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R.U.R.U.R. ~This child shall at least receive the stars~ (ル・ル・ル・ル このこのために、せめてきれいな星空を ru ru ru ru kono ko no tameni, semete kireina hoshizora wo?) is a Japanese H-game for computer, developed and published by light. The game is known for its use of established science fiction elements in its story, along with numerous references to several works of literature, including Antoine de Saint Exupéry's The Little Prince and Karel Čapek's R.U.R.

In mid-2008, light announced that a PlayStation 2 port titled R.U.R.U.R. -petit prince- was in development. As of November 2009, the port will be released for PlayStation Portable, and was released on September 22, 2010.

Story

R.U.R.U.R. takes place in the distant future, centuries after humanity has gone extinct. Despite the lack of humans, the spaceship St. Exupéry continues its journey through space with the purpose of finding another planet suitable for colonization. In place of a human society, the robots that once served the humans have created their own societal structure. The story really begins after the discovery of a hidden stasis capsule containing the last human in the universe. While some of the robots argue that they have taken humanity's place as the dominant race, the leadership decides to awaken the boy inside the capsule to try and raise him in hopes that he would grow to become a suitable leader. In order to do so, several of the robots are conscripted to take part in a fake world created for the boy. A world where he has friends, a loving family, and feels no pain or sorrow.

Characters

Ichihiko (イチヒコ?) - The protagonist of the story. He is referred to as "The last mankind" by the robots of the St. Exupéry. He is completely unaware that the world he lives in is fake. Because of how he was raised, he sees the robots around him as actual people, can tell them apart without having to think about it, and sees himself as one of them. Incidentally, he has trouble understanding the difference between humans and robots once the truth behind his world is revealed.

R-Hinagiku (ISF-ISAAC-0010102F R-ヒナギク?) - A military-class chapekku that was conscripted into the world created for Ichihiko. She was originally asked to take the role of the "older brother", but became the "next door neighbor" due to her unwillingness to be near the protagonist. Outwardly, Hinagiku picks on Ichihiko regularly and often ridicules him for being short. She tends to err on the side of honesty, and her straight-forward approach to things puts her at odds with Shirotsumegusa on occasion.

R-Mizubashou (ISAAC-1011105HAL R-ミズバショウ?) - A commander-class chapekku that proposed the robots of the St. Exupéry raise the last human. She took the role of "mother" in the family created for Ichihiko. As such, she looks after him and makes sure to cook his favorite foods. While Ichihiko's well-being is her top priority, Mizubashou fears of what would happen if he were to discover the truth behind his "world". Because of this, she will resort to shutting other robots down and even lacing Ichihiko's food with chemicals if it will somehow protect the secret.

R-Shirotsumegusa D (D-ISSG-0100118D R-シロツメグサD?) - A drexler operator-class chapekku in charge of the network of nanomachines that course through the ship. In the family created for Ichihiko, she has taken the role of "father". As such, she goes to "work", handles the money in their family and buys Ichihiko presents. Shirotsumegusa often feels left out, and at times tries to get Ichihiko to spend more time with her than with Hinagiku or Mizubashou. As a drexler operator (which is interchangeably used with the title Chief Salamander), she has the ability to split into a younger version of herself and a small salamander named Sanshouo.

R-Kobatomugi (R-000111014L R-コバトムギ?) - A playmate model-C chapekku that is given the role of teacher at the school Ichihiko attends. She was originally a waitress at a hotdog stand before the extinction of humanity.

R-Tanpopo 091 (ISAAC-1001009 R-タンポポ091?) - One of several chapekku that go by the same name with a serial number to segregate them. 091 is in charge of taking care of a large corn field inside the ship. Tanpopo joins Ichihiko's family as his "little sister" after Mizubashou decides that he needs to learn the joys of being an older brother.

R-Benibana (ISF-ISAAC-0010104F R-ベニバナ?) - A military-class chapekku that takes the role of the antagonist of the story. She attempts to kidnap Ichihiko in order to reveal the truth behind the world the others built for him. She was originally opposed to Mizubashou's plan, but her voicebox was sealed by Mizubashou and Shirotsumegusa.

