Foreword: As my first game from SMEE, I am very pleased to present an extremely good title. Much of the story elements were exactly how I like it, and in some ways, I found this game to be greatly resembling Mashiroiro Symphony. Trust me. If a game is close to being a good game as Mashiroiro Symphony, you have a DAMN good game.
With such a good game behind me, I’m actually rather hesitant to play other games, but I’ll suck it up and get on with it. Just uh… Don’t be mad because I’m slow with the new releases (OMG THERE’S ANOTHER WAVE OF RELEASES IN 3 WEEKS QQQQ)
Finished in four days this time, please enjoy this delightful review of “Fureraba” (Friend Lover)!
Nothing will happen if I just wait…
Title: フレラバ ～Friend to Lover～ (Fureraba) [As stated above, this translates into “Friend Lover”
Release Date: June 28, 2013
VNDB Link: http://vndb.org/v11856
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=761824
Game Type: Dating Simulation Romance Novel
Summary: Kyousuke is a lonely protagonist who wants a girlfriend. As Spring comes, which brings about his junior year in high school, his desire rises greatly to a point he would often announce his desires in front of the entire class, and along with his friends Genki or “Momo”, he will spend his school days chasing after skirts.
One day, he meets a very pretty girl with her dog in a park. Talking to her, he realizes that this girl is very friendly, and Kyousuke somehow manages to get close to her!
However, due to an unfortunate accident, he ends up faceplanting into the girl’s skirt, and all of a sudden, the girl starts swearing him out! Startled by this sudden change in attitude, Kyousuke only returns her swears with insults of his own, and the two start arguing. Of course, the two separate in a bad mood.
Kyousuke’s story begins with the introduction of four characters; Yuzuyu, the girl who he met in the park (and got insulted in the process); Himari, Kyousuke’s childhood friend who he hasn’t met in a long time; Rina, Kyousuke’s close friend who shares many of his interests; and Misaki, a mysterious upperclassman who is extremely popular among the students.
Rina, who is a good friend of Kyousuke from high school.
Story Length: Moderate (25 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Easy
Comments: As the protagonist, you must “meet” with heroines and talk with them frequently. Use choices that seem solemn (so don’t choose words perverted or disturbing in any way), and remember to keep in mind of the character’s personality. Use options that would strike up a conversation, and most of all, be friendly to the target heroine.
The heroine will act differently according to how the conversation went. Generally speaking, getting a “favorable” result is preferred, but heroine affection rises slowly by choosing that heroine repetitively. There will be heroine-specific events, and whenever your heroine “runs away” from you, then it is the time to confess.
Don’t mess around by trying to capture two heroines, however, since you are only given a period of two months, and by the time you get close enough to one heroine to achieve her route, you’re already running out of time. Stick to one heroine and pursue her as much as you can. All four “confessions” occur on 6/30 of the game’s date.
Character Design Rating: 9/10
Story Rating: 6/10
Game Quality: Moderate
Overall Rating: 7/10
Rating Comments: Nearly perfect character design, the only two flaws are the fact that once you get into a heroine’s route, the other characters seem to simply disappear (this excludes Misaki’s route). The other element that bothered me is that the change of “friend to lover” is rather rapid; even as the entire story is dedicated to describing and presenting such changes, I don’t think simply “chatting” with a heroine would make her head-over-heels in love with you, right?
omg Kyousuke, you should share *drools*
Story Rating gets a drop because of that exact reason; the transition between “friend” and “lover” is too rapid. I guess this is just my personal bias, but the stories also did not contain what I would describe as “drama” or a climax. There was a point when there was something relatively close to “conflict”, but that was when the heroine and protagonist would try to figure out their own feelings for each other, and had very little impact.
On the other hand, various characters will make the reader laugh; including Genki, the parent characters also have a personality that brings a smile to the face of readers. Perhaps if I could have chosen my family, it would be similar to the families presented in this game.
Character Summary: I love these characters. They are all pure in their intentions, and also have some trait that is recognized by the protagonist. While I do have some complaints, I think I can get to that later. Here goes character summaries!
Himari is first! Arguably my favorite character (due to her loli-like personality/design), she is the childhood friend of Kyousuke, who he has not met in several years. Hating carrots, Himari would often try to throw away carrots, but is often stopped by her friends and mom, and even by Misaki. She has several hamsters, but is terrible at naming them; when Kyousuke comes over and “renames” them (and the hamsters actually like it), she runs away crying.
