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

Foreword: What the hell, August Releases?! is this month some kind of an event to give Jason a chain of awesome games?! I’m completely fine with that! Bring on the great games! Oh, and this one was definitely one of them!

As proof, look who’s frantically writing up a review when he has something important to do tomorrow!
Pharmaceutics exam? Is that delicious?

Truth be told, I would’ve loved to call this a kamige, because it really has those desirable elements. However, I actually found a critical factor that prevents it from being called “Godly”, and I’ll definitely get into more of that as I go on.

Maybe I have a bias for any form of a time-warping themed game, but that’s because there’s a very difficult factor to overcome called a “time paradox”. I hope I can present how the game handled this element with the review!

WARNING: This review may contain UNINTENTIONAL spoilers! Please read at your own risk!

Title: できない私が、くり返す (Dekinai watashiga, kurikaesu) [Lit. Trans: The powerless me, will repeat]
Producers: Akabeisoft 3
Release Date: August 29, 2014
VNDB Link: http://vndb.org/v15166
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=810786
Game Type: Fantasy Novel with themes of Time Warp and Philosophy

Summary: “Just like how you can’t change my heart, you won’t be able to change the future”

That phrase is what Ren said to Riku, as she handed him a clock that can turn back time. That was five years ago, and Riku is now a full-fledged adult who is traveling all over Japan to “help” the people in need with this strange artifact. Despite Ren’s words that he cannot “change what has already happened”, Riku was determined to prove her wrong, and used the power of the clock for years… with no success.

As he arrived in another town looking for a place to stay while he works to “help others”, an apple rolls down from the hill. He is only able to catch one as many others passes him by, and even if he uses the clock to wind back time to see if he can catch any more than one, the apples defy physics and he ends up only being able to catch just one apple.

The owner of the apples, Shino, then comes to thank him for his help. To Riku’s surprise, the girl is stunningly similar to the person who once Riku loved, and hiding his surprise, he somehow receives the girl’s help to get used to the new town.

Riku will never be able to guess that this encounter will change his viewpoint of everything
And thus starts the story of Riku in this small town with a strange girl named Shino.

Shino is extremely skilled at peeling apples!
(Which reminds me… If anyone else realized what the symbolism for the apples were, please tell me)

Story Length: Moderately Long (~20 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Easy
Comments: Very clear cut choices, although some may not be so obvious if you’re not an avid eroge player. It’s relatively obvious, however, that Shino’s route won’t open unless you clear the other three heroine’s routes first.

As scary as it was, Shino’s route is actually a “bad end”, and the reader is hit with this fact so suddenly that the CG associated with her despair has so much impact, it’s really something you can’t “unsee”.
However, only after her route is when you can access a route called “Re:Call” which is the True Route of the entire game. Only after that you receive a relatively humorous episode called “The Piece of Memory ” which makes some heavy implications about the “Clock”.

There are afterstories for each of the three non-central heroines, as well as an afterstory for Miu and another Miu+Yume, as well as the subcharacter involved in Miki’s route. However, all of these afterstories are just H-scenes.

Plenty of yuri to go around too! (huehuehuehue)

Character Design Rating: 7/10
Story Rating: 9/10
Protagonist Rating: 7/10
Game Quality: Moderate
Overall Rating: 9/10
Rating Comments: A very high rating much to my content, it’s rare for me to come across two great games in a row unexpectantly, and this is already in addition to the fact that I had high standards for Akabeisoft 3 as well.

Character Summary: Let’s go in the order I went through as well! Here goes!

Yume is first, and originally, her encounter with Riku is actually them crashing into each other in front of his apartment, since neither of them were paying attention to where they were going. Yume is a relatively strange character who is pretty much an otaku, and is very knowledgeable about the Japanese subculture.

Originally, Yume and Riku’s relationship begins with Yume’s suggestion of a manga author after [That Event] occurred. The author is Yume’s favorite, and Riku, taking her advice, comes to enjoy manga as well. This makes the two spend time together, and introduces a character named “Miu”.

Yume’s route was actually pretty nice, since you can quickly see that Miu is a yandere character who points her hate towards Riku. Her reason? She’s absolutely infatuated to Yume, and finds guys around her as annoying.
Despite being considered a subcharacter, Miu has a lot of impact in Yume’s route and will go through the most extremes to “make Yume mine”.

Next is Airi, a relatively quiet character with a great sense of humor, especially in the sexual department. Most of her jokes involve Riku impregnating or cheating on her, and even though she says this with a flat tone of voice, some of the tsukomi that other characters perform were pretty funny.

