mobile · otome gaming · review

[Mobile] Review – A3! Act! Addict! Actors! (エースリー)

A3! is a new mobile game from Liber Entertainment, you may know some of their works such as the idol game, I Chu. A3! is about a bunch of aspiring actors trying to make it in the acting world by doing stage plays at Mankai Company, as the story advances you get to see them grow as actors and form bonds. You play as Izumi Tachibana, a young adult that was invited to Mankai Company in hopes it would give her answers on what happened to her father, but instead becomes the Director/Coach and saves the Mankai Company theater from being bulldozed.

Its kind of hard to look up info about A3! on the internet when A3 is pretty vague and broad in meaning (like A3 paper lol), so it’s best to search it up by using “エースリー”.


——Story

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Mankai Company is under threat of being bulldozed for not paying its debts/loan from the yakuza that helped it keep itself afloat when it didn’t get income. Izumi Tachibana, having been brought there by a letter that she thinks has something to do with her father, decides to help out the theater company and becoming its new Director in hopes it’ll give her answers.

The company only has one actor on board (Sakuya Sakuma who just got into the company the day before) and in hopes of making the company a success, Izumi has to scout and train 4 more guys to make into a single troupe: the Spring Troupe. All 5 amateur actors try their best to bloom into the best actors they can be with the help of each other and the director for their opening stage play: Romeo and Julius.

As the story goes on and the seasons change, more aspiring actors are scouted to form the Summer TroupeAutumn Troupe and Winter Troupe. Each main story volume is divided between these four troupes and focuses on the five guys in each troupe, which means there’s about 20 main characters. Despite the story being divided into four separate ‘stories’ that focuses mainly on five guys of that story’s troupe, they all flow into each other and have a connection.

Each troupe story has their own conflicts, be it conflicts with other troupe members or internal conflicts. Though, I guess the main conflict becomes apparent as the stories go on with the rival theater company, GOD座 (God-za, I’m not sure how to translate it tho), where the head dude seems to have a grudge against Mankai Company, but mainly hatred towards Izumi’s father.

It really does seem like as you read each troupe story that thing get more and more intense haha, but that’s just my opinion. It’s best to read a troupe story once you’ve unlocked all chapters for the troupe so then you don’t have to stop reading and wait until you rank up. It’s best to read a troupe story all in one go so the story just flows.

——Characters

I’ve only read up to Autumn Troupe, so I don’t have any knowledge about Winter Troupe’s characters. I’ll also try to keep the big spoilers out of character introductions.

Heroine

Izumi Tachibana

izumi

No voice actress/You can change her first name but for story purposes, her last name is forever “Tachibana”.

Izumi has had past experience as a stage actor, but because of reasons stopped. After a series of events she is now the director/coach of Mankai Company, a theatre company that has ties to her missing/prolly pressumed deceased father. Here at Mankai Company, she helps the actors to become the best they can be. She could be around her 20’s, seeing that she can drink alcohol.

She also loves curry, so much so that she would go on long rambles about the spices and their origins. When they didn’t have Omi around to cook for the gang, she would always cook all different kinds of curry for dinner.

Mankai Company Staff

Isuke Matsukawa (CV: Katsuyuki Konishi) | 28 years old | One of the few original casts/staff that stayed behind to keep Mankai Company alive. He’s a bit cowardly, he is also the person who sent a letter to Izumi in hopes he’ll get clues about what happened to her father who disappeared and left Mankai Company. He collects headphones.

Yuzo Kashima (CV: Taiten Kusunoki) | 43 years old | Has history with Mankai Company, prolly an ex-member of the acting troupes. He now comes to lessons to help the guys become better actors, he’s strict and tells things as it is.

Tetsuro Iwai (CV: Yuji Kameyama) | 32 years old | He may seem like he doesn’t say anything but apparently he does talk, only Isuke and Yuzo can hear him because they’ve known each other for so long. He creates the sets for each stage play. He loves animals, especially rabbits and hamsters, and likes going to the zoo on his days off.

