The episodic visual novel We Are OFK has a really cool premise. This five-part adventure mixes notes from a biopic to detail the origin of a real gang known as OFK, a group made up entirely of virtual members. It is a fictional story about a real band made up of fictional people who make real music because they are tired of working for fictional companies. It’s like there’s a game about Hatsune Miku or K/DA detailing their lives before their rise to fame. All told, it’s a great story, and while I wish the dialogue choices had been more impactful, We Are OFK is an emotionally rewarding story that explores the tense and often ruthless nature of the Los Angeles music industry through the lens of easily digestible. related themes and characters.
We Are OFK follows pianist Itsumi Saitō, singer-songwriter Luca Le Fae, audiovisual artist Carter Flores, and producer Jey Zhang, describing how their lives intersect. The point A to point B line of the story culminates with Itsumi, Luca, Carter, and Jey forming a gang. You know this is the result you will 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 family pressures. It is in these other stories that We Are OFK adopts a more realistic style of storytelling, concluding with most of these issues partially unresolved.
If anything, that only makes We Are OFK’s conclusion all the more satisfyingly believable and wonderful to reach. There are no typical bad guys here for the group to get over and get their happily ever after. This is a story of what it means to grow, both as an individual and as a group, and how that can come in many different forms and also occur at different rates from person to person. Carter’s arc is remarkably exceptional in its execution and probably my favorite story of the four. The arc sees them dealing with grief and coming to terms with what it means to make a mark on the world while working in an industry where their job can be quickly forgotten. Itsumi has an equally strong narrative path from the first episode to the last, which greatly delves into her feelings of inadequacy and fear of being alone. Both characters resonated with me in a way that Luca and Jey didn’t; they both have strong stories, but they don’t feel as convincing as Itsumi or Carter.
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