Airi is quickly shown to be a skilled badminton player. This skill is shown when Airi completely dominates a tournament, as well as with Shino’s words that Airi was the National Champion at one point.

However, the reader is given a large hint of Airi during the common route: it is seen with her having some trouble with her right wrist…
And that’s exactly what happens in Airi’s route: her wrist becomes unusable for actual competition.

Being the nosy person Riku is, he agrees to help the girl find a new “hobby” or “goal in life”, and they start brainstorming.
The trouble blows with another subcharacter, who seems to have a deep relationship with Airi, and the characters will be challenged to some grueling conditions they didn’t even dream of.

The third heroine is Miki, and despite her being small, she’s still a 3rd year in high school: older than Airi.

Riku’s first encounter with Miki also presents her older brother, Atsuhi, who has a severe sister complex–he claims that whoever Miki brings home and introduce as her boyfriend will be sliced up into thin pieces, stewed and put into curry, to be served to the next guy that Miki brings.

This joke is repeated when Riku “bullies” or make sexual comments towards Miki, when Atsuhi would pull out a fork and threaten Riku. Atsuhi’s sis-con characteristic is used even during times when Miki and Riku would go out to shopping.

So you only need a spoon to eat curry and Miso soup… Where did that fork come from?

Miki’s route mostly involves the sibling’s past and her desire for her older brother to find happiness of her own. She strongly believes that her brother did enough, and it was time to make time for himself.

And what do you know? A subcharacter who seems to have a special relationship to Atsuhi! However, Riku and Miki will both find out that this will not be an easy task: they will have to work together and devise a plan that will overturn the future and achieve their goal.

Last is Shino! The adorable character who is definitely the story’s central focus, it’s also definitely true that there are the most mysteries surrounding her. “Is it just coincidence that she was so similar to the person Riku loved?” “What are the symbolism of the apples?” … and those are some of the biggest ones.

However, [That Event] involving this character happens in every route. It is only in her own route where Riku turns back time and asks what her “hope” (more specifically, her regrets in life) and asks her to list some things she wants to do with the short time she has left. Shino lists out 6 things for the protagonist, one of which is to “Experience Romance”. Immediately offering himself, Riku not only offers to be her boyfriend, but also help her accomplish the other 5 things in the list.

But Shino says there’s a 7th thing she wants to do… and she’ll only teach Riku once they’re done with the six things she already listed. She comments that this 7th “desire” is going to be extremely difficult, and as Riku will soon see… It is.

Both Times.

The person who started it: Ren!
She’s also a pretty nice comical character. (Not a heroine though)

Sexual Content: Moderate

Comments: So Akabeisoft! The company who’s very famous for being heavily story oriented in terms of great flow and efforts in the smallest details. Well, it was rather different this time. I’ll just list the goods and bads.

So with one scenario writer, this writer did a splendid job on the overall story. The “small details” are greatly emphasized and covered, so you shouldn’t be seeing any form of story contradictions in the game. In addition to this, the romance didn’t absolutely turn out like shit as it did for other Akabeisoft games. With very little of the pointless ichaicha predominant in charage, most of those scenes are replaced by a sweet-and-sour scenes where both the heroine and the protagonist will create this “lovey-dovey” atmosphere which displays their affection for each other, without perhaps the annoying cliche phrases used between lovers. Even if THIS kind of “romance” bothers anyone, let me just comment how it’s definitely better than seeing H-scenes literally 5 minutes into a heroine route.

Although, I would’ve liked it if the number of H-scenes were reduced, since some of them were literally put back-to-back.
(I’ll admit that I actually read through some of them)

The bads though. The flow sucked. Honestly, the game just hopped back and forth between time as it wanted, and while I understand that it had the need to do this sometime, the skipping of weeks or months with just a phrase wasn’t exactly the best transition.

………….Oh Shit.

In addition, I really hate how the True Route is anticlimactic. It’s just [That Event] happening again and that’s it. I really hoped I can see some additional drama in there. I can’t say the ending was rushed, but it just seemed heavily incomplete, as if the writer simply got lazy and couldn’t think of anything else that wouldn’t contradict with the main theme.

(P.S. If you’re wondering at what “[That Event]” refers to, I’m afraid you’ll have to find out yourself!)

Another thing is actually my own personal preference, but I wanted to see some protagonist-in-action. Riku is extremely intelligent to be able to answer Miki’s “quiz” questions flawlessly, and this would have been a great foreshadow for him “going back in time” hundreds, thousands, or even millions of times. In reality, he does go back a large number of times to help out the troubled individuals, but in actual relation to the True Route, where it should be most climactic, it was only twice. Am I the only one who thought it was pretty weird how it was twice, and the game’s subtitles were “I will start over again and again for you”

Seriously, I would’ve screamed like a fangirl if the game added that “shock” factor that the protagonist went through hell and back multiple times. (Although they actually do this in a certain UNLOCKABLE SCENE *hint hint*, but in a humorous way)

So yeah, the game was great, but it can improve. It’s kamige-material, but not quite reaching that much.