Ken Sakoda (CV: Sho Nogami) |  19 years old | A thug that follows Sakyo around. He acts like an assistant to Sakyo and appears anywhere, anytime whenever Sakyo calls him. He’s prolly Sakyo’s No.1 fan. Even though his appearance may seem intimidating, he’s actually a good guy.

Kamekichi (CV: ???) Acts like a mascot of Mankai Company, this parrot has a pretty foul mouth. Kamekichi was named by Izumi’s father, which is more of a name you’d give a turtle lol. In Kazunari’s backstage story, Kamekichi was able to mimic Kazunari’s quirky speech pattern.

Spring Troupe

Sakuya Sakuma (CV: Koudai Sakai) | 17 years old | Flower Motif: Cherry Blossom

One of the first new actors to become part of the company in a long time. Leader of the Spring Troupe. He’s been passed around to stay with different relatives regularly as he’s kind of an orphan, so he was glad to stay at Mankai Company where he felt like he belonged. Not a great actor when he first auditioned. 3rd Year at Hanasaki Gakuen High School.

Masumi Usui (CV: Yusuke Shirai) |  16 years old |  Flower Motif: Violet

 Joined Mankai Company after watching Izumi and the others “street act” where he fell in love with her at first sight. Pretty much joined so he can get close to her and be praised for his hard work at acting. Naturally talented at acting, but is quite a sleepy head especially during the morning. Often called a “Psycho Stalker”, he won’t let anyone have Izumi. 2nd Year at Hanasaki Gakuen High School.

Tsuzuru Minagi (CV: Kotaro Nishiyama) | 18 years old | Flower Motif: Dandelion

Aspires to be a playwright. Not only does he act in the stage plays, he also writes the stage plays, usually staying up all night writing. You know when he’s done writing is when he runs in with the script and then collapses from sleep deprivation. He is a big brother to 7 lil brothers (there’s 10 brothers in total apparently) and very good at handling kids. 1st Year at University.

Itaru Chigasaki (CV: Shintaro Asanuma) | 23 years old | Flower Motif: Gerbera

An elitist in every way, he’s somewhat like a salary man. He’s good looking and popular at the office, he likes to keep his private life really private and I mean really private. [Spoilers, highlight to read] Turns out he’s an avid gamer, that gets really into his mobile games after coming home from work and almost has a double personality (tho his gamer side is prolly his true personality)Works at a first class trading company for 2 years now.

Citron (CV: Masashi Igarashi) | 22 years old | Flower Motif: Jasmine

A foreigner, he has a mysterious air to him, prolly ran away from home. In reality he’s a bit of a goofball, mixes up Japanese words with other words that almost sound the same but are totally different in meaning and sometimes says things in English. He seems to be wanting to keep his profile low, but also acts to maybe help him improve on his Japanese. An exchange student…?

Summer Troupe

Tenma Sumeragi (CV: Takuya Eguchi) | 16 years old | Flower Motif: Sunflower

An already established actor with parents who are close to the industry but are always overseas. Leader of the Summer Troupe. He’s all high and mighty, almost thinks “he’s too good for these amateurs”. Has past trauma with acting on stage with a live crowd. A celebrity and kind of a tsundere too. 2nd year at Ouhana High School.

Yuki Rurikawa (CV: Shunichi Toki) | 14 years old | Flower Motif: Lily

Originally introduced as the costume designer for Spring Troupe/Mankai Company, he later joined in as a stage actor. Loves making clothes from scratch just as much as wearing cute clothes. He’s kind of cheeky/has a sharp tongue, sometimes sarcastic and condescending, he’s quick at making nicknames for everyone. Sometimes wears girls clothes just because they look cute on him. 3rd Year at Saint Flora Middle School.

Muku Sakisaka (CV: Yoshitaka Yamaya)14 years oldFlower Motif: Chinese Bellflower

Loves reading shoujo manga, sometimes fantasizes about it and compares real life situations to a scene he read in a shoujo manga. He seems to want to become a prince like in a shoujo manga and loves the thought of romance. At first he was very timid, but as he grows as an actor he becomes more confident. He loves chocolate and sweets. 3rd Year at Saint Flora Middle School.