Taisho (F-605 タイショー?) - A saberhagen droid that was given the role of Ichihiko's "best friend". In accordance to his role, Taisho hangs out with the protagonist after school, and has a knack for getting both of them into trouble. He also has a tendency to get into arguments with Hinagiku, often calling her out on the fact that she likes Ichihiko. Taisho was drafted into Ichihiko's world after Mizubashou found out that he taught the protagonist how to talk like the saberhagen droids.

Administrator HAL (司法HAL shihō HAL?) - The St. Exupéry's central computer. HAL is considered to be the top authority on the ship, its commands capable of overriding any orders given by commander-class chapekku. It also monitors how the chapekku behave and will correct them in accordance to the Laws of Robotics. As a computer, HAL operates entirely on logic and is not burdened by emotions.

Gameplay

File:RURUR game engine screenshot.jpg

R.U.R.U.R.'s game engine. Characters from left to right: R-Hinagiku, R-Mizubashou and R-Shirotsumegusa.

General

The story switches between first-person and third-person narrative, but for the most part tells the story from Ichihiko's point of view. The flow of the story is often interrupted by flashbacks from before or soon after Ichihiko's awakening that explain how the game's events came to be.

The story is split into chapters and uses titles that give hints of things to come. To further help delineate the direction the story is taking, the game uses passages from The Little Prince or Mother Goose nursery rhymes that are relevant to that point in the story recited in French.

During the first play-through, the game has no choices for the player to make and will automatically go for the bad ending. Dialogue choices appear from the second play-through on, allowing Ichihiko to end up with Hinagiku, Mizubashou, Shirotsumegusa, Tanpopo, Kobatomugi or Benibana.

Game Engine

R.U.R.U.R. uses light's patented Malie System, which provides the visual novel interface that is used through the whole game. The Malie System also presents the Another Story option to the player after the game has been cleared once.

Another Story

Another Story is an option that loads a text file containing the Malie System's scripting language. This in effect allows the player to create a story involving the game's characters using everything the game engine has to offer.

R.U.R.U.R. comes with built-in tutorials detailing the commands available. Additionally, light periodically releases Another Story scripts for their registered customers to download.

Technology

File:X093 and Hinagiku.jpg

The Saberhagen droid X-093 and the chapekku R-Hinagiku. Hinagiku uses her lens to communicate with X-093.

Chapekku - Humanoid machines that are grown in vats. They closely resemble humans, but are imbued with technological enhancements through nanomachines inside the vats. While they have similar biological processes, they do not "heal" the way a human does, and instead require regular maintenance to keep themselves in top form. Chapekku do not age or get sick.

It should be noted that in one of the endings, two human-shaped children specifically named student A and B attended "school" after Ichihiko graduated. Considering that these children looked human and one even sounded like Ichihiko, it might have been possible that one of the characters is their mother. Also one of the endings has one of the chapekku become a mother. So chapekku can bear children.

EES Lens - Also known as "Arisian Lens". A colored lens attached to a chapekku's forehead. It functions as a communication device, allowing chapekku to communicate and quickly exchange information without having to talk. It can also be used to verify a decided course of action with Administrator HAL. The EES Lens can also be used as a scanning device, allowing chapekku to see and analyze objects and machines that are not directly in front of them.

Drexler - A term for nanomachines that course throughout the ship. They can be used for numerous things, including stabilizing atmospheric conditions and limited maintenance of life forms (trees and flowers).

Drexler Operator - A chapekku in charge of a network of nanomachines. Capable of creating multiple images of themselves using the nanomachine network, and can use them to alter programing code to enable or disable other robots.

War Toaster - Weapon attachments that are accessible only to military-class chapekku. The parts involved and level of power are separated by class. The game mentions four War Toaster classes (Class-1, Class-2, Class-3 and Class-6).

All War Toaster attachments come with DeLameter Blaster arm attachments.

Saberhagen - Multi-purpose droids that serve a variety of functions on the ship, from cooking food to mechanical maintenance to even acting. Being so numerous, there is a plethora of varying personalities amongst them, but are limited to communicating using the phrase "Oui, monsieur".

