Okay DAMN. People said this game was good but I did NOT know it was going to be THIS good. Well, only parts of it.
This title’s definitely on kamige level, but it’s really unfortunate that I can’t really say it’s a kamige because of a couple of reasons. Despite this, I wouldn’t hesitate to call this one of the most impactful games out there and MAN it really left a big impression on me. More like, why didn’t I hear about this title before? The all ages trial was from 2008! Ya’ll need to make recommendations like this more often because I often find myself missing them. Though to be fair on the other hand, most of my bias for this game comes from the fact I love seeing philosophy in galge/eroge in general. It really gives me a lot of “shower thoughts” that I can ponder about for the next few days.
While I’m going to be praising this game for the most part, it isn’t without flaws. I’m going to point out some major kinks that this game had that makes it awfully awkward in some areas and may be more of a turnoff. I think Sakura no Uta would be a great example of how a lot of amateur players scream is the best game ever, and completely ignore said fatal flaws, lol.
This review will contain minor spoilers and analysis of the game! Please only consider reading this review if you didn’t really understand the game or have already played it!
Title: サクラノ詩－櫻の森の上を舞う－ Sakura no Uta -Sakura no morino uewomau- [Lit. Trans: The Poem of Sakura – Dancing above the Forest of Sakura-]
Release Date: Trial released in 2008, Official Release in October 23, 2015
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v562
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=44121
Game Type: Philosophical Poetic Novel with Slice of Life Themes
Summary: Naoya’s father died, who was his last blood relative. With no other family left on this planet, Naoya also refuses his father’s inheritance of 150 million en (Roughly 1.5 million USD) and now penniless, he somehow still finds the leisure to mess around with his friend Kei. However, as the funeral in the forest of cherry blossoms end, Kei’s older sister Ai invites Naoya to live with them in return for making meals at their house, which Naoya agrees to.
It’s been so long since that unfortunate accident 6 years ago that left Naoya, a world-famous artist himself, refusing to draw again. Now with the innocent childhood friends all grown up, Naoya must move on from the death of his relatives and live his own life with the relationships that he has. However, little will he know that he’ll be the center of even more; more pain and suffering for the people around him. He’ll never understand until much later how much of an influence he holds as the son of the World-Famous Artist.
What is mind? No matter
What is matter? Never Mind. (more…)
Foreword: I’ve been losing my speed recently! Two reviews a month is ridiculously slow, and I blame my MMO hobbies for that :|
(That, and I went through Lollipop Nightmare and Hello Lady -ND-. Both were pretty “meh”, with the former being pretty crappy and equivalent to a poorly-made nukige. Well, I should cut them some slack since they’re a doujin circle.
On the other hand, I was actually quite disappointed with this title as well. I’m sure we all know of the amazing route in the first game involving Luna, with crappy routes for the other heroines that I’m sure no one would even care about. Frankly, that was what I was expecting here as well: one stunningly good route, and other routes being worthy of being thrown into the garbage.
Turns out, none of the routes were even remotely close to being this “stunningly good” route. As if to add salt to wound, the story makes multiple references to the parents (Yuusei and Luna), but never really make them show up in game, and holy shit this is going to knock off points.
I’ll discuss the in’s and out’s of the entire game with the review below.
Summary: Saika returns from New York to Japan, where he calls his “true home”. His excitement since he lands at the airport has been at its max, and it becomes even more delightful for him that his favorite uncle Aeon is waiting for him at the Sakurakouji mansion. However, he hears a very bad news from him, that the Filia Academy will close down the male portion of the designer class due to the lack of applications.
Saika’s plan revolved entirely around his admission into this school! While this setback gets to him at first, he’s not going to back off yet. He’s not willing to wait another year for more applicants; he will take drastic measures to get into the school and leave a splendid legacy like his mother and father did in the past.
Allying Lumine (his “grandmother” by law), Atole (his younger sister), and Konochiyo (Yachiyo’s niece), Saika develops a plan to serve as a maid under a master in order to be able to attend the school. His favorite uncle Aeon lends his hand by providing Saika with a 66-story luxury mansion, and with every plan in full force, Saika’s only obstacle is now himself as he battles for the Grand Prix in the Christmas Filia Collection!