Kazunari Miyoshi (CV: Ren Ozawa)19 years oldFlower Motif: Hibiscus

Originally hired to spruce up the official website for Mankai Company and making graphics to put on posters etc, he soon joined in as an actor. He’s quite charismatic, befriending anyone he sees and always bright and cheerful. He chooses his words carefully to appeal to others (you could say he wants to appease everyone so he can make friends, even if it may be a shallow friendship). He loves using social media especially uploading pics to instagram and knows how to treat the ladies if y’know what I mean 😉 . 2nd Year in University, majoring in art (?).

Misumi Ikaruga (CV: Daisuke Hirose) | 19 years old | Flower Motif: Dahlia

This boy loves his triangles. He loves collecting triangles, eating triangle shaped food and likes cats because they have triangle shaped ears. You could say he loves triangles so much is because his name has the same kanji as the word “triangle” (三角 read as sankaku, can be also read as Misumi). He loves his grandpa, has a triangle ruler as a momento of him and is his safety charm. Despite his carefree attitude he’s exceptionally good at acting. Currently a freeta (meaning either unemployed/’underemployed’ = having a low skilled-low paid job).

Autumn Troupe

Banri Settsu (CV: Chiharu Sawashiro)17 years old Flower Motif: Cosmos

A ‘high spec’ yankee (delinquent), where he is naturally good at studying, sports, and even acting without having to put in the effort. Leader of Autumn Troupe. He heard about Juza from his buddies and decided to pick a fight with him, which then resulted in him getting his ass kicked to the curb. He decided to get his revenge by joining Mankai Company and challenge him to see who’s the best actor. Gamer bro buddies with Itaru. 3rd Year at Hanasaki Gakuen High School.

Juza Hyodo (CV: Shunsuke Takeuchi) 17 years oldFlower Motif: Cluster Amaryllis

He’s a “lone wolf” type of yankee, as he is always by himself with no gang. Apparently, ever since he was in Elementary School, he longed for the theater/drama, however because he was scared he never got the chance to run for a role in the school play. He decided to do an audition for the Autumn Troupe, seeing it was last chance to make his dream come true. Initially he’s not good at acting and he acknowledges that, saying he wants to grow and reach his dream. He loves sweets but pretends not to in front of people, prolly because he doesn’t want to be judged. 3rd Year at Ouhana High School.

Omi Fushimi (CV: Kentaro Kumagi) | 20 years old | Flower Motif: Carnation

An ex-yankee. Having changed his delinquent ways, he now bakes, cooks, sews and does photography. Basically he’s like a mom, a tall, beefy mom. He’s apparently good at needle felting and can prolly felt animals on request. He has his reasons for being interested in acting… It also seems like its a family thing where they wrestle each other (I’m hoping at least one of his family members is a pro wrestler because that would be cool).  3rd Year at University, part of the photography club.

Taichi Nanao (CV: Kento Hama) | 16 years old Flower Motif: Pansy

Entered Mankai Company because he wants to be popular amongst girls. He’s always looking for ways to get popular as well as wanting to fall in love and be loved (maybe). His hobby is looking through fashion magazines and reading the “how to” section on love and romance. He also loves watching romance dramas and is somewhat like a dog (energetic, loyal, wanting love and affection and to be accepted). He’s also somewhat under the yankee category too. 2nd year at Ouhana High School.

Sakyo Furuichi (CV: Yuichi Jose) | 30 years old | Flower Motif: Chrysanthemum

Mr. Elite Yakuza. Tried to bulldoze Mankai Company to resolve the debt owned by the company. For some reason, he seems to know a lot about theater and how things works. He joins the company after a certain something triggered him into joining and becoming their account manager, y’know, financing things. He’s kinda stingy on money and finding ways to save money, almost like a teacher he lectures everyone on what they should be doing. Occupation as a Yakuza.

