Foreword: Oh hey! A game released on my birthday! Woo~
But really. Surprised that I can spit out a review in such a short amount of time?
Yeah, I’m surprised too.
Jokes aside, let’s get right onto the review. Pretty much a game I had my eyes on since it’s release, it’s rather sad it took me 9 months to get through with this game. Nonetheless, it was actually quite decent compared to the other games I’ve played so far. The only huge drawback of this game is that there’s a portion of the game where plot is REALLY slow, and CAN cause people to simply not want to play it.
However, I urge you to continue with it since the conclusion is actually decent compared to the other games I’ve been playing recently. It’s also very nice that the entire story foreshadows the conclusion, and if you’re sharp, you may even find out what’s truly going on even before you hit the heroine’s route.
But when I started this game, I was literally drooling at the fact that Aoba Ringo (she’s an awesome CV) was voicing a white-haired loli-imouto character. Here’s a sample of her voice (HOLY CRAP SHE’S SO CUTE)
That, good friends, is why I went through with this game even when I had exams and had other games I was playing.
But I’ll stop blabbing about how awesome the main character was, and get on with the review.
Title: ツクモノツキ (Tsukumo no Tsuki) [Lit Trans. Moon of Tsukumo]
Producers: Sugar Pot
VNDB Link: http://vndb.org/v7845
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=720147
Game Type: Novel with ideals placed on self-identity
Summary: Keita lives his daily life satisfied with his younger sister Maya and his good friend Akane. Although their life isn’t that of luxury, Keita works daily to make ends meet while Maya helps with the household chores. All seems well… or is it?
Keita actually has amnesia. He only knows that their parents passed away from Maya’s words, who says they ran away from relatives trying to take advantage of their situation. If that wasn’t enough, Maya is also very frail, and gets sick often.
Despite this, the siblings get along very well, and support each other everyday.
One day, Maya starts to act strange. She seems to be sick in Keita’s eyes, but Maya won’t tell him what’s wrong with her. Instead, she urges that the siblings return to their hometown, since she feels an urgent need to go there.
Finding this strange, Keita agrees, and the siblings leave for the land that they abandoned 8 years ago.
In the area, they find nothing…
Until Maya exclaims that she can hear a song, and runs to the forested area.
There, the siblings find a white-haired girl who often appeared in Keita’s dreams. This girl, who calls herself Tsukumo, is now a self-proclaimed younger sister of Keita, and returns along with the siblings.
Maya tells Keita to take good care of this strange girl…
But it won’t be long; a shrine maiden named Yukina will now try to take Tsukumo with her, back to the countryside!
*WARNING* Please note that after this point, spoilers are intentionally included. Read at your own risk!
Story Length: Slightly Long (25 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Easy
Comments: As with most games nowadays, clear-cut choices which would be no match for experienced eroge players (RIGHT?!). But as I’ve stated before, the intro is pretty interesting, but the middle portion of this game is VERY slow and could even be irritating for some players (at least it was for me…). This is mainly because the heroines seem to “know everything” and will not involve the protagonist in any way (so the plot goes back and forth between heroine obviously hiding something -> protagonist trying to find out -> protagonist fails -> protagonist says “fuck it, I don’t care” (not literally) -> endless loop)
Tsukumo being punished for sexually harassing Yukina
Character Design Rating: 8/10
Story Rating: 6/10
Game Quality: Moderate
Overall Rating: 7/10
Rating Comments: A surprisingly decent game, I wouldn’t have expected this kind of score if I only saw the middle portion of the game, where everything was just… boring and did not make sense. Despite this, the conclusions were highly dramatic, and had an element of “everything revealed all at once”. I actually don’t like such an element when “everything revealed at the end”, but the game makes several foreshadows to the ending itself via various methods (sprites, scene changes, etc…) that made it work out well.
If you couldn’t guess, yes. Aoba Ringo added to the Character Design score.
That’s a cute lunchbox, Keita!
Character Summary: I’ll probably sound really biased here, but I’ll try to deviate from Tsukumo just enough to talk about each of the other characters as well.
Tsukumo is first! Obviously my favorite character due to her great CV, personality, and design, she seems to generate a lot of humor throughout the game with her “ignorance” about the outside world. In addition, despite her insolence and gluttony, she is loved both (by me! /shot) the subcharacters and even Keita himself. There’s definitely a reason why he chose to bring back the girl who appeared out of nowhere and started calling him “oni-chan”.
Tsukumo also strangely talks in Katakana all the time, and is very childish. Her mindset matches very well with Hina (the landlord’s young daughter), and despite calling herself “onee-chan”, it might be that Hina is much more intelligent and mature than our main heroine.