Along the way, he may befriend some allies who will work with him to achieve this goal. Saika’s story has just begun!
Story Length: Long (~30 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Easy
Comments: Typical “Navel” difficulty and length; there is no need for a walkthrough.
Character Design Rating: 4/10
Story Rating: 4/10
Protagonist Rating: 7/10
Game Quality: Low
Overall Rating: 5/10
Rating Comments: For the reference, I DO NOT include the Append Disc (which happens to be extraordinarily hilarious and I was literally rolling on the ground laughing my ass off while watching) when giving the game these scores. If you look closely, you can see that this game is the first to have the protagonist rating be higher than both Character Design and Story, which is essentially what happened: the game focuses on the life of Saika explicitly and only his connections with other heroines. As a consequence, heroines seem very insignificant to the protagonist and if I may be so bold to state, bland as fuck.
Some of the subheroines were plain bitches who had no role in the story except to show the readers how much of an idiot they were, and I’m pretty sure Navel added them in just to make a comparison about how awesome the characters were compared to the subcharacters.
Lastly, the story rating gets a large drop due to a large variety of unwanted and unnecessary elements both within the common route and heroine-specific routes. Some includes the obviously insignificant explanation of the “Family History” and some of the family rivalries which were never followed up with a good explanation.
Like this guy, who is technically Saika’s cousin.
The story also gets a huge drop from the lack of drama which was thoroughly present in the prequel. In the first title, the reader is shown the struggles and made to FEEL those struggles that Luna and Yuusei experience, but this game had absolutely none of that; as all the characters were in their tip-top conditions and really had no opposition throughout the game. With that, there were no significant “conflicts” throughout the entire game; even when Saika’s gender was to be revealed.
It DOES, however, get some points from the climactic ending………
Which applies to only one route, and that’s it. (Wow, much quality)
All in all, a very inferior game.
Character Summary: So remember when I posted a preview a few months back? Well, I think I’ll be repeating a couple of things, so let’s copy paste! put some new features!
Due to the nature of this title, I’ll start out with Saika, the protagonist of this title and also the biological son of our favorite couple back in Tsukiyori. He inherited his mother’s hair and his father’s girly looks, and even their talent and passion for designing. Directly contrasting with their parents, however, Saika and Atole (his younger sister) is on very good relations with their uncle, the scary Aeon who you may have all hated in the prequel for his haughtiness. Saika even admits to “falling for him” if he was a girl and genuinely wonders why he hasn’t married yet.
Regardless, it IS Aeon that gives Saika the 66-story mansion which Saika names “Sakura no En” (Cherry Blossom Paradise), which has some really nice features including an underground path to the school so Saika’s fragile skin won’t be affected by the sunlight.
About Saika himself, he is highly narcissistic, except this is purely relating to self. In other words, Saika loves himself, but DOESN’T belittle others. Yes, yes, I understand how unrealistic this is, but guys, it’s fiction and just a story…. (and just wait, there are more characters that would grind your gears later). His attitude of “Positive-Thinking” and “Accepting Everything!” is pretty much proof of this trait, which happens to be contradictory with his sadistic attitude toward some of the “ojou-sama”.
As stated on the website, Saika has a severe mother-complex, but doesn’t really seem to get along with his father. Despite this, you’d be surprised to know that when he was younger, he saw his father dressed up as a maid, and actually fell in love with such “beauty” to the point his sexuality was traumatized. (I know. This sounds absolutely ridiculous but that’s what happened)
Lastly, Saika seems to be the “meat” of this game, meaning that the game focused on the protagonist extensively over the heroines, to the point everything was about him instead of the heroines. This is actually quite different than the “charage” we’re usually used to, and was actually a pleasant surprise for me.
Next we have the apparently central heroine, Est. As we know now, Est is the master who Saika serves under to attend the school, and this info is brought to him by Lumine. It’s shown to the readers that to Saika’s surprise, they know each other… but only by their names. They were essentially the top designers at one point and would battle for first and second place. Saika of course fears that Est would recognize him, but it’s definitely fortunate that they only know each other by their names. With his alternate identity, Kokura Asahi, Saika makes his approach to this young lady in hopes of infiltrating the school.
