively what you're doing in the game.
    • Even the city made for this story has a Meaningful Name. Towano can be read as "towa no", meaning "eternal".
  • New Transfer Student - The protagonist that you play, dubbed Wataru Aikawa in the manga.
    • We learn in the manga that Wataru used to constantly move due to parents' jobs. By the start of high school though, he's living on his own instead of with his parents to avoid the need to constantly relocate.
  • No, You Hang Up First - Manaka tells the protagonist she doesn't want to hang up on him, so he tells her to hang up first. She says she really doesn't want to... but then does anyway. The protagonist is...surprised.
  • Older Than They Look - Rinko used to keep her hair long in middle school but got frustrated with people mistaking her for an elementary school student.
  • Ojou - Manaka is so sheltered that she has apparently never even been to a fast food restaurant.
  • The Parody - An H-Game entitled Debu Plus (roughly "Fatty Plus") parodies Love Plus. It features a female character who resembles all three Love Plus heroines combined into one fat girl.
    • Deconstruction: May have one in Hate Plus, though it combines a lot of other stuff as well...
  • Punny Name
    • Towano (十羽野) can be read as 永久の, meaning eternal. This is a nod towards the never-ending nature of the game. Chinese fan translators allude to that by translating Towano City as 永久市 (Eternal City) instead of preserving the original name in kanji as is typical of Chinese translations of Japanese city names.
    • The school neighbouring Towano High School is called Tonarino High School 戸鳴野高校, which when read as 隣の高校, means "the neighbouring high school".
  • Renai Game
  • Save Scumming - Prevented by the saving format. While you have 3 save slots available, if you suddenly turn off the game without saving, the game will punish you when you try to load a save. This ranges from a simple warning to save next time, to lowering in-game affection levels, to forcing the player to apologize aloud via the game's mic. Multiple times. Additionally, once you start a file, when you save, you cannot choose which slot to save to.
    • However, depending on your specific hardware, it is possible to genuinely savescum the game without it knowing. Then again, most of the people who do this probably didn't buy the actual game.
  • Senpai/Kōhai: Protagonist/Rinko, Nene/Protagonist
  • Shout-Out:
    • One of Manaka's dream sequences (no. 16) references Sailor Suit and Machine Gun.
    • A conversation with Manaka involves them seeing a boy wearing a suit taking his pet goat out for a walk.
    • Averting Small Reference Pools, Rinko Kobayakawa quotes from The Catcher in the Rye at one point, referring to the relationship between Holden Caulfield and his sister Phoebe. She herself initally resembles Holden Caulfield in her contemptuous attitude towards society and those around her, before mellowing out.
    • One of the films available to view at the cinema in-game is Dark Helmet, a sci-fi about a man who wears a dark helmet and wields a laser blade. Now, which Star Wars character wears a dark helmet…
    • The image for Ever After, another in-game film, resembles the iconic "I'm flying" scene from Titanic.
    • The official artbook provides some interesting information as well, including the name of the tennis club captain, which happens to be Tezuka.
    • Related to Konami:
      • Another of Manaka's dream sequences (no. 6) is designed with the classic Tokimeki Memorial: Forever with you game engine and character artstyle.
      • The characters' cosplay outfits come from a wide range of Konami franchises: Quiz Magic Academy, Tokimeki Memorial, beatmania and Rumble Roses.
      • A panel in the Nene Days manga references the Konami Code.
      • The rivalry between Dixie's (the diner where the player works in) and Aisha Dining (a new entrant) in the 3DS versions echoes the rivalry between Dixie and Aisha in Rumble Roses.
  • Signature Headgear: Manaka and her bow naturally. Of note is that Manaka's bow colour changes according to day of the week.
  • Third-Person Person - Rinko tends to do this, though not always.
  • Tom Boy - Rinko's been accused of this by her father.
  • Tsundere - Rinko Kobayakawa.
    • Especially her B-type personality.
  • Updated Re-release - Imaginatively titled Love Plus+.
  • Videogame Caring Potential - It's a Dating Sim, so obviously...