The background of Himari is rather vague, but gets descriptive in her route; when Himari was young, she would often cling too much to Kyousuke, who may have been slightly irritated by her actions. This often exposed the two to jokes among their peers, who would often tease them by saying they were dating.
Himari soon realized that Kyousuke was not too fond of this teasing, and immediately stopped relying on him too much. Transferring to another school, the two childhood friends would not see each other for a long time. Despite this, their mothers were on very good terms with each other, and meet to drink often; this put the two in an awkward situation.
In reality, Himari admits bluntly to Kyousuke one day, that Kyousuke was her “first love”. This troubles Kyousuke greatly, who had recently started to notice Himari as a very attractive girl (ermahgawd, you’re so slow, Kyousuke!). Towards this girl whose first love has ended, and is not interested in a male, his continuous approaches to Himari soon allowed him to realize his own feelings for this girl, and leads to his confession.
While Himari accepts his feelings, she stubbornly claims that this “love” is not as a childhood friend, but as a “friend”. Himari claims that this is because she “didn’t want to make it seem as if it was our previous relationship that made me fall in love with you…“, but despite what she says, it is very likely that it was her “first love” that blossomed again.
As a girl of similar interests, Rina is a “good” friend of Kyousuke from high school. Enjoying manga and games as much as the next guy, it is possible to argue that Rina is a tomboy, due to her excellence in athletics as well. Despite this, Rina is very popular among girls; she is also intelligent and friendly. A possible “Yamato Nadeshiko”, if it wasn’t for her hobbies.
Originally, Rina does not get along with Kyousuke or Genki. The two guys only see her as one of their “buddies”, and cannot view Rina as an “opposite gender”. This is especially true for Genki, who regularly treat Rina as if she was a male.
This is not true for Kyousuke, who, while treating Rina badly at first, perform and say things that suggest his view of Rina as a girl. Embarrassed to admit it, Kyousuke also thinks Rina is beautiful, and his emotions are sparked when Mahiro, a friend of Rina, sets the two up in a pool date.
Mahiro naturally escapes by saying she is in an ambulance, and it is on that day that Kyousuke spots Rina’s first “weakness“; she cannot swim. Along with this experience, Kyousuke slowly starts to enjoy Rina’s company.
The final spark comes when Rina is confessed to (for the second time) by an upperclassman. Not knowing him enough, Rina politely rejects him again. This leads to the upperclassman becoming slightly aggressive, as he sarcastically shouts how his confession is only a way for Rina to toy around with males. Kyousuke, who witnesses this scene, cuts in and convinces the upperclassman that what he’s doing is wrong.
At this point, Rina is deeply affectionate towards Kyousuke, who gave her the emotional support and the affection she so wanted; as Kyousuke asks her for a date, Rina is conflicted with an emergency call from her part-time job, which makes her regretfully cancel the date she was so looking forward to. (Note that this event is a foreshadow from what the “upperclassman” may have hinted, how Rina “plays around” with male’s emotions). As Rina realizes this, she asks to meet Kyousuke late at night; it is at this time that Kyousuke confesses.
Rina is actually deprived of human affection…
It can be seen that Rina is actually an “ojousama”, due to her father being the CEO of a very large company in France. However, because her parents would often prioritize work over their own daughter (they even forget Rina’s birthday!), Rina clings onto Kyousuke’s existence, who offers the love she has been longing for.
Despite her beautiful appearance, Yuzuyu is extremely bad-mouthed. Calling Kyousuke “indecent” and “trash” from the very first encounter, Kyousuke’s first impression of her as a kind girl was crushed.
However, Kyousuke still believed that from careful observation, Yuzuyu was not a bad person; there was a reason for acting like this. Wishing to know more, Kyousuke approaches this girl, who believes that all males are perverts, and there’s no one she can trust in this world.
As his approaches take effect, Yuzuyu finds herself relieved when near Kyousuke, and finds herself slowly falling in love, as Kyousuke helps her with various things despite her cold attitude towards him. Unable to become honest in a short amount of time, Yuzuyu’s struggle with herself finally ends as Kyousuke confesses to her, she decides to accept his feelings.
Kyousuke says that Yuzuyu is most attractive when she smiles; I would have to agree with him on this one.
The reader can then see some very pleasing scenes, where Yuzuyu will act extremely coldly to other males (such as Genki), but insist on being called by her first name by Kyousuke. Simply this change in attitude can label this character as a “tsundere”, except the reader can see much more “dere” as he continues into the “Lover” portion of Yuzuyu’s route.