Est herself is a comical character completely unlike Luna from the previous title. Despite being a “noble”, Est’s family is known to be associated with some sketchy events, while she herself is relatively barbaric compared to other “ojousama”. In addition, Est swears quite frequently, to the disdain of Saika, who takes it upon himself to change his master’s speech patterns. I actually appreciated that Est doesn’t seem to have the “Japanese Accent” when speaking English, however.
Est’s route is ultimately boring as hell until the climax, when Saika’s identity is blown by a subheroine and he is not allowed to return to the school. However, he has his own connections and is determined to finish the costume for Est… which isn’t turning out good. As he lay crying about his powerlessness, the words of his father from the past returns to him, and may allow him to realize something important: a key that can infuse a dress with the ultimate beauty.
Next on the list is Sakuri, a strange character who literally asks for Saika’s hand in marriage as soon as she meets him. It’s clear that this girl is absolutely infatuated with anything that’s white, and literally falls in love at first sight with Saika’s hair. Despite the two being “girls”, Sakuri does not hesitate to make sexual approaches to Saika, and throughout the game, the reader can see her “character” switching rapidly depending on the roles she play in commercials and such.
In reality, Saika and Sakuri have met before, and neither of them are aware of it. Sakuri refers to this event in front of him and others, and hearing it, Saika realizes that Sakuri’s “first love” was him. Obviously, though, he can’t come out and say it, so he keeps his mouth shut at the time.
Sakuri’s route is pretty slow at first, but gains speed as soon as Saika reads something shocking in her Diary. This event changes his views on Sakuri completely, and admittedly, this was a great example of a “plot-twist”. Despite this, Sakuri’s route lacked impact, conflict, drama, and felt very rushed at the end.
Next is Paruko… I mean Haruko. A strange character introduced first as a mascot doll screaming at how beautiful Saika is, the reader will be astonished to see that this character is actually quite talented with an abstract form of designing which allowed her and her friend to form a brand called “ParuParu Silver” (I can’t remember if this was the exact name).
Corresponding to her personality, Haruko is very laid back and frank, while being relatively modest with her works. She is associated with the “Regular Curriculum”, and even chosen for the introductory speech due to her talents (although she MAJORLY botches up that speech)
Haruko had a weird and ambiguous route where her past which displays her frail body is revealed all of a sudden. In addition, there doesn’t seem to be a good relationship between the students of the Regular Curriculum and the Special Curriculum, which brings about more conflict. In a sense, I found her to have a good route and design, but largely lacking flow and impact.
It’s also freaking hilarious how Saika almost barfs during one of the H-scenes, too.
Last is the “older sister” character Lumine. I have that in quotations because in reality, she’s younger than Saika. The game answers her relationship to Saika, as it explains how Yuusei’s grandfather (aka, Saika’s great-grandfather) is still alive and kicking at over 100 years of age, and somehow hooked up with a lovely 18-year-old chick. This relationship gave birth to Lumine.
So think of the family tree for a bit. In this sense, Lumine is actually Saika’s grandmother, despite being younger than him. WOW
In reality, this is used more as a form of ridicule than respect, as she is called various names from “Great Aunt” to “Grandmother” to “Anego”. Despite this strange and messed up family tree, Lumine and Saika get along very well, and can be considered “osananajimi”.
Similar to Resona from the previous title, Lumine is unable to refuse Saika’s “requests” from a past experience endangering his well-being. The event is also the reason why Lumine seems to be “dependent” on him to a certain extent.
Like Est’s route, Lumine’s route is very boring until the climax, when it is again the protagonist who shines and brings about a decent conclusion. Lumine’s route involves the “Ookura” family moreso than the other routes.
Oh, and these are a few of the subcharacters behind Est
Sexual Content: Low. These are definitely H-scenes that you don’t want to skip, NOR fap to. They add such ridiculous “plays” onto these scenes and crude humor to the point it’s not even funny, but just so silly that you’re laughing your ass off and losing your boner completely.
