A blog for reviews… that's really not much of a blog

Foreword:

“Exams? Are they delicious?”

… That was pretty much my mindset as I started and finished this game in another record time–3 days.
This is, however, considering that I really did NOTHING but play this game. As much of a horrible student I am, I am very pleased with my progress, as well as this game.

Overall, Hatsuyuki Sakura was a great game–probably enough to be called a “kamige” by various individuals. However, there’s a reason why I do not call it a kamige (if you want to know why, read on). Released on my birthday, I am shocked and have mixed feelings about this game, but most of it is a good thing, so…..

Well, I’ll definitely be following Saga Planets from now on (considering this is my first game from them)

Title: はつゆきさくら (Hatsuyuki Sakura) [Lit. Trans: First Snow Cherry Blossom]
Producers: Saga Planets
Release Date: February 24, 2013
VNDB Link: http://vndb.org/v7302
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=710938
Game Type: Romance Novel with themes of Graduation and Revenge.

Summary: Hatsuyuki is someone who is feared by his classmates due to his fierce attitude. He skips class frequently, and “threatens” a girl to create an alibi for him. One day, as he was skipping class again, a bunny hops over and snatches a 1000 en bill from his hand. Naturally, the protagonist chases the creature into the old ruined street which is rumored to have ghosts all over the place.

This is where he hears a girl crying, and this meeting between Sakura and Hatsuyuki will be something that triggers a chain of events of chaos, revenge, despair, anger, but most of all, love.

My favorite character: Ran! Unfortunately, she’s not a heroine :(

Please note that this review contains intentional spoilers. Read at your own risk!

Story Length: Slightly Long (30 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Easy
Comments: Clear cut choices… Prologue, then the Bad End comes first, and then you can choose between the four heroines. The final route, titled “Graduation” involving Sakura, unlocks in the title screen after the clearing of the previous four heroines. Somewhere in there, you can unlock routes for the two girls from the “Shirosaki Yankees”, but they do not have CGs involved with them

(Insert Evil and Perverted Laugh here)

Character Design Rating: 8/10
Story Rating: 9/10
Game Quality: High
Overall Rating: 9/10
Rating Comments: A nearly perfect game, it’s REALLY unfortunate (and I’m so pained to report) that this game sucked in one of the most important elements: the protagonist. Despite this, it’s still better than pretty much almost all of the other games out there, in terms of both character design and story.

Character Summary:

Let’s start with our protagonist–Hatsuyuki. As you probably can tell, Hatsuyuki’s name means “First Snow”. The game is quick to surprise the reader with the fact that this protagonist is indeed the “Ghost Child” or the “King of the Ghosts” who is rumored about greatly in school. Of course, this is shown after the fact that Hatsuyuki’s target for revenge is none other than the rabbit that Sakura accompanies, and it is shown in the beginning scenes that Hatsuyuki’s approach to Sakura involves trying to know more about the rabbit.

Other than that, Hatsuyuki is shown to be very inconsiderate with his words. Using foul language and threatening pretty much everyone that talks to him, the reader will be surprised to find that Hatsuyuki is indeed, very kind at heart. Simply put, he’s a “tsundere” protagonist. Many scenes involve him being concerned about a heroine, but this kind of care becomes greater for a certain character: Ran, who he admits is his “family”.

A scene where Sakura draws this “figure” on the blackboard, and later mistaken as Hatsuyuki being the creator

The greatest flaw with this character is arguably the fact that his emotions seems to change too rapidly. According to the story, he was emotionally attracted to Ran, then Aya, then to the respective heroine (in that chronological order). While it’s true that one can argue that he was attracted to Sakura at first (when they were young…), this still doesn’t justify his feelings changing from one girl to another within the course of 1095 days (3 years).

For the reference, this 1095 days refers to the time period of his acceptance to High School (Japan/Korea has exams for acceptance to High School, just like how America has them for college applications [like SATs]) until the last day of his Graduation.