Airi seems like an emotionless character, but oh man, she has one hell of a badass expression here, as if she’s saying “bring it on”

But I can’t forget this: Akabeisoft ALWAYS seem to try to put some form of moral lesson within all of their games. This is the huge plus that brought this game’s score up so much. It can be in-your-face about it (Never give up), or it can be relatively subtle (Future is only Perceptional). Regardless of how you analyze the human philosophy presented in the game, it’s sure to leave a strong impression.

Finally, one last compliment because throughout the entire game, the Clock never changes the future: The game makes sure to point this out before ending each route. It’s the characters that somehow drag the despair back to a happy end. So simply put, even as the “Clock” dictates the past and present, the Future is Dependent on the characters themselves (/spoiler)

Here’s a hint for Airi’s route: She is Right-handed.

Affection for the Characters: High

CG Score: 4/10. CGs were great, but the HUGE drop (-4 points) is resulting from too little normal CGs, AND no SDCGs. (I think in the case of Yume, the HCG count is greater than the normal ones)
Music Score: 6/10. The OP is OP. Ba-dam-tss!
Jokes aside, the opening called “Re:Call” is EXACTLY how I like it. Absolutely beautiful, and Shimotsuki(?) Haruka does a wonderful job singing it. (She sings a lot of galge openings, so it’s not a surprise if you heard her before). Too bad the other soundtracks were average at best.

Addictiveness: Moderate. Despite how it may seem one might not want to play this game again, it is something I’d come back to, just due to the lovable characters and the great mix of comedy and drama.

Conclusion: A great Akabeisoft game, as I expected. I didn’t really expect much in the romance category because they usually suck at it, but it was at least acceptable this time. On the other hand, the story seems relatively incomplete with some of the most important symbolisms unanswered, as well as having some unsatisfactory points like the protagonist only using the Clock’s Powers twice within the entire True Route.

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Comments on: "I will Endure Pain for you… Again and again: Review of [140829]Dekinai watashiga kurekaesu" (13)

  1. […] So in a way, this game has that one bit of “hope”, just like how it did in the previous Akabeisoft 3 game. […]

  2. Dariustg said:

    Is there even an english release of this title at the moment? Im astonished that you’re able to write this! Unless you’re fluent in japanese which I have no awareness of. Basically how can this file accidentally get purchased on to my computer.

  3. I haven’t been on wordpress in a month and i come back to find jason writing a mindblowing post. I knew this game was coming, but i had no hope for it as Akabei’s Kamige’s is said to end with Looseboy, so i have only read sharin and maou, oh but i did read some into Goei a while back.

    Anyway, thanks for writing this awesome review, joy. Hm?… what is this weird file downloading to my computer, i wonder?

    • Welcome back, and glad this review helped you out!

      In general, this game DOES seem to have mixed reviews, but it’s rather clear that it has to do with the theme of time-travel, which was considered vague… If you can swallow that, this game is pretty decent, but if you can’t, then it becomes really annoying

      I’m sure you’ll enjoy it ;)

  4. Also, as a note on the apple symbolism, I can’t say that I know conclusively what it means. From a cursory Google search, it seems that the apple symbolizes a lot of things. Most principally, “signifies totality. It is symbolic of earthly desires, or of indulgence in such desires.” The reasoning derives from the parable of Adam and Eve, and the forbidden fruit. So in a sense, the apple also symbolizes “love; joyousness; knowledge; wisdom; divination; luxury; but also deceitfulness and death. ”

    When it comes to stuff like this, it’s hard to be conclusive, because of just how simple it is to make something fit a theory or an idea. I could argue that Shino’s penchant with the apple is meant to symbolize her distant similarity with Ren, as having been something unobtainable for Riki, a forbidden fruit. In the same vein, I can argue that the apple to Shino, symbolizes how she can’t obtain a longer lifespan [granted that the apple also symbolizes death and deceit, as a result of the parable]. You could also argue that the apple represents everything earthly, which fits with the game’s central philosophy of focusing on the future [so something as otherworldly as time-travel, or a focus on the past, would be wasteful]. And of course, since the apple signifies ‘fullness’, you could argue that in itself, the fruit’s insinuating that more doesn’t have to come, that the present, blatant reality suffices. In Chinese culture, the apple symbolizes peace — once more, that’s easily applicable.

