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Visual Novel / ACE Academy

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Characters from left-to-right: Shou Shinjirou, Tristan Spade, Nikki Spade, Valerie Belle, Kaori Itami, Yunna Misaki, and Mayu Akemi

ACE Academy is a comedy-centric, slice-of-life, visual novel, with sci-fi and romance elements. It was published and developed by PixelFade Studio.

In the year 2049, mechanized robots called GEARs have become commonplace due to their versatility. And ACE Academy is Japan's premiere school for "Cenorobotics", a new academic field focused entirely around these robots. When an American student, default name: Tristan Spade, and his personal GEAR are transferred to ACE Academy due to unforeseen circumstances, he struggles to fit in at first. But soon, he encounters a group of young pilots desperate for a new member to their team. Together, they might just win the upcoming intramural tournament, and perhaps even find romance along the way...

A shorter sequel was later released called Kaori After Story, unsurprisingly following on from Kaori's ending.


The following Tropes are present in this Visual Novel:

  • The Ace: Akira starts out as this but Tristan can become one himself if the player picks the right options during matches.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Both Kaori and Valerie indulge in this during a post victory party. Although Valerie is less drunk then she's pretending to be.
  • Appropriated Appellation: Tristan's team is called ACE-2049-11. This is initially just a school registration code after the team formed too fast to come up with a name before qualifiers. Early on the characters discuss changing the name but never seem to get round to it and eventually just run with the code.
  • As Himself: While she also plays Mei, Amanda Lee makes a cameo as herself near the end of the game. Also the director himself, Dishu Khan, makes a parody cameo of himself.
    • This is lampshaded when Tristan and Kaori meet Amanda Lee as they note in puzzlement how much she sounds like Mei then shrug it off as a weird coincidence.
  • Badass Biker: Both Tristan and Ivan count.
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  • Beach Episode: Let's get real here, it wouldn't be a visual novel without one.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Some of the romance paths have this, others are more understated.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Nikki and the player character are half-Japanese/half-American.
  • Canada, Eh?: PixelFade (the developer) is based out of Toronto. Canadian spelling of words is used inconsistently in-game. However, this is likely just an editing issue.
  • Christmas Episode: The main story takes place in the summer but the Kaori After Story centres around Tristin spending Christmas with Kaori and her family.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The main characters' GEARs. Tristan is blue and white, Shou is green, Kaori is red and Mayu is purple.
  • Cooldown Hug: Given by Tristan to Kaori on her route, it acts as the point at which her romance is "locked in."
  • Cutting Off the Branches: While all of the game's romances are pretty well developed within the main game, the sequel assumes that Kaori's route is what happened.
  • Expy: Shou Shinjirou = Yousuke Hanamura. This one is even lampshaded.
  • Fembot: GEARs piloted by women are crafted to indicate this fact. Kaori insists the resulting curves are fuel storage.
  • Form-Fitting Wardrobe: GEAR pilot suits are...snug.
  • Friendly Rivalry: Seems to be the ACE Academy way. All of the opponents Tristan's team faces are class acts and gracious in defeat and victory.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Every blonde in the plot is a nice person, unless the player decides to make the protagonist behave poorly.
  • Hot Springs Episode: Complete with some peeping action, thanks to Shou of course.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Pretty much describes the first meeting with Ken.
  • The "I Love You" Stigma: While Tristan can break out the L word on any romance he never does so until the final date in the game's story by which point he very sure of his ground. Although Valerie does trick him into saying it earlier in French without telling him what it means.
  • Incest Subtext: Played for Laughs by the devs, merely playing with many fan's desire for a Nikki route.
  • Interface Spoiler: One can tell Mei is going to matter to the plot when she shows up as she has a full character design. Unimportant characters are represented as silhouettes.
  • Ironic Echo: Nikki will tell Valerie what Tristan earlier told Ken, word-for-word, when Valerie wakes Tristan up late into her route.
  • Large Ham: Yosuke's dorm mate, Tatsuo, only speaks in all-caps and in grandiose style (much to Kaori's frustration). His uncle, Ivan Podubbny, does so, as well.
  • Marked Change: Eagle when using Overdrive mode, Akira's gear also when he activates his overdrive mode.
  • Meaningful Name: The only American GEAR in the story is called Eagle.
  • Mecha: Now available to university students!
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Every character speaks with a North American accent despite everyone other than Tristan, Nikki and Valerie being Japanese and Valerie being French. This is probably Translation Convention though, as most of the dialogue is supposed to be in Japanese.
  • Playing Cyrano: How to complete Mayu's romance. She comes to realise she's fallen for Tristan as he attempts to coach her through how to go on a hypothetical date with Shou. Oddly if you actually ask her out on a date Tristan is too nervous and ruins his chances with her.
  • Sequel Hook: That ending though.
  • Shout-Out: Several, ranging from real life celebrities, TV shows and movies.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: For some reason both of Nikki's school friends jump straight from Nikki being grossed out by them being interested in her brother to thinking the two are in an incestuous relationship.
  • Take That, Audience!: Nikki's pseudo-route gives one to all the fans asking to romance her.
    Nikki: "I love my brother as my brother. But what you guys are trying to hint at will never, ever, EVER be a thing!"
    Cafe Customer 1: "What about as...DLC?"
    Nikki: "NO."
  • Tsundere: Kaori is a pretty straight example at first glance. Getting to know her better shows she has Hidden Depths.
  • Wrench Wench: As the team's engineer Valerie is the most prominent example but both Kaori and Mayu work on their own GEARs a lot too.