His goal is obviously to perform revenge, but while the game shows that he wants to avenge Ran, it then introduces that the “real” factor is Sakura’s death. This emotion was implanted in him by the ghosts, who haunted this boy until he became full of anger.

Hatsuyuki’s second flaw is that all four of the heroine routes do not correspond with the true ending. In the four heroine routes, he acts the role of “the good guy”, and helps the heroine with her problems to safely have her graduate, while he takes on his role as the leader of the “Ghost Parade”, which isn’t even explained in detail, and disappears. In the final route, he is shown to be an actual human who still has a body and a soul–it just needed to be combined according to his will.

One of the last scenes in Azuma’s route. Must I explain?

The third flaw with Hatsuyuki is that he’s freaking weak. Fights can be his specialty, but when it comes to being the “King of the Ghosts”, he’s easily overcome by the Sword of Banishment (referred to as Silver Sword in the story) or even magic circles drawn by spirits (my face when mixmash of western and eastern occults). Even in the bad route, it assumes that he gets his ass whooped by Konohasakuya when he retreats to his hotel and burns it down. Some king you are, if you can’t do anything but control ghosts and can’t do anything by yourself.

The last flaw with Hatsuyuki is his design. He’s supposed to be a highly cynical, and greatly pessimistic character. Despite this, he is shown to be lonely, and in a sense, a tsundere character. I don’t like it when my protagonist is a tsundere.

Sadly, Hatsuyuki, (as well as Sakura) were ironically the characters who brought the overall score down. I say ironic, because as the readers know, they are the main characters.

In the order of clearing (at least to me), Azuma is first. Strangely enough, the three trio characters (Azuma, Shirokuma, and Nozomu) tends to be more for comical purposes. While the other two heroines (Aya and Sakura) is the “main story”.

This girl who is very talented with ice skating is thought to be cursed, as her classmates witness many of her ice skating partners to become injured in some way. Hatsuyuki first notices this girl due to her smell of Anti-spirits, and recognizes that this girl is not really cursed–just a series of unfortunate accidents that caused many people to hate her. Azuma has a younger brother who greatly admires Hatsuyuki, and one of the comical scenes involve Azuma being jealous of her younger brother, who seems to communicate more with Hatsuyuki than his own girlfriend.

Next is Aya. A strange upperclassman who failed her college entrance exams, her story takes place one year previous to the main story. Keep this in mind while you watch Aya’s story. Aya’s story mainly revolves Hatsuyuki’s 2nd year in high-school, starting from the time when Ran was assaulted and he was left alone. As he soon used up all his money, a boy named “Akira” gives him large amounts of money to beat up a specific group of people. This soon leads to his encounter with Akira’s older sister–Aya, who takes it upon herself to take care of this young delinquent.

Aya loses her memories in the main story, but makes an appearance in the final route as Hatsuyuki’s supporter, since she regained them through the “Owner”, who is a ghost herself.

Shirokuma is a strange, childish character who suddenly makes an appearance at Hatsuyuki’s part-time job store. Shirokuma means “white bear”, but it is shown that her real name is “Sasaki Mochizuki”. Does the name sound familiar? Shirokuma’s grandfather is supposedly the main culprit of the explosion 10 years ago, and also the main target of revenge for Hatsuyuki. The even more surprising thing is that this small character who looks to be in elementary school is actually three years younger than Hatsuyuki, and studying to take the high-school entrance exams. Naturally, Hatsuyuki helps Shirokuma apply to Uchidakawa High School, but fails once. Despite using harsh words, Hatsuyuki reconciles Shirokuma, who falls in love with someone who she refers to as “Manager”. A fair portion of Shirokuma’s route involves an incomprehensible and idiotic conversation between her and Hatsuyuki.

Last heroine is Nozomu, a 1st year who also admired Hatsuyuki to be able to “control” others according to his will. Trying to imitate him, Nozomu also follows an informal speech using the pronoun “俺”, and its respective grammar. Nozomu, ironically, also has the largest breast size in the entire crew of heroines. Originally, this girl wants to become friends with Hatsuyuki, who is her role-model. However, seeing how Hatsuyuki is actually considerate and not all foul-language, this girl soon imagines herself kissing Hatsuyuki in her imaginations.