Tsukumo is actually Keita’s “real” younger sister (Keita does mention that the two are not blood related, however), and their past is related to the girl named “Maya”. According to the story, Tsukumo had given her “place” to someone in exchange for Keita’s life when they were younger, which explains Keita’s amnesia from when they were younger. Tsukumo made this promise on the condition that “everything will return with the 99 Full Moons” (This is 8 years and 3 months. Note that the number 99 in Japanese is written as “九十九”, which can be read as “Tsukumo”, hence “Tsukumo no Tsuki”, or 99 Moons or Moon of Tsukumo)
It just happens that when the protagonist first meets with Tsukumo, it has been exactly 99 months, and due for everything to “return to normal”. However, due to certain circumstances, the reader can see that the characters will stay in the status quo for several months, and creates this story.
Next we have Maya, the frail girl who always seems to apologize about everything. Keita is unsure why she acts like this, and finds that he would rather have his younger sister smile instead of apologizing all the time.
Quite often a reliable younger sister, Maya does all of the housework, yet still finds she’s not doing enough. With this, the reader can now conclude that Maya feels some obligation towards Keita. This “obligation” is soon revealed, along with Maya’s plea for Keita to be “Kind to her (Tsukumo)”.
Maya’s route is arguably the most uninteresting until the climax, where it is revealed that Maya slowly remembers that she’s not really the younger sister of Keita. Unfortunately, this is after she learns that she feels affection for Keita, and has a very hard time “keeping the promise with the real Maya (who is now Tsukumo)”. This half-assed situation stays like this for a while, until Tsukumo finally snaps and demands that the deal be kept.
The story then continues onto show that Maya is actually a goddess of the Washimiya Family, and reveals that for some reason, she had to take on a human vessel to deliver a message. The victim? Tsukumo (or the “real” Maya). She did this by singing, which attracted Tsukumo’s attention to the old shrine in the forest, and when Tsukumo refused to offer her body, the goddess threatened Tsukumo with the life of Keita, who was obviously very important to the poor girl.
This cruel act is soon remembered by the “fake” younger sister, who falls into deep self-hatred and also realizes that she can’t hide herself any longer; the 99th Moon has passed, and she must return to being a “spirit”. Various other circumstances will force her departure, and Keita tries everything he can to stop her. He (as he does in pretty much everything he does in the story) fails, and instead of the route ending abruptly, the “goddess” leaves behind something; the child of Keita and her, which she wanted so badly.
The end of “Maya’s” route shows the maturing of Keita’s child, as she (named Mitsuki) lives with her mother’s ideals in her heart.
Maya’s true form, where she gains +5000 attack, +4500 defe– /shot
Akane is the energetic classmate (and childhood friend) of Keita, and the two have been friends since Keita can remember. As the daughter of parents with a full-time job, it is quickly revealed that Akane is quite lonely with no one at home to even make food; she is often seen coming to Keita’s workplace to eat.
When Keita brings along Tsukumo, Akane immediately becomes suspicious of her friend, who she thinks to be involved in a kidnapping. However, due to Keita’s normal habits of being the responsible and honest guy, Akane’s suspicion is immediately lifted, and for some reason, Akane starts to join the group more often.
Akane’s route is the only route that deviates greatly from the main storyline, and focuses solely on the heroine without much intervention from the others. It starts with Akane suddenly having back pains which gets in the way of her daily life, as well as her success in the Kendo Team. Keita’s nosy/worrywart personality activates, and Akane somehow takes this as affection. The two slowly spend time together, until Akane finally loses a tournament match and learns of the truth behind her “secret” and her cat, Anko.
Probably one of the prime archetypes of “everything revealed at once” storyline, the game then explains that Akane’s childhood isn’t the one she remembers it to be, and in her depression, Anko created an illusion for Akane that soon brought the girl out of her shell. The end of the route involves a certain character revealing all of this, and the reader being exposed to Akane’s truth, that even herself did not realize.
Last but not least is Yukina, a girl who is introduced briefly, early in the prologue when Keita and Maya go to visit the countryside. Dedicated and responsible, Yukina is a very disciplined individual according to her household, and as the game will mention in the beginning of the story, has some relationship with Tsukumo. This is the reason why she “follows” the group all the way to the very apartment they live in, and also rent a room next door.
Yukina is grown up in a very protected environment, due to the fact that she is treated as a goddess from her family, which includes her mother. This protection stems from the fact that Yukina was the only heir in the entire family that was believed to be able to contact the goddess (this was because her eyes often sparkle yellow when she was younger). This ability that she was granted seemed to allow her to heal various individuals, but Yukina will soon admit to Keita that she is only “manipulating the life-force of the individuals”. She also does not want any form of respect, and just wants to receive affection just like a normal girl would. However, because of how she was raised, she will not ask for such things from her mother.