Winter Troupe

Tsumugi Tsukioka (CV: Atsushi Tamaru) | 24 years old | Flower Motif: Narcissus

Was once an active theater student, but after an event he lost confidence in his performance and stopped acting altogether. But, after all of that, he couldn’t give up on his dream and decided to follow it once again through Mankai Company. He became Winter Troupe’s Leader. Childhood friends with Tasuku, they were aiming to go down the path of acting together when in University. His hobby is gardening and is well versed in the meaning behind flowers. Currently a freeta (has a job as a private tutor).

Tasuku Takato (CV: Takuya Satou) | 24 years old | Flower Motif: Orchid

He was once enrolled in GOD座 as it’s top actors, but at some point he withdrawn and entered Mankai Company. He is very stoic and serious, quite manly too. Childhood friends with Tsumugi, they were aiming to go down the path of acting together when in University. He kind of feels a resentment towards Tsumugi who had once gave up on becoming an actor. Loves to run and play soccer. Currently an actor.

Hisoka Mikage (CV: Junta Terashima) | 25 years old | Flower Motif: Anemone

Sleeping prince. Having amnesia and no place address to go to, he is a man with no identity. He was picked up in front of the theater where he had collapsed. He can sleep just about anywhere and has very few words to say. He likes playing with stray cats and observing humans. Currently unemployed.

Homare Arisugawa (CV: Toshiyuki Toyonaga) | 27 years old | Flower Motif: Rose

Always seeking art, but his aesthetic sense is out a bit out there and has extreme ways of thinking things. When he gets heated up about poems, he would out of nowhere spout out his poems passionately right in front of others to the point its embarrassing. His behavior can be a bit strange. He enjoys reading books by Shakespeare. Occupation as a Poet.

Azuma Yukishiro (CV: Tetsuya Kakihara) | ?? years oldFlower Motif: Camellia

Alluring in beauty and personality to the point his sex appeal is that of a woman’s. His age is unknown. Highly conscious to beauty, pretty much ‘my pace’ and almost to the point of not caring and being calm during emergencies. His hobby is coloring books for adults (coloring books with islamic patterns, etc.). Currently a freeta.

GOD座

Reni Kamikizaka (CV: Ryotaro Okiayu) | President of the rival theater company “GOD座“. With his own aesthetic, he is in charge of production and direction. Has some sort of grudge/hatred towards Mankai Company.

Haruto Asuka (CV: Mitsuro Ichiki) | The second top actor of GOD座, has a sharp tongue and looks down on others who are amateurs at acting. A bit of a trouble maker but when it comes to acting he is dedicated and well-versed.

——Gameplay

Gameplay is pretty simple, doesn’t need a lot of skill to play and pretty much plays itself. If you’ve played Ensemble Stars before and play it regularly, you’ll feel right at home. Though, this game pretty much cuts the fat of Ensemble Stars‘ gameplay where the lessons can play themselves (you can hit autoplay and watch the RNG do all the work), the lessons last for 10 turns and does not have a battle system against other cards to succeed in the lesson and get all that sweet EXP. Actually, you pretty much have the EXP added to your level up gauge each time one turn in the lesson happens so you can still quit the lesson and still have the EXP you gained from that lesson, but I think the cards won’t get EXP.

Right now its a bit hard to level up your cards so fast because there isn’t available courses/lessons you can take that gives you more than 25 EXP for each card that participated during the lesson. The affection/love thing kinda works like in I Chu, except love points are distributed to those who pop up during the lesson and that’s all based on RNG, you don’t have player input to say who will pop up during a lesson, hell sometimes a card won’t pop up during the 10 lessons and won’t get affection points. Btw, affection points go to filling up hearts for a card, once a card is filled up a personal story for that character called “back stage story” unlocks.

Each lesson has missions and personal stories/’mini-events’ to unlock that will give you diamonds. Let me tell you, they’re really generous with giving diamonds. They give you 1 diamond per mission (3 missions in total) and give you 3 diamonds for completing all missions and then 1 diamond per ‘mini-event’/when 1 flower affection thing is filled in (3 mini-events/flower affections in total), which would give you 9 diamonds for completing all the missions and full affection for the main lesson guy.