As another comical character, this girl is prone more to Hatsuyuki’s sadistic teasing, mainly because she enjoys it to some extent. I found myself laughing hysterically to the conversations that the two would share. For the reference, Nozomu has a brother who has a completely different personality, and is already “friends” with Hatsuyuki.

Last heroine! As strange as it is, I actually enjoyed Sakura’s route the least. The other routes have a sophisticated humor with the protagonist being the center of action, but Sakura’s route where the protagonist is antagonized (?!), and the game challenges the reader’s assumptions that what the protagonist is doing is right. Just as a notion, this is not a good trait. A protagonist should be considered an element of “justice”, and despite how some of us hate the poetic justice often present in children’s tales, all storylines should have it. Well, nonetheless, Sakura’s route is a lot of the “past events revealed at once”, since the only real hint I got to Sakura’s route was that the two have met before, and were good friends.

Sakura’s route was also largely uninteresting, since it shows both characters falling in love with little to no reason. The game makes an implication that Hatsuyuki appreciated Sakura’s continuous approaches despite replying with harsh words, but again. I prefer my tsundere to be in heroines–not the protagonist. The game seemed to somewhat rush the ending (Sakura’s route), using strange logic that reveals Sakura’s identity as the “Ghost Queen” who sacrificed her “identity” to meet and be with Hatsuyuki one more time.

…and a small section for Ran! This adorable character is seen with pink Japanese clothing, and shown to be very friendly. This mysterious character’s identity is hidden throughout the story, but it is shown that sometime during Hatsuyuki’s 1st or 2nd year in high school, her soul was taken away by Konohasakuya, and Hatsuyuki’s motivation came from the ghosts reassuring him that his revenge will bring back Ran’s soul.

What’s known, however, is that Ran also shares a large portion of the comedy in the beginning scenes. She would “punish” Hatsuyuki when he drinks alcohol, by picking up his legs and swinging him around until he throws up. One of the scenes involve her performing this very act, but her hands slips so the poor Ghost King crashes into the wall at high speed.

Ran’s identity is another victim at the “party” who became deformed after the explosion. She is indeed alive, but her soul was transferred into the doll to take care and nurture the “Ghost King” so he can perform his revenge. After Hatsuyuki learns of Ran’s identity, he meets a girl very similar to the “doll” that Ran possessed during his graduation.

Just a single CG for this little “antagonist”, Konohasakuya, because not only did she hurt Ran, her personality is also highly contradictory (Yes, I hate her guts)

Sexual Content: Moderate

Comments:

WHY NO ROUTES FOR RAN?! WHYYYYY!!!?!?!?
Ran’s route is a bad-end. Okay. I see an H-scene in there too. BUT WHY?!?!?!

Ideally, I would’ve wanted this game to have a separate ending where Hatsuyuki somehow successfully restores Ran’s soul, or if the game wanted to be consistent, have him actually meet the “real” Ran in real life, and have the story continue from there. In the end, Ran wasn’t even “tricking” Hatsuyuki in any way, so there was no reason to make this character any more evil than she appears to be.

As with most characters who hold lots of knowledge about VNs and eroge in general, Ran is going to be my favorite character.

OHMAHGO–@#($&!&*?! *nosebleed*

Affection for the Characters: Very High

CG Quality: Moderate
Music Quality: Top-grade. Seriously, the quality and variety of music in this game rivals the music-themed games like White Album 2 or Ryuuyoku. That’s really amazing.

Addictiveness: Moderate

Conclusion: The great and almost perfect game is ruined by a poor protagonist. The game starts out great, but ends up not so great. The themes and morals are consistent, and the music is top-grade, but this is the type of story where the first-portion of the story is used to explain the things in great detail, and the latter portion of the game is entrusted to someone else, who can recreate some great action scenes or a variety of story splits to keep the reader entertained.

