For the most part, Disney Japan offers the same media content as Disney does in America, just translated into Japanese. However, Disney Japan’s latest project is something that’s being developed specifically for Japan, and one glance at the concept art is all you need to see to understand exactly what the target market is.
Disney Twisted-Wonderland is a full-on otome game, or a dating simulator for female gamers in which they can flirt with and be romanced by a cluster of fashionable and handsome guys. But as you might have guessed from the title, Disney Twisted Wonderland is seeking to put its own spin on Disney lore.
The smartphone game starts with you, the player, being summoned to an alternate world, where you arrive at Nightraven College. A prestigious academy that offers instruction in the magic arts, Nightraven College accepts only highly skilled applicants, all of whom also have the soul of villains.
▼ The headmaster of Nightraven College dresses exactly as you’d expect someone with that job would.
The school’s student body is divided up into seven different dormitories, each of which is based on a Disney franchise. The first to be revealed is Heartslabyul, which is designated as “Twisted from Alice in Wonderland.”
Five characters are residents of the house, which seems to owe allegiance to the Queen of Hearts, There’s Riddle Rosehearts, the leader of the dormitory, who follows the harsh commands of the queen…
…Ace Trappola, a clever and adaptable young man with a bit of a teasing nature…
…the serious and rigid Deuce Spade, who’s rivals with Ace…
…Trey Clover, a gentle guy with a protective personality…
…and finally Cater Diamond, an outgoing boy who’s good at reading others’ moods.
Gameplay for the still in-development game is described as “an adventure game weaving a story through rhythm and battles,” though it’s worth noting that in Japanese gaming parlance, “adventure games” are those which focus heavily on conversation and storytelling, such as visual novels, as opposed to the sprawling action/exploration titles the term usually refers to in the west.
▼ The game’s teaser trailer
If the artwork looks anime-authentic to a surprising degree, that’s thanks to the talents of Yana Taboso, creator of the Black Butler manga/anime franchise, who’s serving as character designer and writer for Disney Twister-Wonderland. Design of the game itself is being handled by Aniplex, with cooperation from Disney Japan.
No release date has been set for Disney Twister-Wonderland, but in the meantime the game’s official website is promising to soon unveil its six remaining dormitories, based on six more Disney works, which should give fans of both Japanese and Western animation plenty to look forward to.