Developer: Koei Tecmo
VNDB Play Time: 45h
VNDB Link: Buddy Mission Bond | vndb
Character count: estimated 720,000 - 855,000 from VNDB time
Number of weeks to finish: 22 weeks
will need to be read at an elevated ~33k-39k per week pace!
English translation (from vndb)
Close in on the truth with your partner.
Luke, a police officer aiming to become a hero like his late foster father had dreamed, and Aaron, the “Phantom Thief Beast” whose total damages are said to amount to several hundred billion. A strange encounter will greatly change their fate… This is the story of teamwork—and at times disparity—between dependable partners, the mystery of Luke’s father’s death, and a fiery friendship that confronts an earthshaking conspiracy.
The story is set on Mikagura Island, the metropolis for international show business. To fight against the criminal syndicate “DISCARD” operating in the shadows, four people each with their own intentions come together to form an undercover investigation team. That team’s name is “BOND.” It consists of the police officer Luke (voiced by Ryouhei Kimura), Phantom Thief Beast Aaron (voiced by Takashi Kondo), vivacious ninja of many loves Mokuma (voiced by Toshiyuki Morikawa), and cool-headed swindler Chesley (voiced by Daisuke Namikawa). Will you be able to uncover the truth on this island swelled with light and darkness?
The game’s key feature is forming a team of two buddies to investigate and infiltrate. Choose two out of the four team BOND members and switch up partners often while solving the problems that block your path forward. Verifying the traits of each BOND member, and being able to properly investigate with the appropriate members is the key to obtaining information. Depending on the information you obtain, the route when you infiltrate the enemy’s hideout will change. It is important to think about and choose the optimal buddy for the job.
Character designs are handled by Yusuke Murata, who is known for Eyeshield 21, One-Punch Man, and more. The game incorporates comic-like presentations during story and dialogue developments, allowing players to enjoy a digital comic-style story.
Nintendo Switch (JP Store)
Buddy Mission BOND is my favorite thing I’ve read in Japanese; I really can’t endorse it enough. I think it has something for everyone: over-arching mystery plot with lots to speculate about where it always goes just a step further than you expect, lots of interesting characters with various dynamics and fun interactions, cool comic book art style (with character designs by Murata Yuusuke who did the One Punch Man manga apparently? didn’t even know that but makes sense ), great music and overall production value, various adventure gameplay segments, etc. etc.
It’s long for us, there’s no denying that; however, there’s some flexibility built into the structure of it. The main story is separated into chapters, and as you progress through those you unlock side chapters that are all very fun and interesting, but they aren’t required for the story (at least most of them). So if the pacing did end up being a struggle, people would be able to hold off on or skip reading some of those if they wanted. That said, the side chapters are a very nice aspect of the game that gives you a closer look into character dynamics and other things that just make the main story even more effective, so there are various things to consider.
Anyway TL;DR: Buddy Mission BOND is a fantastic game and I highly recommend it to anyone it sounds even remotely interesting to! It definitely has a few difficulties for our club here so I would understand if turned out to be better suited to being handled elsewhere, but I wanted to present it and see if there’s any interest anyway.
Pros and Cons for the Book Club
- Most dialogue voiced
- Over-arching plot ripe for discussion (with what I feel is the perfect balance between being able to put things together and still having unexpected plot twists)
- Great art in a fun comic book style, high production value all around
- Clearly organized linear story for scheduling
- Lots of interesting language
- No English translation so you get to experience something you wouldn’t be able to if you hadn’t started studying Japanese!
- Demo available if you want to try it out beforehand
- Only available for Nintendo Switch (and JP store only)
- Ambitious pick - definitely pushing the length limits (though there’s some flexibility with the side stories) and does a lot of interesting language things which can be challenging
- On the more gameplay heavy side if that’s not your thing, somewhat comparable to 999 in the amount I think
- Expensive for a VN, this is a Video Game
- No English translation if you want that to compare to
- Not fully voiced during gameplay sections
How much effort would you need to read this VN?
- No effort at all
- Minimal effort
- Moderate effort
- Significant effort
- So much effort my head might explode
- I don’t know