As stated above, ending is rushed with the protagonist antagonized, and frankly, I would recommend playing this game only for the heroines except Sakura.

Advertisements

Comments on: "White Graduation: Review of [120224]Hatsuyuki Sakura" (9)

  1. […] Planets (or Sagi “Scammer” Planets as some Korean players might call them xD) involved Hatsuyuki Sakura and Kisaragi Gold Star, which I believe are both written by the dreaded Nijima Yuu. It’s […]

  2. […] Planets (or Sagi “Scammer” Planets as some Korean players might call them xD) involved Hatsuyuki Sakura and Kisaragi Gold Star, which I believe are both written by the dreaded Nijima Yuu. It’s […]

  3. What are the endings of the other heroines?

  4. To avoid destroying the delicate balance of Micchi-sama’s blog (LOL), I’ve decided to post my reply to your comment from the “April 2014 Eroge releases” here instead. Hope you don’t mind >____>.

    Haha I didn’t really have any deep meaning behind my statement, I just remembered that you had highly recommended it on your review of it ^^. So if I offended you, I apologise =(. Sorry mate.

    If you recall, I never really read your review for the games; just parts of it. I knew you were dissatisfied with parts of them game, but I found it odd that you went as far as saying that you ” didn’t have too great of an experience”. To me that made it sound like you didn’t enjoy the game, and that didn’t really match up from what I took from your review of the game. So from there, I found it strange that you would “highly” recommend something that you had doubts about. So the way you worded your comment made you come off harder on the game than you probably are; at least that’s how I feel. I’ve actually read your review of the game now ^^…

    …okay I haven’t read it fully, but I’ve read more of it. Sorry, I’m super bad at reading such large amounts of text >___>. Please consider doing video reviews =D. LOL jokes ^^.

    Sorry to nitpick, but you also mention bias in your original comment. You said yourself a few days ago that you find yourself not as bias as others. However from the original comment on Micchi’s blog AND from what I take from this review, you felt the story was flawed because of Hatsuyuki and Sakura. There’s nothing wrong with bias; it’s what makes us unique =D. But based off what you’ve said, I can’t help but feel that your story rating of 9/10 isn’t really what you “feel” about the game. The rating and recommendation certainly feels objective, but is that what you really feel?

    If that happens for me in a game, where one aspect is sucks compared to another aspect, I would acknowledge it and rate it accordingly, which it seems you’ve done. However we would differ in that I probably ‘wouldn’t’ recommend the game. Recommendations are really made off personal feelings, and I wouldn’t really feel confident in making a recommendation if I felt that one aspect of a game was “that” much inferior in a particular aspect.

    Wow this was meant to be a short reply, but it somehow got super long >___>. In no way was I thinking of all this when I made my original “contradiction” comment; my original comment was mainly just a light nudge for laughs =p. I would like to bring to attention that I was looping the PxC opening when I wrote this comment =D

    • I appreciate your reply and explanation. For some reason, I just lose control of my emotions when I get misunderstood: I guess that’s my taboo.

      Regardless, yes. I have my own bias as a person, but I try to suppress it as much as possible when creating reviews. This often makes the reviews seem a little… hard or stiff, which exposed me to criticisms in the past. I’ve been working on trying to improve my writing skills.

      Nonetheless, as I’ve explained, the “recommendation” is simply based on by ignoring my personal hate for Hatsuyuki, because I made it clear in the original post, with an assumption that the reader is fully aware when acknowledging the recommendation of the game.

      Games will always have differing qualities for elements. (Such as CG can be good, but the story would be crappy), and it’s really about the reviewer’s own beliefs about which is more important.
      For me, it was the game’s setting, design, and overall story which was more important than a single protagonist. This is what I based the “recommendation” on, but I refused to simply ignore my own opinions on Hatsuyuki.

      It’s kinda like a doctor prescribing the antibiotic Vancomycin: Its extremely dangerous to take, but its effectiveness is the best among the current antibiotics today.

