Foreword: For the person who expected an Astral Air Review, apologies!
Now that formal apologies are out of the way (
lolsorrynotsorry), let’s get to this title, titled “Boku ha kimi dake wo mitsumeru”, which is from a company called Inre that you might know from ChuShinGura series. With a bit more expectation, I approached this title and found it to be fairly decent, but also lacking in a couple of places that I hope to discuss in the review. In general, both the story and character design was nicely done, but something was missing with both of them, making this game fall a bit.
Though on the other hand, there are action scenes within this game that display “movements” (no E-mote) via transition of images, really amplifying the “visual” elements. This was a nice thing I hope to also discuss further down below.
The surprising thing about this game is that it’s actually a remake! I did not realize this until I checked Getchu and VNDB and found that it was indeed a remake of an older unofficial title that was released almost 10 years ago with a different artist. They even changed the character design of a couple of them (e.g. Ria), which was quite interesting.
MILD SPOILERS ARE PRESENT IN THIS REVIEW! PLEASE READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!
Title: 僕はキミだけを見つめる (Boku ha kimi dake wo mitsumeru) [Lit Trans: I only look towards you]
Release Date: August 13, 2006 (Original), November 27, 2015 (Remake)
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v9736
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=861645
Game Type: Kinetic Romance Novel with various themes
Summary: Takumi was once a fierce leader of the Sabel Tigers who were a group of young men dedicating themselves to justice. They even captured and punished a serial rapist named Killer Joe and were even deemed more capable than even the police. However, half a year has passed since “that incident” that tore up the group and left Takumi alone and at risk of being killed. He lives alone in an abandoned building with nothing to hope for and nothing to do.
It’s then when he receives a message from someone named Shion who seems to know a lot about his past. She seems to have a job for him, which was something he needed as he was getting very low on money. This starts him on the chain of fate that leads him to a girl named Towa and changes his life forever.
These two subcharacters appear in the beginning scenes to “direct” Takumi to Towa, and aren’t considered heroines
Story Length: Moderately Short (15 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Very Easy
Comments: I say that this is a Kinetic novel because there’s essentially one ending. HOWEVER, there are two choices that the reader can make within the “After Story”, which is actually pretty retarded and do not affect the main story in any way.
Character Design Rating: 6/10
Story Rating: 6/10
Protagonist Rating: 7/10
Game Quality: High
Overall Rating: 6/10
Rating Comments: Now don’t get me wrong; this was actually a pretty climactic and exciting game. It’s just that for both the characters and story, everything seemed awkward. This “awkwardness” was exactly as the word implies, a very strange phenomenon where the game shifted themes, environments, and presented characters from one to another, making the entire story a bit inconsistent. Characters shared this “awkwardness”, where each character was really missing something although they were highly relevant to the story. I’ll definitely talk about this as I go on.
In reality, it was really exciting to see how someone like Takumi was going to change, since he had his own share of pain and suffering that obviously wasn’t going to disappear easily.
Character was, as mentioned previously, very superior. Colorful characters and subcharacters fill the entire game, and how the character’s reactions toward their environment was realistic added to the points of this score. You even see minor characters disappearing and reappearing later in the game! However, the thing that was strange and flimsy was each of their roles in the story. Each of them has a specific PART that they play (e.g. Towa as the central heroine), but the meaning of adding these characters was missing (e.g. their ROLE), almost as if every character, including Towa herself, was a supporting subcharacter (and thus completely missing a “main heroine”). The game puts in a lot of effort into the design of these characters yet each of them seem fake and pretty much a cardboard cut-out.
So while both Ria and Ikuno each had a “part” they play in the story, their “role” as a character as a whole (i.e. how they influence the main heroine/protagonist was completely missing)
Story shared the same flimsy and awkwardness as the game shifts from an environment of drugs, gangs, and corruption, to suddenly this theme of friendship, romance, and meaning of life. In honesty, I think this was a bad move since the latter is often present in cheap charage and not really necessary. I actually enjoyed the darker atmosphere of the game where Takumi was more active instead of being bullied by the “team” later in the story. In addition to this, the endings strangely seem very rushed, which allows me to say with confidence that the story “gets worse” as you go through with it.
Yoooooooooo. The amount of badass that Takumi shows is like, through the roof.
Protagonist is ironically more consistent, as the super bad-ass character who always keeps his distance from everyone including the person who saves his life. All his actions are for the benefit of himself, and while he did have that dynamic element that changes this paradigm and made him more of a protagonist, I really wish the game took a bit more time and added more scenes where he has his “self-existential crisis”. While not surprising, for all 5 female characters that he engages in sexual intercourse in during the game, including Towa, there is little to no romantic development, shaving even more points off. In addition to this, there are some moments in the game where it seems as if Towa is the protagonist, NOT Takumi, shown by how everyone’s actions revolve around Towa instead of Takumi. If at all, Takumi is the one influenced by Towa and not the other way around.
Character Summary: So as a Kinetic Novel, there’s really one route in this entire game, but I’ll try to cover the relevant characters.
Towa is the character who is the central heroine of this entire game, but ironically introduced much later. However, readers can probably see backgrounds with her image and advertisements for certain drinks or other goods. She’s the super-mysterious singer who only appeared via recordings, and apparently captivated everyone with her singing, selling at least a million copies of her CDs consistently. However, due to the careful planning of her studio, Towa’s personal information is extremely limited; no one has actually ever seen her.
