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Visual Novel / Dōkyūsei

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The seasons turn — it'll be a scorcher.

Dōkyūsei (同級生, lit. Classmates) is an Eroge Dating Sim Adventure Game of the nanpa subgenre, where the protagonist prowls the town in search of eligible bachelorettes (or, in some cases, bachelors). Developed and published by ELF Corporation, it was originally released for the PC-98, the Sharp X68000, and the FM Towns in 1992, and as such Dōkyūsei stands out as one of the grandaddies of the whole Dating Sim genre. It eventually got ported to the TurboGrafx CD in 1995 and the Sega Saturn in 1996 (the latter having the subtitle if and featuring some minor additions), and got a remake for Microsoft Windows in 1999, which featured redrawn graphics and some script changes to be more "era-appropriate", but it remained a Japan-only game until April 2022, when a fully translated remake (based on the 1999 remake) named Dōkyūsei: Bangin' Summer was released on both Steam and the Japanese platform Johren. A clean version of the remake is slated for an April 18, 2024 release on the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch.

The game stars a nameable protagonist (default name is set as "Takurou", which is also his Canon Name in other media) who is in the final month of his last High School summer vacation. After working odd jobs for two straight months he managed to save some pocket money, and he's ready to use his last four weeks to create some fantastic summer memories with the girl/girls of his town.

While the remake sports some frankly beautiful HD graphics and voice acting, both Dōkyūsei and Bangin' Summer are great examples of the 90s Dating Sim scene, being Nintendo Hard (althought the remake includes an Easy Mode for those unaccustomed to this level of difficulty in modern dating sims) and handling different themes and stereotypes that are not much in use anymore.

The game went on to receive a sequel, Dōkyūsei 2, which was released in 1995. It further spawned a Spin-Off series, Kakyūsei (下級生, lit. Underclassmates), of which the first game was released in 1996, with a sequel released in 2004. A proper Dōkyūsei 3 was planned at some point, but languished in Development Hell for years, and with Elf's closure in 2015, the game's fate as permanent Vaporware seems to have been definitively sealed. It also got an Animated Adaptation, courtesy of the studio Pink Pineapple, in the form of a four episode OVA, titled Dōkyūsei: End of Summer, with a two-episode sequel, Dōkyūsei Climax Files. The four-episode OVA even saw a translated release on the western market by ADV Films, simply called End of Summer.

Not to be confused with the unrelated 2006 manga of the same name.

This game provides examples of:

  • Addressing the Player: With a heavy dose of What the Hell, Player? from time to time, Takurou will often chide the player when they try to make him act pervertedly at an inappropriate time.
  • Am I Just a Toy to You?: One of the more dramatic parts of Mako's route sees Takurou admitting to her, with his pants down, that he is faking his groin pain to have an excuse to visit her in her office and having her look at his genitals. Mako is understandably quite displeased and calls him out on this, telling him point blank that he has abused her trust as a medical professional. Takurou grows desperate, puts a hand on her shoulder, while he still has his pants down, and confesses to his crush on her. Mako sternly tells him to take his hand off her and says that what he is doing is no way to treat a woman. She then sits down on a chair and while speaking to him in a cold and domineering voice, she orders him to watch her undress, while she accuses him of only seeing women as tools to gratify himself, even telling him if that is how he thinks he can go ahead and use her right here, right now. Takurou becomes downright scared at her sudden change in demeanor and extremely ashamed at her accusations, and repeatedly begs her to stop, even breaking down crying in the process, apologizing to her and telling her that he of course doesn't think of her as a tool. Mako responds with relief and drops her cold demeanor, and goes on to embrace him, as she gently scolds him, telling him that he is still a young man and has a lot to learn about women and love, but no woman will ever feel happy about being treated as just a tool, and she hopes this whole experience has at least has taught him that much.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Takurou is not shy about mentioning things he shouldn't know — like how a character is out of the player's (but not the MC's) sight, or when the character's sprite is stuck in a weird pose.
  • Bowdlerise: The 1999 remake for Windows would rework the script in several places under the guidance of the original writer and director Masato Hiruta to make the game's story more "era appropriate". Notably, more focus was put on the female character's agency while instances of Takurou's more questionable and perverted behavior around women in the original version was toned remarkably down, with some of his lines being removed or softened, and resulting in some sex scenes getting cut altogether.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Takurou is not above copping a feel every now and then, but he draws the line at taking advantage of a distressed girl. There is also a moment where he, without initially realizing it, goes too far with Miho when she asks him for a kiss. When he realizes that he inadvertently violated Miho's boundaries after Misa chews him out for making Miho upset, he feels extremely bad about it. He also notably backs down from having sex with Satomi in her route when she propositions him following her bad break-up, because he feels quite awkward about the situation, worrying that he is really just taking advantage of her while she is in an already fragile emotional state.
  • Easier Than Easy: The remake's Easy Mode not only lets you know where the girls are just by checking the map, but you can also access a "Flag list" and just teleport to the appropriate place and time, removing the time-management aspect of the game altogether. Not only this, but the correct and incorrect dialogue choices are now appropriately flagged as such (though in some cases, selecting only the purportedly correct choices won't allow you to progress.)
  • Foreshadowing: When studying the neighborhood that Sakimake Academy is placed in, Takurou will mention in passing that that he has heard rumors of a sex offender operating in the area during night time. True enough, Prof. Serizawa is subjected to an Attempted Rape at the hands of said guy when she is on her way home in the evening during her route.
  • Good Morning, Crono: The story begins with a Cold Opening where Takurou is awoken by a phone call from his friend, Kazuya, on the morning of the first day of his summer vacation.
  • Hint System: Of the "on payment" variety; there's a fortune teller that, for a not-so-measly 1000 yen, gives you a hint on where to go to progress with the story.
  • Informing the Fourth Wall: Pretty much everything in the game can be examined, upon which Takurou will prompted to give the player some of his own thoughts about said object. His tendency to do this even gets some occasional Lampshade Hanging; one memorable instance comes up if Takurou is asked to repeatedly examine Miho's watering can while he meets on her shift at the flower shop. Miho will eventually express confusion and even a bit of concern at why Takurou is suddenly so intensely and weirdly interested in her watering can. In other instances, it turns out some characters can hear his supposed Inner Monologue and comments on it.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: The game was one of the very first Dating Sims to employ this extensively, using it for timed story events, making it the Trope Codifier, if not outright the Trope Maker for the genre's use of this. A visit to any location (including separate rooms of a building, etc.) "costs" some where between 10-20 minutes of the game time.
  • I Need to Go Iron My Dog: During Prof. Serizawa's introductory event, she is busy grading papers. Takurou tries asking about his grade, to which Serizawa reminds him that he didn't hand in this particular test because he took that day off due to his uncle having died. She then dryly adds that it was the eighteenth of his uncles to die this year.
    Takurou: What can I say? I come from a long line of uncles.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Downplayed. After Mako has scolded Takurou on his attitude towards women, which included undressing in front of him, and then forgiven him after he sincerely apologized for his behavior, she gets dressed again, and gently tells him to think of what just happened as a "dream" — albeit one she hopes he has learned something from — and that, if anyone ever asks what happen between them in her office today, all they did was simply having a talk.
  • Nostalgic Music Box: The 2021 remake uses such a track for the main menu, titled "Graduation". This is quite fitting, since Dōkyūsei is fundamentally a story that plays on nostalgia for summer vacations back in one's youth, as well as the game itself being a remake of a classic game that many players would probably have fond memories of.
  • Nintendo Hard: The original game and the remake's Classic Mode are hand-wringlingly hard and impossible to beat without a guide or without learning the girls' schedules to heart. The devs added an Easy difficulty mode for the unaccostumed players, but this mode has its own issues.
  • Permanently Missable Content: The game DOESN'T warn you about this (with the exception of vague hints from the Gypsy) - but some girls' routes are mutually exclusive. For example, having sex with Mako will lock you out of both Ako's and Yayoi's good endings.
  • Race Against the Clock: As the OVA's title implies End of Summer, Wataru only has 'til the end of summer (just 2 weeks away by the start of episode 1) to confess his feelings to Mai and ask her to be his girlfriend. Because once the next semester starts Mai will be going overseas to study abroad.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Prof. Serizawa's attempted rapist is portrayed in an unequivocally negative light.
  • Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor: The main plot of Mai's route, with Kenji being the Rich Suitor and Takurou being the Poor Suitor. True to form of the trope, Kenji is quite an arrogant jerk who is unfaithful to Mai to boot, but because Mai's family prefer him due to his own family's high status they are effectively in an Arranged Marriage in all but name, meanwhile, Takurou, a working class guy with aspirations of being a writer, is the one who Mai ends up falling in real love with, due to the fact that he accepts and treats her as a person.
  • Softer and Slower Cover: With the 1999 remake, an alternate, more low-key variation of all the dateable girl's Leitmotifs where introduced, for more calm and emotionally intimate moments.
  • Toccata and Fugue in D minor: The intro to this piece sounds when one of the girls rejects you, signaling the start of the Bad Ending.
  • Version-Exclusive Content: The Sega Saturn version of the game, Dōkyūsei: if, features three new characters, and thereby three new storylines that are unique to that version.