So here we have the hyped sequel that unfortunately didn’t turn out that great. As stated above, most of the scenes involved Saika and his talents and NOT the heroine. The flow is rather awkward with this game, and some routes simply has background information just thrown at the reader’s face. Climax scenes are relatively okay, though, which reminds everyone that Navel’s been going strong for years for a reason.
On the other hand, I’m very distressed that only the very minor characters from the prequel make an appearance. Honestly, I would’ve loved to see any of the heroines from the first title make an appearance as an “older self”. As expected, no Luna nor Yuusei, and Aeon actually looks the same (just with glasses).
Now for the Append Comments. One Word: Hilarious.
The two stories are Luna After After Story, and a nonsense version of Resona’s side-story which involves the male characters. The former involves Yuusei (or Asahi) admitting to stop with the “Asahi” identity after graduation, and Luna being completely depressed over it (remember that Luna’s “first love” is Asahi, not Yuusei). It involves other characters including Aeon who has been working to stabilize the relationship between the Sakurakouji and Ookura families, as well as ichaicha between the characters.
On the other hand, the nonsense version of Resona’s side-story involves the cross-dressed Yuusei falling out the window and losing his memory. Anthony (Yuusei’s cousin) happens by and saves him, but does something absolutely idiotic that requires the full assistance of Suruga and Aeon to restore Yuusei’s memory. Here, you can see how silly the Ookura family can be, and what extent they would all go to expressing their affection for this ridiculously popular protagonist.
Hm… Isn’t this scene a bit familiar…?
Affection for the Characters: Moderate
CG Score: 5/10. Pretty average artwork with your same old Nishimata and Suzumiya. Really, Nishimata’s art is what got me into eroge in the beginning, but her artwork got pretty crappy recently (awkward poses, gestures)
Music Score: 8/10. Amazing music as expected of Navel. Some “eurotrance” tracks are amazing, heroine-themes are also quite well-designed.
C’est parti! (Filia Collection Theme)
ぐっどろもーにんぐす (Paruko’s Theme)
Conclusion: An inferior sequel from Navel, which is quite unfortunate since we all know and were expecting (don’t lie: Getchu’s ranking states that this game was hyped #1). It has a couple of routes where the climax is great, but most of the time, the story is boring lacking drama and “conflict” as it did in the prequel.
So you’re telling me that the “girl” on the right is actually a guy? WHAT?!
Foreword: Righto! Second review before I go back to schoolwork. While falling quite behind of the previous title I finished, Innocent Girl was still an enjoyable game. With the same setting as “Pure Girl”, some people might call this the sequel, since it makes several references back to the previous title.
A game that I hesitate even labeling a “nukige”, the sexual content in this game was definitely high (7 full H-scenes for each character). Despite this, there was drama, theme for each characters, and even a distinct conflict. Obviously, comedy seems to overtake all of the former elements (…), but that’s the same atmosphere created in “Pure Girl” anyways so…
In the end, I wasn’t too fond of this game. Perhaps it was because I experienced such a nice title before this one. Perhaps I had my expectations up from the previous Frontwing game. Nonetheless, that explains why I took so long to finish Innocent Girl.
Summary: Wataru falls on his knees. He starts to cry. “Please stop…” he mutters… “PLEASE! JUST LET ME DIE!!” He screams. In his mind, he starts to wonder why his sudden transfer to an art school and “Dream House” caused such a mess. It all began when his parents “abandoned” him…
Despite how dramatically the above sounds, it’s actually because Wataru was a poem writer. Using the name “Hoshizaki Kiraru”, he wrote many poems that he now considers embarrassing, and with his transfer, originally decided to put that all in the “black box of the past”.
However, he will be reminded of this trauma, in front of four girls: his classmate Kagari, imouto Hinako, childhood friend Konoka, and a professional writer Kanae.
With his embarrassing past completely exposed, Wataru doesn’t know how to react. However, despite the cold looks he receives from the people around him, perhaps he can recover. Perhaps he can regain the “innocence” that he held when he wrote those poems, and use his skills to help the girls around him.