In various scenes with the absence of Keita, Yukina can be seen to confront Tsukumo about being “That Individual” or “That One”, as well as strange questions that first seem confusing to the reader. Of course, if you read Maya’s portion of the summary above, you’ll see that due to the “Identity Shift”, Tsukumo is the “goddess” while Maya is Keita’s younger sister from the beginning of the story.
Unfortunately also very uninteresting, Yukina’s route ends rather abruptly with her losing her powers. This is when several men try to kidnap her, but Keita fights them off only to be knocked into a fatal condition, that Yukina just happens to “magically” cure.
I like how the expression of Keita and the bunny he’s holding is the same… xD
Sexual Content: Moderately high
Comments: So yeah, a very decent title despite the fact that there’s a huge void in the middle where you should totally skip because I was too dumb to realize that until I was through with it………. (brb, crying)
But the rest of the story is actually pretty funny, with the protagonist (as well as Maya to a certain extent) being the “tsukomi” role in many of the comedy scenes, most of the jokes involve Tsukumo (and even Yukina) being socially awkward or ignorant. The former may also seem really “cute”, since Aoba Ringo does a great job voicing Tsukumo to express various “actions” that she may do (such as the onomatopoeia of putting a large amount of food in your mouth).
But other than that, it is very unfortunate that aside from Maya’s and Tsukumo’s routes, the other two characters were rather uninteresting. It’s as if they (the producers) ran out of what to do with their characters and simply decided to plaster on Akane and Yukina along with the two main heroines to make the total number of routes equal to 4.
According to Getchu, there is only one scenario writer too, so this is rather strange as well.
The main compliment for this game comes from the various foreshadows. Usually, that literary element is only used in suspense or horror themed games (well, usually…), Tsukumonotsuki contains various keywords that continues to be imperative throughout the story (such as Maya’s Apology, Tsukumo’s Loyalty). These foreshadows added up to an “Ah, so that’s why!” moment during the respective climax scenes (the CG below this paragraph also happens to be one of them), and is probably the main reason that I found the end portions of each route to be very enjoyable compared to other sections.
What I DON’T appreciate, however, is that the protagonist is rather stupid. He is very reliable, but he obviously does not understand anything about the people closest to him if he can’t seem to pry out something from each respective heroine that he’ll learn soon enough. I also found it irritating that the heroines were trying to hide something despite the fact it was only a matter of time that the protagonist found out as well. Every route contains at least a bit of this element.
Finally, the game doesn’t seem to have a significant theme. While I do label this title as a novel with themes of “self-identity”, if “identity” was to be a theme, there should have been more plot or elements within the game, such as the protagonist questioning his lifestyle (although he does this to a certain extent in Tsukumo’s route), or the complex interaction with the subcharacters that allow something I like to call the “Protagonist’s Route”, where the protagonist becomes the “main character”, and acts bravely according to his beliefs, ideals, thoughts, etc… to confirm his “identity”. (I’ll probably get into philosophy if I continue, so I’ll just shut up, lol)
Not surprisingly, there is a scene where the two “siblings” fight.
What are they fighting about? You’ll find out if you play the game :3
Affection for the Characters: Moderately High
Tsukumo: Lemme go… Let me go! D:
CG Quality: Good. I loved the small details in each CG, which ranges from simple background effect to the fact that each SDCG was adorably drawn. I don’t know why, but such factors make it seem as if a set of CG is more “high-quality” than if you simply made the size greater than a bazillion dpi.
Music Quality: Slightly Low. Not only were there few tracks, I personally don’t like the tune of the Opening or the Ending. Sugar Pot can really improve on the music or the auditory portion of their games.
Addictiveness: Low. This is rather unfortunate, with the fact that since the reader already knows what’s going to happen, much of the storyline isn’t worth going back to.
Not going to lie; this scene greatly reminded me of Nagisa and Ushio from Clannad.
Conclusion: A decent game from Sugar Pot that is perfect if you like lolis, or just want a slow steady story with a high-climax conclusion. This is NOT for your weekly-releases player like me, but if this was translated, I think it could be as popular as many of the other games available out there.
Hand over the half-eaten ice cream and no one gets hurt…
Oh, and one more Tsukumo’s CG because she’s so cute :3
Oh, a side note…
Here’s a character from Sugar Pot’s next game…
<– CV is Aoba Ringo. (insert happy dance here)
(Sudden realization Tsukumo and Ena (the character’s name) has the same hair color…)