Episodic visual novel We Are OFK has a really cool premise. This five-part adventure mixes in notes of a biopic to detail the origin of a real band known as OFK, a group entirely composed of virtual members. It's a fictional story about a real band made of fictional people who make real music because they're tired of working for fictional companies. It's like if there was a game about Hatsune Miku or K/DA that detailed their lives prior to their rise to fame. All told, it's a great story, and though I do wish that the dialogue choices had been more impactful, We Are OFK is an emotionally rewarding tale that explores the fraught and oftentimes cutthroat nature of Los Angeles' music industry through the lens of easily digestible themes and relatable characters.
We Are OFK follows pianist Itsumi Saitō, singer/songwriter Luca Le Fae, audiovisual artist Carter Flores, and producer Jey Zhang, and depicts how their lives come to intersect. The point A to point B throughline of the story culminates in Itsumi, Luca, Carter, and Jey forming a band. You know going in that this is the outcome you'll see. But on the way to that destination, the story takes regular detours into Itsumi's love life, Luca's writer's block, Carter's existential crisis, and Jey's familial pressures. It's in these other storylines that We Are OFK adopts a more slice-of-life style of storytelling, concluding with most of these issues left partially unresolved.
You'll do a lot of texting in We Are OFK.
If anything, that only makes the conclusion to We Are OFK all the more satisfyingly believable and wonderful to reach. There are no typical bad guys here for the group to overcome and get their happily-ever-after ending. This is a story of what it means to grow, both as a person and as a group, and how that can come in many different forms and also occur at a different pace person-to-person. Carter's arc is notably exceptional in its execution and probably my favorite storyline of the four. The arc sees them grappling with grief and coming to terms with what it means to leave a mark on the world while working within an industry where your work can be quickly forgotten. Itsumi has a similarly strong narrative path from the first episode to the last, which largely digs into her feelings of inadequacy and fear of being alone. Both characters resonated with me in a way that Luca and Jey did not--both do have strong storylines, but they don't feel as compelling as Itsumi or Carter.
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