|“||To return to my original form, I must return to my kingdom.
To return to my kingdom, I must rely on these seven girls.
|Kaeru nyo Panyon|
|Kaeru ni ~yo panyo ~ n|
(c)アリスソフト Box art
|Genre / Rating||SRPG / 18+|
Kaeru nyo Panyo~n
Kaeru nyo Panyo~n (also referred to as Kaeru nyo Panyon) is a horizontally auto-scrolling strategy RPG by Alicesoft. It was released in Japan on August 29, 1997. It is the second game to be directed by longtime Alicesoft staff member Purin after DALK, and shares several gameplay similarities with it as a result. It is also the first game in the Nyo Series of strategy RPGs, as well as the only one to not feature any crossover elements whatsoever.
The strange title consists of the Japanese word "kaeru" (かえる), which means "to return", with the addition of the "nyo" sound that the character Arietta ends all of her sentences with. "Panyon" refers to the species of the same name that the game's protagonist is turned into. Overall, it can be interpreted as being Arietta saying "Return home, Panyo~n!"
Designed with the intention of being a throwback to early role playing games, Kaeru nyo Panyo~n is notable for its harsh and somewhat unforgiving difficulty as well as its streamlined story. Aside from the opening movie and ending, character interaction consists only of brief exchanges between party members at the beginning and end of each stage. This encourages the player to create their own ideas about the characters' personalities from the limited information provided by the game itself. There is also very little erotic content, to the point where it is very possible to complete multiple playthroughs of the game without viewing a single erotic CG.
Notably, Kaeru nyo Panyo~n takes place on The Continent, the same setting used throughout the Rance Series. This is firmly established during the game's opening, which shows the same map of the Continent used throughout Kichikuou Rance and repeats that game's opening narration almost to verbatim before clarifying that Rance himself is not involved with the story at all. Kaeru nyo Panyo~n, along with Little Princess, Little Vampire and the original Toushin Toshi, became one of the few Alicesoft games with a similar setting to the Continent to remain canonically set on the Continent following several alterations made to the timeline of the series after the release of Rance VI. Additionally, the events of the game were revealed to have taken place during the year LP0004, making it take place roughly at the same time as the events of Rance VI. The shared setting between Kaeru nyo Panyo~n and the Rance series was cemented in Rance IX, which featured Pitten Chao as a major supporting character.
On September 14, 2000, Kaeru nyo Panyo~n was re-released at a lowered price. On November 11, 2013 an English translation was released by 2.0 Translations.
Gameplay takes place on a horizontal grid, with the player units on the left side and enemy units on the right. At the end of every turn, the screen shifts to the right by one tile, with any units positioned on the disappearing tiles being instantly defeated.
The player's goal is to successfully move the protagonist Poron Chao from the leftmost edge of each level to the rightmost one. This is complicated by Poron's general helplessness as a unit. Along with being extremely weak to enemy attacks, Poron is only capable of moving a single tile each turn, making him be in constant danger of getting instantly defeated by the game's auto-scrolling mechanic. Additionally, enemies instinctively target Poron over all other party members. The game ends when Poron is defeated, making protecting him throughout each stage a priority. Poron is capable of casting four powerful magic spells: an explosion that deals heavy damage to all enemies on screen, a haste spell that allows him to move twice in a single turn, another haste spell that allows an ally to move twice in a single turn, and a healing spell that can restore every unit's health. Poron can only use each spell a limited number of times per stage, however, forcing the player to be selective about when to use them.
Outside of Poron, the player is given control over seven female adventurers, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. As Poron himself is extremely weak, the vast majority of the player's strategies will involve coordinating the seven of them to defeat all nearby enemies before they reach Poron. When one of the seven girls is defeated, they will be unavailable for the remainder of the stage. Whenever a player unit defeats an enemy unit, they obtain experience points. When enough experience points are obtained, the unit levels up. Along with giving a general increase to all stats, leveling up also allows the player to allocate additional bonus points to further increase a unit's stat of their choice.
