The Orchard of Stray Sheep Review

Back when this title was first announced I was extremely curious and oddly hyped just because of the names. Seeing characters such as “Peeler” and “Casserole” should peak anyone’s interest so I went in expecting a weird comedy but came out with a slightly different experience.

*Note: A review copy was provided by Sekai Project

*Note: I only had time to read the true end although from some quick searches for other reviews it looks like my views wouldn’t change much as they seem to be about the same level of enjoyment and quality.

Our story follows Ichirou Yamada, a newly hired teacher at a school with 4 female students where happiness is mandatory. We see metallic devices floating above these girl’s heads which I assumed was their happiness level (though didn’t get why they never moved or why one was so low) but I’ll get into what it truly is later. Each girl is assigned a new name (all kitchen related things though apparently used to be musical instruments) and can’t remember anything about their past self. Ichirou is assigned to monitor a cheerful girl named Casserole with the other 3 students being Peeler, Mincer and Oros Zester.

The story ends up being a psychological mystery and when the first part was revealed (there’s 3) I thought this was actually going to be pretty interesting but the issue is, the second is incredibly obvious and the third (as well as climactic mystery) is, as the chapter system as well as text says, a deus ex machina. For those who might not know this basically means a totally unpredictable event happening in order to save the protagonist. HOW IS THAT A GOOD CLIMAX? I’ll talk about it in more detail at the end.

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The visuals were nice, although I would have preferred the CG to be more spread out as the majority are in the second half leaving some scenes that seemed like they should have had more than just sprites feeling empty. The soundtrack was also pretty nice though nothing special.

Spoilers. Skip to the overview paragraph to avoid spoilers.

So it turns out these girls are all criminals and the school is actually a prison for top threat female prisoners. The metal devices are making them into different people as well as surpassing their memories. They are attending this “school” in order to atone for their sins before they “graduate” which is killing them. I didn’t see this coming (though maybe I could have if I was really looking into the text) and was excited to continue. The issue is, the story goes downhill from here. Not only does Ichirou make a ton of choices I’d much rather have been choices for the player (since there is a choice to get on the true route or one of the bad routes) but the mystery becomes obvious. As soon as I read about Ichirou’s sister I knew who Casserole was. The final resolution is the most anti-climatic thing I’ve ever read with the antagonist pretty much going “oh you’re right, I’m wrong, bye” as well as giving no resolution for any girl other than Casserole. I feel like the writer had the story but had no idea how to end it and just went with this.

Written by: Conor

Hi there. I’m Conor and I helped with the creation of Blazekick. I like video games, anime, manga and read visual novels. I do stuff relating to those on the site. I help run the Blazekick Twitter and Youtube accounts as well so drop by and say hi. My favorite games are Pokémon Emerald, The Walking Dead Season One, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, LittleBigPlanet 2, Tearaway and Uncharted 2.