Foreword: When it comes to Yuzusoft games, a lot of people claim them to be a “safe choice”, meaning that the game itself is never going to be absolute shit. I agree with this statement for the most part (having played the more recent Yuzusoft titles), but I also think it should come with an additional comment that like other mainstream galge companies, there’s not much adventuring going on with this company at least regarding the story.
In addition to this, I’m seeing that there’s a set pattern nowadays that even for “romance” oriented games such as Senren Banka, the romance transitioning is often completely missing or otherwise shitty. This is really disappointing since quite often, the conflict presented in a heroine route is resolved by the protagonist and the respective heroine who has already formed a “romantic bond”, but said bond was never “formed” in the eyes of the reader; it was just thrown out there.
Well, aside from this, Senren Banka is not a bad game, but as with many Yuzusoft titles, it’s not a “great” game. There are multiple reasons for this, and I hope readers can follow along with me as I make the attempts to explain why.
P.S. omg Irotori is quite amazing with story elements, but it’s sooooooo boring… Someone kill me Q_Q
Summary: Masaomi is heading to Houri, a small town unlike the city he lived in and even with the nickname “Inutsuki” (likely meaning “haunted by dogs”), which prevents taxi drivers to even enter. This town is filled with various mysteries, such as the presence of spirits or monsters which ironically seem to attract foreigners. In addition, at the heart of it all, a sword-pulling event is open to the public.
While Masaomi was brought here more from a blackmail while his parents were enjoying a trip, he greets his strict grandfather and his cousins, as well as his childhood friends. For fun, they make Masaomi pull the legendary sword–the Murasamemaru, from the stone it was stabbed into.
Masaomi obliges, and without too much thought, he pulls on the sword lightly to have it completely snap in two! Chaos immediately ensues as the sword didn’t even budge when others pulled on it. It’s not long until a spirit named Murasame pops out and explains that Masaomi has been chosen by the Murasamemaru to defend Houri from the Tatarigami’s curse which has been going on for 500 years.
So go back to roughly 4 years ago, when I had started to become more fluent with Japanese, had developed my love for the Visual Novel genre and came across this game called “Tayutama” which was one of the recommendations from a good friend I knew from an MMO. He mentioned that this was “one of the best games” ever, and I took it mostly with a grain of salt. I mean, how good can a game be? I’ve already played games like Shuffle and thought it was amazing (LOL I NEED TO KEEL MYSELF FROM BACK THEN), and somehow got into playing the game.
DUDE THIS GAME IS AMAZING
I was completely caught off-guard. From a very impressive beginning scenes that left a great impact on said “co-existence” between Tayutai and humans, you’re presented with an absolutely adorable heroine whose design was so flawless that according to outside sources, was pretty much the “Number 1 most-wanted as a waifu character” in Japan. Even I found myself finding this heroine, Mashiro, to be the pinnacle of heroine design, of playing not only a support role for the protagonist, but also displaying such unconditional affection that mesmerized even the most cold-hearted and cynical players.
In reality, Tayutama ~Kiss on my Deity~ is easily on my top 5 “All-time Favorite Games” due to its extensive story which symbolizes harmony across “races” along with exciting scenes throughout the game that had me on the edge of my seat. Add in both heroines and subcharacters that are very colorful in personality forming a very tight connection through those bonds and you have essentially a “Visual Novel” that’s perfect in all aspects.
Fast forward to 2016 May, and we have the sequel that we thought we would never receive.
Summary of the Game (Translated from the Homepage):
The existence of Tayutai has been revealed and it has been 50 years since then. Humans have taken more measures to co-exist with these creatures, leading to a revolution of change for the human society.
The protagonist Kusakabe Sora lives in a town called Yakotami, where the spiritual powers are relatively stronger than any other areas. He’s been working towards this co-existance for as long as he can remember.
One day, Sora witnesses a fight between a human child and a Tayutai, and rushes towards them to mediate the conflict. It’s really not rare to see resistances to this kind of “co-existence”, but what happens next will most definitely surprise Sora.
“I’ve found him… He’s definitely my…”
A girl with strange ears, perhaps an incarnation of a human from a Tayutai, or someone like Mashiro, one who received the blessings from Tayutayu, she comes to our protagonist with a request:
“Please become my husband!”
