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Review of Swallowtail -Ano Hi, Ao o Koete-

SubjectSwallowtail -Ano Hi, Ao o Koete-
ByVote: 8.5larxe on 2021-10-05
ReviewSwallowtail is a very down-to-earth story and was fairly mature and had a young adult atmosphere around it something akin to a college life atmosphere. I actually would have rated this game 9 or 9.5 if it weren't for the very polarizing ending which was also vague, it would make or break the game for some people in the end but while I didn't like it, it was still playable for me since I wanted to see the ending. Now on to the review itself.

Read the synposis first btw before reading this review.

The game is roughly 50/50 with changing between the past perspective, the highschool Shou (The main character), and the college Shou who is currently going out with Rie, his childhood friend. The game focuses on the character's relationships and Shou's trauma which I really liked since it was depicted fairly well.

The relevant characters are the following, since VNDB descriptions are lacking and I'm too lazy to edit them one by one.

Shou is a popular guy, unlike other typical VN protagonists, he is popular and smart at school he kind of does everything well but is traumatized by Yuna's (the main heroine) disappearance. He kinda fucks over his current relationships due to his obssession with his lost ex which is written well.

Yuna is the main heroine of the game but a lot of the screentime is shared with the other girls, I just say main heroine since most of the plot started because of her. Yuna is a strange girl, the best way to describe her would be someone who does what she wants which led to her being called weird and ostracized with only Few friends being Erina and Shou who she ends up in a relationship with. It is a big point to remember that by the time Shou and Yuna became together, they had a 2 year age gap in highschool and some people would attack them for it. Can't describe much of her route since its the true end it would spoil a lot but its her end that I have a lot to criticize about.

Erina is the genki girl of the cast, she is mostly cheerful and the kind of person that radiates happy energy but after Yuna's disappearance, her mother also died after due to sickness which leads her to be a rather thorny person but her thorny side is simply a facade because she too wants help and IMO her route is my favorite with dealing with traumas and moving on. Also loved the contrast between her happy-go-lucky person who seemingly doesn't care much about the world be someone who takes good care of Shou the most when they were together.

Saeko is Shou's 1st girlfriend, yes in total Shou had 3 girlfriends in the common route, 2 in the past with Saeko being the first and Yuna being the 2nd and in the present he is with Rie. Can't say much about Saeko since I skipped her route but she originally broke up with Shou early on in their relationship and regrets that decision and repeatedly tries to get back with Shou.

Rie is the childhood friend who Shou immediately gets together with after Yuna's disappearance. Shou became a shell of a man when Yuna disappeared, Rie is the one that props him up and supports him althroughout the past and up to the present. She's someone who likes to take care of the MC and support him.

Yuka is basically someone like Yuna, they look and act the same but once you get into her route, there would be a lot of differences in their personality which you and Shou would notice and it becomes a plot point and an enganging one at that. My 2nd best heroine after Erina.

Kasumi is the friendly onee-san next door who frequently gets in trouble and drinks with Shou, cant say much about her without spoiling but she is relevant to the main story if you get into it.

My thoughts on the story is that it was excellent for 80% of the game with the last 20% being very polarizing for some people due to the random sci-fi element. 80% of the game is Shou dealing with his trauma and obsession towards Yuna and his interaction with the various heroines and how they help each other and naturally interact. What i loved about this game is that it is very down-to-earth and things happen naturally and people don't act like caricatures like in some other games where they scream from the top of their lungs and exchange jokes at every second but in Swallowtail they just talk normally with the humor paced just right. It felt very real and evoked the feeling of a proper college life. Its also important to note that sometimes the writing feels rough in the start but you get over it quickly.

The game keeps up the mystery throughout but it isn't the main focus for 80% of the game which was the best part since seeing each heroine in different routes approach the problem felt very mature and satisfying with mostly Erina's route being where they fully get over their traumas in the past by supporting each other.

The last 20% of the game was where it fell quite short for me that bunked the score from 9-9.5 to 8.5. The last 20% is some random sci-fi plot device like KEY magic from clannad that isn't fully explained. Contained in the 20% of the game is Rie and Yuna's route so all of the mysteries are answered here, in contrast to the other routes where the mystery wasn't given much importance but the emotional impact to the cast is given importance to.

The ending was incredibly vague and had some very weird implications that readers shouldn't think about too deeply because it was just very out of nowhere.

I would recommend this game fully but you should not expect to have a very satisfying conclusion to the main arc, the side routes on the other hand (Saeko, Erina, and Yuka) have a lot of content themselves and have well-done stories which are paced well with satisfying endings. Tbh if they just cut the last 20% this game would have been one of my most recommended.

Also in short, 80% of the game is a mature storyline with mature characters about overcoming the past, the 20% in the ending is random bullcrap that is polarizing some people with the sudden usage of time travel and such

Comments

#1 by Mutsuki
2021-10-05 at 16:45
< report >Probably should have spoiler tags on this whole review.

Also, this seems to be a running theme with this developer as in Golden Hour they also sprung the random fantasy element to it which I remember being polarising too.
#2 by larxe
2021-10-05 at 16:48
< report >Oops forgot to add the spoiler tag, wrote this review right after finishing the game.
Dang, i really dislike that random fantasy element to a relatively rather normal setting. Author probably has good ideas but doesn't know how to execute on it. Did you play golden hour though? I'm kinda interesting in trying it if its good
#3 by Mutsuki
2021-10-05 at 17:03
< report >Golden Hour was pretty good, though I must preface it as it being the first VN I bought in Japanese so I am probably biased towards considering it being good and that my 9k purchase was not a waste. I haven't played this so I can't compare but it was pretty decent. If I could say one thing though it's that the H-scenes were really long (I think all of them were 3 parters and there's like 4-5 a heroine). However apart from that, there is a potential "warning" I should give you. There is netori in this game, in Ruri's route, if you are massively against that. TBH it was a bit of a rubbish route anyway. As for the spoiler thing, the fantasy element is only in the Yuki and Natsuki routes, but it's kinda important for both routes so it's hard to overlookLast modified on 2021-10-05 at 17:05
#4 by larxe
2021-10-05 at 18:04
< report > ohh so basically just like Swallowtail, for the rest of the game the fantasy element isn't there but only in the ending with Yuki and Natsuki's route? did i get that right?
#5 by Mutsuki
2021-10-05 at 20:05
< report >#4, yes. i'm not sure now to put this without big spoilers but it's in the background and you don't notice it/ it being there is not important unless you're in those routes and are forced to confront itLast modified on 2021-10-05 at 20:11
#6 by natsuki092
2021-11-10 at 19:34
< report >Just finished the game and it was really great.
I personally like how this game progressing the story and what is the writer trying to convey from true ending.

Unfortunately, it seems the publisher has stopped publishing any VN for almost 2 years due to loss on sale.