    This is virtually AP English all over again. Except this time, I read the book. The author could have practically, just chosen an arbitrary fruit as a result of his lunch that day though. In any instance, I did like how Shino’s preference for the apples showed up in minor, but meaningful ways [namely the stationery to her letters].

    • I recommended Astraythem to you because its entire story is about time-traveling (although it doesn’t seem like it), and just wanted to hear your opinion on what made sense and what didn’t. Don’t feel pressured to play it because of me though.

      That’s actually quite interesting how you mention your point that Riku never attempts to change the future. Even for the first scene when he meets Shino for the first time, he fails to catch any more than 1 apple despite which choice you pick (lie on the ground as a barrier or use footwork to catch them), but he never tries again a second time, despite making a comment that he should’ve “used my hands instead”. Same with other scenes where he tries to prevent the future, not change it.

      Love the analysis of the apples, and thank you for doing that research for me! (lol at my laziness). I really think the “apple” theme was presented too frequently (I do believe a generous fraction of Shino’s normal CGs contain the fruit), and too much of her design involved it, so I thought there would be some kind of connection in that field (Although your theory did make me laugh).

  5. When it came to this game, I liked the true route, but like you, I didn’t like just how anticlimatic it was. The letter itself was great, but the scene prior to it wasn’t as impactful as it could have been. I think the work shined most when you compare the Shino route prior to, and after his reunion with Ren.

    I had a lot of complaints with the work. The largest being the fact that while Shino’s without a doubt, the central heroine, the work doesn’t really revolve around her. The side character routes have absolutely nothing to do with the main storyline. They all literally have their own endemic, discrete staff. Then there’s the fact that Shino has a relatively low amount of CG [despite taking up the largest amount of time, route(s)-wise]. Traditionally within a work that has a true route, you see the minor routes intricately developing everything up until that point. In this work, that wasn’t the case. The either routes ranged from being insignificant, to being absurd, to being simply ‘fine.’ The comedy within the work was consistent, and persisted well throughout all the routes; but I don’t know whether or not it’s a good thing, that every character excels at banter within such a somber series.

    And as the other commenter noted, the time travel within this series isn’t very logical. While this work doesn’t base itself off of fantastic science-fiction, I would have at least liked a more developed explanation than the vague ‘point’ and ‘line’ ones given. The work’s major theme is to make the most of what you can actually do, to not lament on the past; and I think that’s one of the work’s strongest points, which separate it from just another time-travel work [which includes some mindblowing twist towards the end]. But, when time travel plays such a pivotal role within the novel, it’s generally not the best to just leave it vague. It’s not a Niijima Yuu work; that type of abstract, vagueness doesn’t offer a dimension to the work. It just seems lazy.

    And as noted, the CG deviated in quality. The common-route portion of the work had really consistent, good CG quality; but it gradually fell in quality. First, by quantity, then second, by quality.

    So in the end, I did enjoy the work despite my complaints with it. I really did like how they propagated the lesson of “Focus on the future, and change what you can; don’t blame the past for what you couldn’t do.” And the ending, despite my mild complaints with it, was really meaningful, impactful, and fulfilling. Of course, I was expecting for the bonus chapter unlocked after the ending to have some happy, alternative conclusion — but I suppose the work didn’t cop out the easy way.

    • 100% agreed with you, on all of your points! Looks like we had almost the exact same opinions except for the “vagueness” that I found to be favorable.

      Really, the only decent “time traveling”-themed novel I’ve ever seen was Astraythem, when a lot of the technical terms are used to try to solve the time paradox. Other games tend to sweep the “Time Paradox” element under the rug which makes it even worse than this kind of “half-assed” time-travel themes which tries to cover up by being vague (note that this is just my own opinion)

      In the end, the time travel never really played that big of a role, and that may have seemed like a bad thing for the majority of the players, but when compared with games that uses the time-travel theme (even remotely) without planning.

      P.S. Were you the one who commented on VNDB about this game? I remember reading a post on there very similar to what I thought about this game (and almost pinpoint on what you wrote), but can’t remember the author’s name

    • Yeah, I was the one that commented on VNDB.

      Astraythem’s been on my plan-to-play list for a while now, but I’ve held off on it, since school’s about to resume for me, and I don’t know whether handling a long work is really the best idea at the start of the school year. But from its premise, at the least, it looks novel and interesting.

      And yeah, time travel itself really wasn’t a central part of the novel. But still, there’s that side of me that imposes himself on top of the protagonist. The “if I could do x, then he should be able to do x just as easily” type of ideal. The protagonist never really ‘tested’ out changing the future in the practical sense. He literally just repeated his actions over and over, without really changing his approach [and we’re to assume that he’s been doing the same things for five years up to the start of the story]. It was mildly frustrating, but it didn’t detract enough from the main storyline.

