Foreword: Sorry for not being active on this site for a while! Sakusaku (which is this game) completely caught my attention, so I was pouring the last 3-4 days into completing this title instead.
In reminiscence, sakusaku was actually a pretty good title, but it’s far from a kamige. It also falls short of my expectations, so I’m unfortunately glad (?) that I didn’t pre-order the game (although I did miss out on Izumi Tsubasu’s signature *screaming in agony*)
I’ll probably include my personal analysis of the mysterious scenario writer: “Minase Mirai” as well, and as always, include boatloads of CGs because you know…
Izumi Tsubasu is a goddess.
P.S. Oh, I actually found this “manga” while on the web. It’s already translated and leads up to the pool scene of An’s route, so if you guys want to get a quick glimpse of the story without actually playing it, here you go
P.P.S. Starting with this 99th post (holy crap, the next one is my 100th! O_O), I’ve decided to also include in a “Protagonist Rating”. Hopefully, this doesn’t make anything more confusing…
Title: 恋がさくころ桜どき (Koi ga sakukoro sakura doki) [Lit. Trans: The cherry blossoms when love blossoms]
Release Date: June 27, 2014
VNDB Link: http://vndb.org/v10304
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=742762
Game Type: “Pure-love” Romance Novel with fantasy themes
Summary: Yuma is a student who is extremely popular in school. This is because as he works in the infirmary, he consults various girls with their love problems. In return, his looks and cool attitude also attract girls to hold affection for him.
Despite this, Yuma is not interested in love. In the various consultations he did, he slowly became desensitized and finally came to a point where he says “Love is stupid”.
However, this will change when a “bounty” is placed on him, and whoever finds him a girlfriend will receive 21000 en (~210 USD). While Yuma originally ignores this prank, his “bounty” rises again and again, and even involves his younger sister.
This is the start of Yuma and various characters including a self-proclaimed love fairy who lives with Yuuma and his family, and invites him to “fall in love”.
Story Length: Moderate (20 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Easy
Comments: Choice-wise, there’s really nothing too big. It’s nothing you need a walkthrough for. Tina’s route opens after clearing one of the main routes, and I highly suggest to go through with An’s route first as it will help you understand the scenario a bit better.
Character Design Rating: 9/10
Story Rating: 6/10
Protagonist Rating: 6/10
Game Quality: Moderate
Overall Rating: 7/10
Rating Comments: Okay, so we have nearly perfect character design in terms of CG and background story, but the story rating really sucked. Even that 5/10 is the highest I can give for a story like this, which varied extremely across routes in terms of quality. In summary, my favor for the routes is probably something like this:
Tina >> Jinpo An = Konami > Mio > Yuri
So simply put, you have your typical eroge with a very good character design, but in that sense, this was another charage.
Protagonist Rating gets a score of 6/10 which loses most of its points due to inconsistency: an oblivious protagonist falling in love for the smallest reasons? Really?
Despite this, it still shows why the characters are falling in love with him, and even tries to explain why the protagonist is attracted to the heroines in return (this is actually rarely done in eroge).
First is our energetic and friendly upperclassman/student council president An!
Her name directly translates into “apricots” (the fruit) and while I don’t know what the reasoning for this is, it’s true that this character is probably the second most important heroine after Tina.
Even as the student council president, it only consists of two members: her and Yuma’s friend Sou. This is why when she sees the poster of Yuma in the halls, she decides to recruit him into the student council.
An does everything she can to “legally” convince Yuma to join, but seeing how her approaches do not seem to have any effect, she finally decides follow the ancient advice that “in order to capture the general, you must aim for the horse”. Who is the horse to Yuma? Well, the people around him, of course!
As the game presents, An is the character given the description “a girl who cannot love”. This might bring out some questions, but rest assured that the game goes through the tiniest details to why she is like that. This also happens to connect with the reason why Yuma falls in love with her.
(If you watch the Grand Opening Movie, you’ll probably figure it out though…)
Next up is our childhood friend Mio.
Frankly, I’ve had enough “childhood friend” stereotypes to last me a lifetime, and Mio really isn’t an exception.
Nonetheless, we learn of various things about this character from the beginning, about how she has a unique case of androphobia (fear of men) which causes her to break out in tears if she comes into direct contact with them. This is why she does a daily “rehab” with Yuma, where they walk hand-in-hand for a short distance to get Mio to get used to males.
Mio also seems to be a fujoshi, meaning that she is very fond of BL, and possesses lots of them, as ironic as it is to her previous trait.
There’s really not much to her character otherwise… Oh, she also has a large bust size compared to her stature. Can’t forget that (…loli-kyonyuu?)
Third we have Yuri, whose character design was pretty nice (yay~ blue hair!) but her route kinda sucked.
In addition to this, I actually noticed a strange coincidence, that her character design as a twin with Hanako matches up perfectly with the twins from Clover Day’s, and their CVs are also kept intact along with the personalities relatively similar (introverted younger twin and extroverted older twin).
Nonetheless, the game presents this girl to be a very responsible and hard-headed girl who is in charge of the Disciplinary Committee, and Yuri acts as expected from a committee leader. She is the one to confront the suspects when the “bounty prank” occurs, along with when An makes announcements of “club merging” in the middle of the story.