Such a request bewilders our protagonist, who was completely unexpecting such a request. However, with the explanation of Mito Mashiro, Kohaku’s mother, Sora learns that Kohaku has been searching for a partner to further solidify the co-existence between humans and Tayutai.
“Well, I’m not sure about marriage…” is what Sora admits, but he allows this young girl to live with him and agrees to cooperate in her quest.
Thoughts on the Game so Far:
Honestly, I’m really worried. Games haven’t exactly been quite up to par with Tayutama’s original quality since Hello, Good-bye, and considering how games were plain retarded recently, this was mostly what’s been preventing me from buying the Pre-Order. It is Fumitake again with the art, and we’re also looking at Mashiro as well as Yuuri returning as “immortal beings”, so there’s that going for us. The game also states that the characters from the previous game, including Ameri, Yumina, and Mifuyu are all returning as the same “Immortals”, so that’s going to become interesting.
The scenario writer is someone Getchu do not have on their records: someone named “沖田露集” (Okita…?). This both fills me with hope and dread. Hope because we at least know it’s not destined to be shitty, dread because it can turn out like how Sakusaku had a new writer (Mirai Minase) and didn’t exactly turn out well at least compared to Mashiroiro Symphony. Based on how crappy Kodomo no Asobi is right now (almost done with it), I’d have to make a hypothesis that I need to keep my expectations low or else I’ll be extremely disappointed.
On to the characters themselves though:
Honestly, my first impression was “Holy Shit” because of that last name being corresponding to Yuuri and Mashiro’s last names. However, it doesn’t seem like she’s actually their “biological daughter” (though that’d be pretty DAMN interesting), but rather someone raised by them instead. Similar to Mashiro, Kohaku is given the role of encouraging the coexistence between Tayutai and humans, and quite different from Mashiro in the previous title in the sense her loli-like appearance correspond to her personality as well.
Very straightforward and honest describes this character, because she focuses on one thing too much, Kohaku often loses her surroundings. Like Mashiro, however, it seems that Kohaku is athletic and smart, although the website also describes her being unable to stay awake past midnight (characteristics of a child)
Character Quote: [Please become my husband!]
She’s the daughter of a well-known family, but after her father’s death, was adopted into the Saijyo family. She’s overall well-behaved in front of everyone except Sora, who seems to be a good friend of hers. To him exclusively, Hifumi’s shown to be playful instead. As expected from her environment, Hifumi seems to be intelligent as well. The game describes her being more introverted, however.
Character Quote: [Be careful; Girls are liars]
A girl who has been in contact with Tayutai since a young age. Because of this, she is often able to see things from a Tayutai’s point of view, and even acquired the skill to treat injured Tayutai or help them who suffered through corrupted transformations. Very calm and introverted, and has the tendency to keep problems to herself and push herself a bit too much. She’s overall average in other abilities and loves sweet things
Character Quote: [Tayutai are like humans. I think it’s best if they live as they are]
Do I need to explain? LOL
Yep, she’s the Mashiro that you know from the previous title, the strongest Tayutai infused with the Goddess “Kikuramikaminohime” (try saying that 5 times fast! :D). She lives with Kohaku while Yuuri seems to be somewhere else (not sure what happened over here). While generally mature and easy to approach, Mashiro does have the other side of being childish or being stubborn about her opinions. She acts as the “Mother-Figure” to Kohaku, and actually has a spiritual connection to Yuuri so that she can still talk to him, but often becomes very jealous of Kohaku and Sora’s relationship.
The game mentions that she’s been reading Romance Novels recently, and obviously still loves marshmellows. It also seems that she’s not actually a heroine (because she’s already married, you derpheads)
Character Quote: [You’re becoming the husband, so let’s make you strong and powerful!]
Protagonist: Kusakabe Sora
A normal human, except for the fact that his Spiritual Powers are much more powerful than an average person. Due to this, he can feel the flow of energy through a sixth sense.
As gentle and logical person, Sora has even been shown to be the center of the attention in class, but also has traits of being proactive and resourceful.
Raised in an orphanage, he strongly believes that through cooperation, both despair and misfortune can be overcome.