As strange as it is, I thought Towa’s design was very generic. It’s quite obvious, so I’ll say it, but both Takumi and Towa have “met before” and is when Towa is implied to have fallen in love with him. The “mystery” that shrouded this girl is soon shattered as the game shows Towa to be childish instead, and the background of this heroine was really the only thing that separates Towa from other “Idol Heroines” present in galge.
So yep, very cute and charming, but quite generic.
If I also had to make a complaint, the entire game is about her singing and there are only two songs with her CV’s vocals (At this point, I was awestruck that her CV is the same as “Setsuna” from White Album 2). I mean, at least there’s two, but even then the song/lyrics itself isn’t THAT heavenly as the characters in the game mention to the point it captivates millions of audience or changes Takumi’s mindset (that or I’m too much of a cynical bastard).
Though I found it pretty cool how her birthday (as she accidentally reveals) is literally one day after mine: Mine’s on February 24th, Towa’s birthday is February 25th. Damnit, I have YET to find a heroine with the same birthday as me :(
Towa and Ikuno: Really?
I’ll briefly discuss the “Team” member since they’re relevant…
Note that both Ria and Ikuno have “routes” of their own, but the word is in quotations because in reality, it’s just two consecutive H-scenes with no transition and an abrupt ending. Any more would be a spoiler so I’ll keep it at that.
Ria is the super-violent girl who actually kinda annoyed me. I can definitely understand the skepticism of a male bodyguard who appears out of nowhere, but Ria really treats Takumi like trash often childishly for some reason. This leads to Takumi thinking that she hates him… which gets overturned in a matter of seconds when the reader gets into Ria’s “route”. She’s in charge of most of the fashion for Towa, and was actually her rival at one point.
Ikuno is the loli-character who Takumi “trips” on impulse on the streets since she was walking too close to him. The two characters meet again once Takumi agrees to be hired as a bodyguard for Eternity Productions and Ikuno soon come to trust the protagonist, possibly even earlier than Towa, who knows and already feels affection for Takumi. She seems to be more responsible for handiwork and miscellaneous errands.
Miya is the woman that Takumi meet when he initiates contact with Eternity Productions, and FORESHADOWS *HINT HINT* that she looks rather familiar. (I sincerely wondered if these foreshadows could be any more blatant) In reality, Miya has quite a sad story of her own which had me sympathizing with more than even Towa’s background (and that’s pretty significant). She’s very responsible and even hard-headed to a certain extent, and like Ria, doesn’t seem to like Takumi that much.
As for Shichiri and Aru… Lemme skip them because I’m lazy like that (wow much irresponsible)
joyjason deserves a punch (x2) in the face for being irresponsible!
Sexual Content: Low
Comments: So you have a game that’s actually pretty decent, but there are awkward kinks in both the character design and the story that makes my pseudo-OCD flair up. After reading this title, I can definitely see why people enjoy the ChuSinGura series (same scenario writer), but worry that these same “kinks” might be present in those titles as well; it’s just that readers may tend to ignore them since it can be quite insignificant.
Another thing was that this game had a lot of potential to display “love triangles”, the element that’s extremely hard to incorporate and if done successfully, can make the game’s quality skyrocket. Unfortunately, the writer wasn’t up to this challenge and threw the entire element out the window, both making the romance shallow and wasting the amazing potential the game may have had.
To point out another flaw was the humor which was highly lacking. Like other “cheap” humor, they revolve mostly around the protagonist’s sexuality instead of the heroine traits, and that’s pretty much the worst humor you can think of (I see you being guilty of this too, Favorite). Though at least for this title, it was also fair to say that heroines were pretty bland in the first place (and thus can’t really find “humor” in them)
Though on the other hand, they did have references like this
A good thing on the other hand was that the game had was less description of fight scenes, but instead more visual effects. From sprites that were actually animated (such as Ria’s fingers or Towa’s eyebrows when she’s upset), these small movements really enhanced the “visual” aspect of the game, which I find both unique and favorable.
I’m sure that non-Asian readers may not realize this, but the Flower Meaning of Sunflowers is “I only look towards you“, since the sunflowers only face the sun. This was supposed to symbolize Towa and how she only looked towards Takumi since their first meeting and even as she became the super-popular singer, but considering how there was like a 10 year “gap” since their first meeting and this story, in addition to a complete lack of reminiscence scenes where she would often “imagine” of Takumi within this time frame, I didn’t really find this symbolism that meaningful. It’s good to see a heroine so loyal, but I think most players would be able to agree that Towa’s affection was pretty shallow.
The two characters really needed more interaction than what the game shows.
Affection for the Characters: Moderate
CG Score: 7/10. I appreciate the bishoujo art-style (by someone named Nui?), but it backfired with characters who were supposed to be more mature and adult-like. Eh, I guess it’s better than the old art…
Music Score: 4/10. Even with the presence of Insert and ED songs performed by one of the CVs, tracks are few in quantity and even worse in variety. I can understand that this was originally an unofficial game, but at least put in some effort than to copy-paste everything =_=;;
Addictiveness: Low. Probably won’t come back to this one mainly due to lack of replayability (joyjason has acquired a new word!)
Conclusion: A decent kinetic novel which I’ll probably remember for having an awkward character design and kinks in the story that made it worse than what it actually could have been. The inconsistency of theme works mostly to critique the game and while I found both Takumi and Towa to be well designed, they could have been better. On the other hand, I enjoy kinetic novels and found myself liking this one quite a bit, making me want to try out ChuSinGura.