      Now when I say “I didn’t have too great of an experience with HS and KG”, I mean both titles as a whole. Previous to even playing HS (which was my first game from Saga Planets), there were so much hype about both games that I became slightly over-expectant. As I was betrayed of that expectation with the two titles in discussion, I simply had the mindset that there is nothing to “hype about” just because the writers are the same, which leads to my quote “I don’t know what’s so great”

      Am I wrong to make this prejudice? Probably.
      Should I have at least taken a look at more opinions of others? Definitely.
      But all the excuse I can give is that I have absolutely no time for that. As long as I have my schoolwork to prioritize and games to be played, my opinion stems only from MY experience, MY standards, and MY beliefs.

      (and no. I’m not a narcissist)

      P.S. I appreciate that you went through and read the entire review. Thank you. I know my reply is long, but rest assured that with your words, I feel no offense and can understand where the miscommunication rose from.

  5. […] a lot of the people said it was good. Long story short, I liked it, but hated it at the same time. Read the review (WARNING: It DOES have spoilers) if you want to know why, but that's not the point of this thread. […]

  6. Great review! Good for you that you did a good start with SAGA PLANETS games, I did not have the same luck. The first one I played was long ago, so I don’t even remember the name. It was about a super normal protagonist who got a lot of super talented and popular childhood friends, but they kept telling him that he was their leader, because he was the brain and heart of the group, but he never did anything to earn that praise…both heroines and protagonist were really boring, so I don’t play SP games since then.
    You really seems to hate this protagonist! Is him really THAT awful? At least I see that SP tried to do different stuffs with him, instead of making yet another “normal teenager”. It’s true that the whole “ghost king” and “revenge against a bunny” thing is really confusing for me who did not play the game, but at least he is something! (has a title and reputation) So what if he gets beaten by some of the heroines? Like Bakahyl said, at least they got reasons to be able to do it, instead of EVERYONE being able to beat him to a pulp! Also, at least, he is admired by some of the heroines.
    Know were you can find worse? Moteyaba! This will be forever my best example for how to ruin a good game with a terrible protagonist!
    If you want to complain about the protagonist being physically weak, there is always worse! Try “Koisora” for example, where no male soul could win at whatever they try if their adversary happens to be a cute girl. Even in fights! And there was no “magical-powers-excuse” there! Girls could beat even trained and experienced pro-fighters with ease as long as they remain cute. It was depressing…
    But the most important thing is: Did Hatsuyuki get his 1000 bill back?

    • Yep, I really hate him that much. Simply put, he has a lot of influence, and he sounds really powerful, but in the end, it’s just a child trash-talking. How he’s designed to be a “tsundere” isn’t so pleasing either, and most of all, I hate his character sprite–he’s not buff, and doesn’t look to be able to handle multiple thugs at once like it shows in some scenes.

      I just wish that the bad route consisted of him actually destroying everything without much difficulty, and him regretting his actions. This would really give the implication that despite being powerful, it’s meaningless if all that’s left is just him (and leads to a better conclusion in the end, where he might give up on performing his “revenge” on his own accord) Instead, the game gives the impression that he’s weak because he returns back to his “hotel” crying “It hurts.. it hurts…”

      Albeit, there are worse protagonists out there–as we’ve shared. Koisora and its company “Green Tea” I avoid for the same reason as you.

      In the end, Hatsuyuki doesn’t get his 1000 en back. Instead, he lends 500 en MORE on the first day Sakura transfers, because she only has a “gold credit card” that obviously won’t work in the school cafetaria.

    • Geh… He is Tsundere? I would like it if he just simply blunt but meaning good for others. (Nope not tsundere, just say it honestly but real blunt) But sprite is not something to determine power level you know? Celica has a goddess body and many people misunderstand him as a woman. But he easily massacre entire temple by himself.
      Like you I think good protagonist is important if you want to enjoy VN. Or else I can just read Yuri VN instead. (Sadly, I don’t like Yuri or Yaoi so…)

Speak your Mind...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: