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Barkley said:
Now if this wasn't a visual novel there'd be no issue. A live-action film with the following description would be fine:

"A film that aims to raise social awareness of child and school related social issues through a story about four troubled heroines who, under unexpected circumstances, join forces with a young hapless teacher to fight against the evil forces that mean to exploit children."

Visual Novels (and to a lesser extent anime) just have a very seedy reputation in the west.

Does anyone actually believe this angle? 

The premise sounds like its there to titillate a dark fantasy under the guise of a moral story. It definitely deserves a deeper discussion but I think Valve have every right to make the precautious move.