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Review of Hoshizora Tetsudou to Shiro no Tabi

SubjectHoshizora Tetsudou to Shiro no Tabi
Hoshizora Tetsudou to Shiro no Tabi - Download Edition
ByHelpfulness: 0
Vote: 8.8
lunaflina on 2024-05-29
ReviewSpoiler free, though I would brief through the surface a bit that might not seem clear through synopsis.

The hell is the audience this game is even supposed to be for??? My thoughts halfway through this godforsaken script is still consistently that single question. To train enthusiasts, when every character in this know jack all about operating one, the game is so hollow. To plotge nerds, I guess the genre shift in the latter half would make it interesting but it is painfully forced into the moeness nature that it would infuriate anyone reaching the part, too late by then. So would moebutas enjoy this VN? Shiratama simps are very based but considering the no romance plot, they would much better spend their worth with anything else related to her, or else this is just a disappointment. These are all the complaints y'all would have, unlike me who looks forward to this to stare at Waisshu's (y.ish) phenomenal scenery work and had a good time. We are not the same.

With those out of the way, it seems like character development is supposed to be what the writer focused on. So, why is the MC on this train with them? What is their purpose to progress this long metal block? What are they looking for? Is anyone even worth paying attention or care for?

If I spent the first four hours through the script and I cannot answer any of these, there might be some problems in the writing worth yapping about.

Logically speaking, tourists like them would travel on a train and go to stations and have a fun time wherever they are at then repeat. They did exactly that, but the progression is a whole disjointed mess and I cannot see if the VN is trying to execute this logic or not. Sometimes there are fantasy elements hinting that this is not the modern day world, sometimes it becomes too realistic, with all the social ideologies and real life business and whatnot. Are they even supposed to flesh out the characters for readers to care about? If I had grown to dislike any of them until this point, I would have just thrown in the towel. So yes, for a short-ish game it sure requires a lot more patience than normal. Fortunately, the cognitive image of Noir curling into a ball with teary eyes on the luggage area makes the read worth it to this point for me.

I know I am stupid but I spent way longer than I should to find a convincing reason why I should enjoy this VN, if it either does nothing or scramming too much elements to make an indistinguishable hot pot. Yet there is this one element that I think about a lot through my read, when it references or directly mentions numerous novel works. Too much more than needed, in fact.

To start with, most of you don't need to read this at all to see how much the theme is displaying its inspiration from that Miyazawa Kenji novel that 50+ other VNs are doing the same thing. It is not referenced at all here, though; even if the message it tries to convey might be inspired by it. Works directly mentioned in the game include Hamlet, Murder on the Orient Express, and The Catcher in the Rye. J. Habakuk Jephson's Statement is also glossed over with the mention of Mary Celeste. Not to mention this BG scene also nonchalantly shoved in 3 novels by writers of this era that I never heard of.

This aspect of the game opens up a past I long forgot, even if it is nothing special or relevant. Catcher in the Rye was one of the only two novels I cared enough to fully finish in Vietnamese so long ago, along with Ninety-Three. The fact that Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie works were used here also reminded me of my childhood being so much of a fan of Meitantei Konan.

There might be a pattern here. Is the writer trying to use these novels to force a narrative into storytelling? Is he trying to flesh out his characters through direct comparisons? Will this VN turn into an intriguing murder mystery thriller?

Nope. Not at all. I can say they were just mentioned for the funny. The actual plot is not relevant one bit to any of those stories. Maybe Hamlet is an exception, but that is a stretch.

This game isn't even trying to captivate readers through interesting characters. Just browse through the CG art of the game at this point and not play.

And to wrap it up, I tried very hard to find any explanations to how this game can be worth reading. I failed. This VN is a garbled mess that does just a teeny bit of too many things, failing to form a core. The good old "it gets way better after this bit bro" isn't working if the payoff is not worth the stomaching.

Now, instead of focusing on what the reader wants from this game, I command you to think about yourself. What brought you here?

The novels mentioned above may not have done anything to the plot, but it has done a significance to myself thinking about the theme. The 3 novels from that background made me look them up, and in some ways they are about teenagers doing stupid mental things for the dramas of sorts, and for a childish goal. What a coincidence, this is exactly what Catcher in the Rye is about. A story of alienation, coming into adulthood and dealing with its issues. Person who sees they cannot fit into society by themselves? What a cliche. Tons of people go through that anyway. Maybe someone could write a story based on that.

It took me a very roundabout path, but I managed to see the philosophical view this specific VN tried to do through that. The MC described the world like a jewelry box, glittering like a sky full of stars. Coming into adulthood means finding the brightest star, stepping over others also trying to reach it and trying to survive. It is not a pretty world like how he saw in childhood, when he only needed to look up and enjoy the view. He kind of wished to be able to go back to those days. And this is, in fact, the stepping stone to the plot.

I am not him so I do not care. All adults charas here can suffer all they want and it wouldn't match a fraction of Chiyo chan anyway. I have to thank him though, when the experience was a whole trip of reminiscence for me. Those long lost memories of my nerd self enjoying titles I long forgot, even of series inspired by them, I never thought I could have a day like today when I could enjoy reading another title not by reading it alone, but through my past self. Over time, I also remembered a lot more things I used to read the more I went through Hoshishiro, specifically other VNs.

This is where it clicked on me. What the writer wanted the characters here to do is to go back to their past, when they could let go of hardships they faced up until this point, and relive and share the joy they used to have. They might be for other intentions too. For readers, the moments become special if they also go through these circumstances.

"When I am anxious it is because I am living in the future. When I am depressed it is because I am living in the past."
Those with an uninteresting life story will struggle to see the point of the journey, or will just find the artwork cute or some sort. If you have a stable growth until adulthood, you will have plenty of good memories in the past, making it hard to appreciate the little joy similarly. Their experience would be rather hollow. So instead, this train ride is supposed to be for the readers with the same past as them. It is a journey through what made the characters happy in the real world, and what made you happy as well.

Through all of that, I would safely conclude that this is quite a special game which is completely pointless to write a review on. How it is made simply gives the essence of a piece of fiction being way too polarizing from person to person, not because of its genre (which this thing is a whole mess anyway), but because of what guided each reader to look for in this place. Personally, I could say how much I liked this game, but would rather seal it to myself. You can do as much as you want with this VN, and that will be the testament to what shaped you as a person.

If you have reached this far and you have not read Hoshishiro, I would give this tldr advice. Come back to the game and finish it, when you believe you have seen enough.
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