Staff

Character Designs - Mahiru Izumi (泉 まひる Izumi Mahiru?)

Mecha Designs - AKINOKO, Gorou Murata (村田 護郎 Murata Gorō?)

Scenario - Hiro Itou (伊藤 ヒロ Itō Hiro?), Hijiri Nakajima (中島 聖 Nakajima Hijiri?)

Music - Hideki Higuchi (樋口 秀樹 Higuchi Hideki?), Ryuu Umemoto (梅本 竜 Umemoto Ryū?)

Opening Theme "ROSE!ROSE!ROSE!"
Composed and written by Hideki Higuchi (樋口 秀樹 Higuchi Hideki?)
Performed by Rin (?)
Ending Theme "Vow" (誓いの言葉 Chikai no kotoba?)
Composed and written by Hideki Higuchi (樋口 秀樹 Higuchi Hideki?)
Performed by WHITE-LIPS

Voice Cast

Ichihiko - Jun Kasahara (笠原 准 Kasahara Jun?)
R-Hinagiku - Fuuka Hinami (雛見 風香 Hinami Fūka?)
R-Mizubashou - Nana Nogami (野神 奈々 Nogami Nana?)
R-Shirotsumegusa, Sanshouo - Yukari Aoyama (青山 ゆかり Aoyama Yukari?)
R-Kobatomugi, Taisho - Rino Kawashima (かわしま りの Kawashima Rino?)
R-Tanpopo - Kai Ousaka (桜坂 かい Ōsaka Kai?)
R-Benibana, HAL - Hikaru Isshiki (一色 ヒカル Isshiki Hikaru?)
French Narration - Princesse de notre beau Français

Source Material and Notes

  • The use of R- in the robots' names is a reference to the robot characters in Isaac Asimov's Robot Series.
  • "Chapekku" is how Karel Čapek's last name is written in katakana.
  • "Drexler" is an homage to K. Eric Drexler.
  • The saberhagen droids are named after Fred Saberhagen.
  • The EES Lens and DeLameter components are references to E.E. Smith and his Lensman series of books.
  • The War Toaster attachments are a reference to the military toasters seen in The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars. Hinagiku is also compared to the Brave Little Toaster on occasion.
  • Interestingly, the script censors the word "Robot" the way H-games normally censor extremely vulgar words. Accordingly, the characters (especially the chapekku) react to the word as if it were the worst of profanities.
  • Conceptually, the chapekku are very similar to the robots introduced in R.U.R., as both are biological machines.
  • Much like The Little Prince, R.U.R.U.R. switches back and forth between first person narrative and third person narrative.
  • As a reference to the relationship the little prince had with his rose, the chapekku that interact with Ichihiko are named after flowers:
Hinagiku - Daisy
Mizubashou - Asian Skunk Cabbage, Asian Swamp Lily, or Water Banana
Shirotsumegusa - White Clover
Tanpopo - Dandelion
Benibana - Safflower
  • R-Hinagiku's favorite song is Harry Dacre's Daisy Bell, which she sings in Japanese several times during the story.
  • In conjunction with Hinagiku's favorite song, the ship's central computer being named Administrator HAL is a nod to HAL9000.
  • R-Shirotsumegusa's weapon of choice is a spear named Andrias Scheuchzeri, after the first "book" of Karel Čapek's War with the salamanders. The ability to split herself makes her fall more into line with the actual salamander, which can perform autotomy to escape predators.
  • In one of the unlockable chapters of the story, the characters witness a big crunch. Seeing that this took place before the St. Exupéry reached its destination or fulfilled its mission, it is similar to the events near the end of Poul Anderson's Tau Zero.
  • R.U.R.U.R.'s use of narrative and quotes from The Little Prince and Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes is a nod to Tau Zero's use of quotes from Scandanavian mythology at points that were relevant in the story.
  • Aside from the authors whose names were used as part of the game's terminology, additional authors were name-dropped. These include Margaret A. Salinger (daughter of J.D. Salinger), Barrington J. Bayley and Philip K. Dick.

External links