In many cases, we’ll just pick up a visual novel (VN) because the artwork looks flashy and we know it has adult content in it. And that’s exactly what happened to me today with Absolute Obedience!
Dialing it back to 2005/2006, Absolute Obedience is a boy’s love VN that takes place in post-World War II Germany, following the hypersexual adventures of Louise Hardwich and Kia WelBehenna. The duo operates a discrete line of work where clients can pay them to seduce other male targets of their choosing. Each time you start a new game, players can select from twelve missions to complete (six per protagonist). Choices made during each mission will not only determine how much story content you see, but also your final score (ranked from A–D). Different grades lead to different CGs being unlocked, but achieving an A doesn’t promise that you’ll see all the scenes. While this adds some replay value, it can also be annoying, because of reloading multiple save files repeatedly to unlock the full gallery (about 6–9 CGs per mission).
Furthermore, Absolute Obedience won’t unlock certain missions until conditions are met, and missions expire if not completed in a particular order. Blind playthroughs may need backtracking, in the event that you accidentally lock yourself out of completing the game.
Each mission can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to complete, dividing Absolute Obedience into perfect bite-size segments. Combined with the fast-forward option for previously read script, replaying particular missions for the sake of CG hunting or obtaining A-rankings on every mission doesn’t feel too much like a chore.
With 12 missions to complete, Absolute Obedience has more than enough content to keep players busy and entertained, even if each mission follows the same narrative pattern. A typical story starts with Louise or Kia tracking down their target, forming a hasty connection with them, seduce them once or twice, solve their own dilemma, and then dipping out after a farewell. A handful of the stories feel like filler, written just for the sake of added pornographic content. Still, the majority flesh out the target’s backstories enough to where you almost start to care about them. A select few even feel like missed opportunities for a possible OVA anime series.
However, with each target only being relevant in their respective mission, the player knows they will never see these characters again after a few sex scenes, which begs the question of why even bother to care about them? What’s more, Absolute Obedience reveals very little about the two protagonists for most of the game. While we get a feel for their personalities, who they are is a mystery, minus a few crumbs of their parental upbringing shown in select missions (and only if you achieve a high-grade ending). We learn that Kia grew up in poverty with an abusive alcoholic father and a mother who died of heart failure when he was a youth. On the other hand, Louise grew up in an aristocratic mansion with parents who passively hated each other, shamelessly taking on many of their own lovers and even living separately. He was often ignored.
Upon completing all 12 missions with an A rank, Absolute Obedience will show a hidden ending and two top-secret missions where the players will finally learn Louise and Kia’s backstory, as well as their relation to each other, and watch them face their own past trauma. Neither mission has any decision-making to it, making both an easy-flowing and happy epilogue.
Despite any negative attributes, there is just something about Absolute Obedience that keeps players coming back. Maybe it’s partly due to it being a historical landmark as one of the earliest boy’s love games ever localized into English. Maybe it’s the character design (the protagonists are attractive). Or maybe it’s just the over-the-top levels of campiness the game holds. The game makes no effort to hide behind modesty, jumping from dramatics, to silliness, to eroticisms, and a dash of creep-factor in between it all.
For the humble price of only $10.00, one can’t complain. You get what you pay for: a lot of well-drawn boy’s love pornography wrapped in a series of mini-dramas. You can get Absolute Obedience and many other boy’s love titles directly from the JAST USA webshop.