As Yuzuyu becomes more and more closer to Kyousuke, her mindset changes as well; she is relatively friendly to her juniors, and with the help of Kyousuke, prepare a cake for the members of the swimming club, who all accept her as well. Mako (the junior) strongly suggests that it is thanks to Kyousuke for such a change in Yuzuyu.
A mysterious character, Misaki’s first appearance is from a magazine, where she is placed as a model. As a very beautiful girl, she is always seen with someone, and there’s also a rumor that she is the daughter of a very rich family, as well as being involved in an arranged marriage.
Despite her background, Kyousuke’s approaches to Misaki initially involved curiosity; he wanted to know more about this upperclassman, who always seemed to be the center of attention. However, when he tries to meet her, he would somehow be interrupted by someone. Just as he was about to give up, Misaki APPROACHES HIM INSTEAD! extremely startled by this sudden encounter, he realizes Misaki is only trying to return his wallet, that fell while returning home.
The two get a chance to talk, and even “become friends” from that point, and it wouldn’t be long until Kyousuke would be slapped by a startling discovery.
Despite the rumors about Misaki, all of them are false, as Misaki is actually a normal girl who just happens to be intelligent. She lives in a vegetable store, and her parents are very normal, hardworking individuals. Perhaps because of this, Misaki is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to vegetable preparations. This knowledge attracts both Rina and Yuzuyu, who are both excellent cooks.
One of my favorite scenes, where Misaki (who’s afraid of showing her skin) wears a swimsuit for Kyousuke.
As one of the first ones to know of the “real Misaki”, Kyousuke realizes that this popular upperclassman is actually very lonely, as she is looked upon with only respect, and no one would become close to her. As her first “true friend“, Kyousuke first invites this girl to a pool (with the help of his mom), then realizes that his emotions toward this upperclassman changed from “curiosity” to “desire to protect“.
His relationship with Misaki is always looked upon with a cold eye, and some of the seniors genuinely believe that Kyousuke was threatening Misaki with something. However, the two work together to solve the misunderstanding, by promoting the very shop that Misaki lives in!
Misaki, diligently promoting her vegetable shop.
Ahhhnn~~ This is actually a comical scene where Misaki literally stuffs Kyousuke’s mouth with food; it seems as if she loves taking care of others.
Sexual Content: Moderate
Comments: One of the things I appreciate about this game is that you can change the appearance of your target heroine!! As an example, you can change the hairstyle of Yuzuyu, Himari, and Rina, while changing the “outfit” for Misaki. Personally, I found Himari’s alternate hairstyle to be greatly attractive, but whatever your preference is, go with it.
This ^ hairstyle changes to…
Letting her hair down makes Himari look a lot more mature ^^
In addition, I feel as if Kyousuke was not really “indecisive” as he describes himself in the beginning. While he does have his chicken moments, most of of the times in the story, Kyousuke is very bold in his actions, and can be described as a relatively proactive and resourceful character. Despite not being the most intelligent, Kyousuke is very diligent and passionate about his desire to get a girlfriend, and when he DOES get a girlfriend, most of the scenes involve him being protective or active for some benefit to the heroine.
One of the major quotes of this game is “Nothing will happen if I just wait…“, and this is absolutely true. If you, dear readers, wanted something, you need to stand up and reach for it. There can be silly moments like Kyousuke in this game, but like him, you must have a definite and specific goal.
Affection for the Characters: Extremely High
CG Quality: Very good. All the characters look very attractive, don’t you think? Just wait until you see each of their personalities!
Music Quality: Superior. You should listen to its Opening Song, Quantum Jump. It is absolutely awesome! Here’s an embed!
Japanese Lyrics: (
そら高く 伸ばした手を あなたと繋ぎたいんだ
English Translated Lyrics:
Unknown things overflow in my heart
But I can definitely feel
the importance of Destiny
If the beginning of season or impulse is true,
I want to know more deeply
Please teach me now…!!
Stay like this right now
because you are by my side
We can draw our future
Look, you can see it right now
This hand I stretch out into the sky, I want to connect to you.
Can you feel me?
Himari is so pretty~ \>w</
Addictiveness: Moderately High
Conclusion: A great SMEE game which created an invaluable first impression for me. I’ll be delving into more SMEE games in the future. For anyone looking for a pure love story, this is definitely a game they should try.
And always remember to hide your H-magazines properly……..