The most notable mechanic of the game is the Class Change system. Class changing provides a large increase in a unit's stats and abilities, and overall makes them much stronger than simply leveling them up does. After reaching a certain level, each of the female adventurers unlocks the ability to class change by exchanging a certain combination of Gal Monsters, which can be captured if the player possesses a copy of the Capture Rope item in their inventory when defeating them in battle, to the Level God Yamane. Each class requires its own specific set of gal monsters in order to be accessed, and the highest levels of every one of them can only be reached by certain characters. A unit's class can also be reset should the player desire it to, allowing the player to experiment with which characters are best suited to each class.
Between each stage, the player is given access to a town, where they are able to heal their units and save at an inn, buy stat-increasing items and pre-captured gal monsters at a store, and raise a character's stats by tempering their equipment at a blacksmith. After a town section is completed, the player is given a choice between two stages, each of which branches off into its own pathway that features choosing between two more stages. While there are a total of 21 stages, the player is only able to play through six of them per playthrough. Only one specific path of six stages leads to the game's true ending, which features an additional two stages to play through, with all others leading to unique bad endings.
The Kingdom of Parancho is a small country located near the southeastern corner of the Continent. Unlike the rest of the world, which is plagued by chaos and war, Parancho enjoys a state of relative peace, with happy citizens who are neither particularly poor nor wealthy, lush greenery, fresh water and a kind and benevolent king, Peperon Chao. As he grows older, however, Peperon has been forced to step down from his position as king and declare one of his two sons to be his successor. His older son, Pitten Chao, is a profoundly charismatic man blessed with outstanding martial ability who already serves as the Supreme Commander of their nation's army, while his younger son, Poron Chao, is a mild-mannered and studious young man with a talent for civic management.
Unable to choose between his beloved sons, Peperon instead devises a test to determine which of the two will be a worthier successor. He orders each of them to set out into the world, find a rare item and bring it back to him, stating that whichever of the two brings back the rarer item will be declared king. While Pitten boldly sets out to the north to find his item, Poron, who believes that Pitten will make a better king than he will, reluctantly sets out to the west, hoping to find a moderately rare item and return home quickly.
Due to having never spent any time outside of his kingdom, Poron quickly becomes lost while wandering across the Continent. He eventually ends up at the border between the Human Realm and the Monster Realm. Just as Poron is about to give up his search and attempt to make his way home empty handed, however, he is approached by a mysterious old man, who offers him a strange potion that he claims will allow him to find an extremely rare item if he drinks it. Poron's naivety causes him to blindly trust the old man and take the potion, which causes his body to transform into a bizarre creature from another world known as a panyon. The mysterious old man disappears before Poron is able to question him, leaving him alone in a monster-infested forest in his strange new form.
Before he is able to fully ponder the circumstances of his situation, Poron hears a cry for help from nearby, and immediately rushes in the direction of the screams. The cries lead Poron to a group of seven young female adventurers being surrounded by a group of Lady Killers, a Guy Monster that women are incapable of harming. Without hesitation, Poron instructs the girls to escape while he fights off the Lady Killers, which they reluctantly agree to do. After a grueling battle, Poron defeats the Lady Killers and quickly loses consciousness.
Poron awakens in a small shack on the outskirts of the forest surrounded by the seven girls, who inform him that they nursed him back to health after he saved them. Poron tells the girls the story of his transformation and, believing that Parancho's court mage Nikopelli is the only person capable of reversing it, sets off to return to his homeland to find him. The girls, concerned for Poron's safety wandering across the entire Continent by himself, demand that he allow them to come with him to serve as his bodyguards. While Poron is hesitant at first, he eventually relents that, in his transformed state, he is incapable of fending for himself effectively, and allows them to travel at his side.
As soon as the group sets out, however, Poron realizes that he has no idea where Parancho's location is relative to where he currently is, forcing the eight to blindly wander from one end of the Continent to the other in hopes of somehow finding their way home.
Meanwhile, Pitten, who has already returned to Parancho, seems to be conspiring something from the shadows...
|CG Artist (Charme, Arisa, Arietta)||Chiibou|
|CG Artist (Wendy, Elaine, Carrot, Raira)||YOK|
|Sprite Artist (Poron, Female Units)||Fukupon|
|Sprite Artist (Male Units)||Orion|
|Unit Animations||Uejou Noborunokami|
An English translation patch by Tulip Goddess Maria was released in 2013 and can be downloaded here.
An additional "tidy-up" patch can be downloaded here and applied to the English release.