Performance Rehearsal

*Performance rehearsal is the yellow button below the lessons

There’s also this game play thats available per course called “Performance rehearsal”, which works like ‘Lives‘/’Dream Fes’ in Ensemble Stars but there is no time limit and the maximum level a ‘performance rehearsal’ can get to is lvl.50 and it becomes harder depending on the difficulty of the course (when I mean courses I mean the plays, e.g. Spring Troupe’s ‘course’ is Romeo and Julius and consists of that theme). There’s three teams, SeriousComedy and Action. Depending on what attribute the performance rehearsal is (it changes randomly), you will have to match it with the same attribute team, for example if the performance rehearsal is a Serious attribute, then you will automatically have your Serious team selected and depending how strong that team is in that attribute will affect on how well you will succeed. If you succeed you will level up the performance rehearsal which will increase the strength needed to clear it and level it up again.

You get bonuses from clearing these, such as friend points (used in the normal gacha), some random cards, tickets for the ‘theater-going preparations’ mini-game, and ‘trophies’ that can be used to increase the stats of a card.

‘Theater-going’ preparations

This is the ‘stage play gameplay’, but you don’t really do much other than selecting the actors/cards you want to see in the play. Its more like a bonus to see some chibi characters act and see what the play is all about. You get diamonds for doing it for the first time for each play, you can also get a badge if you cast all the original actors into the play. More or less its for fun and fully animated but not fully voiced sadly.

You can even cast all the characters as one dude

Gacha

Gachas are a little bit more forgiving in this game. If you do a 10 scout you get 5 diamonds off and pay 145 diamonds and not 150 for 10 rolls (kinda like Enstars) and you get 1 guaranteed SR or higher card for doing 10 rolls (not like entsars, just kidding). The same might go for the regular gacha where you pay friend points and you can get 1 guaranteed R card. With A3’s gachas the premium gacha only gives out R->SSR cards and the regular gacha gives out N->R cards. There is no higher rarity than SSR as of now. This game also has “premium medals” where 5 medals gives you 1 roll that gives you an SR card or higher, these medals cannot be used on limited gachas though.

Considering A3 gives you diamonds for just enjoying the game or doing anything, I’d suggest saving up your diamonds for when your best boy gets limited gacha cards. I really mean it when I say that they’re very generous at giving diamonds or premium medals, hell, they give you 5 premium medals or diamonds (I think 50 diamonds?) for every time you rank up to multiple of 5 (like Rank 10, 15,20,25 etc). You’re given 2 diamonds for reading the main story, 1 diamond for reading a back stage story and 15 diamonds for reading a cross back stage story (unlocks once you have a certain combination of 2 SSR cards). Also if its an actor’s birthday, you guessed it, you get 15 diamonds just for logging in. You also get login diamonds each day too. I’m drowning in diamonds which is a big change from playing other mobile games.

——Graphics

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If you’re familiar with games like DYNAMIC CHORD, then you will notice that the artwork/style is pretty familiar. That’s because character design and some artwork (including promotional artwork) was done by Ryou Fujiwara, the same artist for DYNAMIC CHORD. For the most part I like the graphics, be it the GUI/UI and the character designs tho I have seen complaints about character designs being bland and the design of the menus and stuff not to their taste, I guess it might not be for all people. Tbh I kinda like the slight retro vibe going on with all the geometric shapes and pop art-ish feel. Its kind of a step up from I Chu’s menus and stuff that made my eyes kinda sore looking at (I’m sorry).

The character sprites are not animated, for example eyes closing, mouths moving or body movements. It’s simple character sprites with different faces to show emotion. They may look a bit far away from the screen/smaller than usual sprites and don’t have close up sprites but you get used to it. My favorite expression would have to be Homare’s ‘I’ve thought up of a poem’ face where his nose disappears and he looks so happy lol.