Regardless of how responsible girl this is, she also has a unique past as a model. Even with a smaller stature, Yuri’s looks were able to make her popular in the entertainment industry.
As with Mio, Yuri’s route is also largely uninteresting, but is “worse” in the sense that it leaves one of the more critical scenes brazenly incomplete.
Next is the protagonist’s blood-related younger sister, Konami.
Again very cliche, Konami’s route strictly follows the typical imouto heroine common in eroge, but takes the “incest taboo” to the next level: it becomes the main theme throughout her route. I guess that’s what makes me put her route in similar quality with An’s route…
Konami is very skilled with Shogi, an “Asian” form of Chess. Her love makes her want to form a “Shogi Club”, but unable to do so because of the lack of members. This is where An comes into play and makes an offer that Konami simply cannot resist.
Frankly, Konami’s route is also largely uninteresting–with only the incest taboo consisting of literally everything. It displays the most about the “Asaba-family”, however, as well as Tina being more active in the story outside of her own route.
Last but certainly not the least, we have an adorable Love Fairy, Tina!
Arguably the central heroine (while some may argue that An is the central heroine), Tina is actually a “shinigami”, or a Death God. It is shown very early that she escaped to Yuma’s house because she didn’t want to be a shinigami, but it’s not explained why it was Yuma she ran away to, at least until her route.
It’s actually pretty surprising that even with such a design (being relatively child-like), Tina also has some good parts of her own, which the story reveals early in her route and suggests that is the reason why Yuma falls in love with her.
Tina’s route seems to concentrate the most on the theme of “Love”, and how Tina believed “Love is a wonderful thing”, but soon doubts her own words as she sees someone who was crying because of the very thing Tina thought to be “wonderful”. Tina’s route is very climactic in my opinion, and along with her design, was a great treat for a lolicon like me.
Tina’s route is where you get a clear cut view of Yuma’s past and how his “duty” came along to be. A great wrap-up for the entire title if you ask me.
Mysterious character?! OwO
Sexual Content: Low-ish…? It’s concentrated in the end of each route so ._.;
Comments: So the biggest thing about this game was the jokes: they were absolutely hilarious. From the very first hour of playing this game, I was laughing so much because of some of the most intricate but high-quality jokes that I thoroughly enjoyed. This comedy element was able to make the game have a very light-hearted atmosphere from the first scenes (which contrasted with our oh-so-serious protagonist).
This isn’t the kanji for “river”! (川 )
One of the comical scenes involve Konami losing a Shogi match. Note that the “king” is often referred to as “tama”, and how Konami says “My tama was taken” (or I lost a shogi match) makes a double entendre to “My testicles (balls) were taken”.
But as you probably heard me complaining, much of the design presented in this game was pretty cliche. The same old same old that we’re used to by now, and this lack of originality wasn’t really that great. Yes, there were many dramatic scenes included to “spice up” each route, but it wasn’t enough at least for me.
Konami’s route which involves the characters being faced with the incest taboo: especially against their own foster mother.
And with that, let’s try to analyze Minase Mirai! I don’t know if the writer is a male or female (probably a male because I rarely see female eroge writers), but he seems to specialize in humor, especially the ones involving double entendre (aka, words or phrases that have two or more meanings).
Despite this, I saw a great lack of originality, as well as a flawed transition throughout the entire story. Aka, the game will pretty much skip through days or even years without a “transition”.
Speaking of which, the child care center that An works in has some strange children…
Finally, one negative trait I noticed was that the “fantasy” theme was introduced rather abruptly. Here we are expecting a romance game, and the game suddenly introduces a shinigami calling herself a love fairy? Everything seems to connect and match in the end, but this abrupt introduction is something our new scenario writer may have to work on.
On the other hand, our scenario writer also has some good traits. Included is his proficient ability to utilize subcharacters. The game has several subcharacters, but he is able to manage them into each and every scene pretty much flawlessly, and even have some play roles that become the theme of the heroine route! This was definitely a plus, and one of the talents I saw while reading the story.
In addition, the heroines are still there! Just because I went into An’s route, the other characters do not suddenly disappear. It’s such a simple matter, but it’s really big for me.
This is one of those scenes where the subcharacters are used as a theme for a heroine route.
Affection for the Characters: High
CG Score: 10/10 (without my ridiculous bias for Izumi Tsubasu’s artwork, 8/10)
Well, the main complaint with CGs was that there weren’t enough of them. Other than that though, I loved the visual design and how various small animations made the game much more interesting and enjoyable.
The SDCGs are also pretty adorable
Music Score: 8/10. I love Palette’s music design, which often consists of synthetic strings that have a touch of “pop” in it. I also include the game’s “Grand Opening” movie below, which is titled “Distance”.
Conclusion: A decent game from Palette, which isn’t something to hype about, but it’s certainly not a kusoge like some other games are nowadays. At first glance, it’s pretty much another charage (much to my disappointment), but there’s enough “filling” in the shell to make this a competent “eroge”.
And I really wish I had a pet like this…
What? No! I was referring to Tina, not the fearsome looking wolf that’ll probably eat me alive