      And I also agree with you on the pacing. While a lot of the stuff would have invariably repeated if they had went for showing the full chronology during the final Shino route again, because the work did that, there really wasn’t as much impact as there could have been.

  6. In my case, there was a personal factor that unfortunately made me unable to enjoy it as much as you did. I’m kind of inflexible in certain areas due to my nature as a scientist. That doesn’t mean that I can’t stand fantasy because it “doesn’t make sense”, no. Adding magic to our world or creating a pure fantasy setting is perfectly viable as long as there are no contradictions to the rules the setting established for itself. However, it’s a bit different when you take our world and just add “one thing” when the same rules of the world we know apply. You have to properly root it by giving some sort of explanation that makes sense to some extent. Due to that, what I hate most in vn’s is time travel and androids.

    Both of these almost always suck. When they don’t, my joy knows no bounds. In this case, the concept of time travel and that clock is so fundamentally flawed from the point of view of a physicist, that I personally had a pretty hard time ignoring it. However, as you stated, the route “concepts” in itself and the characters were flashed out greatly, that I could sincerly enjoy. And as you stated, I’d have wanted to see the protagonist to go “through hell”, going back in time countless times for the one he loves (similiar to what for instance Koharu went through for Kaito in HGB)

    Btw the art is actually pretty bad, akabee should have a budget that enables them to create something of higher quality in this department ;/

    • The Koharu in HGB is definitely a good example. The one I was really thinking of was actually the second season of Haruhi, where (albeit it was repetitive as fuck) Nagato admits to “repeating” the summer vacation over a thousand times (if my memory serves).

      On another thought though, can I ask about how this game had didn’t have a “base in reality”?
      On my part, I analyzed to make sense using the “self-fulfilling prophecy”, where it would be unreasonable (and would cause a time paradox) if they were unable to change the future, but in reality, the game makes huge points on
      (Spoiler Alert)
      The characters changing the “unknown future” because they “know” (or can predict) what will happen.
      (Spoiler Alert end)

      This really leads to the game having no real theme of “time warp”, but rather on the individual’s perception of that future and their attitude towards it, instead.

      This applies even in Shino’s route, even though [That Event] still happens.

    • I guess there are people who are perfectly fine with this level of vagueness, it’s just that I’m not one of them. It is actually valid to suspect that it was left vague so that it won’t be contracted to even more logical flaws.

      My problem with it goes even a step further than the “vagueness”. I realize that most people won’t complain about it, but I will. Because I study this shit. I presume it would be same for you if a game would be talking shit about medicine stuff while most ppl wouldn’t notice. The very concept how time travel is depicted in this game is flawed and – frankly – impossible, unless most of the fundamental natural laws of our universe are actually wrong. Nowadays, there is a pretty coherent concept how – if at all – something “resembling” time travel could maybe work. Simply put, it’s similar to how steins;gate depicts time travel and oh wonder, they had an actual scientist as an advisor for s;g. Adopting this sort of model which doesn’t necessarily contradict natural laws, can be very confusing, paradox and complex so I get a feeling they deliberately choose the “easy way” because it was too much of a bother.

      And as you stated, that’s not really what this game is about in the first place, so in a way, that’s perfectly okay. It’s bothering me on a personal level. I wish it didn’t, but it does. I can’t help it. It’s just a factor I can’t overlook, thus I find myself unable to rate the game as high as you did. Plus, I’m mad about the art ~-~

    • +1 to your theory that vagueness = less chances to contradict itself. Really, I’m like, 95% confident that’s the reason why the author chose to present the game this way.

      {I presume it would be same for you if a game would be talking shit about medicine stuff while most ppl wouldn’t notice}

      Oh man, all my feels for this comment. I’ve seen games do this (one of them is actually in Hapymaher, where Tooru should’ve developed resistance to his “sedative drugs”, it wasn’t important to the overall story, but it annoyed me.

      Yeah, I see that the time-travel is fundamentally wrong too. I mean, one of the scenes where he tries to catch Yume’s coin from falling into the machine involves the coin flat-out defying physics, and the game just brushes past it. Same with other situations where the apples jump over him (in the beginning scenes) or a gust of wind blows JUST at the moment he tries to grab a girl’s balloon

      In a sense, perhaps the time-travel element was an additional humor element? Everytime it happens, Riku is pretty much says “wtf” and moves on; it’s never really stressed except when it involves a heroine.

      Finally, it looks like we are once again in agreement about the art (though for slightly different reasons).

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