I love how everyone’s room is decorated in a way to show their personality and its kinda interesting that the heroine’s room isn’t that typical pink girlish room you’d always see. It’s pretty neutral and mature, mainly because she is in her 20’s I guess 😆 .

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Character designs, I’d say that they’re alright. There’s a few that pop out from the rest like Taichi’s red hair and punkish clothes lol. The heroine’s character design is pretty far from the usual character design you see in some mobile games (straight fringe up to the eyes/eyebrows, bobbed hair or shoulder length straight hair), but I guess its because her fringe is more out of the way and you can see her forehead lol.


Final Thoughts

When they put “Addicts!” into their title they weren’t fucking kidding. This game can get highly addicting when you’re trying to grind for diamonds, grind for items to boost the stats of your card or just grinding to rank up to unlock more stories. The gameplay is simple, you can put it on auto and it can play itself while you do other stuff, the characters are gr8 and you can find a few that you’ll love. For me, I love all of Autumn Troupe’s members, I guess its because their troupe is basically a gang of delinquents plus a yakuza lol.

For the most part its selling point would have to be the story, characters and art/cards. Just like Ensemble Stars the gameplay is kinda minimum, but for those who are busy it’s the perfect thing to look away and play while doing other stuff. With rhythm games you have to focus a lot on the screen and what you’re doing, while with these types of games you can look away or mindlessly tap the screen while doing something else which might be why these can get so popular. In fact, A3! got 1 million downloads after a week of release, mainly because everyone has been ‘re-rolling’ to get the best initial cards which means a lot of uninstalling and redownloading was going on, but it could also be that a lot of ppl want to play it.

In terms of its story its pretty good, not exactly Akira-sensei–main writer of Ensemble Stars–levels of good, but its better than other mobile games when it comes to the main story. Sometimes mobile games have bare bones level of story telling but this one is much better, you see character developing, conflict, resolution and all that good stuff when it comes to story telling. Though, for each troupe story it does have repeating themes like audition, getting to know one another and butting heads together with each other but it does change up from each story. Autumn Troupe would have to be my favorite one so far because it delves deeper into characters’ backstory. There are some romance elements to A3!, especially in a few SSR backstage stories, though the heroine sort of tries to stay neutral because there’s too many dudes and also because she wants to focus on Mankai Company.

Unlike Ensemble Stars where it hints at backstories and then explores it in later event stories, it basically tells you whats the deal with everyone’s past but I’m not sure if its explaining everything about their past or just giving us a taste of whats to come. It does make me worry if future stories like event stories would have nothing to explore because everything had been explored in the main story… But hey, it did leave me crying in a few places of the story so I’ll give it credit there.

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For the most part I’m loving it so far, particularly the heroine who has more of a personality and interaction/input with others than some heroines in both mobile games and console otome games. I might be running out of back stage stories to unlock so I’ll prolly be playing it to get some items to make my cards stronger, which is prolly the hardest thing to do.

Oh right, getting the items you want to drop can take ages, these items drop during lessons but there seems to be no lesson skills that a card can have that can improve the drop rate (unless I haven’t found that out yet). The items are flower seeds, unbloomed flowers and bloomed flowers and they’re so hard to drop I’m popping veins just thinking about it lol. Like I can forgive lessons not giving a lot of EXP to beef up my cards but these item drops are ridiculous sometimes, I guess they don’t want everyone to have really beefed up cards because these items can really boost your card’s stats.

Anyway, I’ll be waiting for an event to happen to see how that plays out and whether or not there will be ranking stuff going on. Maybe I’ll make a follow up post talking about how events work. If you’re interested in playing this game, have a go! You might even find a few favs while playing it.

I’m sure there are some guides floating around the internet and a wiki for the game so I’m not sure if I should make a breakdown post on how all these things work like I did with I Chu and Yumeiro Cast… I’ll leave a poll below.

Edit: Made a breakdown post

As always thank you for reading! It was a pretty long one, I’m sorry if you got bored. Also Happy Valentine’s Day!

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