Written By: Lauren
I absolutely adore “Wizardess Heart+” and love Joel Crawford. NTT Solmare’s “Wizardess Heart+” is one of my favorite otome games, with its perfect blend of comedy, romance, adventure, and of course, magic!
I’ve played Elias and Yukiya’s routes and a handful of special stories. Joel’s route is the third one I’ve played, and let’s just say I loved it. From the characterization to the plotline, everything was well-executed and up-to-par with what I expected from NTT Solmare.
Needless to say, Joel is now my favorite boy from “Wizardess Heart+.” Sorry, Elias, Yukiya.
This review is full of spoilers, so please don’t read it unless you’re okay with that!
Joel Crawford is a spellsinger, so his magic comes through his singing. The central problem in the route is that he’s suddenly lost his magic and is at risk of being booted out of Gedonelune Magic Academy. Liz Hart, our beloved MC, meets him unexpectedly by the pond and is struck with nostalgia. Somehow, she feels like she knows Joel, even though it’s her first time seeing him.
They become Buddies (matched pairs of students who are reliant on one another to graduate and grow as a wizard), and Liz promises Joel that she’ll help him get his magic back. They gradually grow close, and one day, Eress comes into the picture. Eress is a fairy (or a bug, according to some people) that’s lost her memories, so Liz decides to take her in.
Joel and Eress have a cat-dog relationship and are constantly bickering with each other. However, the three of them make a good team, and gradually unravel the mysteries behind Joel’s lost power and Eress’s missing memories.
Liz also experiences more waves of nostalgia while being with Joel. She starts to remember someone from her childhood named June, a beautiful girl with similar features to Joel. June was from the same region Joel was, where all of the spellsingers originate from.
Joel accidentally picked a flower from the Fairy Garden, a sacred place where no humans should ever dwell in. The flowers represent a fairy’s life and power, and by plucking the flower, he’s accidentally taken away something very important from the King of Fairies.
The flower he plucked is actually Eress’s, which explains how she’s lost her abilities, memories, and form. As a result of the flower being plucked, Eress has disappeared from the world of Fairies, and the King is upset.
Because he’s upset, the world Liz and Joel lives in is suffering the consequences of the wrath of the King, resulting in natural disasters and abundance of violent, magical creatures. The King put a curse on the person who took the flower, taking away what’s most important from them. As a result, Joel lost his magic, which explains the central problem in the story.
Joel and Liz try to fix the problem and go to the King to explain themselves and return the flower. Fortunately, after sensing their honesty, the King accepts their apology. However, he can’t undo the curse he placed on Joel. The only way to undo it is by speaking the King’s true name, which is Oberon. Oberon’s daughter is Eress, so he was struck with grief and anger after she vanished.
King Oberon likes Joel, so then he appoints him as the new overseer of the Fairy Garden. His job is to make sure that nobody wanders into the Fairy Garden, and thus, he gets access to the Fairy Realm. They can visit Eress and Oberon whenever they want to! (Woohoo!)
Liz also realizes that the person from her dreams and memories, June, is actually Joel. When they were young, they were best friends, and promised each other they’d go to the Academy, get married, and be together forever when they grew up.
Joel had to move, and because he didn’t want Liz to be sad, he wiped her memories and told her to forget him. Liz feels horrible for forgetting him, but realizes Joel must have been in pain for a long time, too. Joel has always been in love with her and knew that one day, they would reunite and keep the promise they made when they were children.
I played the Happy Ending, so Liz gets accepted as an official student and gets together with Joel (finally!). They decide to keep their promise, and Joel kisses Liz’s ring finger and tells her to save it for him. (Trust me, I screamed at that part.)
The route concludes with a glimpse into the future, where Liz and Joel are raising a little boy with different-colored eyes, like Joel. They sing their son to sleep, and of course, it’s the song including Oberon’s name with it. (Aww!)
Joel’s character was well-written and believable. He didn’t come off as obsessed with his past and Liz from the past, and was accepting of Liz as she is now, rather than his vision of her from before. The two have great chemistry, and he treats Liz as an equal. Sometimes, I feel like he even thinks she’s superior to him because of her optimistic personality and determination. He acknowledges that she can do many things he never could, which I appreciated.
His personality was realistic and likeable. I never felt annoyed or frustrated by him. He was just the right balance of hot and cold, with qualities and emotions that make him human. He’s so brutally honest that you can’t even get mad at him for being harsh. I appreciate honesty, even if it’s harsh.
He just cares about Liz’s well-being so much that it makes me happy and sad at the same time. Even though it’s sometimes hard to tell, he puts her before everything else. It shows how much he cherishes her, even after all of those years apart and knowing she couldn’t remember him from the past.
I love Liz. I don’t need to explain myself, do I? She’s tough, lovable, determined, and believable. I’m really fond of her.
As for Eress, I thought she was a bit annoying, but lovable nonetheless. It was heart-warming to see her relationship with Liz and Joel progress over time, and gradually, I even became attached to her.
The storytelling for this route was superb. I liked it more than Elias and Yukiya’s routes, which surprised me. There was a natural progression to everything, and there wasn’t too much unnecessary sugar in the story. It was just the right balance of hardships and highs.
The only major complaint I have is the amnesia trope in this route. It’s really overdone, and even though NTT Solmare executed it well with Joel’s route, it’s unoriginal. June was obviously Joel, and it doesn’t surprise me that Liz couldn’t piece the puzzle together and realize that from the start.
However, NTT Solmare did a great job in explaining the reason why Joel was raised as a girl. I knew June was Joel, but I couldn’t figure out why he was presented as one until he got older. His family did that to protect him from Leanan-Sidhe, who targets wizards to take their powers away.
Also, I loved that there was basically a canonically non-straight relationship. Even though Liz believed June was a girl the entire time, she loved June.
Overall, I fell in love with Joel (and Liz, too) in this route, and I’m very impressed! Great work with this story, NTT Solmare!
Let’s hope that Randy’s route will be just as good, if not better. I’m ready for my cotton candy-haired boy!
Ren’s Rating: 9.5/10 (Excellent!)