Character Quote: [I’ll do all I can to think of what we should do]
Thoughts on characters:
A protagonist with an ACTUAL PERSONALITY! YESSSSSS
Fuck all the perverted and cardboard protagonists that galge (and Lump of Sugar) has been releasing recently. FINALLY we have a protagonist (albeit much like a copy-paste from the first title) who is actually useful and relevant to the story and its elements presented. I really hope that LoS follows through with all these traits, though, since it’s just as easy to screw Sora’s design up as it is to simply SAY that he has all these traits.
Heroines themselves seem a bit plain, although you can definitely see some traits similar to the heroines from the previous title (Hifumi vs. Ameri; Yumina vs. Nano). If at all, by what’s presented so far, I can only see a full-blown galge coming through, although at least it’ll contain a couple of Tayutai counterparts just like what the first-title did.
Worst case scenario, the characters themselves are cute, and I’ll get my full dose of Mashiro. Not sure if that’s going to be worth the 9800￥ that I’m thinking of spending like, right now.
Final thoughts of the preview:
In one word: Hype. It’s interesting how the game will present not only the new characters, but also the characters from the first game as subcharacters. It’s assumed that Yuuri will appear as well (as according to how he appears in the CGs), and it’s also confirmed that heroines will also have Tayutai counterparts like they did for the first-game.
It is, however, worrying that LoS wasn’t exactly making story-oriented games recently, and based on how the heroines themselves seem really bland, it’s not a far-fetched estimate to expect a charage for Tayutama 2. We can only hope. We have an old artist and a new scenario writer. Let’s see how far that gets us with this sequel.
Foreword: Happy New Year! It’s quite early, but I decided to start off 2016 with a relatively favorable post regarding a fairly old but considered to be the best of Whirlpool’s games, Suzukaze no Melt. As one of my favorite games easily placing in the top 10 of my list, Suzukaze was definitely a game of blessing through all the relatively poor ones I’ve been going through recently. In addition to how it also contained some of my favorite CVs (at least in the past; my tastes have changed since then o3o) I not only enjoyed the 20-30 hours replaying this game, but also felt quite a bit of nostalgia.
Simply put, there’s going to be only compliments for this game from me (with reasons to why), EXCEPT for one small but extremely important point that the writers (Damn, Daisangen is fucking amazing with writing) forgot. If they had fixed this flaw, this game would have essentially been a kamige.
Nonetheless, let’s get started!
There may be unintentional mild spoilers in this review! I’ve tried to avoid them at all possible, but please read at your own risk!
Title: 涼風のメルト (Suzukaze no Melt) [TL Note: Suzukaze means “Cool Wind”. For the reference, “舞風” (the sequel) means “Dancing Wind”]
Release Date: August 27th, 2010
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v3992
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=680120
Game Type: Fantasy-themed game with themes of “Wishes”
Summary: Akihito is actually a “Shinkan” (神官) who is a descendant of the very old family who has served the Tochikami (土地神) for hundreds of years. In this town of Mishiromachi, there is a legend that this Tochikami resides in a very special place and allows the granting of a wish every 10 years, and in honor of this service, the townspeople have performed a special ceremony of sending in a miko every 10 years into the forest to serve this god, with the wishes of the townspeople delivered by the shinkan.
However, aside from this seemingly super-special role, Akihito isn’t exactly that special. While he does get high grades in school, he doesn’t really have anything else that’s unique about him–everyone already knows that he’s the Shinkan, and in reality, it’s not that important because this title only becomes relevant every 10 years. Instead, his current relationships right now, including his childhood friend Nazuna, is more important to him.
This is until strange, unnatural things start to happen in Mishiromachi, and mystical beings appear out of nowhere. These are “spirits” that hold a special wish from someone in the past, and are only visible to specific people. However, these spirits were not meant to co-exist with the humans of this city, and it falls on Akihito and the people around him to capture these spirits and return them… but to where?
To the Other End of the Universe, of course!
Story Length: Moderately Long (25 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Comments: Quite an easy game to clear, there’s really nothing special about the choices given. It is, however, designed in the way you can really only pursue one heroine at a time (this excludes Suzu, who has her own route), so there’s that. Make sure that after clearing a heroine route, though, you go through the heroine’s “絆話り” route, which is essentially an “after-story” which is not actually an after-story because these are events that occur in the past. I’ll discuss this later. “神話り” (Suzu’s Route) appears after all routes and their after-stories are cleared.
