My impressions of this VN

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#1 by adamstan
2020-08-07 at 07:46
< report >I thought that I'd might post those here as well ;)

I liked this VN, but there were also some drawbacks. My main gripe is about route structure. But first, let's do small introduction. (I'll try to avoid any major spoilers, most of the things I write below without spoiler tags are from the very beginning of common route).

The game is divided into two parts. Main (first) part, called "Tenohira o", consists of three routes. The protagonist of this part, Akio, is living pretty dull and lonely life. His initial state reminded me a bit about Kouhei from YMK. For some unknown reasons, he got completely estranged from his two childhood friends, Minoru and Mika. His memory is pretty hazy, like somebody painted it over with a gray paint. Also, he keeps seeing a strange dream about huge hibiscus tree on a nearby hill. Then, one day, on the way to school he meets strange girl. Towa, who turns out to be new transfer student in Akio's class, claims that she knows him from the past (as well as Minoru and Mika), and that she really missed them. However Akio, Minoru and Mika cannot remember her at all. To make matters worse, class ojousama, Hasumi, seems to hold some grudge against Akio, and keeps harrasing/bullying him and any one he's connected to - especially Towa. Really, there are moments when she's almost as bad as YMK's Antoinette. But she kind of redeems herself in true route - we learn that she's not bad person actually, and get to know her reasons. The whole reconciliation part between her and Akio, Towa and others was quite moving.

So, the first part is pretty good story about friendship. Thanks to Towa's influence, Akio, Minoru and Mika slowly regain their memories and their friendship and discover town's dark secret.

There's also town's legend of mind-reading entity called Satori looming in the background.

And right there we have first problem with route structure. Towa is clearly main heroine, and whole story is centered around her. Also, on first playthrough we are locked onto her route, but only onto the "normal ending". Or rather, the story gets just abruptly cut. Then we have to complete Mika's and Minoru's routes. Both girls are cute, and it is nice to observe their relationship with Akio. Also, each route provides additional background bits for the main story. However, they clearly feel as side routes - they are just brief branches from main story, but ultimately lead to the same cliffhanger ending in which Towa suddenly disappears.

After that, true route gets unlocked. But we have to replay Towa's route, which is exactly the same as during first playthrough, so it can be just skipped right to the end, and then the rest of the story unfolds. That true route was really great, and I loved it. There were twists, reveals, and lots of intense and emotional moments. But I still think the route system itself is flawed.

After completing Towa's true route, second part, called "Taiyou ni" gets unlocked. The protagonist of this part is Jun'ya, Akio's one year older childhood friend, who makes brief appearance in main story.

His arc features two heroines, Sarasa and Rin. It provides different point of view and additional background for the main story.

Jun'ya and Sarasa also keep seeing dreams about the tree on a hill, and Sarasa decides to investigate legends and traditions concerning it (and town's shrine) as their summer assignment. Jun'ya, their classmate Koujiro and Rin decide to join her. Their investigation also leads them towards the legend of Satori.

Rin's route is rather brief, and I feel like it was there mostly to provide some background, but at the same time I think it relied too much on the assumed reader's knowledge of the main story - I felt like some jumps were too broad, and wished for more direct explanations. Still, it had very good parts.

Sarasa's route can be considered "second side" of the true route, and it is good to play it as the final one.

Now, onto the other aspects. I really liked the art - it has some very nice looking backgrounds (apart from two or three odd ones), and I loved character design. Music was also good.

I played +18 version, and I actually liked h-scenes, especially in the Towa's route. There's only one scene per heroine. What I liked the most about the scenes (especially in the Akio's arc) was that they were brief and, how to say it, discreet, not too explicit. They were focused mostly on feelings, and spared most of the "mechanical" details ;) Also, there were some pretty nice dialogues. However, scene in Mika's route had probably one of the worst introductions ever - Akio: "Shall we have sex?" (エッチしおうか?) :P It felt rather disappointing, when compared with his attitude in other routes - I facepalmed pretty hard after seeing that line - but somehow they managed to save it, treating it half-way comedically ;)

Scenes in Jun'ya's arc were more "standard eroge" fare (probably due to different writer) but still not bad.

So, to sum it up... The main story was great. Like with Amber Quartz, I expected "just" a charage with osananajimi heroines, but got good nakige about friendship instead, and loved it. For that alone I'd rate it at 8. However I have to detract some points for the flawed route structure. So the final score is 7.5/10.Last modified on 2020-08-07 at 08:13
#2 by funnerific
2020-08-07 at 13:49
< report >The route structure wasn't very nice, I agree. Would've been nice to see a few more H-scenes, too. They don't even get any H-scenes in the fandisk which is like what...
I was really enjoying this game until I saw the ending — it instantly ruined the whole game for me. After such an intense chase, the resolution is just magic. Convenient magic that somehow also makes everyone around understand what exactly happened, and as a result protag & heroines stay in this town filled with criminal scum who took advantage of its remote location to avoid law enforcement and do as they please. Btw if this sort of thing bothers you too, avoid this writer's other games — I've encountered it in one of the others already.
As if that wasn't enough, the second part with the other protag has pretty much loveless sex and it's that heroine's only H-scene so yeah, wonderful. The guy's kinda mean in general, too.Last modified on 2020-08-07 at 13:51
#3 by adamstan
2020-08-07 at 14:16
< report >Ending didn't bother me too much. I guess I got used to "magical" conclusions because of KEY ;) Also, I pretty much accepted that this is just a fairytale by that point. But when thinking about it calmly I have to agree, that leaving all those atrocities without any punishment leaves bitter aftertaste. But I am often like that - I have pretty easy suspension of disbelief, so if a story captures me (and it did), I'm rather tolerant of plot holes and other defects.
As for the amount of H-scenes, it was just perfect for me, and I didn't wish for more. (Actually I thought about playing console version, but it couldn't be hooked) Jun'ya arc (second MC) was generally of lower quality, with rather weak "romance". I treat it mostly as giving the other POV for the main story, and providing more information.Last modified on 2020-08-07 at 14:35

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