The Fandisc includes an “after-after story” for each heroines plus a new heroine (CG below) plus a harem route (?!) AND additional stories for 5 of the subcharacters. Man, talk about loading up the plate for us players!
This is Kureha, the main character exclusive to the Fandisc. I’ll just point out that her route isn’t worth going through.
Character Design Rating: 8/10
Story Rating: 10/10
Protagonist Rating: 6/10
Game Quality: Low
Overall Rating: 8.5/10
Rating Comments: There’s a reason why this game is one of my top favorites and one of the two games that Whirlpool produced a Fandisc Sequel AND a PSP-ported version. Pretty much perfect in terms of story, this is extremely rare because other games that have extremely good stories deserving of this score usually tend to have one or two routes that just knock the points off regardless (See Tsukiyori or this title). However, as mentioned in the foreword, even this “perfect” storyline has a small but critical flaw that took off a whopping 2 points off character design and knock this game down from being a “kamige”.
Akihito himself is actually relatively worthless throughout the entire game, but not as much as other card-board faceless protagonists since he does play important roles in capturing spirits early in the game. I admit I was relatively critical with this score.
Me when I rate protagonists
Let’s get into character descriptions.
Nazuna is first. Being beautiful isn’t the only trait that this character has; she is very supportive and actually already infatuated to Akihito from the beginning portions of the story. Often coming through Akihito’s window to wake him up since it’s actually faster than coming through the front door, it’s definitely not an understatement that these two characters are often seen as more than just childhood friends.
In reality, Nazuna is the very Miko chosen to serve the Tochikami for 10 years. However, this fact is hidden to everyone except the individuals related to the ceremony, which really adds onto the design of the story. As you progress through the story, it is shown why it’s Nazuna chosen to be the Miko as well, so this was a very good follow-up. If that’s not all, it’s explicitly shown that Nazuna herself has trouble “giving up” on Akihito on other routes, amplifying herself as a character greatly.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Expect a HNNNNGGGG moment when you find out why Nazuna became a Miko.
As essentially the perfect waifu material plus Tono Soyogi voicing this character, I had little trouble having Nazuna as my favorite character. It’s just that very little of her and Akihito’s past is presented throughout the entire series (which includes the fandisc too). One would think that there’s a reason for her to be infatuated to Akihito for years, but this was not mentioned. Really, that was the biggest flaw in Nazuna’s route, while a smaller, more insignificant thing to mention is that Nazuna’s route does have the element of bringing said “past events” out-of-the-blue instead of displaying them in the beginning.
Throwing a book is actually a running gag and a skill that Yoshika has, the head of the History Research Club. Quite the beautiful girl herself, she actually is a hardcore History Maniac which offsets her looks and repels many guys including Kousuke.
taking a book to the head.jpg
As if to support this ridiculous trait, it’s shown that Yoshika would even pretend to be Akihito’s girlfriend to sneak into the ceremonial rehearsals, because it is strictly restricted to outsiders and since Yoshika knows that Akihito will play the Shinkan role, she can try to pry in using him as an excuse. This trait follows along to her being suspicious of Akihito and Nazuna when they act discreetly.
Yoshika’s route actually involves various subcharacters to act as antagonists which is unique to her route. This darker atmosphere allowed Akihito to shine as a protagonist, which was a very good trait.
Despite how this CG is centered around the girl on the left, Yui, it’s actually Ui, the girl on the right, who is the actual heroine. Ui is actually a girl who transferred to the school in Mishiromachi during the middle of the school year, and Akihito originally meet her trying to buy bread from the store, but continuously pushed by the other students. They take her to the History Research Club instead, where they find that she possesses an item called “Shingu” which has some special power related to the spirits.
Ui herself is a very strong character despite her size. Being raised mostly by her grandmother allowed her to learn various tactics in daily lifework and altered her tastes from a normal girl. Yui, however, on the other hand, is very frail and requires continuous hospitalization in various places, which was the reason why Ui kept having to transfer to help her.
Ui’s route also has the romance coming out of nowhere, but was considerably more subtle than other ones, so I guess that was nice. When I first played this game, I actually expected a “shimai-don” route like they did in Magus Tale, but I guess I expected too much LOL
Next is the archetypical “senpai” heroine Tsukino. I say archetypical, but she’s quite a unique character herself, often spacing out or making small mistakes from nothing. I guess this was supposed to be her charm-point, but was actually slightly mismatched with said archetype.
Nonetheless, her route mostly involves how she gets involved in something dangerous involving her life (e.g. a building might collapse on her), but instead of dying, Tsukino doesn’t even have a scratch on her. Basically, she’s somehow able to escape heavy injury in many occasions for some reason. Both she and Akihito believe it may be Chocola, the dog-like (?) spirit that Tsukino has had for as long as she can remember
Tsukino is unique in the sense that in the 絆話り after-story… actually screw that. You can find out for yourself.
Last but definitely not the least is the tochikami herself, who is soon revealed to have a strange name, but accepts another name as “Suzu” (Note at this point that this is the same “Suzu” as in the title of game, Suzukaze).
As the god who watched over the lands for several hundreds of years, Suzu is very knowledgeable about the system of wishes and spirits, so Akihito and the group often come here to seek advice… if they could.
In reality, Suzu lives in a Restricted Area where no one can enter freely. There seems to be a special requirement for someone to enter this area within the forest, and if they do not meet this requirement, the person who enters this area would immediately be teleported outside of the forest.
The tochikami’s residence
Even as a god, it is shown that Suzu herself is relatively ignorant about the changes, and since she never really left this Restricted Area for hundreds of years, she has little knowledge for writing, modern culture, or even snacks. It’s shown that she does have a sweet tooth, which causes some humor in various places.
But she can still be serious at times…
The romance within Suzu’s route was frankly the worst in my opinion, with the two characters (Akihito and her) having absolutely no transition to being lovers. Despite this, the game did have a good set of story for this character, who actually changes her fate for her loved one.
So wait, is Nazuna the central heroine, or Suzu?? @_@
Sexual Content: Moderate
Comments: So this is where I’ll be discussing a lot of the story (oh the irony) and its designs. So first, the good parts.
Readers may have noticed that the beginning parts of the game are relatively slow, and even the character routes are pretty much your typical galge-style scenario with conflict -> resolution -> H-scenes. In fact, if you’re sensitive to the game’s romance at all, you’d also notice that there’s a fatal flaw in the sense that there’s almost no development. This was the small but critical “con” that I noticed in the game; how the characters literally felt affection for each other within a couple of days to even instantly with little transitioning. Basically, the initiation of the romance, although it was more well-developed in the later portions of the story, was extremely shallow; kinda like this game.
However, you’d also notice that a special “after-story” called “絆話り” opens for each heroine after you clear her story. PLAY THIS. I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH. YOU MUST GO THROUGH THIS AFTER STORY NO MATTER WHAT. Expect the quality of each route to freaking skyrocket after reading this after-story because it solves all the questions or holes left by the main one and formulates a strong and definite conclusion for the respective heroine. Like seriously; the game pretty much builds up everything for this very section and relates heavily to the game’s descriptions of “where wishes are drawn to each other”.
And there’s yur–*punch*
Affection for the Characters: Moderate
CG Score: 6/10. Frankly, I’m not TOO much of Tenmaso’s art, and in addition to how her art got pretty weird in the fandisc, I couldn’t help but lower this score a bit :(
Though SDCGs are freaking adorable. Drink more Poca Cola
I also love it when games reference their previous titles within the context of the story.
Music Score: 7/10. I’m generally favorable about the soundtracks of this game, but especially a soundtrack called “Innocence”, which has a very gentle and soothing melody
When your childhood friend brings in a girl.jpg
Conclusion: A great game from Whirlpool which is very different from the charage-crap they have and are producing. No one but the producers know why this piece of gold was mixed with the mounds of coal which is the other games, but it’s nonetheless a game that needs to be played.
Slowpoke moment here, but it seems that Whirlpool has a 10th Anniversary Game called “World Election” set to be released in February 2016. Looking forward to that since there’s actually FOUR ARTISTS including Tenmaso and Mamizu.